Tuesday, July 24, 2012

City of Love...

As I type, I am laying in my bed watching the lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower. Paris really is a beautiful city. And luckily for us, our hotel crowned us "Guests of the Day" which gave us a room that overlooked the city, free drinks at the rooftop bar, and free room service breakfast (which I am looking forward to in the morning!).

Today was a fun-filled day to say the least, we woke up in Oxford with all the Prices, and walked into town for a quick breakfast. After that, we went punting. The Prices taught us all to punt last summer in Cambridge, but it was fun to put all my canoeing skills (shout out to camp desoto!) to use once again! We did have a few near mishaps and my dad nailed a little Asian kid with the paddle by accident, but all in all we had a wonderful time!

After that it was time for me and my parents to catch the train to the eurostar, so we sadly said goodbye to both sets of Prices. Margaret, however, insisted that we take a bottle of champagne (they had plenty left even after the wedding!) to celebrate with after making in through the Chunnel. My parents are not big drinkers AT ALL, but my mom thought that sounded fun so we packed the champagne in her purse. When we crossed into France, they carefully and quietly tried to open the bottle. Remember it had been in my moms purse for about four hours at this point. BAM! POP! The bottle flew open! The cork shot across and hit me in the arm! Champagne sprayed everywhere, drinching both us and the people across from us. The whole train car clapped. It was hilariously embarassing, and we proceeded to drink the whole bottle!

The last thing I'll add is that our view is I am attaching one more picture! And tomorrow night we board our cruise for Scandanavia...wish us luck!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

starting out rough...

well the trip has improved exponentially from the way it flights were delayed which led to me spending the night on a cot (think homeless shelter...) in the chicago airport. I was alone and without my luggage...I just put the hood up to my sweatshirt and tried to sleep like a hoodlum. at about 2am, I realized I was going to have to take ambien if I wanted to catch any zzzs. not wanting to fall into a deep sleep on a sketchy cot in the airport with my purse beside me, I settled for half an ambien in hopes that it would put me to sleep for about 5 hours and then I could wake up like a normal human being. well, it would have been nice if the rude American airlines employee had mentioned (when he so kindly told me that if I wanted a hotel room I'd have to pay for it myself and take a cab an hour each way...) that the cots were collected at 4am so not to get in the way of the morning flights. so two hours into my ambien-hybernation, the airport employees woke me up and told me they needed my cot, blanket, and pillow. I groggily woke up and stumbled, half asleep to my gate.

the rest of my trip was uneventful and I made it to London only about 10 hours later than planned...and just in time for Rachel and tom's wedding! now, British weddings are a bit longer than American ones...meaning they last about 12 hours and people drink the entire time! the wedding was absolutely beautiful...a nice ceremony, a double decker bus ride to the reception, and a band and drinks on the lawn of this beautiful old home! and that was just the begginging...after cocktail hour(s!), we had a full dinner and numerous speeches and, of course, more drinking! by the time dinner ended I was exhausted from the combination of jet lag, a sleepless night in Chicago, the alcohol, and the fact that the wedding had already lasted 7 hours and it was only 8pm! I was regrettably ready to take a cab home, when they offered that I could just nap in the bride's room upstairs! so Ali made me a nice palet on the floor and I passed out for two hours then returned to the wedding just in time to see the amazing firework show on the golf course! after that, we enjoyed a few hours of dancing before showing Rachel and Tom with rose pedals and sending them off around midnight! it was a marathon of a day, but a wonderful celebration!!

I woke up today feeling much more rested, and we went to church with everyone then me and my parents went into London to meet Katy, one of my best friends from wake who is here working at the Olympics, for lunch! Katy and I had a wonderful afternoon exploring the covent gardens area, shopping, and drinking pims down by the water! and tonight we are headed to Oxford with's hard to believe I was home three days ago but this adventure has definitely not been boring!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bon Voyage...?

well, I successfully packed my life into two 50 pound suitcases and I am currently waiting to board my (delayed...) one way flight to europe. i am about equal parts anxious and excited about this year to come! I'm excited because I love traveling, exploring new places, interacting with children and I get to spend time with my family and go on a cruise to Scandinavia nest week...and honestly, this job is exactly what I wanted! that being said, I am anxious because I am alone, I don't speak much german, and it is a huge possibility that I will feel lonely and confused, be thousands of miles from friends and family, in cold weather. but let's look on the bright's to hoping this is a wonderful year in Germany!!


Friday, July 13, 2012

"Traveling will change you like little else can..."

With exactly one week until I board my one way flight to Europe, I was beginning to question why I wasn't just staying in Nashville. I love this city. I will (as most of you have problem had to listen to one of my rants...) try to persuade anyone to move here. My family is here and no one can hold a candle to my mom's homemade rolls or cookies. And the music scene here is incredible. So tonight, as I was enjoying the James Taylor concert and soaking in Nashville, I started really wondering why I had ever agreed to leave this wonderful city. And then, in perfect timing, I came across this wonderful article. I know I love to travel and I've been lucky enough to do my fair share of it, but it just never gets easier to leave the comforts of the old, well-known places. I, time and time again, find myself crying on airplanes. I cry as I depart Nashville usually because I am scared of the unknown, but I also cry just about every time I am coming home because I am sad the adventure has come to an end. So, as this article instructs us to do, get out there and travel while you still can. You may not be as young as you wish (yikes i just turned 23!), but if you do not travel now, you likely never will. And you will miss out of some invaluable lessons and some breathtaking sights.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Adventures in America...

