Costa Rican Days

When I was in seventh grade, my family traveled to Costa Rica, Quepos specifically. We landed in San José, Costa Rica and drove around two hours to Quepos, where we stayed at Villa Pelicano. What I loved about this trip was the fact that the family friends that we stayed with owned a hotel about 10 minutes away from our villa so we were able to go there as well and explore.

https://www.crvacationproperties.com/vp-private-resort/

My favorite part of this trip was zip lining. When you are in Costa Rica, you have to go zip lining. Usually you except all Caribbean countries to be just beaches, but Costa Rica is an actual rainforest. I had the opportunity to literally zip-line through the rainforest. As well, it rains at least once a day in Costa Rica and although you might expect this to ruin the day, it honestly only made it more fun. It sounds weird but when I was zip lining and it started raining, it actually felt as though I was living in the rainforest… my seventh grade self thought this was the absolute coolest thing in the world. To top it off, we also went night zip lining and it was just such a different but just as cool experience.

Something I highly encourage when you go to Costa Rica is to not just go to the famous and nice restaurants but experience the local cuisine. Some of my favorite memories from this trip were leaving the villa and just walking through the city of Quepos and eating at the local restaurants as well as going to the local stores.

Truly Costa Rica offers everything. There is the beach where you can learn to surf, there are mountains that you can hike, tons of deep sea fishing, some of the best food I have ever had, zip lining and so much more. The cool part is that one day you could be up on the mountains and the next be on the beach– and they’re not normal beaches. Although the water isn’t super clear because the sand comes from volcanic ash, the beaches are so much fun.

One day we went out on a catamaran and snorkeled. It was so cool to see such a different view of the ocean of Costa Rica because we were usually on the beaches with dark black sand. Snorkeling was so amazing in Costa Rica because from where we were in the ocean we were able to see our house!

Costa Rica is a country that has so much to offer and much more than a lot of other Caribbean countries.

Must Visit Places for the Food

I am all about food and I am all about traveling so to find the perfect places all over the world that have some of the best food in the world is a place I want to be. Being from Houston and living in such a large city that has all different kinds of restaurants– I will eat just about anything that you put in front of me.

  1. Tokyo, Japan

For one thing, Japan is an amazing country on its own. With the amount of things to do just alone in Tokyo, I can only imagine what it would be like to travel to such an amazing place. But also, there are places outside of Tokyo that are probably some of the most amazingly beautiful places in the world. But, the main reason we are talking about Tokyo is because of the food. If you are looking for some of the freshest and tastiest fish in the world whether it is cooked or raw for sushi, Tokyo is the place. The fish markets in Tokyo are known for their amazing products. As well, I know a lot of people are really into tea and Tokyo has a place where you are able to go and experience an authentic tea ceremony.

https://thetravelintern.com/tokyo-famous-food-guide/

2. Rome, Italy

Although the number of cities in Italy that you could find some of the best food you’ve ever tasted, Rome is the prime candidate. On top of the history and structures that you can find in Rome as well as the vivacious tourism, the food is to die for. We all love pasta and pizza and bruschetta, but in Italy, you can guarantee that it tastes 10000 times better. To top it off, Italy has gelato. Italy has just about everything when it comes to food and is a prime place to travel.

http://www.buzz4tours.com/rome-off-the-beaten-track-street-food-hidden-gems/

3. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Now that we’ve seen some Asian and some Italian cuisine, we need to get back to this side of the hemisphere– South America. Argentina is known for their asado, basically a medley of different types of meats that is cooked on a parrilla, or grill. Argentina has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world with some of the most unique while also classic foods. One can enjoy some of the best food that they have ever tasted while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Buenos Aires.

http://ideas-turisticas.blogspot.com/2014/07/argentine-food-typical-argentine-asado.html

Best Unknown Cities

We know the basics– Paris, London, Rome, Sydney, etc. that are well known all over the world for being some of the top places to travel. But what about some cities that are underrated and are some of the world’s hidden treasures?

  1. Sukhothai, Thailand

To begin with, people do not recognize Thailand enough for the amount of beauty and overall culture there that many are missing out on. I do not not think I know one person who has been to Thailand, but let me tell you, we’re all missing out, because this place is beautiful. Sukhothai is a small city in Thailand that has a population of 37,000 people. It began as one of the most populated and busiest cities of earlier time as it was one of Thailand’s earliest found settlements, but overtime, it began to fall into the shadows.

The city is swarming with historical sites and temple ruins. Places like the Sukhothai Heritage City are some of the prime experiences one should witness in the city as well as the Wat Maha That, the previous site of the royal kingdom. Sukhothai is a city you do not want to miss if you are interested in seeing the beauty of Asia as well as historical sites and ruins.

