LOOK OUT CALIFORNIA here we come!

“Goodbye to all my friends at home, goodbye to people I’ve trusted.” Jet AirlinerSteve Miller Band

imageimage

We set off for what was an EXTREMELY smooth ride! Starting from the beginning, everything came into place and even though we were very tired, we were not letting that get us down. The weather was absolutely beautiful in North Carolina soĀ it wasn’t hard to enjoy mother nature’s gift.

imageOur friends Beth and her husband Roy drove us to the airport and we couldn’t have been more thankful. For those of you who are not aware, Raleigh is about 3.5 hours from our home so it’s a bit of a stretch. So thank you Beth and Roy šŸ™‚

We arrived a bit early at RDU. I should mention I was a bit taken aback by the complimentary luggage check-in that was stationed directly outside of the terminal. I thought, “Oh sweet! Delta is uping their checki-in game by making it faster.” We assumed they were employed by Delta and before we could even make a decision as to whether or not we would utilize that service, a gentleman came over and started check our luggage. So we just went with the flow and before you know it the guy says, “We are not employed by Delta. We are contracted to do this work.” Which then it dawned on me that they were looking for a tip. So the thought I came away with was how much and how fast things change or I must not notice a lot through my experiences. *note to self, notice your surroundings*

Security and Cary On was a bit wild. The line moved entirely too fast and, as usual, I always feel like I never know how they want me to go about this process; which items go in what containers etc. I began sympathizing with those individuals that feel the 360 x-ray machine (not sure of the term) is a bit invasive. Still, I would rather be invaded in that way than to be a victim from lack of security. So I’m appreciative.

image

After such stress we finally settled down for a nice lunch at one of the airport pubs. Our food was decent and we got out of there in great time.

Check out a little video update from the Minneapolis Airport:Ā http://youtu.be/UGWn406plu8

image
Dad ordering some food from this cool techy restaurant

 

We had a 2.5 hour layover in Minneapolis. Our flight ended up changing and our arrival time into Sacramento went from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

image
Mom and dad trying to catch a nap on the plane

 

But as you can see we were super exhausted because in California it was 10:00 p.m. but in North Carolina it was 1:00 a.m.

Imagine our relief when we finally got to California! We were so tired but so happy to be here.

image
Baggage Claim in the Sacramento airport. How cool is this?

Our cousins, Bob and Glenda picked us up from the airport in the Nissan Quest we purchased from them. The weather was really cool, around 50 degrees which is extremely abnormal for this area of California.

By the time we actually went to bed it was around 1 a.m.

*yawns*

Two More Days

“You’re callin’ my name, but I gotta make it clear – I can’t say, baby, where I’ll be in a year.” Sweet EmotionAerosmith

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 11.53.57 PM

AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH! Wow! We’ve come a long way and now we’re coming up on Two more days to get everything together.

Things that have been settled:

  • Talked with Advisor and registered for fall classes
  • Paid bills
  • Stocked up on prescriptions
  • Graded projects
  • Purchased travel gear

Things I still have to do:

  1. Talk with our animal caretakers (prepping them for what to do)
  2. Settle some loose ends (medical and school stuff)
  3. Enter grades
  4. Clean
  5. Wash clothes
  6. Unload images off phone to computer
  7. Charge iProducts
  8. Pack

It feels like there are so many things to do. I’m having a hard time sleeping at night! The last two nights in specific I had a hard time falling asleep. I will say that there is an element of stress, apprehension, and nervousness to what I am feeling currently. Though, the overall feeling is very much excitement! If I can steal away a few minutes tomorrow I’m going to make a, “California Bound” playlist on Spotify. I WILL need something to listen to on the plane and on the ride to the airport! I’m seriously getting excited the more I think about actually being IN the vehicle driving to RDU.

Video Clips:

Hey I want you all to know that I will be linking video footage to this blog. You can click on the links and watch the videos on YouTube. They will be short little captures of what we’re currently doing and where we are. I will have one up on Thursday, May 14th (departure day) when we’re on the way to the airport. So check those out in addition to the blog!

It REALLY IS hard to leave your belongings and animals behind while you go off on a trip for two months. I think the older we get the more the feeling settles into you. Or maybe it’s just me?

