Bom dia, Lisboa (and Sintra)

I feel like everyone’s been raving about Lisbon since 2014. Expectations therefore were high despite not having done any actual research. Sometimes, you just gotta believe the hype.

Lisbon is as cool as what they make it out to be. It has the grit, the charm and a history that even non-history buffs like me would find compelling. Continue reading “Bom dia, Lisboa (and Sintra)”

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Vale

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Yesterday, I went on a mini road-trip with the nuns. Who would have thought those words would end up together in a sentence…

Anyway, I was resolved into having a Game of Thrones binge until there came a knock on the door whilst I was brushing my teeth.

“Vamos al Valle del Jerte para ver las cerezas en flor. Te apetece?”

Translation: We’re going to see the cherry trees in Valle del Jerte, wanna come with? Now, everyone has been talking about this Valle del Jerte and cherry business since January so I thought if not now, then when, and how on earth can you politely turn down an offer from a nun?

Vale.

Continue reading “Vale”

Las Fallas

4pm. We were nearing towards Valencia and out came pouring raindrops. Just like that, the rain swept familiarity away; what should have felt like a homecoming felt like a strange first meeting… Or perhaps it was just because we took a different route and I have rubbish memory and therefore have lost my bearings. This feeling of dread only lasted for a couple of minutes however; as soon as I caught sight of Plaza de la Virgen, cherished memories, if memory ever served me well, came flooding back. In the words of Meat Loaf and Celine Dion, it’s all coming back to me…

Continue reading “Las Fallas”

Madrid

It was the day of the Brussels attack. My second day in Madrid. As news broke, other major European cities were put on high alert. It’s tricky to play tourist during these sobering times. As much as it was unlikely to happen in Madrid, there was caution in the air; I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one that day who avoided taking the metro or the bus.

Anyway, let’s keep this post light, shall we?

Continue reading “Madrid”

On showing up

oh shit was that today

Let me start this entry by talking about one of the nuns I got to know over the past few weeks here at the convent*: Her name is Teresa, and she has recently developed her affinity for learning English. Upon every encounter, she will query something basic; how a word is spelt, pronounced, the correct sentence order and so on. She became so persistent at this that I now expect it of her on a daily basis. Just for the record, that wasn’t a complaint. At times, she will ask me to record random stuff using her trusty voice recorder – the days of the week or the Lord’s Prayer, anything goes – just so she can listen to them in slow mode and practise the pronunciation herself. During our odd one-to-one lessons, she will write down phrases she learnt and re-write them neatly in another notebook. In short, when it comes to picking up the language, the woman is dead serious.

Continue reading “On showing up”

Plasencia

Back in June, miserable as the weather was in Leeds and with our jobs and measly pay weighing us down, my housemate and I decided, if the course of our lives were to change, then we ought to do something about it quick. And just like that, I was swayed into taking a chance on Spain.

Fast forward to the day of my departure, my 19 year-old self would have made a mad dash to the security gates, unable to contain the excitement for all the (mis)adventures to embark upon.

Yesterday, not so much.

Continue reading “Plasencia”

So far, so good

2016. Whether you’re born sentimental or one who just gets on with it, there is no denying nostalgia and self-improvement season is here and probably will linger around for awhile – a week or two, a month, if you’re that optimistic.

If I were asked to look back on the year that has been yesterday, I would’ve have easily shrugged it off and tell that person 2015 was a year wasted on fundamental mistakes and futile attempts at trying to better it. It has been crap, for lack of a better word. Relatively crap.

Only today, a day late, did it occur to me where it all went wrong. I have been, for the most part, ungrateful – which aren’t we all guilty of sometimes? It’s human nature to desire more after all. The concept of having enough seems so far-fetched to many of us as there’s always a better place to be in, a better life depicted by either yourself or someone else. My mum never tires herself of saying this generation has 99 problems but this bitch is The One. (No, she didn’t ruin that Jay-Z reference, that’s all me.) On a serious note, we are a generation seemingly always on the pursuit of our own happiness and the ironic thing is, some of us get impatient even when we are still in the process of figuring out what constitutes this. And therein lies the problem. Or at least, my problem.

This year, I promise myself to make 2016 count, not by frantically ticking things off my to-do or bucket-list (I still have them, don’t get me wrong) but instead, shift my focus on what’s good so far, take delight in everyday things and entertain the thought I may, after all, just have enough, even all I need for the time being.

Happy New Year, folks.