Day 2: Game of Thrones Tour | Girona, Spain 

Yesterday was such a fun day! I decided to spluge on this trip by booking a Game of Thrones tour north of Bardelona, in Girona, and it was such a good way to get out of my shell and hang out with other nerds. The Medeivel town of Girona is like 2,000 years old so it’s pretty incredible in its own rite, but Season 6 of Game of Thrones was also filmed there and so there’s this whole other dimension of awesome in the city. 

Asking random strangers to take pics of me. As one does. 

This building was used to stage the big bang that Cersei may or may not have done. 

These Arabic baths were so beautiful but the bath house was also so cold. The last thing I’d be thinking about here would have been bath time. 

In addition to movie locations we also got to see some real castle ruins that were 1500 years old! 

True talent is that this picture was taken by a dad who was balancing one kid on his shoulders while his five year old daughter told him how to take the picture. Shoutout to R. Riveter for my new favorite travel bag! 

This is our tour guide. He didn’t actually love Game of Thrones but he loved history and architecture so that made up for it. These are the stairs blind Arya sat on. 

Hanging out with my Otto bag and enjoying my golden hand. #kingslayer

This popsicle was actually gross, but the cool thing was that it turned your lips metallic gold as you ate it! 

In a way im going to count this as my Thanksgiving. I got to eat tapas and traditional Catalonian food with 20 strangers next to the Mediterranean Sea!

And speaking of the sea. There she is! 

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a walking tour around Barcelona so that should be fun! Then tomorrow I’m off to Morocco! 

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10 Thoughts I Had Watching LOST For The First Time

Recently, it was brought to my attention that I’d made the life-shattering mistake of never seeing the show LOST.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely my fault. I wasn’t allowed to watch the show when it first aired (I was 13—not a whole lot of arguing power), and by the time I was old enough to watch it, I wasn’t really interested. I remember friends talking about characters when I was in high school…but honestly I was really busy trying to graduate early from college and just never really watched TV. Pity me.

Anyway, to remedy this soul-wrenching loss to my existence I took it upon myself to watch the show. Even better, I decided to watch the show and record how I felt about it. Today I finished the first season, and dammmmmnnnn why are there so many episodes!? Anyway, here are the rest of my thoughts:

1. What is this vortex of a fandom I’m about to walk into? Someone please send help.

2. Where is Jeff? 


3. But wait. Is that Belle from Once Upon A Time? Yes, it is. And she has a hobbit and an elf with her! P.s. Is it legal for someone to fly when they’re 8 months pregnant? 4. But wait. Why are there 46 people, and we only see 10?

5. For being the ONLY doctor, Jack sure gets sent running off into the forest of death a lot. 

6. Charlie + Drugs = Still a better love story than Twilight.

7. Game of Thrones wasn’t first.

8. So, um. When’s Sawyer gonna start a book club? 

9. Go home, Jack…10. …and take Kate with you.

BONUS: There’s a shocking lack of lens flares for this being produced by J.J. Abrams.

All in all the show is a fun adventure, but in a weird way I wish it was grittier. There’s a whole lot of “implied” without a whole lot materializing…but maybe it gets more intense as the seasons go on (shut up—don’t tell me). Until then, I guess it’s just me, Netflix and the little dog I’m babysitting.

P.s. She doesn’t like Jack, either.  

10 Things You Should Bring with You to Harry Potter World

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If there was one thing we learned when we were in Harry Potter World (LA) it’s that stuff is reeeaaaalllly expensive, in a kind of unnecessary way. Not that we didn’t expect for things to be expensive in an amusement park, but the price of things in Harry Potter World were just ridiculous (with the exception of the food which seemed to be pretty similar to what you’d expect).

I guess I just don’t feel like I should be hearing kids ask their parents for allowance from the past 6 months so they can buy a journal, a pen and a pin. That really happened. I’m not kidding. The 8 year old kid paid $90 of his own money for three things. This is wrong.

Needless to say, I didn’t end up buying much of anything there. And once I reached my house, I actually breathed a sigh of relief because I DID THE RIGHT THING. There is no reason to spend those prices at the park itself. We had an amazing time running around the grounds with our wands and my Harry Potter glasses (both of which got a whole lot of compliments from the people who worked there — in total I had bought them both before the trip for $15).

Before you, or your family, venture to Harry Potter World I thought I would make a list of a few things so that you can shop like a Malfoy on a Weasley budget. Because hey, I want you to look amazing and I believe we all deserve to be able to look straight outta Hogwarts.

