I’m a little behind with updates lately since I’ve been moving, but I will try to make up for it. In October I had posted that I moved to Munich to work on Iron Man 3 for a few months. I really liked Munich because it was a relaxed place to live. It gave me time to be calm for a few months. Munich is beautiful in the winter, and every time it snowed the city became prettier. Unfortunately my contract was short, so after 5 months I was packing my bags once again and saying goodbye the new friends I had made. That’s when I knew I would like to live in a city for longer than 5 months, as it’s getting very hard to say goodbye. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the pics I took in Munich this winter:
Last month I moved to Munich to work on the movie Iron Man 3. I visited Munich for a couple days last year, and at the time I never thought I would live here! I’ve explored a bit more of the city since I’ve been here but I still have similar sentiments about it — I’m not in love with this place (and having my purse stolen with all my bankcards has nothing to do with it >____>). Munich is nice, clean, and cute with lots of pedestrian-only streets, but it lacks the artistic vibe that Berlin has. However, Munich is very beautiful with the Isar river running through it and it has an immense amount of parkland. I am feel thankful to experience living in Germany as this country is part of my family’s ancestry. The Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas Markets) start this week, so the city is beginning to turn into a giant adorable German toy town.
This year was very special for me because I spent 8 months working in the south of Spain in a small city called Granada. I moved there because of Antonio Banderas. Well, kind of. I actually worked as an Animator on a film he is producing called ‘Justin And The Knights Of Valour’ due out next summer (you can see a preview of the movie here). My coworkers were from Spain, France, Italy and even Denmark. I was the only native-English speaker on the crew, but I never felt left out. People were so warm, friendly and accepting of me, so I felt like I always had a place in my new adopted country (where I couldn’t understand the language). I will never forget the kindness and generosity that was shown towards me, especially when I needed it most.
Granada itself is a wonderful little city. It is enriched in history that varies from Moorish (the Alhambra and the ‘Albaycin’ neighbourhood) to Spanish. Walking in the Albaycin is like going back in time as you can still see Arabic shaped doorways and mosaic patterned tiles on the walls. Flamenco originated in this area, so it is a very special place. And for those who don’t know, ‘Granada’ means ‘Pomegranate’ in Spanish, which is considered a sacred fruit in many cultures. (You can see more pics of Granada in my previous post here.)
I have a lot of memories that I take with me from my time there. Some memories include: swimming in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, experiencing a sorching summer with a daily average of 40C (104F), celebrating Spain’s Euro Cup championship, partying until the sun comes up (and sometimes even later), and rescuing ‘Pumpkin’ a tiny street kitten (who was adopted by a lovely Spanish couple).
When you live in a different country, you tend to adapt to your surroundings. So, I adopted a Spanish way of life… I slowed down. I learned to relax. I learned to take my time. I learned how to be happy with having very little. I pushed my personal boundaries, I made mistakes, and I learned a lot about myself. This was the first time in my life where I can actually say that I felt truly relaxed, and truly happy with who I am. I made lots of new friends that made my time here unforgettable, and I learned how to love again. Granada was a very meaningful experience for me, and one that will be in my heart forever.
Lisbon was once one of the richest empires during the Age Of Discovery, and it is one of the oldest cities in Europe — even older than London, Paris and Rome! Today Portugal isn’t as financially grand as it once used to be, however a lot of signs of their rich past still remain with monuments, palaces and cathedrals (in the Manueline style — carved stone that looks like a nautical styled twisted & knotted rope from a ship). Lisbon felt more laid back than Spain (if that’s possible), with delicious food, and beautiful weather.
Budapest, Hungary was the second place I visited on my trip (the first being Prague). It was actually once two cities — Buda and Pest — separated by the Danube River and unified into one city just over 100 years ago. I stayed in the old Jewish quarter which was once a poor area and now has been transformed into a hip area with vintage shops and “ruin bars” (bars set up in abandoned buildings).
