Fresh Leap

tacos racheleatstacosWhen I was turning 23, I made a list of 23 Things to do while I’m 23. I was not very good at making goals, because I only wanted to make goals if I thought I could meet them. I wanted to grow in that area though, and become OK with not always meeting my goals. I kept the habit up for 24, 25, and 26, and for 27, I made a list of ten goals (because I couldn’t come up with 27, haha).

Then, for 28, I tried something new. Inspired by my friend Rachael, who picks a “theme word” on her birthday each year, I decided that my word for 28 would be “leap.” And leap, I did. I continued to code, I quit my job, I dated someone, I travelled, I got broken up with, I travelled some more, I cooked, I ate at restaurants alone, I worked for True Vine, I babysat, I went on a road trip with my sister, I learned more about plants. It was a great year. And 2016 also happened to be a leap year, so that worked out nicely. My only two goals for the year were to get a job and hold a lamb, neither of which I did. How’s that for growing? lambThis year’s word is “fresh.” Fresh start, fresh place, fresh air. And lot’s of tacos. I carried over my “get a job” and “hold a lamb” goals from last year, and added “eat more tacos.” #racheleatstacos

So there we have it. We’re almost halfway through the year, and I finally held a lamb. I’ve eaten oh so many tacos. Now, I suppose it’s time to find a job, haha.

Hump Day Happies

Happy Hump Day! Here are some things that have been making me happy lately.1. Green smoothiesI’ve gotten back into the habit of drinking a green smoothie everyday and it’s been great. I got a little off-track during my road trip, when my powdered-greens solution back-fired on me, but thankfully I’m back in the presence of fresh greens and a blender.

s-l2252. HummelsAmy’s mom has a bunch of these and apparently they’re a thing. This one is my favorite because duh, deer, and because look how cute it is! I almost got into a bidding war on e-bay over one, but I restrained myself.

pamplemousse_drops_ta-copy3. Grapefruit La CroixI’m not, however, restraining myself from these. I don’t really enjoy grapefruit or grapefruit-flavored things, but this has been my favorite La Croix flavor lately.

kdsd01-triple-decker-slipon-lively-floral-044. Rifle Paper KedsWhen I found out these were back on sale after being out of stock for a very long time, I couldn’t resist. What a great collaboration.

p_moana_digitalhd_b1af905c5. Moana. Moana is on Netflix now, so I got to re-watch it the other night. I definitely found a greater appreciation for it the second time around.

double-dark-chocolate_pint6. Talenti’s Double Dark ChocolateI’ve been trying to cut back on sweets, but this is my go-to when I’m craving a real treat-yourself treat.

19051359_538687106255120_2093553534665490432_n7. Lily’s apartment + patioI have yet to visit her place in person, but I love seeing pictures of my cousin’s place. When I need to feel inspired, I pop on over to her Instagram account (@lilyland).

ddiqilmvyaatvcs8. Ted Talk Gorilla. The internet is great.

originaldreamsfgiantstime20121010162003userid19099. The SF GiantsOne of the nice things about being back on the west coast is being able to catch Giants games. Oh how I’ve missed them. 

10. Boba. Another nice thing about being back in the Bay Area means access to the best boba, and plenty of friends who can enjoy it with me.

España

True to form, I’m finally getting around to sharing my trip to Spain (nine months later). Last year was a busy year for travel (thanks funemployment), and I got to close out the summer and welcome the fall with a trip to Spain with my mom and our Dutch family friends.

I took a red-eye from Boston and had a layover in Madrid, so I decided to take advantage of the time to quickly see the city. My main plan was to eat some churros. I befriended a fellow traveler on the train on our way into town, and together we enjoyed churros con chocolate from Chocolatería San Gínes–as recommended by Rick Steves, and now, by me.
Once I had my fill of churros and chocolate, my friend and I parted ways, and I went on a bus tour of the city. When it was time to go back to the airport, to continue the adventure, I accidentally got on the wrong train, and ended up in another part of town. I finally made it to the airport, and waited for my connecting flight to Alícante.

