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Freetown, Sierra Leone in Snapshots

If you've read the "about me" section of this blog, you know that I'm West African. This Christmas, my family and I took a trip to my father's hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone to celebrate the holidays. I composed an eloquent post about our experience, but sadly, my computer crashed and I lost said post. So I've decided to forgo the write up and just [...]

Family Trip to Jamaica

Every year my dad throws a huge birthday party for himself and 300 of his closest friends. And because he refuses to get old, it’s always his “Annual 50th Birthday Party” with some sort of P.Diddy-inspired dress code. The first year was an all-white attire party and he’s gone through the entire rainbow since then. While these soirees are good fun, the week it takes to set up followed by [...]

Patara Elephant Farm

The biggest reason we traveled to Chiang Mai was because we were dying to ride elephants. Much like any other hands-on animal experience, there is often a debate that comes with riding elephants as they are not in their natural habitat and are somewhat domesticated. Thankfully, my dear travel-mate Sarah, who has become a great friend over the course of this trip, is one of the most thorough researchers I’ve [...]

What We Ate in Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Our trip to Chiang Mai started with a 12-hour overnight train ride from Bangkok. We each got our own private sleeper and though accommodations were much more modest than I’d romanticized, I was happy I’d spent the extra money so that I could sleep comfortably during the trip. And sleep is just what I did. Food options were bleak on the train as nothing on the dinner menu looked edible [...]

Bangkok, Thailand

Our trip to Bangkok started with the plane ride from hell. Never in my nearly three decades of travel have I experienced such bad turbulence. At one point the kid sitting behind us shouted “we’re all gonna die.” It was only an hour and half flight but it felt much longer. Once we touched down, Debra, Sarah and I took a train to our hotel, where we were supposed to [...]

Phuket, Thailand

We arrived in Phuket via an early morning flight from Koh Samui. Debra and Sarah stayed at the sexy and luxurious Metadee Resort in Kata Beach. And though I opted to stay at a more modest yet adorable boutique hotel called Easy Resort a few steps away, I was still privy to the amenities of the girls’ resort (mainly their gigantic pool and complimentary breakfast!) We settled in at [...]

Thai New Years in Ko Samui, Thailand

A while back, I had lunch with my friend Debra so she could give me the rundown on her recent tour around Europe. After filling me in on all the scandal that inevitably happens when you’re on a Euro tour (the romances, the break-ups, the make-ups), she mentioned that she planned to meet one of her new South African friends from the trip for the Thai New Year’s festivities in [...]

An Unexpected Trip to Orlando, FL

My feelings on New Year’s resolutions are as follows: You spend one month feeling great about yourself for quitting smoking, chocolate or, in my case, a raging mashed potato addiction, then you spend the next 11 months kicking yourself for not having the will power to stick to it.  So this year I opted for a New Year’s resolution I knew I’d keep: spend more […]

Liberia in Snapshots

Liberian Street Food!

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Pity Party for One

I’ve been in Liberia for a month now and I’ve yet to make friends. I spent my first few weeks hanging out with my cousin Weyatta but she has returned back to school in Ghana and I am all alone again. I’ve done my fair share of solo traveling, but it’s much more difficult making friends in developing countries. When traveling alone in the Western […]

Mamba Point Beach

Today I found myself, along with my lovely cousin Weyatta, walking the Atlantic coastline at Mamba Point Beach. The only noise within several miles was the sound of waves crashing ashore; a stark contrast from the habitual eardrum overload the rest of Monrovia boasts. One thing that I’ve been warned about on numerous occasions is how strong the tides are in Liberia. Whenever I went to the beach as a child, [...]

Liberia Sure is Green

From the moment I landed in Liberia I couldn’t help but notice that it is incredibly green out here. The only other place I’veseen, in real life, that rivals the lush vegetation of Liberia is the Amazon. Monrovia’s city center is similar to most other metropolitan cities: lots of concrete, full of office buildings, shops and restaurants, but if you drive just 20 minutes in any direction away from [...]

I’ve Arrived!

