0

Who run the world?

The 5 women who have inspired me.. whoa. That’s a really long list to narrow down. Lately, there have been some heavy influences from some amazing women, luckily, I’m able to call the majority of them my friends. Oh, I didn’t put my Mom on this list, mostly because I would turn into a pile of tears and keel over sobbing. She’s pretty freaking great and I love her a whole bunch.

I’m going to start off by talking about two of these women because not only do they know each other, but they do incredible things for people.

alexis_meg

Meg Fagundes.

Meg, sassy as ever.

Meg, sassy as ever.

THIS WOMAN. Okay, so Meg’s been through it and back, and is one of the people that I’m so grateful to know. We met at the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit last summer when my friend and I introduced ourselves on the dance floor the last night of the conference. She’s an MFT who is working toward her doctorate and who works with inmates and juvenile sex offenders. I’ve never felt so welcome, so accepted and excited to know someone. We kept in touch afterward and lucky for me, she lives in San Diego which is only a couple of hours away. She has invited me into her house, trusted me to keep her kid and cat children safe for a couple weeks while she was out of the country and has allowed me to use her as my go-to yoga resource. She is incredibly open about her struggles and her life, and you’ll feel like a better person just because you know her. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am.

Meg, I know you’re going to read this, and I can’t even put into words how happy I am to consider you family. You’ve made me laugh/cry, you’ve inspired the courage I needed to get back into the yoga studio time and time again, you’ve made me cry in public countless times and you excepted me for who I am from day one. haha, I’m crying in public as I type this, I shouldn’t even be surprised. You’ve inspire me so much, and you’ve supported me through so much this past year whether you knew it or not. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey, just as much as you are a part of mine. You are one of the most honest, caring, open, accepting, loving, hilarious, generous, cultured, well-read, silly, dorky, appreciative, driven, diligent, and well-respected humans I know. I love you foreverrrrr, and I promise to bring cookies every time I come visit.

Meg’s TEDxWomen talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4

Alexis Jones.

alexis

Alexis, she really is that girl.

This fantastic woman created I AM THAT GIRL, which is pretty much the coolest non-profit geared to making sure that women and girls know their worth. She’s incredibly well spoken, caring and genuine. Her book, I AM THAT GIRL, is also part of the reason she’s on this list. If there is any book I recommend to women of all ages, it’s this one. It’s not a self-help book, it’s not an inspirational book, it’s a book that will knock you on your ass while firing up the drive to go out, kick ass at life and take names. She spoke on the same panel as Meg did at the summit I attended… along with Sophia Bush, Yael Cohen of FUCK CANCER. I sat near the front of the room, but off to the side, thankfully. I ended up quietly crying throughout the entire thing. These women who aren’t much older than me sat there and told me that no matter what, I am just fine the way I am and that I can do whatever the hell I wanted. It was the talk the best friends and sisters have when times are hard. Talk about an inspirational panel. When I found out that she was also writing book, I made sure to hunt it down within two days of it hitting shelves. I have her words tattooed on my arm because her words are powerful. They shocked and spoke to me as I read the very first sentence of her book. I am so grateful that I was able to cross paths with her, even if we didn’t actually get to meet each other at that event. It’s the little things you say and the small gestures that matter, and I hope she knows just how much she’s hit home with the girls and women who have read that book.

Oh, and that TEDx talk that Meg spoke at? Guess who hosted? Yeah, Alexis. I know, right? How cool are my friends.

IATG_shoutout

This happened too, I still can’t get over it.

Okay, now on the rest… let’s hope I can stop crying in this Starbucks. haha, who am I kidding.

Jaclyn Mullen.

jaclyn

Talk about a self-made powerhouse. I met J at a day long seminar called Women Empowered that Stephanie (read about her a little later) invited me to. She has become a one woman marketing machine and is really really good at what she does. Not only does she work with her own clients, but she’s a jet-setter who hosts small seminars all over LA and around the world. At the event, she retweeted something I posted and I introduced myself later that day. We exchanged information and made sure to stay in contact. She has become one of my biggest supports and cheerleaders as I work toward starting my own business and building the life I want doing what I love. To say that I’m excited to see her on Saturday is an understatement, and there aren’t enough good things I can say about her. I am so happy she’s in my corner and that I decided to say hi to her that day, she’s been a game changer.

Stephanie Rudat

I love women who laugh.

