Tag: vacation planning

New Experiences

“This ain’t no funky reggae party, five dollars at the door.” Garden GroveSublime

That song lyric might have been more appropriate for the last post HA! But you know, Sublime is always a band I think of when I think of California along with No Doubt and a slew of others.

So at this point everyone should know that we are staying with our cousins Bob and Glenda in Penryn. Well, their grandson Chad, who is my second cousin once removed, has been showing me, “around town” and it’s been really great!

We went by his house for minute or two, then ran over to his mother’s house, Lynnette who is my 2nd cousin and talked with her for a bit. That was really wonderful because I have always heard of these people but had never met them! I can’t explain the feeling you get when you meet another family member for the first time. I think this feeling starts when you get older and can appreciate it more. It’s finding others that are part of your blood in some way and so you’re automatically connected and I think that is what I like so much about it.

Touring Homes

We then went and toured some model homes. WOW. These buildings were quite large but some not so large. One thing I noticed were the bathrooms and they were like a room all in themselves.

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After home touring, we hit up Nordstrom Rack. I’ve never been to one and we don’t have them in NC and if we do they’re either in Raleigh or Charlotte. I purchased a shirt for a very decent price and then we scampered over to the mall.

Tiffany & Co.

Before I begin this it should be addressed that I do love diamonds. It’s my birthstone and even though it’s not very rare, I still love the sparkle and shine. So I saw the Tiffany store and told Chad I had never been into one. He immediately grabbed my hand and pulled me in there. The first thing he said to the salesman was, “We’re not buying anything, but we’re just looking. She has never been into a Tiffany’s before and I want her to experience that.” At this point I was thinking, “Well, he can either say okay and turn around and walk away, or he could tell us he doesn’t have time for us at all that only paying customers were worth his time.” I think all of this because this IS the mentality of most salesman. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to think what I did because that’s how the world works. Well…imagine my surprise when he presented a sophisticated half-smile and said, “Please feel free to take a look. Anything you would like to try, let me know.” I disregarded this as I wasnt sure if I heard him right. I saw a princess cut diamond ring. The salesman came over and chad said, “She likes that one.” The man opened the glass door and set it on the counter for me to look at. It priced at around $24,000. The price wasn’t shocking as I know it can be expensive. I looked at it and he said, “Go ahead and try it on.” I responded, “I can’t because it won’t fit my finger.” He just responded in a very non assuming way that, “it doesn’t have to fit, it fits no ones finger, it’s just there for you to try it on the part that it will fit on.” So I hesitantly picked up the dainty little $24,000 ring and place it on the thinnest part of my ring finger. Hello love. Where have you been all my life. That feeling was wonderful. It was so dainty and shiny. I thought, “This must be what it feels like for other women.”

I looked at the next ring that was clearly covered in diamonds. Chad said, “Can we look at this one”. He said, “Absolutely but we must go into the room over there to do so.” Apparently this ring cost a bit more. We walked eagerly to the room and he pulled out the ring. I placed it on my finger…and then looked at the price.

 

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$127,000 sitting on my undeserving finger. Wow.

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I honestly didn’t know how to pose for the photo. I felt very out-of-place trying it on because I will never have money like that to spend on such a beautiful ring. I feel like such a simple woman in the things I own that I almost felt uncomfortable walking into Tiffany’s to start with. I felt like maybe I should have been dressed up to do this.

The coolest thing about that whole experience, I think, was the salesman. He was so very nice and completely sweet. He was never assuming or bothered. He seemed to enjoy talking and loved his job. I would love to give him a wonderful review. I never for a minute thought he would give us the time of day. It was very sweet and I’ll always remember that. :’)

Buca Di Beppo

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So after all of the stuff we did, Chad took me to one of his favorite restaurants in the area which is, “Buca Di Beppo”. It’s an Italian restaurant located near the mall. He told me he reserved us the VIP seating. I didn’t think much of this because of the VIP seating style back home. When you get a VIP seat, it’s usually just a dark corner that’s somewhat private. It’s not anything to really write home to mom about but THIS was something to write to y’all about!

The VIP booth is IN THE KITCHEN!

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Talk about private! This is uber private! It was just an amazing thing! So you get:

A private booth in the Kitchen

Whenever your bread or water are low a server immediately fills it up for you whether they’re your server or not.

If an order is messed up in the main part of the restaurant, they will bring that order to the VIP table and let you have it.

Sometimes they will let you try different sauces (though I think that might have actually just been Chad’s doing since he frequents there a lot).

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I was surprised to say the least. Behind the booth, located on the wall were pictures of famous celebrities who had eaten there, either at that locations or others across the country. There are very few Buca restaurants in the whole of the U.S.

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We ordered the Spicy Rigatonni and for dessert a Tiramisu (El, it was amazing!) I didn’t eat too much beccause that wasn’t going to be good for anyone! Hands down, that was another experience I will put down in the books. Thank you so much Chad 🙂 Now I just have to work off these calories! Yikes!

After all is said and done, you can call me, “Experience Lady”. HA!

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. 🙂

Preparation is Important

“There ain’t a thing I’ve faced that’s been too much for me.” Inner Ninja – Classified, David Myles

Throughout my day, I have a lot of open area for my imagination to run wild and to meditate on current events as well as future goings on. So naturally the one thing that I am ALWAYS randomly thinking about is this trip! If you can remember back to when you were a child, you would anticipate Christmas day and what that would mean for you. For most people it was exciting and intense. The anticipation of what gifts you would get or maybe Santa Clause had brought some really amazing magical thing would overcome you and so life was barely tolerable until that moment. This is the same feeling I get when thinking about this trip, only it’s not as magnified due to my being an adult. *Enter in Debbie Downer sound effect*

To prepare for this trip, I have kept a checklist in my head and on paper of things I need to do before I leave. Some include:

  1. Showing the animal sitter how to administer flea medicine to my cat. (She’s got an attitude but super cute! You can follow her on Instagram @madamemouffette *the cat not the sitter*).
  2. Bathing my dog Lukkah.
  3. Preparing his sleeping quarters.
  4. Paying Bills.
  5. Going to the doctor.
  6. Exercising more.
  7. Contacting UNCG about educational matters.
  8. Paying a speeding ticket. Uhg!
  9. Shop for appropriate clothing.
  10. Making a list of what to pack for the trip.
  11. Ordering items for the trip: camping supplies, normal toiletries etc.

Some of these could be purchased or done on the trip. However I really feel more comfortable being prepared than having to do it later. A control thing? Maybe? A woman thing? Maybe. Either way it’s who I am.

I haven’t begun to imagine how to pack my bag. I really haven’t. But, the one thing I AM going to do before I leave is put my logo on my luggage! One thing I have noticed while traveling is that most everyone has the SAME luggage. This isn’t a new thing and people have taken lengths to try to distinguish their luggage from others. What better way to identify mine, than to put my logo on it. It’s a hard suitcase on rollers so I originally wanted to just take a Sharpie to the whole thing and do some creative design to it. Unfortunately I envision it getting worn off before I even get to California and frankly, as a designer I’m not interested in the end product becoming a mess, so I’m going to put my logo, in vinyl, on the suitcase. When I’m finished with it I will post a pic for you all to see!

I have some major concerns about specific things when I go on this trip, though I will save that for tomorrow.

If you all can think of some helpful tips on how to prepare for a two month trip, PLEASE let me know! I’d love to be as prepared as possible! 🙂

-Heather