Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Living Vicariously 2/15

I like to think that I am an artistic person. But this literary masterpiece honestly blew my mind. Irving Stone paints such a powerful picture of the life of Michaelangelo. After I read this book, I finally started to legitimately recognize the intents and desires of artists to create works of symbolism and passion. The story line was intriguing as well; it made me want to travel over to Italy and see all of his works for myself. Who knows; maybe I will.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Live Vicariously: 1/15

My wanderlust is not merely a physical yearning to explore every region of this earth. It is also a desire to read nearly every book I get my hands on. Ever since I've been young I have immersed myself in a plethora of worlds and visited places and met people through my literary travels that I would never have thought possible.

That is why I thought I would revisit my "best of the best", my favs of the favs, and share them with you. The best part of these trips is that you can take them again and again and again...

Denise Hunter is one of my favorite inspirational novelists. I am a hopeless romantic, so I suppose that helps...her stories are so real. Driftwood Lane is the most recent book of hers that I have devoured, so I chose to share it with you. This is the perfect book for the beach or curling up by the fire. Make sure you have a good chunk of time for this read; I was totally engrossed for about 7 hours.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Caught Ya Gingerbread Man!

Every year Fort Wayne holds a Gingerbread Festival. This year over 100 individuals and groups entered the contest. This replica of the TinCaps stadium was my favorite. I can't get over the details! The Teddy Graham audience is the best.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dancing with the Ethiopian Stars

One night we went to an authentic Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. There was, of course, dancing, and after my stint in the limelight, I am proud to say that I was offered dual citizenship in Ethiopia. I would have to say that music and dancing are two activities that really help me feel immersed in a culture. I have danced salsa and the cha-cha in a local club in Mexico, I have danced traditional Greek dancing in Athens, and now I have earned another notch in my belt by "conquering" tribal dances in Ethiopia.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Addis Ababa- The Beautiful Flower

Diesel fumes. Dust. Dirt. Wild Dogs. The Chanting of Muslims. Beggars. Goats.

Friendly, Proud, Beautiful, Intriguing, and Charismatic.

Addis Ababa is a city of contradictions, of the haves and have nots, of a constant cycle of struggle and hope. Just walking the streets I sensed that there was a feeling of fierce independence intertwined with the need for each other, the need for brotherly love.

Though Addis is not a top destination choice for many travelers, I would return there in a heartbeat. There is something so real, so vibrant about this city that it calls to me to return.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ethiopia Part 2

Driving in the rural areas of Ethiopia, I was able to observe the daily routines of many Ethiopians. Gone were my complaints of cockroaches in the hotel. Gone were my materialistic thoughts and Western "need" for more. Though this was not my first visit to a third world country, it was the culture shock that I need to set me in my place. These happy, charismatic people work their fingers to the bone for less than $1 a day. Their short lives are filled with turmoil and pain. And yet they work. What a lesson for us all.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ethiopia: Part 1

Ethiopia is a vibrant land, so full of life that it is hard to describe. The best way for me to pass on my experiences is to show you some snapshots. This post will cover the more religious aspect of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is comprised of Muslims, Orthodox Christians, and Protestants.

I went and toured the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and stumbled upon these pious church members. The spirituality in Ethiopia is so strong; I spent the majority of my time there with Protestant leaders in Lutheran Hour Ministries. The Spirit is moving through these Protestants, and God's grace is being revealed to many Ethiopians.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of!

For my first visit to NYC, I decided to take a tour of Greenwich Village. Three hours of history, culture, and sight-seeing were just what the doctor ordered! Hansel, our guide, was quite knowledgeable about the area. He showed us the Washington Mews, a row of carriage houses that have been turned into apartments and lofts for "trust fund babies," as Hansel puts it. Oh Hansel.

The streets of the Village are so unique. You feel as though you are in a quaint town instead of a metropolitan city.

The details were what made the Village unique. The various colored doors, wrought iron designs, and bohemian heritage are only a few reasons why this area so attractive!

One section of a fenced-in park was covered with tiles supporting our troops. It was so moving to see these sentiments displayed in such a common area.

