Wow. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that I let this go on for so long. Still paying for a site that haven’t posted on since June 2017. It’s $18, but I paid more than that for the current season of RuPauls Drag Race on Amazon. I love to write so why don’t I do it? I write for myself in a journal, but Im still apprehensive about the uphill feat of posting for other people to see. “I’m brave, but I’m chicken shit” my favorite line in “You Live, You Learn”. I have the usual excuses. Tired, busy, constipated, but so what?! I need to do what I love because it makes absolutely no sense not to. I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter how busy you are, because you will always make time for what is important to you. The last time I posted was during my study abroad trip last year. I wanted to continue posting throughout my trip but didn’t. I blamed my shitty computer when it was really just my laziness. I had an amazing time. I went to Frankfurt, Berlin, Copenhagen, Pamplona, Barcelona, and Madrid. There is always something so unexpected when traveling that usually has nothing to do with your trip, it doesn’t always derail your plans but if it does its usually in your best interest. For example, I had a rendezvous with a gentleman I met on the street in Barcelona. We sat under a full moon on the beach and talked about our past lives ( he was a British woman) and the next day we went all around the city, eating, laughing and ducking in corners to make out whenever cars drove down the skinny streets. It was great to have a hot foreign guy to hold hands with and grope for a couple of days. Also a relief to have him order at restaurants and navigate. I was feeling the fantasy. That experience shook me, not only because it was fun and unexpected, but because I was in a relationship back home. Oops. Yeah, that part. I obviously had thoughts about ending it, but now it was something that was inevitable. See what I mean, traveling always puts you in the right place. My heart rate is going up as I type because I just booked a trip last week for dun..dun…DUNNN another study abroad trip. I couldn’t resist. I never can actually, its for a British literature class in the UK. I kind of had my heart set on a different continent this time around but studying abroad is a great way to travel because you have built in travel buddies if you want them and its cheaper. I’m looking forward to learning about literature and being immersed in a different culture and way of life, I adapt to that easily. I’m also curious about what I will learn about myself, theres always something. This post is sloppy and I’m not breaking up paragraphs because I’m exhausted and really want to take a shower, eat everything in my house, and watch Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion. Lucky for me this new MacBook even finishes the words before I’m done typing, but I won’t be satisfied until I can think thoughts onto the screen. C’mon Apple!
For the past six mornings I’ve been waking up sad. Today is our last full day in Strasbourg. It’s bittersweet because I know that, realistically, I will probably never come here again. Never say never though. A year ago I had just started my first semester of college after graduating high school 12 years before, and now I just completed a study abroad program in Strasbourg, France. I had never heard of Strasbourg until this program. I feel like it’s my own special secret gem. There’s a fluffy old man who I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more times with his shirt off than on, always standing out on his balcony, or looking out of his big french windows, I will miss him so much. This past week we had a 15 page paper due, as well as a series of essays for our final, but we did manage to have a lot of fun. Basel was great last week, except on the way back, our bus never came! A series of Flixbus’ came but not ours. One of the bus’ was going to Strasbourg but it wasn’t our route because our names had to be on the passenger list because we were crossing the border. This really nice and helpful guy who was traveling on our route talked to the bus driver for awhile and helped translate from french to english and german to everyone who was waiting and we were able to get our names on the list so we could take that bus back to Strasbourg. What a relief! I was so impressed by this helpful man I sat next to him on the ride back. He lives in Zurich and was only visiting Strasbourg for the weekend for a wedding. I got to practice my french with him a little bit, and he was nice enough to not make feel like a total idiot, which I’m sure I sounded like.
Wow Iphone pictures are shitty. I took the best walk this weekend, the more I roam around here the more I realize how close everything is and how beautiful everything is. One of the BEST way to get to know a place is by walking around. We also went to a random carnival and got our asses kicked by some next level rides I was not expecting.
Our farewell dinner is in a couple of hours. I did my last load of laundry that I’ll probably do for the next 2 and a half weeks (pee yewww!). Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be waving a white hankerchief out of the window on the Flixbus (if it actually comes) sobbing and whispering au revoir français! Merci beaucoup, À plus tard.