I love women who laugh.

I randomly started following her on Twitter after seeing her posts retweeted by another account… fast forward to a year-ish later when I got the meet her. I was on Twitter while at Fourth Estate and I saw that Stephanie posted that she was there as well – I knoooow, three of these women all came into my life the same weekend… I can’t deal with it either. We tweeted each other a couple times until we were able to figure out a good time to sneak out of the main hall and meet up. I remember standing there trying so hard not to fangirl all over the place. I love strong, outspoken women, especially when they use their voices for justice and to help others. Stephanie is key in that. She’s not afraid to speak about the causes and organizations she’s involved with. We talked for nearly a half hour and I realized that I had just met one of the coolest, most daring women ever. She’s been a catalyst for different organizations, she’s super supportive of those around her and she’s not afraid to speak out against injustice all over the world. She’s freaking great.

I’m running out of words to express how amazing all of these women are… I still have one more!

Brittany Gibbons.

fierceness, embodied.

fierceness, embodied.

I have always ALWAYS had issues when it comes to body image and how I view myself. It’s gotten a hell of a lot better the last couple years, but it’s still such a journey. I am so grateful to be a part of a HUGE community of women that have been brought together by this woman via Facebook. The amount of acceptance and similarities between all of us in that group is staggering and in our tiny little internet world, Brittany is our fearless leader. She’s been a source of inspiration for countless women (and I’m sure guys too) because she’s a bad ass. She’s not afraid to have fun, to talk about the weird stuff, to express how hard she loves and is a fantastic writer. In reading through her website I’ve taken a few steps forward on my rough journey of self-acceptance. I bought a bikini for the first time ever and wore it this summer. Twice. That’s the first time I’ve worn a bathing suit in a decade. I’ve learned that no matter what you look like, what size you wear, what color your hair is or where you work, you’re worthy of love, respect – from yourself and others, and you’re worthy of great things. I can’t thank her enough and I really hope that I’ll be able to go to the grown up summer camp that she hosts so I can hug her and say thank you.

Brittany’s TEDxBGSU talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4

—-

I could go on and on about these five courageous woman, but I can’t today. I’m out of words and I don’t want to ugly cry in public. I love you all so much, thank you a million for all the advice, support and comfort you’ve given me. I am forever indebted to you all.

Advertisements
2

27.

There is less than three weeks until I turn 28.

I won’t lie and say that 27 was easy, it was anything but that. To put it lightly, 27 was:
– scary.
– an adventure.
– hilarious.
– terrifying.
– sleep deprived.
– the worst.
– not so bad.
– a learning experience.
– stupid.
– funny.
– stressful.
– enlightening.
– annoying.
– eye opening.
– frustrating.
Most of all, it was a year for me to grow. It has been my year to figure some shit out, to explore, to experience, to learn, to get rid of the things (and in some cases, people) that made me feel awful, and it’s been the year where I’ve really learned what I like about life, myself and those that I choose to spend time with.

It hasn’t been my favorite, but it’s been a hell of a roller coaster. My birthday is May 1, but the real roller coaster started in January of 2013. Here’s a quick run down of the last 15 months:

