Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Farewell Boston

Nothing quite like a parade to celebrate your Boston farewell. Oh, oops. I mean the homecoming of the World Series winners!

Thanks Boston. It's been a blast!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wedding weekend

This weekend I braved my bad travel karma and the bad weather that seems to hit Boston every Friday night this month and did a triple appearance.

First stop, Friday night. After circling Manhattan for an extra 45 minutes, we finally landed at Laguardia and found another taxi strike was under way. I ended up carpooling into midtown with two other guys and made it to the IESE Alumni event at 7:01pm. Just one minute late. On Spanish time, that's early!

From there I managed to find a cab in the rain and headed downtown to meet my friend Michael, whom I hadn't seen in months. When I'm in NYC he's out of town. When he was in Barcelona this summer, I was in Peru. We used to live around the corner from each other and have breakfast together ever day. I guess you can't have everything.

Finished dinner around 11pm and tried to get a taxi, but no luck. So I took the subway to Penn Station, where I missed the train to Newark by 10 minutes. I waited until 12:37am, surrounded by some of the strangest people I've ever seen, and finally the train arrived. That train led to another train to the airport. Then a bus to my hotel, where my mom was already tucked in. I got there at 2am. And had to get up at 6:45... for a wedding!

My cousin Robin got married in New Jersey and the wedding was totally worth it. More food than I've ever seen in my life (and all of it excellent) was bested only by three generations of women in my family cutting it up to "I Will Survive" on the dance floor. It even made my delayed return flight not so bad....

My mom and grandfather

Nicole and me with our grandmother
Nicole boogies with my grandmother. (I will not have any sympathy next time she complains of knee pain!)

Meanwhile, we had breakfast on the way to the wedding and saw this nail salon. Nicole and Evan thought it was a Korean place. I thought it was someone's attempt at combining French and Ebonics. Like... it means "your beau nails." Yo Bo Nails. You be the judge.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Diego on the grill

As many of you know, I'm from San Diego. And I really appreciate the concern people have shown over the wellness of my parents and their house. (Similar thanks are still owed to those who expressed concern after the landslide, which was much closer to my house than the fires currently are.)

Well I've been pretty concerned myself, particularly after I saw that the evacuation area has now extended down to Del Mar, which is the next coastal town north of mine. Last night I talked to my mom, who said she was just about to call me and ask what I'd like them to be sure to save from the house if evacuation becomes necessary. I'm not really one for possessions (aside from my mac!) so I don't really care much about stuff as long as my family is okay. My mom has been wanting to remodel the house since they bought it anyway... So I just asked that they save the photo albums and the diplomas, since those can't be replaced.

So today I emailed my friend Cody, knowing that he is in La Jolla and, more importantly, could be counted on to give me the truth, albeit a flowery version of it. Hey, the dude has a masters in poetry. He's allowed a bit of creative license.

And so, may I present Cody's response to my request for truth in brush fires:

"Oh my god! My hair's on fire, my books, my skincare products. Everyone here is giddy off the disaster. They've closed down [UCSD] campus for three days now for "air quality emergency". WTF? I'm the last person in this city that finds the hysteria absurd and self-important. Beyond the areas immediately evacuated, I can't say that there's much reason to panic. This is the same impulse that gave us Afghanistan, Iraq, water-boarding, and state secrets. There's this crazy carnival feeling, like all rules are suspended, everyone's tied together in this collective effervescence. There's a slight barbecue smell to the air, and a brownish haze, but not much reason to shut down the city, grab some popcorn, and watch local news for a week. You'd think aliens had attacked. Heaven forbid Mexican terrorists set the fires, it'd be bloodbath. Anyhow, gotta go--I'm deciding whether I should go volunteer at the fireline or take down 600 lbs. of dogfood to the Qualcomm emergency shelter--anything to do my part. Just kidding, I've got to go back out to the jacuzzi, where I'm reading ethnographies and sunning. Ciao bella!"

Ahhh, I love California.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To Grandmothers House We Go (Or Try)

Beware: if you're tired of tales of my travel woes, read no further. But if you're intrigued about how one (very nice) person can run into so many problems with the travel gods, please join me on my weekend adventure.

I wanted to go visit my grandparents before I head back to Spain, so I booked a flight a few weeks ago to travel from Boston to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Friday night flight, 6:30, sounds easy, right? I was supposed to be in by 10:30pm. I got to the airport with no problems, despite the questionable weather, and was pleased when I saw my flight was on time. At first.