Well, not that close yet. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? Did i mention i took French last semester? The struggle was real you guys. Luckily reading it is easier, so I’m okay at restaurants and the grocery store but if someone dares to ask me a question, I cowardly mutter “un peu français” and go hide under a bridge where i belong. I never hear people speaking English here in Strasbourg and its oddly refreshing. Last weekend we all went to Paris and I heard more English than french, because of all the tourists and it was kind of off putting. People here can speak English a little but every menu, street sign, label, is in french so its good practice for me. We are roasting here, its been over 90 degrees this week, still a break from Austin, which is probably in the 3 digits by now. There is even comfort in knowing I won’t encounter a flying roach. I keep thinking about this one episode of I Love Lucy, ( I want that sentence to be on the program at my funeral by the way, ahem) where shes in France and goes to this restaurant and gets escargot and she doesn’t know what to do with the little tongs so she just puts them on her nose, she also asks the waiter for ketchup. I get my life from that show still. That scene sums up most of our groups behavior in Strasbourg. Tonight was Fête de la Musique. I’m used to hearing live music, but all the music here was so diverse. Literally every 5 feet there’d be someone playing African music, then Brazilian, Indian, salsa dancers, techno. More than what I expected which has been the theme of this experience.
There’s a bus, much like Mega and Boltbus that’s really cheap, so me and one of closest friends here are going to Basel (which I keep mispronouncing as basil) tomorrow. Its in Switzerland, on the border of France and Germany. Tomorrow will be a nice break after spending most of the day in the library writing a 15 paper due in a few days….Basel!
This spider taking a nap next to my window encouraged me to write. It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted, which is embarrassing. I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse. In the year of not posting I managed to dive into community college. Living in Austin is fun, everybody knows that, but after years of hanging out, and still being homesick, you have to have an answer for yourself when you can’t stop asking “Wtf am I really doing here?”.
Last September I saw a flyer at school and it said “Is your classroom here?”, a picture of a standard classroom with desks and a chalkboard, and another picture that said “Or is it here?”, this picture was of a metropolitan city in France for a government class. I immediately went to the library, got on the computer and applied, I had to take that class anyway in the future so why not? Since then, I’ve been stuffing money into a bright yellow envelope in my drawer and praying that at least 9 other students sign up for this program. 10 doesn’t sound like a lot, but I don’t know 10 people that would save their money and travel. I know 100 people who would talk about how expensive traveling is, unaware that the drive through they visit multiple times a week is killing their pockets. If you’re broke at least have an interesting reason for it.
I was so ecstatic when I got the email that 15 students signed up so the study abroad program could take place. I actually cried when I got another email that I was a recipient for a scholarship that I applied for through my school. It was $2,000, which isn’t a whole lot but I’m really proud of myself you guys, I wasn’t exactly a scholar back in my traditional school years. After multiple trips to Target I was ready for France! Strasbourg to be exact.
Its been a little over a week and I finally feel like a normal person. This is one of the most unique experiences I will ever have. Usually I never talk much to the other students in class, mostly because I have to focus and I’m really f’n tired from work, but here we are all in this together….in a foreign country, trying to figure out how to start the washing machine at the laundry mat down the street. Its not a vacation because usually on vacation you’re not grocery shopping and going to the post office. But what a lovely post office it is, Strasbourg, a city I had never heard of, is beyond words beautiful. Its diverse, full of nice people (except for the creeps who followed us yesterday), and is giving me what I always yearn for, a different experience than my everyday life.
My computer is barely on life support so I can only add pictures from my phone and not my big camera at the moment. Whomp.
