A Taste of Life: Tapas Style

Hello from Barcelona! I am posting this ~special edition~ twentysomething post all the way from Spain, my first ever international post. My parents decided to treat the family to a sure-to-be-amazing European vacation, cruising our way through the waters to explore cities in Spain, Italy, and France. I wasn’t sure if I’d even have wifi to post this week (which was making me anxious as it was), but here I am! And considering my special location this week, I wanted to make sure it was something relevant to the trip.

I’ve been in Spain less than 24 hours at this point, and I already feel like I could write a novel about it. Everyone looks like they’ve stepped out of an H&M catalog. The European architecture sprawls up into every corner of every building for blocks and blocks. In Barcelona, I haven’t done much except stare in awe at the beauty and amazement of being in Europe. The highlight was walking around an open market for hours…fresh fruits, thinly sliced meats, brightly colored bouquets of flowers, and the chattering chattering of so many languages around us. Being in a new country allows you to notice things that you’ve never really noticed before—in particular, languages, people, and foods.

Tonight for dinner, the family was looking for two things:

  1. Somewhere inside to escape the “winter” cold in Spain, and
  2. Something authentically Spanish

Surprisingly, the first criteria was more difficult to find than the second. And although we were tempted more than once by “Hard Rock Café: Barcelona,” we decided against it for a two-story tapas restaurant glowing bright with hanging lights and cheering soccer fans crowded around the inside bar.

There was only one problem: no one in our family had ever had tapas before. We didn’t know how it worked, how to order, what to order, how much to order, etc. etc. The only “tapas” we had ever had was the appetizer platter from Applebee’s, and that doesn’t really count. And our selection was so drastically different than the usual mozzarella stick and potato skin. We were so confused, we almost walked out of the restaurant. How many Italians does it take to figure out a plate of tapas…?

Anyway, we ended up staying and enjoyed a random little assortment of authentic Spanish tapas (I use the word “enjoy” lightly, here). And as a true twentysomething blogger,  I was thinking: “What can I write about for tomorrow’s post?” And it hit me then. Living a twentysomething life is a lot like going to a tapas restaurant for the first time.

  1. At first, you have no idea what you’re doing.
  2. You’re waiter is supposed to be helping you, but at the end of the day, you have to be the one to make your own decisions.
  3. You’re overwhelmed by the choices in front of you (all of which have equal potential to be both amazing and dreadful).
  4. When you are unsure about something, it’s easier to talk through it with the people sitting around the table.
  5. Trying new things can be an exciting new adventure, but it can also leave you hungry and wanting more.
  6. Don’t give up on something after one time.

I think these Tapas Life Tips are useful to anyone, not just those in their twenties, but I thought they were especially useful and relevant to those of us who still feel like we may be trying to “figure it out.”

I like the idea of tapas more than I think I like actual tapas. In my mind, appetizer-type foods are meant to be before a big meal, not actually the meal itself. BUT I’m glad that we at least tried it. And now, having had an authentic tapas experience, I would be much more likely to try it again. I guess that speaks to life a bit, doesn’t it?

Advertisements

Looking Back, Moving Forward

“This week wants to give you a psychic chisel to help you chip away at the tapes that no longer need playing. Stop letting them play you.”

This quote came directly from my horoscope for this past week (which are totally accurate and spot on, by the way. You can check yours out here).

As some of you may know, I’ve been delving more into the psychic/spiritual world this past week. Learning more about crystals and tarot cards and mediumship…it’s been quite a journey so far. But because of that, I’m finding it hard to believe that the phrase “psychic chisel” is a coincidence. Regardless…

What I really want to focus on is the “chip away at the tapes that no longer need playing / stop letting them play you” part. In other words, it’s okay to look back, but that doesn’t mean you need to go back.

This week has been another week. It’s been filled with so many new things, which is amazing and great, but also overwhelming and stressful. But surprisingly, and not-so-coincidentally, it’s also been filled with so many memories from the past. Call it nostalgia? Or maybe call it unwanted reminders of past experiences that weren’t great.

Regardless of what you call it, I think it’s important to look back and reflect on life. However, you can’t let it consume you either. As the African Sankofa bird depicts, it is possible to look back without going back. The bird’s elegant neck is turned backwards, looking into the past, but her feet are still moving forwards. Yes, it’s possible.

sankofa

Here’s why:

  1. Reflection
    • Reflection is so incredibly important. There is not one universal timeless truth. The younger versions of ourselves may have done some things that were not necessarily the best. At the time, we may have thought so. Or maybe we didn’t know what else to do. But looking back and reflecting, we are able to reevaluate the situation. And maybe you still stand strongly by that action/decision/behavior, or maybe it allows you to reconsider your younger self, and change your perspective on that previous situation.
  2. Grow
    • Reflection leads to growth. Growth stems from the water of reflection. It allows you to provide constructive feedback to yourself about yourself. If you’re anything like me, you may have said before, “I’m always hardest on myself.” For me, that’s true. But reflection also allows you to be the kindest with yourself. Keep in mind, growth is an individual process. If you are reflecting back on a weird friendship or break up, etc, you don’t need to reach out to that person to grow. Reflection is a little more flexible…you can reflect with others or by yourself. But no one can grow for you. This one is solely your responsibility. I know it’s a hard process and sure as hell can feel lonely, but it is so so worth it because you will come out as a stronger person with your head held high.
  3. Move Forward
    • Sometimes, you might realize that a lost love or a disconnected friend is worth trying for all over again. But chances are, there are reasons why those things never worked in the first place. Move forward. Move on. Grow from those experiences. Moving forward can be a difficult process because it feels so final. “I’ve moved on…” implying that there’s no turning back, no reflection. It’s over. Officially. But that’s not necessarily true…because as important as it is to move forward, reflection is a constant process. There will always be room to look back, as long as your feet are moving forward.

I hate the expression, “Move forward and don’t look back!” Because in my mind, I am not able to move forward unless I look back. It’s a part of life to reflect, grow, and move forward. How will you?