kimana517: (family : mandy / puppy dog eyes)
1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Got paid to model (including a spread in a magazine!), went to Europe, took a backpacking trip, rode on a real train, had to put a dog to sleep, started the process of adopting a child, went a year without seeing one of my brothers...  =o(

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not really, and no. I know C25K is some people's resolution, but we started that on November 30th!

3. Did anyone close to you have kids?

My friends Forrest & Shannon adopted twins.  =o)

4. Did anyone close to you get married?
Not that I can think of at the moment.

5. Did anyone close to you die?
Mandy.  =o(

6. Did you travel?
To North Carolina, Tennessee, England, France, Italy, Greece, El Salvador, Georgia, and Connecticut.

7. Did you move anywhere?
Nope! Which is a very good thing since I love it here.

8. What was the best month?
No contest - May! In May we went to four European countries, including Italy, which had been at the top of my Travel Wish List for years. Plus, my birthday is in May.  =o)

9. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A closer relationship with God, and a kid or kids!  =oD  And no house problems for once. That would be nice.

10. What date(s) from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 15 - My first paid modeling gig! May 12-June 3 - our Europe trip! July 2 - when we applied to our adoption agency! September 24 - When we said goodbye to Mandy.

Read more... )
kimana517: (isaac&me : laughing / forever)
Q - Quarterbacks. Namely, good ones. I've been a Brett Favre fan forever, and as much as I hate seeing him on another team, and as much as other people feel betrayed, I still love him. I love watching Tom Brady find Randy Moss for an amazing 60-yard TD out of nowhere. It's always fun watching him break records and put the ball right where it needs to go. And of course there's Brady's main rival, Peyton Manning, who is also awesome. He may not have Brady's looks, but his SNL and commercials are funnier. I love football, and the QBs are always entertaining. And in the college arena, how can I forget Tim Tebow? He's not only a Heisman winner and champion, he's one of the nicest, down-to-earth, Christian guys ever. I'm so glad he's a Florida Gator! Oh, and for the record, the Lions' rookie QB Matt Stafford had the highest yardage of anyone yesterday. =oD

R - Rock music. I like that old time rock 'n' roll all the way to modern rock, especially Christian modern rock. I love that we have good Christian rock now, but I still love me some Boston, Skynyrd, and Aerosmith.

S - Sandals. I loved them even before I lived somewhere warm, but once we moved to Florida they became pretty much my only footwear. It took me a little while to get into flip-flops, but then they took over. The best thing about sandals is that even though, as usual, no one makes my size (10½), I can wear a 10 even though it's too small.

T - Thanksgiving. I suppose that could be cheating, since that what these ABCs are for, but I love Thanksgiving. So much good food, a whole day with family, and what is usually the only Lions football game I get to watch all year. This year I get to experience my first Connecticut Thanksgiving, including Pie Day the day before, and then Thanksgiving with my family when we get home. Woo-hoo!

U - Umbrellas. Usually I forget to bring one, but when I remember, they are very nice for the occasional rain storm. We also used one as a wind break when we were in Portsmouth and it was freaking freezing cold out. Even though it was raining, the wind made it colder than the rain did, so we turned it toward there instead of up.

V - Vacations. I love going someplace new or a favorite place I haven't been to for a while. Even though I have flown so many times in my life, there's still something exhilarating about airports, because it means that I'm going somewhere exciting. I love seeing old friends and family, and having new experiences. Mostly I love spending all day, every day with Isaac.

W - Word of Life. WOL has been a part of my life pretty much forever. In the churches my parents started, we started WOL Olympian clubs. I got my first Olympian medal when I was 5 years old. I still have it. I went all the way through the Olympian program, earning the 6-year steadfast trophy, and then did the 6-year DIA program as a teen, which I think got me another trophy (I had to take a test on 6 years' worth of memory verses!), and some scholarships for WOL Bible Institute, and I also went to the awesome WOL Island for summer camp. Then I went to WOLBI out of high school, which was one of the best decisions I ever made. I ended up going to second year in NY, which was also awesome, though not as awesome as it would've been if it had been in FL. Hehe. I learned and grew so much with those two years immersed in learning about the Bible and trying various ministries and having so many close friends right there - not to mention I am one of those who got a husband out of the deal. After getting married I worked for WOL for over a year, and I must admit that my main daydream of the future involves Isaac being a resident professor there and we get to be a part of it again. And now my church has Olympians and I'm a leader there. I've come full circle. Although there are some things I don't agree with WOL about, I love it so much, and the positives FAR outweigh the negatives.
kimana517: (places : the beach)
+ Finding the little discrepancy that has halted my financial reports is very fulfilling... even though it is my fault the discrepancy was there in the first place.