So it’s been a little over a month now since I’ve been back from my trip. Everyday life has been good to me lately, but I still find it a lot easier to adjust to wanderlust life, than work and school life. A week after I got back to Austin I started community college, there’s a campus two blocks down the street from me, so I’m not even going to pretend that if it wasn’t so incredibly convenient I may not have been so eager to go. So far it’s been good, but still a doozy. I soon realized that I didn’t schedule myself a day off. There isn’t a day that I’m not at work or school, or both. Staying busy and productive is what I wished for, and you know how that saying goes. If all it was was just going to class it wouldn’t seem as daunting, but it’s the amount work that has to be done outside of class that is so surprising. Homework, sigh, there is SO.MUCH.OF.IT. To someone straight out of high school it’s probably no big deal, but to someone who has been out of school for 12 years, and also hated school since the third grade, it’s a fucking lot of shit to do. Managing my time has been a challenge, I have to be so strategic or else I may not have time to wipe my ass. I’m playing a mean game of tetris with my life these days. And why doesn’t anybody tell you that in college, even community college, nothing is explained to you?! It’s like “here ya go, figure it out. Oh and by the way, it has to be submitted online”. Wtf is this online shit?! Am I that ancient? Ahem, back in my day the only assignments we did online were English papers, now every class has assignments online. Annoying. Triple annoying when you’re computer is unreliable. As much as I sigh, and will continue to sigh with frustration, I feel really good about this experience. You probably can’t tell, but my grammar is getting better, and although I’m spent most days, I feel f’n great because I’m being stretched. When I say I hated school before, I mean I loathed it deeply. I didn’t even want to go to my own high school graduation because I thought school was the biggest waste of time. Now I realize that it’s not just specifically what I’m learning, its me learning how to learn and focus, so I can be productive and write best selling novels that will be in Oprahs Book Club (is that still a thing?)and say badass quotes in interviews like J.K. Rowling and go on a never ending book tour.SIGH. I do feel kind of smart now because I got 100% on my math quiz last week! #firsttimeforeverything.
I’ve been back in Austin for 4 days now sweating my life away, jogging by Lady Bird Lake, and catching up on all my shows and my favorite blog Reality Tea. I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I drove up the west coast mostly by myself and didn’t have any major problems…..besides my expired credit card and that guy following me in Tijuana. I actually pulled it off guys! What I wasn’t sure I would pull off was driving across the border, I was very nervous about this because unbeknownst to my travel buddies I read online that the rental car company that I got Hilary from didn’t allow their cars to be driven to Canada, oops! Already have the car, already planning on driving across the border! I love traveling but I do not like airports or border control type of situations that could potentially stop me from doing what I want to do. Of course the guy was asking annoying questions about where we live, work, and poop. We gave him acceptable answers and were on our way….ssssiiiggghhhh after that I felt like I needed to pull over and do the last of all of the questions he was asking. Oh Canada. We stayed at a really cute retro hotel called the Burrad downtown. We went to the Gastown district to roam around get something to eat. Oh I almost forgot if you are ever in Vancouver please visit Blood Alley, remind me to put a 5 star review on Trip Advisor later tonight, superb location, lovely patrons hanging about. Pure sarcasm ppl.The next day we went to Glanville Island to shop at this huge market. We took an adorable ferry there and lost our minds in the stationary and jewelry stores. The market was so much bigger than I expected, so much food and awesome stores selling everything from handmade brooms to green tea gelato.
Capilano Suspension Bridge was next and it was f’n awesome because that’s what we are. I am definitely afraid of heights and was shaking and very hesitant but of course I did it because duh it’s fucking awesome! I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this. The scenery was beautiful, right in the middle of tall trees and mountains in the distance.
Me and Casey, my first state home skillet went out that evening after a lovely dinner of steak and fancy drink specials and mashed potatoes served inside of an eggroll to a dive bar called The Moose that her coworker told her about that was nothing but a good time, yes I am meaning to reference Poison because that’s the kind of music they played along with actual music videos, I haven’t seen one of them in about 5 years.
Stanley Park, you guys, Stanley Park is full of beautiful foliage! I’m a sucker for more than I realize because roses a few years ago were just okay but that was before I’d ever seen them in abundance and in so many different colors. The aroma, my gods, who knew that each color smelled different? Oh everyone but me, okay. Stanley Park is huge and beautiful with a great view of the lovely city that Vancouver is. There’s huge totem poles representing the Native culture, cute puppies, people rollerblading and skateboarding so much life! And an adorable lighthouse I couldn’t stop squealing over.
