just one of the guys

jenny lewis \\\ ‘just one of the guys’

been digging this song and now the video makes me laugh…

wonder

alhambra palace in granada, spain

alhambra palace in granada, spain

i will always wonder who you would have become…

“and when at last you find someone…”

“And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter — they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.”
- Sylvia Plath

so true… and oh so hard.

spain, by numbers

1 country
3 hotels
4 hangovers
5 cities
6 flights
6 nights
7 days
8 people
10 hours of sleep
17+ shuttles
and
99 bottles of wine.

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spain: broken down, part 2

[in case you missed them, you can also read my initial post and part 1.]

and now back to it…

day 4

brekkie in the lounge. hungover. embarrassed. vulnerable. just feeling weird.

left for cosentino to explore the dekton factory. truly revolutionary. more later…

big group lunch with the canada group. few references from the night before. good times.

loaded the van/bus up with our group and a group from canada that was there and we headed to the seaside town of mojacar about 1+ hours away.

felt overwhelmed on the ride. starred out the window watching the spanish countryside pass me by while listening to music on my phone. i was exhausted and slightly delirious but so happy to be there. but also, so strange just how alone you can feel when you’re surrounded by a group of people. great people, even.

we stopped to get out and see the mediterranean. remember i mentioned it here and it being on my life list here? well, it was nothing short of magical sticking my feet in and just soaking it up as much as possible. the sun on my face and arms and sand between my toes was awe-inspiring. we hung out there for awhile taking it all in.

loaded back up and headed up the winding hills to the town of white dwellings and businesses. when the bus couldn’t go any further, we got out and walked up the hill to the top. the views = captivating. we took group photos then ventured down to a cafe.

i wondered off some but came back to tables full of sangria and eats.

so i drank again. numbed out. (ps. the sangria there is mighty fine)

we walked down to meet the bus and headed down the hill to dinner on the water.

another fun, loud night of over-sharing and i liked it. not the over-sharing on my part but everyone else’s.

there was beer, wine, and limoncello. i think there was a lot of food too. mostly a liquid dinner though.

the party bus continued back to macael 1+ hours away. got back close to 2am. another long, but fulfilling day.

more drunk texts. not awesome again. someone, please keep my phone for me.

day 5
up early again after not much sleep. more hangover and head hanging down.

check out of the hotel and loaded up on a bus. took another 2 hour drive to granada.  we walked the canadian group to their hotel and then headed to a cathedral as a group. another magical moment.

somehow most of the group left without me (miscommunication) and i was invited (?) to third wheel it with L & J. not sure (definitely sure) it wasn’t what they had in mind.

we explored and went in shops and then headed to the granada cathedral. the main one. overwhelming to say the least. it’s impossible not to feel things in there, no matter your take on religion. spent some time in there before heading back out.

walked around and found an outdoor cafe to eat/drink lunch. hallie walked by and joined us. more eats and drinks (sangria).

the boys left and hallie and i walked around until we met up with the group.

it was then time to go to the alhambra palace for our tour. the tour was 2.5 hours with lots of walking but sooooo worth it. so much history and so much to look at. tried to soak as much of it in as possible realizing that things were winding down.

got a charlie horse in my leg walking back. awesome, right? especially when you’re in a hurry.

we rushed back to the bus to head to the airport for our 10:30pm flight back to barcelona. we were pretty exhausted by this point after many long days, lack of sleep, and walking around in the hot sun. we had one last meal together in the airport and then waited for our delayed flight.

i got stuck in a middle seat on a hot plane with a creep next to me. i was done at this point. started to freak out and wanted to get off the plane. it was all i could do to hold it together and meditate. then listened to spiritualized. it was the longest 1.25 hour flight ever.

day 6
arrived in barcelona at around 12:45am, got luggage and then went to find shuttle to hotel. we were all pretty delirious at this point. or maybe it was just me?

made it to the hotel for the slowest check-in process ever. i was tired but not sleepy so i didn’t care.

we split off and headed to our rooms at who knows what time. i couldn’t cool off so i showered and tried to sleep. was awake till about 4:30am.

up at 6:15am i think. it was next to impossible to get up. i just wanted to sleep and forget everything.

managed to make it downstairs to find L. talked to him for a few and once again tried to explain myself. don’t know why i kept feeling compelled to do so, but things felt weird and i kept feeling the need. it’s just a weird time for me. confusing. emotional. and had been feeling lost. pretty sure he’s over it and just wants to avoid me. whatever.

the remaining 7 of us went to the airport and said our quick goodbyes.

must admit, i was sad to see everyone go in opposite directions.

it was time, but still, we had shared an experience that no one else did and it was ending.

luckily i ran into rona near our gates and we sat and talked before another goodbye.

then it was time to board the next flight home….

only to be surprised when one of my hall passes (you know about those, right? look it up if you don’t) that i had just talked about the day before, boarded last onto my flight and sat right across the aisle from me.

he’s one of those enigmatic people that you’re drawn to. not dropping his name because i believe in privacy and shit. but those at the table might remember the spanish actor i was talking about. hot damn.

made for an interesting plane ride.

