As of two days ago I’d spent 19 of my 22 years living/exploring in California without once visiting Lake Tahoe, that ginormous deep blue puddle that lies between our great state and that desert next door. The situation has now been remedied. Life can go on.
Yesterday was travel day. We over-stuffed our van (I think we can safely say the Navarro’s have hit a new low in our packing abilities) and hit the road nice and late (in true Navamily fashion). What’s a trip without a full car, late departure, and numerous stops along the way? Some kind of heaven I’m sure but not a Navarro family vacation!
Though Eric wasn’t able to join us for this trip, he was kind enough to help us pack the van in Santa Cruz (this is a lie…he didn’t help at all) and strap the kayak to the roof (he did help with this. The task didn’t require an engineer but it certainly didn’t hurt!). Since we had zero extra room in the van, Eric and I were forced to double buckle it up to Berkeley. This was uncomfortable and I was glad to drop him off at home. (Just kidding. I’m so sad that he’s not able to join us for this adventure!)
Five hours, one In-and-Out Burger stop, and numerous pee breaks later we caught our first glimpse of the lake, driving down the hill on highway 50 (we were driving, not the lake, obviously). Simply magical.
In no time we were at eye level with Tahoe and pulling up to our cabin in Zephyr Cove. After unpacking all our crap (hauling it over a hill and up a flight of stairs. Sore but strong we are! And stupid) we headed down to the water.
Years ago one of my best friends introduced me to the phrase “heart sparkles.” Have you heard that one before? I hadn’t but as soon as she said it I instantly related to that feeling it describes.
Yesterday, sitting on the pier at dusk with my family, I had some major heart sparkles going on. We might be uniquely crazy, competitively right, and unnecessarily loud folks, but we are blood and we make each other laugh like you wouldn’t believe.
I can tell it’s going to be a great trip!
Barcelona was definitely one of my favorite stops on our trip. Being able to understand folks (I discovered I’m pretty darn conversational in the ol’ Español) and ask for directions and the price of things was grand, especially since in France I would just nod blankly when anyone addressed me. I was tired of looking dumb!
We spent a lot of time with Gaudí, visiting Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, and stumbling upon his architecture around the city. Growing up with Gaudí coffee table picture books had familiarized me with his work, but seeing it in person was something else. His style is larger than life. It’s otherworldy, fer sure. We were mesmerized and could have easily stayed and explore for hours more.
We’ll be back, Barcelona!
We’ve been continuing our vacation, and mourning its soon-to-be conclusion, this past week. Taking things a little more slowly than our month abroad… Recovering from jet lag in bed and generally not leaving the house. Getting out to Tilden today felt kind of necessary for our limbs!
How did you spend your first day of Summer?
After Paris we took the TGV (read: high speed rail…about time we got some of these in the US of A, no?) to Aix-en-Provence to visit with Eric’s sister and family. We spent a few days there, walking around and enjoying Provence and the warmer weather. Next we headed to Arles, a little city on the Rhône that has some amazing Roman ruins. And then to Nice! We spent three days there, enjoying the beautiful beach and basking in the sun. During our visit we took the bus, which runs right along the coast, to Monaco for a day and visited their Aquarium (fun, but nothing beats our Monterey Bay Aquarium, that’s fo sho) and amazing exotic garden.
We arrived in Paris on May 21st to find the city freezing its fashionable ass off. Oh man, was it cold! Something like 40 degrees. And rainy. But we still managed to take in a bunch of the sites, bundled to the max. We were there only a few days (we came back at the end of the trip for another few so there will be more pics…) but I still fell in love, just like everyone told me I would. What an incredible city. When we arrived and walked up the metro steps I had the classic jaw drop reaction to this beautiful city. Well done, Haussmann, et al!
After 27 days of walking, site seeing, attempting to speak foreign languages, and catching the travel bug real bad, we are back home in Berkeley, jet lagged and refusing to leave our bed except to eat and pee.
I thought I would experience some sort of culture shock upon returning to the states, but so far it’s been a smooth transition. Yesterday we walked north to the gourmet ghetto for some yummy eats (Baja burgers at Barney’s because we’re back in California) and then saw a movie (Seth Rogen’s This is the End…SO DAMN FUNNY! I highly recommend it!). In English!
I’ll post some pics from our adventures soon but if you’re curious, or impatient, visit our tumblr blog that we updated regularly during our viaje.
The time has come! Tomorrow we depart the USA for France and begin our adventures abroad! We’re visiting 3 countries over 27 days (France, Spain, and Italy). Eric speaks only a modicum of French, I speak only a spot of Spanish, and we both can’t speak Italian. Let the adventures in communication begin! I have been practicing my gesturing over the last few days so everything should be okay.
Follow along with our travels over on our new blog 27days3countries.tumblr.com. We’ll post as much as we can whenever we find an internet connection. Bon voyage to us!