Our plane finally arrived in Boston and we were cleared to take off at 7:45, meaning most people would miss their connections in Philadelphia. The cutoff was 9:25 and my next flight was to leave at 9:30, so I was told I'd be fine. Well, when we finally landed in Philadelphia, I had enough time to run to the other end of the terminal, jump into the shuttle bus, and run to my next gate. Where, sweaty and out of breath, I said, "They told me I had to get a boarding pass here because they couldn't give me a seat in Boston. Sorry I'm so late." It was 9:25. The guy at the gate calmly handed me my boarding pass and said, "The plane hasn't even arrived yet."

It finally did, around 9:45. We were then told that the crew needed a 15 minute break because they hadn't eaten all day. Isn't there food on the PLANE? Anyway, this was the announcer's first mistake: get the passengers mad at the crew. Second mistake: His next announcement was, "We will board at 10pm but you'll have to sit on the ground for an hour anyway because there's such a huge back-up." No one on this flight was from Philadelphia, they were all connecting from other locations, mostly far away. Lots of grumbling ensued.

So, as promised, we got on the plane at 10 and proceeded to sit on the tarmac until 11. Halfway through the captain announced, "We have to wait for a storm to pass before we can take off." Storm? I looked out the window and there was no storm in sight. Because not only did we have to wait for the storm to pass, we had to wait for the storm to arrive. And when it arrived, it felt like we were in turbulence even though we were sitting on the ground.

Finally, after an hour or so, the captain came on again to tell us that by the time we'd get to Wilkes-Barre, the airport would be closed. So no takeoff tonight.

I was the lucky person who had a relative in Philadelphia. So while everyone else freaked out (the people at Philly airport didn't realize we had never left - they thought we were arriving from somewhere) and were told they might get on a morning flight and would not get a hotel covered, I took a taxi to Nicole's house. Her awesome house. I love her house, and I've never loved it more than I did on Friday night.

Added bonus? My dad was in town! So Saturday morning we had breakfast with him before I went to the bus station. That's right, I got on the good old Martz Trailways bus at 11am (after they told me there would be no seat for me until 5pm) and rode magestically to Wilkes-Barre. Actually, aside from the weird guy with the shaved temples sitting across from me who couldn't stop gnawing on his nonexistent fingernails, it was a beautiful and peaceful ride. The leaves were in full force and the only pity was that I didn't have my camera.

So I finally arrived at my grandparents house at 2pm, nearly 20 hours after leaving my office in Boston. And after a great weekend with them, would you believe that my flight was also delayed on the way back? First flight was fine, but then back at Philly airport the fuel truck didn't want to put fuel in the plane. So we took off at the time we were supposed to be landing, and I got home at nearly midnight rather than 10pm. Just in time for the Red Sox to win game seven of the ALCS and the church bells across the street to start incessantly clanging. And the people yelling and the horns honking and the police sirens wailing....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Couch potato meets string cheese

Guess what I'm doing!

I'm sitting on the couch, watching TV, eating string cheese!

I've heard from too many people that I'm so busy I make them tired. So I decided that tonight, instead of going to the gym after my French class, I would sit on the couch and... do nothing. And even though it's kind of weird and I can't really stay on a couch for too long without getting uncomfortable, it's kinda nice I guess. And anyway I deserve it.

On Tuesday morning I got up at 3:45 to get to the airport in time for a 6am flight to Laguardia. I did sleep on the plane, but the flight is only 45 minutes, so I was still dead tired upon arrival. I went straight to a conference on Social Media, which I have to say was pretty cool. Lots of nerds talking about nerdy things, and I guess I fit right in, since I'm really a nerd too.

At the lunch break I raced downtown to pick up my Apostille, the last piece of paper separating me from my Spanish visa. Even though it's mid-October, it's still surprisingly warm out and lucky me, I was sweating again by the time I got the paper (took 5 minutes!) and got into the subway bound for the Consulate. I was right on track to be back to the conference on time, but of course the Consulate was closed until 1pm. That's Spain!

So I waited for 20 minutes and then spent another 15 minutes watching people behind the bulletproof glass run around frantically looking for my paperwork. I had a moment of panic, thinking they'd lost everything and I'd have to start all over, but by 1:20 I was on my way back downtown to the conference, with my passport and visa in hand. A glorious occasion.

