I sincerely apologize for the epic failings of my updating this. In the future, I will try to improve on my shortcomings regarding this matter.
Nah, who am I kidding? I’m terrible at this, but I write to make some of it up!! SOOOOOO!!!!! I have been… yes, you guessed it: BUSY! I have not stopped since, well, whenever I last posted something. I’m checking this now because I haven’t even visited the site in that long! Wow. It’s been a while. Before my birthday. Craziness. So I’m just going to dive right into all of my adventures and whatnot and well, hopefully I’ll keep the length to something manageable and you’ll still be able to make it to the end and find everything interesting. I did start writing stuff from my birthday onto Alaska in mid-November, but I think I will start with January-ish and go from there. Even that will take some time. Bare with me… I’m still working on my Hawaii adventures! And now from my b-day to January-ish. It will eventually all get here. Thanks for sticking with me, readers!
So January: Two of my awesome friends from the Italy group flew up to New York for a few days to explore the city and then drive back down to Florida with me. I introduced them to proper NY pizza, we meandered about Central Park, Times Square, Union Square, you know… all the touristy places. I think the highlight of our trip was seeing The Phantom of the Opera and then going backstage due to some awesome connections with one of the clarinet players from the pit to see the costumes and wigs and the stage and, well, meet the Phantom! It was awesome. Plus the evening had started with Junior’s cheesecake – I don’t think you can really go downhill from there anyway! The drive down to FL was also enjoyable. It’s always great catching up with people you haven’t physically seen for almost a year and a half!
Then I was back at school. At first it was nice. It was good to see everyone from classes and be back at the office and whatnot as I had missed everyone a lot. Before things got too hectic, we got some Disney trips in and all that, but then I ended up flying back home for a funeral for one of the people in my church. She was an icon there and an incredibly sweet woman who will be greatly missed. Being back at school after that was just difficult. Aside from the summer semester I did, I HATED being back. Sure, it was nice to be around friends again, but people changed or graduated and being away from work for a year and a half essentially while I interned in Germany and Houston and did the study abroad in New Zealand was hard to get back into. It didn’t help that I was taking 6 grad level credits and 11 undergrad ones. Insane. It was literally torture. I missed traveling and not having school commitments and just working. As much as I loved college before I did my internships, being a part of the working world was so much better.
In February we had a three day weekend and I took advantage of that for a trip to San Francisco.
It was an amazing time. The Golden Gate bridge was actually visible this time (not sure if I ranted on how the other times I’ve been to SFO I’ve not been able to see the bridge, but it will be coming if it hasn’t already!!) so I was thrilled about that too. I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in SFO. I pretty much removed myself from my phone and internet, so it was just nice. I think it’s necessary to get rid of the technology sometimes so you can have time with the people you really love and care about without all the distractions and all that. It was a pretty spectacular weekend at any rate.
Then it was back to the grind until Spring Break. In the meantime, I learned of this program called NUPOC with the Navy. The more I learned about it, the more interested I became. Well, come Spring Break, I’m being sent over to D.C. by the Navy for an interview with a four star admiral for acceptance into NUPOC. There was a technical phone interview and then two in person interviews before meeting with Admiral Donald, but everything went well and well, now I’m in the U.S. Navy! Once I graduate, I will be off to OCS (Officer Candidate School) and then working to become a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer). Eventually I will be on an aircraft carrier working with nuclear propulsion. I’m excited! And in the meantime, I get paid to be a student and get all the benefits of active duty! It’s an awesome deal. If you’re interested, let me know – I can get you some more information!
But anyway, I did also get an awesome few days to explore D.C. I hadn’t been there for almost a decade so it was pretty sweet to see all the monuments. It was perfect weather and the same time as the cherry blossoms blooming, so an awesome trip through and through. Then it was back to school until the beginning of May. Man, this semester tore me down. It was a nightmare. More than once I wanted to simply give up and say forget this. But of course, I stuck through it – didn’t exactly have a choice. My last final was literally like taking a two ton anvil off of my shoulders. What a relief it was to turn it in. I also pulled my first all nighter of the year studying for it. It was some fun times. I didn’t go crash like most people would. Instead, I began (and completed) the moving process thanks to my brother, his girlfriend, and a few friends. The new apartment is awesome! No crazy, obnoxious, eight-hundred speed bumps to get to my apartment or the crazy upstairs neighbors who always were partying!
