Hey friends! I just had the pleasure of taking a mini-trip to Denver to see Frozen: the Musical! You can find my review here: It ended up being a super … Continue reading Frozen Denver Trip
Doing Disneyland on the Slow
Today marked the last day on my trip out to D23- the Disney version of Comicon they host every 2 years. This was my first time attending and it was … Continue reading Doing Disneyland on the Slow
Capitol Reef Family July 4th Weekend
Hey guys! Happy 4th of July! I hope you all had a pleasant holiday weekend. I ended up having a fun time with my family at one of Utah’s lesser known national parks called Capitol Reef National Park.
For many years my Dad has loved going down to Central Utah to ride his dirt bike motorcycles and ATVs with his friends over the rough terrain. Last year he bought a property for camping and such that he deemed as ‘Adventure Acres’. He loves going down there and getting away from the stresses of life which I can certainly appreciate.
That said, it’s never had much appeal to me because there is no lake, beach or river to swim in and I’m not interested in motorcycles or ATVs at all. I also don’t like to camp if it can be helped and red rock scenery is pretty but not my favorite.
Nevertheless, almost my entire family including all 5 of my nieces were going down to Adventure Acres for the 4th weekend so I decided to finally check it out. It’s still not my cup of tea but I had a good time spending time with my family.
The only frustrating part of the weekend for me was dealing with the slow internet connection at the hotel because my friend Jonathan and I recorded our podcast on the Doctor Who finale and it took 2 days to upload! You certainly do become grateful for high speed internet when you are away from it. That’s for sure!
Capitol Reef is not as splashy as Grand Canyon or Bryce with it all feeling like a small town but it still is beautiful and a lot of fun to visit especially if you are in to hiking and motorcycle dirt biking. I just enjoyed hanging out with my nieces and spending as much time with them as possible since they live in Portland, Oregon and the DC area and I don’t get to see them very much.
Anyway, we ended up having a good time together and I particularly loved spending time with my nieces. Here are some photos of the trip with commentary:
DC Trip Part 2
So I am back home! After a long plane flight I am happy to be back in my house and getting ready to sleep in my bed. But it was … Continue reading DC Trip Part 2
DC Trip Part 1
Hello from Virginia! It is Easter Sunday and I have just finished my 3rd day of this visit. The main goal of this trip is to spend time with my nieces and it has been a success in that regard! We have had a ton of fun and I’ve got some nice rest and relaxation along the way.
It started on Friday where I was able to use mileage points to fly first class to DC. This is much better for me as the seats are bigger and it has more room. It is also pretty fun way to fly!
Then I checked into a Westin Hotel and have been enjoying the luxurious sheets and room service!
Then on Saturday it became movie night. Megan and my nieces went to see Your Name, which is an anime I love. I was nervous it might be a little complex for them but they all loved it! Here is my review of Your Name.
Later in the evening the oldest and I went to see the Power Rangers movie which she loved so much. Here is my review of Power Rangers.
Today was Easter Sunday so Madeline and I went to church where they had a lovely program with music from a special traveling choir. Then we dyed and hunted eggs
Then for dinner we had ham and potatoes which was scrumptious. For sweets there was lots of Easter candy!
It’s funny because I could feel the humidity quite strongly and it was only around 74 degrees. It’s amazing what a difference it makes. Tomorrow we are going to see some of the monuments and then Tuesday I will visit my old stomping grounds in Middletown. And then before you know it will be time to leave on Wednesday. It always goes so fast.
Anyway it’s been a great couple of days spending time with family and relaxing.
Rest of Spain Vacation Report
So I am still feeling a bit jetlagged from returning home from Spain but I thought I should give you guys the details of the rest of my trip. As I reported in the last post we were off for 4 days to Alicante which is a coastal city where we had an Air B and B mere blocks from the beach. To get there we took a train and saw some beautiful Spanish scenery.
And then on our first trip out to the ocean there was tons of seaweed and I got stung by a fish with a spiney back. It stung so badly that I had to limp over to the first aid station. When I got there a very attractive lifeguard helped me to soak the foot in hot water and it lessened the swelling. I learned to never risk it and not wear my water shoes again.
