Third time is a charm. (San Francisco, Art School, Fog)

Hello!

It’s been a while–I KNOW. And I truly sorry, but this year has been a little bit crazy for me. I am not trying to just give you guys excuses, so I’ll just write about all that has happened in the past months.

Last time I posted (before the Jeff Goins post) was about Greece. I do intent to finish that post but I feel like this is more urgent.

Around July last year, I moved from my city in Brazil (Curitiba-PR) to come study Advertising at a school called Academy of Art University, in the city of San Francisco, in California. I live in a small town about 15-20 min from SF, in Pacifica.
I have previously written about how I was an exchange student here and all. I love California. I love this place, everything about it.
San Francisco is such an amazing city, it never ceases to amaze me. Every time I am there (which is every day, haha) I feel so lucky, so ”blessed.” And Pacifica is great, as well. Absolutely different, but it has its advantages. While San Francisco is upbeat, full of colors and craziness (if you’ve been there, you know what I am talking about) and there’s always something going on. And it’s awesome. But it is always great to come home in the end of the day, to a peaceful town like Pacifica (which, for the non-latin languages speakers, means ”Peaceful” anyways!).

I do, though, want to eventually move to the city to be closer to school and all, but for now, what I’ve got going on, is absolutely what I need.
Since I’ve moved here, so much has happened.

I had a slightly easier time with the change because since I had already lived here before, I knew a lot of people. The funny thing is, I ended up becoming good friends with people I just knew because of an ex boyfriend. These people turned out to be the greatest things that have happened to me since I got here.
Traveling is fun and all, but it is also hard. Being away from HOME, from family, friends…from your comfort zone….it’s rough. Having people to keep you busy is really good. I felt less homesick on the first months here, than I thought I would have.

Ok, I’ll go by parts.

I got here on July 28th. It was cold, even though it was technically summer. That’s the thing about Pacifica: it’s foggy and it’s crazy and it’s cold and it’s windy. And believe me, I haven’t gotten used to it yet. I am always the girl wearing pantyhose under my pants and wearing hella layers. I am always cold. I am quite aware that people sometimes might think that I am over reacting or being dramatic. But then they touch my hand and see me shaking and go ”damn, you really ARE that cold”. YEAH. I am not lying. Me and cold, we don’t get along. Zero tolerance.
And then of course, I get that comment ” Well, it’s understandable, you’re from Brazil.” Nu-uh. I am from the south of Brazil. From a city known for its ridiculous cold weather. But somehow this still feels colder.

ANYWAYS.

I got here, went straight to Sprint to buy a new iPhone, since my had been stolen a week before in this house party back home. Then I got some In-n-Out burgers with my ”host dad” Jack. In-n-out are the best thing since Betty White. No joke. I came home, looked around and got that really strange feeling ”This is home, for now on” and just sort of stood there. Staring at my suitcases… Then I went over to my friend Natalie’s house. She gave me a bag of mini reeses cups and it was all good.

The strangest part though, was that I felt like I had never left in first place. The situation was completely different, I was here on 100% different terms, was about to have a totally different life, but it felt…it felt right.

My classes would only start in September, so I had plenty of time to enjoy my break. Later that same day, I ended up going to my friend’s house for a little house party. It was nice to see everyone and it was good because I didn’t have time to feel homesick.

all one needs anyways.

all one needs anyways.

A few days later, I went down the coast of California with my host parents. OK, I feel like I need to explain the whole host parent deal. I am living at the same house where I lived at when I was an exchange student. They were my host family and I still call them that. For now on, to make things easier to understand, I’ll call them Jack and Elena. Those are their names, after all.

Anyways. Me and Elena drove down to Yosemite National Park and Jack flew to Pasadena, where he had this Mars Society Convention and we would meet up with him 4 days later. The drive from San Francisco to Yosemite is about 3 hours. We took our time, stopped in a couple places to eat etc. It’s a beautiful drive.

Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 11.43.39 PMWe stayed at a camp ground but we didn’t camp, with like, tents etc. We were in these little house thingys (YES, please, Luah, be more vague.)

Here’s a photo because I suck at describing it.

this!

this!

