Thursday, September 18, 2008

hello st. charles!!!

welp, i'm home. yesterday was a really long day of flying but it went really smoothly. i got to watch 3 movies on the plane which made the time fly pretty quickly. and i got a couple magazines which made my layover in philly go by pretty quickly too. and i think the thought of being home made me so giddy that i couldn't sleep or anything :) i was so excited to be greeted by my parents at the baggage claim.... but that didn't exactly happen. my mom asked me not to tell anyone what happened but i assured her i would be blogging about it ;) hahaha. so my plane landed about 15 minutes early so i figured that they wouldn't be there yet so i wouldn't get the welcome that i thought which was ok. i was just so excited to see them. so the minutes began pass and after i got my bag and checked my clock i realized it was about 9:30. i wasn't really sure where they were at and started to worry that maybe they got the day wrong and didn't even know i was in town. but that couldn't be right.... i mean, i blogged about it in almost all of my last 12 blogs. so i decided to walk around the airport a bit and see if maybe they were waiting for me outside. i checked in the underground parking - not there. i checked in the passanger pick-up area thats outside - not there. hmmmmm i thought to myself as i started to get irritated (keep in mind that it was really like 4:30am paris time and i was extremely sleep deprived by this point). so i tried to call my mom's cell phone collect since i didn't have a cell phone but i found out you can't make collect calls to a cell phone. so this nice old man let me borrow his cell phone to call them. so my mom answered and was like "you're here!" and i said "yeah, i am. where are you?" and she explained that they had been waiting for my call to come pick me up. which i thought interesting considering the fact that they knew i threw my phone away when i left for europe and they knew what time my flight arrived.... so as i got choked up on the phone i was like "but you know i don't have a cell phone. how was i supposed to call you??" so i think she felt really bad and said they were on their way. so i basically stood at the side of the passenger pick up area pouting and thinking about how i could look the most mad with my body language. hahaha! i was making sure that i wasn't looking in the direction where the cars come from and i had my hands crossed, and of course a pissy look on my face (i'm so mature aren't i?!?!?!) ;) but that plan didn't work because a little after 10 i heard someone behind me say "umm, miss jackson...." and i turned around and it was my dad. and all i said to him was "i'm trying to not be really angry right now but its not really working...." but they both felt really bad about everything and the mix up and after a few minutes i wasn't quite as mad and immature :) and it felt soooooo great to walk into their house and know that i was home!!!!! and i slept like a baby in my bed!!!!! i thought that maybe i would sleep a lot since i was so pooped, but i woke up bright and early at 6:53am.... and once my parents woke up we went to none other than ------ FIRST WATCH!!!! yum! i have been craving it the whole time i was gone so it totally hit the spot. now i am just going to get back into the swing of things. i guess i will eventually have to find a job..... but really, who wants to rush into that :)

oh yeah, my new phone number. my dad made a good point that since this is a public blog i might not want to post it. so i will email it out. i'm pretty sure that i have everyone's email address, but if you don't get an email from me today with my new cell number let me know and i will send it your way.

it feels weird that i won't be letting everyone know my step by step of every day.... but i'm sure that will be a nice change for some ;) i can't wait to see everyone and talk more about stuff that i'm sure i forgot to blog about and catch up on whats been going on in everyone's lives since mid-july!!!!! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

this is not gonna be my final blog

welp, i am sitting at my hostel in paris and it is way too early to be up. but thanks for my roomates and the fact that they packed EVERYTHING they own in plastic bags i am up...... annoying but whatev. that gives me more time to blog :)

so cinque terre was a bit of a bust. i mean, it was beautiful and i would definitely go back again. but i would want to go earlier in the summer when it is more consistently hot. my last full day there it rained ALL day so that was a bummer. jennine, i tried to find the pizza place but for some reason i couldnt find the stairs that you mentioned. and since it was pouring i wasnt really in the mood to go on a full fledge search :) but i did have a piece of pesto pizza at a different joint i found and it was delicious! so thanks for recommending it or i probably wouldnt have tried it :) cinque terre is known for their pesto sauce and it was great. i bought a jar and some cool shaped pasta to make for my parents. thats a fair trade off for rent right?!?!?!? ;)

and then yesterday was the longest day of my life, or at least it felt like that. i left at 10:50am and got to paris at midnight... yikes!!! and i was surrounded by really not great smells on the train (i will spare you the details) which gave me a headache, and mixed with the movement of the train i was feeling a little queezy at points actually. but i pulled through :) and there was a kid sitting behind me who was super annoying and banging on my chair almost the whole time and another guy playing indian music on his cell phone with no headphones. i mean, who does that?!?! i was ready to punch somebody, but i didnt ;) instead i finished my 4th jane austen book, emma. whoop whoop!!!!