After the ocean we went to a nice restaurant and I finally had the chance to try my first paella!
The paella was tasty and rich with octopus, shrimp and chicken. On the whole I didn’t love Spanish cooking but I can see why people love the paella. I would probably add even more flavor, spice and maybe a sauce but it was still very good.
The next 2 days we went to beach, beach, beach, beach and it was glorious!
Finally the day for taking the train home came and we had another pleasant voyage.
That day we got to go to the Arts Center and see a concert of college performers which was a lot of fun and then a very impressive fireworks display!
Also I got to see the bull rink and go to the beach one more time before I left.
Finally the day to return home came and I was exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep and was crammed into seats once again but it was worth it for a great trip. Honestly there were some challenges to Spain. As I said earlier I wasn’t that big a fan of the food and some of the habits were hard to adjust too like the Siesta and everything having to be so late. Plus, getting service especially as a solo diner was tough. I also found the lack of AC to be difficult as I got overheated and dehydrated very quickly. But none of that really matters when exploring another culture. It’s all part of the experience.
Plus, the main reason I was there was to go to the beach as much as possible and see my sister. Anna says we went to the beach 7 times while I was there and I went at least 3 times alone- not too shabby! In some ways a beach is the same no matter where you go but I think I got enough of the local culture, history and art to be worth going to Spain. Also it was nice to spend time chatting with my sister. I hope she stays in tropical locations and I can come and visit her.
I’m grateful to my boss who allowed me to take this trip and for my sister for being a great host. Let’s hope it doesn’t take me over 10 more years to get out of the country again! Ole!
Valencia Spain Day 4 and 5
Hey guys! Another 2 days have come and gone here in Valencia, Spain. What a great time I’ve had! The last 2 days have been more about visiting the city rather than beaches but it has still been very enjoyable.
My sister has been working the last 2 days so much of the time I was on my own but Monday morning we were able to go into the city together. Not much happens in the early morning here because they don’t eat dinner until like 10 pm! But the market downtown opens at 7 and it was really neat to see all the vendors with fresh fruit, ham, pastries and more.
Everything we got at the market was delicious including a spanish tortilla or omelet wrapped in a fluffy roll. We also had fresh squeezed orange juice and fruit which was amazing. They also had a market outside where I bought the hat in the above picture, some fans and a flamenco flower for my hair! The streets are picturesque with buildings that feel old like Europe always has but probably the most impressive edifice is the cathedral.
After the market and cathedral we went to a restaurant and had churos and chocolate! It was a chocolate feast! I honestly haven’t loved the food in Spain but this might be my favorite thing I’ve eaten and the restaurant staff was so nice and it was air conditioned! Heaven!
After our chocolate breakfast Anna had her classes and work so I was to myself for the rest of the day. I went back to Pinedo beach and it was nice and relaxing.
I had lunch at a restaurant near the beach and was honestly very disappointed. They wouldn’t make much of the menu because it was just me and so I ended with a roll with sausage and french fries on it. Very bland. They have these sandwiches in Spain that are just meat and a roll and I don’t really get it. No sauce. No real flavor. There isn’t even usually lettuce or tomato on it.
Anyway it was 4th of July so when I returned from the beach my sister made an American spread with hamburgers and sausages with all the fixins!
Amazingly enough I still haven’t had paella because you either need more than 2 people for it or no places were open when I was with my sister.
The next day I was basically on my own from the start and decided to do a bus tour around the city.
It was fun learning about the city and history and seeing the sights! I only got off once but it was for a Valencia Historical Museum, which turned out to be a real find. First of all, it is free which was nice and I thought set up really well. They go over the history of Valencia starting very early on down to modern times. They give you a book to follow the exhibits in English but then also have these interactive video presentations to go along with each era. These tell a story and have actors just like a movie clip. I thought it was a very clever way of making the stale artifacts come alive and feel real. Plus, it was air conditioned and did I mention free!
After the museum and the tour ending I tried to find dinner and struggled once again. I sat in 2 different restaurants and was never served. I went up to the bar tried to get help and seemed to be ignored. I don’t quite get it. I like how in the States there is a hostess who greets you and takes you to your table. Here it is much more confusing. But I finally found a place that served tapas on little crostini. It was my first tapas and was very delicious! I particularly liked one with almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. Can’t go wrong with that!
