Wanderlust: Tirano (Italy)

Like I mentioned last time, during our stay at Davos, we signed up for a two-day trip to Tirano, Italy. Tirano is a small town in the province of Sondrio in northern Italy is adjacent to the Switzerland-Italy boundary. Because we weren’t able to stay for long (and the majority of the time we spent on the train), we only managed to walk around some parts of the town, though it is very lovely! I had hoped to put my meager Spanish skills to use, as I had been told Spanish and Italian were very similar. Nonetheless, it only occurred to me how to say “Post Office” in Spanish after I had left Italy…

This was a pretty cool photo I took while we were passing through a tunnel.

This was a pretty cool photo I took while we were passing through a tunnel on the Bernina Express.

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Wanderlust: Zürich (Switzerland, Part III)

After two weeks in Davos, we stopped by Zürich for a couple of days. The atmosphere of the two places are polar opposite—one is a bustling city of the financially-stable nation; the other, a pretty, relaxed small village at the foot of the Alps. Both are wonderful places in their own unique ways.

Another church. Switzerland's history is rich.

Another church. Switzerland’s history is rich.

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Wanderlust: Davos (Switzerland, Part I)

I actually spent a long time trying to find these photos. For some reason, I had deleted them, but after some googling, I found a software that would let me recover my photos (for free!). Here’s the handy-dandy link in case you ever lose any photos, too.

Anyways, two years ago, we spent a couple of weeks in Switzerland. Our destination was Davos, a small town that actually hosts the World Economic Forum (WEF). It’s also the highest city in Europe. Although it’s most famous for its ski resorts, I don’t know how to ski, but it’s also great for hiking and sight-seeing!

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Another bird’s eye view.

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paradise will be a kind of library

This winter break, I had a lot of free time, so in addition to trying to learn Beyonce’s 7/11 dance (which, of course, I managed to make myself look like a flopping potato), I also read a few books, too. Here are some short reviews/synopses that I wrote of the (probably only) four books I’ll have had ample time to read this semester (RIP me).

cover_theireyesZora Neale Hurston’s 1937 classic Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of beautiful Janie Crawford, a young and naïve girl who blossoms into a mature and independent woman throughout her three marriages. Intertwining narration with the heavy vernacular dialogue of southern African Americans, Hurston weaves self-identity, feminism and faith into an unforgettable love story. If there’s any book that can amplify the voice of an ordinary African American woman so loudly and proudly, it’s Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.

519na7gpjkl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Joshua Ferris’s And Then We Came to the End isn’t named one of the top ten books of 2007 by the New York Times Book Review for no reason: much like a book version of The Office, And Then We Came to the End details the lives of a group of coworkers for a failing advertising agency. Combining the witty and detailed banter and gossip that comes with spending nine hours a day with a group of people that you sometimes call friends, other times competitors or even strangers, Ferris’s debut novel manages to both beautifully capture the atmosphere of a workplace and engage our attention until the very last sentence (literally).

the-catcher-in-the-rye-cover-6c8dab7d64192277315d6bf528d6f7b2Now, for some reason, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye didn’t really speak to me as much as the other three novels — perhaps because it so thoroughly captures the attitude of a rebellious teenager struggling to come to terms with himself and stumbling through the stage of life we call growing up. Perhaps it was the frustration that came along with reading about his ventures and his mistakes, and the fact that the ending never gives full closure about his maturity (which, absolutely perfectly mimics real life), that made me slightly uncomfortable, but as I’ve said twice already, that may be a result of the fact that it’s so real. 

6980146-_uy200_Grapes of Wrath was 20th-century America’s masterpiece. Column McCann’s Let The Great World Spin is 21st-century America’s masterpiece. Tying together the lives of more-or-less unrelated characters by Philippe Petit’s infamous high-wire walk between the Twin Towers, McCann weaves together beautiful, intense and passionate stories of those watching the mysterious man walking in the air that day. This single gravity-defying act serves as a single point of intersection between a variety of different characters, but as McCann shows, our lives are inherently intertwined and forever linked together, just like the Twin Towers were when Petit walked across between them.

a chapter in a book, waiting to be written

It’s a tad bit late to be sharing this, but I’m just so bad at keeping my New Year’s Resolution that I figured maybe sharing my list publicly would force me to at least try a lil’ harder this time, haha. Anyways, here’s 17 things I hope to do/do better in 2017. 🙂

Below is a picture I took when I was in Switzerland. We were walking on the mountains when we noticed a bunch of these rock sculptures, where people had stacked rocks on each other and left them there. Not really sure what they’re for, but I think each sculpture has its own personal meaning to its maker. So below is the one that I built, and although now I don’t know if it’s still up there, or what the specific meaning was anymore, but now it’ll be representing my new goals for this year!

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New year’s resolution

  1. Be more focused on coursework; stop procrastinating and stop spending so much time on the Internet/social media.
  2. Every Sunday, I’ll try to post ten things that made me happy/smile that week.
  3. Spend less time on phone/set aside time for phone use.
  4. Read more, particularly when you have free time.
  5. Don’t spend too much money on eating out/shopping (you’re broke af, girl).
  6. Go to bed before midnight (unless absolutely necessary) and wake up before 8 am every day.
  7. Be more open, and get to know more people/make more friends!
  8. Aim for all As (hahahah…………………..>.>………..)
  9. Eat healthier and cut back on sugar and sweets.
  10. Give everything I do my 100% best!
  11. Cut toxic relationships from my life and be okay with that. Make better ones! 
  12. Balance schoolwork and social life. Don’t go out too much, but also don’t spend all your time cooped up in the dorm.
  13. Be open-hearted and open-minded. Happy and good thoughts only!
  14. Exercise at least four times a week at the gym.
  15. Appreciate friends and family more. Call home more often, and keep in touch with friends at home.
  16. Every day, do something that makes ME happy.
  17. Be more willing to step outside of my comfort zone.

So there’s that! Hopefully this year, I can actually do most of these! 🙂

 

 

“I Love Winter!” Tag

The wonderful Finicky Cynic has nominated me for the “I Love Winter” tag, and although Texas here doesn’t really have a winter (or rather, sporadically it does — today’s high is 75 and tomorrow’s is 43…), I’m glad to participate! 🙂

My Kind of Winter

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Wanderlust: Galveston & Moody Garden’s Iceland

This winter break, we spent a couple days to drive to Galveston, an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Galveston’s not really known for its beach (would not recommend going if you’re only stopping by for a day — it’s pretty nasty…but a walk along the beach isn’t THAT bad), but IT IS known for the Moody Gardens, giant glass pyramids that house sharks, monkeys and other animals.

The Moody Gardens are also home to Iceland, where sculptors have carved a beautiful undersea journey from two million pounds of ice. Iceland first was constructed in 2014, and each year features a stadium full of beautiful sculptures under a specific theme — this year, it was “Caribbean Christmas.” Fish, turtle and submarines accompany you as you walk through the 9 degree Fahrenheit arena, and at the very end is a slide carved entirely from ice.

underwater submarine

underwater submarine

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