Phew, that video gets me every time. But here they are, 10 things that I found for way cheaper than when we were at Harry Potter World (click on the images for links). Let’s start off with the things I bought before going:

Where to Buy Your Wand: 

I bought my wand on Etsy at the shop: Osbornes Wand Shop. And this was my best purchase…maybe ever — definitely in regards to my Harry Potter fandom. I got so many compliments on it while I was in Harry Potter World! The best part? It’s not some mass produced item – it’s customized to me!

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Harry Potter’s Glasses: 

Here’s a fun fact, these aren’t even sold at Harry Potter World. Which is such a missed opportunity, I feel. I still don’t understand why they weren’t there. I also got a lot of compliments on these. In fact, one of the ladies who worked there was like, “Where did you get those!? I’ve been looking for a pair everywhere!”  You can snag your pair by visiting this shop: Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4

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Everything Else:

*Disclosure* I am a very proud Slytherin and hence all of this gear will be Slytherin based. If you participate in a Hogwarts house that has a problem with that…

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Mugs:

I really wanted a mug because I sit at a desk 8 hours a day and having a Harry Potter mid-day reminder is never a bad idea. But I was a bit shocked when I turned the mug at HPW upside down and saw the $40 price tag! That was just a no-go. Buying something that will potentially break during the transfer back home, for $40, was just not going to happen. Luckily, I found literally the cutest Hedwig mug the world has ever known AND a Slytherin mug both of which could be purchased for less than that price. At $10 for one and $18 for the other it’s an investment I can definitely swing.

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Sweatshirt: 

I’m not even going to tell you how much I wanted to buy a Slytherin sweatshirt when I was in HPW but with prices at $60 – $80 that just wasn’t going to happen. BUT I found some beautiful sweaters online that don’t break the bank, and actually look better! In love. Check out this beautiful Slytherin Quidditch sweatshirt from Etsy!

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Journals:

I’m a writer, so obviously I can never have too many notebooks, journals etc. I pretty much always carry one with me, so it was kind of disappointing to find out that the journals for sale in HPW were like $40. I mean, come on, they didn’t even have real leather covers. I was trés sad. When I got home I found this beautiful journal for $13 from Amazon that looks pretty much exactly on point with what I was holding in my hands at HPW, at a fraction of the price.

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Passport Cover:

Obviously I travel a lot. So when I saw that HPW was selling passport holders I kind of lost my mind. Then I looked at the price $25…not bad. But then I looked at the quality: shit (sorry mom – but it WAS). The passport cover wasn’t real leather and the stitching wasn’t even in a straight line. So, for this one, it’s not even about the price, just about the terrible quality. I found a beautiful leather (customizable!) passport case on Etsy that is just about the stuff of dreams…for the same price.

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Banner: 

Wall banners were a really big thing at HPW and I really wanted one. Maybe it’s because I’m a Slytherin and want everybody to know it (we tend to be very pro-us). Who knows? All I know is that there was a big green thing on the wall with a snake that said “I’m better than you” (that’s what the Latin translates to, right?) and I wanted it. Good thing I waited. Those bad boys were pushing $40 and I found a much prettier adult one, for $20 (by adult I just mean that I can actually hang in my house without people staring).  P.s. If you want a more colorful one, you can find them on Amazon for much cheaper, as well.

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BONUS!

One of the best things we saw someone wearing at Harry Potter World couldn’t even be bought there. We were obsessed with a Gryffindor letterman jacket of British girl in front of us was wearing and seeing the Slytherin version is even better! Right now you can grab one at HotTopic for under $40!

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Fantastic Beasts…Anything:

The most disappointing part of HPW was that there was absolutely no mention or anything close to purchase from Fantastic Beasts. I was so sad because I had planned on buying the screenplay there, and then it wasn’t even for sale. I did find it for sale at the airport for $30 but even that was a stretch. Luckily Amazon has it right now for $15, so it’s a must buy.

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As a side note, you definitely should buy some butter beer and have a meal at The Three Brooms restaurant. Comment below with your favorite Harry Potter themed items, and let me know if you end up buying any of these awesome pieces above! 🙂

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How to Plan the Perfect Trip without Being Perfect

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I wish you could see my bedroom floor right now.

