Monday, May 18, 2009

Me Voy

Chao Barcelona, 'ello London!

Today I take off on a budget airplane, Easyjet, and return to London.  I will spend a nice quite evening in my hostel, probably not be able to sleep, and wake up to meet Kale at Heathrow.

With the sweet smoldering of my first actual sunburn, I know that summer has begun.  Usually summer represents new smells, bright colors, listening to music and camping.  It means that I can finally bust out that Otter Pop box that has been waiting for me in the freezer.  It means that often times I will wake up in the morning smelling like the smokey bonfire from the night
 before.  It means friends and family.  It means I have time to catch up on some leisure reading.  Summer offers the chance to relax, and actually do everything that helped get you through that
 long, cold winter.  But this year, Summer means something else.  Right now,  it means traveling.  It means trying to find sun tan lotion in a completely new city that doesn't speak your language.  It means eating at least one Doner Kebap a day.  It means waking up to the wonderful sound of your hostel-mates alarm clock.  It means seeing sights, checking things off the good 'ol "Life To-do List," and taking a wealth of pictures of the entire thing.  This summer
 it means learning how to say "Excuse me, does this have red cabbage in it?" in Romanian, or "Is this toothpaste approved by the Teeth and Gum Association?" in Italy, or even brushing up my Spanish and asking "Excuse me, kind vagrant, would you mind not resting your head on my
 shoulder while we are on the metro?" in Barcelona, Spain.

Yes this summer, El Verano de 2009, will forever mean something completely different to me.  I am excited by the opportunity to travel with my best friend and brother, and intrigued about what ridiculous stories we may have to tell about it.

Here are some photos of Barca thus far.  Wish me luck and let the sibling sightseeing begin!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Barcelona, Lists, and Ben

Although I do have a slight feeling that I have not taken complete advantage of my time here in Barcelona, I also can appreciate how nice it has been to just relax.  

There are a couple of things to consider here: 
  1. I am a bit of a cheapskate
  2. I am even more of a cheapskate when I do not have very much money or I am trying to save money
  3. I do not have very much money, and I am trying to save money.
  4. I will return to Barcelona with my brother Kale
  5. Kale does not like traveling with me to places that I have already been and doing things that I have already seen.

For these reasons I have kept my time in Barcelona to some very fun and interesting activities including:
  • the beach (when the weather was nice!)
  • Exploring local markets
  • going to parks and having pic-nics
  • taking self-run walking tours out of the lonely planet book
  • Exploring the Botanical Gardens and main town squares/plazas
  • Watching Barca futbol games at local restaurants
  • and of course....going out on the town.
I have saved many exciting activities for my visit with Kale (and coincidentally my buddy Eric will be in BCN the same time!).  These include:

a. La Sagrada Familia- a public church/cathedral started by Gaudi and continuing to be built (since 1923).  Crazy style, cool look.
b. La Pedrera- another Gaudi building with skull/bone looking exterior and an incredible roof
c. La Casa Batillo- yet another Gaudi building with classic dreamy Gaudi style.  Very trippy.
d. Pablo Picasso Museum- no pieces of note, most of his earlier stuff
e. maybe nearby town of Sitches

This weekend I am going to go out to some museum on saturday night because it is "El noche de los Museos" and free entrance into all city museums along with partying, music, and drinks- what a cool idea barcelona!  Then I hope to go to Tibidabo, with a gorgeous view of Barcelona atop a carnival and amusement park.  I also hope to check out the magical Parque Guell- Gaudi's park of wonder with typical Gaudi Craziness.  

I have never seen another city in the world that is defined by one person.  One person!  He really has put his mark all over this city, and it just so happens to be really cool stuff.  The Catalan people love him too.  In his last years he was living near La Sagrada familia instead of his house so that he could work through the night.  He started to look like a vagrant because he worked so many hours.  Long hair, big beard, shredded clothes, etc.  Well one day he was crossing a street and was hit by a tram.  He had been laying there and people were reluctant to help him because he look like such a bum.  If they would have known that he was their beloved Gaudi, then maybe he would have been helped immediately instead of dying that day.  A tragic end to a life full of art.

