Monday, March 30, 2009

Europe Bound!

As some of you may know, my Aunt Marilyn is turning 70 in November. As a gift to herself and a way to celebrate such a milestone, she decided to take a cruise through Europe. From the very beginning she made it clear that anyone else who needed a reason to embark on a cruise could come along to help her celebrate.

I have always wanted to do some traveling, especially in Europe, so I jumped at the opportunity to join Marilyn's trip. Even though at the time it was hard to fathom dipping into a dwindling savings account I felt this was a rare opportunity to travel with some of my favorite people. Luckily, since making the decision to join the trip I have obtained two part time jobs and I feel much more secure financially.

I also thought this was the perfect time to visit my friend Sasha in London. Of all the people in my life, she has been pushing me the hardest to get a passport so I could travel the world. Well, I think she mostly just wanted me to visit her ;-) Anyways, I now have a passport and I will be spending three days with Sasha in London before I head off to Istanbul, Turkey for the start of the cruise.

I'm absolutely ecstatic about the trip and Novemember cannot come soon enough. The cruise will be making stops in the following places.

Istanbul, Turkey
Ephesus - Izmir
Athens - Piraeus
Rome, Italy
Barcelona, Spain

And we will be sailing the Ionian and Mediterranean seas. I will be staying in a balcony room with Marilyn and her friend Cindy (a true BeVard wannabe). My Uncle Jon and Aunt Mary Jane will also be aboard and hopefully more people will join!

Check out this website for more information on the cruise. Let's hear it for Marilyn turning 70 and celebrating it the right way!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Traditions Never Get Old

What seems like a very long time ago, in High School, I became a huge fan of a little show called American Idol. Once I discovered AI, it quickly became a tradition to go over to my friend Shayda's house on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to watch our favorite singers. Shayda's Mom and sister would join us and most weeks we would all eat dinner together while watching the show. We enjoyed our own commentary on the contestants mostly, but also liked to make fun of Paula Abdul, Randy and Simon.

Since Shayda and I have both been living elsewhere for several years now, the tradition had died a little. Yesterday, in true form, we all got together once again for the first show of the final 13 singers. It's funny how nothing has changed in 5 years. Hopefully, this will again become a weekly tradition!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Winter Wonderland

About a week ago, it randomly decided to snow a whole bunch here in Virginia. I took the opportunity to shoot some photos. The whole event really reminded me of back in the day when we use to sing the song "When it Snows in Washington" that my Elementary school teacher had written. The song talked about how crazy people get around here with buying out grocery stores and such. I wanted to share the pictures I took on my blog. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Out of Practice

About a week ago, I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and go for a day hike with my friend, through my sister and Brett, Iain. We decided to start the day early since I had plans to go to a Caps game with my Mom later that night. Iain has a book of Virginia hikes, so we looked through them and decided to go to Old Rag Mountain in the Shenandoah.

We decided to do a loop that measures about 9 miles in distance and estimated taking more than four hours. Old Rag is known for it's challenging boulders and the mountain certainly did not disappoint. It reminded me a lot of hiking Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, except at no point during the Old Rag hike did I feel my life was actually in danger.

It was great to get back to hiking, having not done any serious hikes since Outward Bound. It was also a wake-up call at how out of shape I am in terms of hiking. I was carrying a fairly light pack with water and a few snacks in it and for the most part made the hike just fine. However, the following couple of days were pretty brutal as every muscle in my body was sore. It was actually nice to feel that sore again and it really made me miss the woods. I hope to be going on several more hikes as the weather continues to get nicer.

Northern Virginia has a lot more to offer than one might think!