+ My haircut looks SO GOOD. I keep thinking, "Why didn't I do this sooner?" and then I remember the whole long-enough-to-donate thing.

+ I adore so many of the songs we're singing in church this Sunday. I wish I had mp3s of all of them so I could make a playlist.

+ Speaking of singing in church this Sunday: I will be the loudest person singing the melody. This could be interesting.

+ Necesito para ir a la playa. Pronto. I have not been there nearly enough this summer.

+ Today was one of those days that just needed iced coffee. God rocks for putting us in a house a block from a McDonald's.

+ Rock Band party tonight! I plan to rock the mic, yo.

+ You know how some movies just need to be watched with certain friends? I can't tell you how strongly I'm considering driving all the way to Tampa to watch Julie & Julia with [livejournal.com profile] modmerseygirl. What do you think, Kim?

+ The Europe trip was just a dream. I know it. Who really gets to take three weeks off work to travel around Europe? Didn't I dream the cold, rainy, scarf weather in London and the history of kings and queens of England? the Parisian dinners of fresh baked baguette, cheese, and cider after seeing priceless history? gelato every day and sites of amazing ancient importance in Italy? seeing sites so ancient they were before the birth of Jesus after breakfasts on our balcony overlooking so many flowers and the ocean and mountains visible in the distance in Greece? sharing it all, 24/7, with my lover and best friend? Yes. It was all a dream. The best dream. I would like to dream it again, please.
kimana517: (Default)
In case you missed it...
England
France, Part 1 (Caen)
France, Part 2 (Paris)
Italy, Part 1 (Rome)
Italy, Part 2 (Tuscany)

The short version...
YOUTUBE VIDEOS COMING WHENEVER YOUTUBE LETS ME ACCESS THEM. Boo.

The long version...

May 27
We rented a car for our first few days in Greece, and when we arrived the guy from the rental company was watching the Champions Festival game at the bar and just holding out the sign with our name on it toward where we were coming from. It was funny. I kinda felt bad for taking him away from the game! We were supposed to have a GPS in the car but they had forgotten it, so he led us to our hotel and told us how to get to the rental office so we could pick up the GPS the next day. When Isaac went to check us in there was a little confusion since his boss had booked the hotel with his reward points, and obviously Isaac has a different name than his boss. Thankfully it all worked out and we got to go to our gorgeous room in one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It was beautiful! We wandered a bit out by the pool, though it was closed, because they had little cabanas by the water with lounge chairs. Then we went to sleep in the nicest bed we’d slept in for weeks.

May 28
We started the day by going down to the hotel’s restaurant to ask if breakfast was included with our room. Nope. It was 25 Euro per person! Um, no thanks. We could stay in a nice hostel for that! Thankfully we had some fruit and complimentary espresso in the room, so we ate that out on our balcony overlooking the water. Gorgeous. We waited pretty much as long as we could to leave that gorgeous hotel, but finally it was time to check out. Our next task was finding our way to the rental car office – which was much easier said than done, because the guy the night before had told us it was on a certain road, when actually it was two blocks off that road. So we ended up going a few miles out of the way, which doesn’t sound bad until you learn that we were in stop-and-go traffic for that entire time. It took us about two hours to find it. ARGH. Isaac got so frustrated with the map, which was pretty useless, that he tried to throw it in the backseat but it ripped in the middle, so for the rest of the time in Greece I picked on him for tearing the map in half. Hehe. Finally we found the place, after we stopped at a gas station and someone told us where it really was. We parked illegally, ‘cause there was nowhere to park legally, and Isaac ran in to get the GPS. He got it, but then we couldn’t get it to work, so a guy came out to help us, and off we went. Unfortunately, we then lost the satellite about a mile from there (even though we were still well into the heart of Athens), and never once got it back. *headdesk* We had a map though, and a general idea of where to go from looking at the GPS before it lost the signal, so with Isaac navigating based on his limited knowledge of Greek and a bit of luck, we made it to where we needed to go. It was a really pretty drive. We stopped at a rest area for food. Isaac tried to ask them if they had free refills, and when they finally figured out what he was asking, they just laughed at him. LOL.