We were there because Elena (who is 53!) went hiking, she climbed Half Dome. It’s pretty awesome, if you ask me. I just walked around the camp ground, went to a little beach area, tanned, explored, read. It was really warm, exactly how I LOVE it. And it was very pleasant, calm, relaxing.

After 3-4 days, we drove down to the LA area, to Pasadena, to meet up with Jack. He is a big Mars lover and the Curiosity rover  was about to land in Mars and there was a big convention going on. I ended up being very interested about it, it was a big thing! And it was freaking summer, and WARM. Did I mention I LOVE warm weather?!?! Well. I do.

I also went to Los Angeles with a friend and walked around, got to go to the US Open of Surfing and even got an autograph from Kelly Slater. Yes, the 11 time world champion surfer, that guy.

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We had some good days in South California.

I actually had a little thing to solve down there. You see, I came to the US 40 days before my school started. I could only get in the US with my STUDENT visa within 30 days before school. So I got in with my tourist visa and thought I’d be alright until this guy at the airport pointed out I’d have to get OUT of the US to come BACK IN! CRAZY!!!!

SO I DID. I was in LA, we were going to Catalina Island anyways, so Jack said it would work out perfectly. We drove down to San Diego and crossed the border. Yup, I went to Tijuana and walked around, to come back in.
Reasonable huh. ¬¬

It wasn’t bad. I got to meet a new place, get some dulce de leche lollipops, and some other cool random things. Then we walked back in, waited in a huge line, felt like an illegal immigrant but it all worked out. That border is insane, many people with families and lots of bags trying to go to the US. Many of them got rejected at the immigration part and went back crying. It was heartbreaking. Quite the reality check.

The next day, we went to Catalina Island, a beautiful island off the coast of San Diego. Also known as ”fucking Catalina wine mixer” place. (oh please please tell me one of you got the reference!)

We took this cruise ship kind of thing to get there and it was amazing. I was mesmerized by everything. Getting there was the breath taking part. It sort of looks like a greek island but still very California.

We took a gold cart around the island, got to pet some deers (which I would have never done a couple years ago because I was terrified of those things!), ate great food, enjoyed the awesome weather, and took photos of gorgeous sceneries. It was such a great day and I am so grateful to Jack and Elena for the opportunity.

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Then we spent one more day in Pasadena and came back home. The drive back was also great, the coast of California is espectacular.

Ok, I PROMISE you guys I will finish this post soon. School is over, it’s not like I’m all busy and whatnot ;)

This was just the first week, you see. But I had to update it here. I do like this blog.

I hope you all do, too!

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Why we should travel young – by Jeff Goins.

Hello!

I know, long time, no see, right? Yeah, I have been lagging. But hey, give me a break, I moved to California in July and since then it’s all been absolutely crazy! I mean, school started and it is really hard, let me tell you.

But my fingers have been itching and I need to write here. So I found this blog post by this cool guy named Jeff Goins, and I thought I should post it here so 1) all of you know that I am still alive and well and I intend to write here more often, because I still have a lot to tell. and 2) This article, or blog post, or whatever you wanna call it, is pretty amazing and I could relate to it so much, thought it’d be nice to share with everyone. 

I didn’t write this, I simply got it from this site: http://convergemagazine.com/travel-young-5278/

So here it goes. 

 

As I write this, I’m flying. It’s an incredible concept: to be suspended in the air, moving at two hundred miles an hour — while I read a magazine. Amazing, isn’t it?

I woke up at three a.m. this morning. Long before the sun rose, thirty people loaded up three conversion vans and drove two hours to the San Juan airport. Our trip was finished. It was time to go home. But we were changed.

As I sit, waiting for the flight attendant to bring my ginger ale, I’m left wondering why I travel at all. The other night, I was reminded why I do it — why I believe this discipline of travel is worth all the hassle.

I was leading a missions trip in Puerto Rico. After a day of work, as we were driving back to the church where we were staying, one of the young women brought up a question.

“Do you think I should go to graduate school or move to Africa?”

I don’t think she was talking to me. In fact, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t. But that didn’t stop me from offering my opinion.