January 2013: got fired on my Tia’s birthday from the place I worked at for almost 3 years for reasons that baffle me still.
February/March (it all blends together): went to a lot of basketball games, had fun at the LBSU men’s basketball end of season banquet, and was removed from a bridal party for reasons that still don’t make sense.
April: finalized all my plans and bought all other necessary things for my NYC/Euro-adventure. Panicked about the trip. Went to Jewels of the Night and had an interesting time, but it was fun nonetheless. Switched from android to iPhone.
May: turned 27, had a nice dinner with family, prepped for the trip. Got scared about the trip, wondered if it was even a good idea anymore, worried about money, stressed so much I caused spasms in back that we’re so debilitating it hurt to breathe, and then I flew to New York City on the red eye out of Long Beach on my Mom’s birthday. Spent four amazing days with The City. Went to The Great Googa Mooga festival in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Saw my friend Kristin and my old teammate Roy. Explored with my German housemates. Got blisters. Lots of them. Flew to Venice, Italy and arrived to a happy Jen and Scott who housed me for a week and showed me parts of the world that I continually long for. Saw and tasted Parma, Bassano del Grappa, Marostica, Vicenza, Verona and Venice before flying into Alicante, Spain on May 30. Surprised my friend Elissa for her hen night. Made amazing international friends, saw people I hadn’t seen in 15+ years, laughed, had awkward conversations, used more Spanish in two days than I had in 15+ years of bilingual-ness, ate, and drank amazing things.
June: saw Elissa marry the most excellent man, danced, ate, laughed, drank (a lot – hey, it was a wedding), fell in love with rosé, went shopping, hugged and loved the family I felt like I lost for what felt like forever. Panicked over inaccessible internet and train tickets, stopped sleeping well. Took a train up the coast of Spain from Alicante to Barcelona. Freaked out due to exhaustion, being alone in a new city, and a fiasco involving my phone not working, the keys to the place I was staying and communication that wasn’t working. Met my new hosts, talked about Vampire Weekend over dinner. Explored nearly all of Barcelona on foot, took a bunch of pictures, realized I was okay on my own, fell in love with speaking Spanish and in turn lost my thought that “I wasn’t good enough to use the language.” Bought a second suitcase, packed and flew back to NYC after 4 days in Barcelona. Ate/drank the most delicious burger and beer in T5 of JFK while waiting for my flight. Got home to Long Beach late and was hungry (I know, right?)… Went to IHOP and devoured an omelette. I missed American breakfast. Slept off my jet lag, came down with a serious case of wanderlust and discovered Bikram yoga and the amazing benefits of it.
July: relay for life. Andy and Tori got married!
August: went to Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Summit, met amazing people, realized that I needed to work somewhere or do something I loved. Figured out what I’m scared of overnight. Reconnected with the best gal pal a girl could ask for in Andrea, net Thomas, (Andrea and my 18 year old boyfriend at 4E), met someone I looked up to and established a great friendship and semi-mentor. Got a job supporting video games via social media. Loved the social media side, hated the hours (graveyard), the dead-end-ness of the job and the content and attitude of the games and the customers.
September: renewed my season tickets for LBSU men’s basketball, worked, understood how offensive some people are in the gaming industry, started job hunting again, became better friends with an old coworker from the bookstore.
October: slept 10 hours over the course of week, had a migraine the majority of the month, went to Artisinal LA and had a blast, met The Fancy Boyz and made fast friends with them and other bakers. Realized that the money I had put away to help me start my baking project was still there and it was there for me to use to build my dream. Slept, worked. Realized that just because you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you’re not exactly obligated to stay friends with them when your life goes different directions or your belief sets don’t really match up.
November: basketball season!, homecoming, spent more time with friends, went to San Diego and realized how awesome Meg and Jake are, slept, worked,
December: slept, worked, looked for jobs, did yoga in my backyard, went to basketball games, Christmas, realized that missed enjoyable holiday celebrations, my friend Scott passed away.
January 2014: worked, slept, went to basketball games, went to San Francisco for Scott’s funeral and was lackey enough to have one of my best friends go with me, had incredible amounts of fun on the first roadtrip I have taken since the car accident in 2004, sent a really dumb text message to the wrong person and inadvertently found out where I stood with them, was let go from work, job hunted full time.
February: more basketball, met one of the dad’s of a player when he was trying to upgrade his ticket and I had extra, had fun, did yoga, looked for jobs, didn’t get a job because they thought the reason I was fired a year ago was weird, was reaaaalllllyyy mad/pissed/frustrated/annoyed that place was still haunting me.
March: basketball! Went to the Veronica Mars PaleyFest panel and then went to opening day of the VM movie the next day with Latoya, laughed a lot, watched more basketball, left for two weeks in San Diego house sitting and hanging out with Sabrina, Meg’s daughter.
April: reconnected with basketball teammates from high school over great food in San Diego, came home from SD, saw my cousin, his wife and their daughter while they were in town for a Disneyland trip, had a promising interview and hung out with Latoya, all in a matter of a week.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to a graduation party, a bridal shower, Artisinal LA, applying for my DBA for my baking project and getting the ball rolling for the job I WANT while searching for one that I need to pay my bills. Then I turn 28 and open myself up for even more adventure, travel excursions, fun and whatever else might come my way. I’m looking forward to this year a whole bunch. I hope it’s as good to me as this last one has been.

