Alphabet Soup: J is for Journey

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Happy Friday, readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something, I know. I was enjoying my last week in Scotland! My last few days in Port Logan were absolutely lovely, even if they were blanketed in fog. They brought about interesting events like watching a game of Curling and picking mushrooms that may or may not have been safe for consumption. However, the journey continues….

J is for Journey

I’m currently in Liverpool. Yesterday was a long day of travel, followed by a lovely dinner. Today I’m tired and sore and cranky, so this might turn out to be a bit shorter than usual. I can’t help but wonder at how much traveling takes out of you. You spend the day sitting down, not really doing much of anything, but it’s incredibly draining. Is it the constant motion? Not being able to fully relax for fear of missing your train or your plane or your bus?

You can’t go anywhere for free. Whether it’s a physical or emotional journey, there is always a price to pay and it’s not always money. We pay by sacrificing hours of sleep, the possibility of comfort, in some cases more time than we’d care to. And yet we still do it, because no matter how draining it is and how much it demands of us, the rewards are far greater than the sacrifices would ever be.

My current journey through the UK has led me to new things, new people, new places. I’m tired right now. Writing in my pj’s while I wait for the pain medication to kick in. (My bag probably weighs more than 60 pounds, just think about dealing with that across 4 different trains.) But I’m grateful and happy to be where I am, to have the opportunity to travel. I’m constantly amazed that I get to do this, even if it’s for a short period of time.

I’m in Liverpool right now, my next stop is London on Sunday. Up until now they UK has been incredible, really everything I’d thought it’d be and more. Hopefully London won’t disappoint! 

Until next time readers!

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Alphabet Soup: E is for Excitement

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Fridays are the perfect days to be excited about things. The weekend is here. You won’t see your boss for a couple of days. You probably won’t see your pants either. Fridays are good people. In honor of Friday, here are five things I’ve been excited about this week.

E is for Excitement

1. Eurotrip

As the days go by, my trip draws ever nearer and the excitement mounts. This is going to be my first time in the Uk. Also my first time in Boston, where I’m stopping for a few days to visit family. On top of that I’m going to visit a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a while. Plus, really, who doesn’t love to travel?! I love waking up really early in the morning and heading out to a nearly empty airport. It’s usually cold, so you snuggle into your jacket with a good book. Occasionally looking up to watch the planes go by as you wait for your flight to be called.

2. New York

This is also trip related, but it’s an add-on so I’m counting it as my second point. This week I decided to mosey on down to New York City for two days before returning home. I honestly couldn’t help myself, with it being so close. Adding to the excitement are the people I’ll be meeting up with in New York. And, really, the most important thing of all…A VISIT TO THE STRAND! The Strand is a book store in NYC that boasts a whopping 18 miles of books within it’s cramped, yet bountiful shelves. If you’re planning a trip to NYC and you enjoy books, The Strand is definitely a must visit. Also, Magnolia Bakery. Because sugar.

3. Oscar’s Hotel

So, Oscar’s Hotel is a short movie written and directed by PJ Liguori. The movie takes place in Oscar’s Hotel, which caters to a host of mystical creatures from all over the universe. The movie is visually captivating and it’s no surprise that it got turned into a series which just came out! I’m really excited to watch it because it features YouTubers like Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, and Hannah Hart. The cast is full of recognizable names though! Here’s a trailer so you see what I mean.

4. Negative results

Negative results are rarely ever good, unless we’re talking about STD tests (and pregnancy, but let’s not even). A few weeks ago I got tested for a few things, this week I got my results back. All negative. Which is quite positive, in my book. So, you know, much excitement over the continued health of my sex life.

5. Halloween

It’s officially October. Halloween approaches! I love Halloween probably as much as I love Christmas, which is an unhealthy amount. I love rewatching bad, “scary” movies and baking treats for friends. This year I’m spending Halloween in Scotland, there’s been talk of pumpkin carving and ghost tours. I can’t wait. You guys have no idea how excited I am for this!

There you go, five things I’m excited about this week. Of course, there’s something that I’m always excited about and that’s you! This is going to sound immensely cheesy (enough to feed a village of mice), but I’m constantly excited about you guys. I like sharing my reading experiences with you, along with whatever weird things are happening in my life. I’m excited to continue writing and developing this blog into something that you can all enjoy week after week.

Are you guys particularly excited about anything this week? Is anything exciting coming up? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay beautiful, readers. Until next time!

