Tag Archives: europe

Friend Makin’ Monday – Vacations!

20 Jul

The lovely Jolanthe (how awesome is her name?) over at No Ordinary Moments is hosting this weeks Friend Makin’ Monday for Kasey.  The topic this week?  Vacations!

There are two topics and (being the overachiever that I am) I just had to do both parts!

1. Tell us about the best {or worst} vacation that you’ve ever taken.

The best vacation I ever took was during my second year at college.  A generous donation was given to the school to enhance the education of the second-year students and we were funded a trip to a European city for the first week of our two week Spring Break.  The second week we could either pay to switch the leaving point for our return ticket or fly home and spend the week at home.  My parents very graciously paid for the ticket change and we spent some time in a tiny village in Germany.  The first week was filled to bursting with activities.  My camera broke in the Louvre so I have next to no pictures.  This was back when digital cameras were very expensive.  I have a bunch of pictures I need to scan in and I know that I have at least one of the karate students that were posing in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Someday….someday.  We visited Versailles and I stared at the big state bed positioned in the public viewing room were Marie Antoinette (and all the previous Queens) gave birth.  I couldn’t imagine at the time being forced to give birth at all, let alone in front of an audience.

I remember walking around downtown, a baguette in my bag along with some Babybel cheeses and a package of meat.  We would stop and get some fresh fruits before exploring.  Some say that the French are rude and inconsiderate to travelers, especially Americans.  I didn’t experience any of that.  Although I didn’t speak French, I very quickly picked up “pardon“, “excusez-moi” and the ever important “parlez-vous anglais?”  I discovered that if I asked in French if they spoke English, shopkeepers and natives were much more willing to assist.

From one of the cheapo shops, I purchased a gold bracelet to wear to the Opera when we went.  There was one other thing I purchased.  A week before leaving, I discovered my best friend growing up was pregnant.  She had moved next door to me around my first birthday and we were immediately friends.  Why, we were both born on the 26th (March for me and July for her) and our middle names rhymed!  We were of course twins!  I bought a onesie for her that said Paris and couldn’t wait to give it to her.  Before I could see her, she had a miscarriage.  8 years later and she is finally pregnant again.  She is due in 6 days from today, on her birthday.  I still have that onesie in my Hope Chest and cannot wait to give it to her!

2. Tell us FIVE places/vacations that you would like to take at some point your life. It doesn’t have to be next year…maybe it’s the vacation of a lifetime or somewhere you just dream of going years from now.

Ahhh, the travel plans we have!

Our first vacation will be to the British Isles.  I was named for a book that my mother read when she was a teenager.  A historical romance, it’s written about real life people who lived in England during the Middle Ages.  We’ve been planning a trip there for years.  We were going to go this summer, but decided to have a baby instead.  I do not regret a thing.  But we will make it there soon.  And also travel to Scotland to visit my husband’s “land” as he is Scottish.

The second place I want to go to is….Disney World!  After working there, I cannot wait to show it off to my daughter and husband.  It will be a blast!

I also want to go back to Washington D.C. now that I’m older.  There are so many places to see and visit and learn.  I love learning.  Any time I can learn something new is a successful trip.

Wouldn’t mind going to Australia either…except for the spiders.  Anyone know any place Down Under that does NOT include gigantic spiders?  I’m so arachnophobic that I cannot even watch ads for Charlotte’s Web…

Lastly, I want to go to Japan.  4 years of Japanese, a brother who took 5 and served in Okinawa as well as a husband born in Japan?  Totally need to visit…maybe take my Mother-in-Law so we can visit where Mr. Soup spent the first couple years of his life!

My College Career – Part One

5 Jun

Straight out of high school I attended my Mother’s Alma Mater, Cottey College.  It is a private all-girls school stuck in no-where Missouri.  I learned a lot there, including a bit more about who I was.  I stopped being the tall, super skinny dancer who was shy and didn’t ever think people liked her and became the tall, not as skinny dancer (on the side) who started to realize that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t that bad of a person.  The schooling wasn’t too difficult for me, I only really had to study right before tests except for the year of Spanish.  Because I don’t do languages.  I passed with a B.  After taking Japanese for 4 years in high school, Spanish was a totally different experience and I was lucky to have such a great teacher.  He was an older man, white haired and always red faced.  This was because he was a heavy smoker.  His spanish was accented with the lovely smoker’s coughs.  He was always outside the hall smoking before class and was one of the first to leave after the 90 minute session to smoke again.  During finals, he left the room half-way through to smoke again.  But he was a great man, once you got use to him.  He was always patient with me, even when I asked the stupid questions.  I was so proud after getting a B the second semester after getting a C the first one.  At the beginning of the first class, there were about 18 students, 5 of which had never taken Spanish before (myself included).  At the end of the second semester, there were 7.  I was the only Spanish virgin that survived.

I also managed to gain 3 pants sizes.  Partially because I was no longer dancing 3 hours a day, 4 times a week.  And partially because the food was SO GOSH DARN GOOD!!  Our chef was amazing.  Well, I guess I should use the present tense, since he’s still there.  Dining was part of the tuition, so we got 3 square meals a day and 2 on Sunday.  These always included hot food inside, a salad bar, sandwich bar and cereal.  As well as full compliment of juices, soda and occasionally soft serve ice cream.  You wouldn’t find me very often at the salad bar.

But that was a healthy gain.  I no longer looked like a starving African child.  At high school graduation, I was 5’10 and weighed 105 pounds.  I was skinny.  And awkward.  And if I wasn’t dancing, I was usually tripping over my big feet, running into walls and falling down stairs.  Once I gained some weight, I also gained hips and boobs, to balance things out.  I fell down a lot less.  I even had an easier time finding clothes.  Did you know, they didn’t make size 2 jeans in long?  At least, not anywhere that wasn’t $75+ for them.

The best part about Cottey?  Getting to go to Europe for the 2 weeks of Spring Break.  For free.  The first week was included and we went to Paris.  It was amazing, but cold!  The second week, my roommate and a suitemate and I went to Germany, to stay with my roommate’s relatives.  We had never ridden on a train before, and here we were going to go on a train for the first time.  And none of us spoke either French OR German.  Interesting to say the least, especially upon discovering the fact that my roommate had no contact information for the people we were staying with.  But we made it there okay!  And we had a week of horriblely entertaining TV, fresh eggs and bread for breakfast every morning, partying with the hot German Navy at the clubs and relaxing.

It was wonderful.

I highly recommend anyone who knows a girl looking to have an amazing college experience, off the beaten path to take a look at Cottey.  When I was there, there were less than 300 girls, from 45 different states and 17 coutnries.  A LOT of diversity and great experiences.

After Cottey, I transfered back to Oregon to the University of Oregon to continue my education….that’s when things really became interesting.