Story, Goal, Song: part IV


I made a mistake last week. I started watching Aerial America again. And now, while everyone else has come down with a cold, I have come down with yet another bout of wanderlust.

So today my mom and I hopped in the car and drove toward the mountains. She probably just did this to shut me up, because whenever I’d caught sight of them earlier in the day it was all I could do to not thrust my hands in the air and yell “HOLY SHIT” (not an unwarranted exclamation – they were seriously majestic). But anyway, we drove toward the mountains, and then we turned around and headed toward the water, practically chasing the sun at this point, and one of the pictures I took during this leg of our journey is up yonder. I don’t know why my natural response to a beautiful day is to shout swear words, but HOLY. SHIT. What a breathtaking day.

Just had to get that out. Moving on! (if you missed them, part I can be found here, part II here, and part III here)

A story: Spring break trips are sort of a rite of passage for college students, as I’m sure everyone knows. Most, understandably, migrate toward the equator for that week – my friends and I decided to go north, to Vancouver BC. Vancouver is a beautiful land where the drinking age is only 19 and every building looks like this:


The four of us arrived in this gorgeous city and settled in (shout-out to my dad for hooking it up with the Marriott points), soon venturing out again to find sandwiches and, more importantly, explore the Granville Island market. Many photos were taken – the background/wallpaper for this very blog is actually a picture I took of the water around Granville – and we discovered the soap shop of all soap shops. Feeling pretty grand about our touristing skills, we went back to the hotel to do some crucial pub/bar research; we are four young women who do not settle for mediocre cocktails. And we kind of wanted an Irish pub atmosphere. Priorities.

On a sidenote, the restaurant where we ate dinner had the coolest bathroom ever (so cool, in fact, L-dawg sent me on a secret mission to take a picture of the sink, which could be turned on by stepping on a pedal):

Canada, you really have it  all worked out.

Canada, you really have it all worked out.

By 7:30pm on that Monday evening, we were sitting at Doolin’s Irish Pub, not even getting carded for the drinks we ordered because those who “go out on the town” before 10 are probably harmless. Worked for us. There was live music. We had fries. We left by 9:30, grabbed some fancy dessert from a local cafe, and fell asleep watching the Food Network around midnight. This is good because, first of all, it’s kind of my ideal night, and secondly, we definitely needed our energy for the next day. I mean…

TOPSHOP is paradise, and it basically doesn't exist in the US (for those of you who don't know)

TOPSHOP is paradise, and it basically doesn’t exist in the US (for those of you who don’t know)

After taking advantage of the continental breakfast (since that is the point of staying in a hotel, after all), we went on a shopping spree and then a walking spree. Overestimating our speed/endurance/patience and underestimating the amount of rainfall that would occur that day, we attempted to walk all the way to Stanley Park. I cannot even give a rough estimate of how many blocks we traversed on our way to this so-called gem of Vancouver, but I can tell you that by the time we actually reached the park we had all silently agreed that a picture of a few ducks in the first pond we encountered would suffice, and we turned around. If there was ever a day, in the whole year of living together, when there was a nearly-palpable feeling of annoyance bouncing between the four of us, this was it. But a hot cup of tea with a towering tray of pastries can pretty much solve anything, and luckily that was next on our agenda.

This was my spring break, and these are my friends (all of whom I get to see on SUNDAY! *shrieks with happiness*). Such good memories – even walking in our rained-on misery.

A goal: Today’s goal, believe it or not, is actually related to both my intro and my story. When does that ever happen? Soak it up, guys.

Maybe you’ve already picked up on it, but I have this desire to see cities and mountains and canyons and grassy hillsides and practically everything. You know, the spirit of a traveler. Regrettably, though, I do not make enough time to really get out there and do stuff. I want to get out there and do stuff. I see these pictures of people I know road tripping and going on hikes and whatnot, and I always have that what-am-I-doing-with-my-life moment, when suddenly you can see very clearly your priorities have somehow been thrown askew. I’d like to get them back where they should be. And one of my top priorities is seeing and experiencing places. (I’ll start off strong by watching the Aerial America marathon all day on New Year’s, Smithsonian Channel if you’d like to participate from your own couch)

A song: Now we come to yet another song that has stayed with me through all the seasons: “I Can See Your Tracks” by Laura Veirs. In February, I sat on various benches and listened to it on repeat. It was on our spring break mix CD. I listened to it on the bus over the summer, and it is (predictably) stuck in my head now, at the very end of December.

It is so relaxed and sweet and makes me feel like I’m wandering around a prairie at sundown. If that doesn’t make you want to listen to it, I don’t know what will.

As always, thank you very very much for taking the time to read, and stay tuned for the final part of this series (and final post of 2014)!

