Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Thanksgiving dinner

As you guys know, Thanksgiving is an American holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Well, I had never celebrated Thanksgiving "properly"... Until this year!


My friend Mariona, who lived in the USA for 10 years, invited me to her place to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family. Even though they settled down back in Catalonia 5 years ago, Mariona's family keeps celebrating for the family gathering... And the food! :B I feel so glad I had the chance to share this experience with a friend like her! However, since Thursday wasn't a free day for us here in Spain, we had to celebrate it on Sunday. 


I arrived to Tivissa (Tarragona province, where Mariona's family lives) on Saturday afternoon. When I arrived, everyone was preparing the meal for the next day (actually they had been preparing it for days already!). The kitchen smelled like heaven! We would be 20 of us on Sunday, so there was plenty of work to do. We had dinner, we played with Mariona's pets (Papi the cat and Rita the dog) and we watched movies and series until bedtime.

The next day we woke up and we helped the family set the table. While we waited for the guests to come over, I took some pictures of Mariona's cat and dog. I have to say these two cuties stole my heart from the very first moment... :') I've always been an animal lover but my parents never let me have a pet when I was a kid (apart from hamsters and fishes, LOL). So being with a cat AND a dog was completely new to me!

...Plus I like taking photos of animals :B


Papi is still a young and super active cat! He's never gonna get tired of playing before you do!

Rita is such an adorable, nervous and very quiet dog. I mean, you can see it in her eyes, right? ^-^ I was petting her all the time!

The table, finally set!


Mariona with Papi


Long cat is loooooooong


Typical IG shot

Part of Mariona's family, ready to gobble up!

The turkey, cut in small chunks already (they're smart!) and the stuffing

Mashed sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows ❤ A very strange but legit combination! Too bad the marshmallows were kind of burnt on top, and they tasted like ember! LOL

My Thanksgiving plate! My ration of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry sauce and gravy! Whoaaaa....

After the first dish, the pies came! I was almost full, but I couldn't resist to grab some few pieces of foodporn... *Mouthwatering* 

Pumpkin pie

Walnut Softcake

Mariona's awesome Pumpkin Cheesecake  I just could eat two pieces of it, but I would've eaten the whole pie if I had had the chance :B 

My pie dish with the five pies of the day: Regular Cheesecake, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie, Walnut Softcake and Pecan Pie ❤ I obviously overate that day so I took some leftovers home... Didn't want to leave all these beauties alone, you know!


Before I finish this post, I shall say "Thank You" to Mariona and her family who kindly welcomed and treated me like one of theirs. They were so nice and welcoming that all I can say is, "Thank you" from the bottom of my heart. Hope I have more chances to hang out with Mariona in her place in the future! She's truly a great friend, and despite we started off with the wrong foot when we first met, I'm happy we're very close friends now. Love you, girl! Can't wait to see you again! :)

CL



Saturday, October 4, 2014

September: Sum up of the month

Hello my beloved readers! Claudia is back to blogging! *claps claps*

As you might have seen on Facebook/Twitter/other social networks, my life has been kind of "plain" since I came back from Asia. I feel like I don't have anything else to say these days, as my schedule is still kind of uncertain and unpredictable. That is why, from now on, I'll be writing these "sum up of the month" posts instead of doing a blog post about only one thing. I'd say it's gonna be easier for me and it'll be an excuse to keep this blog awake now that my life isn't that interesting, haha.

So here we go! September: 10 things that happened to me...

1. Watched Guardians of the Galaxy
As a good Marvel fan that I am, this past September I've seen "Guardians of the Galaxy" at the theatre. I have to say I liked it a lot, even though I didn't find it very entertaining when I saw the trailer. But it's definitely a very good movie! I also watched "The Amazing Spiderman (1 and 2)" because I wanted to see how Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone worked as Peter Parker & Gwen Stacy. And I must admit, I liked them more than the old Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst (Sorry guys! >_<) Also, I still feel I should give a chance to X-Men, but that's gonna take me some more time :B





2.Started watching “Parks and Recreation"
I've always been a huge fan of "The Office", but now that I've had more free time I started watching  a very similar sitcom, which is Parks and Recreation... And honestly, I don't regret it at all! I watched the pilot episode a long time ago but it didn't really catch my eye, so I decided to give it a second chance... And I'm so glad I did! I'm so obsessed with the show now, the episodes are short and quick to watch and very entertaining! I'm halfway the 4th season at the moment.


