Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A lovely autumn afternoon...

As I sat sipping my delicious spring cherry green tea in Beans and Brews yesterday afternoon, working on my French paper, and waiting to meet a great friend, I found myself watching all the chaos happening outside. I was at the coffee shop in Draper, right on 12300 S. so it was quite busy all afternoon. I wondered to myself if any of those people out there realize that they don't have to take care of things on their own...that God has it all under control.

It was so great to get together with my friend Kelsea, we haven't really seen each other for a few months now. We had a very uplifting and strengthening discussion and I left feeling happy and confident. I can feel things in my life changing for the better. Its amazing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Have you ever had the feeling that you're falling and grasping out for anything you can hold onto? I've been feeling sort of like that lately, spiritually, although I no longer feel like I'm falling. I finally feel like I've grasped onto God's hand, and now I'm doing my part to pull myself up, even though I know that's not how it works. All I really have to do is trust God to lift me back up, and he will. So why is it so hard sometimes? There is always a reason not to trust in him....we think we can do life on our own...how wrong is that. I've come to realize that throughout the last two years. I'm finally to the point where I feel like I am constantly thirsting for more of God's love in my life, more of God in me. I love it. I have finally decided to trust in him alone. And its the best decision of my life.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."
Psalm 32:8

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, September 15, 2007

As I sat in church last week, listening to Tom Davis, the president of the Children's Hope Chest, I felt the need to really do more to help those around me. Those in need. I know it seems like one can only do so much from here, in Sandy, Utah; however I really felt a passionate response in my heart for the children and people who are in need all over the world. Even within my own city. The church that we go to is called K2. We attend in a warehouse and praise God each week. For those who do not know a lot or anything about the organization, it is a non-denominational Christian church-not a religion.

Tom Davis has written a couple of books, and because of his amazing, inspirational message to us last week, Justin and I decided to buy them. I am amazed by the people who attend K2, we went to the third and last service and one of the books was completely sold out...we had to be put on a waiting list, hopefully we'll get our copies tomorrow.

We also learned about some service opportunities, one of which greatly interested Justin and me. Each summer K2 sends a mission team (sometimes two) to an orphanage in Russia. It is only two weeks long, but from what we have heard from people who have gone in the past, it is life changing and absolutely amazing. We set a goal for ourselves to learn some Russian this year (a doubly good thing, since Justin is half Russian!) and to save up money so that we will be able to go with K2 this next summer. It is not that much, but it would be something amazing to someone. An orphan in Russia. Any way that I can help the life of a child, from something so small as taking two weeks out of my year, I just feel I have no excuse not to do that.

The website www.5for50.com, provides 5 simple things that everyone can do to help the 50 million people around the world who are suffering and dying of HIV/AIDS. Please join, and at least pray or send out positive thoughts for those in the world who are in need.

I know I am.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My apologies....

...for not writing as much now that I'm home! I've been meaning to post some more pictures and just catch up again with everyone, other things just keep getting in the way. For a prime example...just now...I was in the middle of writing this and got up and did a bunch of other stuff, like put away laundry and clean.... Back to real life, eh?

I do have some news though, I just got a new job, and I start tomorrow! I'll be working as a part-time teller at the University of Utah Credit Union. I think it'll be a perfect job for me....and especially while I'm finishing school. In case you didn't know, I only have 2 more semesters left! I'll have my degree next spring! So happy.

I do have more to say, but I definitely need to get to bed now, get some good rest before tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

25.07.07 London, England

Hello again everyone! Sorry about the hiatus this past week! I figure most of you are being updated through my mom's emails...I should just post those up here! We've had a fabulous time here in London, all 3 of us (me, my mom, Justin)....though I cannot speak for the other two, I'm very anxious and looking forward to getting home on Friday! 6 weeks is much much too long for me to be away! I'm looking forward to the strangest things....like doing laundry....this can't be healthy. Anyway, I most likely won't be writing again until I get home, but when I do write next, I'll be sure to post lots of pictures! Love you all! See you all soon!!! (except maybe Lacey and the fam....that may be a while yet :( ).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

17.07.07 Dublin, Ireland (in a hotel!!!)

My mom arrived safe and sound (if incredibly exhausted) this morning! I met her at the airport, we had a nice ride back into the city centre. We did just a little bit of walking, she was running out of steam pretty quickly, so we headed over to the hostel to pick up mine and Katherine's backpacks...we then took a cab back up to our hotel. It was very nice. The hotel we're staying is absolutely heavenly compared to everywhere I've stayed in the past 5 weeks! So crazy!

We went literally about 2 doors down the street for dinner, and had delicious fish and chips, and homeade (free!) soup and bread before the meal! It was delicious! It started raining constantly again today, just in time for my mom to get here, of course! Although I'm sure she'll enjoy it seeing as the entire state of Utah is on fire!

I'm off to the hotel to shower and sleep for a while now, take care, and love you all!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

15.07.07 Dublin, Ireland

So, it just figures with my luck, that as soon as I bought that cute jacket, it warmed up!! Damned weather! Oh well, apparently its supposed to start raining and being chilly again at the very least by the time we get to London! Anyway, yesterday was relatively uneventful, I had planned on visiting the National Museum, however when I got there, it was closed indefinitely for repairs or something. Not cool. No worries though! I wandered some more, something I'm getting very good at (as you may be able to tell!).

Though I haven't really done too much sightseeing while I've been here, there is a reason behind it. I am scouting things out to do with my mom when she gets here Tuesday. We're planning to see St. Patrick's Cathedral, Christchurch Cathedral, and Trinity College and the Book of Kells....those are the main, big touristy things here. Other than that, I've got some fabulous wandering routes scouted out! I hope you're excited mom!

Today I went to the National Museum of Archeology and History. The coolest exhibit is that of the "Bog People". I don't remember if I mentioned this before or not, but just a few years ago they discovered almost mummified remains of ancient people of Ireland who were preserved amazingly well in the bogs in which they were buried. It was a very cool and interesting exhibit....if a little bit gross....the skin was very noticeably leathery. Interesting how amazingly bodies can be preserved though! With skin and hair still on them!

After that I wandered back to the hostel for a bit, and I've really just been taking it easy here. I'm trying to rest up before the blitz of the last week and a half of this trip. I have one more day of rest and leisure, then the pace picks back up again, and I can't wait! Love you all!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Great News!!!

Great news! Justin got his passport yesterday (yes in only a month!) so he is for sure coming to London next Friday to spend the week with us! I can't wait!! London will be amazing!!

I'll write more soon, just had to spread my super good news....can you tell I'm excited?

