Break in Barcelona

Break in Barcelona

Since my last post, I have been in a desperate need of a break from my mind. I have had this trip to Barcelona planned for almost three months so when the day arrived, I could not wait. Needless to say, it ended up being the best travel experience of my life so far. I was in the heart of the city for five full days with some of my friends and it was equally crazy-packed and relaxing at the same time–the best kind of vacation.

Day One: Hitting the Ground Running
◊ Exploring La Rambla
I arrived in Barcelona after a combined 11 hours of flying and hit the ground running. We mostly walked around and explored the area where our Airbnb was located. By the way, our Airbnb was absolutely fantastic. We were in the El Poble-Sec area near the Para∙lel metro station. It was so centrally-located. We were just killing time before our friend Ksenia arrived later that evening.
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After Ksenia arrived and we caught up on life, we headed out to a late Spanish dinner and a flamenco show at Casa Lola! I did not have as much to do with planning this trip as I normally like to do, but I knew I had to at least see a flamenco show. It was a Thursday night so it was not crowded at all. We got front row seating, ordered sangria, and watched the magic happen.

 

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Spanish dish of potatoes, spicy tomato-based sauce, and garlic aioli 🙂

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We actually stumbled upon Casa Lola when we were exploring earlier in the day. Normally, they require reservations (likely for the weekend), but when we called, they said it was fine without one. We received a flyer for €5 off for two options of either dinner and a show or drink and a show. We chose drink and a show and opted to get our own dinner (which ended up being at Casa Lola anyway because we left the apartment a little late), but it was a wonderful experience!!
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Let’s Get Personal

I have been apprehensive to write this post. It is never easy opening up about personal struggles especially in a world where people my age have so much. I can already feel and hear the “What do you have to complain about? Millennials always want something for nothing,” sneers, but this is not complaining–this is a validation of my own feelings and experiences. I knew that I had been wanting to write something more personal while I have been on a second fly-atus, and funnily enough, it took listening to a track off of Ariana Grande’s new album, Sweetener, called “get well soon” to push me to write it. So today, I want to open up about where I have been mentally in the last three or so months.

I tried to articulate my feelings about my life in a post last year, but I have since deleted that post because I felt that I focused too much on trying to make it translatable to my readers rather than just being honest. However, I feel exactly the same now as I did then: stuck, disappointed, and unmotivated. I find myself in this mood more often in the summer months which really is a contrast to the common feelings toward summer: happiness, freedom, fun, etc. For me, it is a time when I am reminded of my physical insecurities which makes me feel uncomfortable in my clothes; which prevents me from wanting to socialize; which makes me stay indoors by myself; which further leads me down a spiral of being stuck with my negative thoughts about my choices with my life.

In a reflection about turning 24, I discuss how I am learning to accept that my youth is not over. People my age, including myself, freak out about getting closer to 30 because we have idealized that 30 is the age when everything should be in place. When you realize that 18 and 30 are the same distance away from 24, you are reminded of how much time has passed and how quickly you have been catapulted into a life of responsibility and routine. So when I am currently spending my three-day weekends sitting at a friend’s house in a different state (which is not as common as people think) or sitting at home doing absolutely nothing, I am torn between enjoying relaxing, and feeling guilty for not being out and living life to the fullest as a young 20-something. These feelings of confusion over what I “should be” doing are not new. Continue reading “Let’s Get Personal”

A Day Worth Flying For

A Day Worth Flying For

Recently, I have really been getting into day trips.

One of the downsides of having travel privileges and having a different weekly schedule than the rest of the business world is that I can never really travel with my close friends or people I know I travel well with. So instead of waiting all year to do a couple of big trips, I have started investing time into day trips. This past weekend’s day trip was going back to Chicago!
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If you read about my first visit to Chicago, you will know that it was jam-packed from the time I landed to the time I left. This time, my mom joined me to see her sister and niece (my aunt and cousin), so my cousin decided to do a similar approach since my mom hasn’t been back to Chicago in almost 10 years.

◊ Skydeck Ledge
I am actually glad I did the Skydeck Ledge last year because Saturdays are [as expected] a lot more crowded than Sundays. We got there at 9:00 a.m. and the lines were already crazy. I got some amazing pictures of the city as the day was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but I did not opt to go back out on the ledge.
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Back in B’more

Had a little time to myself so I decided to head to the east coast and have some much-needed time with great friends. ❤

Last year, I visited Baltimore for the first time and I fell in love with it. It may have been the fact that the whole weekend I was surrounded by some of my favorite people and that the weather was amazing, but I quickly made a note to return sometime soon.

◊ Nando’s
Naturally, the first thing I have to write about is going back to Nando’s. If you have read any of my posts about London, you will know that I absolutely love this restaurant. I cannot tell you what is so good about it, but everyone that I have taken has loved it too. Weirdly, there are several locations throughout the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area, so of course I take advantage of this. It does taste different than the U.K. Nando’s–notably their garlic bread–but that will never stop me.
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◊ Faidley’s Seafood
My mission this time in Baltimore was to get some crab. I had to take a screen grab from a video, but Faidley’s Seafood is a market well-known for their lump crab cakes. It is located within the historic Lexington Market and you cannot miss it because the word “crab” is written everywhere. I opted for the lump crab cake sandwich and while I initially enjoyed it, I think they used mayonnaise in the crab to bind it or on the bread which is one of my most hated tastes. It is also fairly expensive at around $16, but it is filling and good for lunch. Unfortunately, I will not be having that again, but maybe I will just get crab legs next time.
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◊ Mosaic District
After Jane finished classes on Friday, we set out on a short road trip to Reston, Virginia to see our middle/high school friend, Megan. When we got there, it was around dinner time so Megan drove us to the Mosaic District which is a cute shopping and residential area outside of Reston. We stopped for ramen at JINYA Ramen Bar, but the wait was an hour long, so what did I suggest while we wait? Ice cream, of course.
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We went to 520 Ice Cream and Tea Mosaic which is a rolled ice cream shop. I have never heard of rolled ice cream before, but from what I could see, they basically put the liquid ice cream onto a (presumably) freezing surface that hardens it enough that the ice cream can be rolled into spirals. It reminded me of tamales when he picked up the ice cream rolls with tongs. You can add toppings to be mixed in or just put it on the top at the end at no additional cost. I thought it was delicious and as luck would have it, the second we finished it, we got the notification that our table was ready at JINYA.
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