Friday, May 25, 2012

on our newest adventure.

and so. back to italy we go.
our friend from study abroad told us that she was getting married on the italian coast over a year ago, and while it seemed like a pipe dream, we decided we'd try and save up for the plane tickets.
and we did. and now we're going.
as excited as i am about the trip, i'm even more excited to see everyone from our program - most of them i haven't seen in eight years. and if the past few posts reminded me of anything, it's that the people and not the place make the trip.
lake como - 2004.  my favorite picture of us. ever. even with my hippie hair.
one of my favorite memories of traveling with katie occurred when we went to rome on our fall break during study abroad. we went to a tiny restaurant near our hostel, yammering away about how excited we were to be there. the couple next to use heard our fluent english and struck up a conversation - canadians, in italy on their honeymoon, we compared notes about our experiences abroad thus far. then our food came and we drifted back to our own conversations and eventually we asked for our check. but the waiter informed us as best he could in his italian that there was none - the canadian couple had picked up our bill. we were shocked, and profusely started to thank them. i always remember what they said:
"you guys are young and far from home - i'm sure your parents would like to know someone is looking out for you."
and isn't that just it sometimes - looking out for another, stranger and friend alike? taking the time to make sure someone feels like another person cares about them, no matter how small the gesture may be? it's a lesson that i've tried to keep with me.
as it is with random acts of kindness from strangers, you can't pay them back. you must pay it forward. so back we go to italy, where i hope someone young and far from home crosses our path and i can pass on the kindness that was once bestowed on me.
see you in a week kids. enjoy your start to summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

on adventures with friends (part 3}.

of course i'd be remiss if i didn't point out my favorite way of seeing one another (and something i mentioned last year): going to visit one another. and when you have a friend who's a west-coaster, it takes you on some great adventures.
she's come to visit me in philly. right before i graduated and i was still able to introduce her to a proper cheesesteak (hold the cheese).
i've gone to visit her in newport. i got to experience the beauty of southern california, and listen as she'd explain her struggles in trying to find the type of friends she wanted. and, i reminded her, the type of friends she deserved.
she's gone to nashville. where we went to the kentucky derby for the first time, and i was able to be there for her when she learned her grandmother had passed away.
i've gone to jackson hole. where we pretended the snake river was the french riviera, and we rode our bikes around town, and i enjoyed the smell of fresh air for the first time in months.
she's come to nyc. we've galavanted from uptown to downtown, and she's come out to long island to celebrate my cousin's high school graduation, meeting all my aunts and uncles and cousins without skipping a beat.
we've done a pretty good job at living in rad places, if i say so myself. we've created adventures everywhere we could, but through it all we've built a rock solid friendship, too. no picture or vista can match the wonderfulness of that.
independence hall newport beach
kentucky derby kentucky derby
jackson hole bar jackson hole
kissing a moose snake river

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

on adventures with friends {part 2}.

after south africa that summer, we went on to spain. for all of the beauty and uniqueness of south africa, it was spain that captured my heart. perhaps i think about going back there because it's more accessible from america, perhaps it's because i'm more of a city girl, but i fell in love and i fell hard. i dream about going back to madrid and granada for a week. i would run through the streets of madrid in the morning, spotting many a club goer going home. the food in madrid was my favorite, including the extensive ice cream taste test we had, yielding (we are not proud to say) that the best was a simple cone from mcdonald's. i know. we're so american. how gauche.
but perhaps my favorite was at a long lunch when the waiter brought us limoncello shots on the house to end the meal.
and then he brought us four more.
it pays to travel with a redhead people.
madrid mcdonalds ice cream
madrid spain palace
our second stop was granada. for every dreamy sigh i had about madrid, i had a million more in granada. we arrived in time for beers and tapas in the afternoon around the corner from our hostel, taking in the tiny, quiet town square before us. that night as we wandered we heard a faint hint of music. on getting closer we found an orchestra playing john williams' theme songs in the square. it was a nice reminder of home under those granada stars, but at that point it's not like i really missed home just yet. the hills and cobblestone streets, the intricate and awe-inspiring alhambra, the slow pace of life - i dream of going back to granada alot. it's become one of those destinations that will never really leave my bucket list - if i could suggest a city in spain to visit, this would be it.
pic name pic name
granada orchestra chocolate churros
alhambra alhambra
alhambra alhambra
alhambra alhambra
alhambra alhambra
granada granada
that girl can get some serious air.
finally, there was barcelona. decidedly not our favorite. the enchantment of madrid and granda was just not there. but it's a colorful city, a lively city, and filled with delicious food. from the gaudi architecture to the boqueria, we made do, you could say. oh, and we also managed to get tickets for a U2 concert that was in town. we had to walk home three miles after the concert due to barcelona wisely shutting down the subway for the night, but it was still a great concert. and after all, we got to stop to get a pizza cone. never a bad way to end a trip.
gaudi park gaudi
gaudi cathedral gaudi cathedral
gaudi cathedral gaudi cathedral
watermelon reading a map
u2 360 sangria beach barcelona

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

on adventures with friends.

*i'm headed on a little trip this coming week with my friend katie, whom i met on study abroad in 2004. we've been fortunate enough to travel to very many places together, due to luck in timing and that we live across the country from one another - might as well go somewhere new to see one another! i'm going to do a few posts this week about some of our adventures*

katie was born in south africa. her father was there for work, but they moved away when she was little. so she didn't really remember it. we decided we wanted to go there, as it was on my bucket list too, after i graduated from grad school. it was the first stop among many, and we spent three weeks there. an absolutely beautiful country, i would go back in a heartbeat.
grown-up milkshakes.
heading up to table mountain.
contemplating life. and what to eat for dinner.

sun setting over the indian ocean.
i have two things that i really love about traveling with katie. first - our jumping pictures. we've taken jumping pictures all around the world. i could have made a post about that. but in addition to those, we also just take absolutely absurb pictures - the kind you take with your best friend, and laugh about years later when they catch your eye out of the blue.
pretending to be in a rock band in the 80's. don't be jealous.
hard-core zipliners.
but my second favorite thing is the stories we share, particuarly for katie and i. after study abroad we haven't been able to spend a lot of time together, just a few days a year. and phone calls are full of updates and going-ons. when you spend a lot of time around someone, memories come back, stories come out. like the one when katie, 2 or 3 years old, waited patiently for her parents to build her a swing-set. it was a long day and, apparently, full of frustration. she waited patiently, hanging on every word, waiting for the swing-set to be finished. finally, just before the day was over, it was assembled and ready to go. katie scrambled to the top, threw her hands over head and yelled as loudly as her little lungs would let her:
"fucking a!"
i'm sure her mother was thrilled.
biking from vineyard to vineyard.
chocolate tasting. an amazing day.
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