I have just graduated from Sonoma State University with a BA in Sociology. I have absolutely loved my time in wine country- it really doesn't get more beautiful than vineyards and endless green, but I am ready for the next adventure!

I am from the Bay Area and as much as I want to travel, I want to end up here later in life. I love that someone can go out for a different kind of ethnic food everyday of the week and still have endless options!

In July/August, I will be visiting one of my great friends in England where we will tour multiple castles, London, Paris, Paris Disneyland (we did meet at the Disney College Program anyway), and will be attending the 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS!

Click here for the official website for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort

In September, I will be working as a civilian employee for an American military base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. I will be in the hotel indusutry working for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. They say my backyard will be the Alps. I have my hiking boots packed already.

Click here for the official website for the Disney College Program and Professional Internships

About two years ago I participated in the Disney College Program, working and living at Walt Disney World, Florida. It really started my love for traveling and throwing myself outside of my comfort zone. I highly recommend it to anyone who respects the Disney Company and wants to get their foot in the door or just wants a break from life- it was definitely both for me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

St. Marco? Polo!

With a paycheck with some double pay (thank you president's day) on the way, three days off, and the desire to get out of my small little town me and a few friends hopped on our Harry Potter train to Venice. Lets just use the word perfection shall we? Getting away from work, the cold, and snow to a place where wine is the same amount of money as water, its above 45 degrees, and the most beautiful language is spoken. Perfection indeed.

If you look up the top things to do in Venice many simply say "get lost."I firmly beleive that every tourist should "get lost" in every city that they travel to, however, within two mintues of visiting Venice you will be lost and you will not find your way until you leave...hopefully. On the way of getting lost we found the most interesting parts of our adventure- shooting wine with the locals before their shifts at 10am, black squid ink pasta delicacy, many churches, and our own "Diagon Alley."

 The first night we decided to walk around town (aka get lost) and we stumbled upon our soon to be favorite little restaurant. What I have learned about traveling with people and what Julia Child says perfectly, "People who love to eat are always the best people." So true, but this is especially true for Venice, Italy. There are a couple sights to see, but in all honestly we were there to eat carbs upon carbs and drink vino. We shared two appetizers, an entree, two desserts (tiramasu and creme brulee my two desserts I could live off of), two bottles of wine, and great conversation. The Italians sure know how to do it- they sit together, drink, eat lesurely (and a lot), talk for hours and call it dinner. I'm sold. I was told to get a certain dish by many of my friends who had previously been to Venice, I was all ready to chicken out, asked the waiter for his personal fav, and what does he point to? This dish. And what is this dish? The Venetian delicacy of black squid ink pasta. With an almost finished plate, teeth dyed black, and pictures of the evidence I can say that it was lovely, but a delicacy I will treasure once and once only.

The next day we decided to get lost once again and try and make it to St. Marco's Basilica. On the way we stopped in a hole in the wall for some necessary cappuccinos, met a lovely Italian with his dog Judith (this will come up later in our story), and learned "grazie" and "prego" from a sweet lady who spoke no english and us who spoke no italian. Thrown outside of our comfort zones at its finest. We then stumbled upon a  broom closet of a restaurant where we saw a line of locals. What was the line for at 10am you may ask? The vino. These were 60 cent glasses of cold red wine that the locals will (very quickly) down before heading to work (aka an eye opener).  Well of course we had to join them!

After getting lost for a couple of hours which included throwing a map on the ground and pressing on, putting ourselves between two walls, getting happily distracted by merry men and their music, we finally ended up at St. Marco's  Basilica. My absoltue favorite moment happened about two minutes before entering the square. I had been to Venice 11 years ago with my family and for the most part I don't remember it. However, right before St. Marco there is a Bridge of Sighs (for the people crossing into the prison hence the sighs part), well 11 years later we are walking (a little bit lost lost of course and maybe a little tipsy after our eye opener and lunch of vino), we can't find the square, and right before the bridge I remember where we are from when I was there before. It was the first time I had truly remembered something from that trip so long ago after revisiting. It was a great feeling.

St. Marco's Basilica is breathtaking. I mean anything dowsed in gold will be beautiful, but we got there right at sunset so with the sun right on top of the gold. Wow. To the right of the basilica was our own Diagon Alley where we bought more vino (see a pattern going on here?) and gelato before heading to our gondola ride! The gondola was a blast- 20 euro a person and we sat seeing the city in a whole different way for 60 minutes. On the way we saw Vivaldi's, Motzart's, and Marco Polo's home. My European music teacher would be so proud.

After dinner, more vino, and getting lost we started to head home. Who did we see right before the train station? Judith! Circle of life right there.

The last day we headed to the Rialto Bridge for some shopping (with four girls and one boy, the poor guy was overruled). A capaccino, vino, a Pinocchio style mask, and a purse later we head seen Rialto and all its shopping. So  much to see it all especially since it was the day after Karnival, so there were MANY masks.

With great company, the sense of adventure, and the love of vino and carbs the trip to Venice was fantastic. And to think this was weekend- I'm forever grateful!

