Tag Archives: words of wisdom

Welcome to LA

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha

It has been three months since I went to California and my life since then has completely changed.

 

It was a trip where I was able to put a lot of things in my life into perspective and remind myself that “impossible” still spells out “possible.” My trip to the West Coast played a huge factor in helping me stay determined, and continue to strive to accomplish the goals I had set for myself at that time.

LA



We can overcome challenges as long as we believe that it is possible.



My time in Los Angeles started with a challenge. It was a morning of revelations; realizing that what my friends and I envisioned Los Angeles to be, really wasn’t. It wasn’t a magical place where everything shines and beauty fills the streets like the sunlight fills the sky. It was a place with struggles and untold stories; a place where the sparkle of diamonds easily takes the attention away from what’s bleak and hidden.

After taking and overnight greyhound bus from San Francisco [Read about my last day] we find ourselves starring at the streets of downtown LA. It was not what we expected. The poverty was evident and it made us wonder how such a famous city got to this point. It was around 7am and the sun wasn’t out yet. We headed straight to my friend Albert’s apartment, who so generously allowed us to stay with him for the next four days. After settling in, we headed to the Grand Central Market to eat some breakfast. The market was filled with all types of delicious food! We ended up getting breakfast at the famous Eggslut. I had the best bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel I have ever tasted.

I wish that throughout our stay in LA we would of went back to try some of the other foods available at the market because I have heard some great reviews… so if you ever find yourself in downtown Los Angeles, please go get some food at the Grand Central Market. 

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After we were done eating, we picked up our rental car and parked it in a parking garage for the rest of the day. To make matters worse like if we weren’t already concerned by the poverty in the city, as we left the garage, the situation escalated when we were followed by two men. It was one of the scariest experiences I have ever encountered on a trip. Luckily, we were able to escape them but it definitely reminded us of the dangers that three girls traveling alone could easily encounter. When we arrived back to the apartment we were pretty shook and swore to stay with Albert for the rest of our stay in the city.

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Later that day we took the LA Metro to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of Los Angeles biggest and most known attraction’s comprised of all the Hollywood Stars. The area kind of reminded me of 42nd street in New York City because it was lively and busy. Honestly, I felt a bit star struck as I stood there and took in everything going on around me.

As we walked down the Walk of Fame and looked at all the different names on the stars we came across the TLC Chinese Theater.

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We didn’t go in but we inspected the outside and loved what we saw… a little reminder to go on and change the world.

After a few minutes of walking it dawned on us that we were hungry; it was time to get some In-N-Out Burger. This is a huge must do in the west coast.

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When we go in I see the biggest line I have ever seen at a fast food restaurant. However, they weren’t joking when they said In and Out. Regardless of the line, the food came out pretty quick and I must say that the burger and animal fries were quite delicious.

We had a rough start with the challenges we faced in the morning but by night time things definitely got better and we started seeing the city in a different light. After our burgers, we walked on the stars some more until we came across the Baja Beach Bar. We saw some great drink specials and just like that it was time to start drinking and time to start celebrating our first day in LA. I really loved this place because it had a nice relaxed vibe to it, a good beer selection and great service.

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Next we were off to Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. This bar was fun and retro with a cool 70’s theme all around. We walked in through a refrigerator door and I was sold immediately. The place was packed and it was before 10pm! That should say something, right?

We headed back to downtown LA and Mrs. Fish was our next stop. We ended up spending most of our night in this nightclub listening to an amazing live band. I had such a great time dancing and singing along to the songs that I knew. Even taught someone how to two-step. We left after the band finished performing straight to Perch Los Angeles, a French inspired rooftop bar. Perch has an incredible view of downtown Los Angeles.

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It was the beauty I was expecting to see the instant I stepped out of the Greyhound earlier that day. There’s beauty everywhere sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. 

We enjoyed the view and about an hour later walked back to Albert’s apartment. The streets of downtown LA were peaceful and in the darkness the sounds of laughter filled the skies. Before calling it a night, we went into Pellicola Pizzeria, a cute hip pizzeria that shows movies every night. The pizza was tasty and after we pleased our bellies we were happy to be safe and proud to have made it through the day.

[To Be Continued…]

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Just Write

Why do I write?

I write to free myself. I write to express myself. I write to inspire others. I write to inspire myself. I write because I enjoy it. I write because I can.

Everyday we write our life’s story. Words are powerful. We have the capacity to impact others, to leave our marks and to decipher our emotions, just by writing. It’s liberation. It’s knowing your story is alive, each time you touch the ink pressed on the tainted paper.

