Well, I'm starting a blog. I've been meaning to do it for some time now, but am just getting around to it. It's an odd thing. Blogging means that you think your life is interesting enough that people will want to read about it. I don't know if this is true, but I figured I would give it a shot anyway. This is a blog about my travels and quest to live fearlessly. Welcome.

- Christina

Tuesday 2 June 2015

2015 Summer Awesome List: Check!

Read a book every week #3: This week's book is done! I had never read "The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank" and have always wanted to. So, why wait until now? To be honest, I was afraid. I knew what the book was about, I knew it was a true story, and I knew how it ended. Anne was real. Her struggle was real. Her misery was real. Even throughout the book I found myself wondering, "Why am I reading this? It's making me sad." That's when Anne dropped some serious knowledge...

 "And in the evening, when I lie in bed... I think of... love, the future, happiness and of "the beauty" which exists in the world; the world; Nature, beauty and all, all that is exquisite and fine... I have found that there is always some beauty left- in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself, these all can help you... He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!" 

- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

That's when I realized that, yes: Anne was real, her struggle was real, her misery was real, but her courage was also real, her strength was real, her words were real, and she deserves to be honored for them. Oh, Anne. How can you be so wise at only fourteen years old? 

Paint every week #3: For painting number three I wanted to do something more abstract. I kept it simple by only using three colors (red, blue, white). I usually try to copy an image, but this time I put the image away and tried to just paint. This is what I ended up with. Now that I'm looking at it, it looks like the ocean. I guess the ocean is always on my mind. 

Try a new restaurant and go on an epic date: Boy, this was a fun night! I decided to ask Jenni out on a date so we could have some much needed ladies time. We tried a new restaurant called Casablanca. Casablanca is a tiny restaurant nestled in between a liquor store and a Goodwill donation center. You would never guess that it is AMAZING! 

When you walk in you feel as if you've been transported into Morocco: patterned tapestries line the walls and ceiling, colorful lanterns hang from above, and large golden tables are surrounded with plush pillows for you to sit on. So, it's neat looking... but that's the least of it. 

The food is delicious. Jenni and I shared the Sultan's feast. This came with six courses of deliciousness. I'm not even going to try to describe the food, just go and eat it. You can also check out the pictures below, but we were so excited that we started eating everything before we remembered to take pictures. Not only was the food great, but there was entertainment! A belly dancer came out every half hour or so (this was a 2+ hour dining experience) and wowed us with her moves. Another form of entertainment was the group of young drunk boys who attempted to dance with her. They were funny. Rich decorations, delicious food, amusing entertainment, and we haven't even gotten to the best part...

The service was incredible! The man who owned the restaurant was always checking on everyone and making sure we were happy. He brought out free tea, called Jenni and I "lovely princesses", and told the belly-dancer to "pick on" the drunk boys by making them dance and blush. He was great. Jenni and I decided that he was our friend. Overall, the restaurant was amazing and the date was a success!

Paint every week #2: For painting #2 I went with my friend Jorie to The Painted Cork. Here,  they take you step by step through a paining and you get to hang out/eat/drink wine while you paint. Jorie and I had an awesome time and painted these amazing paintings that are supposed to me reminiscent of Monet's "Fisherman's Cottage."

Read a book every week #2: Book #2 is done! I chose to read Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" this week. I had heard this title many times and assumed (for whatever reason) that it was a "Pride and Prejudice"esc romance novel. I guess it's because of the word "flowers." Well, you know what they say about assuming... 

Spoiler Alert... I'll try not to say anything you wouldn't read on a back cover, but just in case. 

This novel was nothing like I thought it would be, and I absolutely loved it! The story follows Charley, a 32 year old mentally retarded man. Charley has a good and simple life. He works in a bakery with his "friends," at night he goes to school to learn to read and write, and he even has his own apartment. Charley is desperate to become smart and even though he is more passionate and motivated than most, he is mentally incapable. That is, until the surgery... 

Charley receives a new and experimental surgery to raise his IQ. While his IQ rises Charlie finally has the intelligence that he's always hoped for, yet it makes him see his world more clearly and he realizes that his "good and simple life" is not as good as he thought it was. Charley struggles to deal with his rising intelligence while his social and emotional intelligence just can't keep up. Charley is torn between the man he used to be and the man he is becoming. 

