Long Distance Friendships

I am currently in Minnesota right now as I write this blog post. I flew in for the weekend to see the band Parachute in concert. (Sorry mom it was over Mother’s Day weekend, hope you liked the bed sham I bought you!)

Being here brings back lots of nostalgic feelings of when I lived here and was able to hangout with these great people more frequently. It made me think about friendships, the importance of having friends and long-distance friendships.

When I was younger, I used to think that it was important to have a lot of friends and be seen as someone who was well liked by everyone. This led to a lot of acquaintances that never scratched further than the surface. As I’ve gotten older, I appreciate deeper friendships,  honest conversations and more meaningful friendships.

Someone once told me, you don’t have to talk to someone every day to know feel validated that they care about you. This is something that I really focus on now, especially because we text more than we call friends. I used to need to receive texts to feel validated in our friendship and I know this is not how it is now.

I have definitely lost friendships. There are times, even when you are close with someone and emotionally invested in them, that you have to take a step back and say, is their behavior towards me ok? It is hard and it took me a while to realize I cannot blame myself for their lack of respect. It was hard, I had to block them from all social media and block their number so I would not allow myself to get sucked back into their fake friendship.

Friendship in general is difficult and add distance and it makes it even harder. Social media makes it harder also. You see photos of people hanging out and you feel left out even though you live in a different state. It takes time and sometimes you think, why do I do this?

I promise you, the few times that you get to see each other, you’ll pick up right where you left off and you’ll realize, it was all worth it. A phone call is always nice, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.Don’t forget to send your friends those silly memes, or dumb Buzzfeed articles when you are thinking of them, it’ll help remind them that you do think of them and you do care for them.

So cheers to the great friendships we build and nurture. So here’s to all those long distance friendships that stand the test of time (zones).

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Little Update

Hi friends!

It has been a while since I have updated you on my life so I thought I would give you a quick post. First off, I am back on reserve and man has that been tough. Reserve these past few months have been crazy. It feels like I am flying a summer schedule when it is technically low flying season. It has been a tough adjustment going back to reserve from having a line, but I have a few things I am looking forward to.

In a few weeks I am headed to Minnesota for a weekend and to see Parachute (the band) in concert. Part of what I love about my flight benefits is that I am able to see friends who live in other states more often than I used to be able to. At the end of May I am headed to Portugal for 9 days and I am so excited. I need this vacation to recharge and feel better about everything that has been going on. I am going with my flight attendant friend Abby.

In July I’m headed to Cooperstown, New York to see the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony (specifically Edgar Martinez). And lastly, at the end of August I’m doing an East Coast trip with my college friend Alyssa. We are going to New York City, Rhode Island and Boston. Part of the reason for our trip is to check off a few baseball fields (NY Yankees and Red Sox for sure, maybe the Mets). I’ll be pretty busy traveling for work and for fun over the summer, but these little trips are what keep me going when work gets frustrating. I cannot wait to blog about my travels and tell you about it.

Well that is all for now.

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Things I did in Buenos Aires pt. 2

Wow okay sorry, this is a post is a long time coming. Life got in the way (look for my next blog post about my exciting life updates) and I took a while to get this blog post together so apologies about that! Alright here we go on part two!

Capitol Building

I toured the Capitol Building in Buenos Aires. I make a point to try and visit every capitol building if I can. This is a free tour that is offered Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 12:30pm for the English tour, just need to show up a bit early to register for the tour. It is currently under construction so I was unable to see most of the building, but the two rooms I visited were beautifully built.

Tango Dancing Show

Something that Buenos Aires (and Argentina) is known for, is their tango. I went and saw a tango show at a place called Tango Porteno. We chose this place because they offered transportation to and from the show. They had a variety of price ranges but for just the show and an appetizer (empanada) it cost $48USD. It was a really great show and I highly recommend going to a tango show if you get the chance.

Afternoon Tea

One of the things that I was most excited about to visit was The Alvear Palace Hotel, L’Orangerie Afternoon Tea room. Afternoon tea is something that the British do and the Alvear Palace Hotel offers. I recommend making reservations if you are going during high travel season as it is very popular. I also recommend that you show up with an empty stomach as they have a variety of sandwiches and desserts that will fill you up. It cost $25USD/per person.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore

This place was one of the places I was most excited to visit. I had read about this old theatre that had been saved and converted into a bookstore. It did not disappoint. I could’ve spent hours browsing around the bookstore (I didn’t though). There’s also a really sweet cafe on the stage that you can sit and look out at everyone. I tried to take a photo but too many people kept walking by that I didn’t get a good pic. The photo below is the best one I took from one of the stairwells.

