Weekend Travel: One Day Day In Helsinki

Helsinki

This weekend I traveled with two other au pairs in Tampere to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We took the bus from Tampere and it only cost us around 18 euros round-trip. The trip was also only two hours long. There is also a train you can take and tickets for trains and buses are usually cheaper, but we didn’t book the tickets until the night before. Here is how we spent our day in Helsinki 🙂

One Day in Helsinki:

We got on the bus at 9am and arrived in Helsinki at 12pm so we went to get something to eat first thing. One of the girls knew of a ramen noodle restaurant that was really good so we went there. At first went she suggested ramen noodles I thought of the packets you can get really cheap at the store, but I was surprised by what real ramen noodles are!

Ramen Noodles

Momotoko

After lunch, one of the girls wanted to go to a store called Bypais. 

This store has an outlet store about 20 minutes from the center by bus. It was kind of confusing to find because it was in the middle of the country.

When we got back to Helsinki, we went to the city center to see the market.

I have always loved Europe because of their open markets! The smell of the fresh fruit and seeing handmade products is my favorite. The open market is located right by the sea, so it has a great view.

Helsinki

Next stop was the Helsinki Cathedral located in Senate Square.

This is right by the open market and harbor. We stopped to take some pictures and enjoy the view.

Helsinki

We then headed to a cafe for a coffee and cake break!

I really recommend the place we stopped at, Kulma Cafe. The coffee was delicious and the cinnamon roll I had was big!

Kalma Cafe

For the rest of our day until it was time to go back we did some shopping.

I learned a lot about Finnish brands including Iittala and Marimekko. Iittala is a glassware brand that is very popular. In Finland glassware is very popular so almost all Finnish have Iittala in their homes.

Before we got on the bus, we stopped and got some snacks for the ride.

I was introduced to a little pastry that has rice and cheese on top that was so good! It is a Fazer Rukiinen Piira. These are originally from Russia and have different flavors. At the store it was only 39 cents, so a must try!

We had perfect weather for a day in Helsinki!

Helsinki is a beautiful city that I recommend visiting! What is your favorite Scandinavian city?

 

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10 Things You Did Not Know About Me

About Me

Today I am leaving for Finland! Omg I know right?! I thought today would be a good day to post a little about me so you can get to know me and my blog. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

10 Things About Me

I Was Introduced To Traveling At A Young Age

young me

I am first generation American on my dad’s side so I was able to travel at a young age. My dad and his mom are both from Mexico while his dad is from Prague. I was able to go visit family in Mexico City and this really opened up my eyes to the world around me. Ever since I have been hooked!

Moving To Finland To Be An Au Pair

Finland
http://www.rhinocarhire.com/Car-Hire/Finland-Car-Hire/Tampere-Downtown-Car-Hire.aspx

I posted a while ago about my experience with finding a family and why I chose Finland. You can read about it here.

Graduated With A Bachelor’s Degree In Elementary Education

College

It took me over four years to graduate, but hey I did it! I started out as a Biology major to go into the medical field, but after about a year or two I decided it was not for me. At that time I was volunteering with Girls Inc. and really loved working with the girls. I always connected with children and enjoyed working with them, but until my supervisor told me I should really think about being a teacher did I ever consider it.

I Was In A Sorority In College

College

Personally, I really enjoyed being in a sorority and I feel like it really shaped me into the woman I am today. I am also really grateful for all the women I was able to meet because they are my rocks.

Love Reading

I love reading all and any type of book! On my blog there is a post about my summer reads you can check out here.

Could Not Survive Without Coffee

coffee

In all honesty it’s not really for the caffeine as it is for the taste. Hazelnut is my jam!

I Live For Patio Weather

Bloody Mary

Anyone else see a perfect day as sitting on a patio with great food, drinks, and friends?

Only Child, But I Am Close To My Family

I am fortunate that my mom and her sisters are very close so I have always grown up with cousins around.

Obsessed With Grilled Cheese And Mac N Cheese

About Me

I mean, who isn’t?

