Positive Thinking

I came across this article the other day and it has been on my mind all week. It’s meant to help you improve a bad day, but I think it should be a guideline for life in general. It’s short, to the point, and so true.

#4 made me laugh out loud – it really puts things in perspective! And #7 is along the lines of how a good friend is trying to live her life – imagine life how you want it and it’s more likely to happen than if you’re thinking negatively.

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day

1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.

There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck.” The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.

2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies. 

If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

3. Get a sense of proportion.

Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.

Continue Reading… 

M

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Saturday morning roundup

love fútbol: In the spirit of Spain and the European Cup, found walking around DC the other day, brought to you by Instagram

What I have been looking at this morning (disclaimer: this may cause you to lose 2 of your 20 free monthly visits to the NYTimes, my apologies, though, any gripes can be taken up with NYTimes themselves):

Go Spain! 2:45 pm EST

Rocinha in Rio: Video on BBC

Great translation website: Wordreference

I know my mom wants to see this: Brave

Cat Power fans? Ruin

Freelance photojournalist risks: Hammerl

Catalunya is not Spain: Catalan expressions

Innovation in Brooklyn: The Ascent

One more Google tool: Google drive

If you’re a Lance fan (or not): Actual documents

Love her: Mafalda

Not that I am any type of news authority but I felt the need to blog about something.
Happy start to summer!

P

Luggage Scooter

Every time I travel for more than one night – a weekend or a week – I use my rolling suitcase. Since I go out of town a lot, I’m often showing up places with my rolly suitcase, maybe even meeting up with people for a meal on my way in or out of town with it. For some reason, this generates a lot of laughs from my friends and family. They think it’s so funny that I walk around with it even if just for a quick weekend trip. I prefer it to a shoulder bag or backpack because it takes the weight off my arms, back, and shoulders. Plus my smallest rolly suitcase is not too big, just right for a short trip. But, I think it’s time to upgrade

What do you think? Imagine riding around town or the airport with this! Would you ever use a luggage scooter?

M

Travel, A Growing Experience

I recently discussed this with a friend who just returned from 6 months of travelling through India, and who I met while we were both living in Argentina. Throughout our own travels we have each realized what an amazing growing experience traveling is, whether you are looking for it to be that or not. No matter where you travel to and for how long, you will find yourself in unfamiliar territory and be forced to adjust. Add a foreign language and culture to the mix and you’re in for a real treat. When taken out of your comfort zone, you have no option but to just figure it out! On top of that, you return home with a new perspective on your surroundings, your belongings, your day to day experiences, and life in general.

Lost? In your own city, you’ll probably pull up Google Maps on your phone. In another country odds of having a smartphone on you are slim so you have to learn to be comfortable asking for directions, even if it means talking to strangers, speaking in a different language, in streets you aren’t familiar with. Another learning experience that can come out of being lost is NOT asking for directions, and instead see where you end up by wandering. You may stumble upon a cafe or market you wouldn’t have otherwise. If anything you get to see more of the area.

Don’t speak the language? You can get pretty creative when communicating without a mutual language. Hand gestures, drawings.. it’s amazing to see this creativity prove to be successful in getting your message across. And you’re bound to pick up a few words of the language along the way.

Flight delayed, train cancelled, no rooms left in the hostel, passport stolen? Gotta figure it out somehow. It may not be pleasant at the time but you will certainly look back on it as a learning experience, maybe even with a laugh, and will feel a little more confident next time it happens (because it will).

Returning home you will have more appreciation and respect for other cultures, you won’t be nervous to ask for directions, dealing with customer service will seem like a cinch because it’s in your own language, you’ll learn, and prefer, to live with less, you’ll walk more, you’ll be more patient with tourists because you’ve been there, you’ll have learned more about yourself in many ways, you’ll be more appreciative of the comforts of home, and you’ll be more comfortable meeting new people and talking to strangers.

There are a million and one reasons why I love traveling, but the growing and learning experience is a big one, and well worth it.

Do you have any growing experiences from your travels?

M

PS – These experiences can also occur while exploring cities throughout your own country, like P did with the frog legs restaurant in DC. It’s a matter of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Welcome to the neighborhood

The gentlemen of Meridian Park


Was walking down the street exploring the new neighborhood today. Part of it is packed with a bunch of small seafood shacks. Some with enticing offers such as “free shot of rum with an order of a dozen crabs!”. There was a chalkboard menu viewable from the doorway of one which I was taking a look at, no immediate intention of walking in. Lots of good soul food on the menu from ribs to catfish, including chitterlings, frogs’ legs, and pigs’ feet. And a decent selection of affordable sides. As I was about to step away de repente “BAM” Emeril-style in the form of a big bright smile greeted me at the door from within. She made me come in to grab a take-away menu. I asked her how one goes about eating pigs’ feet, saying that it was a favorite of my father’s, but that I had not been adventurous enough to try. She said she didn’t know. So she calls to the back where the grill was and this unshaven guy comes out, bandaged wrist, short brown cigarette hanging out of his mouth, saying he didn’t know either. Maybe just suck on the bones to get the juice or the meat out. (Now I am looking around to check out just how fresh their fish selection is, as they’re not giving me much confidence on their pigs’ feet seeing as how it seems they’ve never had them. Just taking it all in …) So they call one more guy out and ask him, and his response is a heavy two hands holding himself up on the counter and a blank gaze accompanied by a moment of silence. Finally a “just like any other meat … you wanna try ’em?” Another time maybe. But he goes on about how good the frogs’ legs are. And how are they prepared? Fried. Just like much of the menu offering. I suppose anything and everything tastes good fried. Says I could take some of them home with me too. I’ll save the $5 for another time when I have some adventurous company to share it all with. After an 0 for 2 on trying to get this white boy to try some soul food, he gives one last shot a “Ray’s Special” and his offering of buy a dozen crabs, get a dozen free. So does that mean that I get two shots with that?!

And I’m just gettin’ started. Wait’ll I tell ya about having half the neighborhood glaring at you at the post office outfitted with bullet-proof glass as you try and assist a suspiciously-lacking-in-identification El Salvadoran try and get his mail without speaking a lick of English …

P

P.S. I really am excited to explore more of the area as I get the chance. And I do like the people, regardless of the tone of the post :). The area has got culture and color and no lack of interesting occurrences.

Meridian Hill Park

In each city I’ve lived I have my outdoor happy place, that part of the city I can visit that is good for my soul. I have my favorite cafes, restaurants, etc. as well, but there’s nothing better than fresh air and sunshine (weather permitting) to increase the happiness levels. In Buenos Aires it’s Parque Tres de Febrero (the rose garden! the palm trees! the lake!) and in Brooklyn it’s Grand Army Plaza area, which includes the Brooklyn Museum, the beautiful main branch of Brooklyn Public Library, and an entrance to Prospect Park. In DC it’s Meridian Hill Park, and lucky me I got to go back there this weekend.

Meridian Hill Park is politely tucked away in NW DC, right where the neighborhoods of U St., Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, and Adams Morgan meet. Although smack in the middle of some busy areas, it does a good job of being fairly isolated and is therefore a wonderful escape. Multilevels, waterfalls, ducks, statues, green space, shade, sunshine, and built in stone benches all make for a gorgeous space. On Sundays you’ll find a talented drum circle going on, and most days you’ll find people sunbathing, reading, running, picnicing, tightrope walking, doing yoga, and everything else you can enjoy in a pretty park. On my short weekend visits back to DC I usually don’t have time to do everything I’d like to, so it was a pleasure to stroll through the park on this visit. Do you have a favorite outdoor spot in your city?
All photos taken by P
M

Things That Made Me Smile Recently

A day at the beach

This photo and story of Obama

Booking a trip to Charleston, SC

Cake made out of cheese. Genius.

Eating empanadas

Walking Race for the Cure in support of breast cancer research

Spending time in DC with good friends and beautiful weather herehere, and here

These cute and funny fake tattoos

M