I told her to travel. Hands down. No excuses. Just go.

She sighed, nodding. “Yeah, but…”

I had heard this excuse before, and I didn’t buy it. I knew the “yeah-but” intimately. I had uttered it many times before. The words seem innocuous enough, but are actually quite fatal.

Yeah, but …

… what about debt?

 

… what about my job?

… what about my boyfriend?

This phrase is lethal. It makes it sound like we have the best of intentions, when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards while sounding noble.

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did it. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job still did those things after they traveled.

It reminded me of Dr. Eisenhautz and the men’s locker room.

Dr. Eisenhautz was a German professor at my college. I didn’t study German, but I was a foreign language student so we knew each other. This explains why he felt the need to strike up a conversation with me at six o’clock one morning.

I was about to start working out, and he had just finished. We were both getting dressed in the locker room. It was, to say the least, a little awkward — two grown men shooting the breeze while taking off their clothes.

“You come here often?” he asked. I could have laughed.

“Um, yeah, I guess,” I said, still wiping the crusted pieces of whatever out of my eyes.

“That’s great,” he said. “Just great.”

I nodded, not really paying attention. He had already had his adrenaline shot; I was still waiting for mine. I somehow uttered that a friend and I had been coming to the gym for a few weeks now, about three times a week.

“Great,” Dr. Eisenhautz repeated. He paused as if to reflect on what he would say next. Then, he just blurted it out. The most profound thing I had heard in my life.

“The habits you form here will be with you for the rest of your life.”

Photos by Geoff Heith

My head jerked up, my eyes got big, and I stared at him, letting the words soak into my half-conscious mind. He nodded, said a gruff goodbye, and left. I was dumbfounded.

The words reverberated in my mind for the rest of the day. Years later, they still haunt me. It’s true — the habits you form early in life will, most likely, be with you for the rest of your existence.

I have seen this fact proven repeatedly. My friends who drank a lot in college drink in larger quantities today. Back then, we called it “partying.” Now, it has a less glamorous name: alcoholism. There are other examples. The guys and girls who slept around back then now have babies and unfaithful marriages. Those with no ambition then are still working the same dead end jobs.

“We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle once said. While I don’t want to sound all gloom-and-doom, and I believe your life can turn around at any moment, there is an important lesson here: life is a result of intentional habits. So I decided to do the things that were most important to me first, not last.

After graduating college, I joined a band and traveled across North America for nine months. With six of my peers, I performed at schools, churches, and prisons. We even spent a month in Taiwan on our overseas tour. (We were huge in Taiwan.)

As part of our low-cost travel budget, we usually stayed in people’s homes. Over dinner or in conversation later in the evening, it would almost always come up — the statement I dreaded. As we were conversing about life on the road — the challenges of long days, being cooped up in a van, and always being on the move — some well-intentioned adult would say, “It’s great that you’re doing this … while you’re still young.”

Ouch. Those last words — while you’re still young — stung like a squirt of lemon juice in the eye (a sensation with which I am well acquainted). They reeked of vicarious longing and mid-life regret. I hated hearing that phrase.

I wanted to shout back,

“No, this is NOT great while I’m still young! It’s great for the rest of my life! You don’t understand. This is not just a thing I’m doing to kill time. This is my calling! My life! I don’t want what you have. I will always be an adventurer.”

In a year, I will turn thirty. Now I realize how wrong I was. Regardless of the intent of those words, there was wisdom in them.

As we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. In fact, in many cases it is really good. It means you’re influencing people, leaving a legacy.

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important. The best way to do that is to make investments in your life so that you can have an effect on who you are in your later years.

I did this by traveling. Not for the sake of being a tourist, but to discover the beauty of life — to remember that I am not complete.

There is nothing like riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge or seeing the Coliseum at sunset. I wish I could paint a picture for you of how incredible the Guatemalan mountains are or what a rush it is to appear on Italian TV. Even the amazing photographs I have of Niagara Falls and the American Midwest countryside do not do these experiences justice. I can’t tell you how beautiful southern Spain is from the vantage point of a train; you have to experience it yourself. The only way you can relate is by seeing them.

