Saturday, December 31, 2011

a fresh start .

Hope everyone has a happy and fun New Year's celebration. Let's give 2012 a hearty welcome. I'm lucky enough to be spending the night with friends for what I'm sure will be a great celebration. Stay safe out there, and enjoy the night!

pure kindness .

It's been awhile since I've been back home, and actually hung out with old friends. I did that tonight, and it was nice. But what has struck me lately is a sort of attitude change that was in my friends. They seem different. Or maybe, I'm the different one. Maybe I've been a better person lately. Either way, there is a noticeable abundance of kindness, selflessness and generosity from these people.

Friday, December 30, 2011

winter sunsets .

I honestly have no idea what to write about, so the first thing that popped into my head were these sunsets. There are a few things I love about winter. For whatever reason, every day that it's sunny, the sunset is gorgeous. It's perfect, and every time it's a little bit different. Sometimes there is a smooth orange glow, and other times it's a vibrant blood red. But something about the cold crisp winter weather brings that out. The other thing is just how cold and quiet the night is. There is this magic silence about it. Another thing? You can always see Orion, in particular Orion's Belt in the night sky. I've never been able to find it in the summer -- it simply isn't visible, at least where I live.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

right in front of you .

I feel like a lot of girls are always looking for that perfect guy, always looking for someone special, always looking for someone to not just take their breath away in some sort of fantasy, but to be a realistic and practical person; an all around good person. Why is it that they are always looking? I think that girls are more prone to want to be with someone than guys are. That's my theory, anyway. Granted, I may not be grouped in with the male majority -- I am a huge fan of relationships. I think it's a wonderful opportunity to be able to exclusively share your life with someone, and over time build an incredible emotional relationship with someone. But that's another subject -- we're talking about the people who are always looking.

coffee .

While reading my book today I encountered a rather obscure and unthought-of truth: Coffee is middle-aged America's drug of choice. The stuff is everywhere. And some people are so hooked that they physically can't start their day without it. Now, I like coffee, but I've never absolutely needed it in order to start my day. I'm glad about that, too. It's nice to try different kinds, and nice to soak it all in. And sometimes, let's be real, a hot drink is just what the doctor ordered. But not all the time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Music Monday #46

Alright, it's been awhile since I've posted one of these because I didn't do one last week. So, this week's song is What I Wouldn't Do by A Fine Frenzy.

an outstanding christmas .

I didn't post yesterday, so here's yesterday's post: I had a really great day; nice meals, all day in pajamas, lots of reading time, lots of relaxing time, lots of time spent with my brother. I didn't ask for much, but got so much more than I wanted / needed, and got to see the joy of other people as they opened the gifts from me. I hope that your Christmas was as good as mine.

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

always welcome .

Sitting in Christmas mass tonight amidst all of these people that don't normally go, the priest's homily struck a chord with me. His main message was that the thing Christmas was all about is not to be afraid. Of all the miraculous things that happened that night, angels and everyone else spread the word to not be afraid. Lots of people had to have lots of courage for all that happened. And yet, all we have to do is make the effort to go to church.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

irreplaceable .

There are some people out there who simply cannot be replaced, ever. How is it that you can get along so well with them? Having a friend who will laugh with you at the stupid things that you say, and the mayonnaise that gets all over your face when you eat a burger; having a friend who will hold your hand if you're lonely, and give you a huge hug every time you see them. I don't have many of those. Heck, I may only have 1 or 2. But I will treasure them forever. Heck, you guys read this blog -- I will treasure you forever.

Friday, December 23, 2011

back in the saddle .

This coupling of words constitutes a grouping of 2 meanings in my life today -- the first being that tomorrow, I am going to try to get back on the bike for the first time since I went away to Europe (boy was that hard not being able to ride..) and also getting back into the mix of America.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a few things all at once .

So today, there are a few things I'd like to mention. Today was pretty uneventful, since I went to work. But later I went to the library to grab a book and then out to eat with my family at Outback, where I had my first beer as a legal dude. Nice. I'm loving the new car, that I bought, and while it gets shit gas mileage, I knew that was going to happen anyways so I'm not worried. But there are three things in particular that I'd really like to go over today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Barcelona: Day 119 : the end .

Well, I'm not sure if this is technically still a day that should count towards Barcelona -- but given that I spent half of it either in an airport or on a plane coming home from Barcelona, I'd say it does indeed count. It always blows my mind to be on a plane that long -- and to think that hey, this morning I was in Barcelona, and now I'm back in New Jersey. That sort of thing is insanity.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barcelona: Day 118 : going home .

I spent the majority of today packing up my life here to go home. 2 suitcases and a backpack later, I'm ready to go. It honestly didn't take very long because I sorta started 2 days ago or so, so I've been slowly getting it done. Everything fit no problem, which is good (always nice to know your suitcases won't explode on the way home...). I must say, I'm so thankful that Kendall stayed in my room the past few days. It would have otherwise been incredibly lonely and depressing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Barcelona: Day 117 : there for you .

I thought of this topic yesterday, intending to go in a particular direction, but when I saw it today my mind went to one thing in particular, and that was a song by Flyleaf called "There for You." The words are absolutely stunning, and I love that I've even had the pleasure of hearing this song. For the longest time, the words spoke to me, and still often apply to things that go on in my life. Lacey Mosley is a true genious.. and her voice is gorgeous. The one line that sticks out is 'sometimes I'm a selfish fake / you're always a true friend.'

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Barcelona: Day 116 : Christmas spirit .

I don't begin to think about Christmas until only about 10 days before Christmas. I hate Christmas music, and even plug in my headphones while we put up the tree (though these days I am never home to partake in that anyways). I hate the commercials you see on TV that seem to start after Halloween, and I hate the stores being full of people when all I want to do is meander and browse in peace. While many may call me a Scrooge, I beg to differ. I just celebrate differently. There are still some songs that I enjoy, and I do like giving gifts -- actually much more so than receiving. I'd like to think I put a lot of effort into getting a great gift for somebody, something that will mean something and that they'd really appreciate. I try not to ask for much... though it's hard when you always want new things, and sometimes just need new things.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Barcelona: Day 115 : Quotables .

Haven't done one of these in awhile, so figured I would today! (especially since my day was rather uneventful). I know that often I ramble away from the topic at hand, but usually the quotes just act as a way to get the ball rolling; I hope you don't my erratic writing style. Anyways, here goes: It was once said by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that "the world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Barcelona: Day 114 : Last Call .

We were up early today to get out to Gardermoen Airport outside of Oslo. As per usual, it wasn't really light outside the entire time... By the time we got in the air above the clouds though, the sun was gorgeous. Oslo was awesome -- I'm going to miss it. However, I think both Kendall and I agreed that two days was a good amount of time. We saw a lot -- and the point was really to see a lot of different architecture. It was interesting because this is not the general tourist things that people do... but more of our own little architectural excursion. We got to travel off the beaten path, and go through the sort of normal daily routine of a Norwegian.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Barcelona: Day 113 : Oslo has a sun .

Today we decided to get up even earlier. After realizing yesterday that Oslo's hours of daylight availability are few and far between, there was no reason to wait. We were up and out of bed at 6am, and out the door at 730. We had compiled a pretty large list of things to go see, and had written down the transportation and whatever else we needed (map locations, landmarks, etc) in order to find these things. And so, while it was still dark outside, the hunt began.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Barcelona: Day 112 : A Dark Wet Beginning .

So the first wake up call of this trip was that when we woke up it was still dark outside. And not just at 6am... but all the way until 9am. We didn't see the sun all day. The sun rises at 9am, and sets at 3pm. Yes, 3pm. Do Norwegians even know what the sun is? Probably not. The lightest it got all day was maybe 25% of normal sunlight at best. It was amazing that this was the case. Regardless, we were up and out of bed at 7am, ready to conquer Oslo to the best of our ability. Breakfast was delish.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Barcelona: Day 110 : Oslo-bound .

So we're leaving for Oslo tomorrow! I've kept my eye on the weather and despite some predicted blizzard weather for 2 of the days we'll be there, it seems to have lightened up a good bit and we'll be in luck. The place where Kendall and I are staying happens to have a webcam. You know what? They already have snow on the ground. I could not be more stoked. I feel like it's been ages since I've seen snow -- I'm such a winter junkie.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Barcelona: Day 109 : A few more things .