Don’t be afraid to pick up your pen or to open that word document…your words belong to you and no one else. Words are powerful. We have the potential to make a difference…within ourselves. Only then can we make a difference in the lives of others. Cleanse your soul and write.

Freedom is expression. Words are powerful. Write what your heart desires. One word, one paragraph, one page, a novel, your story already made a difference as soon as you completed it. Enjoy the exhilaration, the high, the complete release. There’s no better motivator than yourself.

Why do I write?

I write because I can. My words are powerful.

No More

It would be easy to let disappointment and failure overcome you… to let them discourage you from whatever goals you may have set for yourself. Ironically, the hardest part would be to pick yourself up and find it within yourself to keep going and strive for greatness. I find it extremely difficult to stay positive when something negative happens. I have always been a bit of a pessimist and have always blamed myself for my failures and disappointments. However, I have reached a point where I am ready to say “no more.” No more blaming myself, no more long periods of time asking “what did I do wrong,” and no more focusing on all the negatives; never seeing the positives. Yes, it absolutely sucks to get hurt by life’s unpleasant surprises but instead of using those negatives as weights to keep you down, pick up those weights and strengthen yourself; use them to continue to build yourself up and mold your life into what you have always envisioned it to be.

This holiday season I have to say I am extremely blessed. I have my family with me, a roof over my head, I am employed, there is a beautiful tree in my living room and I have the means to be able to repay my family for all their love and support this year. Life is a gift, precious and not guaranteed and during such a beautiful holiday season like Christmas, I want nothing but positivity in my life, regardless of the negatives I might face. It won’t be easy but the key is to remember everything you have to be grateful for and everything you have yet to accomplish. I have so many goals and dreams and cannot let anything get in my way! So join me this holiday season in saying NO MORE! Is time to push forward and enjoy what life has to offer.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thoughts & Experiences

Belgian Flag

I can’t believe my study abroad experience is almost over! I sit here writing this realizing how much I’ve experienced and how much I have grown as a person. The days are quickly flying and December is around the corner. Each day I experience something new.

Limoncello

 

For instance, Friday I had my first digestif.  My host mom took my host sister and I to an Italian restaurant named Phenix. I ordered this delicious pasta that had a creamy orange sauce, peas, mushrooms, and this italian pork, lardo. Afterwards, my host mom insisted I tried Limoncello. It is an Italian lemon liquor mainly produced in Southern Italy. It was a pretty strong drink.  Definitely after 3 Limoncello’s the capacity to function normally lowers because the one shot of Limoncello I had made me so tired. You don’t see people drinking digestifs in America after a meal. Interesting to know that in some cultures that is completely normal.

So far I’ve visited Antwerp, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Austria and I have a trip planned for Budapest, Hungary this upcoming weekend! I love that I’m visiting places I never would of even imagined myself in. Most of these places I didn’t even know of! This experience has shown me how much there is to see in the world! How the world is just filled with opportunities! Dreams and determination can take you a long way!

Beautiful Vienna

Arrived to Vienna

Saturday, my cousin’s wife planned a wonderful trip to Vienna, Austria! I fell in love with the city! It truly opened my eyes to how many wonderful things the world has to offer! I never would of imagined visiting Vienna, I honestly didn’t even know anything about the city. A lot of times we get stuck in our bubble forgetting there’s an entire world out there so different from what we are used too! Sometimes we might be very amazed with what we find outside our bubbles.

It was decided that we would take the train to Vienna so I could experience more also because parking would of taken time away from the trip. It was interesting because as soon as we got in the train I went from listening to Slovak to German. The train ride from Bratislava to Vienna only took an hour. This is nothing for a person who has to take the train to New York all the time (my cousin was impressed by my patience.) What shocked us all was the weather change as we left Bratislava. It went from sunny to having fog everywhere! You couldn’t see anything! However, that was NOT going to stop us from having a great day!

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

The first sight we visited was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the most famous church in Vienna. It’s an absolutely breathtaking gothic church with so many intricate details in its design. As we approached the church there were people dressed in 18th century clothing promoting a Mozart concert that was happening in the evening. That was something you don’t come across or hear everyday. Inside the church was incredible and extremely beautiful. Outside, around the back of the church we came across horses with carriages! There were so many of them! I seriously felt like I was stepping into a scene from a movie.

Burggarten

We came across Mozart’s house, which is now a museum. We also came across a wedding dress shop with future brides trying on dresses! It was such a beautiful scene! They looked so happy and pretty. My cousin said people in Vienna love weddings. It is such a beautiful city I don’t doubt it one bit. Getting married in Vienna must be something else!