While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Appalachian trail. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.

Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a newfound respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.

While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel, young person. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion. While you still can.

Do not squander this time. You will never have it again. You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. The habits you form in this season will stick with you for the rest of your life. So choose those habits wisely.

And if you’re not as young as you’d like (few of us are), travel anyway. It may not be easy or practical, but it’s worth it. Traveling allows you to feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way, like little else can. In other words, it makes you more human.

That’s what it did for me, anyway.

 

 

 

 

Greece…indescribable.

I just spent over 5 minutes trying to come up with a good title for this post. It was pointless. I realized that one does not simply describe a place like Greece. It’s more than amazing, more than just beautiful. Greece is not a country you can describe with a word but with a feeling. With memories. Stories. Maybe some photos, to at least TRY to show what it’s like there. But in the end, what Greece really is…is indescribable. It goes beyond words.
And just to make myself clear…The crisis and everything bad that is going on in Greece at the moment is NOT going to be a part of my posts. Because I want to speak of what I experienced there and I will not go into any political matters, at least not as first anyways, simply because I want to talk about the MAGIC….and not about how the magic is fading.

 

Let’s begin, shall we!?

 

I was still living in the US when my mother told me there would be a big speech pathology convention and that it would be in Greece. She talked about bringing me with her since I would be back in Brazil by the time of the convention. We were skyping and looking at pictures and that was probably the first time I had researched anything about the country. It’s not that I didn’t like it or weren’t interested by it, I just hadn’t had the chance to stop and think about Greece, before.

No need to say I was mesmerized by all the photos. Greece is so full of history, it’s a big walking museum if you ask me.
Obviously I had studied about it in history classes and philosophy in school but looking at the pictures of Athens and the Greek Islands, I just couldn’t help but be excited to see all that the books didn’t show me.

My mom and I took a flight to Rio de Janeiro where we met her friend Deborah–who lives there– and then the three of us proceeded to Madrid, Spain. That’s a story for later, haha. But we did spend the day there, since our flight to Athens was only later that night.
When we got to Athens, it was night and it was extremely warm. We would only stay there for one night before going to Santorini and then Mykonos, then we’d go back to Athens for the convention. It was a business trip but how could we NOT go meet those amazing islands that look a lot more like paradise than anything else, really.

Our night in Athens was full of laughs and funny happenings. We found a hotel to stay in that was not exactly the most luxurious place on Earth. It was far from it, honestly. But we thought ” hey, it’s just one night, why not!?”.
To be fair, the hotel was not all that bad. Besides the fact that the elevator could only fit 2 people and maybe a carry on, we were in Athens and could not let anything bother us. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

You see, the thing about me is that I am the greatest person to travel with. I am, really. I don’t care where I’m going to sleep, what I am going to eat….I would camp, sleep on the floor, sleep on a hard bed…I won’t complain about food because I eat everything and anything. I am down with anything. So I was okay with the hotel we stayed in. It probably had half a star, if that. So when my mom and Deborah went out to buy some snacks, I decided to shower. The showers in Greece, like a lot of other European countries, aren’t the ones on the top, it’s just some sort of douche…
That was not the problem. The problem (if I can really call it a ‘problem’) was that there was no hot water. It was probably 30+•C there so I was absolutely ok with it. I love my warm showers but I took a deep breath and turned on the freezing cold water. My mom and her friend weren’t so down with that, haha, so they called the guy in the reception. I guess he fixed it…
While my mom was taking her shower, me and Deborah were chatting and opening the things we bought in the free shop at the airport.
That’s when Deborah looked at me with some sort of scare on her face and told me calmly: ”Luah….don’t freak out but there is a cockroach right there.” I didn’t exactly freak out, I found the whole situation funny. I knew my mom would have a heart-attack! So we had to take care of it before she got out of the bathroom. When Deborah got my UGG (my furry boot) to kill the poor bug, we heard the bathroom door and we both screamed: DO NOT GET OUT OF THERE.
She peaked outside to see what the heck was going on and realized it was something she wouldn’t love. haha  The damn cockroach was under my mom’s shoe, of course haha. We killed it and everything was okay. But sleeping in that room after knowing what had just happened, was a bit scary. I mean, I don’t get scared by bugs but I don’t exactly want to eat them in my sleep.
I don’t think I ate any bugs at night, and early in the next morning we went back to the airport to go to Santorini.
I had no idea that I was about to discover the most amazing place ever, the place I now consider to be my favorite on earth.

