Monday, March 30, 2015

Dublin Me Darlin

Originally planned for St. Paddy's Day, this post came to be late, but better late than never, ey? Grab a pint, this is gonna be a loooong post.

This month I wanted to share a bit about that one time my bf and I went to Dublin on holiday. It was the middle of the summer, she was in Spain, I was in England and we hadn't seen each other in a while. She was due to come visit as we had friends from Mexico flying over too, but we wanted to take a little pre-European-mini-tour together before they got there and just share some quality time.

I had been meaning to make it to Dublin since my cousin was studying there and flights were 1 pound (plus tax) with this airline, but I never got around to it and my cousin left. Not that I couldn't visit by myself, but it was way more appealing to have a partner, so I mentioned it to D and she was game. Neither of us had been there before and figured it would be fun to explore it together.

She arrived in Manchester and we flew from there to Dublin, arriving late at night.  We stayed at this hostel right on Temple Bar, and promptly went out and about to explore the city, ending the night at the hostel's own pub. 

One of the things I knew I wanted to visit was the Cliffs of Moher. I had read there are day tours that take you there for a fair price. However, the weather was terrible! The guy at the front desk of the hostel said it wasn't a good time to visit, as we wouldn't be allowed too close to the cliffs (which is basically the point of going) due to safety as it gets very slippery. It was a bummer, but hey, at least we have an excuse to go back some day.

We were actually shocked that the weather was so bad. It was very cold and rainy, which we weren't prepared for. Not that it stopped us from having a great time. On our first day, we ran into one of those free tours which we decided to join as we had no idea where to go. We visited the Dublin Castle, Dubh Linn garden, saw the medieval walls, visited Trinity College and St. Stephens Green.

After the tour was over we were on our own to explore. We enjoyed walking and shopping around King and Grafton Streets, specially souvenir shops! We walked over to Merrion Square to check out Oscar Wilde's monument and ran into a lovely street filled with colorful doors! We took a massive amount of photos because that's just how we roll. We also ran into Molly Malone and Oliver St. John and James Joyce's statues. That night we partied Irish style with nothing other than Guinness and Baileys at a Temple Bar pub.

The next morning, the weather was waaaay better. We started off with a traditional Irish breakfast (very similar to the British one) and headed out to the Guinness Storehouse which was amazing. We learned all about the history of the brand, including how the beer is made and even got a free pint at the end of the tour with an unbeatable 360º view of the city. We even made a new friend, Hi Nate!

Another thing I really wanted to see in Dublin was its more contemporary architecture. We headed to Daniel Libeskind's Grand Canal Theater and square and went right up to the Quays along the Liffey, where we continued to see interesting architecture and views of the city, street art and Santiago Calatrava's Samuel Becket Bridge. We ended our second and last day back at Temple Bar, with dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe right by our hostel, picked up our bags and headed to a night at the airport.

All in all, it felt like two full days were enough time in Dublin to see the touristy sites at the speed of light. I'd definitely recommend a couple more days in order to take day trips outside of the city which we weren't able to do. Not that it mattered to us because we loved Dublin! the city is very beautiful and pedestrian friendly. We got pretty much everywhere by foot and only took a bus once to the Guinness Storehouse and the shuttle for the airport. People, were very friendly, and although it was a bit hard to understand the accents at first, we managed. It seemed though as there are way more men than women in Dublin, at least that was our impression, which we couldn't complain about :)

Have you ever been to Dublin? how about somewhere else in Ireland? What things did we miss? I think we did good enough for two days! Hope this helps if you're planning a trip there soon!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Never Too Late

Yesterday I was earlier than usual at my classroom and I ran into Gabriela for the second time in the past month. Only I hadn't met her before. She introduced herself and as I was prepping for class, she started asking me questions and we engaged in conversation. Gabriela is an adult college student at the university where I teach. She told me how she had studied 'interior design' back when she was in college and that later in her life she realized she wanted to become an architect. Only now had she found the time to enroll back in school to pursue her lifelong dream.

She called me over to show me something, a video she had downloaded to her computer and she told me she wanted me to see it. I was a little freaked out at first not knowing what she was about to show me, but I went ahead and saw it with her. It was a video of a girl runner (only later I found out her name is Heather Dorniden) who falls in the midst of a race, and is left behind by the other three girls. But then, she gets up. And then, she catches up with them. Finally, she ends up winning the race.

As I stood there beside her with my whole mind in awe after what I had just seen and what it had meant, Gabriela told me that video had made her realize that 'it is never too late to go after what you want'. Even if you fall (fail), you can always get back up, continue to run and win the race.  So inspiring.

Soon after that, my students began to arrive at the classroom and I got distracted with them. When I turned around to say goodbye to Gabriela, she was gone. I can only hope I run into her again sometime soon. Meanwhile, here's the video she showed me.

What's stopping you from going after what YOU want? Get up and go get it. Yes, you can.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Disney Legacy

I mentioned in a recent post that my sister and I had been in Mexico City for 24 hours recently. In her case, it was for an interview. That interview was for a position as a Disney Cast Member in their Cultural Representative Program.

The Disney CRP is a one year program where participants get to work in the EPCOT Pavilion of their home country, in the different areas (f&b, attractions and merchandise). Naturally, they get to live in Orlando and many, many other perks. I should know a thing or two about that.

Back in 2005 (that's almost 10 years ago), I worked at Disney. It was a different program though, the Disney International College Program, and to my dislike, it was only for the summer, 11 weeks, that is. This May will be the 10th anniversary of when everything started, so naturally, I will prepare a series of posts about it (can't contain my excitement).