Finally we got to the little town of Tolo, and found our hotel high on a hill. It’s a very cute little hotel, with jasmine and bougainvillea blooming all over. Our room was very nice. It had a kitchenette and a balcony from which you could see the sea and some hills. The bed was funny because they had taken two twin beds and shoved ‘em together, which works great on a bed without a nice frame, but these had about a 4” gap between them. Ha. We then wandered down the hill to the town of Tolo, and found a grocery store right there, which was great. We went straight to the beach, which goes on for at least a mile, but is not very wide – as in, the water’s like right there. We walked along the beach for a long while, oohing and ahhing at all the cute little cafes that have tables right there on the sand. We walked back on the main road to see the rest of Tolo downtown. It was very cute. Then we bought some food at a market because we thought we were almost back to our road. Nope. It was still quite a ways! And we bought heavy stuff like milk and Coke and pasta sauce. Ha. But that night I made pasta in our kitchenette while Isaac washed pretty much ALL of our clothes. (We wore our swimsuits the rest of the night. So I was cooking pasta while wearing a bikini. LOL!) We slept pretty well in our together-but-separate beds, but the phone rang in the middle of the night several times, and no one was there. Not cool.

May 29
We had a great breakfast of Special K Red Berries (which I am now hooked on) and cappuccino, which we enjoyed out on our balcony. Such a wonderful way to start the day.

That day we went to the theatre of Epidavros. On the way there were signs for another theatre of Epidavros, but for some reason I followed my gut and found the “real” one, although several other cars went the wrong way. Epidavros is the best-preserved theatre of ancient Greece. It’s one of those that you can stand in the middle of the stage and whisper and the acoustics are so good, people at the very top can hear you clear as day. Very cool. Also very cool is that my parents went there together when they were about our ages. After staying at the theatre for a while we started wandering, and we ended up in a place I think we were supposed to pay for, but we didn’t mean to go there, and no one was, like, taking tickets, so there we went. Hehe. Turns out we were at the grounds of the Asklepieion, a site of ancient healings and temples, as well as a race track that was mentioned in some of Plato’s works. I thought that was pretty darn awesome. They are rebuilding some of the temples, which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, it would be really cool to go there and see those buildings in their original glory. On the other hand, that seems kind of like cheapening the history. I feel like they should build scale replicas nearby, and leave the ruins as ruins. Anyway, here is where we got Isaac’s mom a unique souvenir, but that’s all I can say. ;o)

We left Epidavros and the Asklepieion and decided to try to find the other theatre to see what it was like. It was very small and under construction. Not thrilling. There were some people there who were like, “That’s it?” so we told them they were at the wrong one. Hehe. Then we went to the tourist town of Nafplio, which is an absolutely gorgeous place. We just wandered around a bit, but then it looked like rain was coming, so we went back to our little hotel and had more pasta for dinner. Then Isaac went swimming and I went down the hill to use the internet, and we called it a night.


May 30
“Hey, let’s go to ancient Mycenae! I remember learning about that place, and the Bridge of Lions, and the Mask of Agamemnon, since I was a little kid, and then again in college. Let’s go! Oh, wait, it’s not on any maps that we have. Oh, wait, no one can tell us how to get there. Well, it’s in this general direction. There must be signs, right? I’m sure we can find it! It’s kind of an important place. Let’s go!” Two hours later we found it. That may not seem bad, except when we went back to Tolo from Mycenae, which had great road signs to lead us, it took less than half an hour. *headdesk* We drove along the water, we drove out in the country, we drove around hills, we drove through orange groves. We even drove the wrong way down a one-way street, although it was not marked as a one-way street, and no one bothered to tell us we were going the wrong way. We eventually figured it out because there was a car coming toward us and the road was so narrow it had to be one way. Heh. We finally got to the point where we said, “If we don’t find it by 11:00, we’re turning around.” We finally saw a sign for it at 10:50. Ha. But it was worth it. VERY cool. Probably the oldest place we’ve ever been to, and to think of what it used to be – wow. We actually managed to find a tour group with an English-speaking guide, so we hovered around them and learned a lot. Hehe. It was a really interesting place, though. I’d go back, assuming I knew how to get there again.

After Mycenae we went back to Nafplio, this time knowing it wasn’t going to rain. We drove up to the Palamidi Fortress, which is high above Nafplio harbor. This place is very cool, with views to die for. We went up to the highest point just to say we did. There was a cell phone tower there. Haha. We went back to the town of Nafplio after finishing with the fortress, because we thought there was more to see there than what we had seen the other day, but there really wasn’t. It’s just a tourist town with shops and restaurants. Oh well. It’s still pretty.

That night was the best! We ate at one of those little cafes on the beach, with our toes in the sand and the sound of the waves ten feet away. Heaven. I got a Greek salad and Kleftiko, which is lamb marinated in seasonings and cooked with tomatoes and cheeses. It was GOOD. I’ve since looked up some recipes for it but it’s rather difficult-sounding. Isaac had some really good swordfish. It was such a gorgeous, relaxing, delicious dinner. I would love to go back to Tolo and eat at one of those cafes every night.