Santorini, GREECE

 

Apologies!

I know I’ve been MIA lately but I promise I will write this week ASAP! Not only am I lazy, but also, I have been full of things to do/think about lately. No excuse, I know!

Next post: GREECE! :)

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The big N Y C {last part}

I really hate when I say stuff like ”I will finish this post tomorrow” and then BOOM, two weeks later and guess what? Still no post. It’s not really that I am lazy….but it’s mostly that. And I do do a lot of things…but mostly, just lazy. I apologize for that. New York, finale. Haha. This last post will be short and I am going to speak mostly (wow, do I overuse this word or what?) about the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yellow Cabs and the Yellow Cabs drivers, the people and the 5th avenue and some people I met while in New York. And OF COURSE, my favorite place ever. (suspense music) So if none of those things interest you, go to the search box or the tags and look up some other post! Or email me suggesting something! :) No prob! Here it goes: First. Yellow cabs and drivers. Why would I choose to talk about the cabs? Because since I was a kid, I wanted to ride in one. Simple as that. You know how it goes: you are in a hurry, you need a cab, you whistle. THERE. Just like that, 23424524 taxis show up right in front of you. And it’s awesome. It might not seem or sound like such a big deal, but you gotta admit, it is very impressive. Besides, when I write about my Greece trip, and compare NYC to Mykonos, you’ll understand me. Anyways. The drivers. Not a single American cab driver, at least I didn’t get to see any. They’re all foreigners with a really strong accent and sometimes they’re not all that happy. Scratch that, they might be happy but they’re quite moody. And I do not say that as a bad thing. I am moody myself. I tend to get along and have fun with those kind of people, because the end up making clever little remarks and comments. So, all I had to say about the Yellow Cab Co. was that. That’s all. Ride one. Be happy. Second. 5th Ave. Why not? It’s amazing. If you like shopping OR just walk around to see the city, watch people, window shop…I like the first option, of course. Haha. Little known fact about moi: I do not like to match my socks. I actually cannot stand to do so. Why am i telling you this? WELL, because there is this ADORABLE store at the 5th ave. called LittleMissMatched. The name says it all, right? But yeah. Things like that is what makes me happy. Look at it this way: there are all sorts of weird people in the World and NYC knows a LOT of them. :) Haha. These are mine :) yay!

Anyways. There are tons of amazing stores, and for everyone, not only for those who had 234525 dollars to spend. I didn’t. But there are cool places, nice little shops, fun people…

The MET.   If you like museus, this is obviously and definitely a must-go. I was so amazed by it all, the place, the expositions, everything. Very clean, organized, complete. I went sort of crazy. I love the part with all the statues, and those old rooms (ya know!?) haha. So, I will just post some pics of it, but my advice is GO. GO GO GO. If you have the chance. If not, I’ll leave a sneak peak :)

Here are their hours and prices:

Hours

Tuesday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.* Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.* Sunday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.*Closed Monday (except Met Holiday Mondays), Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1

Admission

Fee includes same-day admission to the Main Building and The Cloisters museum and gardens. There is no extra charge for entrance to special exhibitions.