Return of the Blogging Dead

I’m back, readers!

Are you excited? I’m excited! A bunch of things have happened since July –some good, some bad, some completely unremarkable. Towards the end of July, beginning of August I found out my Thyroid was all over the place, so I’ve had to start taking medication and figuring out how to change my lifestyle to fix it. In addition to that, my mom was put on notice at work which has meant another series of changes. I decided to stop blogging for a while in order to make space for these changes and set up new routines that would include them.

Don’t fret though, it hasn’t all been dreary! I hooked up with the tallest guy I’m probably ever going to hook up with in my life. He was 6’7. It was dreamy. I have a thing for very tall men, but that is neither here nor there. 

In ACTUAL news, my trip to Europe is drawing near and it’s already taking shape. I’ve settled on three countries –Scotland, England, and Spain– ending with a stop in Boston to visit family before returning home. Out of all those places, the only one I’ve already been to is Spain, so I’m pretty excited to be headed somewhere new. There’s talk of carving pumpkins for Halloween and going camping if the weather allows it. All in all, the trip promises to be good and eventful. I’ll be blogging as often as possible during the trip, which means you’ll be able to see what I’m up to as I go!

Speaking of blogging, I’ve decided to post 3 times a week, rather than daily. I think I bit off more than I could chew by wanting to post daily and the content I was putting out wasn’t my best. Hopefully with this new schedule I can provide you with better content. As time goes on and things change, I might definitely increase the number of posts per week, but for now three is the number I’m sticking with. I have a few things planned for the next few weeks that you will hopefully enjoy. I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging, finding a new groove, and writing consistently. A break from blogging didn’t mean a break from reading though, so I’m coming back with my Final thoughts on Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and the other books I read in the month and a half I’ve been gone!

It’s good to be back! Are there any books you guys want to recommend as I continue my challenge? Let me know in the comments below. Missed ya, readers. Until next time!

Of Droughts and Mormons

Good evening, everyone!

Today has been an insanely long day and not for any particular reason, the time has just passed very slowly. This was probably aided by the fact that it’s been an entirely uneventful day where all I did was watch tv, do a small amount of work for a group I belong to, and read.

On the bright side, today we got our water back! It’s possible you don’t know this, but Puerto Rico is experiencing one of the most severe droughts in the past decade, at least. Due to the infinitesimal amount of water, we’re smack dab in the middle of a rationing process. Initially, they would turn the water off for 24 hours, but as the water level decreased they increased that to 48 hours. Today marked the end of the latest 48 hour period and, for the moment, we have running water. According to the “experts” the water levels will take months to get back to normal, which means we will most likely be rationing water for a few more months.

If I weren’t already excited to go to Europe, escaping the drought alone would make the trip worth it. I can’t lie though, I’m stoked to finally visit Europe on my terms, without tour guides or a group to determine where I should be. The first time I set foot in Europe my mom and I went with a tourist group where everything was pre-organized. The second time, I went as part of an English course offered by the university; we traveled following in the footsteps of American writers who based themselves in Paris, like those of the Lost Generation and the Beat Generation. As a group we had more freedom to explore than I did with my previous group, but because it was a university course there were things we needed to see and places we needed to visit in order to complete our final project. This upcoming trip is a chance to finally visit the countries that I want, without the hassle of timetables or preordained stops to make. It’s quite liberating, if I’m honest.

As part of my absolutely lazy day, I’ve been getting acquainted with my new book, Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I usually have a difficult time reading non-fiction because it takes me longer to dig through the facts and find the narrative. I haven’t had that problem so far with this book, it invites me to keep reading and I can’t help but feel excited about that. In the small amount I’ve read it’s already explored a few subjects in a really concise and direct way. I like that the writer found a way to explain things that could be potentially complicated and made them seem simple without dumbing them down. I’ve never read anything else by him, so I don’t know if that’s his style in general or if it has to do with the nature of the book itself. So far, the way he’s approached the narrative works with what he’s trying to say.

One of the first things he touches upon is the difference between Mormons and Mormon Fundamentalists. They both follow the same scriptures and believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet similar to Moses, for example. However, Mormon Fundamentalists firmly believe in polygamy, to them abandoning what they consider to be one of the religion’s pillars means that the rest of the Mormons have strayed from the true teachings of Joseph Smith.