Not very many people understand how many hours, days, weeks and months it takes to pull together a truly amazing trip. The myth that you “just go” is one that I think leaves a lot of people disappointed, and wishing they had spent more pre-planning time on their trips. Instagram can be a tricky lens to look through.

I’m planning two trips right now, one in December (to HARRY POTTER WORLD!) and the other one in January (Europe 2017!). Both are completely different, since one is international and on is right here on the west coast of the U.S., but I’ve reached the point where I can use similar styles of planning on both.

Note: This is not a post on how to pack for a trip, or not forget your toothbrush. It’s how to ensure that you get the most from your time spent in a place. 

So, since none of you lovelies can be here, amidst my organized chaos, I’ve decided to share some of my trip planning tips with you! After five years of circling the globe, I’ve learned a thing or two…


Dream BIG

Don’t limit yourself when you’re planning your trip. I always say this because you never know what you might find along the way. I usually have a list of about 50 things that I want to do in a given city, but then I only do about 5. Why? Because some things might be closed on the dates you’re there, some might be under construction. You might miss a bus or a train or get off at the wrong stop (#ohthetalesIcouldtell). And THAT is why it’s a good idea to have a list. Even before you leave, and you’re planning your trip out, have a notebook where you write down any and everything that peaks your interest. This is also a great way to keep track of all the suggestions people give you!


Know What You Love 

Take a moment and write down some things that interest you. Shoot for 5-10 things, but if you’re feeling inspired, go ahead and keep on writing. Done? Great! So, now that you’ve decided on your interests, start Googling. Yep, that’s write. Literally write the name of the interest with a comma and the place you’re visiting. The Google gods are more than generous when it comes to providing you information about the things you love. Here are my go-to’s:

  • Art Museums
  • Van Gogh
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Geek (I usually branch out to things like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek etc.)
  • Books (famous authors)
  • Famous movies (filming locations)


Connect with People

I have a pretty strict rule that I connect with people who actually live in the places where I travel. I love touristy things as much as the next person, but there’s something amazingly fulfilling about chatting with people who know a place inside-out. My biggest tip on this one is to either use a site like Couchsurfing or Airbnb for meet-ups, or for finding a place to stay, OR just start talking to people. As an introvert I usually do the first, but I’ve also found myself making really amazing friends on tours, just by striking up a conversation. Oh, and don’t be afraid to go on tours, adventures and touristy things alone – that can be one of the best ways for you to meet new people in the city! Just remember, safety first.

 

Spread Your Net WIDE

If you’ve seen the movie “Yes Man” then think of this step like that. Say yes to things you normally wouldn’t. Things that are safe obviously, but things that challenge you to stretch beyond who you currently are. If you’re planning a trip to Europe and someone offers you a place to stay in a little town near the big city you wanted to go to – GO. When you’re first planning out your trip, post your plans on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. The first time I ever backpacked, I ended up staying a week with a complete stranger (friend of a friend) via my Instagram post on the plane ride to London. Travel is all about getting out of your comfort zone!


Make a Mess

Guess what? Your trip is not going to go as planned. You might miss a plane. You might have lodging plans fall through or you might just straight up hate a city you thought you would love. It happens. It’s called life, and it’s OKAY. Pick yourself up, mark it off to “travel bingo” and move on. Traveling around the world isn’t always easy. If it was, then everyone would do it. But if you’re passionate about learning and growing as a person, it’s more worth it than you might ever know.

A Geek Guide To Vancouver, BC: Part 2

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Okay, so after I wrote up my last post I realized that I had a few more things to say: like that THERE ARE MORE GEEKY THINGS IN VANCOUVER TO TALK ABOUT! And these things I’m super excited to share! So, here’s the part 2 to my post from this weekend. Who knew Vancouver could have so many geeky things – I actually ran out of time to explore them all!

If you have anything that I missed, feel free to let me know in the comment section, below!

TV shows filming in Vancouver:

Obviously there are tons of shows that are being filmed in Canada, but most notably for me are the ones listed below:

  • Arrow (currently)
  • Flash (currently)
  • iZombie (currently)
  • DC Legends (currently)
  • Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (not current, but one of my favorite shows of all-time)
  • Once Upon A Time (currently)
  • Supernatural (currently)

The best part? You can follow along with WHERE these shows (and more!) are filming by stalking them with this handy guide!

