Thursday, January 19, 2017

SAVE THE DATE!

Hi everyone! We have finally decided on a location (turns out venue shopping solely online isn't the easiest task in the world) which means we have a date set in stone.

Sunday September 17, 2017 will be the day we officially become Mr. and Mrs. in Barcelona, Spain!

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for LOTS more announcements coming your way friends and family!  We couldn't be more excited to share the biggest day of our lives with you!

241 days and counting...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Asian adventures: Part 1

Hello from Gili Trawangan, Indonesia! 

As most of you know by now (if you are following me or Carles on Facebook/Instagram) we packed up our bags, quit our jobs, Carles sold his car, and we bought a one way ticket to Thailand! We have officially been "living" (I say that because we are traveling first before we decide where we want to "live" here in Asia) here for 59 days now! What an AMAZING ride it has been so far.  Honestly, it has been absolutely incredible and we are so blessed to be having this experience together.  As this is both of our first times in Asia we decided to first spend a month in Thailand and then our plan was to head to 2 cities in Laos, 4 in Vietnam, and then 2 in Cambodia but a few weeks ago we discovered that God had a different plan in mind for our travels after Thailand!  We are so excited we can hardly think straight.. I will explain more details about this amazing opportunity we have been presented with later.  

I'm going to jump right in and start with our flight over here because the adventures definitely started there.  We had a 6 hour flight from Barcelona to Dubai which was as smooth as it could be and following that one another 6 hour flight straight into Bangkok.  Somehow as we were walking through the gate to our flight, the man at the desk told us it was our lucky day and we would be upgraded to business class! SCORE!  To say that flight was amazing is an understatement :). Comfy beds and our own iPads at each seat, a full man/woman bath bag including nice razors, lotions, toothbrushes, etc, free champagne, wine, basically any kind of top shelf liquor you preferred, a mattress pad to make your bed more comfortable, awesome full breakfast, and even a bar/lounge in the back of the plane.  What a flight!  We took advantage of everything and weren't even too bothered about the monsoon and tropical storm we were flying over.. :)


Landing in Bangkok at 12 in the afternoon their time with 14 hours of travel and very little sleep could have been a disaster but much to our surprise everything was perfect.  We got our month long visas stamped with absolutely no problem or wait, got our money changed to bahts, and found our bags in less than an hour.  We hopped into our first Thai Taxi and off to the Belaire Bangkok we went!  


After sleeping for a few hours (jet lag is real)  we showered and got ready and within 5 minutes of walking outside our hotel we were in our first tuk tuk flying down the main highway in Bangkok.  What. A. Ride.  Literally!  


As we both had read and heard from some friends who had recently visited Bangkok, it's not everyone's favorite place.  We had read that it is too crowded with so many people and taxis and not to mention the excruciating heat.  While all of these things proved to be very true, we both actually had a very nice time getting acclimated to the Thai culture, eating lots and lots of pad thai and curry dishes, drinking coconut water and thai coffee, basically SKIPPING down the roads trying to dodge the rabbit sized rats scurrying around the piles of trash in the road (why didn't I read about that in any of the 292619 blog posts I read prior to visiting Thailand???) trying to barter with our tuk tuk drivers, getting our first 6$ each hour long thai massages, seeing amazing temples and views of the city, trying our first Chang beers, and loving every minute of our first 5 days in this beautiful new country and continent for both of us.  I so enjoyed the craziness of Bangkok and can not wait to go back.


Our next stop after Bangkok was a town on the water 2 hours south (by car! If you take a train like we did it will be late and it will take 6 hours instead of the 4 hours it is supposed to ;) we are still getting used to the relaxed thai time) not as touristy and was a perfect spot for us to stop before heading south to the islands.  Our two days in Hua Hin were absolutely wonderful.. We ate some extremely tasty seafood, explored the beach, ate lots of mangos and mini bananas and loved the Hua Hin night market which is one of the most popular things to do while visiting the city.  Our last day there we spent the whole day in Hua Hin as we were taking the night train from there down to Surat Thini where we would catch another bus and then boat to our first island destination Ko Samui.  Let just say our train from Hua Hin was 2 hours late and then finally after it got there and we got all situated in our train beds, I have to admit I freaked out with all the noises and movements and knowing how OLD it had to be, but thanks to my calm boyfriend I settled down and fell asleep for a few hours before we were awoke and basically pushed off the train into a parking lot where we were greeted with a dozen thai people yelling and telling us to go here go here where they collected our (and the other 70-100 backpackers) tickets and we were squished into a van which took us to another place where we had to sit and wait and then board our charter bus for about an hour ride where it dropped us at the pier where we had to sit again and wait for another hour before FINALLY boarding our BOAT to take us to Ko Samui!!!! From the time we boarded our first train to Hua Hin to when we actually checked in to our bungalows was 14 hours!  The long journeys are all part of the whole experience, right?  