After finding my family at the airport, packing up the car with all of our suitcases and bodies, and being awake for 24 hours of travel, we finally made it to our apartment in Mar de Cristal, Cartagena, Spain.

Mar de Cristal is in the province of Murcía, which is on the south-eastern mediterranean coast of Spain, so we spent many days relaxing on the beach and swimming in the bluest ocean. My personal favorite was Playa de Calblanque. We toured the cities of Alícante, Cartagena, and Lorca,  covered ourselves in mud at Las Charcas Mud Baths in San Pedro del Pinatar, visited nuns at a convent, and consumed plenty of paella, cerbeza, and sangría. 

We took a break from the beach for a few days and drove to Seville. We visited the Plaza de España and watched flamenco dancing at the Flamenco Dance Museum Back at the beach, I managed to get stung by a jelly fish, not once, not twice, but THREE times, two days in a row. Out of all the humans swimming in the sea, the dang jelly fish chose me. Maybe I should feel special.

I’ve never enjoyed a beach vacation more (despite the jelly fish stings), and reminiscing about this trip has made me even more excited for the trip to Maui that my mom, sister, and I are taking in a few weeks.

Here are my quick tips for staying sane whilst on a family summer vacation in a non-air-conditioned, internet-less, Spanish apartment:

  1. Drinks lots of water, lest you faint from dehydration in a restaurant bathroom. This may or may not have happened to me.
  2. Go to dinner alone (ESPECIALLY if you’re an introvert, like I am). There’s nothing more liberating than eating dinner alone in a foreign country for some recharging alone time. Plus, I got to eat Indian food in Spain.
  3. Be prepared to start your day much later than usual. Not only is it true that life is slower in Spain, but trying to get a group of vacationing humans out of the house will always take longer than you think.
  4. On that note, make use of the siesta!
  5. Invest in jelly fish repellent.

Until next time, Spain!

What I’ll Miss, What I Won’t Miss

I live in California now.
welcome to californiaI left Boston three weeks ago yesterday and embarked on an adventure, documented on Instagram under #crosscountryrachel. More on that later.

For now, here’s a post, inspired by the late, great, Nora Ephron, on what I’ll miss and what I won’t miss about Boston.

What I Won’t Miss
slipping on ice
humidity-tainted hair
everyone always complaining about the weather
the coldness
being far from my family
rotaries
inefficiently placed roads and streets
the MBTA
particularly, the orange line
and also the green line
expensive avocados
bad Mexican food

What I’ll Miss
fall
changing seasons
the first snow
the coldness
my church community
Render Mondays
walking through the Public Garden in the spring when the tulips are in
JP Licks
being close to Vermont
being close to New York
being close to Europe
being an East Coaster
the view of the city when riding the red line to and from Cambridge
buttery lobster rolls

Commuting With Crystal

billy crystal still foolin emI’ve been reading Billy Crystal’s book on my kindle during my commute to and from my temp job, and it makes my ride on the T drastically better. Have you been on the orange line during rush hour lately? It’s kind of dreadful. Anyway, I love these types of books because they make me feel like I’m reading a friend’s blog, and I love my friends and I love blogs. I’ve particularly enjoyed Billy’s (we’re on a first-name basis since becoming friends) book because of the perspective on life that he’s unknowingly imparting to me.

He writes about getting old, and shares anecdotes on aging, as well as emphasizing the importance of dental hygiene. He also writes about his career, a topic of which I’m most interested in, since When Harry Met Sally is my favorite movie. In one chapter, he begins by sharing how he was anxious about turning forty, because it seemed like he was running out of time in life. But, as it turned out, his forties were “one of the most fertile and successful times in [his] career.” billyorangeHe couldn’t have known that at thirty-nine. Or at at twenty-seven, when his career was only just beginning. I’m sure if someone had told him who he would become, he wouldn’t have believed it. He couldn’t have imagined it. But now, he can look back and see how everything lined up and worked out, how the small pieces of the puzzle that is his life were slowly coming together to form a great picture, one that he couldn’t see before because he was just too close. But now it’s crystal clear.