Where To Find Some Geeky Reads:

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Vancouver Public Library

The Vancouver library was built as a structure inspired by the colosseum, and it’s quite a spectacle. While I was a little bit skeptical from the outside, the inside of the library was stunning and SEVEN stories high! I’m not gonna lie, I felt a little sick when looking down through the all glass windows that surround one side. Every type of book you could imagine was there including some great titles that coincide with geek favorites, such as Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings.

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If you go to a bookstore for happy-go-lucky employees then you may want to stop by your local Barnes and Nobel, but if you’re there for the books this second hand book stop is amazing. Not only did I find a first edition copy of Outlander there for $5, but I also found some beautiful vintage Charles Dickens works for about $10. Some prices were weirdly high, but overall I think this is a great stop for book lovers. The best part? There are three other book stores within a two block distance that you can also walk to!

A Geek Guide To Vancouver, BC: Part 1

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If there’s one thing I like to do, it’s find out geeky things about a city. Remember that time I uncovered a Sherlock Holmes society in San Francisco, or when I visited every major spot in Paris that was from “Midnight in Paris”? Or what about the Star Wars x-wing in Denver? Game of Thrones castle in N. Ireland? Or the site in Ireland of the huge Braveheart battle? Yeah, yeah, I love geeky things. So, it makes sense for me to join the two things together while I’m on the road.

This weekend we’re spending some time celebrating our anniversary in Vancouver, and it’s been such a fun trip. Of course, any time I come to a new city I have to find out EVERYTHING GEEKY about it, so here is a compilation of my findings from day 1 in British Columbia.

Famous Geek Icons from Vancouver: 


Alexander Ludwig: 
It wasn’t until today that I realized that this hunk was from both the Hunger Games AND one of my favorite shows, Vikings. I really had hopes that I could correct the grammar on Vikings based off of the actors being Scandinavian, but nope. This boy’s from good ‘ole British Columbia. Luckily, he’s still fun to watch being a Viking bad ass on the show, and it’s nice to know we both hail from the west.


Michael J. Fox:
Blast from the past, and Back to the Future, it’s true that this Hollywood icon isn’t as active in the geek world right now, for obvious reasons, but he’s a geek idol, nonetheless. Back to the Future was a series that molded and shaped my childhood and I’m happy to find out he grew up not too far from me.
Ryan Reynolds: Obviously most famous, at the moment, for his portrayal of the Marvel bad-boy Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds has been a favorite from Just Friends to The Proposal. In case you (and half the geek world) are trying to still forget – he was also DC’s Green Lantern, and appeared in the Wolverine, as well.

Hayden Christensen: Personally, I prefer to think of him as the actor who brought Jumper to life, but we do have to credit him for some of the weirdest Star Wars movies, as well. To be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault that they’re the embarrassment of the geek community – the script writers weren’t doing to hot, either.

Shawn Ashmore: I may or may not have had a crush on him when I saw the first Xmen movie (I was like 12) but how could you not!? Him and Rogue were the perfect couple and then she went running after Logan – what was she thinking!? Anyway. He only kind of counts because he was raised in Alberta. But he was born in Vancouver, so they still claim him as their own.
Colbie Smulders: To be honest, I still don’t even know her Avengers character name, but she’s awesome and one of the few female characters in the movies who doesn’t have powers. She can also be found on Agents of Shield, a show that, for the life of me, I can’t find time to watch, mainly because I’ve heard some good and a lot of not so good about it.

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Somewhere to grab some geeky books: 

I love used bookstores. In fact, I love pretty much any place I can get a good deal on a good read, and this morning that was the first place I plopped off to. I was really excited to score on a book by Diana Gabaldon, who writes the Outlander series. I learned about the books via the STARZ show, but I’ve started to read the books and I adore them, as well. The book I found was an accompaniment to the series, called “The Outlandish Companion” which goes into details about the series and why Diana chose certain aspects to put in/leave out. It also has commentary and helpful additions, such as genealogies, to help out along the reading of the first four books. Overall, I’m really happy with the find. Especially since it was only about $15 (with the conversion rate). Somehow I always end up finding the heaviest books while I’m traveling and this one weighs in at about 600 pages to keep the trend going.

My stop today was at Book Warehouse, which is located at  632 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1G1

 

Geek places to eat:

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Storm Crow Ale House: This is an updated/more contemporary version of the Storm Crow Tavern, which is amazing in its own right. We kind of accidentally stumbled upon this one, not actually realizing there were two in Vancouver, and really loved the atmosphere and the people who were hanging out in there. I actually was really happy to be hanging out mid-day because a lot of people were just hanging out there, playing games and having good food. I would definitely recommend. Click HERE for the website.