\\\

part of me is so sad it’s over. part of me didn’t want it to end, not wanting to come back to reality. nothing lasts forever, i know. and we all have lives in various parts of the country.

but still…

it’s a chapter closed and who knows if you’ll see these people again.

spain: broken down, part 1

if only you knew how true the title of this post was for me…

(rundown of the trip so i don’t forget anything. parts are sort of cryptic but that’s how it needs to be.)

i already talked a bit the other day about the trip. you can read that here.

i’ll add photos at some point but in the meantime, you can check out what i’ve posted to my instagram account and to design milk’s.

day 1
arrived in barcelona at around 7:45am (local time), tired as hell. headed to the hotel but my room wasn’t ready yet. roamed around but just wanted to shower and rest. finally checked in then went to explore some. the grocery store was a madhouse but i always like seeing how it’s done in other countries.

hotel view

hotel view

met the group for the first time at 8pm for dinner. walked to a local restaurant and ate some of the best damn food i’ve ever eaten. it was a tapas place called ciudad comtal. go if you’re ever there. do it. you won’t regret it, especially if you go with someone who’s awesome at ordering.

Cosentino-Barcelona-trip-1

i left earlier than the rest of the group. needed to roam some. then rest.

day 2
i just couldn’t get up. between jet lag and other stuff, i just couldn’t. i slept and would wake up and write in my journal and then go back to sleep. then repeat.

gaudi house

gaudi house

finally found the strength to get up and get ready. ate a few bites of food at a local cafe then taxied to gaudi’s casa batlló and then on to sagrada familia. good lord. it’s jaw dropping and pretty fucking magnificent. you could stare and walk around it all day and never begin to notice all the details.

sagrada familia

sagrada familia

then headed to gaudi’s park guell. one word – wow.

park guell

park guell

park guell

park guell

i started feeling really rundown so i headed back to the hotel and laid down. sadly, i missed the group dinner that night. it was a shitty night. a really, really shitty night.

park-guell7

day 3
checked out of the hotel at 6am (kill me) and headed to the airport with the group. 8am flight to alicante, spain. got in a van and drove the 2+ hours to macael, spain. once there, we visited a quarry owned by cosentino. amazing.

Cosentino-Barcelona-trip-8-quarry

went to our hotel, la tejera, and checked in. group lunch at the hotel’s restaurant. so. much. delicious. food.  after the 2-hour meal, we headed to cosentino to learn about the company.

i get pitched a lot of product, brands, designs, you name it. let’s face it – it’s hard to blow me away. much of it comes from how a company is run and the people who work there, and of course, the product itself. getting invited inside a company is one of the coolest things ever. first, it’s a privilege to be there. second, what an experience to get to learn the ins and outs of what makes a company tick and how they got to where they are. i also really like seeing how things are made.

Cosentino-Barcelona-trip-9

cosentino is one of those companies that reminded me again why i love design and why i love my job.

we explored their showroom and one of their factories. we busted it out in orange vests, headphones, masks, and hard hats. no, i will not post those photos.

Cosentino-Barcelona-trip-10

then back to the hotel. walked the street a little to shoot some of the local scenery.

and then it begins...

our US group decided to meet up at the cafe/bar of the hotel for dinner instead of the fancy restaurant.

and then, i dropped my sobriety at the door. let’s just say i haven’t had a drink in awhile but the switch flipped and i started with beer.

then wine.

then more beer. and i didn’t care.

the dinner was laid back and full of laughs. something i needed badly. the walls were dropped and my normally vaulted mouth opened up.

everyone kinda opened up. ’twas a fun time.

if only i’d left my cellie in my room. it’s amazing how someone’s words can change the course of a moment, or even a lifetime.

felt pretty broken but the kindness of these (recent) strangers, now maybe friends was helpful. thanks, people. occasionally, i’m reminded that not everyone sucks.

i have no idea when we left but we shut the place down. couldn’t sleep despite my exhaustion. drunk texts ensued. awesome.

to be continued…

spain, i’ll always love you

some days, well, most days even, i’m grateful for my job, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

never imagined i’d end up where i am but i guess sometimes that’s just how it’s supposed to be. if you’d told me 3 years ago that i’d find a job that would take me around the world, i’d have laughed in your fucking face.

but you know what? i did and it does and each time i go away, i’m forever changed.

why am i talking about it now?

barcelona-2014-view

because i’m currently in spain, never imagining i’d fall so hard for a country i’d never been to. i mean, i figured it would be nice and a cool learning experience, but never, ever could i have imagined just how much i’d love it.