Recommended
Adults $25
Seniors (65 and older) $17
Students $12*
Members (Join Now) Free
Children under 12 (accompanied by an adult) Free
See, for lazy people like me, I took the time to COPY and PASTE it. haha.
It is very worth the visit.
(The pictures will be in the end of my post with all the other or else I can’t format this post right, ugh!)
Quick little story TIME!
My mom went for a walk by herself and I decided to do the same. I was carrying a doggy bag with a slice of pizza I couldn’t finish and I was going to give it to some homeless person. I then saw this cute jewelry  store and went inside. I bought a couple things and on my way out, this guy who looked like Johnny Depp asked for my number. We then proceeded to text all day long and we’re friends till this day :) which I find very exciting because he is from Nepal and has a lot of cool things to share with me :)
Other group of people I met was in front of the Rockefeller Center. They were a group of adorable boys (well, I am human…) playing the guitar and singing. I fell in love for a few moments, and took all my BrazilianNESS and sat next to them to take a picture. haha. Oh, me.
And, the best part. My two favorite spots in the city. First, Strand bookstore. It’s an old bookstore on Broadway street. Their slogan is ”18 MILES OF BOOKS” and being the bookworm that I am, I was very anxious to go check it out. I first saw the name STRAND when I was walking around Central Park, where they have a small kiosk with amazing classic books for a very good price. Then I asked the guy who was selling the books where the actual store was. I immediately went to the place. Very excited and craving new books. The place is quite old, but AGAIN, I mean this in the best of ways since I enjoy ”old stuff”. It’s a nice place, very comfortable and full of BOOKS. The smell of books mesmerized me. You know, that smell? But yeah. Then I looked around. My mom said I looked like a kid at a toy store. I felt like I was, too. They have all books you can possible imagine! It was like…some sort of heaven. At least for me.
Strand Books
Then I got a basket and….went crazy. I think I got 15+ books. All kinds of books, too: poems, mafia boos, romances, thrillers…And as if that wasn’t enough, I also got this tote bag, my favorite bag btw, and a few other souveniers. Then, to my surprise, they told me they SHIPPED TO BRAZIL!!!! YAAAAY! Amazing. I then chose a few books to bring with me and shipped a few others. One month later, I got them all and it was a magnificent moment, I must say.
Tote Bag: Hooty the Owl

I sooo wish we had Strand in Brasil :( Oh well. A girl can dream.

NEXT.

The Blue Note Jazz ClubI really enjoy listening to Jazz, so when my Uncle suggested we went there, I quickly called to make a table reservation. I was with my mommmmy and her friend :)
The club is very Jazz-y. Kind of dark, a bit chilly, but you feel great when you’re inside it. The atmosphere is very pleasant. They also have a good menu with a lot of options to choose from. I got chicken wings because, well, I love chicken? And something to drink but I can’t remember what…I am not 21 but I think I ordered something with alcohol, not quite sure haha.
Our table was for 4 people so the waiter asked if a lady could sit with us. She was considerably older than my mom and her friend, and she seemed to be a jazz lover, and more than that, she liked the woman who was playing that night. So it was very enjoyable talking to her. She told us how she used to go there with her husband, who had recently passed away, and it was heart breaking–although awesome, at the same time. We spent all night chatting and laughing, enjoying the amazing music, piano, sax, everything. It was a perfect evening and for those who love jazz, if you haven’t yet heard of the place, go to the website, youtube it, etc. I intend on going back there as soon as possible.

So, to end this post about one of the most amazing cities in the World, some videos and photos :)

I miss you, NY :)

 CLICKKKKKKK

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I ♥ NY

And who doesn’t? Seriously!
I mean, even people who has never been to the place, loves it somehow. Even if it’s just because of F•R•I•E•N•D•S, or some other fun sitcom.

The thing is…once you get there, you’re completely mesmerized. Now, whenever one of my new yorker friends is all bragging about how he is awesome for living there, I don’t even argue anymore. Because, you know…I’d brag too, if I lived in the big NYC. (And mark my words: I will live there one day.)

I think that it’s time to talk about the Times Square.  A lot of the people I know from NY don’t get why I’m so in love with it. Mostly because you know, when you live at a certain place, you end up not paying attention to all the touristic stuff. It’s just background, just normal everyday places. But it doesn’t mean it’s not amazing.

When you first step foot  there, you get this feeling…it’s like no other. All those lights, all those people…it fills your heart with some sort of feeling I have not yet been able to describe.
It’s silly, I know. But I think I might be a little bit like a child, who gets excited with lights and colorful things…

It’s not just that. There are a lot of cool stores, restaurantes, theaters, movie theaters….so on and so on.

AND advertising. As an Advertising major, I can tell you, that is paradise. All explendid ads, too.

