Prologue

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One day I woke up, walked out on my job, and moved to a different continent.

Once in awhile we all wake up and think “fuck this!” yet we move on and get our asses to work.

I didn’t get my ass to work that day.

There is something about a terrible breakup and realizing that someone you were in love with was cheating on you. You wake up with a special kind of bitterness. This wasn’t some kind of “girl power” moment either so I’m not going to paint it that way.

I wallowed in self pity as I locked myself in my apartment for two weeks. I had to throw away the remaining bottle of wine I gave myself as a gift. All the songs on the radio reminded me of him, all of the objects in my home somehow brought back memories, and I couldn’t go for a walk without wanting to hit every couple in the face that crossed paths.

It was a decision made after endless hours of ugly crying and refreshing his Facebook page. Everyone started to feel sorry for me, and sometime after devouring too many Lindt chocolates (damn those were good) I started feeling sorry for myself.

When I gave Tony my two weeks notice, he smiled, seemingly unsurprised. He told me to give him a call if I needed anything. He probably just wanted a quick shag.

I decided I would start with the language course. After all, I had studied Spanish at college so I wouldn’t have too rough of a time understanding how to get taxi, perhaps renting out a small place, and eventually looking for a job.

I sat next to my window and looked down at the people walking by. Two girls walking to school wearing matching pink oversized backpacks. An eldery man with his over-eager French bulldog going for a walk. A middle aged couple holding hands. For fucks sake, another couple.

This isn’t going to be like one of those movies where a sad woman moves abroad and lives a life of luxury, meets tons of attractive men and “finds herself”.

I stood on a chair in order to fetch the dusty suitcase that was propped on top of my wardrobe.

This is a story of a woman who made a terribly impulsive decision (as I’m known to do) and moved to a country with no backup plan, a considerable amount of credit card debt, and difficulty finding her keys let alone some kind of personal realization.

There were quite a few attractive men though.

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Ice and strawberries

The first week of January I took a trip to the Aosta Valley, in the north of Italy, located near the French border. The region is famous for one of the largest national parks, skiing resorts, and, of course, Italy=good food.

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Don’t climb the Colosseum!

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Rome, Italy

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Barcelona, Spain

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Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

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Rome, Italy

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Athens, Greece

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London, England

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Juliet’s house, Romeo and Juliet’s meeting place, Verona, Italy

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“If you’re drinking to forget, pay first.”
Mallorca, Spain

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Vatican City

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Bologna, Italy

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Why my iPhone is the only camera I need.

When I started traveling, I couldn’t afford a good camera. I still can’t. I felt like I was wasting so many opportunities to take the perfect shot. Yet, as I go through my photo albums, I realize that I did just fine after all. Maybe a good picture doesn’t always depend on award winning quality, or the right angle – but the memories behind the camera. Each of these photographs (although highly amateur) resonate with me. They take me back to those moments. The smell of strong coffee engulfing the narrow Italian streets, the sound of firecrackers after a football match, the sight of a church on the Spanish seaside. You don’t always have to go looking for beauty in order to find it. Sometimes it just creeps up on you, as you’re lost in the moment.

For complete posts from these cities, check out my photography section.

1. Mallorca, Spain

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2. Athens, Greece

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3. Leon, Spain

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4. Peñafiel, Spain

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5. Heidelburg, Germany

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6. The Vatican Museum, Vatican City

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7. Oporto, Portugal

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8. Bologna, Italy

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9. Granada, Spain

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10. Cremona, Italy

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11. Sevilla, Spain

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12. Valladolid, Spain

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13. London, England

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14. Cala Pi, Mallorca, Spain

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15. Sitges, Spain

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16. Ontario, Canada

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17. Rome, Italy

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18. Barcelona, Spain

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Cremona, the city of violins.

A city of just under 70,000 in Lombardy, Italy. Known by lovers of classical music, undiscovered by the rest of us. On a regular afternoon, you won’t see a tourist in sight, those are the best places though, aren’t they?

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Bologna, city of colour.

I’ve previously blogged about my new home in Italy. It’s a city called Bologna, famous for its tortellini and mortadella, but just about everything else is delicious as well.
Bologna isn’t as famous as Rome or Florence, but it has a spirit that can hold its own, and a burst of colour that speaks for itself.
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5 Strange Spanish Expressions

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Spanish is one of the most beautiful languages in existence. If you speak Spanish, you can agree that not only is it the language of love, it is the language of creative cursing and expression. If you want to sound more like a local on your next trip to Spain, try incorporating the following expressions into your conversation (the English equivalent is listed below).

These idiomatic expressions are in Castilian Spanish, meaning from Spain. They may or may not make sense in Latin American countries.

1) Tomar el pelo.

Literally: “Take someone’s hair.”
English equivalent: To make fun of, poke fun at, or pull someone’s leg.
Example: “Mis hermanos siempre me toman el pelo.”
Translation: “My brothers always take my hair.”

2) Poner los cuernos.

Literally: “Put the horns on.”
English equivalent: To cheat on, to be unfaithful.
Example: “El ex novio de mi hermana le puso los cuernos.”
Translation: “My sister’s ex put the horns on her.”

3) Tener mucha cara.

Literally: “Have a lot of face.”
English equivalent: To have nerve.
Example: “Hace falta tener mucha cara para hacer lo que hizo el ayer noche durante la fiesta!”
Translation: “You need a lot of face to be able to do what he did last night at the party!”

4) Ponerse las pilas.

Literally: “To put your batteries in.”
English equivalent: To get yourself together, get a move on, get your sh*t together. This expression was believed to be originally used in Colombia. The idea of having a “low battery,” and therefore being unable to complete a task, is used in various languages.
Example: Ponte las pilas! Vas a suspender el examen!
Translation: “Put your batteries in! You’re going to fail the exam!”

5) Tener mala leche.

Literally: “To have bad milk.”
English equivalent: To be mean, unkind, bitchy. The origin of this expression dates back to medieval times, where noble women often gave their newborns to women of lower classes so that they could be breastfed. Women of the upper classes didn’t want to be bothered with this task. The “host mothers” were usually of Jewish or Moorish origin and therefore thought to “have bad milk” that would be passed on to the child. The expression was generally used as an insult.
Example: La profesora de ingles tiene muy mala leche.
Translation: “The English teacher has really bad milk.”