Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sawatdee Kah

Greetings from back home in the good 'ole US of A. I wasn't going to blog today because I got home at 4pm after literally traveling for 24 hours on a plane. Before my family and I made the journey to Thailand, the 24 hour flight seemed absolutely horrendous! I mean, really. But, once you get to the airport, you succumb to that fact that it will be a long journey, but the adventure that awaits will be unforgettable. This could not be closer to the truth. We endured cramped seats, lots of turbulence, a few unidentifiable airplane meals (You get fed constantly on such a long flight), but the last two weeks of my life have been absolutely incredible. Now I am tired. So tired. But, it is only 7pm and I need to stay up until at least 8pm to help ward off the jet-lag. Hence, the reason I am blogging right now.

Everyday of the trip, I turned to someone and said "I just don't know how I am going to blog about this. Every day is a new adventure, a different experience". After I sort through over a thousand photos and receive some photos from fellow members of my tour, I think I will blog each day of the trip separately. We'll see how it shakes out in the end, but that's the plan for now.

Since I am way too tired to upload a few of the photos and blog Day One of our adventure in Asia, I'll throw out a few teasers of what I will share about our trip. First, God is funny because one of the physical therapists for the Green Bay Packers was on my tour! What are the chances that I would be on a family vacation with a physical therapist?! Yes, my friend, Kathryn is one, so there is a slight chance, but Kathryn wouldn't come on our family vacation. Second, I have to describe some of the cultural differences: the bathrooms, the taxi drivers, the food, the prostitutes -- all have stories attached to them. Third, the highlights of the trip: elephants, tigers, boats, temples...I can't wait to share all of it with you. But, it may be a little while. There is so much to say I have to get it all together. This trip was truly an adventure from the very start!

I can't wait to share it with you after I get some sleep.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bags are packed

When you book a trip for February in July it seems as if it will take forever to get here! Well, believe it or not, seven months have passed and tomorrow my parents and I embark on our adventure to Thailand! This trip has required much more preparation and planning than our past vacations. A trip to the International Travel Medicine clinic resulted in a typhoid shot and a terrifying briefing by a very passionate doctor who concluded her visit with "You will have a wonderful time". Ok, lady, now that you have told us we should only eat food served by people wearing gloves (What are the chances of that happening?) and that we might die if a mosquito bites us, sure we'll have a great time! Thhhhanks. After that visit, I frantically quizzed my friends who have been to Thailand about the thrills and the dangers. They all assured me that that lady was quite zealous and we really would have a wonderful time!

On Monday, we went to our primary care doctor to get our Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Tetanus shots. He filled prescriptions for malaria pills, Cipro, Zofran, and a patch that helps seasickness for my dad. We are a walking pharmacy, I tell ya! All of this is probably an act of over precaution, but considering a mosquito in Richmond will come and bite my dad and I in DC, better safe than sorry!

It was fun to pick out the clothes to take on the trip. Did I mention it is 95 degrees and sunny there right now?! My suitcase is jammed full of summer clothes in hues of orange, pink, and white. Sadly, I had to leave out the cute shoes. I won't be able to blend into the crowd because if you look at my feet, my tennis shoes and socks scream "tourist"!

Our ride will come at 8am tomorrow morning to take us to the airport. Our first flight from Dulles to Tokyo is 17.5 hours! Yes, you read that right. Seventeen-and-a-half hours. I am struggling to pack a bag for the plane. 2 books, 2 magazines, an iPod, an iPhone, a deck of cards, Soduku - iPod will probably die half way through the flight because the battery life is not that long --- and that is just the FIRST flight. We land in Tokyo, sit around there for 2 hours, and then board a second flight lasting 5.5 hours to our destination, Bangkok. I will probably be bored of all of the stuff I brought to do by our second flight, so maybe I can catch up on some movies I missed in the theaters. Don't even get me started on what to do on the return flights! Who the heck knows?! Any ideas?

In 18 hours, I will embark on the longest flight of my life for the biggest adventure of my life! I'll be tired, dirty, stiff, and probably a little heavier from all they will be feeding me. But, who cares! In this case, it's the destination, not the journey, that counts. I'm leaving behind freezing temperatures, traffic, and long days for heat, sun, elephant rides, long necked ladies, Buddhist temples, and amazing food! A 24 hour flight! Oh well. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Thirty IS Awesome!

Despite the fact that I had a little meltdown on the eve of my 30th birthday, those who had already entered this new decade assured me that your third decade is truly something special. I had agonized for months over what to do to mark such a milestone. A big party felt like 29 + 1 since my friend graciously threw me a fete last year. Instead of one big event, I decided to do something fun each day for a week. Stretching out the celebrations as much as possible seemed just right considering how much I love birthdays (mine and others)!

The celebrations kicked off with "Billy Elliott" at the Kennedy Center and then a delicious dinner at Filomena thanks to DC's Restaurant Week. The jury is still out on "Billy Elliott". This was the second time I have seen this play and it is just not high on my list. It was "good enough". Filomena, however, OH.MY.GOSH. Some angels came down from heaven and prepared that oooey, gooey delicious Italian feast! For those of you not in DC, if you ever find yourself here, make sure Georgetown and Filomena are on your list of highlights. Those of you who live here, run, do not walk to Filomena! You will be glad you ran because you need to burn some calories before sitting down to this meal. The best part is they give you so much food, you will be eating it for three days!  

My actual birthday was also the day I have Bible study. It was so special to have these girls over to celebrate the start of my new decade with me.

So thankful God brought these girls into my life

Cora's caramel cake. It tasted even better than it looks!
The day after my birthday, I spent the evening downtown watching my two schools, Richmond and GWU, battle it out on the hardwood.
My allegiance is to my undergrad alma mater. Too bad GWU wiped the floor with us. I couldn't let the birthday week end on a low note, so the celebrations continued when a few friends took me out to tea at the Ritz Carlton. It was fun and fancy. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I didn't expect my parents to give me any gifts because we are leaving on Saturday for Thailand for two weeks. I just figured I would look for something there. Knowing my family and our love of birthdays, I should have known that they could not let the day go by without giving me a gift. After devouring these mini ice cream cakes (my favorite),

I opened some very special presents:

This was my grandma's. She died 6 years ago, but this will be a special piece forever.
My dad gave me this bracelet. I LOVE stars.

A pendant with elephants to commemorate our upcoming adventures in Thailand to tell me the trip is a GIFT!

The week was filled family, friends and fun.  If my birthday week is any indication of the year (and decade) to come, 30 IS somethin' special!
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