Beauty in a Campus

i love this campus

 

filled with students from all around the world

different ascents,

different languages,

different dressing styles,

different majors,

different viewpoints,

different everything.

 

i find beauty in the pond

swans roaming the area

the sunset reflecting on the water

people always sitting on the benches

enjoying these few seconds of nature

 

this place,

my new home,

is filled with so much beauty

 

i remember stepping on campus

and being so unfamiliar with the university,

getting lost constantly

asking for directions

and being scared of finding classes

 

but now i now know my way around

things are more familiar

and i can’t imagine myself anywhere else

 

but i know that i leave soon

and my heart sinks

at the fact that i have to leave this home of mine

this place where i am now comfortable

and go back to my real home

 

as if this were all a dream,

a wonderful, magical dream

 

i am surrounded by beautiful people

a beautiful campus

and a beautiful life.

 

Getting Comfortable

 

being uncomfortable is new concept for me

 

most people don’t want to feel it

 

but i believe it makes us stronger

we walk away new people

because of this uncomfortableness

 

awkward moments

hurt feelings

confrontation

side smiles

language barriers

getting lost

unfamiliar faces

 

in the moment you’re scared

and maybe that’s why we hate being uncomfortable

because nobody wants to be scared.

 

everyone wants to be comfortable

no awkward moments

no hurt feelings

no confrontation

no side smiles

no language barriers

no getting lost

no unfamiliar faces

 

but it’s because of these things

that we leave better people

no longer ignorant

now educated

and stronger.

 

 

challenge yourself to be uncomfortable,

because being uncomfortable is the first step to being comfortable.

 

 

 

Lil walks

and I’m off

 

twenty minutes walk

with headphones in, purse on, & tea warming my hand

 

the walk is quiet

even though the streets bustle with people

the roads filled with cars

and the leaves continue to fall

 

“my class is in whitelands”

i say.

“dang that’s far”

they respond.

 

but i don’t think it’s far enough

i could walk this route for hours,

listening to my acoustic playlist

slightly dancing to the music

and kicking the orange and yellow leaves under my feet

 

i hold onto this moment

because in three months i’ll be wishing i was back

& setting out for my twenty minute walk.

 

 

Back at it

FINALLY a gym. Being on the road for weeks makes it hard to find time to workout. Even though running requires no weights, there is still an amazing feelings of lifting and challenging your body in a different way. The plan is to workout almost everyday that I’m in town (I say this because I’ll be traveling on weekends). Thursday nights are for yoga class. I hope to alternate between cardio, as in spin & running, and lifting. It’ll be a challenging to balance travel, school, social life, and working out, but I know I can do it and so can you!

A day in putney

exploring this new city.

turning corners filled with people

unseen sights

unheard voices

unfamiliar smells

wandering eyes

vibrant colors of fall

not fall, autumn as they say here

 

overwhelming feelings of blessedness

eyes watering of excitement

heart beating of thrill

 

everything is so new

yet so old

 

i am just another face in the crowd

yet time moves so slowly

as if i lived here

 

my new home

home.

but i am reminded that this is temporary

 

just enjoy the moment

live in the present

and love life

 

i am not here to stay

but i am here

and i am happy.

 

Brussels, Belgium

October 21st-23rd // Brussels, Belgium

Day 1

Travel day! Being our smart selves, we booked 7am flights. This doesn’t sound horrible correct? WRONG! A 7am flights means getting to the airport at 5am since we had an international flight which means leaving to Heathrow at 4am. All in all, there was no sleep happening that night.

Even though we packed an hour before leaving and got absolutely no sleep, we made it to the airport on time and took an hour flight to Belgium. When we got in, we attempted to figure out public transportation but ended up just getting a taxi instead (we usually use Uber but in Brussels they don’t allow Uber to pick people up from the airport). We reached our Airbnb, unpacked, explored the penthouse, and then decided to grab some lunch. We looked around for some vegan options and ended up just getting some fries at a local bar. Sleep deprived and exhausted, we headed back to our Airbnb for a small nap.

When we woke up, we researched good restaurants in the area and found a sushi restaurant that we ended up trying and LOVING! (See my post, “Makisu” for more details). We walked around the streets of Brussels after then headed back home for a beautiful nights rest.

 

Day 2

We set out for a long, unexpected day. It first started with figuring out public transportation. After asking around, we bought day passes and used Google Maps to get us to our destination. After a couple train rides, we got to the local flee market.

 

We explored all the little shops and talked to the owners who seemed fascinated by our ascent and language. The next stop was getting some food. We had a beautiful walk on our way to the famous La Pain Quotidien (See my post “La Pain Quotidien” for more details).

 

After, we adventured to find some delicious Belgium chocolate. This involved seeing captivating buildings, street performers, and a boy who went down flights of stairs on a scooter and managed to not fall off.

 

Post scarfing down the best chocolate of our lives, we then found directions to a famous landmark in Brussels and also the oldest resident in the city.

