Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Monday, June 8, 2015

Books, travel, and other thoughts...oh my

Hello Lovely Readers,

Probably one of my favorite pictures of my niece and I
I am working on a new schedule of blog posting one: I love schedules and two: I love alliterations. So here are my thoughts so far. "My world" Monday where share whats going on in my life whether it is the movies I like, the books I am reading or if I have really deep and insightful thoughts. "Wednesday Writing" where I share my letters project (link to letters) or my thoughts on the writing process as I try to write my first novel. Then I "Frivolous Friday" where I get to share really what ever I like but mostly be pictures or YouTube videos. I am excited to have a schedule although I know next week I will be off as I will be vacation. I know I just got back from Paris and I am jumping on a plane again. Yep! And I am super excited as I will be off to see my sister, hanging out with my niece and nephew and meeting my newest nephew.

First I just finished my 15th book for my 26 book challenge. I read After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson. I read this book as being in the category of "read a book by an author you love" last summer I read her novel Somewhere in France and loved it so when I saw this book in the book store I knew I had to read it. It was good to get back into reading WWI novels as I am still working on my own WWI novel. From the inside flap description:

After four years as a military nurse, Charlotte Brown is ready to leave behind the devastation of the Great War. Moving to busy Liverpool, she throws herself into her with those most in need, only tearing herself away for the lively dinners she enjoys with the women at her boarding house. 
 Just as Charlotte begins to settle into her new circumstances, two messages arrive that will change her life. One is from a radical young newspaper editor who offers her a chance to speak out for those who cannot. The other pulls her back to her past, and to the a man she has tried, and failed to forget. 
As Britain seethes with unrest and postwar euphoria flattens into bitter disappointment, Charlotte must confront long-held insecurities to find her true voice... and the courage to decide if the life she has created is the one she truly wants. 

Idea for new cover
I liked the structure of the story, because it starts with her working in 1919 and every few chapters it has a flash back. It also has me thinking of the structure of my story. Thus far I feel I have written so much back story that it might be draining. I feel I just need to throw Mattie and her friends into WWI and then have flash backs to the back story. Though thinking that is huge because it feels like starting from square one again, but I have given my story so much energy and thought that I want it to be perfect.

So going back to the book: I liked the story of Charlotte and it gave me ideas for my own book. However, I didn't really feel pulled into the story. I meant there were moments that I felt sorry for Charlotte but something about her I didn't relate to. Also I felt Robson threw so many characters at me it was hard to keep them straight. I remember loving Somewhere in France so maybe I had too many high expectations. However it was fast read and I am happy to cross it off my reading list.

I just re-read the description of Somewhere in France and it is about Lilly Ashford and Robert Fraser, who are characters in this book as well so it is kind of sequel to that book but not because it can stand on its own as a book. Also no where does it say "sequel to..." (To read my description of Somewhere  in France click here).

Anyway I wouldn't highly recommend this book as a must read I would say it was a good read (probably 2.5 stars out of 5). Also it was interesting to read about the time between WWI and the Roaring 20s. I know it wasn't a long time but there was definitely a transition, I mean the Roaring 20s didn't happen all at once. It didn't go right from war to party there were deep political struggles post-war. So I liked how this book dealt with it even if it was the central focus. I also liked how the book dealt with the term "shell shock." And it was nice transition book after reading Mary Queen of Scots biography so probably what my mind needing.

I am ending this post with a music video of a song I have recently discovered through listening to Pandora. It is kind of a sad song but I like it... 

Song: Little Did you Know
By: Alex & Sierra 

With my new schedule in the works I will be trying to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9AM EST. I will always try to post it on my Facebook page but sometimes I forget... so just in case don't forget to check back.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Back from Paris!

Mom and I on my favorite bridge Pont Neuf.
 Hello Lovely Readers,

I am happy to report my mom and I are back from Paris.* It was a wonderful trip and before I begin this post I have to give a special shout out to a few people: my mom who took me to Paris, my step-dad who financially sponsored this trip (I know you wanted to come but thank you for this once in a life time opportunity with my mom), also thank you to my aunt and grandparents who gave so generously for me to buy supplies for my trip and souvenirs on my trip. Thank you!!!