Sometimes we need these reminders to help us reorient our perspectives. And to remind us of the importance of flossing.

Currently

Hello there. Happy Spring! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? Here’s what’s been going on.

Reading: I just finished reading And Still She Laughs, which I recommend to anyone, really, but particularly to anyone processing grief. I also recently finished reading Invitation to Solitude and Silence. I tried reading this years ago, and never really got into it, but I was listening to this sermon series, where this book was referenced. I decided to pick it back up, and this time read it all the way through. And I’m very glad I did. Solitude and silence is such a great practice, and giving myself the grace to remember that it takes time and practice to grow in it has been especially encouraging and beneficial. And walking through the pseudo forest outside my apartment helps, too.

Watching: This Is Us. I try not to allow myself too much time for TV, lest I fall into the habit of never leaving my apartment for the sake of it, but I give myself all the time for this show. The first season just ended and it’s everything I want out of a show because I can experience a whole range of emotions just from one episode.

Eating: tacos. One of my new year’s resolutions is to eat more tacos. I’ve been doing pretty well so far. I tried Casa Verde in my neighborhood for my birthday when my sister was in town, and I’ve paid many visits to my neighborhood fave, Chilacates (who just opened their second location; yay local businesses!). I don’t cook for myself often because it bores me, but I’ve been forcing myself to eat in more to save money. That, along with the motivation to eat all the tacos of 2017, has lead me to make my own tacos, thus continuing my progress even from the comforts of my own kitchen. And apparently, tacos are trendy, so there’s that. #racheleatstacos

Building: websites. I’ve picked my coding habit back up and have been brushing up on the coding things with Codecademy. It’s been nice to realize that I actually know more than I thought I did (take that, imposter syndrome!), but I do still feel like I have a long way to go. This quote by Earl Nightingale helps.

Planningso many trips. I’ve been doing some temp work, but have some random days off this coming week, so I’m going to Philly! It’s been on my list of places to visit for a while now, so I figured it’s now or never! Then it’s Easter, then I’m going home for Sarah’s bridal shower. AND THEN, I’m finally going to finally hold a lamb. More on that later.

Anticipating: so many changes. More on that later, too, but let’s just say that I’ll be spending the next few weeks purging and packing up my life.

Hello 2017

Hello 2017. You are like a breath of fresh air. Welcome.


Here are some random thoughts and goings-on:

La La Land is one my new favorite movies. I just watched it for a second time today and it was even better this time around. Go see it immediately.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to eat more tacos. I’m considering ordering this to guide me along.

Thanks to the Bible Project, and their app, I read through the entire Bible in 2016. I fell behind about a quarter into the year, but that’s the beauty of being unemployed–you have lots of time on your hands for catching up. I’ll be embarking on this journey this year as well (though, hopefully, as an employed member of society). Join me!

Speaking of reading, in my attempt to return to my former life as a reader, I read twelve books in the last three months. Hoping to read at least twelve more this year.

I rearranged my room yesterday in honor of the new year and it’s amazing what a difference a little change like this can make.

I recently got contact lenses, thanks to an eye doctor friend of mine. I still plan on wearing my glasses the majority of the time, but it’s nice to have options.

I’m thinking about bringing hoop earrings back into my life, but there’s already a hoop in my nose. Is that too many hoops? There’s a lame “jumping through hoops” joke in there somewhere…

I’m going to be 29 very soon. The default next sentence would be “I feel so old.” But the truth is, I actually don’t. I remember when I was 15 years old, and I thought that 18 was SO old. My life would basically be over by the time I reached that age. And now here we are. And I feel young. And that’s good.

I’ll leave you with this:

“To write a diary is to make a series of choices about what to omit, what to forget.”
Sarah Manguso

Happy New Year!