Also there's Chris Pratt from Guardians of the Galaxy" (who I find very attractive <3) so... One more reason to watch it! He's definitely one of my favorite characters, haha!





3. Started taking Korean & English classes again
In order not to forget my Korean, I started taking Korean class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6.30pm to 9pm. I've taken the first two classes and I feel this is not what I signed up for : There is a huge gap level between the 17 of us in the class, and I feel I'm just reviewing what I've been doing for the past 10 months in Korea instead of learning new stuff :\ But there's no other place I can study Korean at in Barcelona, so I guess I'll just do my best in class and try to help my partners in anything they need ^-^



Speaking of English, I decided to re-start my English language classes in the fancy&super famous Institute of North American Studies in Barcelona on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon (Woo hoo!). I definitely needed some fresh air after studying at Merit School for most of my life, and I also need to brush up my grammar after 3 years dating an American who literally, and I quote from him "Destroys my English". So back to write complain letters, reports and essays in English! Yay! XD



4. Had Korean food again 4 months after I left Korea
It's a fact: Korea was, is and will be my second home from now on. And as a good second home that it is, I miss its food so badly! That's why I decided to take my parents, cousin, uncle and aunt to a Korean restaurant in Barcelona a few weeks ago.




The food wasn't as good as back in homeland Korea of course, but pretty close. Also waaaaay more expensive, but worth paying whenever you have a Korean food craving! ^_^ Yum yummm! Plus, the owner knew my name from last time I went TWO YEARS AGO! She was surprised to hear my super fluent decent level of Korean, and I was so happy to have someone in Barcelona to speak Korean with! Can't wait to go back again :)



5. National Day of Catalonia
The 11th September Catalonia celebrated its tercentenary since its defeat during the War of the Spanish Succession. In other words, we became part of Spain back in 1714. Yes, we might be celebrating a defeat (which is kind of silly) but the reason we went out of the streets was because we're proud of our origins, we're proud of who we are and where we come from. And also to claim our independence from Spain again, something we've been doing for years now but due to this current financial and political crisis, it has become a bigger movement lately. If you have seen the news these days you might have seen pictures of this year's demonstration!


That day we all formed a human V (for Vote) to seek choice on split from Spain. We were 1.400.000 people in there! More info: Here


Us posing with the V sign :)



6. Sent tons of emails with my CV looking for jobs
I'm still not being lucky with this job hunting thing, specially when there's a 25% unemployment rate in Spain at the moment... :\ I've been sending and handing out my resume to several companies, from Hyundai to Urban Outfitters, passing by a Korean school, Disney Store and Starbucks (I always keep the faith on Starbucks, sorry). I'm still not looking for a long-lasting job, just a part time job to save up money & gain job experience (something my CV completely lacks of).



7. Back to (unexpected) classes
Due to some credits problem with my university, I'm still an undergraduate student... Which means I have this last one class I have to attend to! It's called "Migration and Diaspora in East Asia", and I have to say I'm loving it so far! Plus I'm taking it with students/friends of mine from different years, and it's nice to have them altogether in this class! It's only 3h and a half a week, which isn't too bad (I wish it was 5h a week instead :B), and there's only one exam & 3 papers. So since it's my last class as as an undergraduate student (and I have time to focus in this only class I'm taking), I'll work hard and do my best to get good grades ^-^ I love when you feel you're actually learning something in a class, and you enjoy it!


