Friday, February 13, 2015

Modernism & playing with two kitty cats

Helo there, lovely readers! Happy 2015! After 3 months, I'm finally updating this blog! The reason I haven't written anything new so far it's basically because I haven't been anywhere outside of Barcelona since I came back. I feel my daily life in the city it's not as exciting for you guys anymore, haha :B Today I feel like writing so, I'm gonna tell you about my visit to Vilafranca del Penedès, a city 61km (37 miles) away from Barcelona which turned out to be a hidden jewel in the center of Catalonia!

The main reason I visited it's because of one of my best friends Marion, who is from a village next to Vilafranca. She is always the one coming over to Barcelona, so she asked me if I wanted to visit her hometown for once. I had never visited Vilafranca,  and she told me to bring my camera, because the place was worth taking pictures of. So I followed her and brought my baby Nikon! Seeing the results, I think I did well, haha.

I seriously have a thing for window balcony houses, and Marion knows that. I would totally move this far away from my hometown just to live in a beauty like this (probably at a cheaper price than back in Barcelona)!

All the details...!

The city is just full of Modernist buildings and decorations. Catalan Modernism (also known as "Modernisme" in Catalan language) is the historiographic denomination given to an art and literature movement. Its main form of expression was in architecture, but many other arts were involved (painting, sculpture, etc.), and especially the design and the decorative arts. You'll usually find aesthetic and nature motifs in Modernist buildings.

This movement was centred in the city of Barcelona, though it reached far beyond (as you can see), and is best known for its architectural expression, especially in the work of Antoni Gaudí (if you've visited Barcelona, you've probably heard of him)!

You probably can't tell from the pictures, but it was a very cloudy day and it ended up raining after a 45 minute-walk around the city. So we decided to go to Marion sister's place to wait until it stopped. Actually we both had a reason (well, two reasons) to shelter ourselves there... Two furry and utterly adorable reasons! :B

Yessss, kitties! Marion's sister has two beautiful cats: Neko and Mao. Funny story is, both names are written with the same character ( 猫) as they mean the same word (cat) in both Japanese and Chinese. 

The tabby cat is Mao. He's the coldest and most skeptical cat, but he seems to have a thing for me he doesn't have with anyone else! *blushes* He's also a professional model, as you can see!

He couldn't stop posing for me! Cmon Mao, give me your best face!

Aaaaand this one is Neko! Neko was way more difficult to photograph, as he didn't seem to like the camera as much as his tabby buddy. However, I was fast enough to take decent pictures of him!

Neko is the loving and the playful cat in the house. He doesn't mind being petted and he will never scratch you! (Unlike Mao...)

This shot was pretty difficult to take, but I am pretty proud of it! :B

Petting Mao, hehe!

Marion seemed to be better at taking photos than me at some point! Look at this photoset she took of Neko! 

These two seem to be pretty good friends :B

Hey Mao, whatchu looking at?


Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Thanksgiving dinner

As you guys know, Thanksgiving is an American holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Well, I had never celebrated Thanksgiving "properly"... Until this year!

My friend Mariona, who lived in the USA for 10 years, invited me to her place to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family. Even though they settled down back in Catalonia 5 years ago, Mariona's family keeps celebrating for the family gathering... And the food! :B I feel so glad I had the chance to share this experience with a friend like her! However, since Thursday wasn't a free day for us here in Spain, we had to celebrate it on Sunday. 

I arrived to Tivissa (Tarragona province, where Mariona's family lives) on Saturday afternoon. When I arrived, everyone was preparing the meal for the next day (actually they had been preparing it for days already!). The kitchen smelled like heaven! We would be 20 of us on Sunday, so there was plenty of work to do. We had dinner, we played with Mariona's pets (Papi the cat and Rita the dog) and we watched movies and series until bedtime.

The next day we woke up and we helped the family set the table. While we waited for the guests to come over, I took some pictures of Mariona's cat and dog. I have to say these two cuties stole my heart from the very first moment... :') I've always been an animal lover but my parents never let me have a pet when I was a kid (apart from hamsters and fishes, LOL). So being with a cat AND a dog was completely new to me!

...Plus I like taking photos of animals :B

Papi is still a young and super active cat! He's never gonna get tired of playing before you do!