The trip was wonderful... I hardly knew what to expect... minus a few movies set in Paris and pics on Pinterest I don't think I truly comprehended the beauty of Paris. Fortunately for me my mom had been to Paris a few times so she knew the basic lay out of the city, plus she had done a lot of research before the trip and was taken some french lessons, which really helped! We stayed at a Best Western (a simple hotel) but in a great neighborhood in between the Hotel Invalid and the Eiffel Tower. Needless to say we got lots of shots of the Eiffel Tower...

Also I created a Pinterest board for my mom and I to share ideas on things to do in Paris (I highly recommend this as it helped us know what we wanted to do) Link to Pinterest Board. The board has 500 pics so my mom asked me to narrow it down to the top ten things. My #1 thing I wanted to do was see Versailles and my #2 was eat lots of pastries. Happy to say I got to do both.
After our first dinner we split this huge eclair
The stamp inside my book
On the first day full day in Paris we walked on Rue  Germain heading to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore the walk was wonderful. We saw St. Michel's square, it may not be famous but it really awoke me to the beautiful ornateness of Paris (I took so many photos of just the architecture). Also on this walk I got my first glimpse of Notre Dame. At Shakespeare I bought 2 books and got the stamp of purchase (felt so geekily cool... even if my mom made fun of me for buying the hefty book of Mary Queen of Scots). Then after Shakepeare and Company we went to the Morsee D'orsay and had lunch.

Travel tip: Pack cute scarfs because they will end up in all your pics. 
Collage of highlights of day 1.
Mom and I- selfie in Morsee D'orsay with famous clock in background
The next day we went to the Louvre. I am sorry I cannot boast much about the Louvre... I got so overwhelmed about the amount of people and just how big it was, it shook me up a bit. My mom really wanted to see the Napoleon Apartments so we went to see those but then I had to leave. I am not really good at spaces. Travel tips (for Louvre):Plan out what you are going to see then just go see those. Also check days of holidays and try not to go on those days. Travel tips (for museums): Museum Pass (we bought ours at the Hotel Invalid) this way you can avoid long lines and invest in getting the audio guides because all the signs are in French.

The third full day we went to Versailles... my mom had booked us a small tour group to go there for the day. I had wanted to go to Versailles since I saw the Marie Antoinette movie and read her biography of her (I kind of fan-girled over Marie Antoinette). I loved seeing it up close and personal, also our tour guide was very informative.

Highlights from inside Versailles
Me in Marie Antoinette's bed room...probably favorite moment. 
Versailles is too big for one collage and it was all so awesome I took lots of pics. 
Highlights from Versailles grounds
Travel Tip: Take time to rest, you will want to see everything but you will enjoy it more if you are rested. I think we took a nap everyday. 

Then on Saturday and Sunday mom and I were both so exhausted we decided to take a "hop on and hop off" bus tour of Paris. The bus was great, they had English (and various other language guides) and we got to sit and enjoy the sights of Paris. 

 After the relaxing days on the bus and taking it slow mom and I enjoyed a late night and seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Since 2000 the Eiffel tower lights up or sparkles on the hour (after sunset) for 5 minutes.

In May the first hour it sparkles is 10PM... because sun didn't even set till 9:30.

After a relaxing weekend around Paris, mom and I did some shopping to enjoy the "warmest" day we had in Paris. I use air quotes because while the weather said it was suppose to be 70 it didn't feel like 70... I think I broke out my new summer dress a little too soon. (Shout out to friend (you know who you are) who bought me this dress... thank you I look forward to wearing it when its warm enough). Even though it was a little too cold to enjoy window shopping I did enjoy the beautiful room to eat lunch.
Great job to Paris for making your department stores so beautiful

Then on Tuesday (my birthday) mom and I went to see the Palace of Justice, it was originally a palace for the Kings until the Louvre was built and then during the French Revolution it served as a prison... because it is usually every girls dream to spend her birthday at a prison. Well I wanted to see it because it was where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned (like I said.. I kind of Fan-girl over her).
This is from Marie Antoinette's cell, that was turned into a chapel by Louis Phillipe (when the monarchy was briefly restored). I took one French Revolution class in undergrad but it ended at Napoleon so I need to brush up on my French history.