8. Talked with my favorite teacher about masters and what I could do in my near future
As I said before, I feel my future is still kind of uncertain. Just like I said in number 7, I am currently taking one more class at university so I can graduate and finally finish my undergraduate studies. That means companies aren't as interested in an undergraduate student as they would be in a graduate student! Despite that little drawback I'm still trying to be a busy bee this year, looking for a job for the mornings I don't have class, Fridays & weekends. Also, I might be taking a master's degree on International Relations in my home university next year, so my teacher recommended me to read Henry Kissinger's "Diplomacy" until I get back on track with IR. I don't really agree with Kissinger's policies back when he was a diplomat, but he seems to have very interesting things to say in an international context. Am I gonna like it? We'll see!





9. Had sleeping and health problems
It seems either my body isn't used to Spain yet, or I'm getting lots of stress lately: I feel sick at times, kind of dizzy, I have mood swings way too often... I feel like a 14 year-old teenager again! But it might be just the fact that I don't have a stable life yet. That is why I'm being more strict with my diet, I take weekly healthy/vegan smoothies for an extra vitamin boost, I ate vegetables 5 times a week and fruit 3 times a day... If my mind isn't healthy yet, at least my body will be!

Green vegan smoothie I prepared a few weeks ago. 


10. Started wearing fall outfits ❤
If you say there's something cuter in this world than a "skirt&over the knee socks&boots" outfit, I won't believe you. Haha. After a long ass hot summer in tropical Asia, I was dying for chilly weather to come back to Barcelona! I was so looking forward to wear long sleeved t-shirts again, baggy sweatshirts and fluffy scarves! It's still not cold enough for all that haha, but I feel this year I'm missing cold weather more than any other time. I'm sick of tank tops and shorts already! >_<





So this is all for now, sweethearts! Thank you for reading, and hope you all have a lovely October! Do you have plans for Halloween already?

Lots of love from,

CL

Friday, August 29, 2014

The 10 best pictures I've taken in Vietnam

Hello everyone, and greetings from homeland Barcelona! I finally got back from my Asia experience, yay! In other words, I’m done with my life abroad (for now!) and I’m already settled down in Spain again. However, I still remember my life in Vietnam as if it was yesterday, and I cherished every single moment in there. That’s why I want to share with you all the best 10 shots I took in this beautiful country: The ten pictures I said to myself “Whoa, you did well in here Claudia!" :) So here we go!

(In no particular order)

1. Flowers in Peter uncle’s house. I’m not a fan of flowers as decoration in a home, but I just fell in love with this shot…! This wide range of colors with the plain color of the wall looks beautiful! :)


2. Peter and Davis (one of his cousins) carrying a pyramid of red bean buns to Grandma’s 70th birthday party. At first I told them to pose for me, but Peter gave me a Bulldog face so I told him off: “Noooo, don’t give me that face!” and he answered “But Claudia, this is heavy!” and both started to laugh. Aw :)


3. A baby in her mom’s arms, near our house in District 6. This is just a simple baby photo taken on the street, but for some reason I’ve always preferred taking photos of people instead of landscapes! This little chubby thing was literally staring at me (maybe because my skin was shining with the sunlight LOL haha), so I just picked my Nikon and SNAP! ;)


4. Mariamman Hindu Temple in District 1. I have to say this is not a perfect shot, since it’s rather dark (damn HDR…) and the temple is way more colorful than it looks in the photo. But I still like the texture of the facade and the way it stands out with the grey color of the sky! :) Can you see it?


5. Po Nagar Temple in Nha Trang. This was the first Cham temple I had ever visited, I was fascinated to get to know its history and analyze its architecture from the top to the bottom (An Art History lover right here, sorry! >_<). However it started pouring rain halfway the visit, so we had to run back to the bus. And unfortunately the pictures are the only thing I have left from it!


6. Fishermen boats in Nha Trang.  I'm so glad I got the chance to take shots of this beautiful and colorful fishermen boats! Since that day was pretty cloudy... You could stop by to fish if you wanted or pick some seafood and people would cook it for you! But Peter's family thought they would trick us with the price, so we said no :( Too bad!