Inside the Butterfly House

By the time we stepped foot into the Butterfly House, which is right next to the Palm House around the Burggarten the sun was coming out. The Butterfly House was such a great experience! It is truly unforgettable. There was a waterfall, small ponds, a beautiful bridge made out of a tree trunk, and dozens of butterflies flying everywhere. It was ridiculously hot inside but worth every inch of sweat. The Burggarten is a park where the statue of Mozart stands. (Vienna is full of beautiful parks) Burggarten was the former private park of the monarch. It is attached to the Imperial Palace. The palace is absolutely stunning. It is also huge! I honestly could of sat around there all day!

Imperial Palace

Fountain at the Maria-Theresien-Platz my little cousin almost fell into

We then visited the Maria-Theresien-Platz it’s a huge square with 2 mirroring museums (Natural History Museum and Art History Museum) and a garden in the middle. Maria-Theresien was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions. The Platz was beautiful and very peaceful. My little cousin almost fell in one of the garden’s many fountains so we didn’t stay there for long. My cousin-in law almost had a heart attack! I mean who wouldn’t!

Next was a walk to parliament! I fell in LOVE with the statue of Athena that stood right in the middle. I couldn’t stop starring at it! In my opinion the statue is what makes the scenery the beauty it is today!

Athena Statue in front of Parliament

Our last stop was the Rathaus, which serves as the city hall of Vienna. It’s a beautiful building with a huge open space. Apparently, during Christmas season it’s used for a Christmas market! It must be something amazing!

City Hall

After visiting one last church, there was a choir singing so we stopped for a look, and walking around for a bit we went to a small park. The park had a nice playground and some swings! I was so happy! I joined my little cousin on the swings and felt the wind on my face! Oh and I finally got to eat the famous Turkish Kebab. They are very similar to a Greek Pita wrap. They were being sold all over Vienna! My cousin really wanted me to try one! They were DELICIOUS!

I saw so much and yet so little of Vienna! It is a big city with many things to see! I’m very grateful that I got to experience such an amazing city! I’m glad I stepped outside my bubble and experienced something completely new!    

Movie & Hair

L’Auberge Espagnole

Today was a good day! In French class we started watching this hilarious French movie called L’Auberge Espagnole. It’s about a French study abroad student who get’s the opportunity to work and study abroad in Spain. He ends up living in an apartment with people from all over Europe: Spain, England, German, Belgium… It was hilarious because there was a lot of Spanish, English, and French speaking so I was understanding everything in the movie!! Made me so happy! Plus I could definitely relate to the main character being that I am studying abroad as well.

Today I also decided to tackle my hair. I never ever done my hair by myself. I always got it

hair process

done at a hair salon or by my mom or aunt. They say Dominicans are good at doing hair but I was left out of that stereotype at birth. I decided to try the air dry and flat iron method. I don’t have a blow dryer and spend 56  or 69 ( I forgot) Euros on a flat iron so I figured I give it a try instead of wasting money to get my hair done. Secretly, I just didn’t feel like calling and making a hair appointment in French. Or walking all the way to the hair salon JUST to make an appointment!

Nothing is EVER impossible! With hard work and determination you can accomplish anything!

A Day of Realization

The Tram

Today was one of those days that felt really long, but you quite don’t seem to know what exactly has you so tired because you didn’t really do much. I had 2 classes back to back, one 3 hour class and the other one 1.5 hours. However, when I got out of class I felt really content with my day. Even though it felt like a really long day I feel like I got a lot out of it.

My first class is called Corporate Communications and Public Relations. I’ve never taken a class of this sort because my major is Journalism and Media Studies, but surprisingly it seemed like an interesting class. Rutgers divides communications and journalism but most schools combine  them, this being the case at Vesalius. In this class throughout the entire semester I get to analyze the corporation of my choice. I want to choose a corporation that deals with films and television shows, which is the industry I’m interested in being involved with. The class also allows me to experience some pretty amazing opportunities like attending the FoodDrinkEurope annual conference. In this conference CEO’s from some of Europe’s most important food and drink companies will be present! Never thought I would have the opportunity to experience something of that sort.

After classes were over I walked out the building took a deep breath and walked over to my usual tram stop, VUB. Of course, my tram left me while I was across the street so I was stuck waiting for the next one, no worries though because the breeze felt spectacular.

As I walked back from school and the cool breeze blew on my face I thought “I feel good about myself and boy am I happy right

VUB stop

now!”  There’s nothing better than the feeling of having a clean slate and starting over again. Or the feeling of mending within yourself wounds that were still not fully healed.  Or just knowing that you’ve accomplished something that you worked hard for. An experience like this just truly humbles you and helps you appreciate everything you have in life especially the people you love and the one’s that stick with you through the distance apart. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. I definitely will return back to the states a better person. 🙂