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“Manneken Pis”

We then ended up finding the famous square of the town where we watched the sunset and enjoyed this moment in Belgium.

 

We then had one last thing to do: eat some fries! I have always through fries were from France because well, French Fries. BUT I learned that fries originated from Belgium! There are small cafes open late for those who are craving some delicious fries and we took advantage of this. We came. We saw. And we ate!

 

Overall, Belgium was an absolute dream. The architecture was stunning, the people were friendly, the food was delicious, and our airbnb had the best view of the city. Until next time!

 

The National Gallery

October 20th // The National Gallery // London, England 

Today we had the opportunity to tour around The National Gallery with an art professor from Biola University who explained a few pieces to us and related the art to what we have been learning in class. This included small details in paintings, the relation of animals to those in the Bible, the use of color, different time periods, hidden concepts, and more.

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“The Water Lily Pond” by Claude Monet

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“Sunflowers” by Vincent van Goph

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“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein

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by Georges Seurat

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“The Virgin and Child Enthroned, with Narrative Scenes” by Margarito d’Arezzo, 1263

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Madrid, Spain

They say eating in Spain is difficult for vegans, however, we did a great job of finding amazing food from Madrid. Although it took some research and searching around, we managed to get by. Here are some photos from our eats in Madrid with  restaurant names and meal titles included. Enjoy!

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    Paella

This small outdoor restaurant is located in Plaza Mayor. There are several outdoor restaurants in this area that all serve the same meals at the same prices so pick a spot and eat up! This meal was completely vegan with carrots, red peppers, a lemon, lima beans, rice, and artichoke.

 

 

 

2. Cafeteria Los Jamonimos

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Gazpacho

 

Website: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187514-d4778309-Reviews-Cafeteria_Los_Jeronimo-Madrid.html

 

 

 

 

3. La Encomidena

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Tacos

 

This all vegan restaurant has a plethora of options. These four tacos with soy, corn, tomatoes, guac and soy filled me right up! Something I found to be the coolest thing about this restaurant was that all the plates and most of the decoration was hand made with pottery.

Website: http://www.laencomienda.es

 

 

 

4. The Urban Bites

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Chocolate & Vanilla Donuts

 

Although you can’t tell by the photo, these donuts are mini and can be eaten in one bite. It’s always a good day when I can also find some vegan donuts!

Website: http://www.theurbanbits.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  GramaBar 

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Arepa

 

A warm black bean arepa in Spain hit the spot.  We also ordered an appetizer of wedged potato fries but those were eaten up before a photo was taken!

 

Website: http://gramabar.com

 

 

 

 

6. Walk to Wok

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Custom Wok Bowl

Custom food is the best for vegans! I ordered brown rice as my base, with tofu, spinach, and mixed peppers with teriyaki sauce.

 

Website: https://www.woktowalk.com

 

 

 

7. Cafe Prado

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Raspberry Sorbet

Website: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187514-d8445169-Reviews-Cafe_Prado-Madrid.html

 

8. Cafe & Tapas

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Wok

 

Noodles, mushrooms, red peppers, sesame seeds, and a delicious teriyaki sauce.

 

Website: http://cafeandtapas.com

 

 

 

 

 

9. Taco Bell

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Crunch Wrap, Fries, Chips, Salsa & Guac

 

 

Late nights mean taco bell in Spain. I was surprised when I ordered my Crunch Wrap (substitute the meat with beans, no cheese or sour cream) and it came out with some fries! I also ordered a side of chips, salsa, and guac.

 

Website: https://tacobell.es

 

 

 

10. Viva Chapata 

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Vegan Burger with Fries

 

Vegan burger, mexican style with cheese, guac, and corn paired with some yummy fries!

Website: https://www.facebook.com/vivachapataMadrid/

 

 

 

11. Chocolateria San Gines

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Chocolate Churros

 

Although this isn’t vegan, it is a must in Spain for others! This restaurant is the most well known in Madrid for chocolate churros so be sure to go here and get some famous desserts!

Website: https://chocolateriasangines.com

La Pain Quotidien

October 22nd // La Pain Quotidien // Brussels, Belgium 

When in Brussels, we visited the first La Pain Quotidien. This restaurant can be found all around the world, but it felt so special to be in the very spot where it started. Along with a latte, I ordered a vegan pot pie that included carrots, greens, and lentils with a side of bread. This restaurant offers an array of vegan and vegetarian options of high quality. Be sure to give it a try!

 

Website: http://www.lepainquotidien.com

Makisu

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October 21st // Makisu

If you’re ever in Brussels, you HAVE to try this sushi restaurant. You can either chose from the ten most well known rolls or make your own. I decided to make my own unique roll with avocado, yam tempura, green onions, and sesame seeds in a california roll style. Knowing I would still be hungry, I decided to also get bowl of rice with fresh vegetables. Both were absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to visit again! For warning, the line is usually pretty long due to how well known the sushi restaurant is so make sure to prepare for that!

Website: https://www.makisu.be