Tag: North Carolina

Traveling Realities

“Think of what I’m saying. We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.” We Can Work It Out The Beatles 

This will be a quick one but it’s something I wanted to share. Not everything is perfect and I like for people to know the not so happy things as well as the happy ones. That is what keeps things real and genuine.

Traveling obviously is a big adventure and there are thrills that are beyond the norm so of course that’s why we travel. However, traveling is not without some sort of difficulty. Unless you’re traveling alone you are bound to have mishaps or unhappy moments with those who accompany you.

Let me first explain the relationships and then I will explain the living arrangement during our time here in Washington. My sister and brother, by blood, are my half siblings. We share the same mother but not the same father. However, there has never been a time where I have felt them to be a, “half” sibling. We are all a family and all I have ever known are them. My father IS their father and he is all they have ever known of a father. They were very young when he came into their lives. With that being said, my brother and sister connected with their biological father’s family around 2008. It opened up a whole new world for them and they connected with a family they never knew. They gained so much from that experience, especially my sister.

My sister moved here to Aberdeen (my mother’s hometown), and currently stays with her uncle until she can become settled. He has been kind enough to let me and my mother and father stay here during our visit. Altogether, there are 8 people who are currently living in Ken’s house. LOL that’s A LOT of people: Myself, my mom, my dad, Evy (my sister), Ken, Rayann (my niece), Hayley (my niece) and Ken’s daughter Kaycee. There are four bedrooms but the house, for the most part is quite small (I’m not sure of the square footage) and there is only one usable shower. So I hope you can kind of visualize what we’re working with.

This leads me to the “mishaps” and “unhappy moments”. I would say that it was difficult traveling with my mom and dad, but that would be a lie. I love them immensely and they really don’t do anything that would warrant too much irritation or frustration. I, on the other hand can be a “pill” (southern term for cranky or unhappy). I can’t really tell you why, but I suppose certain things pick at my nerves or have a tendency to annoy me? So I will say that some of that frustration is due on my part. However, I realize when I’m doing it so I attempt to bring my irritations to halt and commence to be easier to get along with. But this is all normal and if you’re expecting to get along with everyone you’re traveling with all the time I think you may be living in a dream world, or you’ve just been really lucky.

When we initially arrived at Ken’s house, there were many stresses that each person in the house was facing (minus us). My sister, Ken Hayley and Rayann were all finishing up the end of their school semester; Rayann with High School, Evy and Kenny with college and Hayley with 9th grade. Emotions were high and adjusting to the housing dynamic was rough! I can tell you that some words were exchanged and tempers flared. You must also take into consideration that everyone in this family is HIGHLY opinionated. No one is leaving without stating their opinions. Myself included. 😉

It definitely took about 2 weeks to REALLY become adjusted with everything: the sleeping arrangements, social dynamic of the house, friends and family coming over and meeting them, functions etc etc. By the way, my sleeping arrangement is currently with 5 early twenties-ish British boys in a slightly small room. I’m talking about this band “One Direction”. They are currently the favorite band of my 14 yr old niece Hayley, of who’s room I’m currently inhabiting. They are literally ALL OVER her walls. They look at me every night as I go to sleep and I can’t help but feel a little…intruded on? They’re starring at me constantly. It’s so creepy.

I know everyone sees all of the really great and happy wonderful things that we’re doing and they ARE happy and wonderful! We’re having a blast, don’t get me wrong, but no travel is without some sort of discomfort or frustration. So we definitely have had our trials since we’ve been here but it worked itself out and everyone is good to go. 🙂

The Perfect Little Home

“You could travel the world but nothing comes close to the Golden Coast.” California GurlsKaty Perry – feat. Snoop Dogg

I am in love! And we haven’t REALLY explored everywhere. But I must say that Northern California is beautiful!

Penryn is about 30 minutes northeast of Sacramento. The population is roughly  2700 and everyone seems very friendly. Bob and Glenda (our cousins we are staying with) have lived here since the 70’s and have really made an amazing home for themselves.

Glenda has around 30 chickens and owns two goats named, “Cookie” and “Oreo”. http://youtu.be/EKkZ8vdF42o

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If she had some ducks I would be in farm heaven (I think I may love animals more than the average person). I have developed a bond with Cookie and am just falling in love with her. Check out the video here:http://youtu.be/H4xgPI1PAVc

Besides my love for animals I have a deep, deep love for music. So imagine how my heart soared when I was introduced to their 1958 Seeburg jukebox.

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As you would guess, this jukebox is not filled with modern music, it is filled with oldies music. Now, depending on your generation the term, “oldies” may mean something completly different to you than it does to me. For me, and in this jukebox, the oldies consist of: Elvis, The Carpenters, Bill Hayley and His Comets, Brenda Lee, Bobby Darren, Perry Como and so many others. For me there is something so awesome about this! Maybe it’s nostalgia for the old soul in me or maybe it’s just something so different that I find it intriguing. Either way, I was thoroughly entertained and so we sat and listened. 🙂 http://youtu.be/eXGjynmEFV0

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Something I wasn’t particularly shocked about, but did take notice of was the gas price difference.

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This is California’s price and our’s is around $2.54. That’s quite a difference but it’s relative.

As if the animals and jukebox weren’t cool enough, Glenda and Bob had to go ahead and have a grove filled with orange, lemon, mandarine and cherry trees! The oranges and lemons should have been picked in December but since they hadn’t, we went ahead and picked what we could yesterday.

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You’re wondering if they’re still good? YES! They were delicious! We’re going to make some lemonade today (mine with splenda).

*yawns* I’m still exhausted. When will that stop?

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

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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!

The Food Struggle

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

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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 assume that since there’s a growing number of people who have this, there would 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’t 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, 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 everyone 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

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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

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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 😦 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. 🙂