0

Friends, they’re pretty great

I had the opportunity to hang out with 3 different people while I was in San Diego, and I am so thankful that I did. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should meet up with any of them. I had only met one of them for a few hours over a weekend this past summer, and I hadn’t seen the other two since our alumni basketball game over a year ago. I’m glad that I was courageous and smart enough to overcome any nerves that decided to show themselves, not seeing these three would have been a huge mistake.

I met Thomas at the Fourth Estate Summit that we both attended this past August. My friend Andrea and I were waiting in a line for our dinner the first night and we were in line behind a couple of guys and we all started talking. Andrea and I are the same age, and were already feeling incredibly old because most of the attendees of this conference were ten years younger. Thomas is from Orange County and we started talking about hockey, schools and life in LA county versus OC county. He is pretty much the coolest and ended up hanging out with us the rest of the weekend. Over the next couple days, Andrea and I joked about him being our “18 year old boyfriend” and that we were the coolest people there because he chose to hang out with us. He now goes to SDSU and we made sure that we made time to hang out while I was in town. We grabbed coffee at this super hipster coffee place in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego (near where I was staying) and had one of the best life talks I’ve had. The cappuccinos were great, the company was even better. This guy is wise beyond his years and he’s one of those people that you’d never predict meeting at a conference with over 1500 people in attendance.

We talked about dorm life, what’s going on in Ukraine and Crimea, the protests in Venezuela, basketball, college roommate horror stories and I walked away happy and full of joy because this type of conversation is becoming harder to come by. You know when you look at someone and know they’re going to do big things because of the person they are? Yeah, that’s Thomas. :)

20140407-201109.jpg

Holly, Lucy and I have known each other since high school. Lucy is a year older than me, we played basketball and had Spanish class together in middle school, Holly is two years older and was on the team with us. I don’t remember if we had any classes together, but I remember the times at practice and road trips to and from games and tournaments. In school, I considered both of the friends, if not sisters. Our team was close and we were a little family. It’s been 10+ years since the first few years of alumni graduated, but for the most part, we’ve stayed in touch.

We met for lunch at this amazing little walk up restaurant that specialized in pork. The food was amazing and we spent nearly 3 hours hanging out and catching up. The three of us had stayed in touch after we graduated high school, but we had only seen each other once since then. I learned more about these two women in those couple hours than I had while we were playing basketball together. We laughed and joked about the funny things that happened while we were playing, we talked about our families and the different trials and tribulations that occurred while we were in high school and since then and we talked about our lives and families now. I am so grateful the three of us have stayed in touch and we were able to get together because that short lunch gathering allowed us to reignite the spark to stay connected.

Photo Apr 02, 7 23 15 PM

Friendships can be difficult things to maintain or to gain as we get older. We grow apart because of distance or circumstance, but when we maintain these connections, we grow closer together. I can’t get over how grateful I am to have these three as friends. We have so much in common, but so many differences at the same time. Friends are fantastic things, and the more we foster these relationships, the more we are able to learn.

0

In the corner..

I spent a good portion of my night in a corner with these two hooligans:

After the men’s basketball won their last home game, Loren, Shefali and I headed to The Beach Club for dinner. I haven’t been out to dinner or drinks with many people lately. Working graveyard (and now not working) has kept me home to sleep or to save money, so tonight it was nice to have good girlfriends, good basketball, decent food and incredible jokes surround me. I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard as I did tonight. 
Long Beach, the CSULB campus and the Walter Pyramid are my homes away from home. It’s where I feel comfortable, where a lot of things make sense, and where I really grew up. It’s where I’ve laughed, cried and stayed up learning life’s secrets with my friends til the sun comes up. I truly love this city and all it has to offer. I can’t wait for the day that I move back. 
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? 

2

Fearing Fear

I’ve always been a little timid, nervous and reluctant to take a chance on things. It’s only really been lately that I’ve realized how detrimental this is and how much I have come to resent that side of me.

I’m to scared to __________________.
Just fill in the blank with nearly anything and it’s quite possible it applies.

A recent blog post by a friend of mine, Meg, really got me thinking about how much fear plays a roll in my daily life. How scared am I to walk the talk that I talk? The more I thought about it, the more irritated I became. I’ve traveled to Europe by myself, navigated through countries where I didn’t speak the native tongue, yet somehow managed to find my way back home just fine… why was I still afraid? What was their to fear?

Failure
Embarrassment
Anxiety
Rejection

They actually spell out FEAR. How annoying, but really, how important are these things?

