I’m Back in the US and All I Do is Sleep

So I suppose my initial goal/intention of posting twice a week or so was a bit ambitious. It’s not that I’ve been too lazy, I’ve just had a block about the blog itself – I’ve written thousands of words in other projects in the last couple of weeks. But at the same time, I was traveling for days and then recovering from a 9-hour jet lag, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. In fact, I’ve been sleeping about 85% of the time since last Friday. So maybe missing a week of blog posts isn’t so bad.

And I’m back in the states! It’s a strange feeling, in so many ways. But I think the most striking thing, really, is how similar things are, here and in Spain. Yes, everything is done in two different languages, one of which I still can’t say I speak well, but so much is the same: we all have coffee shops and libraries and make the same faces when there are 19 people in line at the grocery store and only 1 clerk. We all have parks to run in and like to drink beer with some friends on a free evening. In a way, the most shocking aspect of coming back to the US is how little culture shock there is.

Granted, I was only in Spain for 3 months. I’m sure if I spent years there, things would be different. But even so, 3 months is long enough to settle into a routine, to get a comfortable sense of the way things are done, the way people live. And it’s so much like here. Sure, they eat a lot for lunch and very little for dinner, which is backwards here. And they take naps in the afternoon and stay up most of the night, which isn’t normal past your early 20s here, at least. But in a way, my day-to-day in Spain felt almost no different from my day-to-day here (except that I currently have nothing to do, which is terrible).

I may be dealing with the sadness of leaving Spain, which I loved so much, by pretending it’s the same here. There are definitely differences, and I gotta say, I prefer the Spanish way for the most part – except that everything is closed from 3-5. That blows. But whatever my motivations, I’m not totally wrong – language barrier aside, life here really isn’t that different from life there. So I’ll readjust, catch up on my sleep, and start the next chapter of my life.

And hopefully actually write some decent blog posts.

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Review: Pikolinos and Investing in my Adulthood

As a quickly growing child – in both size and personality – my mother instilled in me a habit of purchasing “temporary” clothing. It made sense: whatever I bought, I would surely outgrow within a year or two, and my sense of style was changing even faster. So I frequented Goodwill and other thrift or consignment stores, and developed a nearly pathological fear of spending more than $10 on any one item. The only new clothes I bought generally came from cheaper, youth-oriented stores such as Forever21 or H&M.

And that’s perfect for a teenager.

But as I entered adulthood (kicking and screaming, but I have no choice), I’ve begun to realize the importance of investing more money for more use.

I started realizing a couple of things recently: first, my clothes fall apart far too quickly. I was constantly shopping, constantly dropping $5-10 on a new basic grey t-shirt or pair of shorts. Second, I was buying things I never wear – of course, that’s going to happen occasionally, we’ve all fallen victim to the power of the fitting room mirror, believing we’ll rock some exciting piece and then finding that we would much rather wear something we’re comfortable in. That’s fine by me, as much as I try to avoid it. But when I was buying $5 shirts I would never wear, and then buying a new shirt because, well, I never wear the ones I had…that was a problem.

So as I’ve settled in to a standard fashion that I love – and that I’m comfortable in – I’ve realized that it’s time to start investing in my wardrobe. When I spend time to find exactly the right piece to fill a role in my wardrobe, and am willing to spend a little more (don’t get me wrong, I’m still cheap), I buy items – and only those items – that I actually wear a lot. And they last.

My most recent obsession are my new Pikolinos:

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They’re damn cute, they don’t hurt my feet (even after hours of walking!), and I wear them almost every day. I can wear them to class, to dinner, even hiking. They’re sturdy, well-made, and fit me perfectly.

I’m still in the process of converting me wardrobe from a mess of things I may or may not wear, that may or may not have holes, into a small collection of staple pieces that I wear regularly. But I can’t stress enough how worth it the process is – I worry less about what I’ll wear, I’m more comfortable in all my clothes, and I already need to replace things much less often.