I’m bothered because I know I am forgetting stuff, I’m highly annoyed at myself that I’ve been back for 4 days and I’m just now writing this but whenever I think about this trip the main 2 things I think about is that I can’t believe I pulled it off. I still don’t think I’ve grasped the fact that I actually did it because I’ve been wanting to for so long and also how convenient everything was. I don’t know how I could’ve had a better time, honestly. I would like to think it was the combination of our good energies but we had a great time in Seattle and Vancouver and I truly with my whole fucking heart am so thankful for Lauren and Casey coming with me. I obviously prefer to do my own thing most of the time but every once in awhile even this loner wants, actually yearns to share an experience with someone else and I know it doesn’t seem like a huge deal but to be able to go from place to place and have people there who truly want to be there and get the most out of the experience just like I do is really almost too much to even fathom for me. Our last night in Seattle me and Lauren dropped Casey off and went to see the Troll (I live for shit like that) and to this cool pizza place where you can get a custom slice! We stayed at a nice hostel that night right by the troll in this adorable hipster esque neighborhood I wouldn’t be opposed to living in. So that’s it. Back to Austin to go to work, HEB, fight off giant flying roaches and start community college next week. I do miss Hilary though and sleeping in a different place every night doesn’t get old to me, I’m about that life you guys. So yeah, Roam if she wants to did just that. For the next few months I’ll be roaming around East Austin and the flower section at the grocery store wondering why the f I’m not on House Hunters International looking for my new apartment in Rome. 930 words later……wtf.
Portland, how I have waited so long to be inside you. Not only because I will meet my traveling partner and finally see a few more brown people but me and Hilary need a break, we had a mutual agreement that she wanted to stay still and I need to not be operating heavy machinery for a few days. Before I left Eugene I noticed there was a software update on my phone, I figured I’d get it over with while I ate bacon pancakes at The Original Pancake House. After 100 years went by and it was over I couldn’t swipe my phone at all so I tried turning it off using only the top button, the only button I’ve ever used to turn it off, then I realized that you need to swipe to confirm shutting it off. Of course all the information I need is on my phone so I just started driving to Portland not knowing exactly where my hostel was. Like most of this trip the shortest distance driving days have been the most trying. As soon as I got here I went to the Apple store where the guy working shut my phone off using the top AND bottom button, somebody give this man a raise immediately. Finally I can go check in to my accommodations for the night. After circling the neighborhood multiple times I finally let Hilary be. I almost had a headache from the annoyance from my phone and parking but I loved my room and I went to a lovely grocery store and indulged in the hot food section as one should who has been traveling. I realized I really like going to grocery stores when traveling because your money goes further, it’s quicker than a restaurant, and much heartier than fast food. Clean clothes ladies and gentleman! I finally have them! I may or may not have been considering commando life but not anymore! I had intentions of taking a walk or being social in some capacity but I was beat, I talked to my friend Amy on the phone for awhile and watched Real Housewives of Dallas and I was out. The next afternoon I picked up my friend Lauren from the airport and we checked into a lovely airbnb. I know I said the airbnb I stayed at in LA was the best airbnb ever but this one in Portland you guys was the cream of the crop. Adorable as fuck, fully equipped, and right next to adorable coffee shops and little boutiques.
We went to Cannon Beach the next day where I’ve been wanting to go for years. When I saw a picture of this place years ago I couldn’t even believe it was in the US. It is so amazing, an adorable beach town with a huge rock in the sand. I don’t live for the “Goonies” movie like some people but it’s most known for that. I liked how foggy and chilly it was and there were so many sand dollars on the beach!
Later that night we had tickets to see Charles Bradley at the Crystal Ballroom. Lauren told me about him years ago when she saw him at a music festival in Atlanta. Originally we were staying at the Crystal Hotel which is conveniently right next to the venue…..that was until we realized our reservation was for 2017…..whoops! Luckily we’re in a city that accommodates a lot of travelers so we stayed at the luxurious Palms Motel instead, all I need is a comfortable bed and tea in the morning and I’m good. The Crystal Ballroom is beautiful, Lauren decided she’s getting married there, to who is TBD. Charles Bradley’s energy is immediately magnetic and so very loving. He reminds me your favorite uncle in the most non creepy way. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was so happy Lauren gave me a rose petal from the roses Charles was giving out. On our way to Seattle the next day we went to see the second tallest waterfall in the nation, Multnomah Falls which also has the shittiest parking, but it is free!