Friday, July 13, 2007

13.07.07 Dublin, Ireland

Hello again from Dublin!! I've had 2 full days here now, and its been wonderful!! Yesterday I basically just explored the neighborhood I'm staying in now, and then the one we'll be in when my mom gets here on Tuesday (which I'm very excited for!!). Temple Bar is a very hip, fun district, where we are now...just down the street from Trinity College (where Katherine is researching) and right across the street from Christ Church Cathedral. Its a beautiful city....what is crazy though, is that the rain is a constant drizzle. Which really doesn't sound all that bad, and at first its not. Then once you're out in it for over about 30-45 minutes, you realize you're completely drenched....not good...especially when I definitely did not come prepared for cold, rainy weather.

Good news though....it gave me an excuse to buy the adorable blue coat I saw this morning in a shop! I needed it!! I was drenched! Haha....you all know me well enough to know that it really didn't take that much convincing for me to buy the coat. But I'm definitely glad I did. That combined with the adorable hat I got in....I think it was Paris...anyway, tomorrow I plan to be at least a bit warmer and dryer than I was today!

Today I walked down Grafton Street towards St. Stephen's Green, and then across to where the National Gallery is. There were some wonderful works of art there, some fabulously less well known Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Poussin, Boucher, etc.
And I found a lovely little cafe for lunch...I had a tomato, mozzarella and pesto pannini sandwich and probably the best cafe mocha I've ever had. It had chocolate shavings on top! So yummy!!

Tonight we met Katherine's professor for dinner, got some sandwiches at subway and sat on the banks of the Liffey while we ate. We had a great time, with great conversation....all in all I've had a wonderful couple of days! Hopefully the next few will be just as fabulous!! Love you all!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

11.07.07 Dublin, Ireland

Finally we made it to Ireland!!!! I really can hardly believe that I'm actually here. As some of you know, this has always been one of my life goals to come here to Ireland....my dream vacation that I've wanted to take ever since I was about 11 or 12 and did my country report on Ireland.

First I'll start with Edinburgh though. Yesterday we wandered quite a bit, and the town itself is really quite gorgeous. We found a Marks and Spencer *(a department/grocery store) and bought some fabulous ready made sandwiches (I really hate that we don't have quality ready made sandwiches and salads at home....they're cheap and healthy and very tasty!) and crossed the street to a park where we sat overlooking a gorge with the Edinburgh castle atop a hill at one end. So beautiful!

After that we went in to the National Gallery of Scotland, which is wonderful, because all the museums here are free! There was some amazing work from the Romantic period, which I studied in a class just last semester, so it was amazing to see so much of what I studied and wrote about not very long ago. There were some wonderful works by Poussin, and Boucher especially.

As we walked along the Royal Mile, we found a meeting place for an underground "ghost tour". We ended up going on it, and it turned out to be quite fun. The guide was in costume and provided a great history. We walked a bit through the old city, then went down into some of the vaults. They were apparently inhabited by ghosts. It really was quite unsettling right up until the super hokey ending where a cloaked man jumped in front of the entrance to one of the vaults we were in. It was a really lame and somewhat disappointing ending. Before that happened I felt fairly unsettled, but that completely ruined it. Oh well, what can you do? One of the really cool things we saw was a working Wiccan temple in one of the vaults. It was very interesting and super cool to see it all.

So, this morning we wandered a bit more and found Waterstone's....a wonderful bookstore, much like Barnes and Noble. We spent quite a while in there, just browsing, and sitting in the Starbucks cafe. It felt like home!

Dublin is wonderful so far....and definitely very green and wet. I'll write again soon!! Keep in touch!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

10.07.07 Edinburgh, Scotland

Here I am in Edinburgh....We just got in so we haven't had really any chance to explore quite yet. The Scottish countryside is quite beautiful though. I really loved it, its so green and....really just what you might think of. We took the train from Glasgow here, and it was a very short trip, less than an hour, actually. The hostel we're staying in here is called "Caledonian Backpackers" and its a very funky place. We have a 38 bed dorm room, which is slightly reminiscent of the types of photos you see of shelters that are set up in gymnasiums after a hurricane or tornado. Though it is much cooler with random funky murals all over the walls. And lockers scattered throughout the room as well!!

I am very much looking forward to getting into Dublin tomorrow, since, once I'm there, I have 10 days without much travel! The only time I have to load up my backpack again will be to move it to the hotel we're moving to when my Mom gets here. And at that point there will be an extra bag for me to redistribute some of the weight! So crazy....I really haven't bought all that much, but today my backpack was really getting to me....of course that could have been the fact that we had to hike uphill to the train station. Did I mention that Glasgow reminds me of San Francisco, with all its hills? So insane!

I am glad to be here, and sad that I don't have more time here in Scotland, but oh well....on another trip!

I'll write again soon, take care! Love you all!

Monday, July 09, 2007

09.07.07 Glasgow, Scotland

Hello from Glasgow! I finally made it to Scotland. We arrived last night at about 11:45 pm. Caught the last bus into Glasgow at midnight and after a bit of wandering the streets of Glasgow in the middle of the night we made it to our hostel and collapsed into bed by about 1:30. Not too bad really! I was very impressed with us. Today we split up to wander the town. I went to the Glasgow Cathedral which is absolutely beautiful. I walked nearly everywhere in the city center before heading back here to meet up again for dinner. It really is beautiful here, and even though I really wish I had more time to spend here in Scotland, I am definitely looking forward to getting to Dublin on Wednesday and staying put until mom comes! I cannot wait!

Take care....love to you all!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

07.07.07 Paris, France

Hello again from Paris! I know its been a couple of days since I've written, but things are going well here! Two days ago I got up, had breakfast here in the hotel, then ventured out and took the metro down to the area where my mom and I stayed a year ago when we were here. I wandered the Rue de Rivoli a bit, then decided I would go to the Musee d'Orsay. I got there and it was a long line, as usual, but I waited through it (I was very glad, I'd brought the book I was reading which was Dubliners by James Joyce...fabulous book, which I finished yesterday....anyway, it made the time go by very quickly). I finally got into the museum and I was SO glad that I'd braved the crowds and the insane weather (it was warm then freezing cold and rainy!!!).

The Musee d'Orsay is definitely one of my all time favorite museums now. It is FABULOUS! It has nearly all of my favorite artists all in one place. It really was overwhelming, the magnitude of masterpieces within the walls of this building! I paid €7 to get into the museum, plus the special exhibition they have going on called 'From Cezanne to Picasso'. There was so much there, I'll have to just give highlights....
  • An amazing collection of Rodin sculptures, including the Gates (from Dante's Inferno)

  • Renoir, including the famous Boat Party

  • VanGogh (one of my all time favorite artists) and a beautiful piece of his called 'La nuit des etoiles, Arles' meaning Stary night, Arles. It is beautiful and sadly looked over I think, in favor of his more famous 'Stary Stary Night'.

  • Monet, and many of his Water Lilies, as well as others from his earlier days, which are incredible, what he does with light is astounding.