I Have Six Tattoos

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture that shows all of them, but I can list them. There is a cactus on the back of my left arm, “agape” on my right hip, a sun on my left inner elbow, a moon on my right inner elbow, “maktub” written across my back in arabic, and an arrow going up my spine. I am not sure if I plan on getting any others, but you never know 😉

I am excited to share all of my travels while I am in Europe! What is an interesting fact about you?
xx Chynna

 

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How To Make The Most Out of College

How to Make the Most Out of College

This post can also be titled “Chynna is pouting about growing up.” Transitions in life are always hard, but they can also be very exciting. They can be a way to learn more about yourself and also try new things. College is one of those transitions in life that is exciting, but also daunting. Some of you may be moving far from home or have decided to stay at home and go to a college near you. Either way, you still have no idea what’s coming next. This year as I enter my next transition, life after college, I reflect on my years in college and things I did and wish I had done. So here is my alumni advice for those who are entering college this year 🙂

Put Yourself Out There

I know this is really cliche to say and you probably hear it all the time, but it’s true! It feels so weird asking people you don’t know to do something with you or having to ask if you can join but just do it. There is really nothing you can lose from it. You never know, that person may be your new best friend.

College

Don’t Go Home Every Weekend

For some of you who are really close to your family this may be really hard (or if you’re staying home). Living away from home is a great way to became independent and find out things about yourself. This will never happen if you go home every weekend.

College Tailgate

Don’t Only Hang Out With People From Your Hometown

This is so easy to do since you know them and it feels safe, but as stated above put yourself out there! Go out and meet new people. Some of my closest friends are ones I randomly met in college and it is because I branched out.

College

Join a Club and/or a Sorority/Fraternity

I personally went through recruitment, but if it’s not for you then don’t do it! I know a lot of girls who even went as far as joining a sorority because all of their friends did it, but they really didn’t like it. Do what you want to do. College is a time to do things that you like to do and joining a club based on those interests is a good place to start.

College

Go Abroad

Take advantage of studying abroad. You get the chance to live in another country and go to school with students from your school and others. Everyone I know who went abroad loved it. I didn’t study abroad, but I did go to Ireland for a week with three of my sorority sisters. I wish I would have studied abroad through!

Ireland

Take Classes Seriously

I’m really only putting this on here because there were so many people my freshman year that failed classes or didn’t get into Kelley because they didn’t take their classes seriously. So basically study.

Have Fun!

As much as studying is important, so is having fun! While yes there are nights in the library I remember (most likely because I wasn’t studying), but the nights I really remember are the ones where I was with friends enjoying being young. Let yourself have a break sometimes and go have some fun!

College

College

As someone whose college career is over, it goes so fast. So even though midterms and finals may be brutal and you’re super stressed out; you will miss it. So have fun and enjoy it!

What are you looking forward to most in college or what is your favorite college memory?

xx Chynna

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Weekend Travel: 4 Things You Should Do in NYC

4 Things You Should Do in NYC

After spending a day in Boston my friends and myself hopped on an Amtrak train and headed to the Big Apple. We stayed in an awesome Airbnb in Brooklyn and had the best NYE in NYC! I will say it was crowded since it was a holiday, but still a great experience.

4 Things You Should Do in NYC:

Go to Central Park.

Getting to walk through the park and see amazing views of the city was one of my favorite parts. It was cold when we went, but I bet in the fall or spring it would be an amazing place to take a walk or just hang out or maybe have a picnic.

Central Park

Walk on the Brooklyn Bridge and Explore Brooklyn.

Another great view of the city! As a said above that our Airbnb was in Brooklyn, specifically near a Holistic Jewish community. If you are interested in cultures like me, you will love exploring all the different communities in New York. I personally had never heard of this sector of Judiasm before and of course after realizing this I had to learn all about it! The fact that there are so many diverse people living in New York City is what I really love about it.

Brooklyn Bridge

Go to Times Square. 

It was a madhouse when we went, but you can’t go to NYC without seeing Times Square. We also decided against seeing the ball drop here for New Years. Our flights were early the next morning so we decided to sightsee instead. Seeing the ball drop in Times Square is on my bucket list though!

