Tag Archives: love

Goodbye, Colombia

The moment after we jumped in the ocean on our first days’ ride where everyone was drying off in the sun daydreaming about what was to come.

The moment of arriving at our new camp site and all having rituals of setting up tents, jumping in the river, playing music and eating cookies.

The moment of reconnecting after a fantastic downhill where despite whatever else happened on the ride, in that moment we were beyond happy.

The moment of hearing a really good song and we’d all start singing.

The moment of hearing a really, really good song and we’d all start dancing no matter where we were.

The moment(s) of funny situations occurring from not understanding Spanish.

The moment of trying to act cool, but really we all wanted more dessert.

The moment of feeling anger and exhaustion and self-doubt and deciding to push through it for myself, and for my friends.

The moment of sitting around a campfire playing cards like this is just totally normal everyday life.

The moment of getting to the top of a climb or hike and feeling so tired and so awe-inspired at the same time.

The moment of realization that I’d rather be camping with these two people than in a hostel.

The moment of sunsets and sunrises.

The moment of realizing this is something I can, and want to do.

The moment of finally letting go.

The moment of knowing things about the people your with in a way that’s indescribable and then learning from it.

The moment of making friends with dogs more often than humans and not feeling bad about it (…duh it’s an adorable puppy why wouldnt we be happy).

The moment after moment after moment of feeling like all of this is too good to be true and there’s no way this is actually happening.

These moments and feelings are what I already miss fiercely about my first bicycle tour. I cannot express enough how extreme everything felt in every moment; the good and the bad.

I’d like to thank the academy, my travel companions, everyone I met along the way and most importantly, Colombia for this amazing trip. My heart is full and my head is light as I head off to my next adventure.

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Awkward Dance Party

A little view into my time in Europe this past year. It started about 3 months into the trip when I bought a new camera…next step: hire a camera man/woman.

These are a few of the people who made an impact on my trip. Friends visiting me from the US. Couch Surfing hosts. Hostel Friends. Random people I met in the city.

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsFzU7ZrVdc

https://vimeo.com/112664874

 

**sorry, it might not work in all European countries

Peanut Butter Lovers and Sneakers

There may be some things I’ve missed about America. Aside from some people, and maybe a few family dogs. This is my ‘reverse culture shock’

 

-Drinks with ice. like juice and soda

-Being able to have casual conversations with random people

-Understanding what the people around me are saying. I keep getting excited that they are speaking English and then I’m like, oh yeah, right..

-Cold beer sections at grocery stores that include more than like, 1 beer

-My collection of mugs. Greg and Patricia in particular

gregmug
tea and crumpets with Greg

-Being able to read labels. Sometimes I triple check before a product goes on my face

-This one is SF Bay Area specific- I missed the fact that people actually LINE UP to get onto public transportation. It’s not always perfect, but the idea is nice

-American style breakfast. No one does pancakes and bacon better than ‘Murica

 

How to Live in a Beach Town, Part 2

Whether you are there short term or long-term, to live or to vacay, please, PLEASE avoid these things:

1. No posting pictures of any of these things:

a- your feet in the sand
b- your hot-dog legs on the beach
c- a picture of yourself taken while lying down so no one can see your face
d- sunsets
e- your fruity drink with a sunset in the background. or just, at all

Why, you ask?

a- feet are gross. sand is sand. done and done.
b- stupid
c- stupid and narcissistic
d- **unless you can light it properly
e- a mojito is a mojito everywhere. it only looks worse with a horribly lit sunset in the back

To put it simply- no one cares.

2. Don’t wear the same sandals everyday. Tan lines, hellooooo

3. DON’T stand in the middle of the sidewalk. Ever. As a tourist and as a human on planet Earth. Move. To. The.  Side.

4. Don’t forget to eat ice-cream at least once a day

5. Don’t judge me for eating so much ice-cream. It’s summer and I’m on holiday.  Seriously.

Now check out the things you SHOULD do🙂

How to Live in a Beach Town, Part 1

1. Find an easy job. Few hours, or at least with very flexible hours. Make sure you have a good boss. Good location (ie as close to the beach as possible). The goal is to be able to enjoy as much time as possible doing beach town-y things. Hostels are nice.

2. Or don’t. Who needs a job anyways?

3. Buy appropriate clothes. Baggy, light, comfy clothing with variations from ‘bum’ to ‘bohemian’. It’s best to look as though you never had and never will have a ‘real job’.

4. Be vague about your life before this life and what will come afterwards. This helps to create your image of being a long time beach bum.

5. Get tan. If my Casper-white skin can get tan, yours can too.

6. Don’t be afraid to be your true, weird self. This is the perfect opportunity. All of your friends will probably be short term back-packers, so why not? Speak your mind, discuss your nerdy/guilty pleasures**, just let it all out.