  • Manet, and many of his famous works, including other little studies, which were fantastic, including the Picnic in the Garden

  • Gaugin, many of his Tahitian paintings, including Odalisque reclining on a Divan, which is a gorgeous painting, and one I studied only last semester....it is amazing to see all of these in real life and up close, to be able to really study the individual brush strokes of these artists.

  • Degas, a very extensive collection of his pastels, as well as oil paintings. I have a special place in my heart for Degas, ever since I first saw his work when I was a little girl, and an aspiring prima ballerina! He really has an amazing ability to capture the romance and softness of the beauty of ballet. (It reminds me of the song from 'A Chorus Line' called 'At the Ballet', part of the lyrics say that 'Everyone is beautiful at the ballet, every prince has got to have his one!').

  • Cezanne, who is amazing if only for what a difference he made in the art world during his life, he was one of the avante garde, who pushed for a change in the way art was both created and percieved.

  • Derain, who is one of the famous Fauvists (the group of artists who believed in the power of arbitrary color, which is basically the use of colors that would normally make no sense in the world, like a pink river and a yellow sky.) Also one of my favorites.

  • Picasso, a wonderful selection of many different periods of his works. Simply fantastic!

  • And numerous other amazing works!!!

I had lunch in the restaurant there, and it was FABULOUS!!! I had the most delicious pork filet mignon (funny note, mignon in French means 'cute') with gnocchi in a sage tomato cream sauce. Then afterwards, I had an espresso (so delicious) with a little selection of goodies.

Walked around a bit more that day, then headed back here to the hotel and had a little picnic on my bed of a salad, sandwich and a Heineken. Good stuff.

Yesterday I slept in and wandered down the Rue La Fayette (the street my hotel is on) and found a lovely little shopping district. I went into the Galaries La Fayette, which is one of the most massive and amazing department stores I have EVER been in! It is huge!!! I spent most of the morning just wandering around that neighborhood, and on my way walking back up to the hotel, I found a lovely little cafe to stop and have lunch at. I sat down and had a coca-light with tortalinni in a meaty tomato sauce....with cheese on top....baked. It was amazingly delicious!

After my lovely meal, I wandered back to the hotel to meet Katherine. She got here around 4:30 and it was wonderful to see her again, it felt like it had been forever! We caught up on the last two days, and then went and found a grocery store and had a nice little picnic on our bed.

Today was quite the lazy day as well....we didn't even get out of bed until after 10 (which I think we deserve since we've been running from place to place for the last 3 weeks! This is the longest we've been anywhere!) then we came downstairs to breakfast. We took the bus down to the Rue de Rivoli and went shopping today! It was very fun....we splurged on some really cute things. We both felt amazing not to be in something dirty (lets face it, doing our laundry in a bath tub in a hotel room just doesn't compare....) and slightly trashy. It was so fun! We were out all day, and found a delicious Kebap place for lunch. *Note: I hate that we don't have Kebaps at home....they are amazingly delicious.

Now we are more or less in for the evening and about to have another little picnic on our bed while we watch some more international news loops, and Friends in French!

Tomorrow we will take the free walking tour (the same company as the ones we did in Berlin and Munich) and then go to the airport....tomorrow night we will be in Glasgow!!! YAY for English speaking countries!

Love you all!!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

04.07.04 Paris, France

Finally I'm somewhere where I can actually understand what's going on around me! Happy 4th of July to everyone....let it be known that I am VERY upset that I am missing both the 4th and the 24th....I did not think this trip through!!!

C'est la vie. Today I left Amsterdam (thank God! I know you love it Chels, but its not quite my speed!!) at 12:30, and finally arrived in Paris around 5 pm. I was so incredibly happy to be here, in a place where I can read all the signs, understand the language, not to mention a city I already know incredibly well!

I wandered down the Rue La Fayette this evening, and I'd forgotten how the streets in Paris are not straight, and it isn't as easy to circle a block as one would hope! Anyway, I am here for the next 4 nights, and sometime between now and Sunday, Katherine will be meeting me here! She went her own way this morning, I think to Brugges, or Ghent.

I'll write again soon...thanks for all your messages! Time is flying by, I've already been here for 3 weeks! Halfway through!!

Love to you all!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

03.07.07 Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Today we left Zurich at 9 am.....went to Basel, Switzerland, then changed trains once again in Frankfurt, Germany. It was a beautifully scenic train ride, even if it was gray and rainy all day. We got into Amsterdam at about 6 pm, then had to wait in line at a ticket counter so I could get my reservation for my trip to Paris tomorrow. (for those who weren't apprised of the changes in our plans, I am going ahead to Paris tomorrow for 4 nights, Katherine is stopping in a few towns in Belgium then meeting me in Paris on Friday, most likely).

Finally got my reservation, and headed out to find our hostel....its called the "Budget Hotel Tourist Inn". No joke....that is the full name.

We went up to our room to drop our stuff and while we were getting ready to leave again, we definitely smelled hashish wafting through the hallways. I guess its what you expect in Amsterdam! Katherine and I decided we'll probably get high just walking through the city.....so INSANE!!

We then went for a short walk and saw the following:
  • And old man band playing "Johnny Be Good", "Blue Suede Shoes" and "These Boots Are Made For Walking" on a bright blue Chevy.
  • The Red Light District: the girls definitely sit in windows on the street to advertise themselves. Sex shops and "Live Porno Show"s abound!
  • Found a cool looking square with a bunch of old buildings around it, and got caught in a monsoon. No, I am not exaggerating! We both looked not only like drowned rats, but like we had both just jumped fully clothed, bags and all into a lake!!

Suffice it to say we made it back the Budget Hotel Tourist Inn, and changed so we could come downstairs here and use our internet!

Tomorrow I leave at 12:30 for Paris, and I am very excited to be there!! Great times! Talk to you all soon....sending much love!

Monday, July 02, 2007

02.07.07 Zurich, Switzerland

Hello again from Zurich!

I have a bit more time today, so I am going to start with Venice, and give you an update of what we did there...which was some master wandering! We're getting very good at that.
First of all, we were staying on the mainland, and Venice is actually an island type city out in the middle of the ocean.We took a shuttle bus from our campground to the city, got off, and started our adventure. We wandered through the serpentine streets and alleyways with the general destination of the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco. Venice is such a beautifully romantic, charming city. I absolutely love it. It really is just what you would imagine....as my uncle Mike said in an email to me the other day...it is definitly a city of wet streets!

We saw all the main sights, and then wandered back to a pizza place we had seen that morning for a fabulous slice of Italian pizza. Then we found a beautiful little street right on the grand canal that was in the shade where we sat for a long while (we had just taken a night train the night before and had a crazy kid from California in our compartment talking at us until 3 am. so we were sleepy) and we actually ended up sleeping on the streets of Venice for a while that afternoon! After a bit, we got up and....guess what? Wandered some more!