Parco Storico di Sukhothai
https://www.piuvivi.com/immagini-viaggi-vacanze/cosa-vedere-thailandia-parco-storico-sukhothai.html

2. Alberobello, Italy

Although this city only has a population of 11,000, this is a city you do not want to miss. Whether you take a simple day trip or spend a few days here, Alberobello is a city that cannot be missed on your trip to Italy. The city is filled with white-stoned huts called ‘truly’. This city is noted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is a site that I find no one would want to miss.

Alberobello, Italy
https://pixabay.com/photos/alberobello-italy-puglia-holiday-3645181/

3. Willemstad, Curaçao

I know for me, being able to see cities that are covered in beautiful and vibrant colors is something that I do not see often. There are many cities all over the world that have their buildings painted all the colors of the rainbow, but there is just something about Willemstad. Willemstad was originally owned by the Dutch and this history of why the buildings are all colored is being in 1817, the white lime finish on the buildings was prohibited due to protecting eyesight from glaring. Willemstad is a beautiful city with a vivacious culture that anyone would be lucky to experience and be able to say that were able to see how Dutch influence left an impact on a small Caribbean town.

Dominican me crazy!

Ok let’s pretend that that pun was just as funny and catchy as Jamaican me crazy! So anyways, I have been to the beautiful Dominican Republic five times with one of my best friends and I have to say that it is truly one of the most fun, relaxing and exciting countries I have ever been to. I have also travelled to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and The Cayman Islands, but there’s something about Dominican!

Since I have been so many times I feel as though I sort of understand the layout and I have done so many amazing activities there that I could help anyone plan a trip!

Usually, one lands at the Punta Cana International Airport and where I have stay is in Cap Cana, which is basically over 45 miles of real estate that holds many different types of resorts, golf courses and beaches. Basically, it is like a little city of its own!

Whenever I went down, we would stay at my friend’s condo in the Cap Cana marina where there were several different pools, grocery stores, restaurants and little shops. I truly believe that staying in Cap Cana is one of your best options when traveling to Dominican if you want a relaxing and safe trip that is memorable for everyone!

Although this picture is not the best quality, I have to say that everywhere you go… you NEED to order Tuna Tartare because you honestly won’t taste it anywhere fresher than Dominican Republic. Here I was in San Rafael Del Yuma, La Altagracia– which was still within Cap Cana.

A person could drive 20 minutes away and still be within Cap Cana and be able to experience all different types of things. If you’re wanting advice from someone who has been, my favorite beaches, spas and restaurants are at Eden Roc, one of the resorts in Cap Cana. As well, there is an award winning golf course only a few steps away from the beach! More importantly than that, there are so many different activities for everyone in the family can do beyond just playing on the beach.

A view of the ocean right from the golf course!

I know previously I spoke about how you absolutely have to try Tuna Tartare wherever you go in Dominican, but as well, you need to try as many restaurants as you can in Cap Cana! At the Eden Roc beach club, there is a restaurant called La Palapa that truly has some of the best cheeseburgers I have ever had in my life. No matter where you go in Cap Cana, you need to try and eat everywhere you can and come with an empty stomach because you are wanting to eat as much as you can!

Dominican Republic is a country filled with so much history and life that I don’t see why anyone would not want to travel there. Although I mainly emphasized Cap Cana, there is so much more to Dominican Republic, but since I have only been in Cap Cana, I do not know what all there is to provide… all I have to say is that you are missing out if you do not give Dominican Republic a chance!

Top 3 Places to Eat in Austin

Being from Texas, specifically Houston, I can with pure bias that Texas has some of the best food in the country. It’s not that my bias completely powers my judgment, because it’s true. Tex-mex is insane as well as the steakhouses you can find throughout all major cities in Texas.

And again, although I have a bias towards Texas and should towards Houston, there is something about Austin that gets me every time.

To top off the amazing food that is in Austin, the amount of activities one can do are endless. You can go out to either Lake Austin or Lake Travis and go tubing or water skiing and even along the sides of the lake, there are restaurants there too like Abel’s on the Lake and Hula Hut. As well, you can go into downtown and visit the University of Texas campus while just exploring the city. Their nightlife is amazing on 6th Street and while out, the State Capitol is not a far walk away!

But, back to the food. Austin’s cuisine is one for the books so we have to start with my personal favorite.

