Monday, January 28, 2013

No Puedo Comer Cacahuates

Sagrada Família

I bet you've been wondering why I haven't written since my last extremely inspiring post. Since then, you've been waiting with great anticipation for what will happened next to Rachel Eisen as she begins this new stage of her life (and the life of her blog). I am so sorry for having kept you waiting for this long. As usual, it is due to my lack of photos. In fact, I have not pulled out my camera once since I got to Europe about 28 days ago (oops!) But this weekend, I went to Barcelona! So obviously, I brought out my camera to be the good tourist that I am.
La Pedrera | Casa Milà

We took a train from Montpellier to Barcelona after classes on Friday and arrived around 9pm. I planned absolutely no part of this trip, besides directing my classmates to the SNCF train boutique so that a dear old lady named Francoise could set us up with the best possible route to get to our destination (gotta love Francoise!) So when we arrived at the hostel named Hostel One, I had no idea where we were, how much we were paying, who was sleeping where, nothing. So when we stepped through the doors and were met by a kooky, clearly high-off-his-ass receptionist talking about free dinner, drinks, love etc., I didn't know if we had stumbled into the most hospitable hostel ever or some crazy reality TV show. Since we didn't get killed in our sleep, I think it really just was the most hospitable (and kookiest) hostels I've ever stayed in. It was also one of the cheapest at 12E/night (yes, 12E WITH DINNER).
La Pedrera | Casa Milà

La Pedrera | Casa Milà

However, instead of eating the free dinner prepared for us, we wandered off to La Rambla and found this amazing restaurant called Bar Lobo. This restaurant was everything we were looking for. Great atmosphere, light tapas with high quality ingredients. Basically, I could see this restaurant in San Francisco. I'm feeling Valencia St. So if you have any feel of the foodie culture in San Francisco, you know that means it was pretty damn good. I got something along the lines of tuna tartare and was extremely happy with my choice. We also got sangria and this amazing mojito that even my "I don't like mint or mojitos that much" self threw down 8E for one. Generally, the prices weren't the cheapest at this place, but were reasonable since they were tapas and amazinnnggg. Once again, if you understand my Valencia reference, you were probably anticipating this higher end price estimate already.
La Pedrera | Casa Milà

We finally left Bar Lobo at 1am and I realized that we were right next to the Hotel Meridien were I stayed with my mother 4 years prior....go figures. After this, we headed out on the town. We got some strange shots that they lit on fire and make us suck the vapor from at this super American/Anglophone shots bar called Chupitos that is the home of the infamous Monica Lewinsky shot. Are you questioning what that could possibly be? Think about how she touched American Politics. Still don't get it? Well you can watch this little video of someone being duped into taking one.
La Pedrera | Casa Milà

After, we walked essentially a 5K to the strip of beachside clubs filled with foreigners. We got these fun little tickets while we were walking that made us VIPs that didn't have to pay the cover fee. But don't be too excited by these "VIP" cards. They are even less amazing than the Jug VIP cards that you have to pay for. You might get free entry, but you still pay for drinks which cost about 12E/drink. That comes out to almost $16/drink. From our experience, the cover fees are about the same price but come with a free drink so you might as well just choose the club based on the reputation and not that stupid piece of paper no matter how excited your drunk self might get.

Park Güell 

Park Güell

Besides being a hub for foreign partygoers, Barcelona is also the home of Gaudi. This crazy artist designed a giant church that still hasn't been finished à la style of Dr Seuss. Now, I'm trying to figure out just how impressed I should be by this Gaudi character. Prior to this trip, I was like OMG SAGRADA FAMILIA OMG COOL! But when I went and saw the date. The construction started in 1882, and as my roommate so eloquently said, anything younger than the United States is not old. Obviously this church is extremely different than any other cathedral you've ever seen. Those were made in the MIDDLE AGES! So I am going to have to say that I was underwhelmed by the magic that is Sagrada Familia. To me, it kind of just looks like a crazy giant sand castle in the middle of Barcelona. However, we also stumbled across La Pedrera, an apartment building designed by Gaudi, which I did enjoy wandering around. There were some pretty intriguing designs but I think the best part was the pretty views we got to see.

Park Güell

All in all, I had a great time in Barcelona this weekend. I had been there before with my mom when I was in high school, but going there NOT during a) Christmas when Barcelona shuts down from the 24-26th b) with your mom c) without people your own age d) when you are 16 makes it a whole lot more fun. On the train home I counted up all my receipts and the whole trip came out to 250E with the train tickets. Obviously, if you know anything about me, you know that I overspend. So you could just subtract $500 million from that price if you do it on a smart budget. That smart budget would avoid red bull vodka at clubs unlike my dumb ass. This week, I'm slightly starving myself to keep to my self-appointed weekly budget. Hopefully my parents think that weekly budget is reasonable too!?

View from Park Güell

La Pedrera | Casa Milà

Also, in case you were wondering about the title of this post, "No peudo Comer Cacahuates" was the only spanish I learned this weekend. My friend is allergic to peanuts so our spanish speaking friend taught us how to say "I can't eat peanuts" which I proceeded to repeat a million times this weekend despite having no such allergy. Useful skills gained abroad! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reflections and Transitions

How long has it been my friends? Far too long I think. This semester has admittedly provided me with many challenges that I believe I overcame successfully with a couple trips and scrapes a long the way. Describing how this semester went is sometimes difficult. When people as me the very rhetorical question that doesn't actually demand an in-depth analysis, I answer that it was fine. I might have even enjoyed it.
But during those moments at 6 o'clock in the morning when I was hyped on caffeine, I would reflect truly on the events that occurred in the fall semester of my junior year and I have to say... I am sure glad to be leaving that bitch. In fact, it was abusive and difficult to the point of being humorous far too frequently.
So although I might think vaguely of this fall semester in a positive light, I am glad that it is over and I have escaped from its grasps. In fact, I have run so far from its grasps that I have found myself in Europe! What better way to follow the worst semester in the world than with a semester abroad?
So this is my transitional post. The fashion world and my interest in it has not provided me with the best experiences this semester. In fact, I'm pretty sick of writing about clothing and outfits. Writing for both College Fashionista and the Maroon News this semester was too much at once, and turned my blogging habit into a chore that I merely dreaded.
This chore turned into full on torture after a certain point in this semester that I'd prefer not to dwell on any longer. If you know, you know; if not, too bad for you. But even beyond this incident, I have to admit that no one gives a rat's ass about my little outfits or my poorly informed fashion commentary. No one reads any of this anyway, and if they do...well, how positively is fashion ever received? Frequently regarded as superficial and generally lacking in any real significance in our world, I have gotten annoyed with how easily people disregard the industry (although admittedly, it has many faults but they always point to it being useless, which is not an argument I accept).
So I am done, at least for now with my fashion blog. I am done forcing myself to take awkward pictures of myself or others as I nitpick on how fat or ugly I may look in that pose or with that expression. Fashion blogging is for some--most successfully those who are rather pretty and skinny and rich and have extremely expensive cameras--but at this moment, 'tis not me.
Therefore, this blog is going to transform into something else. I guess at this moment, more a travel blog, since I'll be studying abroad this semester. Now this isn't to say I've completely given up on the clothing element. After all, I will be in France, so shopping has already become one of my main activities. So I will share the new pieces I buy with you and I might even take some random street style photos for the heck of it. But I think this will just be therapy. I don't want my blog to be a chore anymore. I don't want it to force me to be something I'm not or pretend like I'm better than I am. This blog is for me, for my thoughts, my experiences, and if you feel like joining and reading this than welcome.

Hi. My name is Rachel. Welcome to my head.