Memories of a wonderful summer…

Memories of a summer which I gained so much from (outside the lecture room), fought so hard for (appealed against my university exam result-which I won!) and lost so little to… A wonderful summer.

Green Park on an autumn's morning
Green Park on an autumn’s morning

As if you haven’t already noticed, autumn has well and truly crept in! The streets are paved not with gold, but the yellowish brown leaves falling from the trees laying a crisp golden carpet to walk on. The sun is playing ‘pika boo’ behind the silver-lined clouds. I breath in deeply… The air is mild and fresh with an undertone of mixed scents; sweet apple blossom tangled with the pollution from the traffic makes a contradicting concoction. This is autumn in London!

And I’m back into the swing of things as though I never left… As though summer never visited… As though she never left me without saying goodbye…

So I’m thinking back to my summer trips starting in June with a first time visit to Mallorca for Gerry’s 50 shades of blue ‘burning man’ theme birthday; and ending in September for some autumn sun in Sicily with my sister! … Not forgetting everything else in between; Piemonte village Rodallo trip for Festa del Pesce, Dominican Republic and Haiti volunteering trip and Puerto Rico con el corrillo (ayeee)!

Milton Keynes, England

20130716-133343.jpg 20130716-133351.jpg

My summer officially started when I opened the invite to attend my Aunty Lou’s wedding in May… What’s summer without a wedding after all?! Mama Lou’s Big Glorious wedding was joyful event from beginning- the sun showing its full face, to end- I caught the bouquet!

Mallorca, Spain

Gerry’s 50th birthday bash in Mallorca!
Visiting various towns on the island added some spice to my trip!… Thanks to the lovely Aussie, Ben!

My first time in Mallorca and my first 50th birthday bash for Gerry’s 50 Shades of Blue! The Burning-man theme made me an equal amongst Gerry’s elite crowd of friends. Plus a road trip around the island was the cherry on top of this trip… Even if Pacha wasn’t!… My summer was just beginning!

Rodallo, Italy

Summer Camp
Summer Camp with Gena and her friends
With Elvio and Rodallo locals who made the ‘Festa del Pesce’ event a success!

I had the pleasure of visiting my favourite Piemonte village, Rodallo, for its annual ‘festa del pesce‘. I also accompanied Alu and Gena to their summer camp where I got a geography lesson on the map of Italy by the kids… Quite useful!

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Trying to chill-out in Bavaro Beach Resort… Meeting Vivi was the highlight of my resort stay!
Sun, sea, sand… And all-inclusive at Bavaro Beach resort!

When I booked a British Airways flight to the Dominican Republic, little did I know what I’d discover on the island of Hispaniola.. My journey stared by landing in Punta Cana- Resorts only! Staying at the Bavaro Beach Resort would satisfy most people’s definition of a holiday, however after the second night the novelty of an ‘all-inclusive’ was lost on me and I was ready to leave and meet real locals!… But not before I meeting the lovely Boricua Vivi on the dance floor of the disco… That would be the start of a great friendship… And another adventure in Puerto Rico later on!

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Volunteering with GN Dom...
Volunteering with GN Dom… With Soo, GN Dom International volunteer from Korea.
Santo Domingo experience :)
Santo Domingo experience… -Caribas plantain chips and Presidente beer for the ultimate chill-out evening. Traditional Perico Ripiao music played in Parque Colon

Santo Domingo offers a radiant charm I find extremely attractive in older cities; Zona Colonial! This historical part of the city has so much to offer; from affordable accommodation options to sunday strolls exploring something new on each narrow bend of the street. Leave the guild book in the safety of the hotel and have a local show you around like I did with Nicaury! Or find yourself a new read by checking out something you won’t find in the guidebook; Biblioteca libre! And whatever you do, don’t forget to bachata, merengue or salsa to the live music played every sunday evening (weather permitting) in the ruins of San Francisco… Surreal! 

I volunteered with Good Neighbors Dominican Republic directed by Ms Hyang Cho. It was a great way to do something helpful and get to experience the Dominican culture first hand… And discover Korean culture thanks to fellow international volunteer Soo. I also got a chance to practise my video-making and editing skills using my iphone! Thanks for the experience GN Dom team!!

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Shanti Poudel, the centre’s co-ordinator introduced me to homemade Nepali cuisine! I bond with the children the centre feeds daily. And feeling on ‘top of the world’ at the UN Nepal Base
Arriving in Haiti!... Volunteering at the Sai Baba centre in Port-au-Prince which provides food for 2000 needy children daily.
Arriving in Haiti!… Volunteering at the Sai Baba centre in Port-au-Prince which provides food for 2000 needy children daily.

Haiti has always fascinated me. From the country’s history as the first Black Republic to the preservation of the the Voudun religion. I can never hide my fascination when I meet someone from Haiti! Three years ago when the country was struck by a devastating huricaine, I knew I wanted to help in some way. Three and a half years later I got the opportunity in the least expected way; by volunteering at the Sathya Sai centre in Port-au-Prince. The centre which is co-ordinated by Shanti Poudel and Carlos Suarez, provides freshly cooked nutritious meals to needy children living in camps across Port-au-Prince. Haiti was full of unexpected surprises, comforting fulfillments and small accomplishments… Leaving Haiti was leaving the best of my summer behind… I found myself in more ways than one.

The funding for the food program is drawing to an end. If you’re able to help in some way for the children to continue to receive a meal each day, please contact the co-ordinator Shanti Poudel Thank you

San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Borica experience!
The Borica experience!
From Aibonito roadtrip to Bacardi factory tour to visiting the preserved Casa Museo... I got the ABC Puerto Rican experience!
From Aibonito roadtrip to Bacardi factory tour to visiting the preserved Casa Museo… I got the ABC Puerto Rican experience!

From meeting Vivi on the dance floor of a holiday resort in DR to a week full of activities hanging con el corillo, Puerto Rico was everything I was expecting… And then some!

Palermo, Sicily

Soaking up the sun in Sampieri... And it's not a Sicily trip without trying cannoli!
Soaking up the sun in Sampieri… And it’s not a Sicily trip without trying cannoli!
The Palermo experience with my sister Mel and our host Giuseppe!
The Palermo experience with my sister Mel and our host Giuseppe!

Once again, I return to Italy for the second time this summer… But this isn’t just Italy, it’s Italy with a distinctive island feel! I chose the perfect location and time to travel with my sister for a couchsurfing adventure in Sicily. And we really couldn’t have asked for a nicer, understanding host (I don’t know many who would put up with sisters constantly bickering!)-  grazie Giuseppe!

Socking up the warm autumn sun while sunbathing on Sampieri, discovering the meaning of ‘indulgence’ in Modica by sampling the world-renowned chocolate in Antica Dolceria Bonajuto… And biting into a scrumtuous cannoli as though I had died and gone to… Well, Italy! A truly blissful way to end my summer…

And now, here’s to a wonderful autumn!…

I’m back to school until the next trip… because students travel too you know- on a student budget! 😉

What are some of your memories of a wonderful summer?

My summer ends in Sicily... With a bowl of #homemade pasta con pesto e provola cheese from Ragusa... Buon appetito!
My summer ends in Sicily… With a bowl of #homemade pasta con pesto e provola cheese from Ragusa… Buon appetito!

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