May 31
After one last breakfast on our balcony, we checked out of our cute little hotel and drove to ancient Corinth! I have a thing for ancient Greece and a thing for ruins anyway, but to be in a place that is mentioned in the Bible?! AMAZING! We walked where the apostle Paul walked! We saw the Bema Seat from Acts 18! (We read Acts 18 while we were there. We had planned to read 1 or 2 Corinthians, but Isaac decided they were both too long. Hehe.) Before we even saw the Bema Seat I glanced down at the stone pathway and realized the apostle Paul may have walked right here and immediately I got chills. It was very, very cool.

We then miraculously found our way back to Athens. We got off the highway a few exits early, which made our journey take longer, but at least we knew what road the rental car place was on now. Heh. Oh, and after getting off the highway early we thought we might be lost, so we were a little frustrated, but finally just after we figured out where we were, I was absentmindedly singing along to the radio and we got to the chorus: “Lost and insecure, you found me, you found me.” LOL! I sang it, and then we looked at each other and cracked up. Eventually we did get to the rental car place and got a late lunch and then figured out how where to go on the metro to get to downtown Athens. Thankfully we got on two stops before the beach, so we got seats, because there were like 10 stops at the beach and everyone was going home, so every car was PACKED. We were on the metro for probably at least an hour because it made so many stops. Eventually we got to our stop and had a several block walk, during which we thought, “Athens is dirty… but not nearly as dirty as everyone told us.” Eventually we made it to our hostel, which was the most hostel-feeling of all of them. It wasn’t dirty or anything, but it just felt very hostel-y. We went up to our room, which was actually two rooms, one with 3 bunk beds, and one with one bunk bed. Obviously, we chose the room to ourselves, even though that was the room with the front door attached, so it wasn’t really that private. The room had a balcony, which was nice, although there wasn’t much to see in that part of town. That night we just rested, and I think we watched Josie and the Pussycats on my phone. It had been a long day, we were tired, and we missed Tolo.

June 1
Today we went to the Parthenon! SO COOL. I remember learning about that as a kid, and then again in high school and college. I’ve also always loved Greek mythology, and the Acropolis is a huge deal. It took us (and several other people) a while to find the right way up, but once we did, it was super cool. Unfortunately the Parthenon is under restoration and we weren’t allowed to actually go in it, but it’s still awesome to be there. We walked around the Acropolis, looking at everything, and then went down to the Aeropagus, which is little more than big rock, but is where Paul preached the sermon about the altar to the unknown God in Acts 17. So, two days in a row we walked where he walked – just in reverse order of how he did it. From there we walked around the base of the Acropolis in a pretty area of town on our way to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which we had seen from the Acropolis. There wasn’t much to see there, but the ruins were HUGE. I would love to see that place in its original glory.

On the way back we walked through the National Gardens, which were pretty and really big, and had the worst zoo ever. Seriously – it had like a donkey, ducks, geese, and goats. That’s all. So sad. Then we made our way to Plaka, which is the oldest non-ruins area in Athens. It was pretty cool, and had lots of shops. My favorite was an art shop that had some of the most unique works of art I’ve ever seen. If I had had the money (and space in my backpack), I would’ve gotten a ton of it. I also got a pair of blue opal earrings that I love, and we got a Christmas ornament.

That night we had tuna, bread and Fanta for dinner, as well as a humongous donut that I bought from a street vendor. LOL. We didn’t go anywhere else because, again, we were tired, and our area was semi-scary at night. Once we saw a bunch of cops with guys with their hands on their heads and their pockets emptied out onto the ground in front of them. I don’t think it was really dangerous there, but there was a big police presence.

June 2
We decided to go see the rest of what our Acropolis tickets included. First we went to the National Archaeological Museum, which was surprisingly big, and contained all the things from places we’d already been, like Mycenae and Corinth. A highlight for me was seeing the bronze Spear-Thrower, which for some reason I remember very well from my college Art History class. The Roman Agora was really cool. The Temple of Haphaestus was well-preserved, and they had actually built a scale replica of one of the buildings so you could see it in its original state. While we were there, Isaac reminded me yet again of the history of the Romans and the Greeks, because I always forget, and he did it in a stereotypical tour guide voice. Hehe.

Before dinner we went back to Plaka, because I had seen some earrings the previous night but not bought them, and I decided I wanted to get them. We also saw some shirts that said, “It’s all Greek to me” and then had various Greek phrases and their translations. I wanted to get one in Spanish. Hehe.