The rest of the conference was cool and I raced up to midtown afterward to check into my hotel and change my clothes in order to meet some friends for dinner and (too many) drinks. I got to bed around 2am.... nearly 24 hours after getting up.

Yesterday morning brought day 2 of the conference, and at lunch I met my best friend Annie Bananie, who shared some very exciting news about an upcoming mini-Bananie. Several more hours of conference later, and I was in a taxi on my way back to Laguardia. The taxi driver had to wake me up when we got there. That's classy! I was awake long enough to check in and get on the plane, and the next thing I knew we were landing in Boston. I stayed up long enough to give my mom some iTunes troubleshooting help and by 10pm I was dead asleep.

Today was work and then French class.... and that brings me to now. Watching The Office, sitting on the couch with my feet up, eating string cheese. Actually, the string cheese is gone now. And The Office is almost over. Good thing tomorrow I'm off to Pennsylvania (incidentally, to the exact location of The Office) because I'm not sure I could handle another night of so much excitement.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Frenchy Boston Weekend

Some of the highlights of having Frenchy visiting Boston for the first time:

1. The Duck Tour. Frenchy didn't really understand our guide at all. Problem is, neither did I. He had such a heavy Boston accent (and a nasty cough) that I really couldn't comprehend him, let alone translate. Oh well, it was still fun.

2. Jet Lag. Imagine being awakened at 5am by a French puppy dog. Enough said.

3. Shaw's Grocery Store. He was really amazed by all the options in cereal, nuts, bread, cheese... and particularly overwhelmed by some mega huge king crab legs. To the point that he actually shrieked and pointed at them. Fortunately the guy behind the counter seemed used to such reactions because he barely flinched.

4. Pop Tarts. Yes, there is nothing like a Pop Tart first-timer. The tentative nibbles, the flared nostrils, the face that clearly shows a decision is being made, until... VICTORY! Pop Tarts are dubbed "yummy!" And pronounced in a French accent, they actually sound almost classy.

5. American Football. We stop at a bar after a long day of sight-seeing for a late afternoon pint of Sam Adams. (Okay, a couple of pints. Yow.) Boston College is playing Notre Dame. Side note - first one must explain how to "properly" pronounce Notre Dame: "noder daaayme." Anyway, Frenchy knows the basics, so it's up to me to explain some of the details. Suddenly the referee is on the screen, giving the hand-over-hand "offsides" motion. Frenchy says, "Oh he's dancing!" Yes, dancing on the play. That's a 10-yard penalty, repeat first down. At this point the large man next to us gives us a scary look. We drink more beer.

6. Red Sox fans. Frenchy is a really good sport. Despite aforementioned jet lag, afternoon beer consumption, an exhausting day of sightseeing, and a very rich dinner, he agrees to meet up with some of my work colleagues to watch the Red Sox game at a bar. After 30 minutes on the T, he is greeted first by bouncers who demand IDs, and then by drunk, shouting, overexcited people. We drink Bud Light in plastic cups at $1 a pop. He pretends to like it. He's so great. You should have seen his face when Manny Ramirez scored the two run homer and everyone high-fived him. Priceless.

And now the downside.

Weekends are short and over all too soon. I would have given anything to be awakened at 5am today. Oh well, only three weeks to go.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Visa. Check! Passport. Check!

So it has been nearly a week since I last wrote, and I apologize. The truth is, the life of the working woman just isn't so exciting! No, I take that back... I'm still managing to have plenty of fun while constantly expanding my carbon footprint, but because my day-to-day interaction is mainly with people whose first language is English, that alone cuts out the majority of funny happenings that normally occurred over the past two years.

One very incredible thing did occur this week, however. Monday was a holiday for some, including the Spanish Consulate. Keep in mind, I dropped off my passport and paperwork at the Consulate in NYC by 3pm on Friday. Tuesday morning I had a call before 9am saying I could pick up my passport and visa. They didn't work Monday and they closed tat 3pm on Friday. So this means that between 2:30 and 3pm on Friday my visa was processed, approved, and inserted into my passport. Amazing, huh? Makes you wonder why all the other stuff took FOUR MONTHS.