After settling in there, I pretty much wrapped things up in Daytona, went para sailing, and then went off to pick up my mommy in Orlando. We did a day at Disney and then hit the road to go back to Texas. I was excited to be driving my car to Houston because having no car there is just not feasible. It’s wrong. It’s horrible. It’s a crime against nature. I digress, though. The drive was fine. Half of it was Florida and then the rest went by pretty fast. We stopped in New Orleans for lunch the second day, which was also pretty cool – Mom had never been there! Sadly, she had to leave early Monday morning. After dropping her off, I went to work. It’s been great being back. I get to do a lot more now that I know some of the ropes and I feel like I’m treated even more as a full time employee than I was last semester, which is saying a lot! 🙂 So far I’ve gotten to travel to San Francisco for a department meeting, Chicago for an intern gathering, and Tampa for a project I’m working on. Another trip to Greensboro is in the works as well. It’s been awesome!
Aside from the work trips, I went home to New York my first weekend back for some graduation celebrations, singing for a confirmation at my church, and good food! The following weekend I enjoyed meeting up with my old study abroad group from Italy. Unfortunately one of the nine of us is no longer with us. It was devastating to find out and we hadn’t seen each other in way too long. This deemed some calling in favors and getting the troops together. We were all able to make it save for one other person as she was doing another study abroad. We missed her as well as our departed friend, but it was really good to see each other. The reason behind it was extremely sad, but it reverberated that life is too short. The Siena group showed me the time of my life – I loved getting to see them all again in Ft. Lauderdale for Memorial Day weekend!
The following weekend I ventured out to Idaho Falls and Yellowstone with a slight detour in Jackson Hole before returning to Idaho Falls for my return flight to Houston. It was awesome – I had a snowball fight in June (in the Northern Hemisphere for all you SH folk that may follow this, it is our summer!!!), saw a brown bear no more than a few hundred feet away from me on the side of the road, and crossed off yet another state on my list!
At some point, I went out to Houston Space Center. That was neat! I like Kennedy and the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville better, but this was still pretty cool. We got to see the training center, so I was happy. 🙂 Plus I had dippin dots. Life is good!
The next weekend was Dad’s birthday, so we got my brother to fly out to meet us all in LA. We drove around the West Shore for a bit Friday night before the birthday man’s dinner. The next day we did the tourist thing and checked out Rodeo St., Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Stars, and all that fun stuff. We drove for hours trying to find a lookout point for the Hollywood sign and failed miserably. My dad has a friend out there who was in the lead car. He doesn’t do many touristy things, hence the driving forever. I had a headache – not so much fun. 😦
The brother left Saturday night to catch a redeye and then me and the parents drove
down the coast to San Diego on Sunday. Gorgeous views. It was a perfect day. We ended up checking out the San Diego Zoo as well. Turns out airline employees get a 50% off discount for two people and military people get in free, so the three of us got three tickets for the price of one essentially. It was expensive regardless, but cool. We went on a bus tour since we got there kind of late, but it basically covered the entire main exhibits at the zoo. After the bus, we took the gondola over to the Polar region, but I was disappointed – no penguins! 😦 For a world famous zoo and ranked as one of the must see zoos in the world, I was not impressed. I actually like the Bronx Zoo better. But that may just be some bias. I don’t know. The Munich Zoo is better the best I’ve been to so far. My favorite at this point in time.
Next weekend was the trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin! More fun adventures – I got to cross off two more states off my list, so I only have nine left before I’ve gone to all fifty! We went to Lake Superior and then drove through Duluth back to Minneapolis where the sun decided to finally come out. We checked out the Mall of America, of course too. I didn’t know there was an amusement park inside! Craziness! It was another awesome weekend! I also got to hear from my friend from high school who’s doing a study abroad in China, so that was another pleasant surprise! The weekend after I was still in Tampa and had to stay into the weekend, so I decided to stay in Florida. The parents came down so we visited my aunt who lives not too far south of Tampa Friday night, drove around Siesta Key, and all that fun stuff – quality family bonding time. Then after I finished working on Saturday, we went over to Daytona to visit the brother and his girlfriend who’s birthday was the day prior. More enjoyable times – saw Brave and had a tasty dinner at Takara’s – a Japanese hibachi restaurant. Yum! Again, more quality family time.
Whoo – finally up to this weekend! This weekend I went to Vancouver and drove up to Whistler. Originally we were trying to go to Victoria, but the ferry cost $82 and we were being cheap. This was nice too, though. We did the Sea to Sky Highway and just enjoyed the views. Even though it was raining, it was gorgeous! I haven’t uploaded pictures yet, otherwise they would be here too! Sorry! Anyway. I think this should be enough to keep yu faithful readers busy and reassure you that I’m still alive for now! I will try to post my future travels soon and then go back to my much more detailed and random descriptions of weekend and life in general once I get caught up!
Thanks for reading, y’all! =]