Rita is such an adorable, nervous and very quiet dog. I mean, you can see it in her eyes, right? ^-^ I was petting her all the time!

The table, finally set!

Mariona with Papi

Long cat is loooooooong

Typical IG shot

Part of Mariona's family, ready to gobble up!

The turkey, cut in small chunks already (they're smart!) and the stuffing

Mashed sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows ❤ A very strange but legit combination! Too bad the marshmallows were kind of burnt on top, and they tasted like ember! LOL

My Thanksgiving plate! My ration of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry sauce and gravy! Whoaaaa....

After the first dish, the pies came! I was almost full, but I couldn't resist to grab some few pieces of foodporn... *Mouthwatering* 

Pumpkin pie

Walnut Softcake

Mariona's awesome Pumpkin Cheesecake  I just could eat two pieces of it, but I would've eaten the whole pie if I had had the chance :B 

My pie dish with the five pies of the day: Regular Cheesecake, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie, Walnut Softcake and Pecan Pie ❤ I obviously overate that day so I took some leftovers home... Didn't want to leave all these beauties alone, you know!

Before I finish this post, I shall say "Thank You" to Mariona and her family who kindly welcomed and treated me like one of theirs. They were so nice and welcoming that all I can say is, "Thank you" from the bottom of my heart. Hope I have more chances to hang out with Mariona in her place in the future! She's truly a great friend, and despite we started off with the wrong foot when we first met, I'm happy we're very close friends now. Love you, girl! Can't wait to see you again! :)


Saturday, October 4, 2014

September: Sum up of the month

Hello my beloved readers! Claudia is back to blogging! *claps claps*

As you might have seen on Facebook/Twitter/other social networks, my life has been kind of "plain" since I came back from Asia. I feel like I don't have anything else to say these days, as my schedule is still kind of uncertain and unpredictable. That is why, from now on, I'll be writing these "sum up of the month" posts instead of doing a blog post about only one thing. I'd say it's gonna be easier for me and it'll be an excuse to keep this blog awake now that my life isn't that interesting, haha.

So here we go! September: 10 things that happened to me...

1. Watched Guardians of the Galaxy
As a good Marvel fan that I am, this past September I've seen "Guardians of the Galaxy" at the theatre. I have to say I liked it a lot, even though I didn't find it very entertaining when I saw the trailer. But it's definitely a very good movie! I also watched "The Amazing Spiderman (1 and 2)" because I wanted to see how Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone worked as Peter Parker & Gwen Stacy. And I must admit, I liked them more than the old Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst (Sorry guys! >_<) Also, I still feel I should give a chance to X-Men, but that's gonna take me some more time :B

2.Started watching “Parks and Recreation"
I've always been a huge fan of "The Office", but now that I've had more free time I started watching  a very similar sitcom, which is Parks and Recreation... And honestly, I don't regret it at all! I watched the pilot episode a long time ago but it didn't really catch my eye, so I decided to give it a second chance... And I'm so glad I did! I'm so obsessed with the show now, the episodes are short and quick to watch and very entertaining! I'm halfway the 4th season at the moment.

Also there's Chris Pratt from Guardians of the Galaxy" (who I find very attractive <3) so... One more reason to watch it! He's definitely one of my favorite characters, haha!

3. Started taking Korean & English classes again
In order not to forget my Korean, I started taking Korean class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6.30pm to 9pm. I've taken the first two classes and I feel this is not what I signed up for : There is a huge gap level between the 17 of us in the class, and I feel I'm just reviewing what I've been doing for the past 10 months in Korea instead of learning new stuff :\ But there's no other place I can study Korean at in Barcelona, so I guess I'll just do my best in class and try to help my partners in anything they need ^-^

Speaking of English, I decided to re-start my English language classes in the fancy&super famous Institute of North American Studies in Barcelona on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon (Woo hoo!). I definitely needed some fresh air after studying at Merit School for most of my life, and I also need to brush up my grammar after 3 years dating an American who literally, and I quote from him "Destroys my English". So back to write complain letters, reports and essays in English! Yay! XD

4. Had Korean food again 4 months after I left Korea
It's a fact: Korea was, is and will be my second home from now on. And as a good second home that it is, I miss its food so badly! That's why I decided to take my parents, cousin, uncle and aunt to a Korean restaurant in Barcelona a few weeks ago.

