September 27, 2013

A Recap

Yesterday and today I officially handed over my work to my new coworker (and have only TWO days left at work...yes TWO! So weird). We have tickets booked for our trip, backpacks are ordered, wedding rentals are done (thanks to my twin sis staying on top of it), we have an empty apartment with things to be packed over the weekend and a city to enjoy (it's our last weekend here!)--all in all things are starting to come together. With this, I've had a bit of down time this week to scroll through old posts and decided to take a trip down memory lane via this little blog o' mine...

Join me!

I couldn't be happier with our Amsterdam engagement pics. And I'm happy to say that Liz has not only become a friend but will also photograph our Mexico wedding!!

Christian's sweet sunset proposal.

This place is home to too many great memories--soon our wedding will be one of them.

And the place where it all began: Finland!

I returned back to this place twice in one summer and third time with one of my best friend 10 months—it was that beautiful!

My best friends in Amsterdam. Absolutely glorious.

Sicily, we loved you and the best pasta I've ever had. 

Paris is never a bad idea.

I left my heart in Bairro Alto!

This magical metropolis made me forget about the Western world completely--I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Wining, dining and roadtripping with our parents in Tuscany & Normandy.

This epic trip is still one of our all-time favorite trips together.

Spain's giant tomato fight was even more fun than it sounds.

And this roadtrip is definitely not far behind.

This is by far my most popular post...I still don't know why.

Boy do I love me some European music festivals! Next is to try the American ones ;)

We still can't decide which place is better for island-hopping...this or this? Maybe a couple of return visits will settle it ;)

I'm glad my Harry Potter Bridal Shower was a big hit too!

This sad post is another popular one. I still think about all of you who donated money to Julia's cause and sent me encouraging emails (and still do!). 

Ofcourse wedding posts are pretty popular as well ;)--my twin sister's wedding and Christian's brother's wedding.

And lastly, ladies & most favorite city in the world.

Oh how blessed I have been these last few years.

Have a good weekend!

September 23, 2013

Amsterdam Family

My gosh, how time has been flying! We are now down to our last 10 days living in beautiful Amsterdam. Am I getting excited for California? The wedding? The big trip? Everything coming up?! Absolutely! But lately, I can't help but focus on just how sad I am to leave Amsterdam--my most favorite city in the world. But it's not just that, it's also leaving the life we created here--the life we created from scratch. Not knowing anyone, not having work experience or a paycheck, not having a favorite bar or restaurant, not knowing even who I was to become in the years I have been living here. I've conjured up such great friends who have become my overseas family. How lucky I feel to have so many close friends who have contributed to my years in Amsterdam--people from Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Australia, England, and so many other places as well as from the good ol' US of A! Tangent: but on the other hand, I wonder the world of possibility/friends/good times which is waiting for us over on the West Coast? for thought and perhaps worthy of a separate post, I'd say!

Something I never imagined was feeling a pull between two places--from my home in California and now feeling the pull from my home in Amsterdam. It's the limbo between California and Amsterdam and leaving a piece of my heart in each place.

I saw the above quote on Pinterest around the time I started feeling this way--and it cleared things up a bit. But will I ever feel fully at home again? Maybe. Maybe not. But if I don't, then atleast I know I will always have family in both places :). Encouraging me, laughing with me, drinking with me, celebrating me, consoling me and enjoying life with me.

Last week I joined a couple friends who are a part of this 'Amsterdam family' at one of our sneaky spots along the Amstel river. It's incredible how much fun a random Thursday night can be when you combine a couple of friends, a sunset, some bottles of prosecco, a tripod and a city view. I'm looking forward to filling up these last 10 days with each of the friends I've come to know and love in Europe...and savor every. single. minute with them. Miss you already, friends!
Holla at ya, Lily Wanderlust!