The next day in Venice was spent much in the same manner since we weren't leaving there until 8pm. We sat at a little cafe on the grand canal and at a delicious lunch of authentic Italian pasta, which I followed up with the best cappucino I have ever had! After that, we staked out a pillar in front of the train station (which was just across the canal from where we were at the cafe) and took turns sitting watching the backpacks, while one of us wandered. I've almost finished Slaughter-House Five now....fabulous book, btw.

I already wrote much about our day yesterday here in Zurich. It is so beautiful here....in a very different way than Venice was. We had a great time just wandering here though, too. Mostly everything was closed here yesterday, because it was Sunday....though we did find the coolest place EVER!!
We went to a place called Cabaret Voltaire, which is a cafe/cabaret/gallery, and the actual place where dadaism began!! It was pretty much the coolest place we found yesterday!

Today, we went on a very long walk, to see most of the historic places...mainly the churches of Zurich. Most of them here were originally Catholic, but were changed to protestent with Zwingli (the leader of the Swiss Reformation). One church here, which was my favorite, is called Frauenkirche. It was originally a convent, and now has stained glass windows in it by Marc Chagall.....they were so incredibly beautiful. I can hardly explain how amazing they are!

We also took a walk up and then back down the other side of the Bahnhofstrasse, which is the famous shopping street of Zurich. We saw about 3 or 4 H&M's there. Crazy! We also found a fabulous Swiss chocolate store!! It was beautiful! And delicious.

Now we're just here at another random internet cafe, taking some shelter from the rain that has been pouring down all day here. Tomorrow morning we leave for Amsterdam!

Missing you all, very much!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

01.07.07 Zurich, Switzerland

Hello from Zurich!!! Last night we took the last train from Venezia to Bologna, so that we could catch our night train from there to Zurich. We ended up sitting at the train station in Bologna much longer than we wanted, but we didn't really have a choice. Our train last night though, was FABULOUS!!! Well, at least compared to the other nightmarish night trains we've experienced! We had our own compartment with couchettes, which were two top bunks with seats beneath. We got a bottle of water when we boarded, and then when we woke up, we got a breakfast of two croissants, juice, coffee, and a little piece of candy! It was so fabulous!

I woke up this morning around 6 am, and looked outside the train window and saw exactly what you would think a village in the Swiss Alps would look like. It is so incredibly beautiful here! I can hardly believe it.

I don't have much more time to write right now, but just to give you an idea, today we took a boat ride on Lake Zurichsee, which is the most beautiful lake I think I have ever seen, and on each side, it is surrounded by the Alps!! It is incredible!!!!!

I'll write more soon, but love you all, and can't wait to show you pictures of this beautifully pristine country!!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

29.06.2007 Venice, Italy

Hello from Venice! (Or Venezia as it is called locally). This is the most beautiful city! I am falling in love with Italy just like I already have with France. It is GORGEOUS here!!! I can't wait til I can post more pictures!

I can't write too much here, because I don't have much time online, but I will be sure to tell more details as soon as I can! Already had some gelato here and it is amazing! Anyway, I'll write again soon, and bring you all up to date.

PS just a quick note....the "hostel" we are staying in tonight is definitely reminiscent of a KOA campground and we are definitely living in an actual tent tonight. Great fun! Who'd have thought a 40 bed dorm would ever be preferable!?!?


Thursday, June 28, 2007

28.06.2007 Munich, Germany - Day 2

Hello again! Today has been great so far....we got up to our lovely toast and coffee that our hostel happens to provide here, and then were off on our free walking tour of the city! Our tour guide this time was a guy named Issac from Wisconsin. Good times. We saw all the main sites of the old city, including Marianplatz with the famous glockenspiel.....not going to lie, it was pretty lame....although the bells were being cleaned so all we saw were the characters dancing in silence. We went on from there to see the Frauenkirche (church of our lady), then to St Peter's church, and then for a break at the Viktrulienmarkt. Its the market in the center of the old city which instead of being torn down, has been preserved and still thrives today. At the center of the market? A beer garden and a maypole!

I had lunch at the beer garden and had the ultimate in what I usually think of as baseball food: a bratwurst (on a bun with mustard) and .5 liters of beer!! Yes I have a picture....it was awesome! Though for those of you who may not know, I will fill you in now on the history of the "biergarten". Originally people dug cellars beneath the ground in order to keep their beer cold during the summer months, and in order to keep it even more cold they would plant chestnut trees above the cellars. Later the idea came about to serve the beer beneath the chestnut trees and allow people to bring their own food as long as they bought their drinks from the beer garden.

We went from the Viktrulienmarkt down the street to the most famous brewary, the Hofbrauhaus! We walked through and even saw a Bavarian band playing while wearing lederhosen....this has been a fabulous day (haha).

After the tour Katherine and I walked about a block farther and visited the southwestern corner of the Englischer Garten, which is something like double the size of central park in NYC....the place is HUGE! We only went a little way in though, and then headed back....

On the way back I picked up one souvenir from here....for Justin...bet ya can't guess what it is!!

Anyway, we're just back in the lobby of our hostel now basically just killing time until our train leaves tonight for Venice at 11:40pm.

I can't believe I've been here for a full 2 weeks already! This time is flying by, and in less than a week I'll be in Paris! So exciting!

I'll update again as soon as I can, and hopefully be able to dump some more pictures on here so you can see all these places I keep talking about! Love you all!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

27.06.2007 Munich, Germany

Hello from Munich!! The beer capital of the world!

We arrived here around 6:45 am yesterday morning.....the train was nicer than our last overnighter, but the seats were like airplane seats that just recline, so neither of us got a terribly good night's sleep. We didn't have any trouble finding our hostel though, since it is one street away from the Hauptbanhof (main train station). The hostel we are staying in is called 'Jaeger's'.....which is funny to me.....some of you will get why. (and just a cultural note: the beer 'Jaegermeister' here is the one that all the homeless people drink......interesting....).

Anyway, our room has 40, yes 40, beds in it! Though it only seems like 10 since there are 4 seperate alcoves each with 10 beds. So funny though....It really is different! And I'm definitely glad that I am such a hard sleeper....it really wasn't hard for me to get to sleep or stay asleep!

Yesterday was spent mostly just sleeping in the lobby of the hostel, going for a couple of very short walks, and sleeping some more once we got into our room. We both needed a bit of time to recharge!

Today, though, was much more productive. We got up and caught the S-bahn to Dachau. It was a very sobering experience for me. And it was especially difficult to really get my mind around what had actually occurred there not too long ago. We went through the iron gate that says 'Arbeit Macht Frei', just as so many prisoners had in the 12 years that camp was open during the Nazi reign. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened and became the model for the many to follow. It is frightening how many main camps there were, then to think of all the subcamps, of which there were at least 15 just for Dachau.

