About halfway through my semester abroad I created section in my journal called “Things I don’t want to forget.'' Here, I jot down a few words about encounters or things I see that only last a few seconds - but I never want to forget them.
I figured I’d share some of these little things with you.
Spanish people wear a LOT of cologne. Like, an amount that some would consider upsetting… but I love it. I’ve always been a fan of strong perfume and cologne. I appreciate it most when I’ve just walked through someone’s cloud of cigarette smoke, then an old man wearing way too much Giorgio Armani walks by - it cancels it out.
Mandarines. It’s become a habit of mine to grab some fruit from my local Carrefour market for dessert everyday. I am obsessed with these Moroccan mandarin oranges that are so incredibly juicy. They are the perfect balance of citrusy and sweet, and the skin peels off so easily. Anywho, I went to Carrefour on a Sunday afternoon and they had a pack of 5 mandarines for 1 euro since they were getting fresh produce the next day. I ate all five of them that evening. I don’t think I could ever get sick of them.
Sweet barista remembered me. I ran to this little local cafe near Alameda one morning, ordered an americano, and ran back. The barista was really kind - not overly, but was happy to whip me up some hot-bean-juice. I ran back two weeks later and our encounter went like this:
“hola, buenos dias!”
(smiling and surprised he remembered) “si por favor!”
I went back a third time and he still remembered me. I like him.
Wish, the springer spaniel. Some friends and I were lying in the grass in a park outside of Lisbon, and this beautiful dog was frolicking nearby. We ended up petting it and chatting with the owner. The dogs name was Wish, and I thought that was so freaking sweet. And she was so well behaved!
Tree wearing a sweater. On a guided tour through Lisbon, we ended up in this neighborhood called Alfama that had a tiny square surrounded by tiled buildings and a few cafes. In the center stood a massive tree whose trunk was wrapped by a brightly colored knitted blanket. In this same neighborhood, artists created an exhibit on the walls of an alley with portraits of the elderly who have lived there their whole lives. The art in Alfama was so unique and unconventional… my favorite type of art.
Massive fruit spread in Rome. When I was in Rome, I asked my friend Regina who studied there for her favorite spots around the city. She was thrilled to recommend this spot called Ginger, specifically for their beautiful fruit platters. My friends and I ordered a medium fruit platter to share with our breakfast, and I swear it might be just as beautiful as the world famous Roman art we had seen. The mango was mouth watering, and passionfruit and papaya were so fresh and flavorful. I have to say, it was so nice to get some fresh fruit after living on pizza and pasta all weekend. Fiber, yay!
Birds in the cafe. We stayed at an Airbnb steps away from the Pantheon, and decided to check out some nearby cafes for affogati and cannoli. We sat towards the back of this brightly lit cafe, enjoying our bitter Italian espresso and the most decadent cannoli I’ve ever had. All of the sudden we see a pigeon land on the ground by our table. The Italian waiter did a loud *CLAP*, and like magic the bird flew straight out the front doors.
Erotic books in the bathroom. My friend Savannah brought us to the bookstore Shakespeare and Company, right by the Notre Dame. The bookstore is every bibliophile’s dream, and the cafe was a dream too. In the bathroom there was a glass cabinet above the toilet showcasing a collection of erotic books and magazines as decor - nothing too graphic - and I decided I’m gonna copy this in my future home.
Nirvana jacket. While sitting outside of Shakespeare and company with Savannah and Nora, we spotted this adorable gal wearing a denim jacket with an embroidery of Nirvana’s In Utero on the back. It was the coolest jacket ever, so I flagged her over. Luckily we spoke the same language, and she told us about the shop she bought it from in London for 15 Pounds! The girl and her friend were studying abroad in Florence and had been spending the weekend in Paris. They were really sweet. But damn, I want that jacket so badly.
Twinkling lights. Paris reminds me a lot of NYC, only more spread out and more sparkly. We saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle (it does it on the hour every evening!) and while walking to meet my friend Marisa and her family for dinner, I saw so many more twinkling lights lining the streets and restaurants. I see why they call it the city of lights.
Feeling at home. I spent some time with one of my best friends from home, who happened to be in Paris visiting her family. It was the most heartwarming thing ever being able to catch up with such a special soul in such a different environment. Her family was so incredibly welcoming too - her aunt and uncle invited me to their home for the night and made some delicious meals. I was lucky enough to go to the Paris Saint-Germain vs Lille game with them, which was a blast. We also went to an outdoor market on a rainy Saturday morning where local vendors sell fruits, vegetables, fish & meat, and pastries. We got chicken and potatoes to feast on for lunch… then Lebanese food for dinner… I ate so well that weekend haha.