We had dinner at a hole-in-the-wall place recommended by some guy on the internet. I had another Greek salad and fish that still had the eyes in it. It was very good, but I didn’t eat all of it because I was full from the salad. Isaac made the fish talk to me, and we recorded a fish version of “Llamas in Hats”. LOL. While there our waitress left and then stormed back in, yelling something in Greek at someone in the back, threw her purse against a table, and then stormed back out. I still wonder what she was mad at!

After dinner we went back to the hostel and ended up walking through another communist rally on our way. I think the commies were following us on this trip. Maybe we just have that strong capitalist vibe and they wanted to keep an eye on us. Hehe. And thus ended our sightseeing in Greece.

June 3
We woke up early – and I woke up far earlier than I even needed to. Grr. So we made our way the several blocks to Syntagma Square and we caught the bus to the airport. When we checked in, the airline employee told us we would have some extra security, and we figured they’d wand us or something. Nope. We got through regular x-ray security, and then went down near our gate and filled up our water bottle. Then we went to the actual gate, where they checked passports and boarding passes before they even let you go into the gate area. We were marked for extra security, so they took us and another guy back up to security, unpacked our bags, put everything in bins separately, and ran it all through again. This would’ve been fine, except Isaac had refilled the water bottle. They went nuts, saying in broken English, “No! No liquid!” We tried to explain to them that we had obviously already gone through security without it and had gotten it downstairs, but it took several minutes for them to understand. Isaac kept saying, “Pour it out!” and motioning but that took a while for them to understand too. Finally they did pour it out. LOL. We did get wanded too. The girl tried to repack my bag for me but it was so full that that stuff was only going in there one way, so I had to do it. Hehe. Finally we got back down but we didn’t have time to refill the water bottle, plus I think they were still a little freaked out about how we had magically gotten water past security, but eventually the girl who searched us took pity on us and refilled it for us. This plane was much nicer than the plane we took to London. These seats were bigger, we had our own row, and the movies actually worked. Still – it was a 12-hour flight and we hardly slept. I remember when we got out of the plane for our layover in Philadelphia it was so weird being back in the USA after 3 weeks in Europe. I also remember that it smelled like cheeseburgers everywhere. Haha. Finally we got on our last plane, Mom picked us up, and we got home, sweet home. We slept SO well in our beds. And I ended up being awake for more than 24 hours when all was said and done. Oy. But we made it!

 
kimana517: (Default)
In case you missed it...
England
France, Part 1 (Caen)
France, Part 2 (Paris)
Italy, Part 1 (Rome)

The short version...






The long version... )

Pics of Tuscany are here.
kimana517: (isaac&me : laughing / forever)
I just realized last night, as I was trying unsuccessfully to fall asleep, that I forgot to put up one of the Paris videos on the Paris entry! So, here for your viewing pleasure: Paris video #2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNWr-7dLO0Q
kimana517: (places : backpacking)
The short version...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3_eEOJfoPk



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14Z_OnKCYIA



The long version... )

Pictures of our time in Normandie, France.
(Pics 1-23 are of Normandie. The rest are from Paris,
which I shall have a written report up about soon!)


TO BE CONTINUED
kimana517: (misc : girl in ocean)
+ Yep - we made it! We got home around 9:15 or so Wednesday night. Even though it was actually 4:15am Greece time, we managed to stay awake on the drive from the airport and tell Mom a little about our trip. It was SO GOOD to sleep in our own super-comfy bed that night! We had no trouble falling asleep (although I did stay up to watch an episode of Law & Order that I hadn't seen, which meant I had been up for over 24 hours by the time I fell asleep!), but we've been unable to sleep in since we got back, giving us less than 8 hours both nights so far. Considering we were up for so long the day we came home... yeah. Coffee has been our friend since we've been home.

+ So... life at home is great, especially since we're still on vacation. Yesterday we made a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and grilled bagels with cream cheese. That was the first "real" breakfast we'd had in a month, and it was SO good. Lunch was at Chick-Fil-A - YUM - and then we went to church because the girl who's filling in for me had some questions. We also had to say hi to Ken, of course, and tell him all about our trip.

Then we went to see Up, which, until I saw that several of you absolutely adored it, I didn't have much desire to see. Well, we loved it too! What a great story. We had intended to go to Steak 'n' Shake after, but ended up sitting in front of some friends from church at the movie, and they invited us to join them for dinner at Olive Garden. They asked us all about our trip and then even bought our dinner! Rock on! Though honestly the coolest part was seeing all the pics on the walls there, of Tuscany, of the Roman Pantheon, etc., and saying to each other, "WE'VE BEEN THERE!" =oD Italy has been at the top of my list of places I want to go for a VERY long time, and now I'VE BEEN THERE. And I'd love to go back someday.