FOOD! 

Did you really think this would not be on my list? Eating food is one of my favorite things to in a place I am visiting. Any type of food you are looking for, NYC has it. Here are some places that should be on your list: Le Coucou, Superiority Burger, Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market, and Patsy’s Pizza – East Harlem. If you love macaroons then Ladurée should be on your list. When I found out there was one in the city I dragged all my friends so that I could get a macaroon!

Extra: Visit Museums and Memorials

I highly suggest visiting the 9/11 Memorial. It is honestly a really humbling experience. You can also visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and pretend you are on the set of Gossip Girl 😉

9/11 Memorial

I can’t wait to plan my next trip to explore the city more. What are your favorite things to do in NYC?

xx Chynna

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Weekend Travel: 3 Reasons You Should Visit Boston

3 Reasons to go to Boston

This past New Years Eve, a group of my friends and myself made a trip to Boston where another one of our friends lives. We stayed for two days and then made our way to NYC for New Years. Before the trip I was honestly more excited to see NYC since I had never been, but I have to say Boston really surprised me. It was nothing like I expected. Boston has the perfect mix of colonial history with modern innovations. This city with its cobble streets and location on the water is perfect for your next weekend getaway.

3 Reasons You Should Visit Boston:

  • Boston has so many things to do! Museums: The New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, The Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and the Kennedy Library. We went to the Kennedy Library and all thought it was really interesting. You can also take a trip over to Harvard. You can also check out the Freedom Trail.

Boston

Kennedy Museum

  • The food is amazing! With fresh lobster (umm hello lobster mac n’ cheese), clam chowder, bagels, and Boston cream pie how could you not want to come?? Roxie’s Grilled Cheese is another favorite for their delicious grilled cheese and truffle fries. If you love donuts like I do then add Union Square Donuts to your list. They even have a peanut butter and jelly one.
  • Did I already mention the cobble stone streets? The vibe this city has is really amazing and it has the views to back it up. Something about a city skyline on water really gets me. There are also so many unique shops in the city to check out. Going down the winding small streets and finding a cute bookstore was probably one of my favorite moments.

Boston street

Going to Boston in the fall is definitely on my bucket list. It was amazing in the winter (but really cold) so I can only imagine what it would look like with fall foliage. What cities have you visited that surprised you?

I will be sharing the rest of our trip, NYC in my next post!

xx Chynna

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Five Travel Quotes That Will Inspire You To Explore

Travel

For some of us, we do not need any reasons to travel or to book that flight. But sometimes we do need that extra motivation to keep going and follow our passion of traveling. I am currently feeling excited, but also starting to get nervous about my upcoming move to Finland. Those thoughts of, “will I be okay and make it as a travel blogger” and “will I get lonely” always creep into my mind. But I have to be brave and remember my passion.

Travel Quotes That Will Inspire You To Explore:

travel quote

I really love this. We get caught up so much in our everyday small things that we forget that there is so much more going on in the world. Traveling is very humbling.

Mark Twain Travel Quote

Travling opens up your mind to learn so many things! This is one of my favorite things about traveling; learning about different cultures and the way that people live. We are all unique and it is beautiful.

Eleanor Roosevelt travel quote

One of the reasons I started my blog was to be able to do what I am passionate about, traveling. I want to see the world for myself and not through a screen; I want to taste the food and experience the atmosphere.

Shakespeare Travel Quote

Honestly embarrassed at how many times I had to look up how to spell Shakespeare 🙂

Be Brave Travel Quote

Yes, be brave. Such a simple statement, but sometimes such a hard thing to do. In these last weeks before I am going to be brave and go for it and I hope you do too. Wether that be going for that job, quitting your job, moving for love, moving for you, or just to get out of bed in the morning; BE BRAVE. You can do it and I believe in you.

p.s. here is the link to the website I used to find my au pair family

Is there anything that you are or want to do that you are nervous about?