Also, I would like to wish a very happy birthday to my dear Olivia Rose – can’t promise I won’t cry when I see you


On the subject of lazy rivers…

Don't you feel like you're here drinking tea with me? Isn't it nice?

Don’t you feel like you’re here drinking tea with me? Isn’t it nice?

I decided to ditch the comfort of my bed today, instead electing to sit at Starbucks with a venti iced green tea and a chocolate croissant just waiting to be voraciously consumed. Yes, this is a really half-assed attempt to get the creative part of my brain to come out of hiding. But honestly I think it’s afraid of the overly garrulous women’s book club gabbing in the corner. So we will see how this goes.

Long story short, I just got back from a very fun and very humid trip to the one and only Orlando, Florida. I am jet-lagged. I am tired. I am recovering from an unfortunate sunburn. But I also have many a tale to tell.

First off, let’s have a chat about lazy rivers. Before this trip, my feelings in regards to lazy rivers were, you know, normal… neutral. I mean, they’re cool if you’re lazy and you have an innertube and there aren’t too many punks splashing around. But within the first day of floating along the river’s gentle currents, I was smacked in the sunburned face with a very telling epiphany: lazy rivers were created to aid stalker-type people. Really. Let that sink in. I don’t mean the dangerous, illegal type of stalking, but rather stalking of a flirtatious nature. Lazy rivers make it so incredibly easy to follow people around – in a normal pool, it is more justifiable to accuse people. Like, hey, you are purposely following me around this unmoving water. In a lazy river, however, you can’t say that. Literally everyone is going in the same direction at the same speed, at least generally speaking. Also, it is possible to touch people and be like, oops, sorry, I flail when I swim. Somebody’s (my) butt is bound to be swatted in a lazy river.

Here she is, the famous/infamous lazy river.

Here she is, the famous/infamous lazy river.

As you would probably expect, my family did the whole Disney World thing again. The first day, we went to the Magic Kingdom, which is as crowded as a theme park can possibly get. For some reason, my first thought that morning was “I’m just gonna be chill today, I’m not going to get pissed off at anybody.” Maybe I thought that because I know I’m a pretty irritable, albeit outwardly tolerant, person… but I’m willing to consider alternate reasons. Anyway, despite having many many happy moments involving castles, Peter Pan, and outer space, my brain was in rage mode that day. Does anyone else internally flip out at the people around them in line for no apparent reason? Like, a lady will be taking a picture of Scuttle from the Little Mermaid with her iPad, and I just silent-scream oh my god you look ridiculous GET OUT. I don’t know. I probably need to start meditating eight times a day or something.

We stayed at a very nice hotel, the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, which is sort of a mouthful so I nicknamed it the JDubs. My sister chose it because a) she is unhealthily obsessed with lazy rivers, and b) the hotel’s silhouette vaguely resembles that of Atlantis, which is her dream vacation destination (thanks a lot, Mary-Kate and Ashley). The lobby is grand and beautiful and it smells very nice, and our room was unexpectedly huge, with two balconies looking out over the expansive grounds of the resort. It was sort of ridiculous, but in the best way. There was much to be explored, and rest assured, we explored it all. Including the Ritz-Carlton next door. “Unnecessarily lavish” is the only descriptor I have for that establishment.

Lastly, I will try to bring some element of conciseness to this post with some “miscellaneous things I just can’t not talk about, also sorry for the double negative”:

  • I love squirrels and little lizards, both of which are abundant in Florida.
  • To Hugo from the French crepe stand: vous avez les yeux gorgeuous, and you can make me crepes ANYTIME.
  • I’m sorry to say it, but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter really wasn’t built for effective crowd flow.
  • The Beast’s castle in New Fantasyland is disappointingly dinky.
  • … But Prince Eric’s castle is superb and I’d like to live there. Preferably with Prince Eric, and also can I have Ariel’s hair?
  • If you want to irreversibly mess your hair up, riding in a convertible on the freeway is certainly the way to do it.
  • 80’s music is appropriate for every occasion.
  • Lots of Scottish people vacation in Orlando. Who would have guessed? Not me, obviously.
  • Sometimes religious chanting parades take place in lazy rivers. I also would not have guessed this.
  • There was a boy in the pool who kept throwing a ball at my sister every time she floated by. Really takes me back to the second grade, when flirting involved tossing rocks in your crush’s general direction. How suave of you, pool boy.
  • I go into a total depressed slump when I have to leave Epcot.
  • The only way to survive six-hour plane rides is to watch Friends and stare out the window with wonder in your eyes.

Alright, gang. I’m running low on tea and I have nothing left to ramble about. Sounds like this blog post is over.