along for the experience were 5 other people, plus 2 hosts, with which i had zero expectations of what would come of it.

never expected to like each one of them and damn what a ride it was.

landed in barcelona not feeling my best. for various reasons, i probably shouldn’t have traveled but i like to keep my commitments.

or perhaps the universe was just making sure i went? who knows.

brief summary: after almost 2 days in barcelona of free time, our group flew to alicante. once there, we loaded in a van and headed on a 2.5 hour drive to macael, a tiny town with about 0.5 grocery stores and nothing else but some companies, like cosentino, that keep the area going and a wonderful community. we spent time with the company, a company so doing it right, that we wanted to just soak it all in. i still do even though the trip is winding down. and i want to continue. they’re that good.

The group ventured out of town some, first to a seaside town called mojacar, which sits right on the mediterranean. yep, that mediterranean. i mean, i stuck my feet in the mediterranean, people. in case you don’t recall, that’s been on my life list.

checked it off.

we also spent a day in granada, walking around streets and alleys filled with shops and cafes and cathedrals.

oh, the cathedrals.

i know you think you’re reading it wrong but you’re not. these were cathedrals that were so magical that it could make your heart feel like it could actually be healed and be whole again. lately, i was having doubts that that could ever happen again.

the dinners and lunches. we’re not talking about grabbing a bite and hitting the road.

nope. the spanish people do it right. meals usually last 2 – 3 hours which at first i thought would make me want to stab my eyeballs out with a dull rusty knife, but honestly, i get it. such a lesson for this semi-impatient american.

the time we spent eating and drinking is time i’ll probably never forget. for various, um, reasons that shall remain within the ears of the people there. all i can say is that it’s been a long time since i’ve laughed so much.

i definitely felt something shift in me. many things, maybe. seems only appropriate after how much has changed over the last few months and everything that has gone on. it was nice to get away and have a break from routine to let things shift.

despite the roller coaster of my emotions during this time, it was something i’ll never forget and will forever pinch myself to be reminded how lucky we all were.

and most definitely, the people. the people are people i’ll never forget because the trip wouldn’t have been the same without all of them there. each one, like pieces in a larger puzzle.

so, to team comf: i can’t thank you enough for the good times, especially when i needed them most. to liz, jimrona, hallie, matthew, lorenzo, and michael, i’m bowing down, bitches **. you’re solid people that i’m lucky to have met and gone on this journey with. you inspired me and i have the utmost respect for each and every one of you. love you all. cheers forever (i’m looking each one of you directly in the eyes).

the days and nights were long.

but long in a way i’d do again anytime. i mean, maybe after a recovery period first.

more soon, with photos and all. it’s like 4am and i’m back in barcelona with about 10 hours of sleep total over a week. what the fuck do you expect?

** oh what’s that? just a queen bey reference in a semi-serious post. perhaps it’s because i’m listening to a bit of holy grail from jay-z.

don’t you forget about me…

hey you… yes, you. i’m still here. hi.

my time, however, seems to vanish at a rapid rate of speed. where does all the time go? no clue…

but another year has come and gone and i recently celebrated (i.e. cried) my latest birthday (i.e. old age). i think i’m still in denial about it. denial that i’m not where i thought i’d be at this point and denial that so much time has passed.

i wish i could snap and make it all happen.

my dreams.

they’re still there, but they sometimes get buried in reality.

almost exactly a year ago i shared my struggle with figuring out where to go next. it’s a question i’ve asked myself everyday of my adult life, i think. i’ve always felt this need to move, to try something different and explore new areas. my nomadic heart tends to feel stifled when i stay somewhere too long.

then there’s the other part of me.

the part that thinks maybe it’s time to grow up. time to plant some roots somewhere. time to unpack all of those boxes in storage instead of continuing to pack away memories of the years gone by in hopes that they’ll always be there.

i was getting to the point where my indecision was making me shut down and not want to make any decisions at all.

i got sick of it.

then one day, a space came on my radar and i felt it was kinda meant to be.

at least for now…

the place happens to be in downtown raleigh.

a city i said i’d never live in again. the city i grew up in and the city i let my mind hate.

i’ve watched it grow and become a much better place than it was when i was younger, but it’s still the place that i came from. and part of me felt like if i went back there that i was a failure.

hopefully one day i’ll be able to let go of that feeling.

but… maybe this space i found is where i need to be, even if it is in raleigh, the city that haunts me.

Blount-Apt-Photo

so, i’m going to give it a go for awhile. plant some roots and see if they take hold.

the good news is that i’ll still be able to travel which will keep the free-spirited side of me happy.

complete strangers kissing for the first time

this video, by tatia pilieva, has been all over the interwebz since yesterday and it documents strangers kissing for the very first time. it makes me feel all kinds of uncomfortable and awkward but i love it.