Finally made it to the Evergreen State, traffic was annoying of course, hostels are unpredictable of course but I am elated to be in Seattle, Washington because I love big cities and even more so when I have a good friend there! Tonight me, Lauren, and Casey, my home skillet from the first state, my home state of Delaware went to see the funniest comedy show! I was crying and choking at some parts of it which I know usually isn’t something most people enjoy but I swear I had a great time! It was at this place called The Comedy Underground and the headliner was what’s his fucking name I forgot. After almost letting a homeless man into our hostel I’m about to get ready for bed, our room mate Katherine is from Houston and she is the loveliest, she reminds me of of of my aunts except really into astrology and she curses. Okay 866 words is so obnoxious of me GN.
Just realized I need to catch up on Kimmy Schmidt among all my other shows, traveling almost makes me forget how much of a no shame having-snack eating-brain cell depleting reality tv-couch potato I truly am, almost. Heading out of SF I had almost forgotten that I’d be going over the Golden Gate Bridge on my way out of the city! It was really cool you guys, cool enough to risk my life by taking a video , yolo amirite? I went to Muir Woods National Monument which is only 12 miles north of SF, I was surprised how close it was. I watched this documentary last year called “Mile…..Mile and a Half” about this group of ppl doing the John Muir trail and ever since I’ve been curious about him, I love his nature quotes so much that I even have some of them hanging up in my room.
After the nature binge I headed to Napa which was only an hour away. The ride there was beautiful, I’m not a wine drinker but I really find the process of wine making interesting. There are rolling hills full of vineyards, I didn’t take any pictures there surprisingly though, instead I binge watched Martin at my hotel and uploaded pictures. I definitely feel like I need to return to Napa in 15 ish years with my friends sponsored by one of their ex husbands who they a got a lot of money from in the divorce because Napa is expensive as hell! I did purchase a bottle of Rosè for my friend Lauren who’s meeting me in Portland. I had no real place of interest after Napa so I literally just looked at the map and chose this town named Chico because it sounds cute. When I got there I realized it’s a college town so it was kind of lively. I ate like a cave woman at this BBQ place and saw a movie at this tiny independent movie theater where the front row was old couches, loved it! Outside of the theater I met this nice older hippy man who told me I should go to Ashland, OR so that’s what I did the next day. The drive to Ashland felt like forever, I know 3.5 hrs is nothing to most ppl but my home state is the size of a paperclip, 3.5 hrs to a Delawarean is like a trip to Nepune….and back! The place I stayed was fucking beautiful! I thought I just booked a regular room but they gave me a suite. Huge comfy bed, 2 nice flat screens for me to watch ‘My 600 lb. Life’ back to back and a little patio for me to shut the blinds and ignore the ppl outside, luxurious. I saw a Charles Dickens play that I didn’t love, I should’ve known but I was aching to see a show and although I didn’t totally love the show the theater was beautiful and I’m always happy to support anything creative. I bought a lot of cd’s for this trip from thrift stores and today I listened to this Chris Rock comedy album, so fucking funny you guys!!! I’ve never listened to a comedy album before, it’s from like 1999 and there’s all these OJ jokes and that song ‘Champagne’ is on it which I loved back then!! Made it to Eugene! I can’t say that without thinking of the T-Birds in Grease saying “Hey Euuuugene!!”. Ahem so yeah, the Simpsons are from Springfield, OR.
There’s a college in Eugene so it’s a little bit bigger than Springfield but they’re both small towns. I lost count over how many Final Destination situations I was in on my way here with huge trucks full of tree logs ready to smash into my front window. Everyone in the state of Oregon drives the speed limit too which is shocking and it’s only 65mph on I-5 which is a major highway, in some spots it was only 50, definitely not in TX anymore where it’s 80. Also in the Beaver State they pump your gas for you just like in NJ. I found this divey gay bar that I’m going to watch the Drag Race finale tonight, smooches! PDX tomorrow!
A customer at work 2 weeks ago randomly gave me a gift card to Starbucks, I never go there but I knew I’d come across a few thousand of them on my trip so I gladly accepted. Of course this morning when I went to use it it wasn’t there, how convenient. Also the guy who took my order thought I wanted iced tea instead of hot, at 9 am. A nice customer found my gc on the ground and gave it to me, also the barista did end up making me a hot tea………that burnt my tongue for 2 days.