7. Eat ice-cream. And lots of it. Just because I said so.

8. Lastly, and most importantly. Slow. Down. Appreciate where you are and how you got there. Your only agenda now is to enjoy the life your leading, so do it. Days spent doing nothing can truly be experienced since all you have to do any given day is, nothing. Drink a beer, read a book, TAKE A NAP and don’t feel guilty about how you spend your time.

**I’ve made a few friends recently by discussing Disney/Musicals which every time results in  sing-a-long sessions and the Song of Ice and Fire book series (Game of Thrones TV show for those that don’t know). I did yoga in the hostel common room. And I am constantly freaking out to guests over the book The Count of Monte Cristo at random times, and probably against their will, because I just think it’s so good.

Berlin: Definitely NOT Munich

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and while I’m sure no one has lost sleep over it, I will be getting back to my weekly posts. It has been a crazy past few weeks including a lot of travel, mainly to Berlin. There is no advice, and no real awkward story here, but it’s an experience I want to share because it was truly wonderful.

Quick overview: 4 days in Berlin to meet friends, 5 days back in Munich, 4 days in Berlin with my host family, 3 days out in the country, 2 days in Berlin and then finally back to Munich.

IMG_2007

Berlin is everything Munich isn’t and I loved it for that right from the start. There is graffiti, some of it real works of art. There are ‘crazies’ and a diverse culture of people. Going to a different part of the city feels like being in a different city all together. And I didn’t feel like my hippie/bum style of dressing offended anyone (as it sometimes seems to in Munich).

I had a friend (a local German) show me areas not even on my free city map. We went to a concert in an old warehouse building in the South. An art exhibition in an old hospital building. Local bars and hidden parks. I always had a beer in hand and got to see one of my closest college friends along with new friends I’ve made in my recent travels. There was the Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) which in true European fashion, turned into a massive party in the streets at night. Then, on the second trip with my host family we did a few more touristy things- walking around Brandenberg Gate, lunch on top of the Bundestag, museums and Potsdamer Platz etc.

Berlin is definitely a city worth visiting. Yes, it’s known for its all night-all day-all night again parties, but there is so much more to it. And true, any city can have this feeling for any person if they have the right experiences, but it’s a city unlike any other in Europe. Go to Munich for beauty (and yes, parties), but understand that it’s Bavaria and a whole different world than the rest of Germany.

In the end of it all I’ve got less than 6 weeks left as an Au pair in Munich and I plan to make the most of it. My plans for afterwards are still in the works, but I know it will work out one way or another. Cheers to a happy summer!

..and if I buy you a gorilla?

The 5 year old that I Au Pair for is very intelligent, and we share a close relationship. Many nights it’s just me, Elisabeth and the baby getting ready for bed together so we have a lot of time to talk/read/play together.

This one night she starts asking if she can live with me back in America. I say ‘Sure! That would be so much fun.” She started saying that she would be a police officer…and that she would buy a dog, and a cat, and a parrot (not really that uncommon in the SF area so she’d fit right in). But then she gets serious asking about what I would do if she gets ‘home fever’. How sweet right? So I tell her we would call her mom and dad so you won’t miss them as much and then we can snuggle up and watch a movie together. She even suggested Finding Nemo because she knows I love it so much.

She surprises me by next asking “What if I have no friends?” quickly followed by a panicky, “What if I can’t find where you live? I don’t know where your house is!”

It’s as this point that I realize: she is still imagining herself as she is now. She has very little sense of time, as a 5 year old, and doesn’t know how to think about herself as a ‘grown up’, but she is thinking of logical questions when it comes to moving to a new city/country. I try to keep it light by saying “Well silly, you would have to call me first from Germany so I know that you are coming and I would TELL you where I live.”

I leave then, to go put the baby to sleep, thinking that was that. But 5 minutes later I come back and she’s gotten herself all worked up. What started out as jokes about us going to the beach together in California turned into a life crisis for the child.

She’s near tears and worried now that people will be mean to her and say “She’s not a nice girl”. I try explaining to her that this will be in many, many years from now and she will be able to meet new people easily…or that maybe one of her friends from Germany will come with her and we can all be together. I say she doesn’t have  to move to California for forever, she can just take a holiday to visit me!

But she’s definitely got tears in her eyes imagining that she’s signed her life away to America. “What if I never see my mom and dad again? They won’t love me anymore”. Oh my god what I have I done to this girl??! 

I snuggle close to her and say “You goofball (it’s my term of affection for the kids, they love it), your mom and dad will always, always love you. They would come visit you in California and you can visit them in Germany anytime you want. But you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to.”

And then, after a pause, she looks up at me with those bright blue eyes and says, “And what if I buy you a gorilla?”

My perfectly serious response, “Well, I would say ‘thank you, but no thank you'”.  I got a small smile in return as she realized how silly the question was. I started teasing her about asking me if I wanted a gorilla, of all things, which of course turned into a tickle fight just so I could hear her laughing again.

Kids, am I right?

Eliz&Me