Sunday, January 31, 2016

Portugal: Sintra

Woo! Two posts in one month! I think I may actually be going somewhere with this whole consistency thing.

Okay, story time. It is a well-known fact that I enjoy video games and will occasionally, i.e. often, play them. It has also become sort of a whole thing that I really, like, really like The Witcher. And the thing is, The Witcher is kind of the perfect thing for someone like me to become obsessed with, seeing as there are three (really long) games and a 5+ book series that's actually pretty fun to read.

My favorite thing about The Witcher, besides the darkness of its fantasy, is its characters. Pictured here are Geralt, the main character, and Ciri, a young woman who's, well, pretty spectacular, and about whom I won't say much for fear of spoilers. The whole point of this story is that Ciri, who is easily my favorite character, followed closely by Yennefer (not pictured) is from a fictional country called Cintra, of which she is princess. Hold that thought.

Back in November, my parents proposed that we go to Lisbon for the Winter Break, and so I headed to Pinterest to look up stuff to go see, and I found this picture:


And I thought, Woah, that's in Lisbon? and then looked down at the caption. It read, "Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra."

Sintra. Cintra.

Further research revealed that Sintra was a town 40 minutes northwest of Lisbon.

Yes. It is exactly as it seems. I made my family drive an hour away from Lisbon to see a city based on the fact that its name kinda coincides with a fictional kingdom in The Witcher.

But, you know, it's not like it wasn't worth it.

Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage site first settled during the paleolithic, and Ptolemy once called it the "mountains of the moon." During medieval times it was known as Suntria, which means "bright star" or "sun," and during the Moorish occupation, as Xintara.

Renaissance poet Luisa Sigea wrote in her Syntrae Aloisiae Sygeae that Sintra was a "pleasant valley, between cliffs that rise into the heavens...curved in graceful hills among which one can feel the murmur of the waters...[where] everything, in fact, will enchant and perfume the environment with its fragrance and fruit."

It is home to a number of monuments, including the National Palace of Sintra, the Castelo dos Mouros, the Quinta da Regaleira, and the Palacio Monserrate. And also, forever, to a little piece of my heart.

And as if I could have been smiling any more widely, I found this little sign, which made my day.

Who knows? Maybe Ciri was real after all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

While We Were Gone: Sarah

It's been an even longer time away for me. I was never very good about keeping up with the blog, but hopefully, things will change now that I'm out of grad school, and getting better about my procrastination habits... anyone sense a pattern here? 

I had a hard time picking one thing to summarize each year, so I'll be talking about a couple things that will hopefully relate to each other. 

2013 - Montreal Trip

I graduated from my Master's program in 2013, but felt similarly to my program as Jessica currently feels about her's. I was glad it was over, and was ready to leave an environment with which I never meshed well. 

In better news, Kevin and I decided to take a pretty spontaneous (at least for me, ok!) trip to Montreal a couple weeks before graduation to see an art show and meet one of my favorite artists. 

These swings played notes when they were in use, so when people swung together they created music. 


The show was everything I hoped it would be and meeting poundpuppy was such a nice experience. Prior to the show I was so nervous to finally meet her after having followed her art since high school that I had to walk around the block a couple times before going into the show. Thankfully, she is just as kind, thoughtful, and lovely as I had hoped. 

I again got really nervous and shy at the show and didn't take many pictures. A lot of the ones I did take came out blurry... haha... but the good news is that I bought a few pieces from the show so I get to see them every day. 

Later in the year I met Krista, who would quickly become one of my best friends in NYC. This was our only photo together for a few months. On our first hangout we ate pretty subpar food at the now defunct Maid Cafe NY, pet puppies, talked for hours and met Yeha Leung by chance!

2014 - Friendships

My life changed a lot over the course of the year. I went from simultaneously working a few part time jobs to landing a salaried job, over 60,000 people attended Millions March NYC in connection with the Black Lives Matter movement which is ongoing, and I made probably the most friends I've ever had in my life.  

 In February, some new friends and I met up to celebrate Galentine's Day and exchange presents. Little did I know that this group would become a close knit group that I see at least once a week! All my life, I've been the kind of girl to have just a couple extremely close friends, so this was the first I've experienced having a really large friend group. It's been really interesting to say the least, but I know I'll always have a good time hanging out with them and the city finally feels like home because of them.  

NEVER did I think I'd be able to see Perfume live. This was such a treat, I still don't think I'm over it! Their performances were perfect and everything about the show was so much fun. 

Computer City was my MySpace song back in '06! TEN YEARS AGO, LORD, HELP ME. 

Another favorite! <3 What I would do for one of the dresses from this MV.

2015 - Travel 

Kevin and I went to a bunch of events and went on a couple trips with friends in 2015! I also started exercising for literally the first time in my life. My back has always been really weak, and after an unfortunate fall I decided to finally get stronger. It's been a good journey, and something I've surprisingly kept up with consistently since I started.

Krista, Kev & I went to visit a couple friends who help host Exhuman in Albany. A return visit is needed soon! I've never enjoyed being at a club but this was a different experience entirely. We had so much fun, the music was great and the company was even better. 

Kev & I and a couple friends went hiking at Bear Mountain. My first time hiking!

Dances of Vice is in the city, so we didn't travel, but it was an experience all the same. My friend, Ginngi, was the videographer for the event. See if you can spot us~

Dances of Vice: Phantasmagorey Halloween 2015 from Dances of Vice on Vimeo.

The biggest trip of 2015 was the trip to Orlando that I took with Kev & a group of friends! We went to Gatorland, as a joke really, but it turned out to actually be really fun! Then we went to Magic Kingdom and Universal Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios!! 

Unfortunately, I forgot my phone at the house on Harry Potter day like a total dummy... but I remembered my Instax... what is logic?

Here's to more fun and excitement this year!
It's now only 44 days until this Doll is reunited with her Bee which is the most thrilling news I've heard in a while!