Then on at night my mom surprised me to a dinner river cruise. It was wonderful and a great way to enjoy the city.
In dock awaiting departure
The next day was our last day in Paris ;( we took another bus tour and then we had lunch on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. Though we stayed close to the Eiffel Tower it was awesome to go up. I know some people would have gone all the way up but I felt the first level was good enough... I could see all of Paris and that was Awesome.
Picture of my feet looking down.
Before I wrap up this post I just want to say one thing I was nervous about was that French people would be rude (as I often heard) this was completely untrue. I found when we attempted French by saying "Bonjour" (good day) or "Bonsoir" (good evening) that people were really friendly and understood we didn't speak French and tried to speak to us in English. (Though sometimes my Spanish slipped out when I tried to speak French). So if you go there just try some French and you will notice you get a lot further with people. Also sit back and relax when you are at a cafe, a meal could last an hour to an hour and half (they are not slow it is their culture to enjoy meals)... my mom and I carried books with us to pass the time.

I took so many photos that I didn't even post on Facebook but I felt this post would not be complete without another collage of just special highlights of the trip.
I had a great partner in crime (my mom) on this trip who took lots of pics of me and with me enjoyed the beauty that is Paris. There are so many places I want to see in the world, that I wish I could be a travel blogger. (Mom just a reminder the horse in the background in the picture of me is Henri IV).

*- the pictures are from both my mom and myself.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday #Littleloves

 Hello Lovely Readers,

Through my book challenge and the Twitter #26BookswithBringupBurns I found the blog Typically Ted and found the great badge #LittleLoves

And in the blog it talks about the little loves in your life... so here I go.
It is less than a week from going on my first trip with my mom to Paris. 
My mom and I have been planning this trip for years so I am excited but it seems surreal for it to be coming true. 
Every time I say "surreal" I always think of Noting Hill.

 Book 12 in my challenge The Chance fulfills the requirement of reading a book you own but haven't read. My friend gave it to me for my last birthday but I just got around to reading it. It wasn't very long and the story is cute with a good message about hope, forgiveness and second chances. 
Am I the only one who thinks it is odd that books have trailers that are like movie trailers?

Now that both Park and Rec and Parenthood are over I really only have one TV show that I watch on a usual bases and that is Reign. 

However, I just finished watching the show Turn that was on AMC (through Netflix)

{trailer for season1}
And I am not ashamed admit that I watched it mostly because of JJ Fields 
Who yes is a bad guy (well bad if you are rooting for America) but I love him as Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey so it was interesting to see him play a bad guy.
Mr Tilney
Also I have started watching Arrested Development for the first time since I did not watch it when it was on TV but I am only a few episodes in and thus far have not felt the need to binge watch it.
 Breaking in new shoes for Paris

Usually I listen to NPR in the morning while at work and then in the afternoon I turn on my Pandora account. I have a 90's Pop Radio station and I love when an N*SYNC songs come on and I still sing every word.

Besides my trip to ParisI am planning a trip to see my sister and meet my newest nephew. 
From my trip meeting my first niece
Still can't believe that picture was taken more than 5 years ago.
Okay those are my #littleloves for the week. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Timid or Playing it Safe pt.2

Hello Lovely Readers,

It has been over 3 years since I wrote the "Timid or Playing it Safe?" And that was about relationships. But I still question am I being timid?

Last year I thought about going on Missions and one of the countries that was a possibility was Tunisia. But things came up 1) I didn't graduate in May and so I couldn't leave move over seas in September and 2) I got lost my passion for it and I reconsidered going. In a way I forgot about it and completed my thesis and have now graduated school.

With the recent violence in Tunisia my heart has been re-awaken to this country. On the one hand I am happy not to be there because I know my mom and family would be anxious for me. However on the other hand I would want to be there to experience it and be able God's love there in this time of turmoil.

Lately I have come to realized that sometimes I play it too safe. I honestly feel trapped between what I want to do and the the things I have to do. Some one asked me "what would you do if you broke out of your comfort zone?" I thought, I like to travel, I like to write, and help people. How can I can take these passions and actually make a difference?

I don't have an answer to that question. But that is my life right now and I will continue to pray about it. One thing I know for sure is I have to trust God more to work through my timidity.

Thanks for reading this short post as I continue to work things out.
Please answer in the comments below "what would you do if you broke out of your comfort zone?"