Ko Samui was beautiful and our adorable little pink bungalow on the beach was just what we wanted.  The bungalow was literally 15 steps from the water- what more could we need?  We explored the beach we were staying on; Lamai beach along with another one we read about that was so small and beautiful; Silver beach.  Luckily we were there on a Sunday night which is when our beach has their famous night market!  $1 plates of delicious noodles, vegetable rolls, fresh coconut water, and 50¢ fresh smoothies and we were happy campers.  


Our next stop was Koh Phangan which we when booked our trip we had no idea (honestly) we would be going to this island on the very same day as the infamous "Full Moon Party". Travelers we met from all over were flying and taking boats to this island all for the party and we unknowingly would be there the same day.  Perfect!  After taking a hour long bus/cab ride, passing TWO motorbike accidents on the extremely unsafe dirt "roads" they use on the island, we made it to our home for the next 4 days- My Way Bungalows.  We had one of those eye opening/ life changing/ incredible realizations while meeting some awesome people at these Bungalows that I will have to go into further detail in another blog post.  We spent the entire 4 days (minus the Full Moon Party) at our bungalow, breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the restaurant on our property and lounging at the beach about 10 steps from our room.  Pretty much paradise.  

(Our first group of friends on our trip, a group of 4 doctors.. One being a brain surgeon... Docs party too!)

Our last island stop in southern Thailand (or so we thought) was to the tiny Koh Tao.  It is the smallest of the three and probably my favorite of the three as well.  It is very famous for diving as it is super cheap to get your certification and has amazing dive sites- but even if you aren't a diver like myself or Carles- it is still a perfect, relaxing stop you can't miss in Thailand.  We extended our stay and spent 6 days instead of 3 exploring every nook and cranny of the beautiful island.  


After Koh Tao we were supposed to head back to Bangkok and then back to the north of Thailand to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai but because of the people we met in Koh Phangan we actually changed our plans and decided to head to Indonesia so this meant that we didn't want to go all the way north to come all the way south again SO we gave the north of Thailand a rain check and booked tickets to Krabi.  

Because we had about a week or so until our flights from southern Thailand (in Krabi) to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia... We rented a cheap but nice room about a block away from 'Aonang Beach' and took day trips exploring a handful more of Thailand's breathtaking beaches, playing with the mischievous monkies, riding elephants, and taking long naps during the rainy/ stormy afternoons (rainy season is also real).


I will stop there for today but stay tuned for more of our Asian adventures featuring Malaysia, Singapore, and the lovely Indonesia.  We did have a little scare with a recent plane crash in Indonesia and of course the bombing in Bangkok but we are thanking God that we have been safe and sound and encountered little to no 'problems' during all of this traveling.  

Hope everyone back home is doing well and enjoying their last few days of summer! Love you all!

Until next time :) 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Meme

Last year was full of high highs and low lows... One of the lows being exactly a year ago today when my Meme (my father's mom) passed away.  She was one strong willed, independent, opinionated, intelligent woman who we all miss dearly.


Her situation was almost exactly the opposite of my grandfather's (from my mom's side) who passed away just a few months before her.  My grandfather couldn't speak but was with us physically and Meme was completely here mentally but her body (mostly her lungs) weren't.  She spent each winter down in Cape Coral, Florida with my Aunt and this last year she was getting sicker and sicker and was even actually checked into a hospice home for a few weeks until she decided very strongly that that was NOT where she was going to spend her last few months of her life.  She got released and went back to my Aunts house which was actually where I saw her for the last time before she again insisted that she wasn't going to die somewhere that wasn't HER home.  By the grace of God they drove her home (16 hours by car with her being sick and needing medicine, care, etc) and she was able to pass away in her home exactly how she wanted. 


I remember the last time I saw her I sat in a chair across from the couch she was laying on and we talked for a few hours about many different things... Just her and I.  From all the reasons my dad drives us nuts (and how we still love him despite that) ;) to my life, my future, my direction, to our family and her life.  It was an amazing 2 hours that I will hold in my heart forever. 


She was so sharp and totally with it up until her very last minutes here... Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, reading the paper, watching golf, everything she has enjoyed doing her whole life.  This May she would have been 90.  I know she had a grand celebration in heaven with Papa.  


I love and miss her so much.  Thinking of you today and always, Meme. 