It's brilliant. It made me think about intelligence in a way I never had before. To me, if a book makes you think and question, it did it's job. 

Also, the book is written through "Progress Reports" by Charley. They begin simply and with many spelling/grammar mistakes. As Charley progresses he learns how to read and write and the reader can see proof of this in his reports. As an English teacher it was amazing to see his progress. I literally laughed out loud when Charley tries to figure out how to use punctuation, because as my kids say: "the struggle is real."

Make New Friends: I have been a member of several groups on the Meetup website for about a year now. Meetup is exactly what it sounds like: you join a group and meet up with those people. I have aways wanted to go to the events, but it is a little nerve-wrecking going to the first meetup. Well, thanks to my list- I went! David and I met about 60 awesome people at Dive Bar. It was so much fun! It was great meeting other people who want to make friends and have a good time. I can't wait to attend another meetup so that we can make new friends and have good times. Check out the website and join some meetups of your own: http://www.meetup.com

Read a book every week #1: Book #1 is done! "Trail of Broken Wings" is a tragic story of a mother and her three daughters who are abused by their father. The women each deal with the abuse in different ways and in the end find some closure. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was quite depressing though, so I'm looking forward to reading something more uplifting next.

Paint every week: Painting #1 is done! This butterfly is the largest piece I have ever done. It took me several hours (about 4). It is not exactly what I wanted it to be, but I still like it. I was hoping it would be more edgy, but I ended up blending too much and it came out very soft. Like my grandma always says: the difference between an amateur and a professional is that an amateur will point out their mistakes while a professional will pretend they have none. So, here's to amateur paintings! 

Kayak: The first item on my list has been completed thanks to my awesome Momma! We went kayaking at Lake Natoma and had an awesome time.

2015 Summer Awesome List

I have a friend named Jenni. She is awesome. She inspires me to be more awesome as well. A while ago, she created a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. Now, while Jenni is normally awesome, this list exacerbated her awesomeness to a whole new level. 

As all good friends should, Jenni has inspired me. I created my own list. Here are the awesome things I plan to accomplish this summer. If you want to join in on the festivities or can help me reach my awesomeness goal, please let me know! And as always, I'll keep you updated. 

So, here’s to you Jennilea. Let’s be awesome together forever?

P.S. Check out Jenni’s awesomeness for yourself at http://dirtylondre.blogspot.com

Saturday 16 May 2015

This Just In...

Hello, all!

As you know, our next trip was supposed to be Italy. Unfortunately, those plans have changed. I have quite a few working days/trainings over summer, and Italy just wasn't seeming like it was meant to be. So, I guess we'll just stay at home bumming around Sacramento all summer.

... NOT. After many hours of research, we settled on traveling to Costa Rica this summer! The trip is much shorter than Italy (2 weeks) and quite a bit cheaper. Costa Rica has always been on our minds (heck, we even toyed with the idea of moving there before I entered the credential program). 

We are so excited for this voyage. David is especially enthused abut seeing monkeys and sloths in the Costa Rican jungle. I cannot wait to stand amongst so much life. According to anywherecostarica.com, "Costa Rica, a landmass encompassing only .03% of the earth’s surface, contains 5% of earth’s biodiversity - a density that is unmatched anywhere else in the world." Amazing. 

The tickets have already been booked. Costa Rica, here we come! 

Here's a sample itinerary that we're going to follow. A big thanks to the people at costarica.com for sharing this. http://costarica.com/itineraries/15-day-backpackers/

Now, to learn Spanish...

Monday 11 May 2015

On this day...

Ten years ago a geeky, skinny, sweet boy handed me a rose be bought at the gas station and asked if I would be his girlfriend.

Ten years.

I never imagined we'd make it this far. I never knew the love I was capable of. I never knew the world could be so kind. Thank you. Thank you for all of it.

Here's to ten more...

Sunday 30 November 2014

Next Trip: Italy!

Hello All,

I have been so immersed in teaching that completely forgot about this blog. Along with molding young minds, another perk of teaching is having the summers off. I am taking full advantage of this great opportunity and am using it to fuel my wanderlust. I have decided that David and I will be spending an entire month in Italy this summer! I cannot wait for this next adventure. Stay posted for more details!