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Vacation

Hello lovely readers,

I am off for a long weekend at my aunt and uncle's house in Florida to be with my dad's family.

Some of us together... I am the blonde not looking at the camera.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Birthday Weekend Away Part 2

staring out at the ocean at The Breakers
it was a bit cold
In my Birthday Weekend Away I wrote about my mom and I going to Newport for my birthday and I must say I loved my time away. Not only as a time to relax but as a time to live a bit in the past or at least explore past a bit. I must say as much as I was looking forward to seeing the Marble House, I fell in love with The Breakers. I found the whole weekend inspiring, most of the houses provided great detail for the Gilded Age and I wanted to take note of all the details. Fortunately my mom spoiled with buying me some new books so I can study more about this time period. 

Sadly we cannot take pictures inside the house so I don't have any pictures of my own of the beautiful interiors but I do have some that my mom has posted.

my mom and I on the patio of The Breakers...
I have my head phones on for the  guided tour. 
At The Elms on a sunny warmer day
A posed picture of me outside The Elms

I feel quite inspired and now that school is out I can get some real writing done. Some of you know that I have to hand write my stories and then I type them up. Right now I am catching up on some of my typing. Will keep you posted on the work.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Birthday weekend away

Hello Lovely Readers,

The Marble House
I am excited to say by the time you read this I will be off on vacation with my mom to celebrate my 27th birthday. My mom and I are heading down to Newport, RI to look at all the pretty mansions. As much as I love the Gilded Age I have not been down to the mansions.

I was watching another period drama (surprise, surprise) called The Buccaneers based off the Edith Wharton novel and the first part takes place in Newport; the characters actually go visit The Marble House and it looks so exquisite it I cannot wait to see it for myself I am sure I will be in awe this whole weekend.

The Buccaneers- pt. 1

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Year's Resolution

I know I am a little late on my New Year's Resolutions but I have done a lot of thinking about this and I don't want make resolutions without thinking about them.

1. Make time for friends... I know that sounds easy but I actually have a hard time with this. I get bogged down with school and work and then I hole up in my room. That leads me to feeling lonely and oddly when I am lonely I have a hard time reaching out to people. So I am going to put hanging out with my friends/talking to friends as a top priority.
Okay these aren't my friends but I like this picture. {pic}
2. Try different food. I eat a lot of chicken and usually I just eat what I know I will like. However my mom and I are going to Paris in May and she seems so worried that I won't be able to eat anything there... so I am promising to try new foods. Tuesday night I had duck for the first time.
3. Probably most important is I am trying to memorize scripture. Scripture that will keep me strong in some rough spots of life.

Last week it was...
"being confident in this that He who began good works in you will carry it on till completion until the day of Christ Jesus"- Philippians 1:6

This week it is...
"Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits"-Psalm 103:2


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Journey to Honduras!

Aqua Viva Internacional =Living Water International
First of all Honduras is a beautiful country. 

We arrived late on Saturday morning in the town of San Pedro Sula. Then we had to drive four hours to the city La Ceiba. Our stop in Honduras is Burger King... I think they were trying to ease our way into the country. 
Some our gang at BK
After the four hour drive we got to stay in this beautiful hotel.
The hotel was right on the ocean, I loved standing in the warm water. It had lots of fresh pineapple and we were able to take hot showers there as well. We started and ended our week there which was a very nice treat. 

Our team in front of the church
On Sunday we went to this church. Some of the staff/members of this church work with Living Water so they prayed for us and as we left they all gave us hugs and kisses. It was a great encouragement to start off the week. 

Then after church we had to drive another hour and half to a town called Seda. 
Sunset from the roof of our 2nd hotel 
The town of Seda.

On Monday we drove to the sight. So one expectation I had was that we were going to be working in a village, and that it would be a town like you see in "feed the children" commercials. We were in at a school in the town Descrmbro, Honduras, a agricultural town and some of the people are "middle class". I put it in quotes because I don't want people to think of American middle class. It is middle class for Honduras which means they mostly don't have electricity and maybe running water. By running water I mean they have a tank of water in their back yard. The primary water source for this village of apox. 3,000 is a river that serves as a dishwasher, laundromat & waste removal service for the community. The people of Descombro know that the water is unclean but only half of the community can afford to buy purified water and a lot of the students buy soda.