Although May is still three months away, we’ve already begun preparing for its arrival. On our to-do list: finding a new home in the East Bay (which entails vetting houses/apartments/neighborhoods, applying, “winning,” signing a lease, coughing up a first and last, etc.), making reservations for our Europe trip (which means finally deciding on our main stops and reserving plane and train tickets and Airbnb rooms), and then, eventually, packing up all our belongings and moving them into our new home before Eric’s graduation and our departure date three days later. In some ways, this process is a bit like the endless staircase we found while hiking in the Berkeley hills over the weekend. At first, the climb seems all too doable and you forge ahead confidently and quickly…until you realize that each new step is a little bit harder than the last and you still can’t see the top of the stairs. Still, while I can’t yet see over the hill of planning and arrangements that we have in store for us, I know that the end will come eventually, just as the month of May will. Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’…
On a more positive note, this Europe trip is going to be the perfect icing on the cake of transition we’re making over here! I can’t wait to share with you all the stops we have planned. If you have any recommendations for towns & cities that we must see while in France, Italy, and Spain, please leave a comment below! We’re still making final arrangements and can certainly be persuaded to visit places not yet on our list!
Like many students, every winter throughout college I migrated back home to stay with my family for the holidays. The break would last about a month, wherein I would get horribly sick (let’s face it, I’d probably had a total of 5 hours of sleep during finals), lounge around the house in sweatpants, drink tea with my high school besties, and de-compress/de-stress from my grueling college semester.
I’ve now been out of college for over a year and am happy to report that, while I no longer get horribly sick when I return home (thank the heavens), for the second winter in a row I have had the luxury of spending 2-3 weeks with my family in their home on the Central Coast.
Now, if you’re still in college, you might not realize how envious some of my working friends are of my vacation situation. For most of us when we enter the working world, “winter break” becomes a phrase of the past. Instead of a month-long chill-sesh in December and January, one must continue with one’s job, hopefully getting the chance to spend a couple paid (and heavily rationed) vacation days with family and friends at one point or another during the holidays. This is the life of the working college grad. This should be my life, but for some very lucky reasons it has, blessedly, not been just yet. Here’s why:
My first year out of college I was lucky enough to have a boss who understood the necessity of being away from the freezing-ass cold of West Philadelphia in December and let me take a very generous break to be with my family in California (for the record, I did get some work done…some). Technically, I was on a paid vacation and, technically, I should have only been home for a week or less (thanks, VISTA), but, happily, I was able to have a “winter break” like the college kid I still felt I was. And it was lovely! When I returned back to work in January I was ready to tackle whatever grant proposal came my way! I had had my flu, I had relaxed deeply, and I had visited with the high school buddies that keep me going. It was great!
After my service year ended, I was lucky enough to have a “summer break” (read: lived off/spent all of my meager savings) before beginning work as a consultant in August. And then, due to the contractual nature of my new job, I received this wonderful little break in December, which meant, and means until next week, that once again I am on “winter break” when really I should be slogging away at an office somewhere wishing that my weekends were two days longer.
So, while I do not know how long this job will last and while I have yet to figure out my professional goals in life, I take comfort in the knowledge that while I am in this tele-commuting ”free-lance consultant” unstable/confusing/and bizarre point in my career, I get to spend my days wherever the fuck I want (ahem, can afford). And this holiday season, I am spending them curled up on the couch in my parents’ family room, trying to make out the words on my computer screen over the intense glare that is coming from the window behind me. It’s a rough life.
Yes, there’s a part of me that wishes I had a career with a steady income, but there’s also another part of me, and, let’s face it, in this moment a much bigger part of me, that’s so dang pleased that I get to spend this long stint of time back home. Maybe I’ll have normal adult vacations in this new year. But right now, I’ll bask in the glory that is free-lance employment and enjoy the last few days of my break. Suck it, bitchez.
Image via b$/ram
It’s been awhile! I am back from a long blog-hiatus and am as refreshed and as busy as ever. Since much of my after-work (think after 5pm) time has been devoted to Beginners of late, KU has been simmering contentedly on the back burner of the stove of life for a few months now. And while it has been a whole lot of fun to work on new projects, and while I can’t wait to see what that beautiful venture (Beginners, obvs) has in store, I think it’s time to get back to my blogging roots and start posting here again.
I must confess, not much has happened since I stopped writing in October. I am still living and loving in Berkeley, still figuring out what my passions are, still trying to illuminate career goals. The usual. I spent most of December and part of January in Santa Cruz with my family (more on this break of sorts next time), venturing down the coast for a few days to see more relatives too. It’s been lovely. The following images were taken over the last month; the first few on a day-hike at Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz, the second to last in LA, the final on our journey back home.
Eric and I are now back in Berkeley. Over the last few days we’ve (ahem, he’s…) been assembling a small-scale aquaponics thingy in our room. We’ve now been to Home Depot, like, way too many times. But it’s coming along nicely, I think! We’ll be posting about it over on his blog, Electric Tree House, over the next few weeks…if it works, that is. I’ve been working on new websites for both my padres and cooking up a storm! For example, this evening we made bahn mi and vermicelli bowls. Can you say, no yell, YUMMY! And last night we made feijoada, a DELICIOUS, and I’m talking fucking-fantastic, Brazilian bean dish. Try it! It’s amazing!
It’s a little past 10pm now and Eric and I have made a pact to be in bed by 11pm as much as possible this year, so I must sign off! Let’s see if we can wake up at 8am (also in the pact) and do yoga (that’s in the pact I have with myself) too. I’ll let you know!