5 Places I am Thankful for

I love this time of year. There are so many reasons to celebrate, be with family and EAT. In spite of everything people have to say about Thanksgiving and how we are superficial for celebrating one day and then shopping our lives away the rest of the season, I still love this day.

This year, I decided to  count my blessings in the form of places, thankful for everything these places represent and what they have offered me.

IMG_13055. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

The oldest settlement in Puerto Rico, this old town is full of wonders. You can’t get bored in Old San Juan. You can find all types of food, from food trucks to fancy latin fusion cuisine. You can also find all sorts of drinks, from Puerto Rican “moonshine” or “chichaito” to a classic passion fruit sangría. I am thankful for all the fun times Old San Juan has given me, from late night with friends to fun days with family, it all happens here.

 4. Strasbourg, France

Yes, I love Paris and all of its enchantment. Still, I am completely biased to Strasbourg. This city in the region of Alsace, just minutes away from Germany, is very underrated. The unique fusion you find here is quite incomparable. L’Alsace for dummies? Like if France and Germany had a baby, but of course, there is so much more to it. I am thankful for Strasbourg’s culture and history, this city opened my eyes to so many things and I will always be thankful for that. Thanks to Strasbourg and my wonderful host family, I also discovered my true love for food.

 3. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is always on my list. It is a special city I am always waiting to return to. Have only been there for a few days, but I fell in love with it. I’m thankful for this city’s vibrant colors, inspiring architecture and delicious food.

 2. New York, New York

Ah, where to begin with this little gem? I have a love/hate relationship with this city. It is easy to forget it’s electric magic when you are deep in the trenches questioning your life choices, but this place makes you better and stronger by just being there. I am thankful for everything this city inspires me to be and for all the food from the world I have at my reach. New York, you make me stronger and wiser with each passing day.

20131226-170718.jpg1. Puerto Rico

You think I would limit Puerto Rico to just Old San Juan? Wrong. Puerto Rico is my favorite place in the world. I doubt any of the places in my bucket list could ever change that. I am thankful for Puerto Rico’s people, we are not perfect, but we are pretty awesome. I am thankful for the incredible ecological diversity you can find in this little island. I’m thankful for all the amazing food you can taste here, from my mother’s cooking to the many restaurants that offer hundreds of plantain plate varieties. I am thankful for Puerto Rico because it is an intrical part of who I am.

What places are you thankful for? Would love to hear your stories!

Happy Thanksgiving!

[Strasbourg, France] Forever nostalgic

Strasbourg, FranceI will forever be nostalgic of the few months I lived in Strasbourg, France. I really don’t think that feeling will ever go away and I am ok with it, I’ve said it before. I think everyone needs to live abroad at some point in their lives, even if it’s just for a few months. To some it sounds annoying, but I have never heard anyone who has lived abroad say that they regret their decision. Seriously, it opens your eyes, your mind and your soul. It also empties your pockets, but that’s another story.

Instagram did not even exist when I was studying abroad. *Does quick Google search* Ok, Instagram was literally being built as I was studying abroad. I can only imagine the absurd amount of pictures I would have been posting on a daily basis if I had an Instagram account at that point. I had a basic Nokia phone with limited minutes and text messages as my loyal companion, I used bbm (Blackberry messenger) as the way to chat with my family and friends in the other side of the Atlantic and guess what? I took pictures with an actual camera and not a phone. Bizarre, right?

There’s nothing I can write that can wipe away the nostalgia that I’m feeling at the moment, so I will not keep trying. It’s all just really weird and beautiful at the same time. So join me while I reminisce, I hope all of you have a happy place and set of memories that can bring out the same sense of comfort and longing like Strasbourg does for me.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France

Somewhere near Strasbourg…

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Wordless Wednesday: Paris, Je t’aime

 

I can never get tired of admiring Paris.

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Photo by Cristina Nogueras, edited with Piclab

 

 

Wanderlust problems and other itchy feet musings

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Once upon a time, I was blessed to call France my home. I would ride a bike to school, have lunch by the river, come home to a dog and a warm family and drink good, cheap wine with new wonderful friends.

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The thing about wonderful times is that they end, and as sad or exaggerated as it sounds, you never get them back. There’s something so bittersweet about it that I can’t help but smile. Sure, I could technically book a flight to France next week (I do have a credit card) but in reality it can never be the same. People and places change, but most importantly, you change as well.

That’s why we need to keep creating adventures, so you don’t miss the old ones that much. You will never get your old times back, but that is what makes them magical and timeless, the rarity and exclusivity of things that are gone.

It sure didn’t feel magical when I was stuck in my desk studying for a final exam, sad because I had ran out of money and my camera had broken. It sure was not exciting when I had to eat ham and cheese sandwiches for a week because I spent way too much money on my week at Spain, but once you leave and look back, it all sounds ironically perfect.

Sometimes things get even better when you have to look back to enjoy them. It’s almost risky though, to look back too often, as you tend to unconsciously edit the memories, add filters and suppress the mishaps (bike falls, broken cameras, hangovers, dry lunches, too cheap wines, boring lectures, train delays and scary flights).

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Still, you know you would do it all again and in your future attempts to somehow really do it all again, you will get new, exciting adventures that will keep the cycle alive.

Humans are never satisfied and our thirst can’t be quenched that easily, so let’s drink on.

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All photos taken by Cristina Nogueras © – Do not take without permission or credit