The school
One day these student practiced the drums from the start to end of the day.
The red doors in the back ground the bathrooms.

The windows of the school were covered in wooden planks. 

Inside a classroom. 

The teachers of the school cooked our meals for us while we were a the school. 
I was on the hygiene team which is more like the teaching team. For each class we did two hygiene, one bible story and then a craft. A hygiene story talked about how to wash their hands properly, how to treat diarrhea, what food to eat properly, how to keep water clean and how to use the pump properly. On the first day we talked about germs and we used glitter to represent germs. When we came into lunch with the drilling team, my friend joked that  "the drilling team was covered in mud and the hygiene team was covered in glitter."

On Tuesday our machine was broken so while some of the Living Water staff went to get new equipment we were able to walk around one of the villages the school serves. The school served up to 5 to 6 local villages but this was the closest village.

While there some house like this one (above)... they would sit right next to the mud hut house (below). I will admit when I arrived in Honduras I thought all the houses were going to be like the one below.

The biggest take away I will take away from the walk through the village was just how generous people were.
We stopped by one house that had a few coconut trees. The guy, who owned the house came out and asked if we want some and would not let us pay for them. Then he began cutting them down and taking his machete to cut them apart so we could drink coconut milk. His wife was there holding this little baby and I was saying how cute he was, in my most broken Spanish. She just came and placed him in my arms so I could hold him. I thought "whoa, she doesn't know who I am but she gave me her son." I love little babies, so this was a great moment for me.
I just loved all the horses.
A shot of the main road in the village

 On Wednesday we did what is called a good news bracelet.
My good news bracelet.  

Black- represents the sin that separates us from God.
Red- represents the blood of Christ that was shed for the sacrifice of our sins.
White- when we accept Christ we become white as snow. 
Blue- represents baptism
Green- represents the new creation God makes us.
Yellow- represents the glory of heaven. 

The day we made the bracelets the kids acted like we were passing out candy when we were giving out the beads. Some kids tricked us to giving more beads to It was great to see how receptive to the story of Christ and what it all meant.

I can't talk much about the drilling project as I mostly stood on the side lines and watched. But next year I would love to be part of the drilling team and get my hands, t-shirt, and pants dirty. 

Here are some pictures from the drilling sight...
At the beginning there was just dirt.

LOTS of hard work being done.
Never leave home with out your duct tape
One guy on our team had broken his foot so every day he had to wrap his foot with tape to make sure his boot did not get wet. Well his tape did not always hold up so I told him I had duct tape, of course it was bright pink, but it worked to protect his foot. I must say it looked quite stylish. It was just lucky I had it because I just threw it into my luggage at the last minute.

I know there were a lot of challenges for the drilling team, with broken machine parts, and the fact they kept hitting rock, rock they couldn't get through. So out of faith on Wednesday they had to send down some pipe and then attempt to pump to see if they could get water. God blessed us and we had water! My friend put it best... "Looking back we see this as a blessing in disguise (sometimes God has to slow us down for our own good)."
This was a great relief to all of us!

On Wednesday we also had our intense moment of being stuck on the other side of the border. To read more about that read my Shove comes to Push post. When we finally left on Wednesday we didn't know at that moment if we were able to come back and finish/dedicate the well. I wasn't so concerned about that but I hated not knowing if I was going to come back and see my students. I was amazed even with the barrier of not speaking Spanish how much I loved them and how much they loved us. Fortunately we were able to come back and finish the work we started.

At the end of that was water. 

Both the drilling and hygiene team at the pump. 

At the dedication of the pump. 
Lots of the girls gathered around me and I tried to put my arm around them all.

I can't fully explain how wonderful it was to be on this trip. I knew I was going down to serve them but I felt so blessed by the people I met there. It was a wonderful and amazing journey. I highly recommend that every one go on a mission trip. The best thing to do is find a cause, country, or another area you are passionate about and see how you can serve there. I can't wait to go back to Honduras and if God wants me, I will go back next year. 

When I left Honduras, I told Emmillo (the boss) "I am not going to say Adiós but Hast Luego (see you later)."     

I know these aren't the best pictures... but I am going to miss the beauty of Honduras.