After dinner we went back to the theater to watch Star Trek. I think that was the only time in my life I've been to see two movies in the theater in one day, but since it wasn't the weekend movies were half price, so we didn't feel too guilty about it. We both quite liked Star Trek, but only if we didn't actually think of it as Star Trek, since they basically annihilated everything that is already in the ST canon. As a stand-alone movie, it was good. The guy who played McCoy was fantastic. The guy who played Kirk was hard to take seriously because he reminded me so much of DiNozzo on NCIS. Zachary Quinto looked a lot like Spock, but I couldn't take him seriously because apparently he will always be Sylar to me.

+ Oh, one other thing that happened yesterday is that my car wouldn't start. Yeah. I'm honestly not surprised since it wasn't started for over 3 weeks and had been having some minor issues before we left, but it was still frustrating. Isaac replaced the spark plugs and the distributor cap and then it started working. Whew! You know, he really is an amazing man, that husband of mine.

+ I know there was more to tell you, but I've forgotten it all. Oh well. Next time. =o)
kimana517: (places : backpacking)
This is not how I intended my last night in Europe to be. I woke up at 5:30am having to pee, and then could not fall back to sleep. We didn't have to wake up till 8:00! GRR. Well, hopefully this will just help me sleep more on our first flight, which is 12 hours long. (What's crazy is that I've been on a plane for twice that long four different times in my life.) Isaac said he just thinks it will make me more irritable. He's probably right. Poor him. But hey, at least we had our own room last night! We were in the same room we've been in in Athens, but with no roommates!

I hardly bought any real souvenirs from anywhere, but I have managed to pick up 2 pairs of earrings here in Athens. One pair is rectangular, made of chips from a beautiful blue opal, and the other is mother-of-pearl with silver viney-looking things. Those + my two scarves (one from England because I was freezing, and one from France because it was so pretty and I was tired of wearing the one from England) + the requisite postcards/Christmas ornaments/keychains are all we got. Well, those things and who knows how many photos I've taken. My grandma gave us some money for the trip and I decided we'll say that the amazing Tuscany tour we took was using that money. I'm going to get some pics from that printed out and mail them to her with a thank you note.

Last night we had dinner at a place recommended by some dude on the internet, and it was really good. The server stormed out halfway through the meal though, yelling something in Greek. I am a nosy person, so I must say I'm still curious as to what on earth was going on, since prior to that she was very sweet and calm. I ordered grilled mackerel, and it came in the whole fish body. Isaac tried to get me to gross out by making it talk to me and say things like, "Why did you eat me?" I told him I am not his mother (once when we were in CT his mom realized the chocolate chunks were in the shape of bunnies and then she couldn't eat the rest of her ice cream. LOL!) or his sister, and that sort of thing doesn't work on me. Didn't stop him from trying though. In fact, we made our own version of the "Llamas in Hats" video. It makes us laugh and laugh and laugh...

I hope there's a Starbucks in the airport. I could use a gigantic cup of coffee right now. None of those little European shot glasses of coffee, no sirree.

I think we're going to be under budget for the trip. Go us! I guess there are perks to being anal and OCD about being cheap. Because of this, we're going to continue our vacation at home. It worked out that we'd save hundreds of dollars to a) fly home on a Wednesday, and thus b) have 3 nights we could've been in Europe at home instead. Now we get to recover from jet lag at home. We're going to go to the 4 or 5 restaurants we've been craving, as well as to the beach at least once. I'm hoping to have a painting party on Saturday though, to finally get rid of the nasty walls of the guest room. And then Sunday is church! I'm so excited about church. =oD

Well, that's all I have to tell you for now. My goal is to get pics uploaded and recaps written sometime next week, although I make no promises. Talk to y'all soon - from the USA!

P.S. Soon I will have CLOTHES! Lots and lots of CLOTHES! Clothes of every color and style... clothes that are not the same 4 shirts and 2 pairs of pants and 1 skirt! Different underwear! JEANS! *chorus of angels*
kimana517: (places : backpacking)
I'm writing this from our hostel in Athens. It's definitely hostel-y, especially after the other places we've stayed at in Greece. The first night we were here was the night in a very nice hotel, thanks to Isaac's boss. It was GORGEOUS - possibly the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in, and I've stayed in some good ones. Then we drove to Tolo, a little beach town on the Pelopponese peninsula, where we stayed in a cute little hotel with a big room w/ a kitchen. So to be back to a hostel? Well, it's getting us ready to be happy to go home. :-) Although i'm already almost to that point. I adore traveling, and this trip has been AWESOME, but I love my house and my town and my church and my clothes (I an going to reenact the scene from Gilmore Girls when They get home from Europe and Rory goes up to her rock drawer and says, "Hello, boys." LOL.) and my family and Mandy and eating food other than bread and fruit and many, many other things. We have a list of several restaurants we're going to go to too. Ah... Real food. :-)

Anyway. I want to tell you about our trip, but that will wait till I get home and can show you pics to in with. We're hoping to throw a Europe party a few weeks after we get home. We'll eat bread, cheese, fruit, cider, and the girls can year scarves like every woman in England and France. I'll have to get the pics organized and the video edited by them though. We'll see about that.