I’ve said that I’ve wanted to start a business for a couple years, but why haven’t I taken the leap?
Fear of failure.

I’ve said that I know how to drive, but it’s the anxiety that stops me.

I don’t put myself out there to find new friends or people to date… rejection, embarrassment, anxiety, you name it… but a lot of this comes with a skewed view of self, which I’ll get to in my next post.

I can go on and on about everything that I’m afraid of, but I’d rather not because that just seems awful. I’d rather go about explaining myself, and trying to sort out what’s going on in my head, and why.

Back to Meg. After reading her most recent post, I sat there crying. I realized that I fear so much for no real reason and that most people do the same thing. I’m scared to open myself for fear of being hurt.. so I did something I dreaded. I sent Meg a message on Facebook, telling her that I could relate to wanting to go about things on my own, that trusting other people was too difficult and how, like her, I needed to change this thought process.

First troublesome thing to overcome, I decided, was small to some, but meant a hell of a lot to me. I started going to Bikram Yoga in July and LOVED it. Loved is really an understatement as I hadn’t felt the adrenaline and endorphin rush that each class provided in nearly 7 years… since before I’d hurt my back. I realized that I became reluctant to go because I was enjoying it too much. I was scared. Scared that I would get too connected. Scared that I would lose this outlet just like I’d lost basketball and throwing. My pain tolerance is too high, my body too broken. I kept finding excuses… too tired, too crampy, too anything. After reading Meg’s post, I realized that I had to go back. Not only to overcome this ridiculous fear, but for my own sanity again. I included that in my message to her (she’s a hot yoga teacher) and she empathized with the feeling, telling me that surprisingly, it’s normal.

I’m going back in on Sunday morning. Back into the heat, to sweat out the toxins, the toxic thoughts and to find my way through the fear.
Here goes.

0

Wedding Day!

Saturday, was a day of crazy rushing around and getting ready, I did my best impression of Coolio while getting my hair to dry, ordered room service – a tortilla espanola sandwich and pizza while getting ready and danced around while playing music like any normal twenty something girl.

I got my stuff together, wore flats to walk to the other hotel where people were staying and rushed over with heels in hand. I met up with a couple of the girls from the bachelorette night and Elissa’s family that was staying there. We boarded a charter bus that took us to the beautiful, stunning estate that Elissa and Si were getting married at. Most everyone was overwhelmed at the beauty of this house and the grounds.

The wedding was in English and Spanish, and we joked with the couple that they’ve already been married twice because of that. The weather could not have cooperated more. The day was beautiful and went off without a hitch!

After the ceremony, we headed to the cocktail hour while the bridal party took pictures. There were drinks and tapas served and mingling, pictures taken and laughs shared by everyone, friends and family alike. When the couple arrived to the cocktail area, there were toasts and more pictures, and we eventually migrated toward the dining area. The toasts from David, Pete (Simon’s brother), Simon, and Sarah (Elissa’s maid of honor) were all great and incredibly touching. Simon had the majority of us tearing up when he recognized Tavi, Elissa’s father who passed away a few years ago and it was easy to see how much Si loves her, the family and how excited they both are to be officially married.

I was seated at a table with three of Simon’s cousins, Becki and her boyfriend Tom who I had met the night before included, a couple of the girls from the bachelorette night and two of Elissa’s cousins who I’d met maybe once or twice when we were all a lot younger. After introductions, we all started different conversations, the wine flowed and before the night was over we were all laughing, joking and having a great time. More than once our table was given the ‘eye’ from another table because we were rather loud and boisterous while laughing and joking around. The menu for dinner was extravagant in all the right ways. Course after course was served and it was all fantastic. I ate goat! It was absolutely delicious and wish it was easier to find here. The quality of food in both Italy and Spain was spectacular and I miss it. Everything tastes as though it was grown just down the street and in some cases, it probably was.

After dinner involved more drinks, dancing and socializing, all of which was a grand time. I took a taxi back to the hotel around 2am.. maybe 3? all I know was that it was late and my feet hurt. I got back to the hotel and rightly passed out as soon as I got in my room.

0

¡Viva España!

I left Italy on May 30 and flew to Alicante, Spain! I landed in the afternoon and headed to the hotel. I was buzzing with excitement because I knew I was going to be surprising one of my oldest friends at her bachelorette night/despedida/hen night.