- Christina

Friday 9 August 2013


Ah, finally time for the last blog post about our U.K. trip. From Edinburgh, Scotland we flew to London, England. When we arrived in London we had to figure out the public transportation system. It was extremely confusing at first, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly. We stopped off at our hostel and settled in. Then we headed off to explore. We walked around a little bit and got ourselves used to the tube (underground train system).

David in the tube station. 

The next day we went to do a free walking tour of the city (put on by the same company we used in Edinburgh). Once again, the tour was wonderful and filled with so many facts about the city. It seemed like we walked the entire city in the 3 hour tour. London is huge, especially compared to the tiny city of Edinburgh which we had been in last. After the tour we stopped off at a pub for some traditional food and drinks. David and I shared some fish and chips and bangers and mash, with beer of course.

On our tour we saw Buckingham Palace, and learned about it's history, so the next day we went back to see the changing of the guards. Everyone who has been to London talks about seeing the changing of the guards, so we figured it was a must-see. We had no idea what to expect, I mean is it just guards changing shifts? Well, we decided to check it out. We got there a half an hour early and the place was packed. People were crowding the streets and police were directing foot traffic. We finally managed to squeeze our way in so we could see through the gates. I guess it's more than just guards changing shifts, I thought. Soon the guards started pacing back and forth in a very calculated manner, and a while later a band came out and played a song. They then continued to stand neatly and walk in precise steps. This lasted for like an hour. Honestly, it was ridiculously boring. I don't see what the big deal is. Besides the 3 minute song played by the band, you were just watching guards with stern faces walk in a calculated manner over and over again. But, at least we saw it, right?

People waiting to see the changing of the guards.

Guards standing. 

After that my feet hurt and we were starving, so we decided to walk around the city in search for food. After lunch we headed to Picadilly square, which is the main shopping area, and then Harrods, which is a famously huge department store. David and I realized that we aren't much for shopping, and left as soon as we arrived. I guess that kind of thing is fun for some people, but we just aren't into wandering around and looking at stuff we cant afford/don't need. So, we decided to go to some museums instead. At the science museum we saw the Imax 3D movie "Under the Sea," which was pretty cool. We ended up coming back the next day and doing the "Legend of Apollo" 4D experience because it was half off, but it wasn't as good as the ocean one.

 "Under the Sea" 3D

That night we went to a pub crawl that was put on by the same company that does the free tours. The crawl started at a bar, went to two more, and then to two clubs. We met a nice brother and sister from Ohio (I think?) who were traveling in London. At the first club I was ready to dance, but the friends we made didn't want to, so I was standing there nursing my beer and contemplating when a fellow traveller came up and started talking to me. He asked if I was from America, and when I said yes he said that he could tell because I wasn't dancing. Well, I took immediate offense to this (not literally. I wasn't mad, but I felt the need to immediately prove him wrong!). I grabbed the girl we were with and we started dancing, but her brother refused! He just stood there pouting until I grabbed his hand and forced him onto the dance floor. We ended up having a great time. It seemed like people in London have more fun when they're in clubs dancing, and are less worried about how they look. David and I left early at the last club so we could catch the tube back to our hostel. Overall, it was a really fun night!

The next day we went to Camden Town. We were weary of going here because we'd had bad experiences with tourist shopping traps -like I said before, they just weren't for us. Camden was totally different. We loved it! It's this section of town full of tiny booths that sell everything you can think of: crafts, clothes, home decor, food... oh the food. We walked around jut looking at all the unique things and drooling over which food to eat. That's when we discovered Dutch Pancakes. They are these little tiny pancakes covered in Nutella, strawberries, and powdered sugar. Literally the best thing I've ever eaten. Ever. They were so good that we made the journey to Camden Town again the next day.

Camden Town.

Dutch Pancakes!


So happy. 

On our last day in London we went to Shakespeare's Globe theatre (well, a reproduction of the Globe). It was so cool. We had a really awesome tour guide (we learned that they make all the difference in your experience). We sat in the seats and looked down on the stage while learning the history. The Globe is still a working theatre and they have shows for as low as $5, but they book up quickly. I wish we could have been able to see a show. 
Trying on Shakespearean props. 