I found out that the only people going to El Salvador from my church this summer are me, my friend Codie, Ken, and another friend John. That's it! I have no idea why so few are going, but it makes me sad. (Isaac was going to go, but then one of his coworkers quit, so he really shouldn't.) Codie and I will have a blast though... And not just cause she's fluent in Spanish!

Today was amazing. We went to ancient Corinth and walked where the apostle Paul walked! We read Acts 18 while staring at the Bema seat he was brought before. SO COOL.

IDK if I'll write again before we get home or not. Bye!
kimana517: (places : backpacking)
So. Having a phone with wifi is great. Finding out that major European cities such as Paris and Rome have virtually no free wifi hotspots if you don't have a password is not. That's why I haven't been around. We found a grand total of ONE place in Paris where we could get online - on the steps of the Pantheon, which was not only several subway stops from ours, it was a good hike (up hill) after that. In Rome we found none, so we ended up paying at an internet place, but all my time was used up doing necessary things + Facebook status update. But we are in Florence, Italy now, in the best hostel we have stayed in (thanks for the rec, Suzy!), that not only has free wifi (since I have the password), but also a computer w/ internet in the room. Hello, world!

We have done and seen far too much to tell you right now, because we have to wake up a little early to get a bit of last minute sightseeing in here in Florence before taking the slow train (hey, it's 40 Euro cheaper!) back to Rome tomorrow to then fly to Athens, Greece in the evening. I just wanted to let y'all know we're alive and well. Let me think of a few things to mention though for now...

I've liked every place more than I thought I would. Our first day in Paris was not so great, but the following 3 were excellent. Caen, France was definitely a highlight. Part of that is due to the city and its surroundings, but much of it is also do to having friends there. I met [livejournal.com profile] dramaticsuzy and 2 of her friends, and we stayed with some people who previously were strangers (I found them on couchsurfing.com) and became friends. My other favorite place is probably here in Florence, specifically today, as we took a tour of the Tuscan countryside and 3 towns (Siena, San Gimignago, and Pisa) and had an amazing lunch at an organic farm. Every single thing we ate was made there, except for the cheese. We're talking pasta, ham, wine, olive oil, bread, salami, beef, tomatoes, salad, etc. It was amazing. If only that part of Tuscany had an ocean beach, I would move there.

I had a great birthday in Rome. We went to the Vatican, and the Pope threw me a parade! Well, it didn't have my name on the banner, but I know that's what it was for. Then we went to see the Colosseum at night, and there was a free concert by a band we'd never heard of (Monte Carlo Fire), but really liked. The signs claimed it was for the Champions Festival (apparently a huge deal to the futbol crowd, so I guess we're honored to have been there), but I know it was actually to celebrate my birthday. We celebrated by getting dinner at a restaurant, and by my getting the biggest waffle cone of gelato that the gelateria had. It was great. I have to say though, I'm one of those people who loves my own birthday, and having all the attention, so to be away from all my family and friends except Isaac was kinda sad and lonely. I did get many sweet Facebook greetings though, and of course an email from my mom. I'm crossing my fingers for cards and/or gifts at home, but trying not to get my hopes up because it is very unlikely.

Oh, I have so many things I want to tell you about! I guess it will have to wait till we return, unless by some miracle our hotel in Greece has internet. I have tons of pictures to share too, of course. These include the following series: "Isaac & Bethany Eating Gelato", "Isaac & Bethany's Heads Blocking Famous Monuments", and "Pictures Taken at Angles that Will Make Hanging Them Difficult but They Look AWESOME". And, uh, I am not joking about any of those. (Although I will consider shortening the last one to PTaAtWMHTDbTLA. Hehehehe.)

We have also recorded several videos that we would have put on YouTube if we could ever find free wifi. I guess I will just have to upload them when we get home and you can watch them if you wish, although watching them all in one sitting will be much more difficult than one at a time as we take them. *sigh*

Anyway. I need to go to bed. But I miss you all, and I can't wait to see Greece!