 
7.Tom Ham Island in Nha Trang. Right after that boat ride and passing those bright boats we landed in Tom Ham, where we enjoyed this beautiful beach and the huge swimming pool they had. This shot is just perfect and it's probably the photo I'm most proud of, as you can see the reflection of the sky in the stairs :)


8. Pink dragonfruit. One of the things I did the most during my stay in Vietnam was tasting new fruit, not only because I didn't eat much back in Korea (and I was missing it badly!) but also because I always liked trying stuff I've never had before! And dragonfruit was certainly one of these things. I have to say it was rather tasteless despite its bright pink color... It seems Vietnamese just eat it for the texture and the freshness... But it wasn't too bad! 


9. Da Lat City. Looked like a modern jungle to me, a bunch of buildings, cars and motorbikes jammed altogether and connected by meters and meters of black wires... And this shot is definitely the best definition of it, haha. 


10. Forest near Da Lat City. I loved that shot really, I fell in love with this wide variety of colors that made this scenery look like a native American national park instead, haha. Isn't it hard to believe this is taken in a tropical country like Vietnam? Also I was surprised the weather looked kind of decent that day, compared to how rainy it was during our stay in Da Lat!





And this is all for now :) What is your favorite shot, and why? I still have some posts from Vietnam I need to write but it's too much work. Hope you guys understand! @_@ Give me some time please!

CL

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vietnam: Fifth Week (Trip with the family: Nha Trang)

Last week the whole family went on a 5-day trip to Southern-central Vietnam. We took the bus at 11pm at night, and it was a 9h night trip until we reached our first destination. We stopped several times to go to the bathroom, and despite we had pillows and blankets, sleeping on this bus wasn't very comfortable :\

Our first stop was Nha Trang, a 400.000 inhabitant coastal city in the Khanh Hoa province, in the East Sea. 


La semana pasada la familia entera fuimos de viaje por el sur y el centro de Vietnam durante cinco días. Tomamos el autobús privado a las 11 de la noche, y después de un viaje de 9h llegamos a nuestro destino. Paramos varias veces durante la noche para ir al baño, y a pesar de tener cojines y mantas, dormir en el autobús no fue muy cómodo :\

Nuestra primera parada fue Nha Trang, una ciudad costera de 400.000 habitantes en la provincia de Khanh Hoa, en el mar del Este.


Nha Trang is well known for its beaches and scuba diving and has developed into a popular destination for international tourists, attracting large numbers of backpackers. I noticed there was an incredibly big amount of Russian tourists for some reason! o.O Many stores and restaurants had signs in Russian! I was very surprised.

Nha Trang es una ciudad conocida por sus playas y por el submarinismo, y ha evolucionado hasta ser un destino bastante popular entre turistas y mochileros de todo el mundo. Por ejemplo, me di cuenta que por alguna razón había una gran cantidad de turistas de Rusia... Me sorprendió ver la gran cantidad de tiendas y restaurantes con rótulos en ruso.



Our first stop after a break from the 9h bus ride was the temple of Po Nagar. Po Nagar is a Cham temple tower founded sometime before 781. It consists of three levels, the highest of which encompasses two rows of towers. The main tower is about 25 m high.

Nuestra primera parada después de un (merecido) descanso después del viaje fue el templo de Po Nagar. Po Nagar es un templo Champa fundado alrededor del año 781. Se compone de tres niveles, el más alto de los cuales abarca dos filas de torres. La torre central tiene unos 25 metros de altura.



I was so excited, it was my first Cham temple I had ever visited! *Asian history feels*
Estaba contentísima ése día, pues era el primer templo champa que visitaba! *Vena de estudiante de historia de Asia*


Lynn (Peter's mom and Bòn Bon posing for a picture
Lynn (madre de Peter) y Bòn Bon posando para una foto



The views of Nha Trang from Po Nagar. Too bad the weather was rather gloomy during the whole stay :(
Vistas de Nha Trang desde Po Nagar. Es una pena que el cielo estuviera encapotado durante toda nuestra estancia :(





Steven seemed to be bored...
Steven parecía algo aburrido...