Its hard to believe it was this time a month ago that I was trekking across the country! It was a really amazing trip. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone...we both felt like we saw so much of the country (which was especially great for me before I head off to Germany!) and amongst the 4000+ miles, we enjoyed hours and hours of great conversation. We spiced it up with fun things like eating a milkshake a day and making a "pic stitch" of everyday in attempts to capture the here they are with a few explanations. 
Planning the road trip...even though this trip had been a topic of conversation for months, we only actually decided to do it about 10 days before we left, which meant most of the planning was done by iPhone during the hours on the road!

Day 1: Memphis and Little Rock
Songs: "Walking in Memphis" and "Little Rock"
Highlights included Beale Street in Memphis and finding the "little rock" that the city was named for, as well as staying with a friend from Wake Forest in Little Rock and the excitement of completing the first day of the trip!

Day 2: Oklahoma City
Song: "Oklahoma!"
Highlights included swinging by a casino on the side of the interstate (we gave ourselves a $10 limit!), the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum, being in OKC during the Spurs vs. Thunder game, and our first Airbnb experience!
Day 3: Amarillo, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico
Songs: "Amarillo by Morning", "Amarillo Sky", "All my Exes Live in Texas" and "Trying to Stop You Leaving"
Highlights included seeing the biggest cross in America, realizing we had messed up the time zones and had a spare hour, cadillac ranch, finding a natural spring to swim in and cool off in from the New Mexico heat, staying in a casita with a friend's grandparents, authentic mexican food, watching the sunset over the Rio Grande, and getting a milkshake at the Route 66 Diner. This day was a huge success and one of our favorites of the whole trip!
Day 4: Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona and The Grand Canyon
Songs: "Standing on a Corner in Winslow Arizona"
Highlights included the amazing views of the grand canyon, which really cannot be explained in words and pictures do not do it justice. We were able to stay for sunset which was wonderful, as well as seeing the Rio Grande that morning and a fun-filled day of driving and great conversation. The only let down this day was that Chris did not get to see a Moose, despite all our efforts of searching.

Day 5: Los Angeles, California
Songs: "California", "California Girls" (both Beach Boys and Katy Perry...embarrassingly), "New York to California"
Highlights include driving on the old Route 66, and successfully making it all the way across America! When we arrived in LA, we were visiting a good friend of both of ours from college, Hannah Newman, which was wonderful and she was an excellent tour guide. The low point of this day was driving through the desert most of the time, which was hot, dry, and exit-less.

Day 6: Los Angeles, California
This was our first day of full rest, which was much needed at this point! We enjoyed going to church with Hannah, hanging out on the Santa Monica pier, reaching the official end of Route 66, seeing Hollywood Blvd, and going to dinner on Sunset Blvd. The only bad part of this day was that Hannah talked us into seeing the movie Prometheus...and needless to say I do not recommend it.

Day 7: San Francisco, California
Songs: "San Francisco", "California" and every Beach Boys song ever!
Highlights included a beautiful drive up Highway 1/Highway 101 that allowed us to drive along the beach and also see some beautiful mountains! We also ate at In-N-Out, a requirement of any west coast trip, before arriving in San Francisco at Ali and Jonny's house. They took us out to a great dinner and dessert, and we enjoyed hanging out with them that night.

Day 8: San Francisco, California
We took another day off to explore the city of San Fran...I felt like a tour guide since this was my fifth time here but Chris got to see it all for the first time and absolutely loved it. We started the day at Tartine, one of my favorite breakfast places ever, then went to Fisherman's Warf, watched the Seals on Pier 39, rode a cable car and saw the crooked street, went to the beach, and rode a ferry to see the Golden Gate Bridge. This was a fun-packed day, followed by a great dinner and trivia with Ali and Jonny and their friends. We had an amazing stay in San Fran and were sad to say goodbye.

Day 9: Northern California and Eugene, Oregon
Highlights were less this day, as we mostly drove and did much less stopping,  but we did see some absolutely beautiful countryside and had a nice dinner in Eugene, as well as getting to see The University of Oregon (which has extremely nice facilities thanks to the founder of Nike...), and we had our most successful Airbnb stay of the whole trip!
Day 10: Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington
Songs: "Chicago" by Mat Kearney
Highlights were also plentiful this day. We left Eugene early and made it to Portland early, which allowed us to explore the city, walk down by the river, grab lunch at a cute local place, do a little shopping, visit the rose gardens, and then still drive on to Seattle in time for a nice dinner for our last night! The low point of this day was a little Airbnb mishap, but we moved past it, with time to still enjoy our dinner and see Seattle at night, before capping off the night with our final McFlurry of the trip.

Day 12: Seattle, Washington (and a flight back to Nashville for me...)
Highlights included our VIP tickets to the Needle, and the blessing of a perfectly clear day, so we could see the entire city, the water, and Mount Rainer. We also went to the Pike Place market and got some delicious ice cream and fruit before I made it to the airport with about two minutes to spare before my flight left. We were both so sad to see this trip end!
Upon returning to Nashville, I found this wonderful scratch map of the United States, so I started by scratching only the states I had visited this summer (which, thanks to the cross country road trip, was a lot!).
I think its fair to say that both Chris and I had an amazing experience driving cross country and we would both recommend doing this at some point in your life!