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El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore, Buenos Aires (Edited with Snapseed)

 

That’s my wrap with Buenos Aires. My next blog post will be a brief update on my life and my next travel plans. Thanks for reading and see you next post!

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Things I did in Buenos Aires pt. 1

Getting Around Argentina

Buenos Aires is a vast city that houses a lot of people. The last population consensus of 2010 stated there were 2 million people in Buenos Aires proper, but the metropolitan area around it houses up to 13 million (World Population Review). Needless to say, Buenos Aires is huge. In my previous post, I talked about how Buenos Aires is still a cash only city, and that includes their trains and taxi systems. They all rely on cash payments, wether paying the taxi driver or loading up your train card. The only exception is Uber. Uber does work in Argentina, the only caveat is they do not accept American Express. My friend was unable to order an Uber with her Delta American Express Card, but I was able to order one with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This is a great way to save cash, however because taxi’s are very important in Buenos Aires, the Uber drivers want you to sit in the front seat so it doesn’t look like they’re driving you around.

One thing to note- even if you choose not to use Uber, it is significantly cheaper to take an Uber to the airport than it is a taxi. A taxi cost around $60USD and an Uber cost $35USD. This is the rate from the hotel, and it was about a 50 minute drive to the airport.

San Telmo, Buenos Aires

The area I stayed in was called San Telmo. This is considered the art and historical district, as there are many art galleries and preserved buildings in the area. We stayed at the Anselmo Hilton Hotel, a boutique hotel that was purchased by Hilton. It’s a great modern hotel that doesn’t feel like it’s out of place in the area. I stayed one night in the Circus Hostel & Hotel which is a few blocks from the Anselmo Hotel. The hostel was clean and friendly. It was your basic hostel, wasn’t overly amazing but wasn’t terrible as well. I stayed in a 6 bedroom with a private bathroom and it cost me $11.33 USD for the one night, plus $2.50USD for breakfast the next day.

On Sundays, in San Telmo and steps outside from the hotel, they have host a market. The market is full of antique items, homemade goods and arts and crafts. It’s the perfect place to get souvenirs that aren’t completely touristy nor are they overpriced.

Wine Tasting

We did a wine tasting at Pain et Vin (Address: Gorriti 5132, C1414BJT CABA, Argentina) which is located in Palermo. Palermo is the hip, young area in Buenos Aires. All the clubs, night life and shopping is in Palermo. The wine tasting was fantastic and very well priced. They were very knowledgeable about their wines and had quite a range to choose from. The wine tasting, for 3 wines with bread and cheese cost us $30USD. I ended up buying 3 bottles of wine and a bottle of olive oil, and including the cost of the wine tasting, it was $70USD total. It is locally owned by a family. They even included a box with bubble wrap for flying back, and I am happy to report all the bottles made it back in one piece. *Please note they are quite busy on the weekends and a reservation is encouraged, we went during the week and it wasn’t as busy.*

I didn’t want to make this post too long to read, I kept writing and I realized it was really long! I am splitting it up and will posting more about what I did in Buenos Aires in a few days.

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Cash-Only Buenos Aires

So something that was a huge struggle for me was that Buenos Aires is still a cash heavy society.  This makes it difficult for a few reasons, one reason is because many US Banks do not carry, nor will order Argentinian Pesos for you (full disclaimer the only bank I asked was WellsFargo, but as this is a huge bank I’m assuming if they do not order Pesos for you, other banks won’t). The other reason is the struggle I faced withdrawing money from ATMS in Argentina.

So there’s a few things I learned being in a cash-only city. Hotels and Hostels obviously accept US credit cards, but most local restaurants and shops are still cash only. For those who want to immerse yourself into the culture, going to local places is important so for the first night I wasn’t able to experience Buenos Aires as much as I wanted to.

The next day, I spent most of the day hunting down ATMs where I could get cash and here’s where the issues started. It’s important to get cash before the weekend because ATMs will run out of cash on Friday evenings or early Saturday morning and won’t be replenished until Monday. Many ATM that is an Argentinian bank will not accept foreign debit cards – I tried:

  • Banco Patagonia
  • Banco Argentina
  • Banco Buenos Aires
  • Banco Citi
  • BBVA

None of these ATMs work. I don’t know why but it was extremely frustrating (I almost cried). Finally I was able to withdraw money from BBVA Frances and it was the only ATM that worked for me. Per research I did (while being stranded trying to find an ATM) HSBC ATMs will also work as well but I did not try and find their ATM so I cannot attest to this. However Argentinian ATM fees are extremely steep, they run about $10USD for ATM fees.

I kept track of my spending and I withdrew about $150 USD and that ended up being enough for my 5 days in Buenos Aires. I put my hotel on my credit card and the few tourist shops they had, I placed on my card so I was able to keep my cash for food and the train.