A dancer in Po Nagar getting ready for her performance
Una bailarina en Po Nagar preparándose para su actuación

This band was playing typical Vietnamese music in the temple
Una banda tocando música vietnamita en el templo


Halfway our visit it started pouring rain, so we had to leave the temple immediately... I was having so much fun though! Then we went to Thab Ba Hot Springs, a very fancy spa in Nha Trang to have a mud bath. I had never had a mud bath in my life, so I was kind of skeptical about it... But Peter insisted and I said "Well, let's give it a try!" You had to go with a bathing suit and all, so I didn't take pictures inside (despite how beautiful the spa was!)

We had a shower first, to clean ourselves before the mud bath. Then they took us to a big bath tub where we had our bath, yay! They took us a picture there! 


En el medio de la visita empezó a llover a cántaros, así que tuvimos que irnos inmediatamente... Me lo estaba pasando tan bien! Nuestra siguiente parada fue Thab Ba Hot Springs, un spa bastante buena en Nha Trang, para darnos un baño de barro... Nunca había probado nada parecido, así que de primeras no me sonaba muy bien la idea... Pero Peter insistió, así que decidí darle una oportunidad. Tenías que ir solamente con traje de baño y chanclas, así que no hice fotos del sitio (y es una pena, porqué era muy bonito!)

Primero nos dimos una ducha para limpiarnos antes del baño de barro. A continuación nos llevaros a una bañera enorme y empezamos a disfrutar de nuestro baño, yay! Incluso nos tomaron una foto!


My biggest concern was the mud not coming out of my white bikini... But yes, it came out! :B
Me preocupaba que el barro no de fuera de mi bikini blanco... Pero si, si que se fue :B


The next day we all went to have breakfast before starting our new adventure in Nha Trang. Just like every day, we had Cơm tấm ! Yummy ^-^

Al día siguiente fuimos a desayunar como Dios manda antes de empezar nuestra segunda aventura por Nha Trang. Como casi cada día, comimos Cơm tấm! Ñam ^-^


After breakfast, we took the bus and we went to this beautiful harbor to take a boat... And go to the beach in Hom Tam Island! 8D
Después de desayunar tomamos el autobús otra vez y fuimos a éste bonito puerto donde cogimos una lancha... Para irnos a la playa en la isla de Hom Tam! 8D



Steven and Davis didn't feel too comfortable on the boat, haha....
Steven y Davis no estaban muy convencidos de éste viaje en lancha... haha



I took some great pictures on my way to Hom Tam... Like these fishermen houses floating in the water :)
Tomamos muy buenas fotos de camino a Hom Tam... Como éstas casas de pescadores flotantes :)

Despite the bad light the colors look super bright in the pictures! Yay :)
A pesar de la mala luz que había ése día los colores se ven muy vistosos en la fotos! Yay :)






Hom Tam turned out to be a resort also, a very fancy one by the way! We could just relax on the beach and then switch to their super classy swimming pool! 
Hom Tam resultó ser un punto de verano también, uno muy bueno! Podíamos relajarnos en la playa y luego ir a la cacho piscina que había :B




Finally at the beach!
Finalmente llegamos a la playa!

Helen (Peter's aunt, 2nd from the left) with her three kids: Davis, Tina and Steven
Helen (la tía de Peter, segunda por la derecha) con sus tres hijos: Davis, Tina y Steven

Peter & I at the beach
Peter y yo en la playa

The familyyyyyy! (Peter & I in the back... Haha)
La familiaaaaa! (Y Peter y yo detrás... Haha)


Jumping photo fail...
Foto saltando fallida...

You can see us better in this one!
En esta se nos ve mejor!




Selfies with the boyfie :B
Selfies con el noviete :B






After having a great time at the beach we went to Vinpearl, another touristic island in Nha Trang and also a resort. We spent the whole day in the amusement park they had inside, so I didn't take lots of pictures after we arrived :B

Después de pasar la mañana en la playa fuimos a Vinpearl, otra isla turística en Nha Trang, y también otro punto de veraneo. Pasamos la tarde entera en el parque de atracciones que había, así que después de llegar no tomé muchas más fotos :B





The views from Vinpearl were very beautiful! I wish the sky would've been blue with no clouds instead >_<
Las vistas desde Vinpearl eran realmente preciosas! Pero ojalá el cielo hubiera sido azul sin nubes >_<


CL