World Traveler: Then and Now

Dulles International Airport January 7, 2012

Dulles International Airport May 15, 2012

Note that Joshy is wearing his favorite shirt for both trips 😉

Just a few more hours and we will be home sweet home! It feels so surreal, but so good. I think we’re too tired to be appropriately excited–or appropriately sad about what we’re leaving behind. Both will come in time, I’m sure.


The Last Night in Avila

The past few days have been during the patron festival of our neighborhood in Avila.The neighborhood or “barrio” is called la Plaza de las Vacas–the square of cows, haha.

We haven’t slept much the past several nights as this local party wears on until all hours of the morning night after night. We’ve also been subject to hourly bombings as unimpressive but incredibly loud fireworks go off. Last night we finally decided to drop in and see what all the fuss was about. We spent a little while in the wild atmosphere and then ended up retreating for some quiet gelato by the wall. Turns out it ended up being an early night at Las Vacas–3am instead of the usual 7am.

Today, poorly rested and with itching feet, we finished packing and then watched la Virgen de las Vacas  (a gorgeous statue of the Virgin Mary) dance on the shoulders of scores of young people to the sound of the energetic Paso Doble . Now we sit in wait of one last round of Spanish tapas with friends Kristen and Neme–and then our last train to Madrid.

I don’t want to write too much about what last night meant for us, because I’d rather not think about how long it will be until I get to experience this place and these people again while we’re trying to enjoy a few days in Madrid. Once we get home, then I’ll be able to let it all sink in. I’ll cry for a little while, and then I’ll start planning how to come back for a visit.

Good night 🙂

And of course, Spanish samurai?

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Hasta Luego


  • Writing my final Awkward & Awesome from Spain
  • The little sliver of me visible in the above panoramic picture.
  • Looking forward to a 1-hour commute for six weeks during the summer.
  • Upped public transportation prices in Madrid. I guess it’s a good time to leave.
  • Coming back from Sweden. Literally the most beautiful place I have ever had to leave behind. 
  • Wearing a long and modest plaid shirt and the wind still finding a way to blow it all the way up past my bra.
  • Josh and I sharing a couch at a friend’s after a late flight. It was not pretty. I don’t care how much you love someone . . .
  • Organizing my Fall schedule. Classes and two jobs never looked so randomly placed in a twelve-hour day.
  • First hot day of the year = First sunburn of the year
  • Grammar and Conversation finals still looming over my head.

  • Seeing my loved ones in five short days.
  • Swedish hiphop. It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand it. Listen and love ❤  
  • Can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this yet, but MY FAMILY IS MOVING TO ROCHESTER THIS SUMMER! We will all be together and my kids will get to play in their Grammy and Grampy’s yard and we’ll have Christmas and birthday’s at each other’s houses! Ok, calm down . . .
  • Nutella gelato. I think this made it into the Milan A&AT, but they have it in Avila, too. So there!
  • Visiting with Rob-o, the world-travelin’ Aussie. This guy backpacked his way around Ireland for two months!
  • My little sister, the barista extraordinaire, getting a job in my fam’s new home town! 
  • Visiting the Prado Museum and the Retiro Park in Madrid this weekend before flying out. 
  • Mary visiting from Madrid tomorrow and hosting us at her place the few nights before our flight.
  • Literature, History, Art, and Spain Today finals all beasted.

Equally Awkward and Awesome:
  • My grandparents, Rachel, Josh, and I all under the same roof this summer 🙂

"And Something Tells Me That There’s Still Time" (Windsor, England)

I totally failed at Travel Tuesday yesterday, but on the bright side, here are some more long-awaited picture from our London and Ireland trip! Today’s pics are from our favorite daytrip while in England–Windsor Castle. This small village gem is the Queen’s current weekend home, but many of the rooms have been restored to what they would have looked like in the 1700’s when the castle was first inhabited!

The sun was playing hide and seek all day, but the weather was sunny and the sky clear for the majority of our pictures, if only for a few moments. Sadly, there was no photography allowed inside the castle itself :-(. This was a real disappointment because the well-preserved baroque architecture was simply breathtaking.

One thing that sort of made up for this letdown was the audio guide, surprisingly enough. Josh and I have never been huge guided tour people, but this audio guide really impressed us. There were sound effects, music, very engaging and intelligent-sounding narrators (who doesn’t sound intelligent with a British accent?), and audio clips from actual British monarchs and their associates.

All in all, it was a very rewarding day. Our only regret is that we had to leave too soon.

Title is from the song “Windsor” by Michou.

More pics of Windsor after the jump!

For Your Inspiration: Where News Comes From

The advert below premiered in London at the end of February, and Josh and I got to watch it along with several other kick-butt previews and public service announcements when we went to see A Dangerous Method in a hipster Soho theater complete with bar and lounge. It was an awesome experience! Too bad we were too tired to really enjoy it.

The movie was very interesting. I shy away from saying “good” because it was a smidge disturbing, but very artistic, compelling and well-done. On the other hand, I’d really like to talk about this ad for The Guardian because it reminds me of everything that I love about journalism.

Behind every story is a hundred other stories shaping opinions and actions throughout the world.

The journalism industry isn’t as much about producing a finalized piece as it is sparking a conversation. If a day comes when people don’t have anything to say about the stories and perspectives you are bringing to the world, that is probably the day you should stop being a journalist.

I’m so excited for my future as an author and so grateful for my job with Thalo magazine!

In other news, journalism is also the worst failing industry in the world. Thank you, Mr. Economic Crisis. I’ll show you!

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Hwulskashlibengursckagonnen


  • My above attempt at simulating the Swedish language.
  • A friend telling me that all of the evil people in movies and are named Jessica and that he is therefore kind of scared of me.
  • The subtle difference in Swedish between saying “My name is . . .” and “I am pooping.”
  • Our friends not being able to make a day trip to Stockholm with us like we had planned.Saddest ever 😦
  • Throwing a cake at a guy I did not really know at the urging of a few friends. Yes, this actually happened. I think after having been married for two years is a good time to start getting beyond the power of peer pressure . . .
  • Our hike up to Skurugata with friend Johan. It was such an amazing view and so nice of him to take us :-).
  • Staying with a Colombian couple. We still get to practice our Spanish while staying in Sweden!
  • There was a scavenger hunt at our friends’ school. They had to do thing like shave their eyebrows, put a condom over someone’s head, and bring a horse to school.
  • Pear-flavored popsicles.
  • Eating Swedish meatballs in Sweden.
  • If you buy a coffee in Sweden, you get unlimited free refills.
  • The amazingly warm and sunny weather this whole week. I’ve lost track of how many times someone has told me “You’re so lucky!” in regards to the weather.
  • I was paid 12 euros for the above cake incident . . .