Wishing you all a happy New Year from the tip of a mountain top!
Wishing you all a happy New Year from the tip of a mountain top!
It’s time to say goodbye to 2013, you’ve been very good to me! I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store. Tonight I will be ringing in 2014 in Paris. If you had told me a year ago that this is where I would be I would have never believed you. Goes to show all you can achieve in a years time. ❤ I wish you all a safe and hopefully memorable night, and I’ll be seeing you soon 2014…
I am leaving Florence with a new hat. I love hats because it is the easiest way to cover up the fact you just didn’t do your hair that day. Especially, if your traveling throw it on and go. I got this hat at the street market in Florence, I even got it for a deal- I’m a haggler. You have to, or else you will get taken advantage of. That is something I have learned while traveling, the second locals realize you are a tourist, especially an American, they hike up the price. So I say as little as possible just to throw them off, use what local language I can, then (BAM) shock ’em when I speak perfect English after I’ve gotten my deal 😉 I myself once worked in retail, had a quota and a threatening manager, so sure you’ll do what you have to in order to keep your job. Along with selling people things they probably don’t really need – case in point why I no longer work in retail. I bring that up because my mom was off looking at somethings on her own, and I was observing from a distance the gentleman trying to scam her. She was looking for authentic goods made in Florence, every time she would ask he would say “Oh, yes, sure!”. He practically had is hand in her purse paying himself. So I walked over to see the tag and they were in fact goods from China and Persia. That’s when we walked away, but they can be so pushy but as a touring customer always remember you have the right not to be hustled or cheated. But what do you think about the hat?
I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas! This year I spent Christmas in Roma, we started the day off with a couple of cappuccinos and mass at the Vatican. It was such a great experience to attend mass by the Pope himself. I can cross that off my bucket-list (which I’m still writing). The plaza in front of the St. Peters Basilica was filled with hundreds of people from around the world all gathered to celebrate together, it was a lot of fun to look around and listen to all the different languages. But however you celebrate from my family to yours Happy Holidays ❤
Well the end of my time here in Prague has finally come. It seems as though I have been in the Twilight Zone, living in a dream. The past four months have flown by. In the past 100 days I have been to a grand total of 9 countries 15 cities! (I literally had to count and recount cause that seemed so crazy)… This has hands down been the most challenging experience I have ever been through. I have been blessed with so many great moments but equally some very trying moments. It wasn’t until my mom got here, and I was showing her around that I realized I really have accomplish somethings during my time here. I’ve learned how to; embrace change, solve problems on my own, accept that people are not always going to agree with what you have to say and you have to let it roll off your back, you are responsible for your own happiness, I cannot live away from the beach, not to judge a book by its cover, who the people are in my life I can rely on and most importantly family is forever.
When I first arrived to Prague I was excited and naturally wanted to talk to everyone I saw. The first few times I had been out in the city I was shocked at how stone cold people expressions were. For instance on the tram I would make eye contact with someone, naturally smile and not be acknowledged in return. However that is the culture here, I have come to learn that people are more reserved. It is not that they are rude, but from their perspective they are respecting your space.
As I mentioned before this experience has not only allowed me to make new friends but reflect on the relationships that I already had in my life. Before leaving for Prague I didn’t want to leave with expectations of who would write and who would drop off the face of the earth and I’m glad I did so because I have been more than pleasantly surprised and touched by the people who have made it a point to stay in contact. There have also been old friends that I have been able to reconnect with. Being so far away I have been able to take a step back and see certain relationships for what they are/were. That has been a big part of my growing process here. Relationships in general are a two way street it has been interesting to see who has and who hasn’t continued to maintain the “traffic” if you will. I admit in the recent year or two I have not been doing the proper maintenance that I should be. I am looking forward to changing that, taking the time to take a break from my constant go, go, go, and see my friends. I mentioned in another post that in Europe it is expected of you to sit for an hour or two at a cafe and just talk. I really have enjoyed that here, so I am going to make it a point to show the people who are important to me.
Prague you have been good to me. I am really going to miss my walks along the river, tram rides, popin champs, trying to speak Czech, hot wine, most of all the wonderful people I have gotten to know. I will forever remember this experience for it has helped me grow into a stronger person. Till we meet again…
As I mentioned yesterday the semester has finally come to its end, and today we had to check out of our apartments (wah). It was bitter sweet, I really enjoyed living on my own. I loved having my own space to cook and entertain in. I am really going to miss having my girl friends over for sleepovers. The majority of the students in my program left Prague today to return back to the states. As you know my mom and I are having a European holiday. So from my apartment I literally walked around the corner to the hotel we are staying at for the rest of the weekend. Which let me tell you was so convenient its a pain in the you know what lug heavy suitcases from point A to point B. If you know my mother you know she is an over-packer. Even that is an understatement. I told her before coming her “PACK LIGHT! Think of light, then pack lighter than that, then think lighter than what you imagined and pack half of that.” Did she listen…? Nope. It was comical to watch her though.