I decided to stop in Santa Cruz for a little bit before going to SF. It’s a decent sized beach with corny boardwalk rides and games that I love. It reminded me of the beaches I grew up going to like Wildwood, NJ and Ocean City, MD. I also found a goldmine, my favorite brand of postcards, Lantern Press! I get too excited about paper. Even though SF was only an hour away it took awhile to get there because there was so much traffic. I’ve never driven on a highway with so many lanes and we barely moved for a long time. Once I did the unimaginable which was getting into the city and out of the car it wasn’t bad. I had the pleasure of staying with a former coworker and the sweetest dog ever.
I haven’t been here in almost 4 years and I stayed in a neighborhood further away but this location was perfect. It had everything I needed, a coffee shop next door, Trader Joe’s a few blocks away, tons of street art, and trans prostitutes working the corner nightly. I was happy to give Hilary (the car) a break for a few days. I didn’t even have to take the Bart, I walked everywhere. All of the touristy stuff people are too cool to do I love, I couldn’t wait to see the bridge or have a savage seagull swoop down and take a chunk of my lackluster crab cake, that actually happened. The first time I came to SF I only walked near the bridge but this time I wanted to walk on it, it was a lot further than it seemed because it’s so big but it’s worth the journey because it’s so iconic.
The graffiti gods are always looking out for me, I just always find the best street art everywhere I go. I’m used to it now. The Mission neighborhood is saturated, it reminded me of Toronto with alleyways behind houses full of murals, it’s like a free museum.
I was huffing and puffing up the steepest hill on earth when someone told me I was ‘hella cute’, just like a Cali person would say! How sweet and also accurate. I went to the Castro to get my life from the colorful crosswalks and and to see a man wearing only a gold metallic cloth over his penis. I read about him on Trip Advisor moments before. My main struggles while I was here was finding places to pee and charge my phone, also I couldn’t stop spending money on my friends kids but I got my credit card sent to my friends apt here so I’m good! I also was afraid that I was allergic to his dog but turns out my eyes are just bloodshot at all times.
Sigh, SF Heartbreak, you are so pretty and shiny and expensive, a little dirtier than I remembered but you know I like that. One of my favorite major cities in the US, you are amazing but the show must go on! I appreciate the real breakfast I ate, the countless amounts of human shit on the sidewalks, Octavia St (my gmoms name!), and those mesmerizing clouds sprawled out across the sky, almost hanging low enough to touch.
After getting to Santa Barbara late, well 9:33, ahem, I was so tired but Mrs. Doubtfire was on and the room at the Agave Inn was so cute and comfortable. The next morning I ate a very skimpy continental breakfast and went to do laundry. Santa Barbara is beautiful but I just thought it was okay until I went to Shoreline Park, it’s right along the coast and it’s breathtaking.
This was the most driving I’ve done in one day so far, I knew it would be a long one so I was really antsy to leave. I booked a room in Carmel, which is right off the coast, I didn’t know much about it besides that but it didn’t matter because all I’ve been thinking about is Big Sur. Surprisingly there weren’t that many cars on the road and the ones that were there weren’t riding my ass, definitely not in Texas anymore. I have been researching all of these little things I wanted to see along the way like Moonstone Beach. These are almost the same rocks I spend my hard earned money on at the Herb Bar and Natures Treasures in Austin, but here they are just washed up on the beach!
There was also this beach completely full of elephant seals, like hundreds of them laying there making human like groan noises and breathing heavily. Living the life!
The ride going south is better because you get a full on view facing the coast instead of having to risk your young precious life turning your head a little, totally worth it though. The Pacific Coast is beyond breathtaking, just like I knew it would be. I felt like I totally left the earth. I got out probably 5 times to take some pictures and just be in awe.
My hotel in Carmel was right on Rt.1 and was like a cute log cabin and Grease was on! The guy working at the desk was one of the biggest talkers I’ve ever met. All I wanted to do was lay the down, I thought I was about to faint I was so delirious while he went on and on about Clint Eastwood and Pirates of the Caribbean but he did inform me of some worthy information about a state park 5 mins away called Point Lobos. I went there the next day and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This fucking park you guys….. beyond everything in life. I was convinced that I was in another world.
I can’t even believe that I saw that, like I actually took those pictures, too much.