Barcelona, Spain: Arc de Triomf

Once we left La Sagrada Familia, my sister and I decided to stop at a local restaurant for traditional tapas. Tapas are small appetizers or snacks that serve the purpose of helping one get through the difficult time before or in between meals (or at least that’s what I view their purpose as).

As we sat down outside—only a few blocks away from La Sagrada Familia—we couldn’t help but enjoy the beautiful weather and take in the incredible sights around us. It also didn’t hurt that we had delicious snacks in front of us to feast on.

Throughout our time in Spain, I found that sitting down to enjoy tapas allows you to put your busy life on hold and take a few moments for yourself. You aren’t necessarily stuffing your face (unless you order multiple items like we did), but you’re stopping the needless worries around you and putting all of that on hold for just a short while. That is exactly what we did, and it helped us better appreciate the fact that you don’t have to be somewhere unique or special to take some time for yourself to unwind. (But then again, this realization was much better seeing as we were in Barcelona).

After our mid-day snack, we walked back to our hotel to get dressed for our evening activities, but on our way, we came across some more fascinating sights. Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition in 1888, and the Arc de Triomf (pictured below),  was built as the main entryway to enter the fair.

 

 

 

One Child’s Bravery

On the medical mission I attended this past summer, a mother exclaimed that her son had become closed off after the recent passing of his father. She asked if there was anything we could do to help, so I sat with her son and tried to get him to open up. It turned out, his older siblings did not talk about the loss of their father, and he didn’t want to upset his mother with his sadness, seeing as she was still grieving as well. All it took was someone to help this young boy realize that it is okay to grieve the loss of his father. Helping him understand the importance of speaking up about his sadness was also essential in letting him feel as though he was allowed to talk about the pain he was experiencing. Even though I was only able to provide a lending ear, that was all this child needed at the current moment in time—someone to listen to him.

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Day 3 In Antigua Guatemala

Our third day in Antigua was definitely our most active day yet, as we set out to hike Pacaya Volcano, situated near Guatemala City. Before giving ourselves too much credit, we were told that the hike is very exhausting due to its elevation and high altitude so it was recommended that we horseback ride up the volcano and then hike down. When we arrived to the volcano, there were horses ready for anyone wanting to ride them, so we hopped on and began our trek up the volcano.

Since the volcano is still active, it is forbidden to hike past a certain area, just in case the volcano should erupt at any given moment. A few weeks before our arrival, the volcano had a small eruption, so some of the ground we stopped at was still hot. Thanks to our tour guide who provided us with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate, we were able to make s’mores over the hot ground.

The views from the highest part of the volcano we were able to access, as well as throughout the trek down the mountain were beautiful, to say the least. We were grateful to have such great weather during our hike, but we were even more grateful once we had lunch and dinner after what was indeed an exhausting but worthwhile hike!

Just Take A Moment

It wasn’t until just recently that I thought to myself, “Holy crap.” I’m sure you must be thinking that if that’s the only thing I ever think to myself, then I might as well be better off not thinking. But give me a second to explain.

These last few days have been jam-packed with activities going on. Between class work, work for my internship, and other obligations I’m required to attend to, I feel as though I’m drowning in to-do lists. At this rate, you would never think that I had just had a week vacation, and believe me, this recent vacation is a mere memory fading away much faster than I could have ever expected.

Even before my break, I was feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, so when I went back home, I visited a friend of mine who happens to be a certified hypnotist. She helped me forget about the world around me, put me in a great state of relaxation, and really stressed the importance of taking a moment to ourselves each and every day to meditate and feel tranquil. I even put a reminder in my phone that goes off everyday in the morning and at night to meditate.

So when I say meditate, what exactly do I mean? Great question. Of course I don’t expect you to whip out your yoga mattress while driving to work or in the middle of a business meeting, and begin feeling calm. Meditation can happen at any given point if you just give yourself a few seconds, while disconnecting from your surrounding environment. At any given point in the day, I would highly suggest taking a deep breath in through your nose, holding it for three seconds, and releasing it through your nose, while saying in your head, “Deeper Relax. Deeper Relax.” Really try to concentrate on your breathing, and when you do the above actions, you’ll begin to feel fresh and rejuvenated.

When you begin to feel like a big wave has just crashed over you and you’re trying as hard as you can to come up for air, it may be tough, but take a second to meditate. Really work on putting your mind at ease, and even do so before these feelings of exhaustion take control of you. I know life can be difficult at times, but nothing is more important than our well-being, so take care of yourself and just take a deep breath. The stacks of paperwork will always be there awaiting your time and effort, but your sanity and health won’t, if you don’t look out for your well-being. Remember: you owe it to yourself to take a moment to relax; so do just that.

Nursery Rhyme Conspiracy Theory

Since Spring Break has arrived (at least here at the University of Central Florida), I decided to post something fun and mood-lightening. Hope you all enjoy it and have a great remainder of the weekend 🙂

Mother Goose told a lie, for she’s really a hen,
She did this to attract the attention of men.
Humpty Dumpty didn’t fall off of that ledge,
He was frightened by a gardener, mowing a hedge.

Peter Piper didn’t choose to pick the pickled peppers,
He was threatened by a group of big dancing steppers.
The ants march together, and reside on their hill.
Not one by one, though; it was just a fire drill.

Working on the railroad was a mere second job,
Suggested by my unemployment clerk; his name was Bob.
The eencey weencey spider had no encounter with the rain,
He was evicted from his household web for being such a pain.

Little Bo Peep didn’t really lose her sheep,
She was tired from partying, and just fell asleep.
Jack didn’t fall as he tumbled down the hill,
He had a girlfriend on the side, and was pushed by Jill.

Everyone has stories to cover up their flaws,
But when the truth is revealed, you need a moment’s pause.
Don’t be naïve and believe all that you hear,
Because without both sides, the story’s never clear.

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Take A Breath

When did you last have a moment for yourself?
A moment to relax; a moment to unwind;
Time put aside to release what’s on your mind.
When did you last have a moment for yourself?

Do you recall last taking a breath of fresh air?
Enjoying your surroundings and smelling the flowers;
Not dwelling on the past or the upcoming hours.
Do you recall last taking a breath of fresh air?

When have you ever really opened your eyes?
Seen the sunrise and then watched it set
No worries at hand and no need to fret.
When have you ever really opened your eyes?

Let’s freeze the clocks and pause the time,
Breathe in then out; enjoy our prime.
Remember you need to often relax,
And cherish each second; before they slip through the cracks.