Superluna Adventure!

Ever since I started teaching science classes in an elementary school last fall, I have become increasingly more curious about the solar system. This is something I had absolutely zero interest in as a child when I was a student in similar elementary school science classes. I am particularly intrigued by the moon and the stars, so when I heard about this thing called a supermoon last week I immediately started googling.

After reading a few quick articles and watching a very helpful youtube video, I learned that the supermoon was going to be combined with a lunar eclipse, a phenomenon which only happened 5 times in the 20th century! My curiosity spiked to great heights. I won’t bore you with the science-y details but basically this was something I had to see.

My excitement was briefly squashed when I realized the optimum time to see this phenonemon in Madrid was at 4:47am. (I am not a morning person, especially when the “morning” begins at such a ridiculous hour.) This was going to be complicated. But since this was an almost once-in-a-lifetime experience, my boyfriend and I agreed to be outside to see it happen.

The only cool thing about the fact that the superluna danced with the lunar eclipse at that time was the fact that at that exact same moment in Massachusetts, my family was looking at the exact same thing!! Lucky for them their optimum viewing time was 10:47pm.

Before I get to the moon part of this story, I have a thought about curiosity. I live in the middle of a major city, meaning there are a lot of people here. And I had never even heard of a supermoon before, so to me that means it’s rare. Yet despite all this, we only saw one other person outside waiting to see what our moon was up to. Just the three of us. I even saw a guy leave his apartment at 4:49 and walk in the opposite direction from the moon without even taking a peek to see what it looked like. Okay, sure…maybe he didn’t know this was happening just at that moment. But I talked to a lot of people about this in the days leading up and most had at least heard about it. So I wonder if this means that people just don’t pay attention to the simple yet amazing things our world can do, or if they don’t let their curiosity get the best of them enough. Regardless of the fact that it was at a crazy-early hour, it seemed sad to me that there weren’t more people interested in this.

Okay now back to la luna. Although it didn’t seem as red as I had read about (I blame the city lights), the moon looked incredible! It actually looked more like what I imagine a planet would look like it if were super zoomed in. The Earth’s shadow and reddish color made it look less like a bright circle (how it usually appears) and more like a ball in the sky. This shape made the fact that it just hangs out in our atmosphere because of gravity so much more mind-blowing. We watched it for about half an hour and could see it change slightly as it moved into the complete lunar eclipse. I tried to take photos but they did not even come close to doing this justice.

I learned an important lesson this morning as I grumbled out of bed and into the world. Our lives are so overwhelmed with schedules, to do lists, and priorities that we forget to acknowledge the simple things. Perhaps had the eclipse happened at a not-so-unreasonable hour more people would have watched. But I think that’s a lame excuse. Not only was this a sweet, romantic experience I shared with someone I care about, it was also something I may literally never see again.

My point here is not to focus all your attention on the moon – of course not everyone shares this interest with me. But if there is something you’re curious about, don’t let life get in the way of exploring it. Set that alarm and get out there!

Finally a Tourist in Barcelona

I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Barcelona. I first visited for a weekend while studying abroad. Because we were frugal college students at the time, we often skipped over museums to avoid entrance fees. This means that we didn’t enter the famed Sagrada Familia, or any of the other incredible places created by Antoni Gaudí. MyBCN6 next trip to the city lasted 3 months when 6 coworkers and I spent the summer living and working there. A funny thing happens when you move (even if temporarily) to a city. You don’t go to any of the places that make it famous because that would make you a tourist. So this summer when my Aunt and Uncle told me they’d be visiting Barcelona and invited me to join them for a few days, I knew it was the perfect time to finally get to see the things that make it so famous.

My week in Catalunya began in Roses where my boyfriend and I visited with his family, and enjoyed the last few beach days of summer. We drank great wine, dunked in the Mediterranean, and learned a thing or two about Salvador Dalí. Man was that guy … interesting. We visited his museum in Figueres and I left thinking I would have liked to ask Dalí a million questions had he not died in 1989. For example, what the heck is all this stuff?? We ended the weekend in an incredibly beautiful beach town called Cadaqués, minutes from the French border. I can see why so many people vacation in the area!


Jaime and I in Cadaqués


Courtyard artwork at the Dalí museum

Jaime headed back to Madrid and I moved on to Barcelona where I met up with my family. Rarely do I get so excited to visit a place I’ve already been to! Immediately after arriving we were off, bouncing from one Barcelona icon to another, making sure to stop for tapas and wine often. We spent 3 days exploring the city, learning about its history (mostly about Gaudí and his work) and eating a lot of really amazing Catalan cuisine.