Perhaps you have noticed a lot of lists in this blog post.  I like lists for the following reasons:
I   - they are usually preceded by a colon
II  -they are a simple and effective way to display sets of information
III- they can be listed in numbers, bullets, letters, or roman numerals
IV -they provide a lot of girth, to an otherwise unsubstantial blog post
V  -they allow the author to rant about absolutely nothing
VI -each bullet/number can be completely irrelevant to the previous bullet/number
VII -lucky number 7
VIII -is it just me or is the Roman numeral 8 very long for such a small number?  Why does it have to be V then three III?  Wouldn't it make more sense (and be more efficient) to write it as IIX?
IX  -because after an irrelevant bullet/number it can be brought back to the original reason for the listing process, such as- I like lists because they can be divided into sublists like:
A.) I like sublists because the symbol always changes to show a deviation in the list
B.) also if you have a further deviation, you can make a sub, sub-list like:
i. When I make my sub, sub-lists I like the representation of the bullet to relate back to the original list, like in this instance the "i" is a diminutive form of the original "I" the following sub, sub-list bullets would look like-
ii. this
iii. and this.
iv. Of course in rare cases, the sub-lists' sub-list needs a sub-list.
a.  That would look like this.
b.  Did you see how I did that?  The sub, sub, sublist is a diminutive form of the original sub-list.
X- and finally, I like lists because they can be brought back from a ridiculous sub-list tangent to the original list.  The list we all know and love.

thats enough.

actually....I think I hate lists now.

Welp, 6 days until I meet up with Kale in London.  Let the travels begin!!...or continue :) 

ps- are you listening to Ben Harper and the Relentless7's "White Lies for Dark Times" right now?  I have continued to be impressed by everything this man puts out.  It came out of the 5th of May.  I got to listen to this entire album today, and plan to buy it in the future.  Its a good listen, I have two of the songs in my playlist to the right, but give the entire album a try!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Momma's Boy

Mom, please listen to the song playing in the player to your right.  This post is dedicated to you.

There are certain characteristics that all good mom’s share.  Unconditional love, emotional (and often times financial) support, a feeling of “no matter what happens in life, at least my mom loves me.”  Even kids on a playground know this -  “Oh yeah? Well my mom told me I’m special!”  Perhaps the most commendable component that these mothers share is expecting nothing in return.  Now, I could argue that a good son or daughter would recognize all of the things that make their mom great and give her constant praise for doing them….but we know that mothers don’t expect that.

My mom, easily the best mother ever, literally does the most incredible things for me on a regular basis, does it without a second thought, and expects nothing more than frequent hugs and “I love you’s” in return.

Well I am not home to give you a hug right now, but I can tell you mom that I love you so very much and I appreciate everything that you have done for me, and continue to do for me.  When I return home and walk out of the arrivals gate on the 22nd of June at 11 am, I will give you that long awaited hug and I hope you know the love that lies behind it.

Just last week she helped me in my quest to pretend to be a grown-up, by revising my resume and cover letter.  She even did this after I snapped at her via email over not being harsh enough in her revisions.  That’s a good mom.  My mom is a great mom, the best, but I feel it is unfair to classify her greatness under this specific term “mom”….she is simply a great person.  She is wonderful to everyone, not only her sons, and that is what makes her so special.  She shares a very special type of positivity and happiness that is unwavering.  This is something that I saw in my grandfather and something that I aim to become.  She makes me feel special when I am around her.  My mother and father  (who is also deserving of enormous praise…but that will have to wait for his birthday, or fathers day) provided my brother and I with the best childhood and have produced two individuals who are very happy with their lives.  That is the definition of a successful parent. 

I have been showered (and not suffocated) with motherly love since birth, and for that reason I am proud to proclaim that I am a momma’s boy.  I am the biggest momma’s boy that I know, and I am proud of it.  I love you mom, thank you for being you.  I wish I were with you and grandma today so that I could tell you these things in person, but this electronic proclamation will have to do.


