If I was Jay-Z, you’d be my Beyonce
We aint promised tomorrow, so I’m gonna live for today
When I met you in the summer
In light of many recent events, I’ve decided to re-focus my life (yet again).
I can’t find a less cliche way to say it, but: happiness is the most important thing in life. Many people never find it and some have a delusional idea of it—if making millions and throwing away everyone and everything else that matters to you in the process is worth it, then power to you.
Maybe it’s just because summer is rolling around but I feel newly empowered to create a new, happy me. I want to eat healthier, exercise, hang on to the only people that are important to me, be kind to strangers, chase my dreams even if that means getting paid little to no money and failing many times in the process. I’m still young and with that freedom and enthusiasm I want to put it to use. My biggest fear is looking back and regretting not going for that extra degree to instead earn a few bucks or not going home to spend time with my family to instead waste away in the party and smoke of New York City.
Today I ran 6 miles up the East River and biked a couple more down the Hudson River. I have never been able to run that long a distance before but I put my mind to it and before I knew it, 6 miles was done. Despite being painted in sweat, I didn’t feel tired at all. The feeling of the wind combing my hair and the air thawing my veins was more rewarding than getting some of the highest grades on my past couple exams.
I still want it all. But “all” has been redefined, starting today.
I’ve found happiness and now I want to share it.
Biking in the rain and blasting The Man.
…I played my cards and I didn’t fold…
Here were a few print ads from last year (2013) that I particularly liked. I love ads.
Showdown: NYC vs. Barca
Because of dissimilarities in culture, I observed many differences between American (specifically New York City) and Spanish (specifically Barcelona) culture. Since this was my first trip to Europe, I was most observant and the experienced I had will remain crisp. Of these differences, three struck me most—food service, fashion, and nightlife.
“Fast paced” barely scratches the surface of the bustling New York City lifestyle. Restaurants, popular or not, are focused on streamlining operations for fast turn-over rates. Of course, high-end restaurants are excluded from this generalization, but that is only because those high-end restaurants are modeled after European restaurants. Before going to Barcelona, I already knew of European’s “slow” service. Supposedly, people sat around for hours just drinking tea and finishing lunch. However, the level of “slowness” in Barcelona was overwhelming. Even at “nice” restaurants, I was not given a menu until the waiter felt like dropping them off. I was not given water (because it is not complimentary in Europe). I sat in silence for what seemed like hours for waiters to take my order. A simple serving of “patatas bravas” (fancy French fries) took around 30 minutes to be sent out. In America, this would not be tolerated. But as I looked around, the native Spanish seemed very comfortable with the slow pace. No one was in a rush—what a new concept! And as we were hurrying the server to quickly bring out our check, he walked slowly to the register, made conversation with the other servers on his way, and “forgot” to bring the receipt on his way back over.
New York City is one of the world’s fashion capitals, as the most well-known designers choose to exhibit their latest collections in NYC every fall and spring season. Barcelona is not a fashion capital, yet I felt that the average Barcelonan was significantly more fashionable than the average New Yorker (and the average New Yorker is eons ahead of the average American—how sad). Many wore fashion trends that recently graced big runway shows, such as those in Paris and Milan. Americans always look like they just rolled out of bed or got out of the gym. They are much more price-conscious when it comes to apparel. People want a bargain price, which explains the success of stores like Forever 21, which can be found in every major hub in NYC and US. Barcelonans consider Zara’s as cheap. Yet Zara’s prices are easily quadruple that of Forever 21, for the same types of items. There are much less bargains stores in the streets of Barcelona, at least in tourist areas. Another major difference is that New Yorkers tend to wear a lot of black and white, occasionally deviating to dark blue or navy green (curve ball: nude is sometimes considered a pop of color in NYC). Barcelonans wear many different colors, often bright. Half of the selections at Zara’s in Barcelona were pastel colors, while all the Zara’s in NYC were monochromatically gray. And since Zara is one of the world leaders in giving consumers exactly what they want, one can learn a lot about a location’s fashion taste by their Zara stores.
The drinking age and lifestyle directly impact each city’s nightlife. When I was out in Barcelona, I noticed that there were many under-aged partyers, but something tells me most of them were American (judging by the way they look, spoke, acted, and dressed). Saturday night was ridiculously lively, more than I’ve ever seen it in New York City. But from Sunday to Wednesday, there was not a single soul out (other than other Americans). It was surprising to find a city of people who all sleep at 2:00 AM, all in their own homes or still finishing up dinner on weekdays instead of drinking at a bar. In NYC, the party never stops and people are always out. The crowd is a bit older too, probably due to the drinking age. New York City traffic is busier at 1:00 AM than it is at 9:00 PM, because New Yorkers love to go out at night. The streets of Barcelona, on the other hand, were a barren wasteland. And the cab drivers there actually followed traffic rules—bizarre!
While there are stark differences between to the two cities, I more than enjoyed my stay in Barcelona. It was because of these very differences that made the experience that much better. Learning about Spanish culture, how to do business there, and what Barcelonans wear and do for fun was eye-opening. I would love to go back, when my bank balance permits.
First time I saw you, I knew right away
Made up my mind, you would be mine someday
You know I need you, so don’t turn away
'Cause at the end of the day, I'll be alright
Still I’m praying that you change your mind I’ll be okay
'Cause you'll come around eventually
So Much in Front of Me
Sometimes it’s hard to realize that as Americans, and especially for those that want it, have so much in front of us. Cliche rephrase: the sky is the limit.
And with so little time in a day, I feel like I miss a lot of that opportunity-grasping gap. This post is to remind me of a few things I want to accomplish this year personally (so outside all that job-hunting, GPA-inflating bullshit).
1) I want to finally eat right and get fit. People always say that and especially me. But I haven’t budged a muscle since 9th grade Lacrosse and I’m really starting to feel it. So baby steps for now: healthy meals and just a few light trips to the gym a week.
2) I want to start an academic blog. I feel like throughout the day, especially during class, I have so many epiphany moments, or at least subjects that I have a lot of insight on and would love to share them with at least my future self. I get too lazy to write these down and I regret it because I already forgot the genius-idea I had a few hours ago.
3) I want to make sure everything is neat and ready for tomorrow, before I sleep. It’s something every mom tries to teach their kid and only half of them soak it up. I was part of the half that couldn’t retain a single request and I realize now that I could probably save about an hour of my life everyday if I were truly organized.
Just a few of the things I want to work on. I can’t remember the rest because I haven’t written them down. My memory is really going to shits nowadays. I don’t wanna blame it on aging but what else can it be? The only other possibility is that I’m over capacity. My brain is filled with Harry Potter facts, spongebob quotes, exact color names, prices of everything in the world, memories of every moment of my life up to the age of 18. I wish we could spring clean our minds…