There is an extensive museum with loads of information in the main building of the camp. The mood there was incredibly somber as we read stories of individuals and their experiences there. As you enter the museum you go through much of the same route prisoners would have taken....through the rooms where they were made to undress, then as they were shaved (sometimes with razors that did not quite work and just tore the hair out causing bleeding) then put up to the neck in the disenfecting solution which would burn, then through the showers (which actually were showers here, and not another name for the gas chamber like at Auschwitz). Finally to come out at the end with prison clothes that most likely did not fit, and made to stand in the main yard for roll call, sometimes for hours on end.

We saw one of the barracks which showed inside what the living conditions were like.....three bunks high, the rooms full of beds, with healthy and sick people crammed into these small spaces with one another.

One thing both Katherine and I wondered as we left was how a camp as horrible as it was could have existed in the middle of a middle-class neighborhood. It was not out in the middle of nowhere, as I had imagined, but actually just in the middle of a town.

Part of the memorial is a plaque in several languages that reads 'Never Again'.

The experience is one I will never forget, most definitely.

On another note, it has been absolutely FREEZING here for the last few days....while we were at the camp we were wandering in the pouring rain. Neither of us came prepared for weather quite this chilly. On our way back, we decided to ride the metro an extra stop into town so we could go to H&M. I bought a sweater, as I definitely need it here!! We are en route back to the hostel now for hot showers and dinner of cheese, bread, nectarines (which we just bought from a street vendor for only €1,99 for 1 kilo! Its amazing how much cheaper it is to eat healthy here....with the exeption that beer is cheaper than either water or soda!) and various other random things....

Tomorrow we get up and check out of our hostel, then we will go on another free walking tour with the same company our tour was with in Berlin. Its fabulous....they have these tours in almost all the rest of the cities we're going to! (Amsterdam, Paris, London). Then we have the entire day to simply wait until our night train....we leave Munich tomorrow night around 11:30 and get to Venice the next morning around 7:45!!

Love you all, and I'll write more soon!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Some links to my pictures!

Okay, so it was much easier and faster to put my pictures up on another website of mine, so here are some links that will take you to those pages so you can see some of the places I've been! I would put more on, but I don't have my camera cord with me right now!!

25.06.2007 Berlin en route to Munich

Hello again from Berlin! Sorry I couldn't write too much last night. Today however, I have plenty of time!! Our train doesn't leave for Munich until 10:15 tonight! So crazy.

So anyway, our tour yesterday was AWESOME!!!! We saw all the main famous sites, which was great because Berlin is such a huge city and everything is spread out here. We started at the Brandenburg Gate, then walked through it onto the eastern section of Berlin. (From there we could see the Reichstag). I had never really known all the history of the wall.....but it was actually a wall that encircled West Berlin (yes, it encircled the free portion). Today there are inlaid cobblestones among the streets and the occasional plaque which shows where the wall stood. It was hard for me to really get my mind around the enormity of what has occurred in this city. From WWII and up to the Cold War.....not to mention numerous events before, after and in between the two!

From the Brandenburg Gate, our tour took us along the Eastern edge of the Tiergarten to the Holocaust memorial (look up a picture! It is very abstract, but very humbling at the same time. From there we walked to the site where Hitler's bunker had been. Nothing of it remains today, only a small sign to note the site.

From there we saw the site of the former SS headquarters and then the section of the wall which is still standing. It is not spectacular to see now, however just imagining the speed with which they put it up (the entire wall was standing within 56 hours), it really is an amazing feat.

We then went on to Checkpoint Charlie, which was very interesting to me specifically. There is a museum there, which I did not go into, but there are also posters/boards lining the sidewalks...all with information about the timeline of events there.

After a short break we continued on to the gendarmenmarkt....a French square in the middle of Berlin! There was a German Lutheran church on one end of the plaza and a French Hugoenaut church on the other! It was incredibly beautiful!

We then went on to Humpboldt University to see the square where the burning of 20,000 books by the Nazi's took place. The memorial to it is a glass square where you can look down beneath the square and see empty bookshelves. Very moving.

We then ended the tour on Museumsinsel (Museums Island) in the Lustgarten. The name made me laugh.

Today I went back to the Pergamon Museum which everyone had told me I must not miss while I am here. The museum looked enormous from the outside, however was only about 4 galleries on the inside....not cool.

However, I did get to see the Pergamon Alter, which was an ancient greek alter, either to Zeus or Athena....it is reconstructed inside the musum, with much of the original frieze sculpture surrounding it. Look it up! Its worth knowing more of the story, for sure!

The other main attraction in the museum is the Gates of Babylon (Ishtar Tor). Though it is slightly misleading since they only have a few of the original bricks (which are colored a bright blue) and the portion which is reconstructed is only a small side gate. Which is still incredibly enormous! It was amazing to see this though!

Since the museum did not take nearly as long as I had hoped or planned, I ended up wandering a bit more today. Which brings us up to now, where I am just killing some time online while I wait for Katherine so we can get to the train station!

Tomorrow I will be in Munich!!

Love you all!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

24.06.2007 Berlin, Germany

Hello everyone!! I don't have too much time to write tonight, but I definitely will write a better update tomorrow! Today we did a nice 4 hour walking tour of Berlin! Fabulous times....it was free and in English!! Berlin is an amazing city with a very rich history.

Better update tomorrow, I promise, but for now....here are some things I've seen today!

Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, Holocaust Memorial, the French Hugoenaut church, a German Lutheran church, Humboldt University, the portion of the Berlin wall still standing, an exhibit behind it (on the western side) of the 'topography of terror' which shows some of the underground Nazi complexs.....

It has been another amazing addition to my adventure to be here and explore this city!!

More news tomorrow!!! Love you all and missing home!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A few pictures

opera house, Vienna, Austria

Budapest, Hungary

me atop the citadel in Budapest

23.06.07 - En route to Berlin!

Hello again! Today I'm in Dresden, and this afternoon we leave for Berlin where we spend 2 nights! Yesterday was long and interesting....our train was (of course, knowing our luck) late leaving Prague. Oh well, no big deal, it was only about a 2.5 hour trip anyway. We got across the Czech border and its amazing the immediate difference between Eastern and Western Europe. Its crazy how noticeable it is. Dresden is a beautiful city....it reminds me a bit of Tours in the size of it. It is a big city, however not nearly as big as Paris or Vienna or any of those cities. We found our hostel around 5:00 pm and then went out to find some food, and to wander a bit. Everything is much closer here than it appears on a map. We walked to all the main historic sites last night! I saw everything I wanted to, so I'm pretty much ready to move on to our next city!

We had dinner at the Kebap place just next door to our hostel, and the Kebap guy was totally flirting with Katherine! So funny....she was so awkward about it! Good times though, it made me laugh for quite a while.