What do you think? Could you, would you or HAVE you left your animals and belongings for two or more months to travel? (It kind of sounds like a Dr. Seuss rhyme). I want to hear your stories. Let me know in the comment section below. I’d like to know what gave you comfort, or what you told yourself to feel comfortable doing this. *LOL* I may be having a hard time with it.

KEEP CALM AND PACK ON! Haha! PRAY FOR ME!

Tic Marks

“I say a pressure drop, oh pressure, oh yeah, pressure drop a drop on you.” Pressure DropToots and the Maytals

I knew this was coming; the pressure would would start to close in the closer it got to our time of departure and then the reality would start to set in. Well folks…it’s definitely setting now! I will say that I’m having a bit of stress at the moment. It seems like everything is happening at the last minute. I have my last two classes this week ending on Thursday, I have to meet my advisor at UNCG Friday, grade final projects over the weekend and fit in some cleaning in between all of that. There’s some extra things I have to do as well and then we are out of here next Wednesday, May 14!

I want to share with you all some info that some of you are not aware of: my parents live in Paradise. This place is absolutely gorgeous. The view of the water is breathtaking and often when eating at the dinner table we look out of the window and call it, “The Moving Picture Show.” 

 
   

 

It’s just so beautiful. It will be sad to leave this for the summer because the beauty spans across all types of days, not just sunny ones. 

  
The nights are fantastic too.

   
 
Who wouldn’t love this right? Please don’t take my talks of beauty as being boastful, it’s just hard not want to share it with others. Plus, I just want you all to know what I’m leaving. Even though I’m going to be exploring A LOT, I will still long for warm days on the creek, and wish I was smelling that wonderful salt smell blowing through the air on windy days. 

It’s home. 

Birthday Good-eez

“Now I’m ready to turn the page on yesterdays and forgive them. Now I’m willing to disengage to seize the day and move on.” Boom Shanka311

So my birthday was yesterdayā€“I’ve still not completely digested thatā€“and I just keep getting older.Ā We don’t feel any different as humans when we have a birthday, right? That day feels just like the day before and no physical or mental change took place over night. So when do we transition? When does the major change of feeling happen for us? Well, for me I have noticed that mine happens in spurts throughout the course of my life. I NEVERĀ feel my age. Sometimes when I meditate on it, I do not feel an age at all. I would say that I feel myself to be a certain age on certain days or months. Sometimes I feel like I am a woman of around 55, then some days I feel like I’m around 27 or 28 and then moving into feeling myself to beĀ 31. Does anyone else feel this way?

I have to say that yesterday’s birthday went smoother than I would have imagined. You know, it really just happened this way because I was determined to have a fantastic day. I’m not very big on birthday’sā€“whether they be mine or someone else’sā€“but it ended up to be wonderful. The sky was beautiful and the temperature was perfect. With weather so perfect, it’s really hard to be angry, depressed or worried.

Birthday Goodies

Yesterday after class I just sat back and cruised home. I picked up a pizza from, “Frank’s”Ā for myself and my mom and then some fried chicken for my dad.Ā Banana Pudding was the dessert! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES! As a diabetic this isĀ something IĀ can’t really have at all. Yesterday I made an exception and enjoyed every bite šŸ™‚ (I should mention that my mom’s banana pudding is really awesome. It’s made entirely from scratch, so no packaged pudding.) My dad searched for miles for some honeysuckles and he found them, single and isolated. They smelled so wonderful and that just put the icing on the cake…or rather the pudding. So thanksĀ to dad for that and thanks to mom for that amazing pudding šŸ™‚

I REALLY tried to take yesterday and enjoy it. It’s hard to do that when I know that in just 17 days WE’RE OUTTA HERE! The itch is getting serious. There’s really nothing I can do at this point to prepare for this trip I don’t believe. This is an awkward middle point where I’m just kind of twiddling my thumbs, trying to appreciate the present but secretly containing my yearn for the future. *hehe* If I’m doing any preparation it is for UNCG in the fall and wrapping up things here for the end of the semester and saying goodbye to my students. *sad face*

This trip, in so many ways,Ā feels like a milestone for me. It’s also pivotal in ways. I will be learning so much while on this trip; not just learning about facts and information about certain National Parks, but also learning processes, organization and direction. I anticipate that I will be driving most of the time and that will be good in several ways. I’m sure that I will gain so much more world experience from this as well. I hope to meet some super cool people and gain wisdom from their travels.