September 13, 2013

Snacking in Camden, Lounging in South Kensington

A few months ago I found dirt-cheap overnight bus tickets from Amsterdam to London for last weekend--I scooped them up before I could give a second thought about what an overnight bus to London actually entails (which I found out later was 5 hours to Calais, 1.5 hours on a ferry to Dover, and 2 hours to London..ugh...but on the bright side, they still sell pints on the ferry at why not?). I justified it by saying it would be great training for overnight bus travel in Asia, although I'm sure this bus is a luxury. Although I have heard Thai buses are pretty fancy too. This bus to London also meant I could visit my favorite Aussie friend!

I had 36 hours in London with Courtney and we really no had plans on the agenda. As in no. plans. whatsoever. We walked around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (which is where Will, Kate and lil George live! I love Kate!), ate lunch at Camden Market (my god, the choices!), got afternoon tea around the corner, ordered Indian takeaway at the hostel and just chatted about anything and everything while walking around South Kensington and Notting Hill. 

Hostel: Astor Hyde staff, perfect location by Hyde Park and pretty fancy
Bus:, only 18 EUR...just couldn't pass it up. I also took a roundtrip bus to Bruges, Belgium, for only 25 EUR
Camden Market: come hungry and snack away!

Soon, I was back on the bus en route to Amsterdam (then off the bus, to metro, to work...why do I always do that to myself?). The best part of the weekend wasn't only seeing my fave Aussie, snacking on warm scones with cream and jam or chowing down on Venezuelan arepas at Camden Market--it was at the end of the weekend, before I hopped in a cab driven by a jolly Englishman, when my Aussie friend and I got to say 'see you in Mexico!'

Because that Aussie friend o' mine is one of my bridesmaids! So the 'See you in Mexico's' have begun...

September 4, 2013

August, you're too good to us!

It recently dawned on me how ideal the entire month of August is in The Netherlands. The warm weather and late nights allow a plethora of outdoor events around town. These are some of our favorite events of the year.

So if you are in The Netherlands in August, be sure to plan your trip around these each of these foodie fairs/movie/festivals:

World Cinema Film Fest Openair - Over three long weekends, this film festival features foreign film viewings each night in the openair at Marie Heinekenplein or the Vondelpark Openair Theater.
Best part: it's free! 

Pluk de Nacht Film Festival - I'm obsessed with this 10-day event. They set up shop right near the water, sell Belgium beer, have a couple of food trucks and have cute beach chairs to rent. Arrive early and you can score a spot right in front of the screen. Each film night starts around sunset with a short film and a feature film followed by a DJ until past midnight. 
Best part: it's also free! 

De Parade traveling circus
Tons of food stalls, mini theaters every few meters, stringy lights and a make-your-own-poffertjes stand means this traveling circus the last 2 weeks of August is one of our all-time favorite Amsterdam events.
Entrance is 7.50 EUR...but well worth it!

Lounging along the Amstel River
Grab a BBQ, some friends and some drinks and head straight to the Amstel. People camp out on the edge of the water for hours and enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets in Amsterdam.

Preuvenemint - one of the biggest events of the year in South Limburg at the very bottom of The Netherlands. Maastricht's main square, 't Vrijtof, is converted into a big foodie and wine extravaganza! Makes for a great weekend trip ;)

If you're not in The Netherlands in August, you're still in luck! Check out my guest post over at Eyes/Ears/Mouth+Lens for my 48-hour weekend guide to Amsterdam!
{Openair movies + ice cream...what else ya need?}
{Yumminess + theater at De Parade in Amsterdam}
{Preuvenimint in Maastricht}
{Sunset along the Amstel, Amsterdam}

September 3, 2013

So long, Summer

A couple weeks ago, we spent one of the last weekends of summer drinking biertjes, eating Mexican food and making our own poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes) with Jeanelle and Steven at De Parade. Only a short stroll from our place, we jumped at the chance to check out this small fair and traveling circus again (shamefully, the first time we visited De Parade was only last summer!). And that amateur video producer soon-to-be-husband o' mine put together this small clip of our evening...his videos crack me up ;). I sure got lucky with that guy! 
Also, be sure to check out my guest post for tips on how we saved for our upcoming 6-month backpacking trip around Asia over at A Home Away From Home--Jenna is one of my all-time favorite bloggers...and a fellow travel-obsessed native Californian, if I might add ;)