I woke up today, late, around 2 in the afternoon. After feeling that I had wasted the day before, I didn't want to blow any more time, since it is rapidly running out. Ryan's side was drastically empty, and I tried to almost put it out of my mind since it is such a reminder that you are now alone. I'm sure that in the next week many more people will be leaving. This post is going to be a sort of update on the state of things, so it may not be too long or interesting, but it's just what was on my mind today.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Barcelona: Day 108 : Final Goodbyes .

So, Ryan's been packing pretty much all day. It's hard to condense four months of your life into a few suitcases. Somehow though, we're all going to have to do it. I'm not excited for the packing process; I'm going to be perfectly honest. It's amazing that the time here is coming to a close and we are all moving on the next chapter of our lives. I think that the most awakening thing will be that Ryan won't be in the room any more at all for the next 10 days. Granted, some of that time will be while I'm in Norway, but it still leaves about 5 or 7 days where I'm just here in RESA, without a roommate.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Barcelona: Day 107 : A Final Dinner .

Tonight we ate our final official dinner with Kathrin. In some ways it was a little disappointing because so few were there -- Ivan and Jordi, two of our teachers, were supposed to come and both were sick. Ryan decided to go to Bible study instead of the dinner. Other kids were stuck getting back from Switzerland and never showed up. However, dinner was a time to reminisce, and enjoy the company of the few people that we've spent these 4 months. It's amazing that already it has been that long. I can't believe that in just a week and a half I'll be heading home. The time has gone incredibly fast.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Barcelona: Day 106 : a Definition .

Ambrose Bierce once described comfort as 'a state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.' This is an interesting way to approach comfort. I think that there's a good number of angles that you can really have on it -- comfort, I mean. There are comfort foods, comforting family members and comforting friends. There's physical comfort, and emotional comfort. The interesting part about Bierce's statement is that one's comfort is a direct result of other people being uncomfortable.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Barcelona: Day 105 : Outside .

I don't know where this is originally quoted from, but it stuck out to me today. The quote is that "the artist must stand alone to observe a crowd." I semi consider myself a bit of a writer, simply by the quantity that I write and the fact that I do it so often. It's a great thing for me, and I really enjoy it. Writers, are, in a way, an artist of words, using them to paint a true picture for us to view in our heads. I'd like to consider myself good with words, knowledgeable in vocabulary and strong in being able to get my point across not only concisely but also in an artistic way. I've always wanted to write a book. But what does that really entail?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Barcelona: Day 103 : Soldiers .

The other day I watched a movie called Jarhead starring Jake Gyllenhaal. While many war movies seem to paint a picture of grandeur and nationalism and pride, this one was different. This one seemed to give a bit of a look into the potential truths behind being a soldier. There was the actual difficulty by the drill sergeants and the staff sergeants. Most of all though, it seemed to paint an accurate picture of war.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Barcelona: Day 102 : Several Things .

So there's a few things I want to talk about in today's post. The first, is just a quick shout out to one of the blogs I follow, Le Love, and a picture that they posted yesterday. One of the pictures in the post said 'let's find some beautiful place to get lost.' Well, tonight I revisited a place we had been as a class with Kathrin as a part of field studies. The place was Mount Carmel, and if you remember back a good number of posts, we visited there and it overlooked the city and you could see everything. This time, I returned at night, and while it was pretty chilly and windy, it was well worth the climb to see Barcelona all lit up at night. I'm a big fan of being up high and looking down all over things.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Barcelona: Day 101 : Food for Thought .

One of the people that I follow on Twitter is Meghan Markle, who plays Rachel Zane in the new TV series "Suits" on the USA network. I was a fan of her in the show, and therefore her character, but since following her on Twitter I have gained more respect for her, as she is an exceedingly nice and genuine person, and often takes the time to respond to fans (myself being one of them) and tweets some things that really make you think. Last night was one of those tweets; she wrote: "Food for thought: 'What's missing from most people's lives is the realization that nothing is missing.' "

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Barcelona: Day 100 : the Beginning of the End .

Finals began today. Finals as in, the final reviews for our Studio course. As per the usual, last night meant crunch time. I took an hour and a half nap from 5am to 630, and then got up and continued working. It's been just barely enough to get me through the day on what little sleep I had, and Ryan didn't even sleep at all. Our review may not have gone very well, but we presented the best that we could. We couldn't help that there was a very tough reviewer and he sort of set the tone for what everyone else said. We had struggled since the beginning of our project of how to tie every piece together, and that was what was noticed in the final product.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Barcelona: Day 99 : Cultural Differences .

This morning, I was looking at youtube videos on Irish slang, as I have learned a bit here and there from a friend, but many of the suggested videos were ones on cultural issues. For example, many were in regards to people who had visited a country and just overwhelmed by the differences or the words that were used. This is particularly in regards to the differences between England, Ireland, America, and Australia. We may all speak English, but that doesn't mean our cultures are the same and commonplace language is the same.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Barcelona: Day 98 : Inspiring Verses .

I get several devotionals sent to my email each day; three to be exact. I also have my actual devotional book that I read -- often I'm behind in that though. But one of the three that is emailed is just a Daily Bible Verse. There is no explanation or reflection on it; you kind of get to do that on your own. But today's really hit me a bit. Here it is:

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Monday #43

This week's song is by a landslide, the original mix of Rebound by Arty & Mat Zo.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Barcelona: Day 96 : Advent .

As crazy as it is, the Liturgical year has ended and thus begins a new one. The church was decorated today with purple linen, and the priest wore a rich majestic purple robe instead of the customary green ones of ordinary time. The 4 candles were set up around a giant wreath, ready for the 4 weeks of advent, and the first was already burning.

I think that advent might be one of my favorite times of the year. It is a time of anticipation, not just for the holidays, or winter break, or Christmas. But a time of anticipation in religion. Every year we get to re-celebrate the birth of Jesus, and whether or not it chronologically occurred on this date or not, it's the idea behind it that is important. I love the frigid weather as you pass from your house to a warm car, then from the car through the cold again and into the church.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Barcelona: Day 95 : nice guys finish last .

Is the popular saying true? In the past on this blog I've talked about courtesy and chivalry and all of those things. But does being a douche really make you a desirable person? Well, the way I see it, it goes a little something like this:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Barcelona: Day 94 : Quotables .

Lucy Maud Montgomery was quoted saying "In this world you've got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends."

I've always heard the saying hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I completely agree -- and perhaps that's a bit more of a pessimistic view on life, but hoping is still always good. But the last part made me check myself a bit, the part about taking whatever God sends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Barcelona: Day 93 : Giving Thanks .

So it's the third Thanksgiving that I am celebrating away from home, and in a sense it has become a bit of a tradition to not have my Thanksgiving dinner at home. In some ways, it's depressing; missing out on a little time with the family and getting to feast in the peace of your own home. At the same time though it's interesting to sit in with other families and see how their traditions and cooking goes. But this year was different, because there were no families to scamper off to the holidays. This year, we were on our own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Barcelona: Day 92 : One Year Anniversary .

A year ago today, I started this blog. I didn't know where it would lead me, or what sorts of things would end up in it. I had no notions of Music Monday, and even tried different things like lyrics at the ends of a post all the time. I've missed days and made them up, I've fallen very much behind, but always I have come back to write the post I missed. If you had told me a year ago that this blog would have flourished as much as it has, I don't think I would've believed you. There has been no shortage of material to write about, and there is always new things to intrigue me.

Barcelona: Day 91 : Disconnected .

It's been 3 months since I've been in America. European culture has taken its toll on all of us, I think. After being sick, all I've wanted to do is get a taste of America again. It'll be a relief to be able to speak English freely, to drive my own car, and to walk into a restaurant that you know will serve you a nice juicy and greasy burger with some down home French fries. You'll get ice with your water, and your refills will be free.

Music Monday #42

This week's song is Levels by Avicii.

Barcelona: Day 89 : Occupy __________ .

The Occupy Movements began with Occupy Wall Street, which was a "series of demonstrations initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters which began September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park of New York City's Wall Street financial district. The protests are against social and economic inequality, high unemployment, greed, as well as corruption, and the undue influence of corporations -- particularly that of the financial services sector -- on government. The protestors' slogan 'We are the 99%' refers to the growing difference in wealth in the US between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population."

So, yeah, the Occupy movements. The one on Wall Street has led to numerous other leaderless protests in other cities in American and even around the world. In fact, while in Dublin, we saw the Occupy Dublin protest in front of their national bank.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Barcelona: Day 88 : Isolated .