Hola! I just came back from a whirlwind tour of Europe. I visited 4 countries in 2 weeks. Here are some pics I wanted to share from Prague, Czech Republic, which was the first stop on my trip. Prague (pronounced ‘Praha’) is the home of the famous Astrological Clock (which is cool, but overrated), and the city has an amazing mix of gothic, art nouveau, and communist architecture. It is a beautiful city with lots to see and do. I also made a day trip out to Kutná Hora to see the Secuar Ossuary; the famous ‘bone church’ which is decorated with thousands of real human bones.
I haven´t updated my blog in a while because I´ve been pretty busy — I moved to Spain! I’m living in the Andalusian city of Granada and working on an animated movie. I have completely fallen in love with this city and its relaxed lifestyle. Granada is unique because it´s a mixture of Spanish and Moorish influences (seen in the architecture of the Albaycín district –which is almost like a village in itself– and the Alhambra palace that overlooks the city). So far everyone I’ve met is really warm + friendly (and they´re patient with my non-existent Spanish — pero yo hablo un poco Españiol cada dia!). Unlike other cities in Spain, tapas is FREE in Granada when you order a drink (about 2€). Tapas can be anything from small h’ordeuvres to large meal-sized portions of fish, meat, cheese, vegetables, etc, so you can be well fed for quite cheap! My favourite Spanish drink is ´Tinto de Verano´, which is a mixture of red wine + carbonated lemonade (sounds strange but it´s really good + refreshing). As for the food, they sure love their meat! Meat is in just about everything you order — even in salad! Oh.. and don´t even think about having dinner before 9pm.. it´s unheard of! I love the relaxed lifestyle here, the friendly people, and the weather is starting to warm up. Sometimes I feel a little out of place (with the language barrier), but I really enjoy waking up in a city that I want to discover. I thank my blessings everyday. 🙂
Here are a few pics I took as the weather fluctuated greatly this month.
I’m back home visiting my parents for the holidays! My parents live in a quiet village in an old farmhouse that they’ve been fixing up. The house is situated on a couple acres of land, and overlooks a valley with a river. I’ve been back for a month now, and we’ve experienced spring, fall and winter weather. Whatever type of weather we have, it’s a beautiful place to live. I also feel very lucky to be here as I get to see my kitty whom I’ve missed dearly while I was living in London.
The last city I visited on my trip was Berlin. I had heard so much about it, that I was so excited to see what it was all about! First I did all the touristy stuff — the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery), etc. I also visited the Käthe Kollwitz Museum. It was just AMAZING seeing her work in person. She puts so much emotion (sadness, grief, loss) into her work. Her work is so powerful that it’s both inspiring and exhausting at the same time.
There was a political demonstration happening while I was walking along Unter Den Linden. A group of guys were puppeteering a giant marionette; making it walk and ride a skateboard.
There were several reasons why I visited Berlin other than just to see the sights. One of the reasons is that my Mother went to art school in East Berlin, so I wanted to see the school and the flat that she lived in. It was a very special experience for me to see where my Mom lived for 3 years (when she was younger than I am now)! 🙂
My Mom’s best friend from art school (who designed the eagle on the German version of the Euro coin!) has a daughter my age, so I met up with her. Alina is a graphic designer like her Mother, and we had a very nice time together. Alina + her boyfriend showed me the Flohmarkt (fleamarket — amazing stuff which I wanted to buy but couldn’t fit in my suitcase), we ate delicious waffles in Prenzlauer, and they showed me what is remaining of the Berlin Wall. I’m really happy I got to meet Alina since our Mothers were best friends. 🙂
I also met up with my Grandfather’s friend Klaus who is over 80 years old. Klaus took me on a tour of Berlin and had lots to say about living through the war, rebuilding afterwards (he said people wanted simple things.. like windows), living in East Berlin, and it was all very interesting. He took me to the Märchenbrunnen which is a collection of super cute fairy tale sculptures placed around a giant fountain. He explained that after WWII the fountain was busted and most of the pieces were missing. Years after the war when he was working as a journalist, he was given a tip about sculptures found in an old abandoned garage. There he discovered all the missing sculptures for the fountain! I think it’s amazing that he helped restore this fountain back to its original glory.
I liked Berlin. It felt like a city where change was possible.