mom, i am sooooo sorry that i wasnt able to actually blog or email yesterday so i hope you have a super wonderfully special birthday!!!!!!!!!!!

welpers, basically all i have left to do is get ready and then get my booty to the airport. not sure i am going to be able to swing one last crepe but thats probably a good thing :)

i get home tonight around 9:15!! and i dont know what my cell phone number is going to be yet but once i know it, probably tomorrow, i will blog it so that everyone can have it. before i left i wrote everyone's numbers down so i should be good to go :) and i will maybe blog about my final thoughts and reflections about my last 2 months.... but as of yet i havent really been in the mood to try and be deep. hahaha

ok, enough rambling..... i will SEE you all super soon!!! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the leaning tower of whattttt?

hello all! we are coming right down to end of it folks. probably only a couple more europe blogs left........ thats a weirdly sad thought. but the plus side will be that i will actually be able to talk to you all face to face instead of keyboard to keyboard :)

lets see.... yesterday i got a bit of sun. whoop whoop! we layed out for a good 3 hours and i got a teeny bit of tan..... but a teeny bit is better than none i guess. today i wasnt able to lay out because i decided to take a day trip to pisa to snap some awesomely touristy shots of me pretending to hold up the leaning tower of pisa ;) its a good thing that we just made it a day trip because there is a whole lot of nothing in that city other than the tower. but it was nice because i went with the "party like a rockstar" girl lindsay. she was leaving cinque terre today to head to naples and i needed to go to la spezia which is a major train station to book my trip back to paris. so she decided that she had some extra time to make go to pisa with me. so that was a double bonus because #1 at the train station she pointed out that they sold magnums bars which i havent really been able to find. so i ate one in honor of marci and sarah's request even though it was 10:30 in the morning. gotta love double chocolate ;) and #2 we took the cheesy pics of each other leaning against the tower so i didnt have to ask a complete stranger. good times :) i was supposed to go to pisa with this american guy in my room but he turned out to be uber annoying and i really wanted nothing to do with him. he ate all my pasta last night while we werent in the room (ummm, who does that??) and then this morning accused lindsay and i of eating this other girls bananas. ummmm, sorry bud but i dont eat other people's fruit....lame. so i wasnt really in the "travel buddy" mood to spend the day with him.

so all in all today has been excellent. the weather has been great, sunny but breezy so there should be a great sunset tonight! holla!!!! and we ate lunch at a kebab place which rocked. oh yeah, and i played tetris on my iPod on the train ride back from pisa and set a new record!! and i was so intense that the tip of my thumb actually went numb......... lamely awesome i know ;)

tomorrow if it is sunny, no matter if its breezy i am gonna hit the beach (and by beach i mean the rock hard cliffs) to lay out ALL day!! and i am also going to hit up the pizza joint that jennine recommended. i cant get enough of their pesto here (well now i can because some lame american ate all my pasta) so pesto pizza has to be a good second best :)

i think thats all to really report on. on the 16th (here's an early happy birthday to my very own MAMA!!!!!) i will basically be on trains from 10:40am to 11:30pm getting back to paris. hopefully i will be able to make time for one last nutella crepe the morning of the 17th before heading to the airport. i mean, i have priorities and all ;)

have i said that i cant wait to see everyone, because if i havent - I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE EVERYONE!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

you're all too good to me :)

thanks for all the sympathy!! and rock on for all the offers for sweets. i will take you ALL up on those offers :) jess, just a big tub of your famed white icing would do the trick and rooms, too bad we dont still live together because i'm sure you'd have the fridge stocked with an assortment of things i cant resist ;) i mean, its not like i'm getting enough pure sugar while i'm here ;) and thankfully the fall did not ruin my outfit. suprisingly there was just a bit of dirt on me that i brushed off. not a bad deal.