Our whole family at her memorial celebration

Till we meet again <3


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Count your blessings :)

Unfortunately the past month here in Barcelona has been tough.  Not for me personally, but for the community as a whole.  I'm sure you have heard about the plane that was deliberately crashed by the copilot flying out of Barcelona to Germany killing everyone on board.  Such an awful, sickening, horrible tragedy for all those involved.  As if this wasn't bad enough, this past Monday, a 13 year old boy killed a substitute teacher, injured another teacher and 2 other students at a school here in Barcelona.  So incredibly sad and devastating that this occurred, especially involving someone so young.  By saying all this I am not trying to put a damper on your day... but to say (and remind you!) to be thankful and count your blessings each and every day.  I know I have been.  With both of these tragedies happening in the city I am living in, it goes without saying that I have been affected by this as have those around me (my students knew people on the plane, etc.) and cannot put into words how sad and empty I feel for the families and people involved.  Carles and I sat down the other night and talked about the things we were thankful for and how we know we take things for granted, and we shouldn't.  I hate that we only had this conversation because we were reflecting on the negative things that have happened the past month (I think these conversations should be brought up more frequently among people) but we are going to make more of an effort to be grateful for WHO and WHAT we have in our lives everyday.  

With that being said, the past few mornings I have woken up with a little pep in my step- feeling blessed and so lucky for the life God has given me.  Today even more, I am thankful that I get to live and feel what it's like to be a Catalan and experience their holidays.  Today is St. Jordi's Day which is one of the best days to live in this wonderful city.  It is a holiday adored and celebrated by every single person living here!  You may be wondering what it is exactly...

It is a day that can not be compared to any holiday we have in the states.. It is partly a day to express love but nothing like Valentine's day.  Starting early at the 6 or 7am (which is almost unheard of for Spaniards ;)) the streets are lined with people selling books and roses.  The tradition is, boys buy girls roses and the girls buy boys books.  However it is not just your significant other which is typically how we celebrate our  "Lover's day" in the states.  Here, the men buy their moms, sisters, female colleagues, friends, etc roses and the women buy all the men/boys in their life books.  How awesome is that?  And when I say the streets are lined with stands of people selling both books and roses I mean ALLLLL the streets are completely full of people.  It is wonderful!  This morning on the metro you could literally feel the buzz from everyone as it is such an awesome, important day here in Catalunya.  (And not to mention, it's 75 sunny and gorgeous today!!). Unlike Valentine's day, it isn't about the media and who gets the most roses, best dinner date or even about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. It's truly about giving a small gift to your loved ones.  

The biggest street with the most stands of books and roses is the street Barcelona is famous for- Las Ramblas.  Later tonight Carles and I will go for a walk down it and don't worry I will take lots of pictures to show you just how great this day is! 

Happy St. Jordi's Day, everyone! :) 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Time

How has it been almost a month since I last blogged?  I feel like time is flying.  But what's new... That is a feeling I am far too familiar with.  I have been so busy lately and in one of those periods of life where I wish there were 48 hours in a day instead of 24.  You know those times when you are trying to workout more, cook healthier meals, pick up that book that's been laying on your nightstand for months, learn another language, plan more unique date nights, be more motivated in your job, keep in touch with your family and friends better, learn more about your hobbies like blogging and photography, make summer plans... etc... etc... And doing all of these things at one time.  Yeah, that's me this past month.  It's not easy.  Frankly, it's exhausting.  I'm exhausted even typing all that out.  Being the best person you can be is hard.  It takes sooooo much time, concentration, and motivation.  I love it but at the same time I'm tired and feel overwhelmed.  I love learning and growing but sometimes I just want to lay around all day and do absolutely nothing.  Does that make sense or am I just rambling?  Anyone else ever feel like this?

Regardless, I've been neglecting my blog lately and I don't like it.  I can't wait for "Semana Santa" aka Spring break to catch up on some posts and work on a few projects I have had in mind for quite some time now.  Stay tuned, friends!  I'm going to leave you with a few pictures I've managed to take within the midst of my whirlwind month of March that is already almost over! 



We went to Flax & Kale again and it was incrediblyamazingly delicious.  That's no surprise though... The grilled watermelon (1st pic) was to die for.  



Only in Barcelona can you walk into a party on a Friday night and they stick jewels on you and dump an entire pot of glitter on your head.  


Sometimes, on Sundays when you are walking to a "1 euro market" you find some cool graffiti walls and make your boyfriend pose in front of them ;)


Spending an evening under the moonlit sky by the sea is good for the soul... Just in case you were wondering.