Anyways, enough with the geeky advertising talk.
I believe that what made me so hypnotized was probably the crowd. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves so much! Whether they were shopping or just hanging out with family/friends, they were happy. Again, why wouldn’t they be? When you’re there, you feel so small but not in a bad way. It’s a bit like when you’re looking at an extremely starry sky. Or the ocean. You feel tiny tiny tiny. And it’s not bad because that only means that you are a part of a huge thing. And that makes us feel comfortable.

I can’t just talk about the Times Square but I swear to {insert god here} I would love to.
So please, bear with me while I vent about all the amazing things I saw there, and then I’ll make a new post about the rest of the other amazing things in the Big Apple.

While my mom and I were walking, we saw this crowd gathering in a circle to watch some sort of street performance. It was a group of very strong guys who were basically jumping around and entertaining everyone. It sounds simple but it was actually a lot of fun. I am talking about this specially because of what happened. They were picking people from the crowd to use in their …performance? And I guess they couldn’t do that, because a cop came by and told them to stop. I guess it was because the guy was jumping over people. haha. The cool thing, though, was that the cop was so nice. He, very politely, asked them to finish their show and move on. It was a nice gesture, and if you know any countries where the cops can get a bit extreme, you will understand what I mean.

Well, I am going to post some videos of Times Square (I was there twice but my videos are all kind of all together so I don’t know which was which…) but first this cool website I found where you can watch webcams of the Times Square:

TIMES SQUARE WEBCAM

the cool cops NYC (((VIDEO)))

NYC

Well, the days that followed we were just typical tourists. We shopped at the 5th Ave. Went to the Empire State BuildingRockefeller Center etc.

The Empire State Building is, indeed, pretty cool. You can get one of those audio tour thingy while you walk around the building…I got one and even though I don’t normally, I ended up enjoying the stories and comments–that are narrated by this guy with a strong italian accent.
You pay $23 bucks to go up, and once you’re at the top, you have an amazing view of New York…everything is tiny but so beautiful. The yellow cabs, the people running to get to work, the tourists, the families having picnics at the parks…

And the Rockefeller Center is just as nice. You can also go to the top and you’ll have a view that is just as pretty. You pay $25 to go up to the top, but the cool thing is that besides the cool view of NYC, like you can get at the Empire State, at the Rockefeller you can get the view+see the Empire State and this really nice view of the Central Park. And there is no high ”fences” like the ones in the ESB. Instead, the ”walls” are made of glass and you can see everything. A bit scary, too. haha.

Rockerfeller Center USA Flags

I don’t mind doing all the touristic stuff, some of them end up being really fun. I did not go to the Statue of Liberty though, I’m not quite sure why, I just didn’t feel like it. But I saw it. That’s good enough for me. Haha. Next visit, maybe.

And,  a video to end this second post.

Worth listening to, Frank Sinatra ;)

Anyways, more of the Big Apple laterrrr.

New York, New York!

So the winner was…..New York!

And I’m secretly happy about it because NY was amazing. I mean, duuuh, it IS New York, what else would you expect?

I went to NYC because my mom was going to present a paper at this…well, thing for her job. Anyways. I went with her and her other speech therapist friend. :)

This was JUNE 2011

Going to New York with my mom was actually a big dream of ours. We are very close and we enjoy traveling together, but NY was the one place I dreamed of going and a place she already knew and loved. When the opportunity came for her to go present this paper, she thought it’d be an amazing idea to take me, with her.

It was.

We also went to Pennsylvania afterwards, but that’s another story :)

When we got to the Big Apple, I was in awe. I thought everything was so beautiful, and so much more awesome than in the movies. haha.
We stayed at this really pleasant and comfortable hotel  on the corner  the 45th and Madison: The Roosevelt Hotel.

We have a cousin in NY, he’s Brazilian, but has been leaving there for over 15 years now. My mom had stayed over his house a couple times in the city before, but I didn’t even know the guy till this trip.
So the first thing we did was (after chilling at the hotel, long trip. jet lag…) go out for some chicken wings and beers at a local bar our cousin Claudinho knew.
It was basically a college people kinda bar and legally I’m not even supposed to drink there, but he knew the waitress so, ya know! haha

Our first night was a success, we talked, got to catch up, laughed, ate great food..then me and my mom went back to the hotel.

I was on the internet looking up fun new things to do in NY and I saw ”Lady Gaga on Good Morning America @Central Park”. I actually do like her. I like her voice, my mom likes her voice. It’s not a matter of taste, here, so just shh :)

It was really early in the morning though, so we had to get some rest. I texted a whole bunch of people to try to get tickets, no luck. We woke up early and went anyways. Besides, it was summer, hot, beautiful out and we wanted to enjoy every second of our days.

My first time at the Central Park was very good. I could picture myself sitting under a tree, reading a book etc. It’s such a nice place.
I am NOT a morning person at ALL but I was happy (how could I not?)

So we started to see the crowd and figured it was probably because of the Good Morning America thing with GAGA.
We followed the crowd and yeap, that was it. People who didn’t have a ticket could watch from another side of the stage, a big screen kinda thing….It was great though.

Then after the concert we went to get some breakfast. Having lived in the US for a couple of years, I am a big fan of egg muffins, bacon, coffee and toast. And that was exactly was we got.

OKAY. I AM SORRY but I gotta continue this tomorrow. I had the longest day, I’m falling asleep on the keyboard and that’s not fair with any of you :) haha

(If anyone even reads this, anyways)

SO, more about the magical NEW YORK,

TOMORROW.

VOTING TIME!!!!

I’m going away for a couple of days with my mom, for the Easter holiday. So I want to know what you guys want me to write about when I get back!

:)

Also, you have the option ” suggestion” and that just means that you could help me write my next post, maybe about a trip that you’ve made, a cool place you’ve been to. Then we’ll create a cool post about that place, together, and I’ll post it here!

 

OKAY,

here it is!

VOTE VOTE VOTE!

Those crazy Finns.

No, seriously. The Finnish people are insane. In the best way, of course.

The best experience I had while in Finland was, without a doubt, the Kaljakellunta, or, Beer Float.

What it is, you ask? Well, it’s basically a bunch of people who do not like to stay at home with nothing to do and decided to get something that floats, a few beers and…go down a river. The Vantaa river, more specifically.
A lot of people get together to have fun on top of floating things while they go down a river, drinking beer. There’s really no other way to describe it. It’s simply as awesome as it sounds.

Me and my cousin were really excited about it and as soon as we heard of the event, we started thinking what would make us float down the Vantaa River. We ended up buying an air mattress.  Like this one:

 

We got there and there were already hundreds of people with all sorts of floating things. People actually put a lot of effort into these things! They definitely planned ahead. Some people built a boat-like thing, with woods, car tires, etc. It was amazing. Some people bought those kid’s inflatable pirate ships and they even had pirate hats (awesome!).

The main thing though, was the BEER. You’re supposed to be drinking BEER at all times. Haha.
Me and Lucas bought a snack, some beers, brought a camera (which was ruined because of the water).

We started inflating our mattress and it was all very fun. People helped each other, and when ready, took their ”ships” to the water. The feeling when you are about to jump on top of the mattress that is already on the water, is very funny. It’s scary, and funny, I mean.

So there we went….people were watching, filming, laughing…and it was fun. Simple fun, you know?
Who would’ve thought that going down a river would be that much fun? But it really was.
And not just because we were, well, drunk and floating, but because everyone there was nice and talked to each other, we were part of a big thing, of a tradition of people who did not like to be average, boring….People who actually did something different. We were a part of something.

Sometimes we would have to stop to well….in simple words….pee. And then we had to ask people for help to ”stop” our mattress and go to a little bush. It was hilarious. There was music, food, talking, laughs. It was sunny, too, which helped.

 

The Kaljakellunta (Beer float)  is organized through websites like Facebook and such, to gather people. There are no official organizers. It is a annual event, that started in 1997.

So, enough talking, here are the photos, and a video of my experience on the Vantaa river :)
And, if you’re ever in Finland, in the Helsinki area, around August, GET INFORMED about dates and try to go to this. It is amazing and so worth it!

 

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