Six years ago I visited San Francisco for the first time. Six years ago, almost exactly. I remember it vividly, the drive back to Marin from Oakland airport and the traffic we hit, I even remember the smell of the air after leaving the airport. I remember these things because it was the first time I was visiting Alex. We weren’t dating at the time, those months felt so tumultuous, I was twenty and falling hard for this guy, whom I had liked since the day I met him 18 months prior. Everything during that time felt particularly heightened and raw, and I remember it in surprising detail. Much like this year, we had spent the winter months waiting for the sun to make an appearance and help us forget the long, dark days of a rainy climate, then, the Pacific Northwest. California represented sunshine, and a chance to spend time with someone special. And so, from the moment I stepped off the plane, San Francisco etched itself a permanent place in composition of my life. And there it would remain, six years later; I am always giddy to return. When I visit New York, and see that skyline for the first time in months, I feel a great surge of excitement, New York is a place I associate with a time of constant flux, or fast movement, of discovery. But not San Francisco, no matter how many times I catch the glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, I never feel that surge of energy, instead I feel a deep sense of calm. Continue reading
I had been to Spain once before. My first trip abroad (not counting North America) my best friend joined my family and I on a high school graduation trip to Europe. The first stop was Spain. My first introduction to Europe was the chaotic city of Madrid. I remember feeling overwhelmed, and noted the particular smell off the city, mostly, cigarettes and people with wafts of charred something. This was back before I had become entirely reliant on smart phone technology to ensure I knew where I was. Mostly, I remember getting lost and trying to use a Corte Ingles (of which there are many) as a point of reference. And failing miserably. I remember the pandaria down the street from our hotel. I remember a freak rain storm that left me soaked and sulking while sight seeing. I remember, enjoying it all, but surprisingly I don’t remember much else. We flew through Barcelona on our way up to Marseille, I saw Barcelona pass from my train car, and distinctly remember wondering if I’d ever see this particular city. Continue reading
It’s been a whole month (plus some) since I’ve moved to Ireland. Much has happened, though admittedly nothing of exceptional note. Which would likely explain my absence from this blog. Things like getting my visa so I’m not residing in Ireland illegally, or finally tracking down a swiffer equivalent (and paying hefty price for such a luxury) don’t really merit posts. Classes are in full swing, but thus far have taken up very little time. This, we are assured, will change, lest we think our vibrant social lives will continue. I’ve made friends, ironically, mostly with other Americans and have been reminded that little things from home bond people in ways you wouldn’t anticipate. Plus, none of us already have lives and friends here, so naturally we all banded together. So what have I learned in my first month as an expat in Europe? Here’s ten, in no particular order. Continue reading
Sitting in the DC airport, excessively early. Excessive being, a great understatement. It’s so early in fact, we can’t even go through security. In part because the heat index is in the triple digits, and in part because we didn’t feel like trekking through the city with our backpacks. Mostly, though, it’s hot-and humid enough to rid ourselves of any semblance of cleanliness, something I personally hold onto as much as possible when traveling. Though the inevitable takes over sooner or later. My travel companion has taken to mid-terminal dancing to the instrumental hits of the 90’s playing overhead. We cope how we can.