Venice. Italy. Europe,

To drinking at 10am, planking between walls, standing up in gondolas, getting lost in a foreign city, Oscar Wilde puts it perfectly. This 13 month adventure is teaching me to not only exist, but to instead live. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Just Call Me Captain Hook

"I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Well thats a lie cause I am not saying how I broke the main joint in my right pinky finer. 1. Its embarrassing 2. I flat out refuse. Anyways, the real adventure is how I had a metal bar put through my finger, my life was split into every fifteen minutes, a soldier told me I was HIS hero,  I became a live version Captain Hook, and  I never realized how strong I was until I broke a bone.

When it's clear that you broke something- go to the hospital. However, what did I do? Well I had planned to go to Stuttgart with a couple of friends, so did I go to the hospital? Should I and did I are two very different questions. Years in volleyball taught me to tape the fingers together, but with an early start to Stuttgart and not having any tape I decided to wrap it with the only thing I had.... present ribbon.  The word your looking for, the lady at the pharmacy was thinking, and I will just give to you is stupid. Not the brightest idea I've ever had in any means. Thinking Stuttgart was going to be my adventure, three days later I went to the hospital and the REAL adventure began!

Memorable quotes I heard during the time of the broken finger:

" Well you just bought yourself an operation. Would you like to take a seat?"

After having an x-ray I heard this and nearly fell on the doctor. My first operation and it was in another country, language, and under anesthesia. Woah is me.

"Are you wiggly" "Excuse me?" "Are you squirmish" "Yes" "Okay we are putting you under"

This was the doctor's way of asking if I should get anesthesia or not. Wouldn't everyone be wiggly if they saw doctors drilling a metal bar through your finger? But on the bright side best 20 minutes of sleep ever.

" Its a rather large cast for such a small finger just do you know"
It wasn't a cast, it was a claw. ***Side note- if anyone ever gets this contraption you will hear people say "the clawww" like the little aliens from Toy Story. It's funny the first time. It's funny the second time. The third week in you will create a laugh that hopefully sounds genuine but is really as fake as can be.*** Moving on, I felt like Robocop, Bionic Woman, and Captain Hook all put together for 6 weeks. Longest. Six Weeks. Ever. But it really did make sense and I'm so glad I did in the long run. I'll explain the picture: There is a metal bar going through my finger. Looped on is a rubber band string that connects to "the claw." Every fifteen minutes I would move the band all the way up and then all the way down making it so my finger and joint wouldn't be stiff and would be forced to bend. Now having it off I have barely any stiffness and have about 95% mobility. Thank god that I broke a bone in a city with the alps- these doctors have seen so many injuries they are absolutely brilliant. For twenty minutes and shower time I could take it off and sleepy time I wouldn't have to move it. Not going to lie I took the longest showers those six weeks.

"What did you talk to that man about?" "We talked about how I now look like bionic woman" "Well you just joked about your freakish pinky to a 4-star general"

When you refuse to take time off and work with setting tables and cashiering with a claw-people are going to ask you questions, look at you with wide eyes, children will hide behind their parents in fear,etc so have your jokes at the ready. And people will tell you all about their broken boned stories and in a weird way they are truly trying to make  you feel better. However, did they have to have a claw? Probably not, so thanks for trying but no such luck. One soldier actually told me I was his hero for putting up with the claw, I asked him if he was in battle during his contract, he said yes......ummm okay nice compliment but he's the real hero.

" If I were you I would just hide my face for three months"
Said in a joking manner, but the thought did cross my mind every once in a while. Especially during that last week. Especially.

" Well look at it this way you can have a pinky party at the end of this" "Well sure, all right then, I guess that makes it all worth it."
I have the best family ever. I told my mom this quote and when I got the claw off a couple days later a box arrived for me. Inside was candy wrapped in PINK paper, party supplies, and movies. Best. family. ever.

"So are you ready to have that cast off? Hold on let me get my pliers from downstairs"" Wait don't  you put me under- I'm wiggly!" "No we are just going to pull the bar out right now."

But seriously that is what was said. The claw came off a week early (due to my rigorous attitude to the every fifteen minute rule I'm sure). He came back with his pliers (honest to god pliers!) squeezed my finger really hard, and literally pulled the metal bar out in about 5 seconds. Sometimes all you need is 5 seconds of insane, crazy courage. Thats it. Within five seconds my six weeks of complete physical and mental exhaustion was done.

All in all I have learned that I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for- both physically and mentally. Humor will help you through anything so ya when it all happened the first few days I took many naps, ate a lot of ice cream, and drank a lot of wine. After that I picked myself up, laughed at my stupidity, put on a smile, and constantly joked for 6 weeks. The thing is life can always get worse. When things get bad you will be surprised and touched by how many people will constantly help you and keep you upbeat through it all. So all in all you have the choice when things go bad to either make yourself miserable or motivated. It's your choice. To quote Monty Python's Spamelot- "Always look on the bright side of life." Always look on the bright side of life- it makes life a lot easier and worth it. I pinky promise you that. This quote is so true about when something bad happens. As said by Forrest Gump-shit happens. But life goes on.