In a way the tapas bar kind of reminded me of the sushi restaurants in Japan. You kept your toothpicks and then at the end you pay per toothpick.
Since dinner took longer than I expected I was pretty tired and went home. I’ve had a bit of a hard time with being overheated here and not being able to cool down effectively. I have the same problem in Hawaii so this isn’t a huge shock. I thought I was staying reasonably hydrated but started to feel light headed anyways. Steve, Anna and I went to a different tapas place for a late dinner and I ordered a coke instead of water and I think it did the trick. I think my blood sugar was a little low which caused me to feel light headed.
So that is my last 2 days in Valencia! It’s been an amazing time! The next 4 days we are going to a neighboring town where we have an airbnb rented close to the beach! I’m greatly looking forward to it but no wifi so my next update will be over 4 days instead of 2.
I hope you are all having a nice week and what sounds the most appealing of the things I described?
Valencia, Spain Day 2 and 3
Day 2 and 3 have come and gone here in Valencia and they can be defined by one word- BEACH!!! I’m sure some people would be up in arms at my missing out on cultural attractions and historical landmarks but aside from seeing my sister the reason I came on this vacation is to go to the beach. (Today we should be getting more of those cultural attractions). It’s also been so hot that all I really want to do is be at the beach.
Day 2 we went to a beach called Pinedo Beach. It is close to where I went on day 1 but a little more crowded. I’d like to find that beach from the first day because I think it was still the nicest I have been to yet.
This time Anna and Steve were able to join me at the beach and we had a great time together. These beaches are different than what you get in Hawaii- more of a commercial feel but it is still beautiful and tons of fun!
When we got home Anna made Italian food, we talked and then crashed! I still haven’t adjusted to the time zone change yet and have fallen asleep very early each night I’ve been here. That’s probably why it is 6 am and I am writing this post right now. I am also finding it a bit hard to sleep with the heat. It’s just tough to deal with being hot all the time.
I have started to get more sun despite my best attempts. I think it just goes with the territory when you are the beach a lot. Everyone gets a little pink.
The next day was Sunday so I went to church on my own. That was an interesting experience attending sacrament meeting without understanding a single word that was spoken.
Then I ducked into some little shops which was really fun to interact with the local Spanish people. So far I haven’t had any real Spanish food yet but everything I’ve had has been delicious. There is a pastry shop close to my sisters that was a lot of fun to try the various treats.
We were all so overheated we decided to go to the beach again but this time went to Playa de la Patacoma. This is a very crowded beach but it had nice big waves that were very fun to play with.
I almost wished I’d had a surfboard but it was fun to use my safe swimmer and ride the waves a little bit. I think you can see in these videos how strong the waves were. It was great!
We were all pretty tired out from the strong waves and 3 days of sun but it was still a wonderful time.
After the beach I started to notice I had been bitten by something in the ocean. This of course concerned me especially with how purple it appeared. I didn’t want it to have some kind of venom that would really hurt me.
But Anna and I went to a pharmacy and got some gel with antihistamine and pain relief qualities. It has already helped a lot.
Between the bite and having more than a little bit of redness from the sun we may not do a beach day today. I think it is good to give your body one day to heal and then be ready for the next day! Like I said we are going to the market today and that should be very fun.
I hope you all have a Happy 4th of July holiday and we will be celebrating America one way or another here in Spain!
Valencia, Spain Day 1
The first day in Valencia has come and gone and I am tuckered out! (If I fall asleep while typing this you will understand why when you hear all I have been doing!)
First a quick update on my day of travel to get here. So I was pretty nervous about the long flights. Being a bigger girl I usually try to get an upgraded seat but it wasn’t an option for this flight. It was just too expensive. Part of my apprehension came from a bad experience I had a few years ago where a woman made a scene because I had to sit next to her. It was very embarrassing. Anyway, I was nervous something like that would happen and the flight would be a nightmare.