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Storm Crow Tavern: This Tavern is also a real treat, and is decked out with memorabilia, geek art, books and a giant octo-monster head. And they also have tons of games to choose from playing. The best part is that the food is also amazing. I had a cod sandwich and some raspberry rhubarb crumble for dessert. It was sublime. Definitely stop by this spot if you’re a sci-fi and fantasy fan. Click HERE for the website.

Edinburgh, Scotland: 1.5 Days Of Chilly Beauty

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Our lovely hostel is in the bottom left hand corner of this picture .

For those of you who have been following along, you’ll know that I was on a backpacking trip from Dec 24th – Jan 4th. I was traveling with two friends, on and off throughout the trip, and I we travelled two four cities along the way. While this wasn’t my first trip around the UK/Ireland, I wanted to make sure to hit some new places, so we went to Edinburgh, Scotland (I had stayed in Glasgow before) and we visited the adorable town of Stratford-upon-Avon. I didn’t have much time to post on the blog while we were traveling, so I’ll fill you all in on what happened in the upcoming weeks.

Our first stop (after me sleeping in Heathrow on Christmas night with my Elf on the Shelf) was
DSC_0047Edinburgh. We took a Megabus up to Edinburgh because the UK takes Boxing Day very serious, and decided to close down all public transportation to prove the point. So, instead of being able to take a train up to Scotland, we hopped on a bus. Little did we know, the floods had cut off many of the routes that the buses usually used to get around, so the initial 9 hour trip ended up taking about 11 hours.

BUT, when we finally did make it to our final destination, we found our Australian filled hostel, more than welcoming and headed out to that night’s Pub Crawl. While usually I wouldn’t go out after sleeping in an airport, riding buses for over 12 hours total and being jet-lagged, I’m so glad we did because we had a great time hanging out with some Scots, and going to (without a doubt) the worst club in Scotland.
DSC_0032After a 10 hour exhaustion induced slumber, I was up and ready to go at the bright and early time of 11am. Thankful that my hostel didn’t charge me for checking out late, and even more thankful that they showed me the best spots for me to visit, I joined one of my friends on a walking tour and we galavanted around the hilly city of Edinburgh.

Our walking tour was more than a little bit entertaining, filled with Scottish anecdotes and history lessons, such as where the term “shit faced” comes from (referencing a saying doesn’t count as swearing, mom). We also got to see the grave site of the infamous “Greyfriars Bobby” which, you may know about if you’ve spent time watching the vintage Disney film, or are obsessed with stories about loyal little dogs, (both of which my mother is) which is why I was one of the few people in our tour to recognize the reference of it.  DSC_0048

The trip ended by a trip to the National gallery and a walk around the Christmas markets, and Edinburgh at night (which is a holiday scene you don’t want to miss out on!). A quick pop back to the hostel (luckily, Edinburgh has most of it’s main attractions within a pretty condensed area) to grab my pack, and it was off to the airport – next stop, Ireland.

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Oh! And did I mention that our hostel was right next to a CASTLE!?

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Visiting the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter!

 

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The graveyard where the real Tom Riddle (amongst other characters from Harry Potter) were buried.

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The history of the phrase “Shit faced” comes from Edinburgh. Apparently early in the morning, when pubs closed and men were stumbling homes, households would dispose of their chamber pots for the day (it was illegal to throw out your windows…but only if you got caught) and the unfortunate drunks were unable to (often) get out of the way – resulting in them, quite literally, getting “shit faced.”

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Just the three of us.

The Party Strikes Back – 2015

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There are certain moments in your life that you will hold on to for the rest of your life. Being around 2,000+ other Star Wars nerds was  one of them. From the moment I entered the EMP (Experience Music Project) museum in downtown Seattle I was met with the cutest little sister squad of Princess Leia, Darth Vader and a bounty hunter. They reached about the height of my knees. At that moment I knew I was in for a pretty awesome night.

I’m pretty geeky by nature. I was raised by a huge sci-fi geek family and that has definitely translated over into my adult life. I’ve travelled around the world visiting geek events and I loved being able to be in my home city and have the same kind of beautiful community. If you’re in the Seattle area, this exhibit is only available to see until October 4th! The costumes are beautiful and well worth the trip!