It’s been a little over 2 months since I was successfully funded on Kickstarter and I’m happy to announce that I finally made it to Monrovia! After a week of culture shock and feeling a tad overwhelmed, I finally decided to pop online to say hello. Please stay tuned for further updates!

NYC!

After a relaxing week with my family in Maryland, I decided to shake things up and go to New York. I highly recommend the Bolt Bus if you’re traveling between DC & NY; it’s only $20, takes less than 5 hours, offers free Wi-Fi, has a restroom on board and it drops you off right in the heart of Manhattan! Everyone I know who’s visited NY returns home raving […]

DMV: as in DC, Maryland, Virginia!

As soon as I boarded my plane in Dakar to head back to the States, I passed out and didn’t return to consciousness until we landed in New York. I missed the last flight out to Maryland and was forced to sleep at JFK airport for the second time.  Upon my arrival in Maryland, I noticed it was way hotter in the States than it […]

The Gambia

After spending the night in Barra, a border/port city in Gambia, we parted ways with the others we’d carpooled with and took the afternoon ferry to Banjul to begin our exploration. Our first stop was at Koko Curry in Fajara. We were told it was the best Indian food in all of West Africa…it didn’t disappoint! When we finished pigging out, we headed to our couch surfing host’s family compound [...]

Road Trip: Senegal to Gambia!

Being that The Gambia is so geographically close to Senegal we felt it was only right that we take a road trip and visit the smallest country in Africa, so we joined forces with three other travelers and took a 10-hour taxi ride to The Gambia.  Although The Gambia is its own country, it is physically located inside of Senegal. I recommend you have a […]

Dakar & Ngor Island, Senegal

  Going to Senegal was like a dream; it went by so fast I’m still having a hard time believing it happened. One moment I was on a plane to Dakar, then in the blink of an eye (eight days to be exact) I was back in the States. When I first landed in Dakar, I was whisked away (by my boyfriend) to Ngor Island, […]

Movies & Books Inspired by Liberia

  In an attempt to learn all that I can about Liberia before my trip, I have been doing quite a bit of reading and watching tons of movies/documentaries about Liberia. Just wanted to take a moment to share a few titles that I recommend. The documentary “Liberia: America’s Stepchild” gives great insight into Liberia’s history from the “beginning” up until present day. I put […]

St. Patty’s Day Meditation in Santa Monica, CA

  While most So-Cal natives were busy getting sloshed at their local Irish pub on March 17th, I decided to skip the festivities this year and opted for a more peaceful St. Patrick’s Day. So I headed to Santa Monica for a one-day Vipassana Meditation course. If you remember, I did a 10-day course in Texas last year.So, how was my St. Patty’s day meditation, […]

The San Francisco Treat!

  For the past few months the boo’s been ranting and raving about how great his hometown is, so finally after several schedule conflicts and a chronic case of broke-assness (on my end) we took a drive up the coast to visit San Francisco! As a child I went to SF with my family on more than one occasion, but never saw much beyond our family friend’s home so […]

Guyana, South America: The Amazon!!!

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Trinidad & Tobago

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Road Trip: Austin, Texas to L.A.

After purifying my mind, body & soul at Vipassana I caught a ride down to Austin with a fellow meditator to meet up with the boo. What followed was an epic road trip back home to LA. After checking into Hotel San Jose, a chic eco-friendly boutique hotel, we caught a live jazz show at the Elephant Room. The next day we hit up Torchy’s Tacos, where we enjoyed Tex-Mex tacos […]

10 Days of Silence in Kaufman, Texas

A few months ago I learned of a 10-day Vipassana meditation course that entailed waking up at 4am every morning, meditating for 10 hours daily, eating a simple vegetarian diet and living in complete SILENCE for those 10 days. At first this sounded like pure torture but the more I thought about it, the more I became intrigued by the idea. After being on the […]

First Friday on Abbot Kinney Blvd

This week I decided to check out First Fridays on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. Abbot Kinney is packed with art galleries, tasty eateries, bars and trendy clothing shops. Every first Friday of the month all the local establishments stay open late, the food trucks come out to play and swarms of locals crowd the street to eat, drink and be merry.  After making a […]

Baja Baby!

Not too long ago one of my oldest childhood friends invited me on a last-minute weekend getaway to his family's vacation home. A few short hours later I found myself in Baja, Mexico staying in an impeccably decorated beachfront home in Puerto Salinas. With a fridge fully stocked with beer and tequila there were big dreams of doing some beachfront boozing, I was even promised [...]

Viva Mexico!!

This year to celebrate my birthday, my boyfriend and I took a trip to Mexico, making stops in Mexico City, Cholula, Puebla and Oaxaca. Below is a list of the trip highlights: Couch-surfed with a young Austrian/Czech couple who spent time working for the UN in Freetown, Sierra Leone and therefore spoke Krio, the West African dialect that my family speaks! I got hit by [...]

The Bu, as in Malibu, CA

Last week I took a trip to the Malibu Country Mart with two of my favorite beings: my cousin Nicki and her dog Roscoe. We spent the morning window-shopping at stores like Maxwell & Co, Canvas and Ron Herman. Simone Camille handbag: $2000, painting by unknown artist: $17,000, coming to terms with how broke you are: priceless. Afterward we grabbed a bite-size snack at Malibu […]

Thank You Soooo Much!!

I had a SERIOUS family emergency & had to fly back to the States on Wednesday. I just wanted to take a moment to thank my Spanish family for being so great to me and making my stay in Barcelona/Sant Cugat the best ever. Marta, Marc, Leo, Max y Marta Gomar gracias por todo! Te voy a hechar de menos. This is a temporary end [...]

Haiti Earthquake

Hi All, I hate to be redundant as I’m sure everyone has been reading/watching nonstop news about the Haiti crisis, but it’s something worth repeating. I was on msn.com on Wednesday night and I literally started crying when I saw the photos. Since then I’ve seen so many graphic images. There was a picture of a man holding his dead daughter on the front page [...]

Cadiz, Cadiz, Cadiz…

If the city of Cadiz wasn’t oozing with natural beauty, I would’ve had a terrible time. I stayed at an old and dirty hostel with a really weird vibe. The plumbing of the hostel was so old we weren't allowed to flush toilet paper, we had to throw it in a trashcan next to the toilet.  Also three of the four bathrooms consisted of a toilet, a sink, a shower [...]

Seville, Spain: A Good Time Had by All

Had loads of fun in Seville. Good times are always guaranteed when rolling with the Adelaide boys. They nicknamed me D Mama because I always had whatever they needed in my Mary Poppins bag (everything from an umbrella to a sewing kit). We went to a futbol (soccer) game our first night then did a tapas tour & saw an authentic flamenco show on the [...]

I can’t seem to leave Granada!

 I was supposed to be here for 3 days, but I’ve been here for almost a week now. When I first arrived I was staying at a dumpy hostel, which I was extremely displeased with. So I checked out after 1 night and went to a hostel that a friend I made in Valencia was staying at. I've met the friendliest people and had so [...]

2010 NYE in Valencia

Feliz año nuevo!! For those of you who don’t know, I will be traveling by train to 10 cities around Spain before I move to Madrid. On the 30th of December I started my trip around Spain. My first destination was Valencia. I met the greatest girls at my hostel. Thank you to the Jos for adopting me! Jossie is from Canada & Johanneke is [...]

Feliz Navidad!!!

This year I had a Catalan Christmas! Marta’s family came over for dinner on Christmas Eve. Above is a picture of Marta’s mom holding our Christmas ham! Afterwards the kids got their gifts from Cagatio (Tio for short). Tio is a Catalan tradition, he’s a magical log with a face painted on him. Since December 1st the kids have been leaving food out for him [...]

Los Tres Reyes

Yesterday was the last day of school for the boys and they both had Christmas plays. Max dressed up as an angel and sang with his classmates. As for Leo’s play, guess who made a cameo appearance!? That’s right, yours truly!! They had a presentation of “Los Reyes” (The Three Kings) and I was one of the kings. I got a little nostalgic, remembering when [...]

Politicians brought a party to my front yard!

This week there was a huge referendum in the province of Catalonia (of which Barcelona is the capitol) to make Catalonia a separate country from the rest of Spain. Locals hit the polls on Sunday to vote on the issue. To sway the young constituents to vote “yes” on the matter, the city of Sant Cugat had an “Independencia para Catalunya” concert/party -- right in [...]

Pelo Afro

When I first got to Barcelona I had a conversation with a Brazilian who spent two years in London. He told me, “No matter how smart you are in your country, you’ll never be smart to the locals in a foreign land (in their eyes) if you don’t speak their language perfectly.” I was recently reminded of this quote. Before I get into that story, I have a different one [...]

I accidentally spent the weekend in Morocco…

Well, sort of… My plans for this past weekend changed so many times it was kind of ridiculous. First I was supposed to go to Istanbul, Turkey but the friend that I was supposed to stay with in Turkey called me and said he thought he might have contracted the swine flu so I thought it would be best to postpone my trip. Then I was going to stay [...]

Dublin: Cold Weather, Warm People

Meet Rachel, she made a cameo appearance in the Halloween post. She moved to Barcelona, from Philadelphia, around the same time that I did. We met in Spanish class a while ago and have been fast friends ever since. Thanks to Ryanair Airlines, it is so cheap and easy to travel to Ireland that Rachel and I decided to take a two and a half [...]

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks to everyone who sent me Happy T-Day wishes! Normally I find the “Happy Turkey Day” texts obnoxious, but this year I was beyond excited when the first text came. Obviously, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving out here, but I guess you can say I brought a little Thanksgiving to Spain this year. I cooked a nice dinner for my Spanish Family. I accidentally cooked an […]

San Sebatian: the Gnarliest City in Spain!

Since moving to Barcelona about 90% of the locals have told me that San Sebastian, a city up north, is the greatest city in Spain. I decided to check it out this weekend and to be completely honest, my expectations weren’t too high. Since it’s winter, I figured it would be a cold and muggy ghost town; the city’s known for its food so at the very least I planned [...]

I’m back!!

My apologies! I’ve neglected the blog these past couple of weeks. I’ve had a multitude of problems, one of them being my internet connection (or lack thereof). Anyhow, I’m back at my internet cafe tip-typin’ away. Let me fill you in on what‘s been going on. Two weeks ago I had an incredibly relaxing trip to Seville planned (South of Spain). But things didn’t go […]

Just Choke

As you all know I enjoy dining out, especially out here in Spain. But I finally discovered a flaw in Barcelona’s restaurants. They don’t give you water. I’ve been to restaurants where they will give you unlimited wine, but if you order water, it will most likely be a 10€ bottle of water. The tap water is perfectly safe to drink out here, but they’d […]

Happy Halloween from BCN!

Those of you who know me well know that I love Halloween, so I was a little bummed when I heard that they don’t really celebrate it out here. But lucky me, a Halloween party practically fell into my lap! My local bar hosted an awesome party complete with a makeup artist painting faces! I met up with one of my friends from class and […]

Top Ten Things to do in Barcelona

Before I left LA my favorite family, besides my own of course (shout-out to the Close Family!) gave me a great guide book called "Top Ten: Barcelona," which lists the top 10 cafes, restaurants, cathedrals, museums, bars, clubs, etc. I've already mentioned that Marc (the father of my Spanish family) has a cafe in Barcelona, but what I didn't know was that he also has a dessert shop, so imagine [...]

Weekend Recap

I basically spent my weekend at the beach! On Saturday I went to a relatively secluded beach about 45 mins away called Sitges (although it took me 2 hours to get there because I got lost). I tried fideua for the first time which is essentially paella made with noodles instead of rice. On my walk back to the train station I stumbled upon the [...]

Homesick

I’m so homesick today, I could probably spend the whole day crying. It’s raining cats and dogs, I’m lonely, I’m not learning Spanish at the speed I’d like to, I feel like I’m doing a terrible job teaching the kids English. It’s easy to take your friends and family for granted when they live close to you. To everyone reading this: I miss you and I love you. Ok, […]

Thanks Keez

This is sort of a late post, but better late than never! A couple of weeks ago a dear friend of mine (shout- out to Kevin!) discovered that he had a friend who was visiting Barcelona so he put me in touch with her and she was kind enough to introduce me to a couple of her friends who are currently living here. Estoy flipando (I'm excited), I have [...]

A Long Weekend in Paris

Paris was fabulous! I stayed in an absolute dump of a hostel, but still managed to enjoy myself! Don't get me wrong, the trip had its downfalls: I spilled a bottle of red wine all over my brown suede boots, which were the only shoes I brought, so I had to buy new boots, which set me back 100 euros ($150 US). I accidentally left [...]

BFF

I'd like you all to meet my new friends Bershka, Stradivarius, Blanco and Oysho (to name a few). I know they have weird names but they've been with me from day one. They're there to comfort me when I'm having a bad day and to celebrate with me on the good days. It’s going to be sad leaving them, but I can always keep in touch online so we'll [...]

My True Love

The food out here is so absurdly delicious, words really can't describe it, but I'll try my best! The ingredients are simple but flavorful. The fruits are sweeter, the lettuce is crisper (I know that's not a word, but it should be). When you order a salad they don't complicate things with all those fancy salad dressings, it’s oil and vinegar and oh so tasty. When ordering wine, the house [...]

My People

It’s reassuring to know that no matter where you are in the world there will always be Africans selling $#!t on the streets. Knock off designer handbags, bootlegged DVDs, Obama t-shirts, they've got it all. Bud Light should make a "real men of genius" commercial about these brave men. For those who are not familiar with the "real men of genius" commercials, please enjoy the following video:

Weekend Recap

This weekend was The Mercè Festival in Barcelona (in honor of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona) so Thursday-Sunday there were free activities & shows throughout the city. On Thursday I went to a local comedy show. Apparently the comedian was really funny, but I understood none of it. On Sat I took the train into the city to see a band called Big City [...]

"May I have a vodka-tonic to go please"

On Saturday I finally went out and socialized with the locals. There was a percussion drum off at a nearby park (imagine a Spanish version of the movie Drumline) followed by a reggae & hip-hop show at night. I went alone but was quickly befriended by some of the percussionists. After the show, my friends for the evening invited me to a party in another city but I didn't want [...]

EURO SWAG!!

As we all know, Europeans are trendsetters in the world of fashion and style. Alexander McQeen, Donetella Versace, Christian Lacroix, all European born-fashion icons. It is my personal belief that all Europeans come out of the womb with impeccable taste & an innate eye for fashion. I know that everyone following this blog is on the cutting edge of fashion and it would be a shame for me to be [...]

Fine Dining in Barcelona

Here in beautiful Barcelona not only does everyone speak Catalan, but many of the restaurant menus are in Catalan as well. I went out for lunch yesterday & ordered what I though was chicken & instead they brought me what you see above. I actually love fish, fish fillet that is because I always choke on those little bones. I also have a hard time [...]

Mi Dia en Barcelona

I took the train into the city yesterday to enroll in Spanish class. I start on Monday. Hopefully I'll make some friends because I'm getting a little lonely! Anyhow, while I was there I snapped a few shots of Gaudi's Casa Batlló building. Isn't it incredible! Also got a shot of one of the streets, just because I think the streets out here are beautiful. [...]

My First Week in Barcelona

Hola Amigos! It has officially been a week and I absolutely love it out here. The neighborhood I live in is beautiful, the weather is incredible and the people are friendly despite the language barrier. Everyone here speaks Catalan, which sounds like a mishmash of Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. And although everyone knows how to speak Spanish, Catalan seems to be the language of choice. The family I´m staying [...]

Trapped in New York

Let's start at the very beginning. I left Los Angeles on Friday, September 4th. I flew into New York, then I was supposed to leave New York and arrive in Barcelona on Saturday morning...there was just one catch: I flew standby. For those of you who aren't familiar with how standby works, let me explain: You buy a ticket for dirt cheap, but the only [...]

Bienvenidos! (Welcome!)

Hi All! Welcome to my blog. Here you'll get to read about what I get into while I'm here in Barcelona, and anywhere else I may visit over these next few months. I had a bit of a mental debate about whether I should start a blog or not (I won't lie, it feels a little self-important), but I know that there are a handful of people (mainly my [...]

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