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How To Spend 1 Day in Chicago

Chicago

This past weekend I headed up to Chicago with two friends to meet up with two of our other friends. One lives in Milwaukee and drove down and the other lives in Chicago, which is pretty convenient because we can just stay at her place. With everyone’s hectic schedule we headed there on Thursday and left on Saturday morning, so really we had one full day to explore. Here is how we spent our day in Chicago!

Friday Morning:

Brunch! This is seriously one of my favorite things to do. We went to WHISK where the whole restaurant is decorated in all things Ron Swanson. The restaurant is also BYOB, so grab your favorite bottle of champagne (or four) and head over! You don’t need to bring your own juice, they have fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juices that they will provide.

It was very hard for us to decide on what to get because everything on the menu looked delicious! I ordered the Veggie Croissant (super yummy!) that had american cheese, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, garlic aioli, and two eggs and is served with house potatoes. I am a fan of anything with avocados or aioli so I had to get it. If you have a sweet tooth they have a pumpkin cinnamon roll pancake that looks delicious. We were going to order it to share, but were too full after eating our meals. This only means I have another reason to go back 😉

Afternoon:

Chicago

After brunch we headed out to the lake! We went to Oak City Beach. We didn’t expect to have good weather so we did not bring our suits, but we just enjoyed the view. I did see there was a company were you can rent chairs if you do decide to spend the day by the lake. I love that you can sit by the water and have a city view!

Oak City Beach, Chicago

Oak City Beach, Chicago

Unfortunately, about 30 minutes after we got there it started to pour! So we had to hurry and order an Uber back to my friend’s apartment.

Night:

It pretty much poured all night. Since we didn’t feel like going out in the rain for dinner we ordered pizza in. There are so many restaurants in Chicago to choose from though for dinner! This one is more of an after a night out place, but Cheesies is a place to definitely check out if you love grilled cheeses. They have a grilled cheese with chicken tenders in it, so amazing!

After eating and getting ready we made our way to the Lion’s Head Pub located in Lincoln Park which is a sports bar and upstairs is The Apartment which is for dancing. Lincoln Park along with Old Town is a good area to check out if you are looking to go out. There are a lot of bars to choose from.

Chicago

Other Activities to Do While in Chicago:

  • Lincoln Park Zoo: Free!!
  • Navy Pier
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Cloud Gate (the bean)
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Willis Tower
  • Millenium Park
  • Garfield Park observatory
  • Wrigley Field
  • The Chicago Theater
  • Shopping on Michigan Ave

Chicago has so many things to do no matter what your interests are! What is your favorite thing to do while in Chicago?

xx Chynna

 

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Four Books You Should Read This Summer

Books You Should Read This Summer

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but all thoughts are my own 🙂 If you click on a link and make a purchase, Boarding for Chynna will receive a small commission. 

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but also one that I do not get to do that often. I buy and buy books, but sometimes it takes months for me to get around to reading them. With vacations and nice weather to sit outside and read, I am making it a priority to read this summer.

Four Books That Are On My Reading List:

I am always looking to add to my reading list, what books are on your summer reading list? I am always looking to add to my reading list, what books are on your summer reading list? Click To Tweet

xx Chynna

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How I Became an Au Pair in Finland

Finland
http://www.rhinocarhire.com/Car-Hire/Finland-Car-Hire/Tampere-Downtown-Car-Hire.aspx

If you have read my about me page, then you would know that I am going to be an au pair in Finland this August! Since making this decision last October I have had many questions on what lead me to do this as well as how I did it. These questions leads to this blog where I will tell you all about how I became an au pair in Finland!

Why Did I Choose to Become an Au Pair?

I am really passionate about traveling and learning about other cultures. It is seriously so fascinating to me! My goal is while I am young to go out and see the world around me as much as I can because I don’t know where I will be later in life and if I will be capable. But I do know that right now I have nothing holding me back. I also really love kids. My Bachelors Degree is in Elementary Education, so working with kids is something I want to do. I really did not know that being an au pair was a thing. One New Years Eve I was introduced to a woman who was also a recent graduate from IU that studied Elementary Education that was currently an au pair in Vienna. After talking to her about her life abroad, I wanted to know more and starting researching!