The most rewarding part of having a small part of my family visit was realizing how much I have learned about Spain. They let me ramble for long streches of conversations, sharing reasons why I love this culture and this country. Although my day-to-day does not involve visiting cool museums and imbibing the local liquids, I think it gave them a better idea of what life is like here.

Something else I learned while with them is how much I have changed as an individual since I discovered my love of traveling. They shared stories from my childhood (ones that I have no memory of) that involve me being glued to my parents side, and more stories throughout my teenage years not really showing any interest in a life outside of my hometown. Clearly things have changed. Although I don’t think life abroad will be my reality forever, I’m really grateful for these experiences and for a few leaps I’ve taken along the way to get me here.

A Summer of Love

On June 30, my travels brought me back to Boston for the first time in 10 months. Immediatelty I was showered with what would be seven weeks of an endless outpouring of love and support from my family and friends. It started when my sister ran to me in the airport, nearly running through the area where people aren’t supposed to pass, so that she could be the first one to hug me. After a quick ride from the airport, I walked into my house to the smells of one of my favoite home cooked meals! What can be better than that after all my not-so-successful attempts at enjoying cooking for myself all the time?

There's nothing like being with family :)

There’s nothing like being with family 🙂

The days that followed were filled of seeing people I love before heading to the woods for a week of camping and relaxing with my family. All of my reunions involved a cook out or yummy food of some sort, and most included delicious beer that I just cannot find in Spain. Everyone wanted to hear my stories (many asked why I stopped writing this blog) and it felt so good to be surrounded by so much familiarity. In fact, I was most surprised at how quickly I felt like I had never left. Of course the comfort of home should always feel like home, but I honestly felt as though I had just been away for a few short weeks. Even driving wasn’t weird after not having been behind the wheel in so long. I was reminded by everyone, however, that it was in fact almost a year and to them it felt much longer. It’s got me thinking a lot about time and how different each individual’s experience of the same amount of measured time really is.

The theme of love continued as I got to attend the weddings of four of my favoite people. Two of my best friends (whom I met seven years ago this past week in Italy) married men I consider to be brothers and I was honored to stand by their sides and be a part of both of these special days. Gina and Brendan were first with their wedding by the sea and it was a blast! As gifts to their guests, they gave everyone a hand printed apron with a special G&B logo created by a friend to keep everyone’s fancy clothes safe from their messy but fantastic meal. True to their personalities, the dancing started the minute the two of them walked in and aside from brief pauses for food and speeches, did not end until the lights came on and we were forced to call it a night.

Gina in Brendan in their hand printed apron favors!

Gina and Brendan in their hand printed aprons!

Perugia love 7 years later

Perugia love 7 years later

Katy and Mark had a few days of fun events leading up to their wedding. The rehearsal dinner featured beer brewed by the two of them, served in a kegerator that Mark and his Dad built (with golf-themed taps of course)! The day before the wedding, we attended an annual family golf tournament and dressed appropriately for the occassion (see below). They then celebrated their marriage in an incredibly beautiful barn surrounded by rolling green farmland. It was clear how much love was in the room that night. Similar to what I said before, once the dancing started it never ended. I even saw the photographers standing on tables and chairs to capture the awesomeness that was the dance floor! My friends know how to have a good time 🙂

Pre-wedding golf tournament!  The bride and groom with the best man and the Ms. and Mrs. of honor

Pre-wedding golf tournament!
The bride and groom with the best man and the Ms. and Mrs. of honor

For seven weeks I did not have one moment to myself. (This also includes 3 weeks of teaching at a summer program where the non-stop nature of the schedule doesn’t leave much room for down time.) For some people that can sound very suffocating. But for me it meant spending a lot of time with people who I love and miss a lot while having a large ocean between us. While I continue to pursue my dreams of living abroad and seeing the world, my heart is full thinking of how lucky I am to always have such a special place to call home. Thank you to everyone who surrounded me with love this summer!!

P.S. My Christmas flights are already booked so I’ll be seeing you all again real soon 🙂

Motivation from my Fans

When I started this blog a year ago, I had just moved abroad and my intention was to keep family and friends at home up to date on where my latest adventures had taken me. Unfortunately sometime around January, I lost motivation to write. Weeks passed by and then turned into months, and at some point I figured it was too late to pick it up again. To me, my blog turned into a fading memory that just seemed to hang out in the back of my mind as something that I would hopefully, eventually, maybe someday start again.

While home for a whirlwind two months this summer, I was truly surprised by how many people asked me about it. I guess I didn’t realize how many people had actually been reading what I had to say. I received awesome feedback and a lot of encouragment to keep writing. So to all you wonderful people out there, I dedicate my new inspiration to you and hope to make writing a more regular part of my life.