More life advice from someone completely unqualified to give it

YOU GUYS. Sometimes I just sit at my computer and stare at a blank WordPress draft for a while and have no clue what to write about. So usually then I just go look for recipes I’ll probably never make or pictures of puppies (awwwwww).

I’ve realized over the last year or so that writing for me is like working out- sometimes it seems like it would just be so much easier to just not do it, but when I actually get my lazy ass in gear I feel fucking amazing. Running, for example, is not actually one of my favorite things to do. I’m not one of those people thats like “I just can’t wait until my next run!” Honestly, sometimes I feel like a baby rhino trying to keep up with the pack while trying not to clench my jaw, swallow bugs or trip over my own feet. I keep doing it though, because I know afterwards I’m going to feel great physically and mentally (unless I do actually trip and eat it) and every so often I have those days where I just settle into a running groove and want to keep going. I explained that to someone recently, and all I got back was: “If you don’t like running, why don’t you just not do it anymore?” I think he missed the point.

It got me thinking though- why do I so strongly believe it is beneficial for us to do things we find uncomfortable? Do I have some sort of self destructive streak that I camouflage by pretending its just existential badassery? The fact of the matter is I really believe that in order to grow, to move forward in life, we need to force ourselves out of our comfort zones. (yes I know I’m like a goddam broken record with the comfort zone stuff… can you just believe me already?)

So, again.. how do we make that happen?

1. Know your weak points and learn to be OK with showing them:  it can often be stressful for me to reach out to people in my life to let them know I need something from them. It is actually out of my comfort zone to call a friend and tell them I would like to see them- I have a terrible habit of assuming that people will call/text me when they want to see me, and that if they don’t, they must not want to. I also am a procrastinator. A really bad one.. like, I meant to write this post 2 weeks ago.

2.  Find pride in proving yourself wrongsometimes there will just be a bunch of weirdos at that Meetup event.. and sometimes there are a bunch of awesome, likeminded people that you can’t wait to hang out with again! But you’ll never be able to prove to yourself that they’re out there unless you actually attend the event!

3. Remember that the thing you’re scared of is probably less scary than the actual fear: It took me almost a month to finally get up the guts to go take a Crossfit class in Barcelona. I’ve taken Crossfit before, and like to think I’m in pretty good shape, but was worried I might not be able to keep up with the class in Spanish, or that I’d forgotten the lifts. Once I got there, I remembered exactly why I used to love it so much. The fear of not being good at it anymore was a bunch of bullshit.. although I’ll be lucky if I can walk tomorrow.

4. Even if you think you might not like someone, try it anyways, just once: In college, I dated this guy that used to bribe me to try foods I thought I didn’t like. For example, he would take me to sushi if I tried mustard. In the end, I tried a lot of new things and I ate a lot of sushi. WIN.

5. Give people a chance: I get it, everyone is ‘busy.’ While you may think you’re too occupied with other things to take a few minutes to chat with someone, do it anyways. The other day, a 19 year old Greek kid who just moved to Spain made my day, even though at first I was inclined to ignore him  and what seemed like a bunch of annoying questions in favor of my computer. I didn’t, and I ended up walking away from the interaction feeling great- I helped put a huge smile on his face,he gave me some lovely compliments that I never expected, and I learned a little about Greek culture.

Sometimes I don’t always take my own advice, and in reading what I just wrote here I am realizing that there are a few actions I can take in order to improve my overall experience. Moving somewhere new is hard, but it is also a great opportunity to examine what it is I really am looking to get out of my time here (is that an existential ‘here’? I don’t know.). I think we all deserve to live really awesome lives, and it makes me sad when I hear complaints with no plan for actions towards resolving the issue. I get it, life isn’t easy, but the only person that can start the wheels moving on making it better is yourself.

**MIC DROP**

I can't take credit for finding this gem. Amy Poehler is a genius. If you hate this post, I won't tell you what amazing person to blame for sending this to me.

Amy Poehler is a genius.I can’t take credit for finding this gem. If you hate this post, I won’t tell you what amazing person to blame for sending this to me.