Washington Square Park. It was so fresh, so relaxed. I know that if I lived near the Village, I would frequent this park often. Maybe it was the man who wheeled a piano to the fountain, or the two boys who jukebox karaoke'd for money; whatever the reason, the Park felt alive!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Taste of the Jersey Coast

World War II meets the Jersey Shore.

Some beaches have shells, others have jellyfish and unknown sea creatures.
These items do not encourage any sort of frolicking in the sand.

It was surreal seeing dolphins come so close to shore. Absolutely gorgeous!

Fishing on the beach. Not the safest for swimmers. Or the jellyfish.

Cape May was a "tourist" town with a relaxed feel. At the southernmost tip of NJ, it's separated from the party life of Atlantic City, and lends itself more towards the family. All in all, a relaxing vacation.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gettysburg Take 3

This is the third time I have visited Gettysburg: once when I was 12, again when I was 14, and now again at 24.

I feel as though every time I visit, I capture more of the essence, struggle, and strife of the three days' battle.

The scenery is so peaceful and calm that it is difficult to imagine the malice and collision that took place.

This memorial is built from materials originating from Maine and Alabama. The natural gas flame on top is supposed to symbolize the eternal peace of these grounds.
A plaque near the memorial related the events of a "reunion" of Civil War soldiers in the 1930's. FDR spoke from this memorial to thousands of veterans, most in their 90's and one as old as 110. A picture on the plaque depicted a soldier from the North and a soldier from the South shaking hands. How powerful to see brotherly love transcend decades after such a bitter war!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Road Rules #4

When you're stuck on the highway, make some friends. Share the info you get and walk around.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Well-Rounded Meal

What fulfilling meal would be complete without a touch of sugary sweetness? That's why a trip to the Original Cupcake Factory in Mackinaw City is a must. The pasties are all well and good, but I had to sample some of these sinful inspirations. I adored the Red Corvette, a petite red velvet cupcake. The sugary sweetness was complemented with the decor; think pink!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fayette, Michigan

This gorgeous setting is located on the southern coast of the upper peninsula. Fayette used to be a thriving community in the 1800's, but it closed in 1890. The ruins are surrounded by limestone cliffs and scenic vistas. I could have relaxed by the water for hours! The last pic was taken on top of the limestone cliffs; a trail conveniently starts at the ruins. I get such a thrill visiting ruins and abandoned towns. I like to imagine who stood where I am standing, and what their story was...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mackinaw Island

My foray onto Mackinaw Island was fabulous. The island itself is an escape into yesteryear. Automobiles are prohibited, bikes abound. The clean air and laid back attitude allowed me to relax and enjoy the beautiful Michigan sun.

I'm not a fudge fan, but for all of you chocolate lovers, Mackinaw is THE PLACE for sweets. If you want to "work off" those extra calories, the island is only eight miles in circumference. I suggest renting tandem bikes or roller skating. Otherwise, swimming and hiking are definite musts.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Les Petites Choses

Ah, the little things in life. Sometimes I feel as though I am distracted by the big picture, the big trips, or the big events. Instead of being swept up into the grandeur of years, months, and days, I want to challenge myself to live my life in moments. I'm trying to ponder and treasure those fleeting moments and images. As I was walking through the Bicentennial Forest in Indiana, I tried to pay special attention to the little things like these:

Stay tuned: more little things to come...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Road Rules #3

If you tow cars for a living,
turn your job into a game.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Place To Rest My Head

Normally, I am content sleeping at the cheapest place possible when I am on vacation. I don't spend much of my time at the hotel/hostel, so it doesn't need to be a five star experience. I may, however, make an exception for the Propeller Island City Lodge in Berlin. The 30 rooms there are an artistic experience, to say the least. Each of them was designed by the German artist Lars Stroschen, including the Upside Down room and my personal favorite--the Hanging Rope Bedroom, where the bed is suspended from the ceiling with ropes. It makes the Hilton, well, a mediocre accommodation.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Castle in the Midwest

A trip to Wisconsin would not be complete without stopping at Mars Cheese Castle.
The Vegas-style sign flags down anyone trekking along I-94.
Don't let the sign fool you, though. The "castle" houses a delicious bakery, mountains of cheeses and meats, international foods and drinks, and a conglomeration of Wisconsin souvenirs.
I, of course, had to purchase cheese curds in order to end a successful trip to Milwaukee.
**squeak, squeak!


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