How Did I Find A Family?

There are multiple sites that you can use. I used AuPairWorld and really liked the format that they used. You can select the countries that you are interested and the length of time and then look at families profiles that match those. When choosing a family make sure that you find one that you think will best fit you. You will be living with them! (unless they pay for your own apartment) Trust your gut. Even if the family lives in your dream location, if you don’t think you will be happy with them don’t do it! Also make sure you Skype with the family a couple times before making a decision along with discussing what they expect from you and what you expect from them. I also asked for a sample contract to look over.

Why Finland?

I get this question a lot. At first I really wanted Paris or a city in Spain, but when I Skyped with the families I did not feel a good connection. When my family from Finland contacted me I really felt like I could live with them! When we discussed what we both wanted, we really matched up. So, no Finland was not my top choice but I have been to France and Spain and I think this will really allow me to experience a new culture.

What Do You Do and Get As An Au Pair?

This depends per family, but in our agreement I take the kids and pick them up from school. I also do light cleaning along with once a month a deep cleaning. I am really there as a nanny who will also help their children learn English along the way. For my nanny services I get to live there for free, a monthly stipend, language classes, a bus pass, half of the flight, and a phone. What you will get paid monthly is not a lot, but the family is paying for you living and your food. Some families will pay for an apartment for you to live in, but I found that this is pretty rare. That’s why I stress that you try to find a family that you think you will get along with.

Do You Need a Visa?

It really depends on the country you are going to and length of time. Finland has an au pair visa that I had to apply for. I also had to pay for this along with go to LA to get fingerprinted. I made a weekend trip out of it, but something to consider and talk to your host family about.

What Are You Going to Pack?

I HAVE NO CLUE. If anyone has any tips, send them my way please! I will definitely post what I packed after I do ;). If you are going to Ireland I do have a packing list here.

Are You Excited?

YES! I’m also nervous about moving somewhere I don’t know the language and I won’t know anyone, but that’s all in the experience right? I am really excited to also travel to other places if I get the chance. If you have anywhere that is perfect for a weekend trip, let me know!

I am excited for this journey and cannot wait to share it with you guys. Have you every lived abroad?

xx Chynna

 

 

Packing for One Week in Ireland

Cliffs of Moher Ireland

In my last post I wrote about my amazing week driving through Ireland. When I was packing for my trip I honestly had no idea of what to bring. Will it be really cold? Will it rain a lot? These questions left me lost on what items I should pack. Since I am back from my trip I will share with you what I packed for one week in Ireland in March!

My Packing List for One Week in Ireland:

  • Rain boots: Since these were my biggest item I wore them on the plane. It wasn’t the most comfortable, but it saved a lot of room in my bag. With Ireland’s unpredicatable weather you never know if it will rain or not. We were lucky and it did not rain during our trip, but the year after my friend took the same trip and it rained the entire time. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.
  • Black wedge booties: I bought mine from Target and they are so comfortable! I wore these out at night and they were perfect when walking on the old cobble streets.
  • Tennis shoes: These will come in handy when your feet are hurting from walking so much!
  • Black flats
  • Pants(2): I brought a pair of regular skinny jeans and also a pair of black pants.
  • Leggings(2)
  • Sweatshirt
  • Blouses(3)
  • Sweater
  • Black long sleeved dress (pictured below)
  • T-shirts(2)
  • Light Jacket: I got mine from J.Crew, it is no longer available but is pictured below
  • Raincoat
  • Vest: I also got mine from J.Crew, but they are no longer available
  • Neutral shirts
  • Black Scarf
  • Crossbody purse

Ireland

Other Important Things to Pack:

  • Converter for your electronics
  • Feminine products (just in case)
  • Glasses/contacts
  • Makeup
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Sports bra
  • Bras
  • Pajamas
  • Granola bars: You never know when you will be hungry and not able to eat!
Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Cliffs of Moher

I hope this helps you decide what to bring for your next trip! What is something you cannot travel without?

Chynna

 

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