  1. The Caroline 621 Congress, Suite 101 Austin, TX 78701

To start out, The Caroline is right in the middle of everything happening in Austin. As many know, Zilker Park is where Austin City Limits is every fall and The Caroline is not too far away– so if you are feeling like going out to ACL and having a crazy fun time but want some great food after– head on over to Caroline’s! My personal favorite is the Wild Mushroom Bolognese… I mean how fun? This restaurant takes classics like chili and salmon and turns them into something extraordinary.

https://www.carolinerestaurant.com/gallery

2. Irene’s 506 West Ave. Austin, TX 78701

There’s just something about Irene’s! Whether you want to dress up for a fun evening or just stop by all comfy at lunch, Irene’s is the place for you! The style of Irene’s is something I find captivating and truly captures what Austin is all about! Food items like the Irish Nachos and the All-Day Breakfast Sandwich are two of my absolute favorites. You know when you’re in Austin you have to try the best of the best restaurants, and Irene’s is 100% one of the best.

https://hyhoi.com/2016/11/20/irenes-austin/

3. Perla’s 1400 S Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78704

If one night you just have this random calling for some amazing oysters and overall insane seafood- Perla’s is the place. On top of the amazing food, the ambiance at Perla’s is one in a million. The service there is amazing and absolutely everything about this place is just perfect. This would be the perfect place for an expensive (emphasis on expensive) date night. Although the bill is large, the taste is just as big and so worth it! I am picky about oyster’s and I can tell you without a doubt that this place is the best in Texas (let’s not even begin to talk about Louisiana!)

https://www.esquire.com/food-drink/restaurants/reviews/a6516/perlas-austin/

Let’s Say I Do

Being a girl, I have obviously dreamt about my wedding since I was a little girl. Where would it be? What would my husband be like? Who all would be there? And just like any girl, my Pinterest board for my wedding is filled with different wedding rings, dresses and decorations… but for me, the most important spot is the location.

Everyone wants their wedding to be memorable and talked about for years amongst friends and family. Here, I will be talking about the three top wedding spots I believe would make for a memorable, extremely different and amazing time that everyone will cherish forever. These locations are specifically in the United States cause let’s be real… for me I would want as many people I invited to come as possible and how could they miss places like these??

  1. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

If y’all haven’t seen the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR, you are seriously missing out. I mean, look at this chapel? Although it might not seem like a busy city with a lot going on, to be able to say that you were able to get married in a chapel like this is so memorable and breath-taking. Eureka Springs holds so much history and so many fun little spots like Blue Springs Heritage Center and Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway. Just to be able to say that you got married in this chapel is good enough for anyone to want to visit!

Image result for thorncrown chapel
Eureka Springs, AR Thorncrown Chapel
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thorncrown_Chapel.jpg

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

Now who wouldn’t want to get married in NOLA? The culture and the liveliness and overall energy on Bourbon Street is contagious! But, this is not for everyone. This is for those couples who want to have an insanely fun time at their wedding and are okay with getting a little dirty along the way. As we all know, New Orleans is not the cleanest city, especially on Bourbon Street, but could you imagine the memories? People always say you only need to visit New Orleans once to truly experience it, and let that one experience be for your wedding!

New Orleans, LA
https://www.brides.com/story/romantic-new-orleans-wedding

3. Telluride, Colorado

I can say hands down that one of my favorite places to visit in all of the United States is Telluride. There is something about this city that just gets to ya. And I mean, who wouldn’t want to get married on a mountain in beautiful spring or summer there, maybe even fall or winter if you’re really feeling that cold! Telluride has so much to offer on top being a prime wedding location– you can ride the gondolas into town and shop and just hang with the family and even visit some of the best restaurants I ever have ever been to, like Rustico Ristorante. To say you were married in one of the most beautiful cities in the nation would truly be a day to remember.

Telluride, Colorado
https://www.weddingwire.com/biz/telluride-ski-resort-telluride/761ed0de610ebb7a.html

Fulbright Information Session

On November 13, I went to a Fulbright Information Session with Bushra informing us on all that Fulbright has to entail!

To be honest, I was completely surprised at what I learned about Fulbright. I feel a little dumb because I had no idea that this scholarship was something awarded to people who were about to graduate from college or recent college graduates– but it honestly made me more excited.

The reason that I was so excited is because it just means there is another opportunity for me to possibly be able to travel abroad.

For those of you that do not know what Fulbright is, according to https://us.fulbrightonline.org/about/fulbright-us-student-program…

“The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.  A candidate will submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.

During their grants, Fulbrighters will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences.  The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with their hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.”

It is insane that there are such opportunities like this in this country and I truly cannot wait for the opportunity to apply when I am getting closer to graduation!

I mean, I could be teaching students from a surplus of countries how to speak English while also being immersed into their cultures… cool right?

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