Not a moment too soon, either. I think not having my passport was starting to affect my mental health. Friday night I had a dream that I was being chased through Libya or Egypt or somewhere by a band of thugs who were rounding up all the women in the country to put them into slavery. I figured I'd just go to the border and escape and then I realized, "MY PASSPORT IS IN THE SPANISH CONSULATE!!" The weird part is that my co-escapee was Evgeny... a Russian and an American running for their lives in North Africa? Sounds good enough to spawn a sequel!

Anyway, I'm headed back to NYC this week for a two day conference on social networks so during one of my lunch breaks I'll pick up my Apostille and my passport and I'll be ready to move back to Barcelona at the end of October. At which point, it's anyone's guess what I'll be doing or where I'll be heading next. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fall is here

Hard to believe that yesterday I was sweating my way through Chelsea and the West Village of Manhattan, because today I woke up at 6am to the sound of rain pounding on my windows. Don't worry, I managed to go back to sleep.

But the rain continued all morning, prompting me to assume a sort of celebrity-in-hiding outfit as I raced to my office. This is something my friend Michael and I always noticed on our lazy weekend mornings in NYC when we'd go to breakfast wearing old baseball caps and workout clothes. On those days, people stared at us, trying to figure out if we "were" somebody. And on days we met before work for breakfast, dressed a bit more presentably (but only a bit), no one seemed to even notice us. So this morning, since I don't have an umbrella, I raced down Boylston in a sweater with a hood pulled up over a Fidel style cap. Maybe it's because Kate Hudson is shooting in town so people are hoping to catch a glimpse of her and I - completely covered up - might have been ... SOMEONE!

More likely, I looked completely ridiculous running down the street in the rain. Particularly on Columbus Day, when many people weren't going to work at all.

But I digress. The point is, fall seems to have finally arrived. Forget that the playoffs have already been in full swing long enough for the Red Sox to have swept the Angels. Or that football season has started. It has been downright summery this autumn. I think that summer finally took a cue yesterday, however, when one poor soul keeled over at the Chicago Marathon. Whatever it is, despite the rain today, it was kinda fun to finally put on a sweater.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A day in hell

Two years ago, I went through a most horrific process wherein I lost one day of my life, saw many strange government buildings I never knew existed despite 10 years in NYC, sweated enough to lose 3 pounds, was yelled at my countless crabby women in windowless offices, ran all over town (or biked, rather), and had absolutely nothing to show for it at the end of the day. My student visa was finally ready 4 weeks later, just one day before my flight was scheduled for Barcelona.

This time around, I thought things would be different. My company is taking care of all the paperwork on their end, and so I figured life would be a breeze and a work visa would magically appear in my hands and that would be that. What I didn't realize was how long the process takes from the Spanish side (and I'm sure it's the same in every country, and probably worse if you're trying to get a US work permit) but also that I'd have to go through virtually all the same steps as two years ago.

Back in the first week of June you might recall I went to Norway, where I met up with my dad. He brought from San Diego the last piece of paperwork the Spanish government had required - my NYU undergraduate diploma. So by June 10 or so, my company and, thus, the government, had everything they needed. I, meanwhile, found out in July that I would still have to go through a visa process on my end, which I could only start in September because I'd be traveling, and which could take two months because one crucial document from Spain might not arrive for a while. And indeed, the actual work permit from Madrid, which my company filed on June 19 was finally signed Sept 11, three months later! And was in my hands in Boston the following week. After I received that, the only thing left was my certificate of good conduct from the NYPD, the trials of which I tried going through in Boston, to no avail.

So yesterday, armed with all the paperwork I could possibly need, I woke up at 3:45am to catch a 6am flight to NYC. I arrived, miraculously awake, downtown around 7:30 to get my certificate of good conduct from a friend who had kindly picked it up for me and ate a huge egg and cheese sandwich. At the time, or at least immediately afterward, the egg & cheese had seemed like a really bad idea. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made all day.

By 9am I was at the consulate, seventh in line for the work visa window. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, and there weren't too many people in line. I was feeling optimistic. And when, by 10:45, I was called up to the window, I thought the day would be a breeze and I'd have time to see plenty of friends and enjoy Manhattan.

Wrong. The woman who handles the visas was very nice to me, but informed me that one piece of paper was missing. The Apostille of the Hague. You see, I had remembered there were two more steps in the Apostille process two years ago, but this time around I couldn't find any info on it so I figured I just needed the good conduct certificate (since that's what the website says). She kindly said she could process me without it as long as I brought it when I came back to pick up the visa. IN FOUR DAYS. (What?! My last one took four weeks! Awesome!)