Gaby had been meaning to apply for the longest time, but the timing was never right, until now. Ten years after I did. It's just right. She couldn't be more of a perfect candidate. She did study tourism and what better place to learn the busines than the Happiest Place on Earth. I couldn't be happier or any more excited that my little sister is following my footsteps and that she's about to embark on the greatest adventure of her life.

She's not even gone yet and we are already planning our visit to celebrate my 30th birthday. It's gonna be magical.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Perks Of The Job

Being a part of the company who organizes one of the most important architectural congresses in our country had its perks. I got to see front and center (and sometimes backstage as well) many very important architects and learn a lot in the process. I got to be the biggest groupie, to meet and talk and take pictures and get autographs (and emails!) from the greatest architects in the world.

This week Mextrópoli (said congress) happened, and I was supposed to go with A, but that didn't happen, because, well. It's the first time in four years that I miss it, and it got me reminiscing. That's why I'm sharing a roundup of the best experiences I had working it in the past three years. 

My first experience was Desplazamientos. I had recently joined the team as a volunteer. This time I worked as an assistant backstage, which is by far where I had the most fun and believe it is the best place to work. Everything is so hectic having to deal with things and solving them on the spot whether it is issues with audio or getting coffee for one of the speakers. Because I was new in the team, I didn't really have any friends so I made a point to meet as many (famous) people as I could (Yes, that is Zaha Hadid, thank you very much. Also photographed Manuel Clavel, Cameron Sinclair, Sou Fujimoto, Thomas Heatherwick, Benedetta Tagliabue, Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme, and Patrik Schumacher). The only possibly negative part about being backstage, is that you don't really get to listen or see the conferences, which is really a shame as some were really inspiring that year.

My second experience, already as a part of the team, was during Espacio. It was very different than the previous one. This time, my job was selling books during conference breaks in the precinct, which also meant I was able to sneak in to see some of the conferences. I really enjoyed the talks by Andrés Jaque, Alfredo Brillenbourg and Saskia Sassen. I don't think David Chipperfield was in the right condition to speak (he was sick) and Denise Scott Brown's, although very very interesting, was way too long. I did love however the graphic content accompanying the talks, truly inspiring work. This time around I didn't get to meet anyone but Denise. She was a classy lady who stood and signed books as long as there were people in line during her book's launch at Museo Tamayo.

My last collaboration was for Mextrópoli, in which the congress evolved into a Festival, becoming way bigger and more ambitious. There was more work than ever before, but it was compensated with all the more fun. This time I had to sell books again, but not in the theater, so I wasn't right on the action. I got to see the conferences I was most interested in (like Liz Diller's or Pedro Reyes') and I met my long time idol Juhani Pallasmaa and even got to ask him a few questions. I also met Iwan Baan, Winka Dubbeldam, Jordi Hereu and Josep Bohigas. Got to hang with pal Jaime Navarro, Sasa Radulovic and many others on the dance floor, including Mauricio Rocha. the venues for all the events were amazing and the parties were unforgettable. But the best part of all (besides meeting Pallasmaa) was that this time, I was surrounded by friends. Friends from work and new friends from the staff. It was the best experience and I'm glad it was the last I got to be a part of, as it would be really difficult to top.

All in all, working these were some of the most inspiring and greatest learning experiences I've had and I'm truly grateful to have been a part of them. 

Thank you for taking a stroll down memory lane with me.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Moving On

I can't believe it's been six months since we moved into the house where we currently live in. To say that I'm NOWHERE near settled here is an understatement. Just a few days ago I had a carpenter over to explain how I wanted to (custom) make many things. Later that afternoon, A told me we needed to find a new place to live *gasp*.

Our contract is due this month, and although we have the landlord's word that the place is 'ours' for the next six months, it is rather uncomfotable to have him over with people 'to see the house' on occassion. Also, the house has many issues that we can't deal with anymore. So... we house hunted.

Said house hunt didn't take long as, luckily, there's a house available in the same neighbourhood, actually, four houses down from ours. We really like the area, it is close to A's work and I finally figured out enough bus routes to take me wherever I need to go. Also, we really like our house which is a good thing since we're basically moving to the same house, only better.

Moving elsewhere always makes me nostalgic. I know we've only been here for six months, but it is the first house A and I ever shared, where we brought in the first furniture we bought together, where I've cooked him breakfast every sunday morning. We hosted my best friend, my sisters and nieces and my parents and Camilo. This place is special.

I didn't get around to make this house more of a home for us in this short time, but still I thought I'd share some snaps of our time here.

Thanks for dropping by.


*Pictures from top to bottom: our front door, our version of the 'Welcome' matt, our first night at the new place, Christmas decorations from (technically) our first Christmas (actually) living together, breakfast from when my bff was staying with us and a repeat of Camilo visiting.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Around Here

It's been crazy lately. A took a fall at work last week and ended up in crutches, which means I've been on nurse mode, tending to his every need. He was in a lot of pain for a few days but is feeling better now. Boy really can't complain, he's been getting the royal treatment all week.

Personally, I've enjoyed having him around to hang with. Since he's supposed to be on bed rest, he's been staying home or coming earlier from work.  We've been enjoying meals in bed (can't make the poor bloke come up and down the stairs every time) and movie afternoons with corresponding treats, for which I can't complain.

That about explains why I haven't been posting this last week. This was also the reason why we had to cancel our weekend away in Mexico City. Health comes first. But as I said, he's feeling better and will be back to his normal self next week, and hopefully so will I.

This weekend will be spent pretty much the same, watching movies and eating junk. Have a nice weekend!