Happy mothers day! I love you more than you love me.


-Your baby boy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Summer Travel Plans

I was hesitating writing a blog post today, but I know that a few of you out there will appreciate it.  

Here is a list of my Summer Travel Plans, as they have already began and I am writing to you all tired and sunburnt from Barcelona, Spain.

Currently I am in Barcelona visiting/mooching off of a good friend Lilli and her wonderful English Roommates, Sofie and Lauren.  I will be here from May 2nd through May 20th.  I know it is a long tim to stay in someone's apartment, but I am doing my best to pay for drinks/meals and wash every dish I there.

On May 20th, I fly out of BCN to London to meet my brother on the following day at Heathrow Airport.  Let the games begin.  We will spend about 4 and 1/2 days in London and surrounding areas (possibly Bath and Stonehenge) before we move on to....

Bucharest, Romania.  On May 25th mid-day we fly to this Eastern European city.  We will be visiting my brother's good buddy Brett who is doing the PeaceCorps there.  (I literally just had a Deja Vu when i was typing that....ahh).  He speaks the lingo and already has a kick-ass itinerary set up for us.  We will hit up the beaches on the black sea coast and then come inland a bit and hike the beautiful mountains and probably camp a bit.  We are in Romania until June 2nd, when we leave very early in the morning for.....

Rome.  I have heard both good and bad things about Roma.  I am sure it is dirty, and probably sketchy like everyone says....but there is so much history there.  There is way too much to do there, but I think we will spend 2 maybe 3 days in Rome sightseeing.  From Rome we head north to:

Florence?  Siena?  Other Tuscan towns?  I am not totally sure yet, but we will have a few days to bum around up the Italian coast and check out cities like these until we arrive in....

The Cinque Terre.  It is 5 towns in Northern (not too north tho) Italy.  They are not accessible by car or bus (however there is a train and a ferry from town to town).  Kale and I will spend our days hiking from town to town, stopping and whatever beach we may pass, and we shall spend the nights feasting on seafood, pasta (one of these towns invented pesto!!), and great wine (or so I hear). 
From the Cinque Terre we take a ferry from a little further south, Livorno, Italy to....

Sardinia!!!  If you dont know where sardinia is, it is a large Italian island in the mediterranean sea.  It is known for its unreal beaches.  Kale and I will camp on Sardinia for about 6 days before we catch a plane to Barcelona on the 17th of June.  

We fly back to Seattle on the 22nd of June and will probably arrive in Seattle sometime early in the morning on the 23rd.

whew.  Sounds exhausting doesn't it?  Sounds amazing doesn't it?  On one hand I really cannot wait for my brother to be here and for the traveling to begin and also to return home for the summer and see family, friends, and some great music.  On the other-hand I do not want to be distracted from the present by future events.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed and today is beautiful.  I try to live in the moment, for the moment, because I know that it will never again  be the same as it is now.  I hope all of your todays are beautiful too and I hope you are enjoying your present moment.

Check for updates of BCN!!!


Saturday, May 2, 2009


In about 5 hours I will be on a plane from London to Barcelona to visit (and mooch off of) my good friend Lilli.

I am so excited! I watched a documentary last night on Gaudi, and it seems like the entire city revolves around his architecture. It is some really eccentric stuff, i cant wait to see it in real life. The beach!! THe weather in BCN is supposed to be incredible as well, so I will spend a considerable amount of time on the beach...also a trip to Granda? We will see, Les we will have to work that out with Alba.

With this excitement of upcoming travels, comes a lot of sadness. ONce again I leave people behind that have been incredibly nice to me. Teachers, staff, community memebers, my students, and most of all the other student teachers that I bonded with. They are a great group of people and it will be different not having them to vent all of my teaching frustrations/blunders on.

Halbury followers. I am sorry that I have not posted recently, it has been a rough couple of weeks preparing to leave, check for photos and travel updates soon. Maybe once i get to BCN i will be able to give you all a specific itinerary for my summer travels.

miss you all.


My Playlist