I am bound nowhere.

    “I think about death a lot.” I told Sarah. Maybe this is dark, but “sometimes I become hyperaware of our mortality. One day I will no longer live in this world, so I am so grateful whenever I get to see one more thing before I go.” I do not mean this in a morbid way. It is more matter-of-fact with a touch of poetry. Sarah and I spent our last fifteen minutes in Budapest reflecting in front of the Parliament building while I sipped my lactose-free latte. We were waiting for Kristen to finish her souvenir shopping. “I am trying to … Continue reading I am bound nowhere.

Breakfast in Budapest (and other meals)

I had no idea what I was eating. It was like a giant pretzel. There was no coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. “Sometimes I forget I have an addiction,” I had told the girls. It is not until I get that mid-morning headache after not getting my early morning cup of coffee that I realize how dependent I’ve become on it. Our biggest challenge in Budapest was finding a place where we could grab a quick, to-go breakfast while rushing to our first tourist attraction. This day we were headed to the Jewish Quarter with a 2 1/2 hour free walking … Continue reading Breakfast in Budapest (and other meals)

Enchantment

Simone opened the door to our Airbnb, her hair wet from the shower, and a lose dress. “Of course she already looks like she lives here,” I thought. She had arrived a few hours before us. Sarah, Kristen, and I flew together, coincidentally sitting next to each other. These three girls are my Girl Power Team while living in Madrid. This trip was overdue. We decided to travel together during a late lunch at De Patata Madre in Bilbao, Madrid. Kristen and Sarah had spontaneously bought cheap flight tickets with a sketchy sounding airline: Wizzair. Simone and I spontaneously decided to join, though this city … Continue reading Enchantment

My Madrid’s Can’t-Get-Enough-Of

We had three full days, and one early morning to experience Madrid together. Before going to Portugal, I had a chance to walk my friend, Christy, around the city center. We touched based on main places like Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel, and Sol. But now it was time to pick and choose the more local/expat iconic things to do. Christy wanted us to do things I had not experience yet in this city; I wanted to bring her to places that as a local, I cannot get enough of. So here is my list of Madrid’s Can’t-Get-Enough-Of experiences: Baobab – … Continue reading My Madrid’s Can’t-Get-Enough-Of

Selfies with daisies.

We finished our espresso and headed to the metro with plenty of time to get to the airport. Christy and I had had an incredible 4 day vacation in Porto, Portugal. “Why does that clock say it’s 19:17?” Christy asked. “Because it’s 7:17. It’s right. That’s the actual time.” [insert the kind of pause you never want your friend to make in a conversation]. “Our flight ticket says 20:30.” And we were at least a 30 minute metro ride away, and still had to wait nearly 15 minutes for the metro to arrive, our flight gate closing at 20:00. I had … Continue reading Selfies with daisies.

I don’t know what will.

“Oh.” Some people would say. We felt a little judged at times for not doing the Porto wine tasting, or following the typical advice on things to do in Porto. But we did not mind. Vacations are your own, and only you can choose to do the things that matter to you. After our wild night out, we decided to take it easy, and walk down the shopping street where you can see the Majestic café where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. We prioritized resting, and wandering very slowly under the rare, sunny day (Porto is known for its pouring … Continue reading I don’t know what will.

Shot O’Clock (When In Porto)

“People in Porto love Costa and crepes,” we’d say…But it was really just us that kept going back to Costa for their giant soymilk caramel lattes, and Hand Go for their gluten free/lactose free dripping goodness, mouth-watering crepes. I have pretty healthy eating habits, and Christy is celiac, so she cannot eat gluten or lactose products. This is fine in Spain. As long as you can have rice and potatoes, there are plenty of dishes you can eat and still experience the food culture. But in Portugal, we had a tougher time. “Just tell them you want a really salty … Continue reading Shot O’Clock (When In Porto)

Happy Decaying Buildings

“Quiere marihuana?” he said, and it was a whole new take on hospitality. We arrived in Porto, Portugal after getting our very “home-made” tickets at the RyanAir counter, and having a short, smooth flight. Having only learned 3 phrases in Portuguese, we emerged from the São Bento metro stop, and instantly loved the city. I LOVE the first time you come out of the subway in a place you’ve never been, and get shocked by beauty. It’s a shot of adrenaline and wonder that keeps me addicted to travel. There was so much color against so much gray: happy decaying … Continue reading Happy Decaying Buildings

Mi Casa Es Su Casa!

Christina Smac&Tosh – read the sign I held for almost one hour at the airport, waiting for you. It was worth the stares to get this adventure started right. You walked through the sliding doors, and I yelled out your name, but you didn’t see me. So I did the movie style run toward you, waving my arm. Nope, you did not see me. I planted myself in front of you, and you did the wide eyes thing! I hardly remember your first day in Madrid, actually. The image is a haze of disbelief that you came to see me. I don’t think I … Continue reading Mi Casa Es Su Casa!

See you tomorrow.

“No I’m not gonna change yet! I look hot!” That’s apparently Christina’s first memory of me, freshman year of college. I was in the dance team, and had just returned from a basketball game. I bumped into my roommate and her friends, they were playing board games in the common area. I sat on the couch instead of going up to my dorm room to change into the more appropriate lounge/make-up free “dress code” of the evening. A conceited time in my life, but hey…In my defense, High School had really sucked, and I was reinventing myself this first year of college…exploring who I wanted to be. … Continue reading See you tomorrow.