• That Time I Studied Abroad

    Park Güell, Barcelona

    When I studied abroad in Barcelona in 2010, I visited Park Güell several times. It had nice gardens and walking paths, many examples of the architect Antoni Gaudí’s signature whimsy, a stunning view of the rest of the city stretching out towards the sea below you, and it was free. By the time I took E to Barcelona in 2015 to show him all my favorite places in my favorite city, Park Güell cost 7 euros and had ugly stanchions to keep people out. It’s not an exorbitant fee, and it’s still worth visiting despite the crowds, but it feels a little less magical than it used to.

  • Feeeeelings

    Literally Escaping Into a Fantasy World

    The day after the election, E and I walked to work, and for most of the two miles we talked about D&D. When we saw our coworkers later, E joked that we were coping by “literally escaping into a fantasy world.” I have since made this joke to countless other friends and acquaintances so apologies if you’ve heard it from me already. Here’s the thing though: D&D is a great coping mechanism, and I highly recommend it. E and I have a game we’ve been playing every few weeks for several months with my brother and his partner, RJ. They live in Vancouver so we play via skype, and it’s…

  • Wandering India

    People Watching in Rishikesh

    I think Rishikesh was my favorite stop during my three week trip to India in 2013. The city existed on both sides of the Ganges River, and was connected most notably by this pedestrian suspension bridge. And when I say pedestrian bridge, what I really mean is pedestrian/bicycle/motorcycle/monkey/cow bridge. The crush of people in India was always impressive, and this bridge was a microcosm. One day I was drinking tea at a cafe overlooking the bridge and watched as a bull began to charge across. It had been ambling along agreeably and I’m not sure what startled it, but suddenly it was knocking people down and sending others running. A…

  • Close to Home

    Old Friends / Bookends

    Some old friends came to visit me in Boston this past weekend. We may only be in our mid-20s, but we’ve known each other since high school — I’ve known two of the women in this group for more than 15 years. And I’m pretty sure that meets the minimum requirements for old friends. We grew up in South Kingstown, Rhode Island and we were brought together by honors classes, but we’ve stayed in touch because of Suncook Lake in New Hampshire. There are six of us who have gotten together on this lake most summers since we graduated from high school. There’s no internet at the cabin there and…

  • The Great European Adventure

    The Rooftops of Paris

    When I think of Paris, I picture these gray-blue rooftops and their red-orange chimneys. Of course, I also picture the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and a whole host of other prominent landmarks. These places are so iconic, such a part of our cultural consciousness, I could picture them before I’d ever visited Paris. I remember my mother and I were so surprised to see Parisians walking the streets of their city wearing berets and carrying baguettes that we started to keep a tally. The behavior seemed too obviously, stereotypically French to be real, and yet there it was. Conversely, no one had ever told me about…

  • Uncategorized

    So Much Moss

    When I visited my brother and his partner last Fall, I’d never been to a temperate rainforest before. They live in Vancouver, which is a city known for its proximity to wonderful hiking and skiing, but neither of them are hikers, nor skiers. In fact, they’re pretty indoorsy people. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, just north of the city, is a nice compromise when you’re looking for natural beauty accessible by public transit. We had skipped this particular attraction the previous year when our mother was with us because she has a fear of falling. The suspension bridge for which the park is named is 450 feet long and strong enough…

  • Uncategorized

    Can’t see the forest for the baobab trees

    I don’t have much to say today. It’s a sad, bad day and I’m tired and scared and in shock. I’ve been avoiding the news and social media. I set a goal for this month to help me start writing again. I’m trying to post a photo and write a couple hundred words on this blog every weekday in November. Today is a weekday — a sad, bad, weekday — but a weekday nonetheless, so, here I am, writing a post about baobab trees. The thing that struck me most about baobab trees was how solitary they are. The climate they live in is dry and their root systems are…

  • Close to Home

    I’m From Boston

    I remember the first time someone introduced me as “from Boston.” It was the summer before E and I started our senior year at Tufts. We took a road trip down to Asheville, North Carolina to visit his sister, Far, and while hiking we struck up a conversation with some people on the trail. They asked where we were from and Far ended up answering, “they’re from Boston.” I made a note of it because it was also the first time we were introduced as a unit. I’m from Rhode Island and E is from New Hampshire, but we are from Boston. Our relationship is from Tufts University on the…

  • Looking for America

    Vacation / All I Ever Wanted

    You should probably listen to this song while you read this post. And no, don’t worry, it’s not The Go Go’s. In September, E and I took a vacation to Utah. As it turned out, I hadn’t taken a vacation in a long time, and I really, really needed one. Yes, I’ve traveled a lot, but until recently I hadn’t done the sort of work that necessitates vacationing. I interned and worked part-time positions with clear end-dates. Taking a year-long fellowship felt like a big commitment. In February, I started a new job — full-time, permanent — with more responsibility, challenges, and stress. And then I proceeded to work 9-5,…

  • That Time I Studied Abroad

    Fez and Fever Dreams

    Some of my travel experiences feel like fever dreams. When I studied abroad in Barcelona, my program brought us to Mallorca for a weekend, and I was sick the whole time so my memories of that trip are particularly hazy. I picked and ate a fig straight from a tree in a stranger’s yard, and it was fresh and delicious, like nothing I’d ever tasted before. I drifted in and out of sleep on a scenic train ride, and I swam in the Mediterranean Sea in the dark, and there was a castle, and my friend got to practice her medical Spanish vocabulary by explaining my symptoms to a pharmacist.…