*Stops for a moment*

I can’t believe that we’re getting closer. Haha this is so rad! At this point, I think we’re just trying to, “KEEP CALM AND PACK ON”.

 

 

Ā 

The Food Struggle

“One more helpin’ of what I’ve been havin’ –Ā I’m takin’ my turn on the sin wagon.” Sin WagonDixie Chicks

girl-over-eating-food-520x390

So for those of you who are unaware, I have Type 2 Diabetes. I was diagnosed in September 2014. Diabetes is such a rapidly growing problem that you would think it wouldn’t make me feel any different from anyone else and that since it’s a growing disease I wouldn’t even feel differently about having it…but I do.

One would assumeĀ that since there’s a growing number of people who have this, there wouldĀ be more accommodations made. I mean, I’ve seen more, “Gluten Free!” products now than I ever have before. In fact I could actually stock my whole kitchen with gluten-free products and be completely satisfied. Did you know that only 1% of Americans have Coeliac Disease (taken from celiaccentral.org). From the American Diabetes Associate website, in 2012, 9.3% of Americans had Diabetes. Try finding sugar-free products (and not just cookies that still use white flour) as compared to gluten-free in stores. There are far less of those products. Also, just because it says “sugar-free” on the package doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’tĀ ingredients in it that turn to sugar quickly in the body. Really, sugar-free products are not really sugar-free. So there’s a bit of frustration with that on my end but when you get down to it: if you exercise, eat healthy natural foods (i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole wheat breads) you’ll be fine if you’re a person with Type 2 Diabetes, or someone who doesn’t have Coeliac Disease. It’s limiting but it’s what you have to do in order to fight, “the struggle” lol.

Anyway,Ā I do feel different having it but luckily that difference isn’t prevalent all the time. Usually I am only aware of it when it’s time to eat or when I’m with other people eating. For example: if I’m at a restaurant with my friends eating, there’s very few items on the menu I can actually consume. So while everyoneĀ else’s struggle is to choose between the many items they like, my struggle is trying to find SOMETHING that I can actually consume whether I like it or not. Now I know what you’re thinking, “#FirstWorldProblems”, but this is a part of my life and it’s a struggle in this society filled with sugar products EVERYWHERE! Fortunately, as time has passed, I have become accustomed to eating the way I do and going without the things I like. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t cheat once in a while. The other night at the college’s Employee Appreciation Dinner, there sat a delicious, juicy brownie sitting neatly on a white plate. The visual of this was so overwhelming that I sat for an hour and watched that brownie. During dinner I had made up my mind I would eat that brownie and enjoy it. Well, I did. And as you might have expected it was quite delicious! I paid for it too. I became quite sleepy and the next day I felt a craving for sugar. THAT’S HOW ADDICTIVE SUGAR IS!

So, because of my food limitations, it worries me about what my diet will be when I leave for the trip. When we are traveling we will be eating out a bit. We have a plan to have a cooler with food for the journey home but what about while we’re in California and Washington? Being in those places makes me worry more because I LOVE experiencing new foods and eating at good restaurants. Even though I have major will power when it comes to food now, I am scared that I will end up ruining myself in some way. *laughs* It’s kind of like the reoccurring dream I have about every 2 months: I end up smoking ONE cigarette and then it turns into a full carton! *For those that are unfamiliar, I smoked for 14 years but have since quit and have now been smoke free for 5 years*

I’m pretty sure I can stay focused but what are some things I can tell myself, or things I can do to prevent getting on the food wagon of sin while on vacation?

The City by the Bay

 “We’re looking for such different things, it is insane but we wouldn’t want to be the same.” Weightless311

Golden Gate Bridge

sanfran_cr

haight-ashbury-stree-sign

Now that it’s getting down to crunch time, my stomach is twisting around in knots and I’m absolutely about to jump out of my skin! I know it sounds really bad but the closer I get to the end of this semester, the sooner I want it to get here so I can be gone! I shouldn’t rush my life away and I really try to take each day at a time and be thankful but it’s really difficult to to do that when you’re getting ready to go to the West Coast for the first time! I really feel like I’m about to explode! We have exactly 3 weeks and 5 days until we take off so naturally I’m beginning my research of tourist destinations!

