In italy, all schools are let out for a week in the month of April for something called, “liberation break,” which is basically a national holiday celebrating their independence as a country! (Yes, they get a whole week to do that.)
My roommate’s boyfriend, along with his brother and best friend, came during that time to backpack Europe, so we spent the break together touring Rome and Cinque Terre, Italy. Here’s a little video I made of the trip. 🙂 The quality is very low budget, and I had no understanding of how to manually focus or use the zoom, but its still fun to look at. If anything, the music is pretty catchy!
The month of March was a fun one. Traveled with new friends, caught up with old ones. Visited five different countries. Played in the rain, played in the sun. Got my phone stolen (twice). Watched an English musical, watched Spanish flamenco dancers. Rode a gondola in Venice, rode an ATV in Greece. You know, the usual. (:
Now, it’s starting to look a lot like spring around here. Flowers have started to bloom and patches of dirt have been newly replaced with fresh green grass. My favorite part? Looks like flip flops are out for good.
But a change of season means more to me than just pretty nature. Like fresh laundry and new sheets or a clean page in the journal, spring is the opportune time to turn a new leaf in my own personal life. A total spring cleaning.
New priorities, new goals. This month of April, I want to actively start adding healthy habits and good decisions into my daily life. And it will look a bit like this…
Get back to the heart of worship. Recently I heard that what we know about God is, and will be, the most important things about ourselves. That is a very strong claim, but I am an absolute firm believer in it. With all the travels and craziness that consumed my life in the past four months, my pursuit to know my maker fell into the backseat more times than I’d like to admit. But, Jesus has reminded me of his infinite grace and love; and in response, I am shaking the dust off my hands (again) and fixing my eyes back on Him. What will that practically look like? Fill my brain with more truth, less garbage. I would be kidding myself if what I read, what I watched, or what I talked about didn’t influence my thought process and eventually, actions. I know alllladat is very closely interlinked. So, I want to start spending more of my free time reading encouragement and truth, reading the word, listening to sermons, and enjoying/pursuing interests the Lord has placed on my heart.
Take care of my body. I never had a healthy eating habit. Most of my meals were consumed in the car ordered from the drive-thru, or past midnight, or purchased from the bakery of the grocery store. Now that my body is decaying and my metabolism is slowing at an uncomfortable rapid rate, I need to start taking care of myself better. What will this look like? Eat less carbs, more veggies. Stop snacking or eating out of boredom. Eat more meals at the table, not on the couch. Pour less sugar in the coffee.
Work out every day. I picked up pilates this past month. Nothing extreme, just some youtube videos I found online, but I’ve actually noticed difference in toning and posture — and body image as well! I dread Insanity and I dread running even more, so it’s nice that I’ve found a work out I enjoy! (:
Read two books. I don’t work too well without a deadline, so I’m going to add some pressure and try to read two-three books each month. This month I plan on finishing two books before the calendar turns.
Journal. I come home in exactly 26 days. Before I know it, life in Europe will only be a memory, and the only thing real I’ll have left are these blog posts, photos, and faded memories I manage to retain. And to help that retention, I want to journal each day — feelings, funny moments, interesting foods, lessons learned — to really make the days count.
When we arrived to Barcelona, we were greeted with brisk wind and abundant sunshine. After all the rain and fog Italy had been receiving, it was a nice change of pace. We embraced Barcelona’s sun with open arms and decided to capitalize on its perfect weather by staying outdoors. We walked along the main streets, took a short boat ride gaining an incredible view of Barcelona gems, and then relaxed with cold cider on the beach.
To dress for the occasion, I wore bright, bold colors and paired them with equally bold prints — a polka dot collard tank and a cheetah print belt. Take a look:
This week was filled with several special moments, including celebrating a friend’s birthday, visiting Vicenzia, finding a new favorite cafe, and appreciating time for rest. I leave for Rome Saturday and friends of friends have graciously welcomed us to stay at their home for the night and even offered a ride to the airport. On Sunday, we leave for Greece where we’ll spend the rest of the Easter Break. Hopefully I’ll return with some color on my skin! It actually feels a bit strange that I won’t be celebrating this Easter at home. My church hosts a “passion week” revival and an extravagant Easter dinner each year, and although I can’t join them, I will keep this holiday in mind and be joyful nonetheless. Jesus has risen, people! Hallelujah! (:
Here are my five favorites of the week. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
Sail boats were everywhere in Spain and it ignited a new desperate desire in me to find a sail buddy. Where’s a Nolan when you need one? (“Revenge”, anyone?)
Coffee gelato + girl talk @ Amorino.
We celebrated a friend’s 21st birthday with 21 gelato pops! (Scoops of gelato dipped in chocolate, then frozen) I tried the custard and mint — both were delicious. Now I’m looking for a reason to make my way over there and try more flavors.
A new store has opened in Verona; it’s comparable to a Nordstrom or Whole Foods. The first floor is a sophisticated eatery complete with an oyster bar, sandwich counter, fresh produce, and more. The design is phenomenal and I found myself equally enchanted by both the food AND branding. I plan on copying this hanging clipboard design to showcase print in my future apartment.
Spain’s most popular dessert is churros with a side of hot chocolate. Walk through the main streets and you’ll be able to find it offered at almost every dessertery. It is, however, more of a day treat, so when we were looking for the cure to our dessert fix after dinner (which was around 11 pm because Spaniards eat late,) no one was serving it anymore. We made just fine with waffles and cream, though. We’re easy.
We ate churros three times throughout the duration of our stay in Spain, but my favorites were the ones in Madrid from Chocolateria San Gines. The venue was recommended to us by a friend (and TripAdvisor), so we set time out of our day (before Taco Bell and after Starbucks — I know, the culture just oozes out of us,) to pay a visit. We ordered our own individual churros, but shared the hot chocolate. Hot chocolate in Europe is not like American’s winter favorite. It’s thick, with the consistency similar to rich fondu; and I’ve noticed most people use it for dipping, not drinking.
The chocolateria was beautiful – walls lined with b&w photos of past celebrities, deep green, rustic seating, rich, gold accents, vintage-inspired decor, and simple table setting.