After we checked into the hotel, which is beautiful by the way. We were upgraded to a suit on the top floor with an amazing view of the river. I wanted to show her the place that have meant the most to me. To give her a real feel of Prague not just the touristy things. Although that’s what I have planned for tomorrow. Before anything we had to get coffee, we came across a shabby chic cafe, where we were able to sit and talk for about an hour. From there we visited Museum Kampa located near the Charles Bridge. Then for lunch I took her to my favorite soup place (mentioned in a previous post). It’s so funny to see her react to this new city. Back home we don’t have a great public transportation system, we drive ourselves everywhere. I’ve just become so used to taking trams and the metro, I forget she isn’t so I have to keep an eye on her cause there’s been times she’s almost gotten ran over. But it’s an adventure as we always say. From lunch I took her to Wenceslas Square (New Town Prague) where we explored. We made our way back to Old Town got more hot wine and did a little shopping at the Christmas market. Then window shopping down Prague’s Rodeo Drive. We ended the night at my favorite tea place (mentioned here). If you’re in Prague I recommended visiting it they have the best exotic loose tea from all over the world and great shisha. I have enjoyed going there and getting to know the owner Emily. Who is half Czech half French, she came over and talked with us for a bit. I really appreciated that cause it gave my mom the opportunity to talk and interact with a local. Something we may not have gotten to do had we been here on strictly vacay. Well, I’m getting sleepy so that’s pretty much all you need to know about today.
The weather today was actually pleasant, I decided to skip taking the tram and walk to class. It has been freezing here in Prague so it was nice to be able to go out and walk around without looking like Ralphy’s little brother in A Christmas Story. What can I say, us SoCal girls aren’t made for weather below 60. Anwyas I can’t believe the semester is coming to an abrupt end. Funny how life works that way; you start to get used to something and then it’s time for change. Though I am looking forward to getting back to my real life. I’m still learning and discovering things and places here in the city. In fact last night, like today, was fairly warm so I was out walking home and passed by this tea/hookah place right around the corner from my building. They were closed at the time so I told myself I want to go there. There’s been many times where I’ve heard and said that but it gets put off, and never ends up happening but this time I really meant it. I was shooting a scene for my acting class and decided to take my director who had never been to a hookah cafe, or shisha (that’s what they call it here). I love sharing things I enjoy with other people, there’s always some excitement about watching someone experience something new for the first time. The atmosphere was great reminded me of my favorite lounge back in Cali. The owner came over introduced herself, chatted for a bit-she by far is the nicest person I’ve come across here. It’s a shame there’s only a week and some change left.
…a lyric made famous by Billy Joel in his song Vienna, never really made sense, until this past weekend. The cafe culture is really big in Vienna, in fact it’s expected that you’re probably going to there at least an hour or two. Coming from the California where everyone is constantly moving to avoid wasting time, I’ve really had to slow down and dig for patients. Which has been nice, but as it is my attention span can be short and when the espresso kicks in I’m ready. But in Vienna, like Italy, its part of the culture to go to a cafe and “rent” a table and hold a conversation with a person; who actually sits in front of you. Gee, what a concept. To think people actually still communicate face-to-face. Okay, all sarcasm aside that is one of my favorite things about Europe. Grab a cup of Joe and enjoy some more pictures from my weekend in Vienna. Continue reading →
…goes a long way. Today I received a couple cards from my family back home and it made me very happy. One of my cards was from my mom, who sent me the cutest picture of our friends little nugget Rozlyn. The picture below was from her first birthday party which I wasn’t able to attend cause I am obviously here in Europe. But from the pictures it was the cutest party – the kind you envy on pinterest. The other card was from my best betch who sent me some Cali sunshine and some giggles! Being abroad and away from the people you know and love really puts certain relationships into perspective. Today in one of my classes we were reflecting on the areas in which we’ve grown since starting this experience; being more aware of a new culture and perspectives, learning about yourself, etc. Something that I shared is that when you are preparing to go abroad all these people are so excited for you, they tell you all these wonderful things you’re going to gain from doing this, but what I’ve learned is that no one tells you about the things you loose. You really are able to see who is there for you and what relationships may be fictitious. This journey has certainly been a roller coaster so getting things cards meant a lot!
“It’s her party and she can cry if she wants to.”
This weekend I am visiting Vienna. We arrived this morning and so far I am loving it. It is however FREEZING! Being from southern California lets just say I am not built for the cold weather. After we checked in we were given a walking tour of the city. There is a lot of really pretty architecture, and palaces, all of the Christmas lights add more magic. Here are some pictures from today. The Hofburg Palace Continue reading →