A little backstory before I get in too much further:
Elissa and I grew up together, our families were extremely close while we were growing up, her immediate family moved to Spain when I was 10 (she was 13) and we did our best to keep in touch through mail and basic email since this was way way before facebook and the like. Our families grew apart and as we got older, we lost touch, just because of life and school and whatnot. I’d missed her a ton, we were like cousins, if not sisters growing up and losing touch made it seem like something was missing. A few years ago, I was sitting in my dorm room and I thought about her and looked her up on facebook (now that we had it, and we were older, I figured why not). Well, low and behold there she was in the search results. After the friend request was sent I immediately got a message back and we were back on track and in touch again. No matter that we lived a continent apart, it seemed like nothing had changed and we chatted for quite a while making sure that siblings and parents reconnected again as well. Overall, it was a good day! As soon as I found out she was engaged, I started saving for this trip and a year and a half later, here I was, super excited. 
I caught the bus to the hotel from the airport and made my way to the hotel. The bus from the airport went along the beach and up toward the center of Alicante. I got to the drop off point and found my hotel, a less than 5 minute walk away from the beach and the other hotel where other people were staying. Checking in was super easy and upon doing so, the receptionist said “oh, you’re going to have a great view!” I got up to my room, and WOW!!!!! 
No big deal, right? Just the view of the ayunimiento (city hall kinda thing) and Castillo Santa Barbara. Just a castle outside my window. SERIOUSLY!? This can’t be real life. 
I skyped home with my mom while getting ready to go out. Here’s where the crazy begins. I had to get to the train station, catch a train to Elche and follow all these steps to get where I was supposed to go in a country I had never been to. Long story short, I ran across downtown Alicante to the train station, missed the train and had a small melt down calling my mom and texting/calling the girls I was meeting up with. One of the girls (Lorena) called me back and asked if I could take a taxi because they really wanted me to be there. Well, I did and it was the best thing I could have done, even after the melt down. 
I got to the house where we were meeting and Melani (who I had been making plans and talking to over facebook messages the past month or so) greeted me with huge open arms and I heard Elissa trying to figure out what was going on. As we walked back into the apartment, Elissa and I made eye contact and her mouth dropped and I laughed when she said “what are you doing here!?” in complete surprise. Hugs and tears were aplenty and it was amazing to be part of such a great intercontinental surprise. From there, champagne and stories were shared while I got introduced to the other girls there. We had a great time that night, walking along the riverbed to dinner and then having an amazing dinner that was course after course of delicious food. 

The night was awesome. After dinner we walked through downtown Elche, heading toward a bar that they new would be a good time and not too crowded. The drinks were delicious, the company was even better. Those of us that didn’t know each other prior to that night were already becoming fast friends and it was just exciting to be in Spain with brand new friends. I got back to my hotel around 4am, passed out for the night, excited to see Elissa’s family and meet her fiancé the next night.  

I woke up the next morning and unpacked a little, got my bearings and then slept some more. Jetlag was finally starting to catch up with me and I had to nip it in the bud, I still had a week left of adventuring! I took a taxi out to Elche Friday night. Elissa and Simon’s friends and families were getting together for a big dinner and I was invited, another thing I wasn’t going to miss – I hadn’t seen Alicia and David (Elissa’s mom and brother) in years! I was so excited to see them and some other family members that were in town. The taxi driver was so nice and got me there as quickly as possible (about 30-45 minutes normally) and when we got to downtown Elche, we got turned around and he couldn’t get to the restaurant because the maps and GPS were telling him one thing and the street directions were saying another. Eventually he found a local Elche taxi driver and asked him how to get there. This is also when he stopped charging me because we were going in circles and he didn’t see it fair. We finally got to the city center and I got to the restaurant… Now, to figure out where we were sitting/ask people if they were with the wedding.

I walked around the restaurant and their patio and happened to over hear a conversation by some Brits and figured they were part of Simon’s family or friends of the bride and groom.. I took a chance and low and behold, it was Simon’s extended family and I was definitely in the right place! I set my stuff down, introduced myself and we started talking, laughing and waiting for everyone else to get there. We had a great dinner, I got to catch up with Elissa’s aunts who live in Texas during dinner and on the taxi ride back to Alicante as well as her mom, brother and cousin who was there. It was a good time reconnecting with long lost “family.” It was a good night, the weather PERFECT and warm, the food AMAZING and the company even better.