I brought my camera to work the other day, so during my lunch break I went for a little stroll – tourist style. (: Chicago is so BLUE and beautiful! To be honest, I never liked bringing my camera into the city because I didn’t want to give off an impression as a tourist. This is my house and I’m going to put my feet up on the coffee table if I want, kinda thing. But I realize that mindset is pretentious and not to mention, stupid. Because when you’re a tourist, you look at the town with a different pair of lenses and you’re a lot more open-minded to do things that are out of your comfort zone. Suddenly all those free, crowded events don’t sound so lame, and the new restaurants popping in look enticing, and sitting in Millennium park after a food truck makes for the perfect Saturday afternoon.
My motto for this summer:
What does that mean for me? Run a 5k, attend a summer festival for a different city/state, have a picnic, make a video, go on a road trip, host a board game night, make s’mores, watch a movie at a drive-in, play sports regularly, go fishing, win free tix from a radio show, rent a bicycle for the day, purge my closet, find a hike path, run a 100 miles, frisbee on a beach… just to name a few. Hold me to it? Being a tourist in Europe was great and so fun. But this, this is the beautiful town I live in and am so proud to call home. (: And I’m ready to unlock its secrets the same way.
Like most European cities, Brussels is infused with the old and new. There are chic neighborhoods with modern brands like Prada, Rolex, and Longchamp, but nestled between cobblestone streets just wide enough for one small Fiat and castles from a previous century. You’re not really sure what will be staring back at you with each corner you turn. Is that is the definition of an identity crisis or a melting pot? Either way, it makes for one beautiful city.
*I know this is extremely past due, but I still wanted to share the rest of the photos from orientation weekend.
Sunday morning everyone was supposed to meet for group breakfast and academic orientation at 9 am, but Hot Dog and I slept through our alarms (surprise, surprise) and ran in halfway through orientation at 11 am. Then throughout the entire day, everyone kept making comments of how delicious breakfast was and finished with, “oh yeah, you weren’t there… After orientation, we all ate lunch at Le Mura and went on a tour around beautiful Verona. Take a look:
^ The placemat was so beautiful I had to snag it for future scrapbooking purposes. (; And fun fact: utensils always come in white paper baggies as shown. There’s always street vendors around the plazas, Piazza Bra and Piazza Erbe, both which are walking distance from my house, selling an array of things. From baked goods to candies to scarves and knits hats. I keep trying to resist making any impulsive purchases, but I do give into the panna con nutella time to time.
Everything about Verona’s architecture and design is so colorful and intricate. And meaningful. The v-shaped “roof” symbolizes that this building was in favor of the pope.
We also swung by good ol’ Juliet’s home.
Touching Juliet’s boob for some good luck. It’s a thing.
Below is the beautiful Piazza Erbe — the plaza for foolish tourists who get jipped by crazy conversion exchange rate and overpriced food. And by foolish tourists, I mean Hot Dog and I.
We climbed a million and one staircases to gain this view. My thighs have never burned so badly.
A really good pic of me.
The gang then popped into a nearby cafe for some espresso. Remember what I told you about the espresso?
Often I’ll run into these 24/7 vending machines in the streets. This particular one sells coffee and snacks, but others sell pharmacy drugs, socks, etc. It’s pretty awesome. Chicago’s gotta get on this.
After the tour, we went out for a family dinner at ZTL 28.
Hot Dog and I enjoying our vino. Our palatte is starting to acquire and appreciate the taste for vino being here. Too bad our faces that soon turn red can’t adjust. #AsianProblems
That’s all, folks. I’m just wondering when and IF Verona’s allure will ever wear off. Will I one day become numbed to the intricate architecture and the sight of sunsets falling on pastel colored buildings?