For those wondering how you can save money on ATM fees, I suggest using Charles Schwab Bank (for US travelers). I switched over to Charles Schwab for all my travel purchases for numerous reasons. The first was no foreign transaction fees on ATM withdrawals and purchases. The second is ATM reimbursement fees. I ended up going to the ATM three times in Argentina and racked up about $40 in ATM fees, and I got them all reimbursed. The last reason is there are no account fees. I have an account that I use only for travel so I only put money in the account when I’m about to travel so for a majority of the year the account will sit at $10 or less and I don’t get charged for having it. I love this for my travel needs and it’s pretty easy to transfer money into the bank.

Hope this helps a little and you’ll be able to avoid the same mistakes I made. Read my overview of Buenos Aires here.

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Buenos Aires Overview

So I just wrote a blog post about how I like to plan a trip but I will admit, I did very little planning for this trip. I did maybe 20 minutes of research and that was about it. I had zero expectations and honestly didn’t know what to expect. The reason I took this trip was because my friend from college had decided to backpack Patagonia and was flying out of Buenos Aires after her trip. She invited me to join her for the last end of her trip and I jumped on the chance on having an excuse to travel.

I flew out of LAX to EZE on American – this was a 12 hour flight and I came prepared with lots of ebooks, music. I made two playlists, one to get me through the flight and one to help me sleep. My sleep music tends to be classical or soft rock and it helps me sleep so I don’t hear airplane noise.

Getting from Ezezia Airport to Buenos Aires is relatively easy. You can take a taxi or you can take a bus. I chose to take the bus – it takes you from the airport to Terminal Madero and is about an hour long and cost $370 Pesos (roughly $9USD).

Once you are in Terminal Madero I recommend getting a taxi, however here’s the caveat, Buenos Aires is still cash only so if you do not have cash, Uber works in Argentina (I’ll talk more about this in my next blog post). One thing I didn’t realize was how big Buenos Aires was so when I decided to walk to my hostel, it took me about 45 minutes walking (didn’t seem that far on the map and I was clearly wrong).

I booked one night at the Circus Hostel and then stayed at the Anselmo Buenos Aires Curio Collection by Hilton for four nights. The area I stayed in was called San Telmo and I’m going to do a blog post just on how awesome San Telmo is so stay tuned!

For the most part, Argentina is really cheap – a bottle of water cost around $120 Pesos, which is roughly $2.75 USD. The food was amazing and cheap, we had dinner out every night where we ordered appetizers, a bottle of wine and our main course and it came out to be average of $45 USD for both our meals.

I flew out of EZE to Dallas since American didn’t have a return flight to LAX. That was a 13 hour flight and I was going stir crazy towards the end of the flight. Also the person next to me wanted to talk the whole flight and I was not amused (it’s one thing to chitchat for a bit, its another thing when I’m clearly trying to sleep and you’re still talking).

Overall it was a great experience, I had a blast and cannot wait to explore more of Argentina. Stay tuned for more about San Telmo, the mistakes I made on this trip and things to do when you are there.

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Let’s Plan a Trip!

One of my favorite parts of going on a trip is to plan it. How I plan a trip usually depends on if I’m traveling with other people or if I’m going alone. If I’m traveling by myself, I often don’t do much planning. I’ll do a little research ahead of time of things I am interested in and would like to see, but I tend to just spend my trip wandering around and making decisions on a whim.

When I’m traveling with friends, I tend to be more of a planner. Mainly because I want to make sure we make the most of our time. For instance, my friend Abby and I are going to Portugal this summer but we’re only going for 6 days so I want to make sure we don’t miss out on anything that we really want to see. However, I’m not a rigid planner, I don’t like having such a strict plan that it doesn’t allow for spontaneity or impulsiveness.

If you’re planning a trip with a group of friends, one of my favorite websites/apps to use is Travefy. Travefy is a web-based app that allows you to add all your travel information into it to create an itinerary (however you can only make changes to your itinerary on a browser, not in the app itself – the only drawback of the app).

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As you can see, there are icons for each day that I’ve placed information. I love that you can track your flights and reservations. You can also upload pdfs and receipts into the app which I love for when I’m in a country without cell service or so I don’t have to hunt through all my emails. There is also a chat feature in the corner that allows you to discuss information with your travel companions. I also like it because it allows you to create notes within the app with information that don’t necessarily fall within the travel itinerary but you want to have it in one place (like the photo below that I made for my New York trip).

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It also comes with a feature to add the cost of each event you’re adding to your itinerary if you want to track your spending. I highly recommend using Travefy as it’s one of the best group planning apps I’ve used. If anyone uses a different travel app I’d love to know what you use.

Next week I’ll finally be posting about my trip to Argentina and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Have a great rest of your week.

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