Here are some of my favorite shots from the night – shout out to my friend Ben for putting up with me throwing my camera at him as I ran to ask cosplayers to take pics with them. 

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An Hour Of Wolves, And Shattered Shields

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Happy Lent, everyone! For all of you who are observing it, stick in there – it WILL be worth it! For those of you who aren’t, have fun watching us for the next 40 days.

For those of you who aren’t of the Christian persuasion, I guess I should probably tell you about Lent.

“Ok, Google – cheat for me:”

Lent is a 40-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday and one of the major liturgical seasons of the Church. A penitential season marked by prayer, fasting and abstinence, and almsgiving, Lent begins on either Ash Wednesday (for Latin Rite Catholics and those Protestants who observe Lent) or Clean Monday (for Eastern Rite Catholics and Eastern Orthodox) and ends on either Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday.

Lent comes in many different forms. Some people give up food as a community, some people fast (or give up) things they feel like they’re placing before their spiritual lives (maybe you’ve seen some people bowing off social media) and others do none of the above. Like me.

To clarify – yes, I am fasting. But this year I felt like I needed to do something a little different.

Enter dramatic pause

So, I’ve decided to do a 40 day negativity fast (#notreallyworthadramaticpause).

Rather than Googling what this “means” I’ll tell you what it means to me.

The Bible has a lot to say about how Christians interact with the world around them. There are verses about loving, about caring, about serving – and then the ones we’re not quite as eager to discuss: The ones about turning the other cheek.

This is not a green light for people to come and punch me in the face, because for the next 40 days I won’t punch you back. I will punch you back.

What I’m talking about is on a spiritual level.

See, I’m a fighter by nature.
When I was little, more than anything, I wanted to be an Amazon woman (thanks for the documentary, PBS). I wanted to fight in battles, and conquer kingdoms and learn epic archery skills (the last of which I did start). I wanted to fight. I’ve always wanted to fight.

And it took me a really long time, as Christian, to realize that’s okay.

I think a common misconception about Christianity is that women are supposed to be these meek and gentle creatures sitting in the corner knitting.

And while I do knit, and I love its cathartic values, that’s not my idea of the life of faith for a woman.

NOTE: Being meek, gentle and sweet are NOT bad things, for those who are naturally that way.

But I’m not.

I’ve always preferred to think of myself as someone who follows more the example of the biblical Deborah. For those of you who don’t know the story, think badass awesome chick who leads armies and generally dominates at life, because men aren’t stepping up to the plate. (Judges 4)

But something to remember, even for us fighters, is that there are times when you need to find peace in the uncomfortable places or times God calls you to. Sometimes, we reach a season of needing to learn trust.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

A great, totally hypothetical, example of this is when you’re, I don’t know – living in a foreign place, and being COMPLETELY out of your comfort zone. Exhibit A: My life.

For me, natural instinct says to kick and scream and punch people (metaphorically) – but God tells me to rest.

So I sit.

I “rest”.

I pout.

I complain.

*For the record, sitting in a corner complaining isn’t finding rest in a situation.

France has been hard, harder than I ever could have imagined. But it’s in this place that God has told me, for now, to rest. And over the past few months I have been doing the very minimal value of that.

More than anything I’ve been complaining, I’ve been self-pitying and I’ve been finding every excuse to sit on my bible, rather than read it. Because, hey – I’ve been through a lot (factual). I deserve to be able to curl up in a ball and listen to angsty music!

But if God wanted me to listen to angsty music for a year, I think he would have given me a time machine back to my high school self, not told me to move 5000 miles away from home.

So, with this in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate my Lent period of time to fixing the deep seeded problem that has become my perspective on my life.

Where there is self-pity, I will look to serve others.

Where there is anger, I’m seeking peace and self-reconciliation.

When I want to outwardly project my fears and insecurities, I will take them instead, and leave them at the feet of my Saviour.

Where there is doubt, I’m remembering the promises that brought me to this place.

And where there is winey-ass (sorry mom) me, I will remember that there is purpose to every breath I am given.

Lent started on Wednesday, so I’m only a few days in, but I can already tell you one thing – it IS NOT easy. Human nature wants to complain. Why? Because, to be honest, it feels good. And it’s societally acceptable. Just look at how many social media outlets we’re given to FML our lives.

But my challenge, over the next month is to remember where I came from, and who fought on my behalf to bring me here.