According to the book, only about 1% of Mormons are Fundamentalists and yet, at least in my experience, we have a tendency to equate Mormons with polygamy. I’ve never really been exposed to the Mormon religion, so I’m not sure if it’s a general tendency to equate Mormonism with polygamy or if it’s just me. I’ve been trying to find out what percentage of Puerto Ricans belongs to the Mormon religion, but I haven’t found anything satisfying. It looks like I have homework!

Hopefully I’ll have some information by tomorrow. Don’t miss my continued journey into Mormonism! Until next time, readers.

Greener-grass Ideas

I don’t know about you guys, but I kinda love Home Depot. They have so many cool and practical products that you can use as intended or repurpose them into something else. We went in this morning looking for supplies because, wait for it….we’re starting a garden! I ordered a whole bunch of seeds which arrived a few weeks ago and, now that we’re all on vacation, we’re going to start planting the seeds. It should be an interesting process, especially because I have a tendency to kill plants. Happily, we got everything we need, so expect to see pictures of dirt and seeds soon. You can say they’ll be…dirty pictures….

lol That was a terrible joke, I apologize.

A few days ago I told you guys that I finally bought my tickets to Europe. I land in Scotland and will be traveling around the UK, then moving on to a few different countries. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about it all. I love this pocket of time before a trip, where you plan and pack, and get everything ready. I’m in this whole process of figuring out what I need to pack for such a long trip, thinking about which countries will be my priorities, wondering which are the books that will win a spot to fight it out in my suitcase. May the odds be ever in their favor.

Throughout it all though, I’ve been reading. Jake Hersh has turned out to be a complex character that I love and hate by moments. There’s a scene where he’s talking about how he romanticized England growing up.

“Slowly, inexorably, he was being forced to pay the price of the colonial come to the capital. In the provinces, he had been able to revere London and its offerings with impunity. Fulminating in Montreal, he could agree with Auden that the dominions were tiefste Provinz. Scornful of all things home-baked, he was at one with Dr. Johnson, finding his country a cold and uninviting region. As his father had blamed the goyim for his own inadequacies, mentally billing them for the sum of his misfortunes, so Jake had foolishly held Canada culpable for all his discontents. Coming to London, finding it considerably less than excellent, he was at once deprived of this security blanket. The more he achieved, feeding the tapeworm of his outer ambitions, the larger his inner hunger. He would have preferred, for instance, that the highly regarded Timothy Nash had been worthy of his reputation and that it was utterly impossible for Jacob Hersh to be as good. He would have been happiest had the capital’s standards not been so readily attainable and that it were still possible for him to have icons.”

I realize how arrogant he sounds thinking that greatness was “readily attainable”, but this is often what happens to us. We romanticize places and people, then are faced with the fact that what seemed like untouchable greatness from afar is actually the product of earthly processes and, actually, quite attainable with the proper dedication.

I’ve been thinking about this scene specifically in terms of my trip. I’ve wanted to visit these countries my entire life, especially England. I’m sure, after an unnameable number of movies, tv shows, books, and articles, I’ve come to romanticize them as well. England with the tea, the pearls, and the tiny biscuits. Where people say cheeky and fanny means something else entirely. I know I have my fantasies, my greener grass on the other side ideas. I think we all do. Looking around at the state of our countries, sometimes it’s hard to keep from blaming them for what Jake calls our “discontents”.

Even knowing the countries I visit will not resemble the countries of my imagination though, I still feel the imperative to travel. There’s something about standing on new ground that makes me feel like life is worth living. It reminds me that, even though sometimes it seems like my problems and my successes are bigger than everything, the world is larger than I will ever be. It’s humbling really; we’re small specks traveling in a world that holds so much more than we could ever conceive.

Jake was so convinced that Canada was what was stifling him that he never thought to see all the things it had to offer. Living in London, he realized that England was a country like any other and his icons were very talented people, but still just people.  Maybe the grass will be greener on the other side of the pond, maybe not. The only way you learn that though, is by crossing over and seeing for yourself. However, I think Dorothy had it right when she clicked her red heels and said…. there is no place like home.

When in doubt, travel.

Well, everyone, it’s official – I booked my trip to Europe! I’ve been slowly convincing myself to take this trip for the past few weeks and I finally decided to buy the plane tickets. The plan so far is to land in Scotland and from there head out to different countries. Not gonna lie, I’m insanely excited! It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Europe and I’ve never been there longer than a month. So, this trip is going to be a whole new experience in more than one way. I’m already looking for places to go, what I need to survive the winter months, where I can find the cheapest beer (let’s be honest, this is the most important one!). Continue reading