We walked through the Albertplatz, and down a beautiful pedestrian traffic only street and straight to the river. We saw the Golden Rider, the old Palace, the opera house, the catholic cathedral (absolutely GORGEOUS building!), the Zwinger museum, the Church of the Holy Cross and the Church of Our Lady. Beautiful buildings, all of them. It really is heartbreaking though, because all of these buildings I've mentioned are blackened from the top down, from the bombings. It is so sad that so much damage remains from that time. It is a fabulously gorgeous city though.

Today has been quite fun as well! We got up and showered and packed our things so we could check out and leave our backpacks in luggage storage. Then we rented bikes (they were insanely old, and free!!!) from our hostel, and rode down into town. We split up and I just rode for a short while (its cold and drizzly today).... I must say though, I was very proud of myself for being able to ride in a foreign city....I don't even remember the last time I was on a bike!! So crazy....but definitely a good time. I think I'll go now to the cafe down the street and just wait for Katherine. Miss you all so much, and keep writing, I love hearing from you all!!

OH! and by the way, congratulations to Lacey!!!! She and Eric are having another boy!!!! YAY!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Today we leave in just a couple of hours for Dresden, Germany! (By the way, Dresden is the former Saxony). Yesterday was a great day exploring Prague! So much fun! Woke up a bit late, but oh well....I'm enjoying my rest on this trip. I don't want to be running myself so ragged that I don't enjoy what I'm seeing here.

I started wandering, and took the metro to namesti republiky (a stop further in town...near the old town square). Wandered through that section of town, and I saw several major landmarks: the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church, St. Nicholas Church, the Powder Tower, the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and St. Vitus's Cathedral.

First: Charles Bridge is AMAZING!!! It is only a foot bridge (no auto traffic) and there are towers at both ends, with 30 Baroque statues lining the sides. Also lining the sides were street artists....with original oil paintings and photographs, jewelry, etc. I even saw a band playing! It was incredible! The Vltava River (which it spans) is one of the most beautiful I've seen so far! It is incredibly wide, much larger than anything I'm used to. There were motor boats and paddle boats all around in the river as well....it looked like so much fun!

I got across the bridge and found a traditional Czech restaurant for lunch. It was the coolest place! It was downstairs in this building, in a cave-like room. I ordered a "Budvar potato pancake with meat mixture". And oh my god! It was delicious! It was basically a potato crepe with chicken, onions, mushrooms, leeks, and cabbage sauteed in a delicious sauce and inside the crepe. Wow. Amazing!

From the restaurant I walked up the stairs to the hill upon which sits Prague Castle and the complex surrounding it. So gorgeous. I walked through, and went inside St. Vitus's Cathedral. Which is very possibly the most beautiful cathedral I've ever been inside up until this point! The stained glass was incredibly beautiful! Very gothic in style, which I definitely like more than Baroque, but both definitely have their place.

As I was wandering down the other side of the hill to catch the metro back to the hotel, it started raining, sheets. It was wonderful because its been so hot the last few days....it was a welcome relief from that!

Got back to the hotel and only went out again to get some rolls, cheese, fruit and chocolate at a grocery store! (oh and watched German MTV....and saw South Park in German....AWESOME!).

Well, as I said before, we're off to Dresden today, and tomorrow to Berlin, so I'll write again soon! Keep writing to me!! I love hearing from all of you....and what's going on at home! Miss you all so much!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Prague, Czech Republic 20.06.2007

Budapest, Hungary

Hello everyone from Prague! It has been a crazy couple of days! Last time I wrote, was our last night in Vienna. The next day (18th) we caught a train into Budapest....such a gorgeous city! We had quite the ordeal getting our tickets for the metro then finally getting to our hostel. That was very interesting....the hostel was called "The Downtown Hostel"....such a dive. Although there was a Best Western across the street. We were in a 6 bed dorm with a couple from Tel Aviv and two girls from Vancouver. They were all talking about some of the bad trips they've had on shrooms....yeah...that gives you an idea of the type of place this was! The lockers were broken, and we didn't even have a key to the place!!! The door is always open!!

I am ashamed to say as well that we were so incredibly starved for a filling meal by that point that we found a Burger King around the corner and got some yummy cheeseburgers. Horrible, I know, but it was a nice touch of home....and a filling meal!

We climed to the top of the citadel and had an incredible view of the city! On the side we began on, we found the Cave Church....which is actually a Cathedral/church inside a cave in the side of the mountain! It was unbelievable!

On the 19th we got up and moving and walked across and up the banks of the river to the Buda castle. I never knew this, but Budapest is actually almost 2 cities that have merged into one. The area on the west side of the river is called Buda, the east side, Pest! Very cool....so we were on the Buda side, seeing the Buda castle! We took a tram up the hill (no more climbing mountains!) and wandered around the castle complex. There were many street vendors selling traditional Hungarian trinkets and souvenirs. We even found a folk art festival! So cool! I bought an awesome bracelet! We then walked along (with a specific destination in mind....)

The Buda Castle Labarynths. So amazingly cool! Its these caves...tunnels beneath the city! We went down into them, and walked through them all. They are very pagan in nature, with statues, and cave paintings. We even saw a 'gypsy' looking woman beginning to perform a ritual in one of the rooms of the caves. It was amazing.

After that we got our things and went to the train station to catch our night train to Prague. The train we were taking was supposed to go through Vienna, however instead, it went through Slovakia. We all of a sudden got to Bratislava, and were slightly nervous. Our rail passes are not good for Slovakia. The ticket guy who came through didn't speak any of our 3 languages (English, my French, or Katherine's German)....but he did know enough English to say "Austria ok. Slovakia nicht!" (or however you spell no...or whatever he said!). It was quite funny though....so...I've been to Bratislava!! I had to give the guy a 50 euro note to pay for that section of the trip!
We finally got into Prague at 6:00 am yesterday morning. We had a very difficult time trying to find our hostel...which we found........
It was a very run-down, seedy looking building on the side of a highway, graffitti written on all the walls. It definitely did not look safe. I called Justin to have him help us find an Ibis hotel in town (oh, yes, the hostel was definitely on the very outskirts of town....not even on our maps!).
We got checked into our Ibis, which feels like heaven! It's fabulous! I even did some laundry last night, its drying on my lovely clothesline in the room as I'm writing!
Now I'm off to explore Prague! I'm heading down to Old Town, then across the Charles Bridge to the Prague Castle. By the way....Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire! In case any of you didn't know....I definitely didn't until I was reading up on my guide book pages before I left!
Talk to you soon! Keep writing! I love hearing from everyone! Miss you all so much!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

17.06.2007 - Second day: Vienna

Hello again from Vienna! I'm so glad that you all are actually reading this! It really makes my day to see your comments, and get your e-mails! So, today was my second full day in Vienna. I had the realization this morning that....wow...I'm in Austria! So cool!