It wasn’t by accident that I landed in Paris for a year – no one accidently lands in Paris for a year. This year was a pretty hefty detour from what I had “planned”, but that doesn’t mean I’m not on the path I’m supposed to be on.

So, join me, will you? Let’s strive to look at our lives and the world around us with a different lens. Let’s begin to uncover and unmask the places in our hearts that have brought us into areas of complaint, instead of action. And most of all – let’s fight a good fight.

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To Boldly Go Where No Woman Has Gone Before

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The print that I bought. Love love love.

For a healthy chunk of my childhood Tuesdays nights meant two things: Popcorn and fresh fruit/veggies for dinner and piling in the living room to watch Star Trek. At the time it seemed perfectly normal that our family nights consisted of Sci-Fi shows. Another example would be that every Christmas we would marathon a Sci-Fi series (ex. All the X-Men movies, every Batman film ever created etc.). This was our normal. And it wasn’t until I grew up that I realized not everyone had such a geek infused childhood.

Since I was reared on a heavy serving of Sci-Fi and fantasy, it’s no wonder that I’ve always gravitated toward those things even in my adult life. I read comic books. I watch pretty much exclusively Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV shows. I wake up to the Doctor Who theme song every morning on my alarm clock. The ring tone on my phone is the Legend of Zelda theme…dubstep. Have I earned my geek badge, yet?

One of my new favorite girl power geeks is Jane McGonigal, who is a game designer and author. If you want to look her up, I would highly suggest watching one of her TED talks (especially the one about how gamers are going to change the world) – they’re all amazing. In one of these talks she says:

“Gamers always believe that an epic win is possible and that it’s always worth trying, and trying now. Gamers don’t sit around.” 

And while my gaming is definitely not up to par with a professional grade (gaming was always my brother’s thing, and we’ve talked before about how I kept away from things in his corner), I think this quote is fair of geeks in general. Being raised as a geek really shaped who I am because it taught me that, while there are obstacles (black holes, empires to destroy, Klingons) to overcome, there are always ways to overcome them.

Having stories of dragons, spaceships, other worlds, heroes, warriors, heroines and hobbits helped form my own foundation of one of the most important keys to success: grit.

The get back up and try to save the world again mentality.

It doesn’t matter if it takes 10 years of episodes *cough Stargate, you keep fighting for what you believe in. And sooner or later, you’ll make a difference…or die trying (and then having an epic burial where your body, grasping your brilliantly shining sword, soars over the edge of woodland water falls in a hand built elven boat).

Either way, the point is developing the desire to always find a way to conquer obstacles. It’s a skill that I think the instant gratification culture of today misses all too often, and is something that I really hope to impart to any kids I work with/ever have myself.

It’s pretty rare that I really disclose how much of a geek I am to people, but since I’ve been in Paris I’ve been trying to get better about it. Despite popular opinion, I’m actually extremely shy by nature, so it’s really hard to put myself out there and really present the things that interest me.

But this past weekend I got an amazing opportunity to go and hang out with some of my fellow geeks at the Paris Manga/Sci Fi Convention and it was So. Much. Fun.

I can honestly say it was the first time I’ve felt at home in France, because even though everyone around me was speaking French, I was able to share so many other commonalities with the people around me. I got to rock a Cosplay and revel in the panels that were in English (translated in French) and it was so cool to see other Whovians and think, “Wow. These people live 8,000 miles away from where I come from, and they love the same fandoms/TV shows/comics that I do!” It was a pretty bonding experience. Especially when I sat next to a group that dressed as all 12 of The Doctors.

My favorite moment, though, was when I found TinTin (or, rather, his cosplayer) who I actually yelled at in a crowd of people in order to get a picture with him. Like I said, I’ve always loved comics, and TinTin is a series that I’ve read probably 10 times. All 20+ of them. (It’s all about priorities when you’re a kid.)

Another amazing part of the show were the artists who were lined up doing live drawings in the styles of their work, and selling their prints etc. I LOVED being able to watch professional artists draw and illustrate. It’s so rare that I felt like it was such an honor. And I bought, and had signed, a Daenarys Targaryan print which is now hanging on my wall and that I LOVE.

All in all it was a perfectly refreshing experience. I feel like I went on vacation even though I never left the city. And the best part? There’s another one next weekend.

Allons-y! May the force be with you.

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Me and TinTin! I was so happy I have a ridiculous grin on my face. Also I got to hold snowy – win.
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Me and The TARDIS.
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Me and my Cosplay as Mels from Doctor Who.