'ello from London!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009 14:07
kimana517: (places : backpacking)
We made it! We've had a full first day and we're exhausted. (that comes more from hardly getting any sleep last night though.) Our hostel has small rooms but an AMAZING location. We're easy walking distance from Hyde Park, the Tube, a charity shop, AND H & M! Today we walked through Hyde Park (beautiful!), say the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (which was suprisingly boring...),and went to the Imperial War Museum, which was both free and fantastic. They had an amazing Holocaust exhibit. We've also gotten pretty good at the subway system already. Now we're at a cute coffee house, where we had dinner (including a Cadbury creme egg shake, which is like Isaac's idea of heaven), and them back to the hostel to SLEEP. Well, after I buy a scare from a street vendor for 1£, that is! It is FREEZING here.

Anyway, I need to go 'cause Isaac is falling asleep. Hopefully I'll get to write more soon!
kimana517: (movies : newsies)
+ Work today was semi-exciting, because I sort of redid the bulletin. It didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped, because the copier made it look funny, but it's still better than the old one.

+ I had a blast with [livejournal.com profile] hominygrits on Wednesday! I basically met an entire side of her extended family (a set of grandparents and a few aunts and cousins, plus her parents and brother), and had a great time doing so. They are all a lot of fun and welcomed me right into their family vacation. Most of them were either currently or originally from Boston, too, so all the New England accents made me feel like I was with my in-laws. So great. I was a bit worried about meeting Emily since I don't know her as well as most of the LJ friends I've met in person, but there was still no conversation lag or anything. We just had fun. AND I found a sand dollar! Intact! I never have before. So that was a little extra bonus.

+ I have officially decided that Bones is the most disgusting show on television. CSI may have pushed the boundaries for showing gross things on TV, but Bones has taken it to a whole new level. I should've counted how many times they've shown bowels that are, uh, disemboweled. Nasty. But, I do love the show. Very much.

+ So I knew [livejournal.com profile] melyndie was cool, but I didn't know how cool. Then I found out she's a big Gilmore Girls fan. And then I found out she's a Logan girl all the way! We both see WAY too much angst and emo-ness in Jess and Dean. I think she's the only other Logan fan I know, unless some of you are hiding in the closet of Logan-love.

+ Isaac and I have mostly given up eating out until Seth gets home from WOLBI, 'cause we know that with him back home just for a few weeks, and with Melody coming to visit, we're going to be eating out extra. (We've gotta take them to Dave & Buster's, The Landing, Wasabi...) The only way we're allowed to eat out before they're here is if someone else goes too. Then we can use the excuse of fellowshipping. Hehe. Anyway, last night I made up a recipe for baked chicken that turned out really good, and paired it with some potato wedges that were amazing. I will definitely be making those again. We're really going to try to curb our eating out anyway, 'cause then we can save more money for Europe (and termites and the roof and - well, you know the list by now). We'll see how long it lasts though. Hehe.

+ Speaking of Pippy - er, Seth - he graduates a week from tomorrow! Anyone else think this year has gone by at warp speed? Yeah. If not, you do realize it's officially August now, right?

+ My icon makes me want to watch Newsies. Well, actually, I've been wanting to watch it again for quite a while. Who's up for a Newsies party at my house?

+ Last night neither Isaac nor I could fall asleep. That's really unusual; usually he's out 5 minutes after he gets in bed, and I'm usually up for quite a while wishing I was like him. After doing the usual thing married people do when they can't fall asleep (watch TV, duh. Get your mind out of the gutter. Okay, actually, leave it there... but we watched TV too. ;o) ), we talked about a lot of stuff. We were coming up with retorts for when rude strangers comment about our (future) kids, with varying skin colors, belonging to us whiteys. That was fun. Yesterday I searched for adoption stuff on CafePress, and found this awesome shirt for kids that says, "Don't tell my parents, but they don't look anything like me." LOL! I'm so going to buy that for our kids. I also really liked the one that said, "Superman was adopted." Hehe.

+ Oh yes, and six of you think I smell like pickles. I'm not really sure how to take that. I was not surprised at those of you who chose that option (I'm looking at you, pair of curly-haired sisters), though I was surprised that only six were unable to resist temptation. ;o) Oh yes, and the clear winner for Mandy pictures was this one. It had 23 votes. The next closest had only 5! I think I might enter two though, so now I can't decide whether the second should be this one or this one. (The picture(s) I submit is not the actual one that will be used on the calendar. They will take pro photos for that.) I like the one y'all chose because it shows her prettiness, but one of the other two shows her cuteness. And yes, I do love my dog a bit too much. Hehe. Any thoughts on which of those two photos I should use?

*My subject line references this hilarious video. Watch it if you haven't yet.

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