I decided not to wait. It wasn't even 11am and I was confident I could do it all and be back in time to drop off my passport and the paper by 2pm, when the consulate closes. And frankly, I couldn't face two days of bureaucratic nonsense. She gave me a paper that explained what I need to do. Three steps: Notarization, Certification of the Notarization, and Apostille. There was only one address, William Street, which I remembered all too well from the last time around, and I asked the woman if I needed to go somewhere first, for the other two steps. She insisted that William Street was enough.

So I picked up my bags (a backpack of stuff for the weekend and my laptop), ran to the subway, and headed all the way downtown. And this is where things started to get sketchy.

1. I needed to get off the subway at Cortland Street. So as we neared the station, I got up... and the train never stopped. It's under construction. So I got off at Rector, near Wall Street, and had to battle my way through tourists and news crews (I think Giuliani was giving a speech or something) and walk the 15 minutes to William Street. By the time I arrived I was drenched in sweat. It's October, but it's still nearly 90 degrees.

2. At William Street I had to check in with security in the lobby and then again on the 19th floor, where they Apostillize you. The security guard told me I needed to go somewhere else to get notarized and certified and then come back. She sent me to 60 Center Street, 15 minutes further north, and said they could do everything in the same place.

3. Threw my bags (which seem to be getting heavier by the minute) on my back and headed back outside and off to 60 Center. Fortunately I lived in Manhattan for 10 years so I know my way around, and even more fortunately I did all of this two years ago so I knew my way around these buildings. Unfortunately, it was only getting hotter, and by the time I arrived at 60 Center Street, I was again sweaty and disgusting.

I went through security (third time now, not including Logan Airport), had to leave my camera with the guards, and went to the basement to the County Clerk's office. After a 20 minute line, I presented my certificate of good conduct to an angry woman who got angrier when she saw my paper wasn't signed and stamped. I pointed to a signature and seal in the corner and she snapped, "I saw that. Do you think I'd be telling you this if that was the right signature?! It has to be someone we have on file, there is nothing here I can notarize. Go back to Police Plaza and have a supervisor sign it." Do not pass go, do not collect $200. That woman very nearly made me cry.

4. Gather my bags, and head out into the stifling heat and humidity yet again. I left my camera behind because I thought I'd be back shortly. By now it's 12:15pm. I walk back downtown to Police Plaza, where there is a huge line outside. So I go to the front and explain to the cop that someone forgot to sign my paper and I only have till 2pm to get it to three different offices or I'm toast. Under normal circumstances, I'm sure he would have helped me. But today, the last day before a holiday weekend, they had A FIRE DRILL at Police Headquarters. The building had been evacuated, so no one was allowed in (hence the line) and there was no one there to sign my paper anyway. I'm crushed. And at this point, or a few minutes later sitting on a bench in the shade, I think I actually did cry for a second. (PS - The whole police HQ is evacuated? Seems like a perfect time for a caper... I'm just saying.)

5. I decide to wait it out... and finally, after a long wait, they start letting people in again. So I get in line. And I go through security again. Every time I do, the guards are perplexed because my bag is packed for three days. I finally get to the fingerprinting office and explain about the signature and they are nice to me for the first time EVER and it's signed and stamped within five minutes. I'm instructed by one lady to not let the notary lady be mean to me again. Easier said than done.

6. Back outside with my bags, and off to 60 Center Street again. This time there is a new crew at security because it's lunchtime, so I have to pass through x-ray again. TWICE. They don't like the stuff in my bag. I even have to screen my folder of paperwork. But finally I'm through and back in the basement and now the line is even longer: fifteen people ahead of me. So I wait about 20 minutes and I'm at the front of the line when I open my folder to get my paper out and... my passport is gone. I manage not to scream out obscenities, but instead mutter them under my breath as I frantically go through my papers again and again. This my worst nightmare.

I figure I left it at the police station, so I run back upstairs, where I start to explain to the guard that he still has my camera and could he please keep it, when he says, "Oh you forgot something." I think he means the camera, but when he opens the drawer, there is my camera with the passport on top. It apparently came out of my folder in the X-Ray machine, got stuck on the belt, and didn't emerge from the machine for 10 minutes, after several other bags had gone through. I almost hug him with joy. Almost.