A feeling of isolation is one of the weirdest things that you can ever feel. There are 6 billion people in the world; how the heck could you feel isolated anywhere short of Antarctica? I don't know if I do it to myself sometimes; I'm sure there is some validity to that statement, but sometimes it happens to. Subliminally I think that I want to be alone, and left alone, and just on my own for awhile. Once I get to immerse myself in that, then I can come back and be social again.

Barcelona: Day 87 : Quotables .

Francis Bacon said that "a man dies as often as he loses friends." Coming from a kid who doesn't have a very extensive friends list, I think he's right. I've always felt more independent, and more often than not, wanted to be on my own a lot more than most. When I meet new people, I attempt to not get attached. After high school ended, lots of people went and disappeared; people I thought would have still been there. You know what I have to say to that?

Fuck 'em.

Barcelona: Day 86 : The War .

It blows my mind to think how long we've had troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. September 11th 2001 was the beginning of all that, and that was 10 years ago now and more. And now here we are still there, still fighting, still losing people everyday. Recently I re-watched the HBO series Band of Brothers. It's a bit hard to watch that knowing that it very well be the same sort of situations across the sea, with boys struggling as they see members of their platoon disappear, never to return to life, only to return to America in a coffin.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Barcelona: Day 85 : Quotables .

Oscar Wilde said "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."

I used to have this obsession with always finishing a book once I started it. It didn't matter if I absolutely detested the story or the entire book itself or whatever it could have been that was distasteful. But I always finished it. This was so much the case that I still remember the few that I actually didn't finish: the 7th book of the Chronicles of Narnia, and of course Jules Verne's 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea (the movie was much easier to get through than the book...). There were always those series that I couldn't get enough of too -- like the Lemony Snicket books, the Artemis Fowl books (if they turn these into movies it will be absolutely epic), the Animorphs books, and the Time Warp Trio. I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting... but that's not really the point.

Barcelona: Day 84 : Ron Paul .

This is going to be very odd, because I never ever talk about politics -- mainly because often I am ill-informed and ignorant (my own doing, I don't look too much into it). I missed the last presidential election by a mere 4 days, as it was on Tuesday the 4th of November, and my 18th birthday came the 8th. I was mildly gung ho for Obama at that time, though I'll be the first to admit that I didn't look too far into policy. I just thought it would be cool to be a part of an election that brought the first black man into office. We could argue he's only half black or mulatto, or fuck let's just call him a dark chocolate cappucino while we're at it; technicalities = blah blah blah shut up. But this time, perhaps I shall be a bit more prepared for election season. That is, of course, much later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Monday #41

This week's song is Winter by Joshua Radin.

Barcelona: Day 82 : A Good Night's Sleep .

Being sick, it's amazing how your body reacts just from not having a good night's sleep. It's all out of whack, you're randomly tired, you fall asleep literally in the middle of doing things (I've dozed off several times alone just sitting here working on blogs). I wouldn't be surprised if there are grammatical and spelling errors in these posts simply because my eyes are half closed. But that's okay.

Barcelona: Day 81 : Quotables .

Francis Bacon said that "God doth hang the greatest weights upon the smallest wires." In some ways, I agree with this. He stretches the limit, and stretches the mental and emotional wires of people. There's something I always tell myself though, when problems arise or something of the sort: God wouldn't give this to me if he knew I couldn't handle it. And then, all of a sudden, things are better. It's not that they're physically better -- but your outlook has changed. And that can make a world of a difference.

Barcelona: Day 80 : Joe Paterno .

With all the things in the news lately regarding former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, it's an absolute shame to see Joe Paterno's legendary reputation go up in flames. It's hard to believe that such a thing could even happen. Now, I'm not a Penn State fan and honestly could care less about the Nittany Lions, but in this case, my highest sympathies go out to those fans. For years on end Paterno has been a source of inspiration not just for the football team, but for the whole school and the fans also. This sort of thing certainly will taint a reputation...

Barcelona: Day 79 : Busy, Busy .

Well. It's been awhile now, and I've fallen a bit behind on writing...I could make a lot of valid excuses, but I mean, when can you not make excuses? Things have been busy here; and as mentioned in the previous post the workload has seemingly increased. As of right now we only have about 3 weeks left of classes, as final reviews for studio are December 1st and 2nd.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Barcelona: Day 78 : The Workload .

Believe it or not, our time in Barcelona is beginning to run thin. Classes end at the beginning of December. Final studio reviews are the 1st and 2nd. Other classes are quickly winding down, and there are 3 weeks left of class. Then we have three weeks of hanging out time -- and then it's time to head home.

Barcelona: Day 77 : Happy 21st .

And thus another year has come round, and again it is the day of my birth. It's crazy to think that this year, the age is such a milestone into the adult world. At 18, you are officially an adult -- at 21, you are really officially an adult. Although I suppose if you're planning on renting cars anytime soon, 25 is the mark for true adulthood. Regardless, my mom notified me a few days prior that she had received the license change forms in the mail.

Music Monday #40

So last week I skipped Music Monday because I was writing about travels in Dublin -- However, this week it makes its return with Meet Me At My Window by Jack's Mannequin.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Barcelona: Day 75 : Blog Topic #39: How I Process Blogs and What I Do With All That Info

Starting a blog was probably one of the best things I could have ever done with my life. If you sit in complete and total silence, eyes closed, ignoring everything but the air that you're breathing, the ideas flow. For me, often things come when you're attempting to fall asleep. I'm sure you can relate -- you're in bed, ready to hit the hay, and yet your brain just came up with a million things it wants to mull over. These things go straight into my blog.

Barcelona: Day 74 : Blog Topic #50: Friends I Can't Wait to Meet .

Throughout life there are so many people that you come across that sometimes it can be hard to keep track of it all. But I think the most interesting part is not the people that we've already met (sorry guys) but the people we have yet to meet. These are the people that I can't wait to meet.

Barcelona: Day 73 : Chris Brogan .

Every so often I come across a time when I simply don't know what to blog about. It's easy when I'm out and about, traveling around Europe or just around Barcelona. But it's not as easy when it's been raining since I got back from Dublin, and the things that we've done in class have been, well, relatively boring and unexciting (redundancy noted, it was purposeful). At these times I literally type in "What should I blog about" on Google, and the first link always pops up to a guy named Chris Brogan, who has a list of 100 topics he wishes people would blog about, if he were a reader. This is one of those topics.

Barcelona: Day 72 : Books .

I haven't read a good book in a longgggg time. Over the summer I went to the Headquarters Library a few towns over from my home and actually perused the sections of different things that I might be interested in. I was pleased to discover that I was actually thoroughly enjoying myself. Perhaps, I thought, this rekindling of a love of books would stick around.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Barcelona: Day 71 : Quotables (yet another one) .

Edwin Abbott once said "To live was then in itself a delight, because living implied seeing." Although all of us are aware of the fact that blindness exists, very rarely does it cross our minds; or at least mine, anyway. I don't think about it unless I see someone with those huge sunglasses, or with a helping dog, or with the long stick they use to feel their way around. We take the sights we see everyday for granted.

Barcelona: Day 70 : Living a Dream .

I think that every person's goal in life is to find something that they truly see as their dream. They can live it fully each day and love every minute of it; to the point where they are obsessed with just life itself. At what point can you consider yourself to be at that point, in that moment? I think that many consider their life dream to be unattainable, but this is a grave mistake -- all it takes is the determination to get there.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Barcelona: Day 69 : Goodbye Dublin .

It's hard waking up knowing that it's the last time you'll see a place -- especially for a very long time. I have no idea when I'll even be able to come back to Dublin, or Ireland at all. And to some extent, it's almost hard to enjoy your last day there because you know that come the afternoon, you'll be on a plane back to a normal existence (though in this case, living in Barcelona is hardly normal).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Barcelona: Day 68 : Lovely Day for a Guinness

This morning we got up and were about to get ready for church, only to realize that the time had changed and we had "fallen back." This was actually a welcome realization, as it allowed us to leisurely get ready for church and have plenty of time for breakfast and everything else, like checking email and whatnot. We did our best to try to meet Orla Gartland after missing her gig the night before on Grafton Street (we both fell asleep and didn't get a chance to check twitter and such, so we totally missed out) but turned out it simply wasn't possible. I guess I'm just stuck waiting until next time I'm in Dublin! Pity, though. But anyways, we planned our things for the day and got moving!

Barcelona: Day 67 : Glendalough -- Heaven on Earth .

Well  first a little bit about the pub crawl from last night -- It was a load of fun. Our tour guide, Grace, was very knowledgeable and it was great to get to know the other people in the group -- which was only 8 people or so, but it was totally worth it the €10 it took to get onto the list. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I was a little tipsy by the second pub we went to, and ended up losing my phone, and by the time we were on our way to the fourth place, I had realized it. Luckily, one of the Dutch people that we were with had found it at the place and given it to the bartender -- so we departed from the crawl and got my phone, and then went back to Isaac's. I also had thought my camera was broken, but luckily I fixed it before we headed off to Glendalough in the morning.

Barcelona: Day 66 : A First Glance o' Dublin .

So today was the first day in Dublin, unless you count just getting here last night, and I have to say it was absolutely wonderful. Despite the fact that the bloody train runs directly by our window and we have to endure the sound every 20 minutes or so, it was great to go to sleep knowing that you're finally in a place you've only dreamed of. So we started off the morning on an early note, getting in a nice little breakfast around 830 or 9. And then on to the days activities: The plan was to hit Dublin Castle when it opened, then hop on the bus to go to Glasnevin Cemetery, the National Botanic Gardens and Griffith Park.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Barcelona: Day 65 : Dublin-bound .

Well, today is the day -- in an hour or so I am traveling to Dublin. Happy birthday to me? I'm pretty stoked. Fingers crossed that everything will go smoothly and the weather lets us get there safely and enjoy our time there; currently it looks pretty rainy outside. I'm sure it'll all be fine though, I'm not too worried. I'll be posting (hopefully) as the days progress throughout the weekend, so say a few prayers for me; it's much appreciated!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Barcelona: Day 64 : Dublin-bound .

Tomorrow, after studio and materials, I'm flying to Dublin. I've never been to Ireland before... but it's been #1 on my places to visit for quite a long time. Finally, finally, I get to visit this mystery place that has since the beginning of my birth been so far out of reach. I'm in Europe, and I'm taking advantage of the five day weekend that we have to go and see a place that has been a dream. I am beyond excited.

Barcelona: Day 63 : Video Games .

This is actually probably not going to be the post you may have envisioned upon reading the title, but that's part of the fun of blogs is that they are interesting in that way. I watched a video made by CopperCab, and for those of you who don't know who he is, he is this insane ginger kid who has some serious anger issues. However, for all the times he's made fun of, occasionally he sticks a decent message in there. This time it was how video games corrupt people. He takes it to the extremes, and screams and whatever else he does to get views, but his rants are still watched by people all over the place, getting hundreds of thousands of views.

Music Monday #39

Without a doubt, this week's song is We Can Make the World Stop by the Glitch Mob.
I'm going to post the video where I originally heard the song, because it's practically better than the actual music video:

Barcelona: Day 61 : Catholic Mass Returns .

For the first time since I got here I had the pleasure of going to a real Catholic mass. Despite the previous week's mishaps, I was able to find the place perfectly and go in and celebrate true Catholic mass. Unfortunately there was no music, but there weren't that many people that went and I would imagine that it simply is hard to find people that are willing to play music for such an empty mass.

Barcelona: Day 60 : Parc Güell .

Today, since the majority of the people we hang out with were in Paris, Ian and I decided to take a trip to Parc Güell to see what was there. I had been previously, and there was a slight chance of rain, but we decided to risk it. Boy, was it worth it. The day turned out to be a beautiful one, with sunshine abundant and the temperature probably creeping up past the 70º mark. I was impressed, given that it was October. Silly me, I had worn a hoodie, and yet it was clear that it was not needed. The morning had been deceiving...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Barcelona: Day 59 : Those Three Words .

Today I took a break from working and was messing around with Gmail and I ended up putting it into German. Yes, this would be my lame attempt at trying to begin to immerse myself in the language -- it won't work but every little bit helps. But I discovered today that every google chat that you send is actually saved in a cache on Gmail. I began to poke around in my old chats, and went back to the first ones, which were 99.9% from the first girl that I dated in college.

Barcelona: Day 58 : The Mixed Tape .

This literally just randomly occurred to me -- I'm a giant fan of listening to the lyrics in songs, and frankly writing them myself as well. It's amazing to me that people can be so choice with their words and send such a strong message, and often make it rhyme, and then put the right type of music along with it. It sure seems like a lot, and I think we often underestimate musicians' ability and take what they offer for granted.

Barcelona: Day 57 : Spiritual Garden .

Every day I have bible verses and devotionals emailed to me. One is just a verse, another is a verse and an explanation/reflection, and the devotional is a verse with a relation to everyday life. I usually save the ones I really like and a couple of days ago I got a great one. It was talking about the parable with the seeds -- how some fell on rocky ground, others on thorny ground, and others on rich soil. I'm sure most people who are even remotely big on religion know this story -- but the way it was presented here was really well done -- so I'll post it and you can read it.

Barcelona: Day 56 : Just Another Tuesday .

Lyman Frank Baum once said "as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy."

Yep, today I'm gonna do another quote blog.

I think that there is a fine line between simply being afraid and being a coward. I have a hunkering that there aren't too many people that go completely through life living in absolute cowardice. There are a lot of things that just take a lot of courage to do. Hell, even walking out your front door in the morning carries a pretty large amount of risk. That's why schizophrenics confine themselves to the home right? Home creates the boundaries of safety. There are no unknowns; it's a controlled environment.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Music Monday #38

This week's song is Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Bublé.

Barcelona: Day 54 : Changing Seasons .

It seems that it has finally decided to become fall here in Barcelona, and while there aren't too many trees to witness the changing color of the trees, it's so nice to be able to wear a pair of jeans without sweating your butt off. Those of you who know me well know how much I absolutely love my jeans... You might find it hard to believe that this entire post may very well be about the Barcelona weather, but I dunno, I consider myself a rather avid blogger and most likely can make something out of virtually nothing. It semi has a point, I promise.

Barcelona: Day 53 : Dates .

In times of old, men had to work for a girl's attention. "Courting" was a long, respectful process that made the man work for the woman's hand. Chivalry has since then virtually disappeared, at least in my eyes, and while a few rare gentlemen still remain, I think that chivalry is a lost art that needs to be brought back in a great many ways.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Barcelona: Day 52 : Steve Jobs .

So I was a bit late on hearing about this somehow, but Steve Jobs passed away. We were in Germany when he died, and it was even in the German newspaper there. Now, whether you are a Mac person or a PC person, I think we can all agree that Steve Jobs has a legendary story, and become a legend through Apple and what that company has done to the technological world. It's grown so fast, and crossed technological boundaries that I wouldn't have even been able to fathom years ago.

Barcelona: Day 51 : Acceptance .

So I was about to jump in the shower and initially had something really good to write about regarding the topic of acceptance. Of course, once I sat down with the intent of actually writing it, all profound revelations had erased themselves from my mind... I'm hoping that maybe if I just start writing, the rest of the thoughts will eventually meander their way back into my head.

Barcelona: Day 50 : Sticking with it .

There's a guy I follow on Youtube, and his tag name is NicePeter. He's the most genuine person I've seen out there, and he does this thing every monday called the Monday Show... and without fail, no matter how many things he has on his plate, he finds a way to get this show out there on Monday. It's a blessing to be able to always look forward to pick me ups like that. At the end of the show, you always feel better, happier, and you've always got a smile on your face. It's something I look forward to each week.

Barcelona: Day 49 : Fifty People, One Question .

I came across a movie one day on Youtube, and it was called Fifty People, One Question -- Chicago. Upon revisiting that video today, I discovered that there are a whole bunch of other films like it. But I like this one in particular.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Music Monday #37

Okay, I didn't do a song last week due to Germany, but we're back on track this week (even though I'm a few days late). The song for this week is called Postcards, and it's an original song by Orla Gartland of Dublin. Her stuff is great, and I follow her music closely on Youtube. This particular song has a great set of lyrics, and as always her voice is perfection. Enjoy!

Barcelona: Day 47 : Finding Your Match .

At first glance it may seem that this post is going to be about love and relationships. Well, perhaps it may indirectly involve relationships, but not of the sort that is normally thought of at this juncture. For this is a matter not of love and friendship so much as it is religion.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Barcelona: Day 46 : Returning 'Home' .

Today was an early and rushed breakfast for all of us. It was difficult to drag myself out of bed and get all my things packed up. I had been dreading the day we left Germany, because not only was I really enjoying the country and the cities in Germany, but loving the opportunity to use and listen to the German language. Although I know less German than Spanish, for some reason I feel more comfortable and open to using it and trying to get better. I'd really love to be fluent in German.

Barcelona: Day 45 : Köln .

Well it was basically our last full day of the trip and we were headed to Köln. Düsseldorf had basically been a place for us to stay at night, and since they are right next to each other we could just go from city to city seamlessly. There were also some serious conferences going on and so all of the places in Köln were either booked or super expensive. Not to worry though, everything worked quite smoothly.

Barcelona: Day 44 : Rapid-Fire Frankfurt .

Already it is the last day that we have in Frankfurt, not to mention that it's only a partial day in Frankfurt as it is. We met back up with our tour guide, Petra, who is just a friend of Kathrin's. We started by heading to the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität.

Before we headed in, she added something interesting about the way German cities are settled. In almost every city, the rich people live in the west, and the poor in the east. The reason is that the industry from the winds blow from the west, so all of the smoke and industrial fumes will not blow into the richer areas. I found this to be quite entertaining... but honestly, someone was really thinking when they placed the pricier homes!

Barcelona: Day 43 : Frankfurt-Bound .

So today we got up super early to hop on a high speed train to Frankfurt, leaving Berlin behind. I was sad to see Berlin go, but was excited about being able to visit other parts of Germany. We'll get to the day in time, but first a little disclaimer... My memory card was being really weird today and just randomly decided to stop working. The card was unreadable and I couldn't take any more pics for the rest of the day. I had hoped that I would be able to salvage the ones I had already taken, but they had to be erased in order to reformat the card. Therefore, any pictures here posted are thanks to Brittany who sent me her pics for the day.

Barcelona: Day 42 : Last Day in Berlin

Today we were allotted time for whatever we wanted to do, and after sleeping in for a bit and eating breakfast, a small group of us hit the streets. The goal was to find a library that had a lot of interesting architecture books. We did indeed find it, and it had some really interesting things, and I got a little bit of a taste of the sorts of architectural books that are out there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Barcelona: Day 41 : Kaiserwilhemgedächtniskirche .

So, if you're wondering about the title, yes, it is indeed a real name of a small church that was destroyed in the war, and this is where we begin our day. The ruins that were there after the war were kept, and a new structure was built around the tower, which was virtually the only thing that remained after the war. Kathrin said that this is because the church is no longer meant to be seen. Next to it, in the footprint of the old church, is a new octagonal-shaped church, which has services and is used today. The old cathedral dwarfs this new church, but I have to say it's still really cool.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Barcelona: Day 40 : More of Berlin .

Well it's Sunday and there is tons more of Berlin to see, so we were out the door relatively early today. We were going to see the Berlin Wall Park, which is not so much a memorial as it is a park. In German, it is called Der Mauerpark, and it was designed by Gustav Lange. There are parts of the wall left all over the city, and what they did here was take the Death Strip and turn it into a great green space. It's interesting how this space went from being a border to a freely accessible area. What's also interesting is that there literally has never been anything in that space prior to this park -- even before WWII.

Barcelona: Day 39 : Berlin Unwrapped .

After waking up pretty early in order to get out on the streets of Berlin early, we headed first to the Berlin Philharmonic. This consists of 2 buildings, which house 2 concert halls, with the main one being actually quite a bit bigger than the second one. These are connected by a lobby/foyer, and even though we came in some weird back entrance, the resulting view of the inside was pretty striking.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Barcelona: Day 38 : Deutschland!

Today, I was so stoked because we were flying from Berlin. After being here for a bit, one thing I know for certain is that I loveeee hearing German so much more than Spanish. We had to be up and at 'em early, and everyone was definitely yawning as we hopped on the metro and then the train to get to El Prat de Llobregat airport. I was doing my best to keep track of everything so that I would know how to get there on my own when the Dublin trip happens. We got on airberlin and had a lovely flight over the Pyrenees into the Berlin airport.

Barcelona: Day 37 : Jordi Approves !

Studio, since I've gotten here, has been my least favorite thing thus far. But for once this time, Jordi (our professor) sorta gave us the okay that we were at least moving in the right direction. We've identified the public spaces, mapped them, and figured out that we'd like to connect them all, making a large convoluted node that is connected in an interesting way along the corridor of the railroad. I'm satisfied for now! Hopefully studio will continue to get better and better as we work.

Barcelona: Day 36 : The Roman Influence .

So this morning for European Cities class we were going to go out on a walk that involved a lot of the presence of the old Roman walled city in Barcelona. I going to go out on a bit of limb and say that this won't be too interesting for most; as it is a lot of the same thing and honestly I didn't write too much down in my notebook either, so there won't be a ton to read.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prepare yourself .

This post isn't going to be like the others. In fact it's not even related to Barcelona at all... It shouldn't come as a surprise that I love writing, and every so often I get really inspired to write. I'd like to start writing short stories and eventually a novel, but I already write poems often (in my book I call them lyrics, but same deal) and of course I'm always writing on this blog. I think in time I'm going to start another blog (I know, you're thinking, whattttt, a THIRD one? It may or may not be an addiction..) that I will post literary works on; things that I'm proud of that I've written, or whatever. Honestly if I do start another blog there probably won't be new posts very often, but that's okay. Anyways, I got inspired with this one, and before you click the 'read more' button I'd like you to clear your head and really try to forget about everything, because I don't think you'll get the full effect if you don't. I'd love some feedback on this one... so hit me up. Enjoy this; hopefully there will be more to come in the future. Also, keep in mind this is still a work in progress.

Music Monday #36

This week's song is If We Are the Body by Casting Crowns.

Barcelona: Day 33 : Reality setting in .

It's been over a month since we've arrived, the festival ends today, and the 4 guys that we hosted who were littering the floor of our tiny flat are on their way back to San Sebastian. It's been pretty nuts so far, but it really is beginning to feel like home, if it hasn't already fully made that transition.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Barcelona: Day 32 : Rainy Days .

Today was the first day in forever that it rained! And it wasn't just a sprinkle, or a short pour for about 10 minutes. Coincidentally this was in the heat of La Mercé, which means that there was a bit of a damper put on festival activities. However, I certainly didn't let it ruin my day. I found it a perfect opportunity to just leave the windows open and listen to the pitter patter of the raindrops on the roof, while lounging around the apartment.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Barcelona: Day 31 : A Night of Failures .

Today we didn't have any class which was so nice. I feel like we've been so busy lately, and it's night to just have a little time off with a three day weekend! La Mercé is this weekend, which is apparently a really big deal, though we haven't been able to figure out even what it's for. However, regardless, there are a lot of things going on, and apparently the entire city is packed! We had some guys come in who were also studying in Spain who were friends of a friend in architecture, and they couldn't find room in any of the hostels in the area. It's really pretty insane.

Barcelona: Day 30 : Real Studio ?

Today was the first day that we had an actual real session of studio. You know, something typical and normal, as opposed to completely out of the ordinary. I was beginning to wonder if we would even have normal studios. They hadn't asked for much today, they just wanted to sort of begin a type of understanding of mapping and some general decisions based on our particular space.

Barcelona: Day 29 : Back to Normal .

So classes resumed as usual today, and we had our European cities class, where we presented an introduction to the public spaces that each group had begun to research. Ryan and I chose the space around the W-Hotel on the coast, also known as Hotel Vela. From the moment you fly into Barcelona, you see it outside the plane window, and it's visible literally from any point on the beach, like a big half moon slice poking up into the sky.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Music Monday #35

Well, lately there have been so many songs that seem to constantly get stuck inside of my head. Recently though, it's been this one: The name is Late Night Special by Ground Up Sounds. Despite the fact that it's easy to find the song anywhere, I can't seem to find the lyrics, which is a total bummer because I definitely wanted to be able to rap along to this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Barcelona: Day 27 : Row Your Boat .

***Music Monday will be postponed until tomorrow because of the Madrid trip***

Unfortunately, today was the last day in Madrid. I think we've all come to like it quite much here, and it's not just the weather. Today was going to be a short day -- and then we were going to be able to have some free time before we hopped on the train to head back to Barcelona. We ate once more at La Mallorquina for breakfast, which honestly has been the best breakfast we've have so far -- it's literally like eating dessert for breakfast. Kendall and I kept liked our first meal so much that we had it all three days while in Madrid (after all, Clemson was footin' the bill...) And then we moved on to the activities of the day!

Barcelona: Day 26 : Cooler Weather and Gorgeous "Sites" .

Today was great, as the first thing that happened when I walked out the door was the rush of cool air in my face. Oh, how I long for it to be in the 60's everyday! I was almost tempted to go and put on jeans or something of the sort, had it not been for my lack of cooler weather-wear, as I had assumed that Madrid would be just as toasty as Barcelona. However, this day would be yet another great day of exploring. I had my presentation to do, on the Buen Retiro Park, which really held some interesting facts and buried secrets.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Barcelona: Day 25 : Madrid Unwrapped .

So today was our second day in Madrid and we started if off right with some serious breakfast. Food always seems to be super expensive and more often than not I will forgo the desires of my rumbling stomach for fear of spending too much money on things. Breakfast for us was paid for by Clemson, but they limited us to 5€, which, let me tell you, is certainly not very much. However, I must say, what I ended up with was absolutely delicious and quite filling at the same time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Barcelona: Day 24 : Madrid .

This morning we decided our first official travel trip that would bring us to the center of Spain and Madrid for 4 days. We were traveling by train, taking the new high speed Renfe train from Barcelona to Madrid. Immediately upon arrival, we walked straight into the Atocha Train Station, the main station in Madrid. This was a humbling experience, because this was also the place that the terrorist bombings occurred in 2004. Just as with the September 11th attacks, it was amazing that that was so long ago.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Barcelona: Day 23 : Montjuic .

Today we had studio which was pretty slow, but the real highlight of the day was the materials class. We went up to Montjuic, which is a place that we had already been. But today we got to see a brand new part of everything. We began by taking the subway and the funicular train up into the Montjuic area, and then got up and began the trek up the side of the mountain. We walked alongside the castle in the shade and really got a chance to enjoy once again the sea breeze and the glorious views.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Barcelona: Day 22 : A Couple of Days .

We are soon leaving for Madrid on Friday, and excitement is plentiful. That's not to say it hasn't been up until this point -- but perhaps more than usual, eh? This one is going to be short and sweet. Today we had European Studies and Spanish, both of which seemed to drag on endlessly, but more importantly a group of us decided to go and visit the site of our big studio project.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barcelona: Day 21 : Beginning to Mesh .

Today we decided to kick off the morning with a beach trip, which turned out to be an excellent decision. The waves were virtually nonexistent, which meant that the water was crystal clear as far as you could see! It was unbelievable seeing water that clear. It was definitely cold, but after laying out for awhile and getting really hot, the water felt extremely refreshing. There was also virtually no wind, which meant that we could finally throw the disc around a bit. It was just the three of us; Ian, Ryan and I, but it definitely was a great kickstart to the morning. There was also no one at the beach, and for a long time there were no illegal vendors bothering you about massages or 'mojito, mojitos' or 'fanta cerveza beers.'

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music Monday #34

This week's song is a new addiction, called Illmerica by Wolfgang Gartner.

Remembering 9.11 .

Every time this day comes around it is always difficult to talk about. I can't believe that already we have hit the 10th anniversary. I could swear it feels like it happened yesterday. The years truly do fly by. And though there is a popular phrase that 'time heals all wounds,' this is one that I don't think will ever fully go away.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Barcelona: Day 18 : Spanish = Death .

Today was the second session of our Saturday Spanish class. And yes, that means 4 hours of Spanish on a Saturday morning. I'm not sure that could get any worse. I suppose we were semi lucky because Barcelona celebrates a holiday on September 11th, when Catalunya got its freedom from its oppressors. It's a big deal, and was tomorrow, so we went out and practiced our Spanish while also learning some things too.

Barcelona: Day 17 : Squeezing the beach .

The only class we had this morning was European Cities, although unfortunately unbeknownst to most of us, this was going to be a serious walking day. The temperature was supposed to be mid 80's, aka a perfect beach day. The plan was to get out of class by 130, grab a pizza and head straight to the beach from class. Things didn't exactly go according to plan... they were seriously delayed by Kathrin, who turned our 4 hour class into a serious 6 hour class. Yikes... Anyways, here are the stories from the day's travels.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Barcelona: Day 16 : Biking in a City .

Today was another day of studio class and today was the day where the professors had set up for us to rent some bikes and ride through the city to various spots of interest, particularly those that exemplified well the creation of public space. There were a couple of things wrong with their thinking. First, having 40 people try to ride through sidewalks and little bike lanes without getting lost, disconnected, or almost completely eating it, is very very hard. Second, there is no way to ensure that you will be done in the allotted time for the class. Needless to say we ran over the mark by an hour... Another thing is that the sites that they took us to didn't really seem to be super extraordinary in any way, except for 1 or 2. Sometimes people would get left behind and a professor would start talking and you'd miss a lot of what they would say.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Barcelona: Day 15 : The Contemporary European City .

Today was the first day of a class I like to call European Cities, even though it's something much more complex and longer than that. European Cities is certainly enough words to say... The class is sort of a mix of a lecture class and the travel class that we have. Often it seems as if we start things in class and then get out there and go see them. Thus, today, we began taking a virtual walk through the city, starting from the east and moving west.

Barcelona: Day 14 : Travel Class 2 .

So today we had our second travel class. I can already tell that this is the class that I will look forward to the most. I really like the professor, as she is extremely knowledgeable about so so many things. She seems to have an endless reservoir of information to pull from, even though she has only been living in Barcelona for 5 years or something like that. She noticed that I like to write a lot of the information down (when the history is right there in front of you and you're taking a million pictures, it'd be nice to go back and see what all of the stories behind the pictures are right?) and sometimes will give me little tidbits about random things, which is great. Anyways, on to the sites!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Music Monday #33

This week's song is Holiday from Real by Jack's Mannequin. However, I chose the a cappella version.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Barcelona: Day 12 : Sunday Freeday .

First thing that was interesting about today was that we tried attending an international church here in Barcelona. It's called ICB (International Church of Barcelona) and is only about 20 or 30 minutes walk from our residence. The service is held in English, but that doesn't mean that everything was perfect. However I wasn't the biggest fan of the service... it was okay though. I'll probably go again simply because it is a real church and is probably better than just watching some stuff online. It was very DCF-ish, for those of you who are in the Clemson area. Being my northern self I found some parts to be weird and a bit in your face and pushy... but I'm sure they were just attempts to be welcome. I think I may actually give this one a shot though.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barcelona: Day 11 : Castellano .

Today was the first of the dreaded Saturday Spanish classes. I don't think they are technically mandatory but since I am not fluent and certainly nowhere near the fluency of a native speaker, it would make sense to go. There are probably close to 10 classes in total throughout the month of September, and I am relieved that I have had a good amount of Spanish classes that I've taken throughout the years -- I certainly don't feel too lost.

Barcelona: Day 10 : Travel Class

I'm writing this a day late -- you'll have to bear with me some days because we were out pretty late and I was exhausted when we got back -- not to mention we had to get up pretty early for class the next morning. And alsoooo I have a ton to write about!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Barcelona: Day 9 : The Studies Begin .

So today we had our orientation session with the professors in addition to walking to our studio space for the first time. It's quite close, it's really only about 10 or 15 minutes away tops; I suppose in some ways that sort of depends on how busy La Rambla is when you have to cross it. It's in a basement of some building, and on the way over, our main foreign supervisor, Kathrin, pointed out some other design schools and print facilities along the way.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Barcelona: Day 8 : Ending a Vacation .

So while some people were off gallivanting in Valencia for La Tomatina Festival, we slept in a bit and got through a workout in the morning. Going to bed at 4am will make you a bit tired... Since the Barcelona weather is practically perfect, we decided it'd be a great idea to just make it a beach day. Nothing too special, but I took a serious chance and went without sunscreen... which is a big deal for me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Barcelona: Day 7 : Queen Vic

So today we decided to explore the cable cars a bit today, and decided to go up to Montjuic, where there is an old fort that we could check out. I was happy to know that we survived entirely on groceries that we bought for the day, which left some extra money to do various things. The visit up the mountain went without a hitch, and we found the metro and the funicular train that went up to the cable gondola just fine.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Barcelona: Day 5 : Golden-Roasted .

So, in all honesty, I've never given two shits in my life about being tan. My 'natural' skin color is an unnaturally bleak hue of what cannot be any better described by anything other than the word "white." I've always been the guy with super tan sleeves, and a white upper body. I've always been the guy with the ghostly thighs, and the silly sock tans. I've always been the guy with the ridiculous V-neck tan from wearing polos at work outside and white V-neck undershirts every other day of the week. Weird and silly tans happen, and I've learned to accept that being white is perfectly okay. I rarely go to the beach anyways, and thus it is not really a big deal. Howevveerrrrrr.....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Barcelona: Day 4 : Lazy Saturday .

Today we all sort of came to realization that it has basically been a vacation, and will continue to be until we start our class orientation on the 1st of September. Vacationing in Spain for a week? Stellar. It's been a great way to get our bearings and find our way around a bit before classes start, and we actually have to (oh my gosh don't say it...) do. work. (shudder)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Barcelona: Day 3 : New Arrivals .

Today was the first day that we had almosttttt everybody here. It's almost hard keeping track of the days when you don't have work to keep you on schedule! We had decided the night before that a group of us were going to go to the beach today. The main ones are down in the Port Olímpic area, and that is the same place that I had been before when I came with the Student Ambassador group. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I'll post some pictures here since the one that I choose for picture of the day won't be enough to capture the whole experience. This houses two defining towers, in addition to a sculptural work of Frank Gehry's, El Pez.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Barcelona: Day 2 : In the mix .

So today we decided that we were definitely going to have to find some sort of grocery to get some food at. My first remark when I woke up though? Good Lord it is hot. No sooner did Ryan nod his head in agreement, then we heard from across the courtyard (someone must have been on the phone), "OH MY GODDDD IT IS SOOOO HOT!" We both got a good laugh. Despite the humidity and the heat, the flight must've taken a ton out of us because we both slept until at least 11am, even though we went to bed at almost 10pm. Seems pretty ridiculous doesn't it? It seems to be that a combination of the sun, humidity, and walking around all day really tires a guy out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Barcelona: Day 1 .

Well, we arrived here at about 915 this morning, Barcelona time, which is about 3am home time. We're 6 hours ahead over here... which can make communicating a bit difficult. Although, because of the flight last night, it's 915pm now and I am plenty tired!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

adios .

So it's a mere couple of hours before I roll out to the airport. By this time Ryan should already be at Newark, and I have but to gather my final things to put into my backpack as my carry on. It is an absolutely perfectly gorgeous day, and all things have more or less gone according to schedule and plan. It still hasn't hit me that I'm leaving for so long yet... but it sure will soon! And then of course, while I am pensively staring out the window, the house starts shaking...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Music Monday #31

This week's song is Determined by Mudvayne. Be forewarned, if you don't like the heavy stuff, this is probably not one to listen to...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

life update .

I have one full day left in the States. It's pretty unreal -- I've started packing, but let's be real, regardless of what I do, it was going to end up being a last minute ordeal. This may sound absolutely insane given the amount of time I'm going to be gone.. but I don't think that I'm going to fill the 2 suitcases that I've set aside for the trip. Let's just put it this way -- I'll have plenty of room for whatever I decide to bring home with me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

the last work day .

Summer jobs are just so weird. You get to know all these people, and at Trump that is particularly the case because people seem to come in and out so much. When you only work the summers like I do, you end up seeing a completely different group of people every season. Regardless of whether or not I was going to Spain, I would still be going 800 miles away to go to school. People from work are usually tough to keep in touch with -- you just sort of remake friendships when you come back with the same people. It will be especially hard keeping in touch with people this year, because I will be overseas and so I'll have to try to remember to email all sorts of people both at home and at school and at other schools and such. So guys, I apologize if we sort of lose touch -- I'm doing my best though! Just don't take offense. I still am planning on writing tons, and maybe even starting a 3rd blog just for the pictures and little captions and things from Spain. Not sure yet though. Of course, I'll let you know if I do.

Friday, August 19, 2011

oh, canada .

So I have this map thing on my blog that sorta shows where views are coming from, and recently a good number has been from Canada... Given that I don't know anyone from Canada, it's kind of interesting to think that maybe I caught someone's eye, and they decided to follow along. I was never really sure if the whole blog thing was going to catch on... I think that for a lot of people it was a chance to break from studying at school; when I first started writing I used to see views all over the place. Those drastically dropped off over the summer. But the friends who I am close to and know where they live, well, I see their views all the time. You know who you are -- and guys, I'm flattered that you find what I write to be interesting enough to be constantly reading about my life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

let the rain fall down .

It's storming right now! Without a doubt, storms are awesome to watch, to feel the house shake when it thunders and the flashes blind you when the lightning hits the ground outside your window. Okay, maybe the house shaking is a bit unnerving... but it's still cool to listen to.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

living without regrets .

Upon seeing this title you may have thought that this would be all about how I've lived my life to the fullest, and embraced even my mistakes, living without regret in all that I have done.

Well I'm about to get real; I think people who think they can live without regret is complete bullshit. Some will argue that it's possible... I just don't think it is. Some may say that because they've learned something from a mistake or something similar, that they don't regret it because of the thing that they learned. In my eyes... even if I learn something new, a tidbit of wisdom, I might very well still regret something I did.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

seagulls .

Seagulls, to me, are a reminder of being home. It's been forever since I've actually been to the beach during the day... I'm more of a 'walk along the shore while it's night time with a cool breeze thinking about everything and anything in the world under the moonlight' kind of person. But I used to have this inkling that seagulls were absolutely the most annoying bird in the world. I remember chasing them as a kid the few times that my parents actually took us to the beach (well, my mom would take us, as my dad absolutely detests it).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

today & tonight .

Of all the things I had originally planned to do today, I got to to but one of them. Work. How fun. Torrential downpours have been going nonstop (literally) from the time I woke up, which was 5am, until about an hour or 2 ago. That is pure insanity. Ponds raised almost a foot, and other ponds were created in the middle of the roads. But that was earlier today. I got home from work so ready to just get out and do something. All plans for the rest of the day quickly slipped through my fingers, and all because of the weather. By the time we lost power, I couldn't stand being in the house anymore. I had to get out.

being ginger .

I know, the title of this sounds absolutely ridiculous. I don't know exactly what it is, but it seems that ginger people are just a bit outcast sometimes. I read an article the other day (link is here: click meeeeee to read it!) that someone wrote about being a redhead. Sometimes we are described as having a fiery personality, or having a short fuse. I can't really deny those things... but as with all other stereotypes, they can get frustrating and downright annoying. None of us can control the color of our hair, unless you dye it. Funny thing though, if someone dyes their hair red (and often times, it's that fake sort of red) they get told it looks great. But having natural red hair is not generally a desirable thing.

Friday, August 12, 2011

quotables ; vol2 .

Oscar Wilde once said "When a man is old enough to do wrong he should be old enough to do right also." This all starts from a very young age -- and unfortunately generally I feel like you learn what is wrong by what you get in trouble for. As much as I might hate to admit it, my parents had (and probably still have at least somewhat) a huge influence on who I became, and potentially even who I am to become in the future.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

quotables ; vol1 .

Miguel de Cervantes once said that "Love is invisible, and comes in and goes out as he likes, without anyone calling him to account for what he does." I love the way that these people metaphorically describe things. I feel like love can bring out the best or the worst in people. And people as much as they like may try to blame their actions on love, but in the end, it's the people who are blamed. Love gets off scot free, and lives to feed the dreams of the hopeless romantics.

president-less .

With all of the things that are going on in London and across the UK, I wanted to sort of divert from my usual personal profound-ish posts and talk about politics a little bit. It's incredible what a mass of people can do. Whatever their motives may be, the young generations of England have sent a message to their governing representatives and everyone across the face of the Earth. Now, that's not to say that I condone lighting up entire rows of houses and lines of cars while chasing after the police with baseball bats... but there are some things to be said about all of it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

dreamvision .

So last night I had two of the coolest dreams ever and amazingly enough I must have woken up in the middle of both of them, and thus remember pretty much the entirety of both! I figured I'd jot them down... both for personal amusement and perhaps reader entertainment

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

emulation .

It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But sometimes, it may just be a bit much. I remember when I first got involved in music... at least in writing and recording my own. I was originally inspired by the sort of things that I listened to, and so that sort of set the boundaries that would define how I wrote, what I wrote, and what I used to make it all. I would be like a sponge, trying to soak up what the artists did, what their methods were, what their thought processes were. It's kind of like the media obsessing over celebrities, or kids wanting to know the warmup routines and nuances of professional athletes, except that I had my own little list of 'celebrities' to follow.

this is my life .

I feel like the typical college experience (if there even is one) is completely null and void when it comes to the life of an architecture student. First year is probably the only chance we have at a normal semester, let alone a normal year.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

dave lee .

Dave was my professor for the entirety of last year in studio. For those of you who are either not a part of architecture and/or have no idea what studio is... well, it's a class. It's the most fun course that an architecture kid could take, but at the same time it's the most demanding, stressful, exhausting, confusing, difficult course EVER. But I think that's what I love about it -- the challenge, the excitement of new ideas coming into your head and the long long nights shared with many a colleague overnight in the studio. You never realize that you've been there so long until the sun comes up again... and you soon realize that you're walking to the dining hall on zero hours of sleep, hoping some cafeteria coffee will wake you the fuck up, while so many others are well rested, dressed crisply and appropriately, happily heading to class on a full night's sleep.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

vacation....? .

I can't remember the last vacation that we've been on as a family. But, that doesn't seem to stop little ones from happening. One on one's, or partial family vacations. On that note, my parents are leaving for a weekend. It's kind of... shocking. They really don't ever do this. But, I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet that the parentless weekend will hopefully provide.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

walmart .

After living down at school for 2 years now, I've come to have an extreme love for Walmart. The main reason? They function on college time. Aka open 24 hrs a day. And even better? They have self-checkout. What a novel idea. I love self-checkout, it lets me fly through the checkout line without having to deal with anyone! No bullshit. Amen. And even better, Walmart has just about everything you could possibly ever want. Food, clothes, sleeping things, home items, appliances, electronics, restrooms, pharmaceuticals, skin and hair care products, toiletries, it's truly got it all!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

perfection .

Some days, everything just falls into place. Everything goes smoothly, and it's fun and everything is just exactly what you needed it to be. I'm not going to go into details, but let's just say last night was exactly that for me.

Music Monday #28

This week's song is Sleepyhead by Passion Pit.

anesthesia .

I am subscribed to several email posts that send out daily Bible verses, sometimes along with descriptions, explanations, thought-provoking questions, and personal experiences. Though I'm not always on time reading them, and probably should put more thought and effort into making sure I read it and meditate upon it all instead of just skimming over it, sometimes there are verses and lessons that really catch my eye. The title of a recent email devotional was 'Anesthesia.'

little pleasures v. grand scheme .

Every day that we wake up we have to make a choice. Unfortunately there is only so much time in the day with which to do things, and every day you have the opportunity to be incredibly productive or incredibly lazy. It may seem like one day doesn't mean very much, but they seem to add up quickly and fly by even quicker. Here I am sitting typing and the summer is already almost over. It doesn't feel like I've been home for 3 months already.

Friday, July 29, 2011

life update .

I didn't really have anything in mind to write about today, so I'll just settle with writing a little life update. I know at least a few have commented on the fact that I often don't write about the day-to-day life I am living, but instead on topics that are a bit more philosophical. Whether you like that or not, a little refreshment could always be nice right? So here goes nothing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

day and night .

The difference in my work environment from the day to the night is astounding. We're talking about the difference between night and day, literally and figuratively! Let me elaborate.

a perfect family .

Just now I happened to stumble upon the thought of the family that I stayed with in France. Despite the fact I don't have Facebook, you could still find them as I remember the first names and family name as well. All I can say, is man, have the kids changed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

another quote .

Oscar Wilde once said "A man who does not think for himself does not think at all." These quotes have quickly gone from slight entertainment to lifelong lessons and tidbits of wisdom. I've always been big on independence, and not only getting away from home as soon as possible to become fully independent, but on staying true to who you are and everything that makes up that indescribable combination that is, put simply, you.

Music Monday #27

This week's song is Space Bound by Eminem.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

congrats .

A hearty congratulations to all of the incredible riders in the Tour de France, riders with incredible perseverance and a pain tolerance like no other. Bravo to Cadel Evans, and congratulations to Australia on their first tour win. Awesome job Cavendish and Sanchez, and 'atta boy Johnny Hoogerland for keeping in it until the end after being sideswiped by a car. You all are awesome and inspiring. See you at the Vuelta de España later this year!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

organic architecture .

Occasionally while I check my now-ancient AOL email, I see some neat news stories that interest me, and thus, since I cannot curb my curiosity, I check them out. One of today's articles happened to be on a some really neat homes that were just some 'surreal real estate.' For example, that was a home that resembled the Flinstones home, as well as a home that was an exact replica of the colorful house in the movie "Up." The one that stuck out to me was the one that resembled a hobbit home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

homeward bound .

Extremely short post today:


We all went out to dinner tonight because he wanted 'a good old American breakfast' so we went to a diner where he could get that. I can't wait to hear all of his stories and things that I can compare with my trip overseas. But for now, he deserves a ton of rest to catch up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

a night out .

I haven't had some serious good talks with people on my family for a long time. My brother and I are pretty good about talks once we actually get into them, but since I am so far away it's hard for us to stay really close. I'm so excited that he comes home tomorrow... and can't wait to hear all of the stories that he has to tell, as I'm sure it will take forever! But this post is not about him, surprisingly, and instead is about my Dad and I.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

sadness is not fleeting .

Opposites. Happy and sad, love and hate, tears and laughter, on and off, left and right. But are they really balanced antonyms? Happiness, joy, laughter, excitement. These things seem to come and go in a moment. In the same way that "time flies when you're having fun," the positive emotions just don't really stick with you much. And believe me, boy do I wish they did.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the truth about lying . [pt 2]

Okay, so seeing as how my thoughts the other day seemed to be a bit scrambled, the respite between then and now should have helped a bit. So; the truth. As a definition, it has several. We 'hold these truths to be self-evident.' So that could be simply as a proof of sorts, an accepted fact. But then there is the truth, where so many often are frustrated. "Why can't you just tell me the truth?" Ah, yes. That truth.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music Monday #26

This week's song is a Dashboard Confessional favorite of mine, called Get Me Right. Depending on which style you prefer... you can choose to play the acoustic or the original, which both will be posted.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

the blog book .

So obviously I have this blog, and there are posts all over the place and I fully intend to continue to post things as long as I possibly can -- but what to do with it all at some point much later in life? Originally I had wanted to 'publish' them year by year, as a sort of literal book that I can store on a shelf to collect dust, but only for the time being. Perhaps one day I'll be comfortable with my parents reading these, as they currently don't (at least to my knowledge... I've never given the link; and if you are, shame on you) but I think more so I'd want my kids to read it, and future wife, something like that. I would hope that perhaps the kids would be able to understand me a bit more, see where certain ideologies come from and where virtues have been birthed.

Simply put, it might help them to 'get' me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

the truth about lying .

Why is it so easy to lie and so hard to tell the truth? Honesty is such a big deal -- and I don't care about whether it's in a relationship with someone or not (though surely its importance is amplified in that situation...). I also think it's a sign of respect. If you don't respect someone, who's to say they even deserve to hear the truth from you? You might omit something or even just tell a lie straight to their face to get someone out of your hair. I've done it many times. A simple example is when people just say hello and ask how you're doing -- the expected response is good/alright/etc. I don't care if I'm having the shittiest day in the world; I'm going to say I'm doing well because I don't want to have to deal with people's pity, or confusion, or have to explain some longwinded drawn-out story. I'd much rather just deal with it on my own.

RealLife .

With all of the various ways of social networking out there, it's sometimes hard to remember that there actually is a real life out there. Google+ just came out and to be honest I haven't the slightest idea what it is -- though from what I hear, it's awfully similar to Facebook. Hmm.... this sounds awfully familiar. Will we see the same mass migration from Facebook to Google+ as we did from Myspace to Facebook?

Friday, July 15, 2011

"fuckit" .

I had a roommate freshman year of college who was quite an interesting character. After unexpectedly getting placed in a 4 person apartment (as opposed to a dorm) the kid from home I had chosen to room with and I were paired with 2 other random kids, this kid being one of them. Things started out great with the other two but eventually went south, but that's besides the point. We had some pretty interesting talks about a vast variety of subjects, but one that happened to come up was the idea of 'fuckit' as he called it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the looking-glass .

Tonight I got out of work at 9pm, and since dinner at work is at 430, I figured I would treat myself for once in awhile and head out for a bite to eat after. I tried to get some company, but all possibilities fell through, but I wasn't about to let that ruin anything too much. I must admit though, I was quite disappointed not to have some companionship -- but more on that later. Thus, I headed off to Park Place with plans for 1.

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