Well, it was a long, exhausting day of travel but luckily nothing too terrible happened. It was uncomfortable and things were definitely tight but I made it through. The Paris airport was a maze and very overwhelming- probably the most complicated airport I have ever seen in my life. But after 16 hours of travel I made it to Valencia and my sister Anna was there to greet me. What a nice smiling face to see! Once we got to my sister’s apartment we went to thai food of all things. Despite it being after 6 pm none of the restaurants were open. I have learned quickly that you have to eat late in Spain! 9 pm is the opening time for some of these restaurants.
After dinner I had been going on 48 hours with no sleep and my body felt it, so we went home and crashed. I woke up early in the morning because of the jetlag and then Anna and her boyfriend Steve and I went to a neighboring restaurant for a baguette sandwich that was fine but kind of boring. After that Anna and Steve both had to work/go to class so I was on my own. I took a taxi to the beach and as you can see from this photograph was in heaven!
I was a little nervous about going to the beach by myself because I didn’t want anything to happen to my stuff but I put my phone and other valuables in my safe swimmer which kept everything dry. There was a man selling chair and ‘umbrella’ space and that was well worth it. I got to enjoy the sun and ocean without being over-exposed to it. I was in heaven!
Here is a little video clip I took of me in the water!
I stayed at the beach for 5 hours and loved every minute of it. The water was the perfect temperature and it wasn’t too crowded to make it unfun.
Then I went and met Steve for dinner but again everything was closed so we ended up going to Burger King of all places but I was so hungry it didn’t really matter.
Once we finished dinner we met up with my sister for a concert of salsa music. It was so much fun and made me feel right at home in Spain.
Here’s a clip of some of the music.
A bunch of couples started dancing along which was fun to see!
Here is Anna and I at the City of Arts and Sciences building where the concert took place.
Finally we made our way home and I am one tired gal!
So that was the travel and my first day in Spain. What a busy great way to start out my trip! More updates to come
News and Updates
Hey guys! I just wanted to give you a quick update as Memorial Day is coming to a close. I hope you had a great day! I am happy to inform you I am pretty much healed from my illness of the last 2 weeks. It was brutal but I’m so grateful for all the support I had. If there’s one thing a tough experience can teach you it is it shows you all the love you have in your life. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers.
I have some fun news to share with you! The first exciting news has to do with the church congregation I go to. I have done my fair share of complaining on this blog about my family wards and how out of place I feel. Unfortunately it was my only option because I was too old for the YSA singles ward and the midsingles ward was 30 minute drive and that wasn’t going to happen. Well, I am so excited to announce that we are getting a midsingles ward in Draper!!!! They announced it last week and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It is going to start up right away with a fireside to be held on Sunday and the first meeting on June 12th!
This does have its downside because the ward will be massive- containing singles 31-45 from 28 stakes in the Sandy and Draper area. I am sure I will feel somewhat lost but as I already feel that way in the family ward at least there is some potential to make friends/date. Currently my life has little opportunities to meet new people so I am most excited for activities/Family Home Evening and other gathering times in the new ward. It should help my social circle at least a little bit (hey even if I meet one additional person that is a plus!)
The other drawback is I will lose my home teachers, The Porters, who I love very much. Hopefully we can still stay in touch because they are only 2 houses down from me but I will miss their visits. They are the coolest people I know and so warm and accepting of me with all my flaws. I could talk to them for hours and have on a more than a few occasions.
Other than that I am excited to at least try something new. Hooray!
The other exciting news is I had to get my passport because I am going to Spain for the beginning of July! I will be visiting my sister Anna in Valencia, Spain. I was determined to go to the beach this summer and she was there so I figured why not take advantage of it? I don’t know much about the area but am doing research. It looks like a neat place with beautiful water, which is most important to me.
I have been to Europe since I was in high school and haven’t been anywhere aside from a Mexican cruise since 2005! I am very excited.
I also don’t think I will be swimming the GSL race this year. It was a very hard decision for me but this recent illness finally sealed the deal. I just don’t think I will be strong enough Saturday to take that on. It’s so hard on my body with the salty water that it just doesn’t make sense. (It pains me to write that and a side of me still wants to do it. Darn it all!).
Anyway, that’s my news. I hope you are all doing well. Let me know what you think!