I woke up a little on the late side this morning at about 9:30. I took my time getting moving as did Katherine, and Rob and Rachel. Katherine and I left around 11:00 for the center of the city. We went to the Museums Quartier. It's this entire block, enclosed by a giant building, with museums all over. There were probably 5 or so large museum buildings inside the outer ring of the block!

I was planning on buying a duo pass, which would get me into 2 different museums for fairly cheap. However, we got to the first one, and it was under construction so only 3 of the 8 floors were actually open. I was quite disappointed with it. It's the Museum of Modern Art here (by the way, the logo looks much like the MoMA logo of NYC)....so I was expecting great things, but it turned out to be not as great as I'd hoped. I normally don't have a problem of what is considered art (as most of you already know) however much of the 'art' in this museum seemed to be in bad taste. A lot was very avant garde, which is great, but the bottom floor especially was...well...slightly disturbing. There were some pretty graphic photographs of bloody, naked bodies, and experiments and such. Needless to say, I hurried through that section and left.

On to the second museum of the day...This was called the Leopold Museum. I was very excited to go here because I'd read about an exhibition of Klimt's works. There were some wonderful artists other than him featured as well, however when I finally found the section of the museum with Klimt's works, I was disappointed to only fine about 5 or so....and only 1 signature famous piece. My favorite ended up being one of his I'd never seen before, called Attersee. Its a beautiful seascape....somewhat impressionist in the feel of it.

After the museums it was about 14:30 and Katherine and I split up for the rest of the day. I went wandering from the Museums Quartier to the Opera House, which is insanely beautiful! And from there I ended up wandering up the street towards St. Stephensplatz (the church square). Along the way I was hungry so I found a nice sidewalk cafe and sat down for a delicious pizza and diet coke. I had a great time just sitting there, writing in my journal, and watching the people go by. I was surprised by how busy things were for it being a Sunday. I guess not everywhere in Europe shuts down completely on Sundays! I had a fabulous time just wandering the center of the city. It really is beautiful here. The architecture is amazing....the style is much like what I saw in France, however there are many more colorful buildings here....I even came upon a bright yellow church!

One of the best parts of my day today was when I got to St. Stephen's again....I went inside (for the 3rd time now) and I took some great photos of the building, the architecture, and even better, the people. As I was wandering, the 17:00 mass started. I even filmed a little of it. It was very interesting to just do some people watching while I sat at the back of the cathedral. There were many tourists taking pictures but there were also many natives (and non-natives most likely) coming in for the mass.

After more wandering (and much picture taking) I headed back to the hostel to rejuvinate a bit more. I got a nice coca light (or cola light here....I'm still used to France.) And layed on my bed for about 30 minutes. After which I got up and went for another walk....my destination: Zanoni's....which serves the best ice cream in all of Austria apparantly. It was delicious....I got a cup with 3 scoops (nutella, straciatella, and mango) for only 2 Euro. I was planning just to walk for a little while until I finished it and just work my way back toward the hostel, however I'd only gone about one block when I ran into Rob and Rachel!

I cannot describe how great it is to see someone you know in a foreign city! We talked for a few minutes, and they were off to find some dinner, so I went along with them. We walked to a delicious pizza place where they'd been the night before. I was only going to have a coke while they ate, but Rachel couldn't eat all her pizza....it was insanely massive, so she shared quite a bit with me. It was great getting to know some new people....they're very nice and friendly. Rob just finished his degree....he's an engineer! And....(Mom and Jolynn you two will love this!) his brother plays for Cork's soccer team! They were playing Canada today, so he and Rachel kept getting text updates from their parents. Apparantly they were ahead, but lost in the last few minutes.

So now, I'm about to sign off here and go into the "Wombar" (the hostel bar) for drinks and a game of pool! Great times....I hope to hear from you all very soon and have a fabulous day! Love you all!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

End of the day - 16.06.2007

Ah, Vienna. Today has been quite an adventure! I woke up this morning at 5:30 and couldn't fall back asleep so I sat in bed watching CNN. And some German cartoons. Very fun. And Saturday morning TV is the same everywhere, I've decided. But fun nonetheless. I left my hotel by the airport this morning to begin my adventure and search for the hostel Katherine and I had reserved. I took a bus back to the airport, then another bus to the main train station in Vienna, then walked from there to the hostel.

I'm staying in Wombats City Hostel, which is very nice as it turns out. Just a bit out of the way, but it doesn't really matter since its only a couple of blocks to the train station where we can catch a subway line into the center of the city. When I met up with Katherine here, it was about 11:00 am. We dropped off our bags in a locked room and took off for the city! Great fun! I don't have my camera cord with me right now, so pictures will have to wait!

We went to St. Stephen's Church, the main Cathedral in the center of the city. It was so beautiful. They are working to clean and restore the facade since it was bombed during WWII. The entire front section of the church looks burnt and black. It's a drastic difference from the back part which has already been restored. The interior was very gothic in style, with barrel vaulting and the triforium levels and everything. (Sorry if this is boring you! I'm putting my Gothic Architecture class to good use!). We took a guided tour of the catacombs, which were very cool, but also very creepy. It was so eerie to know that we were walking down where they had buried people in mass graves. Though we did learn that some of the burial rooms were cleaned out and used as bomb shelters during WWII. Very interesting.

We basically just wandered aimlessly until we got too tired to wander anymore, which worked out very well since we just happened upon the Stage Door to the Vienna Opera House! We walked around the amazing building to the front entrance which happens to be on the 'ring'. Vienna is separated into two main sections: the inner ring and the outer ring. There is a tram that you can take that goes all the way around the 'circle' of the town. We got on and rode all the way around the city and right back to the stop outside the Operahouse.

After that, we headed back to the hostel and both fell asleep for a little while. I woke up at about 19:00 (yes, the whole European date and time thing has already worn off on me!) and I went out for a nice stroll around our neighborhood, and wandered until I found a place to get some dinner. I went to the "Kebap-Pizza-Palace", just down the street from where we're staying. I had a falafel sandwich, which was absolutely delicious. It also was the first real meal I've had in about 3 days! Good thing I have some yummy food in me now!

I also have to mention quickly our roommates. A couple from Ireland (Dublin and Cork). Rachel and Rob. They are very nice people, and were telling us all about where they've been so far and where I should go explore while I'm in Ireland. Man do I love an Irish accent. It just sounds so sophisticated. Random. Anyway, this really is a fabulous vacation so far! And I must say....I'm incredibly proud of myself for not being any more homesick than I am! Very good times. Anyway, please please please leave comments and e-mail me! I love hearing from you all. I miss you all like crazy, and I hope your days go well! Talk to you soon!

Love from Vienna!