The Globe stage.

Outside the Globe.

After the Globe we went to rid the London Eye. This is a huge ferris wheel with glass pods that fit up to 20 people. From the top you can see all of London. It was a really cool experience to see London from that view. Because we had been there for a few days we were able to identify most of the major buildings.
On the Eye.

Glass Pod. 

Well, I think that's about it. The next morning we headed to the airport. We weren't too jet-lagged when we got home. Overall, our trip was amazing, but we were ready to be home. I cannot wait to go on more adventures!

Thursday 1 August 2013

Edinburgh, Scotland

Hi all, I know this is very late considering we got back from our trip over a month ago, but this blogging business is hard! It takes a lot of work and time, so I've been putting it off. Sorry.

Anyway, after two weeks in Ireland and Northern Ireland we headed back to Dublin and caught a plane to Edinburgh, Scotland. The ride was only about an hour, and we arrived in Scotland in the evening. We spent two nights in Edinburgh (pronounced: ed-in-bur-uh-- we were corrected on this many times). We had no idea where we were staying that night, so we found the nearest hostel and crashed there. It turned out to be an old cathedral that had been turned into a hostel. Walls were put up to become dorm rooms, and you could still see the cathedral ceilings while in the hostel dorms. The place was very cool, and unlike anything we had stayed in before. There was one downside though; it smelled like weird old shoes/popcorn. It actually made me kind of sick. Needless to say, we spent one night here before looking for a new, non-smelly place to sleep. It was sill neat though, see:

Cathedral turned hostel in Edinburgh.

The next day we went to explore Edinburgh. It is a relatively small town that sits on the base of an extinct volcano. We walked round the town and soon headed to Edinburgh Castle. The castle was built right into the side of the mountain/extinct volcano. It looks like something out of a movie. The castle towers over the small town, and from the top you can see everything. We walked the cobblestone streets within the castle walls, explored dungeons and jail cells where prisoners were held, and saw the Scottish crown jewels. The Edinburgh Castle was amazing. 
 Strategically placed castle. 

 Within the castle walls.

 Swords for days...


In a jail cell.

You can't actually take pictures of the jewels, but here's the sign. 

After the Edinburgh Castle we went to the National Museum of Scotland (we quickly learned that anything with "National" in front of the name is almost always free- woo hoo!). This was a huge museum full of history and science. We had an amazing time just wandering around and soaking up the culture. That was it for our first day in Edinburgh. 

 Space suit up!


 Moose skeleton.


Totem pole. 

The next day was our last in Edinburgh. We only had two days, but honestly it was enough. The town was pretty small and we didn't have a car to go anywhere else. It wasn't like in Ireland where we could just drive wherever we wanted to go. So on our last day in Edinburgh we went on a great free walking tour of the city. We had heard about a company that did free walking tours and decided to try it out. It is mostly young people who give the tours and they work off tips. We had an amazing tour guide who took us all over the city in the 3 hour tour. He taught us so much about Scottish history and customs. We loved the tour so much that we decided to do it again the next day, but in London! More on that later though. After the tour we went to a traditional Scottish pub for lunch. David had the haggis, which was traditionally all the "nasty" parts of the sheep cooked in it's stomach, but it now something similar to our meatloaf. It was beef/lamb cooked in a bag, with gravy on top. It was actually really good. I got bangers and mash, which is a dish I learned to love while in Ireland. Its sausages, mashed potatoes, gravy, and vegetables- what's not to love?

After lunch David wanted to do a "Scotch Experience" at the world's largest private collection of scotch. It was kind of expensive and I had already toured the Guinness and Bushmill's factories, so I decided to skip this one. I just went back to the National Museum and walked around some more, there was still tons to see. We met up after the tour and talked about what we had seen. David had a great time at the Scotch experience. He told me how he tasted scotch from different parts of Scotland and how you could really taste the difference based on where it was made. For dinner we stopped in a little Italian restaurant and had some delicious pizza and enjoyed a glass of wine, mmmm.

 A panorama of the world's largest private collection of scotch. 

 David being sexy in front of some scotch ;)

Wine :)

And that was about it for Scotland. I wish we could have traveled around and seen more of the country, but we just didn't have time. We headed off to London next, more to come...