San Francisco is our first BIG hit when we get to California. Minus our arriving in Sacramento and driving to Penryn where my cousins live, our first tourist-y place to visit is, “The City by the Bay”. You know, I never knew San Francisco had so many nicknames! They include:

  • Baghdad by the Bay
  • The City
  • The City by the Bay
  • The City That Knows How (archaic)
  • Everybody’s Favorite City
  • Fog City
  • Frisco
  • Golden City
  • The Golden Gate City
  • San Fran
  • Shaky Town

Though I have read of several sites that say locals do not like the nickname, “San Fran”. Haha I don’t know why this is but I suppose we’ll find out. I’ve looked into booking a guided tour by bus and those prices seem quite reasonable. It was around $24.99 for the bus tour that includes stops at: The Golden Gate Bridge, Haight Ashbury, Lombard Street and several other places. I’m also wanting to go to Marin Headlands which seems like a great place to a get an image.

In the midst of researching touristy places to visit, I tend to feel self conscious about actually being, “touristy”. Part of the reason why my adventures in the past have been so poorly documented was due mainly in part to the sheer embarrassment of looking like a, “Tourist”. I tried to blend in as much as I could but if you think about it, if you’re not from there, you stick out like a sore thumb anyway right? If you’re a tourist, it doesn’t take a camera to differentiate you from locals; looking around at every object and taking in the entirety of this new experience proves that you must be a tourist or either a completely strung out weirdo! A local doesn’t examine it’s surroundings with curiosity and wonderment because he/she lives it everyday and has seen it already. Our touristic tendencies come out in our body motions and facial expressions. That just made me think about how funny that visual really is when you imagine it. But I’m not going to let that stop me from really experiencing everything and having memories of it later. Plus, everyone takes pictures all the time now anyway right?

So here’s what I’d like to know: Are there any other recommendations for San Francisco that we should check out? What are some recommended restaurants? Is there a coffee shop or market that we absolutely must go to?

 

The Golden Ticket

“Your head will collapse but there’s nothing in it and you’ll ask yourself, ‘Where is my mind?'” Where Is My MindPixies

FullSizeRender

Something I have been waiting patiently for, came in the mail today. The flat parcel, addressed by the USPS, lay there waiting for me to open it and sure enough, as I suspect it was my PASSPORT! YAY!!  I’ve been waiting for that thing for forever it feels like. This dear passport gave me the privilege to cross into countries such as Germany in 2005 and Mexico in 2006. I had not needed my passport since then. Wouldn’t luck have it that ironically I would need my passport one month AFTER it had expired. So naturally I renewed it because…guess where we’re visiting while in WA? CANADA! I didn’t mention it before because I wasn’t sure if we would be going, and we’re still not positive but it’s a possibility. The thing I hate about getting a new passport is that I was attached to my old one. I wish they would have ripped out the pages that were stamped so that I might be able to have them as keepsakes to remember my travels šŸ˜¦ I’m not too upset, though it would have been nice.

The passport really kicked my brain into, “ready mode”. In the midst of presenting the new project my students will be working on for the next 3 weeks (which by the way is an 8 page newsletter), I was suddenly jolted in to the reality that I only have FOUR WEEKS to go before we sail off into the sky (I’m referring to the plane of course). I’m just standing there and all of a sudden I’m somewhat stunned for a second, I lost track of my thoughts, but picked it back up a couple of seconds later. I know my students had to have thought I was a little, “out of it”. Then again, I’m sure they probably think that all the time *hehe*. For those brief seconds, images of my packing a large dark pink roller suitcase and flying Delta to Cali flashed in my head. My vision is somewhat the same each time: I think about getting excited about packing, then checking my luggage and then we’re sitting on the plane waiting for it to take off. Now, some may wonder why my vision is so narrowed. Well, I’ve learned that, for me, it’s best if I just let everything surprise me. If I think too much or build something up too much, I find it spoils things a bit for me (in a small way), so I like to keep the visions down a notch. But MAN! I am REALLY ready to go! It’s like a bucket of water you’re trying to gently and easily pour out, careful not to let the whole thing spill because it’s so heavy that your arms might give way, and then…

WHOOSH…too late. šŸ™‚