Vienna - 16.06.07

Hello everyone from Vienna! I made it! And I'm here with Katherine right now! Time to explore! I'll write more soon...The flights were long...and I ended up missing my connection in Chicago. I ended up flying through London, then here. As Justin can attest....it was quite the ordeal, running through the Chicago airport trying to make two different flights...but finally I made it on the plane.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My European Adventure!!!

Date City Bookings/Plans/Info
15-Jun Vienna, Austria Flight lands at 2:10pm (Europe is 8 hours ahead of Utah.
16-Jun Vienna, Austria Great Britain is 7 hours ahead.)
17-Jun Vienna, Austria 3 nights at Wombats City Hostel
18-Jun Budapest, Hungary train from Vienna to Budapest
19-Jun Budapest, Hungary 1 night at the Downtown Hostel
20-Jun Prague, Czech Republic night train June 19 to Prague
21-Jun Prague, Czech Republic 2 nights in hostel
22-Jun Dresden, Germany train from Prague to Dresden June 22. 1 night in hostel
23-Jun Berlin, Germany train from Dresden to Berlin June 23. 2 nights in hostel
24-Jun Berlin, Germany
25-Jun Berlin, Germany night train to Munich
26-Jun Munich, Germany 2 nights in hostel
27-Jun Munich, Germany trip to Dachau
28-Jun Munich, Germany night train to Venice
29-Jun Venice, Italy 1 night in hostel
30-Jun Venice, Italy night train to Switzerland
1-Jul Zurich, Switzerland 2 nights in hostel
2-Jul Zurich, Switzerland
3-Jul Amsterdam, the Netherlands day train through western Germany
4-Jul Paris, France
5-Jul Paris, France
6-Jul Paris, France
7-Jul Paris, France
8-Jul Glasgow, Scotland Afternoon flight from Paris to Glasgow
9-Jul Glasgow, Scotland 2 nights in hostel
10-Jul Edinburgh, Scotland Morning train from Glasgow. 1 night in hostel
11-Jul Dublin, Ireland Flight or ferry to Dublin. 6 nights in hostel
12-Jul Dublin, Ireland
13-Jul Dublin, Ireland
14-Jul Dublin, Ireland
15-Jul Dublin, Ireland
16-Jul Dublin, Ireland
17-Jul Dublin, Ireland Mom arrives in Dublin. 3 nights in hotel.
18-Jul Dublin, Ireland
19-Jul Dublin, Ireland
20-Jul London, England ferry to Holyhead, Wales. Train to London. 7 nights in hotel.
21-Jul London, England
22-Jul London, England
23-Jul London, England
24-Jul London, England
25-Jul London, England
26-Jul London, England
27-Jul London, England Home!

Contact information:
I will have a global cell phone for emergencies. Call toll free from US 1.866.305.6462.
When prompted enter my phone number 44.792.44.09.329.
I will have e-mail access in most places, please write to me!
Also, I will be updating my blog with anecdotes and pictures.
My address is: http://choosesomethinglikeastar.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sliding Doors

"Everything happens for a reason. You'll never know if you don't try."

Friday, June 01, 2007

So, I'm feeling a little odd, off and on lately (there are a few reasons for that, one of which is that I'm going off a medication I've been on for the last 8 months)... In my last blog, I talked about how great the beginnings of relationships are, which is so true. And after my now boyfriend read that last post I wrote, he was amazing about making me feel confident and secure in our relationship. This is starting to sound like I'm not anymore, which isn't true....In fact its exactly the opposite! I have never felt this comfortable and secure and confident in a relationship before. It really is amazing how Justin and I just seem to fit.
The thing I needed to write about is my own personal insecurities. I have these involuntary reactions to certain things, and then I get mad at myself for them. Like tonight, for example, Justin and I were doing some of those trust exercises, where you fall back and let the other person catch you. The thing that was really getting to me was that I completely trust him, I really do, but I kept flinching and having a hard time just letting myself fall. I started crying, and then I just felt dumb.
The thing is, though, it really wasn't from past relationships....at least not in the way everyone tends to think. I mean, my past relationships are just that, in the past, ancient history. What isn't though, is....well, to be brutally honest, the history of my relationship with my dad. And I know this is seeming convoluted and probably very odd, but I was never extremely close to my dad. And I always felt like he built me up so much in his mind, and to everyone he came (comes) into contact with, that there is no possible way for me to live up to it all. And here's where the trust thing comes in: I've always been envious of friends of mine who completely trust their fathers and have good if not great relationships with them. And this whole issue really gets to me, because I've dealt with it for so long, and I know exactly what the problem is, and how to fix it, which is basically just let go of the anger I used to have (which I have done) and just, well, basically start fresh with things. And I have, but somehow there is still that tendency I've had since I can remember that I always build a wall up...and it usually takes a lot for me to let people in. You know how some kids have security blankets? I had this mechanism sort of thing where I just learned to bottle up the things I was thinking.... and I always hated doing that....But now, just when I think things are going great I get a little surge of that old habit.
I guess it really is just an issue of mind over matter. I just hope he knows I'm worth the trouble! ;)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

a grown up woman should never fall so easily

I love the beginnings of relationships. Things are always so happy, and there's so much promise. Especially with this guy I've just met. I like him so much, it's sort of insane. The thing that isn't quite as good is that anytime I'm alone and I have time to think. And over analyze everything. What if he doesn't really like me? What if he doesn't want anything to do with me once he knows more about me...my secrets? How do you get over this fear of sharing yourself with someone you truly care about?
The thing that is really bothering me is that I really am a wreck when it comes to relationships...I have been hurt and had my heart broken far more times than I care to count. I just have this fear that I could lose something so wonderful...which isn't even logical thinking, because if it is that wonderful (which this truly is) and if its meant to be, it will all work out. I guess my problem is mostly patience. And I know I need to not analyze and think about things so much.
I wonder if part of it is just the culture we live in. I mean, it is sort of an unspoken rule that you shouldn't get involved too quickly, or feel to strongly too soon. The trouble is that I am naturally a very intense person, and I have a very difficult time doing anything just half-assed. Including relationships and beginnings of relationships. And my head logically knows that I am making no sense at all right now, but the rest of me, my heart and soul just cannot understand that.
This morning on my way to my doctor appointment I had the radio on and a song by UB40 came on called "Fools Rush In" (which just for the record is a great movie). Anyway, I think it sums up fairly well how I'm feeling right now. Here are the lyrics:
Wise men say, only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you..

Wise men say, only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you..

Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
Cause' I can't help falling in love with you...

As the river flows, Gently to the sea
Darlin so we go, somethings were meant to be..
Take my hand, take my whole life too
Cause' I can't help fallin in love with you...

As the river flows, Gently to the sea
Darlin so we know, somethings were meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
Cause' I can't help fallin in love with you...

I can't help...falling in love with you
I can't help...falling in love with you
I can't help...falling in love with you...

Sunday, March 04, 2007