The food wasn't as good as back in homeland Korea of course, but pretty close. Also waaaaay more expensive, but worth paying whenever you have a Korean food craving! ^_^ Yum yummm! Plus, the owner knew my name from last time I went TWO YEARS AGO! She was surprised to hear my super fluent decent level of Korean, and I was so happy to have someone in Barcelona to speak Korean with! Can't wait to go back again :)

5. National Day of Catalonia
The 11th September Catalonia celebrated its tercentenary since its defeat during the War of the Spanish Succession. In other words, we became part of Spain back in 1714. Yes, we might be celebrating a defeat (which is kind of silly) but the reason we went out of the streets was because we're proud of our origins, we're proud of who we are and where we come from. And also to claim our independence from Spain again, something we've been doing for years now but due to this current financial and political crisis, it has become a bigger movement lately. If you have seen the news these days you might have seen pictures of this year's demonstration!

That day we all formed a human V (for Vote) to seek choice on split from Spain. We were 1.400.000 people in there! More info: Here

Us posing with the V sign :)

6. Sent tons of emails with my CV looking for jobs
I'm still not being lucky with this job hunting thing, specially when there's a 25% unemployment rate in Spain at the moment... :\ I've been sending and handing out my resume to several companies, from Hyundai to Urban Outfitters, passing by a Korean school, Disney Store and Starbucks (I always keep the faith on Starbucks, sorry). I'm still not looking for a long-lasting job, just a part time job to save up money & gain job experience (something my CV completely lacks of).

7. Back to (unexpected) classes
Due to some credits problem with my university, I'm still an undergraduate student... Which means I have this last one class I have to attend to! It's called "Migration and Diaspora in East Asia", and I have to say I'm loving it so far! Plus I'm taking it with students/friends of mine from different years, and it's nice to have them altogether in this class! It's only 3h and a half a week, which isn't too bad (I wish it was 5h a week instead :B), and there's only one exam & 3 papers. So since it's my last class as as an undergraduate student (and I have time to focus in this only class I'm taking), I'll work hard and do my best to get good grades ^-^ I love when you feel you're actually learning something in a class, and you enjoy it!

8. Talked with my favorite teacher about masters and what I could do in my near future
As I said before, I feel my future is still kind of uncertain. Just like I said in number 7, I am currently taking one more class at university so I can graduate and finally finish my undergraduate studies. That means companies aren't as interested in an undergraduate student as they would be in a graduate student! Despite that little drawback I'm still trying to be a busy bee this year, looking for a job for the mornings I don't have class, Fridays & weekends. Also, I might be taking a master's degree on International Relations in my home university next year, so my teacher recommended me to read Henry Kissinger's "Diplomacy" until I get back on track with IR. I don't really agree with Kissinger's policies back when he was a diplomat, but he seems to have very interesting things to say in an international context. Am I gonna like it? We'll see!

9. Had sleeping and health problems
It seems either my body isn't used to Spain yet, or I'm getting lots of stress lately: I feel sick at times, kind of dizzy, I have mood swings way too often... I feel like a 14 year-old teenager again! But it might be just the fact that I don't have a stable life yet. That is why I'm being more strict with my diet, I take weekly healthy/vegan smoothies for an extra vitamin boost, I ate vegetables 5 times a week and fruit 3 times a day... If my mind isn't healthy yet, at least my body will be!

Green vegan smoothie I prepared a few weeks ago. 

10. Started wearing fall outfits ❤
If you say there's something cuter in this world than a "skirt&over the knee socks&boots" outfit, I won't believe you. Haha. After a long ass hot summer in tropical Asia, I was dying for chilly weather to come back to Barcelona! I was so looking forward to wear long sleeved t-shirts again, baggy sweatshirts and fluffy scarves! It's still not cold enough for all that haha, but I feel this year I'm missing cold weather more than any other time. I'm sick of tank tops and shorts already! >_<

So this is all for now, sweethearts! Thank you for reading, and hope you all have a lovely October! Do you have plans for Halloween already?

Lots of love from,