Back downstairs, where the guy who had been behind me is now at the counter and the line is 30 deep. No way am I waiting in it a third time. I stand next to the guy at the counter, explain after he's done what has happened, and am processed immediately. By the same mean woman, who doesn't seem to recognize me from an hour earlier and is now surprisingly polite.

7. Notarization done, it's time to pay $3. Which means standing in another line. Which takes what feels like DAYS. Some people who are in line ahead of me are getting DIVORCED and I just want to pay $3. But there's nothing I can do but wait. Another fifteen minutes or so later and I've finally paid and have my piece of paper and decide that I might just have enough time to still get back to William Street...

8. Get my camera, run to William Street (10 minutes away), check in at security, go up to 19, see that original guard again who is impressed I have made it back, fill out a form, and go to the Apostille window. It is now 1:55. I have until 3pm to be back at the consulate at East 58th Street with my passport or the visa can't be processed. The Apostille guy informs me it will probably be thirty minutes before the document is ready, but maybe longer... apparently the State Department also had a fire drill that day and the whole building was evacuated, so they were pretty backed up. I explain my predicament and he looks at me and says, "Go to the consulate. Now." I get a receipt to come pick up my Apostille later and I'm out the door again, in the elevator, and out on William Street.

9. I miraculously catch an express 5 train. This was a gamble because I wasn't sure it stopped near the consulate, but it was a risk I was willing to take. And for once, I won. Three stops later, I was getting out at 59th Street and soon enough I was on the 30th floor of the building, where the consulate was... closed. Locked. Undaunted, I knocked on the door and a voice asks me what I want and I explain that the visa lady told me I could still come until 3pm. It's now 2:30. I'm supposed to be meeting someone for lunch exactly now, and I haven't eaten anything since 7am. He lets me in, no security screening this time, and I give my passport to the nice lady. I also explain to her that maybe next time she should tell people they have to do other stops before William street, but she just smiles and nods at me blankly. In one ear, out the other.

10. At 2:35 I'm outside on 58th Street, sweating profusely, and dying under the weight of my stupid bags. I call my friend and tell her I can be downtown again for lunch at 3. I run into my old friend who owns the Grey Dog's Coffee (one of my FAVORITE places in Manhattan) and soon enough, the horrors of the morning start to dissipate. Three beers help with that.

Moral of the story. When you write a long-winded email to your family about the trials and tribulations of visa processing, be sure to READ IT AGAIN if you have to go through it again. Would've saved me a lot of time. And also... I miss my good old NYC bicycle. That would've made life better too. But hey, now it's all done and my visa will be ready on Thursday.

Friday, October 05, 2007

It's the little things

Like going to the gym and then doing laundry while drinking a glass of wine and watching America's Next Top Model. I mean, these are things I couldn't do in Spain. Okay well I could go to the gym. And drink wine. So basically the little thing that makes me happy tonight is America's Next Top Model. And I'm okay with that.

Another thing that makes me happy? Tomorrow I'm off to NYC for a fun little visit to the Spanish Consulate, where I will drop off all the required paperwork and (gasp!) my passport in the hopes that it will soon be returned with a visa in it. These means that Noellie is officially under USA-arrest for the time being, so please don't tempt me with any exciting weekend trips to fabulous foreign destinations. Anyway, no worries... I'm bringing Barcelona to ME next week.

Something that doesn't particularly make me happy... it's now 10pm. My flight is at 6am. I have to be there at 5am. That means waking up just before 4am. Which means I really should be asleep already... And on that note, time to pack! Next stop, Manhattan. YeeeeHAW!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One of those days

Today was, like the title says, one of those days. Nothing in particular went wrong or badly. Maybe I'm just coming down from a fantastic weekend in Barcelona, and adjusting to life here in Boston, where I know virtually no one and am far from friends and family. So I was feeling a bit melancholy as I left the office and headed to my French class. And then, as if on cue, something that never fails to lift my spirits and put a spring in my step popped up on my little blue ipod shuffle: La Dolce Vita by Ryan Paris. That early 80s Italian synth-pop classic. I seriously can never get enough.

And with that, miraculously, the day turned around. French class was fun. I went out for some food and vino with my new French class friend Lindy, and was home in time to watch The Biggest Loser on TV. (I have to get my proverbial fill of this show before I move back to Spain in a month.)

Anyway, in order that you can all feel the joys of La Dolce Vita, I present you with the video, which adds even more frivolity and fun: