Daily Life

Photo credit: mt 23 on flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Keep life priorities in balance: Check.

In my personal life, I’ve always been one to prefer spontaneity over structure; relaxation over regulation. For a long time, I’ve clung to that at home as a way to compensate for all the organization that’s crucial in my work. But this summer, I’ve been trying something more deliberate to keep a balanced daily life. Every day after work, I make sure to do a few things: Continue reading

2013resolution

My Resolution for 2013 That Worked: Carrying a Real Camera Everywhere

2013 was the first year I made a New Year’s resolution: to carry a real camera around everywhere. It went great!

Photography has been a strictly casual hobby throughout my life. It’s always been something that lets me capture enjoyable things that happen in my life, but never something that itself became a focus of my life. So why make a New Year’s Resolution for it? Aren’t those things usually done with the intent of bettering our lives?

The answer lies in how most of us have changed our photography habits: anyone with a smartphone is carrying a camera with them everywhere. Before smartphones, I was carrying along more traditional cameras to events where I thought I’d want them: vacations, concerts, and the like. But smartphones were the ultimate popularization of the old photographer’s adage: “The best camera is the one you have with you.”

Now, blame my twentysomething lifestyle, but many of the best moments in my life happen in the shadows – exactly where tiny cell phone sensors struggle to perform. Concerts, restaurants, twilight walks, and the like. I started finding myself out with something great going on, taking out my camera, and getting results that made me feel like I wasted my time even bothering to take a picture. That was it, really – I guessed that I’d capture more good moments if I carried a “real camera” to it all. Continue reading

I’m currently in “head down” mode on a really fun WordPress project, but once I get to surface again, I’ve amassed a pretty big list of fun to take care of:

Read:

Write:

  • My guide to finding the perfect web host by emphasizing publishing strategy over technical jargon and marketing BS (can’t decide between text or video format for this)
  • My news addict’s guide to stress-free feed consumption
  • My long-term list of things that rock about OS X Lion
  • My long-term list of things that suck about OS X Lion

See:

  • Harry Potter movies 1-7 at home, then hopefully see no. 8 while still in the theater

Furnish:

  • The rest of my new apartment’s living spaces: more art for more walls, more furniture for the living room

Tune up:

  • My car (dead for nearly 3 months) – I’ve been on my bike all summer, and am loving it. People who have read A Game of Thrones keep warning me that winter is coming for some reason, though.
  • My commute bike – it’s racked up a few hundred more miles and needs some TLC.

Re-entry

Well, the adventure has come to a close.

I’m back in Fort Collins now, and am taking a few days to adjust and reflect. The biggest thing I’m feeling right now is the abundance of familiarity in everything around me, which is a good thing. The people, the things around me, but most importantly, the culture. I feel more comfortable with my surroundings. I spent five months outside of my comfort zone, with the most basic understanding of everything that was going on around me. Now, I’m appreciating the familiarity of many of the “little things” I didn’t have for the last semester.

At the same time, I really miss Andalusia. Granada is a beautiful little city, and it engenders a beautiful lifestyle. I miss my host family’s home cooking, the Fedérico García Lorca park, going about everything without a big rush (work to live, not live to work!), tinto de verano, and cute old people walking around town dressed to the nines. I miss the mix of beatufil and comical graffiti, and walking past several buildings that are half a milennium old without even thinking anything of it.

I’ve definitely come home, albeit a changed person. I look forward to going back to Spain as soon as possible, but at the same time I’m looking forward to resuming life back home with a better idea of who I am and what is truly important to me in life.

Transitioning

Sorry posting here has slowed down… I’ve been running all around Europe too fast to write it all down! I still plan to finish writing about Morocco and write about my trips to Liverpool, Amsterdam and Prague, but I figured I’d break from chronological order to comment on more current stuff.

This week was the last week of my study abroad program. Finals were low-stress, and thanks to having two of them early, I finished my last exam Monday afternoon. So I’ve had most of the week to get some good time in with my friends from the program and appreciate the awesome life I’ve had here.

I have extended my trip by about two weeks because I have three friends coming out to visit me. We’ve rented an apartment here in Granada, so I can spend a bit showing them all my Granadino stomping grounds, and then we’re headed to Valencia and Barcelona, possibly with some side trips along the way. It’s going to be totally awesome.

I’m pretty glad that I have people from Colorado coming out here before I return there myself; I’ve just begun to realize just how different it’s going to feel to be back in familiar territory, yet as a changed person. It’ll be nice to have a bit of home come out here first to ease my re-entry to American life.

Last night I said goodbye to almost all of my friends from the program – most of them flew back to the States today. I’m never good with goodbyes, especially with large amounts of people at once. Today, I packed most of my bags and so my last night in my host family’s house will be the typical “sleep in a bare bedroom” thing that I’ve come to know in the “Moving Day Eves” of past years.

After about 2 weeks with my friends here, I will fly back to Colorado on June 6. I will spend a day on my own in Dublin before ending my European (and partly African) adventure.