 

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the epic settle of 2014

Bye San Francisco! I miss you!

Bye San Francisco! I miss you!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a pretty terrible planner. In fact, in the last 6 months, my departure from the states was the only thing that I actually planned ahead of time, and that was purely out of shame- after broadcasting my emigration from the states to everyone I know, I was going to look like a real idiot if I didn’t go through with it.

So naturally it is safe to assume that my recent move to Barcelona was a bit out of the blue as well. Here’s a little backstory- my first trip to Barcelona was back in 2011, a magical four-day stopover (on my way to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday in Mallorca) in which I spent days wandering the streets and nights feasting on tapas and vino. Then, I was lucky enough to stay with my friend Marta, a native Mallorquina who I met when the gods brought her to UC San Diego to study, surf and snowboard with us for a year.

this beautiful lady standing next to me is Marta

this beautiful lady standing next to me is Marta

A few weeks ago, in between mopping floors, making beds and cleaning bathrooms at my Workaway position in Portugal, I found myself glued to my computer, frantically scouring the webs for an apartment in Barcelona. After a couple of days of cleaning fumes and out of control hostel guests yelling until all hours of the morning, I think I subconsciously decided I had had enough of the impermanence of hostels for a while. In keeping with the theme of the last few months, the universe responded in the form of my good friend Marta. Being the badass that she is, she literally kicked out the two guys subletting her apartment for the summer so I could move in for the month of August. I know, I’m so not nice enough to deserve friends like that.

not to mention Sagrada Familia was a block away from Marta's apartment!

not to mention Sagrada Familia was a block away from Marta’s apartment!

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oh you know, just tagging along to ‘work’ with Marta

A month later, I have an apartment, a job (and a half), and actually have a couple of friends to call my own. I set an intention for every week I was here- the first week was to decide if I wanted to stay, the second, to find a job, 3rd, an apartment, and finally, last week, I intentionally set out to make some new friends.

not one of my new friends, unfortunately

not one of my new friends, unfortunately

So how’d that work out?  I just so happened to stumble into the home base of a company that runs gastronomic tours through Barcelona’s old city during my ‘work’ week. Somehow, I managed to charm them into giving me a tryout, and am now running 3 hour long tours in which I try super hard not to bore people to death. Mostly I succeed, and the promise of food every 30 minutes or so definitely helps.

Next, after visiting what seemed like 842 apartments, I found a cute little place with 2 other girls in the newer part of Barcelona, a district called “Eixample” (pronounced eye-shamp-lah). Again, with my winning smile and sometimes awkward Spanish, I managed to convince the girls to accept me as one of their own.. and THEYRE NEVER GETTING RID OF ME. Just kidding.. they might, eventually.

The friends part is slightly trickier, but definitely looking good- here’s a few tips on how you might force strangers to be your friend in a new city:

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new friends, old friends, and dead friends at the Fiestas de Gracia

1. Couchsurfing.org: Despite having recently gained infamy as ‘couchsexing.org’ (I may or may not have totally made that name up), Couchsurfing events actually seem to have great attendance with a mix of travelers, locals, expats and random unsuspecting people who are just trying to have a quiet drink in their local bar. So far I’ve been to 3 events, and although no new best friends on the horizon, its been an overall good experience.

2. Meetup.com: Good idea in theory, but the only time I’ve tried to attend an event, I couldn’t find the group and ended up making random friends with a completely unrelated group of people and stumbled back to my apartment at almost 4 am. I call that a successful evening, although the “meet-up’ portion may have ended up a bit misdirected.

3. Facebook: there are Facebook groups for everything these days. Want to run with fellow expats every week? Group for that. Do you enjoy painting your face and blowing bubbles in the park? They meet on Sunday mornings. Have a gerbil and want to teach it to fly a kite? There’s a group for that. Seriously though, Facebook is full of weirdos and there is a niche for all of them, even me.

Moral of the story- set an intention, don’t be a lazy-ass, and force yourself out of your comfort zone- in doing so, you may just find a whole new ‘comfy space’ to enjoy! Big changes are only scary if you are scared of them- you can only be disappointed if you have expectations to begin with!