so i guess when i heard that cinque terre was a beautiful place i was under the impression that it was just a goergous tropical place. with lots of sandy beaches. and there is definitely lots of ocean views but they are all surrounded by freaking mountains. and dont get me wrong, its super beautiful here but i just wish that the actual beach was a bit closer. its just a 15 minute train ride but i'm lazy and want everything at my finger tips ;) in my last blog i forgot to add something to the part where i said i am sick of traveling alone. what i meant to add was that most other solo travelers i have met say they like traveling alone because they get to meet so many new people and make new friends. now, if i was a binge drinker that might work out for me, but i'm not. so i dont really want to just "party like a rock star" like this one girl keeps saying.... and i've never been one to really enjoy making lots of surface level, 2 day friends. so thats why i am looking forward to coming back home to all my wonderful friends and family that i already have. that might sound kind of bratty, but.... ;) so after i blogged last i went to my room and met this girl lindsey (the party like a rock star girl) and she basically talks nonstop. which works out ok since i am not always that big of a talker (shocking i'm sure) ;) so yesterday we went hiking together. there was a hiking trail that connects from each of the 5 cities of cinque terre. and it was brutal. it was a full days worth, 5 hours of actual hiking. very very hard and steep in several spots so we worked our booties off. and when we'd stop at the different cities to look around or each lunch my legs were like shaking violently. awesome! :) but it was a great feeling to accomplish it and see where all we'd gone. pretty cool and great views. and she is a big beer and wine drinker so she was trying to figure out what kind of wine i might like. so when we were at the grocery store getting stuff for dinner (fruit salad - incredible!!) i bought this little pack of 3 mini bottles of what we think is either sparkling white wine or champagne. turns out it is champagne, which is a bit strong tasting for me. so i am gonna snag some orange juice and make myself a momosa (not sure how to spell that). ghetto i know but so good :) hahah. but since i exerted quite a bit of energy yesterday i am laying low today. it hasnt been crazy sunny.... definitely hot but sort of overcast. so i dont know if i am going to get any good laying out in today. but if not thats ok with me. i will go to the beach no matter what tomorrow and lay there in rain or shine :) and someone left a beach mat in my room so i am going to borrow that while i'm here. whoop whoop!!! :)

so yeah, things are looking better for me. funks usually last a couple of days for me so it is quickly going away :) i am going to relax and enjoy the rest of my time here, eat some more good but healthy food, i'm pumped to try the pesto sauce which they are known for, and i will of course be partaking of one last magnum bar before i go ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

when can i come home to everything & everyone i know and love?!?!?!?!?

ok, so i am in a funk but i will get into that shortly. i first must tell how the rest of my time in luzern was. so after i blogged last i went and rented a bike for a halfday. the weather couldnt have been more perfect. i think i might have even gotten a little sun on my cheeks. they had a very vague map of different routes to take to get great views of luzern, the mtns and the lake. so after getting lost a couple of times at the start i was on my way. i dont know if i was actually on the mapped route but it worked out ok and it was so beautiful. the really neat thing is that my bike ride allowed me to get a few souvenires - some of which i will have forever.... and no i didnt get another tattoo. thats right folks - ROAD RASH!!! you guessed it, i wiped out!! hahaha :) i mean, i have been on a roll this whole trip making bozo mistakes (face/butt plant) so why not keep it up... lame. anyways, what happened was the bike path ended so i was on the road. and i dont really feel comfortable as cars pass me so i wanted to "hop" the curb to the sidewalk. but i didnt really take into consideration the height and composition of the curb and needless to say no "hop" was accomplished and i came crashing down. thankfully though i reacted quick enough to pull my head up so i didnt bust out any teeths or smear any of my beloved freckles ;) but my right ankle, shin, knee, elbow and wrist took quite a beating. right when i got up i started laughing at myself because really!!!! a guy in a car who witnessed the tragedy stopped to make sure i survived. and another guy walking came back too. that was nice of them and didnt at all add to my embarrassment.... :) i took pics that i really hope to post soon... so due to the fact that i was bleeding everywhere i didnt know if i should turn back. but what would i do if i went back - sit and mope? so i decided to press on because there was a glassblowing place down the way which is what i really wanted to see. so i made it there but didnt have a bike lock so i risked it and just left it outside. thankfully swiss people arent theives :) but i got to tour the factory and museum for free and the front desk lady even gave me a bandaid for my hand :) and i got to actually watch some of the guys make glass. i could have watched for hours (i L-O-V-E glassblowing!!). i want to do an apprenticeship.... but i will get to that after spanish school... yeah right ;) i bought a few tiny ornaments that were the cheapest things but cool nonetheless. i would have loved to buy it all! so after that i headed back, got lost (no suprise) in a neighborhood but somehow found my way out with the help of a kind lady and made it home. i did get the worst nights sleep ever though thanks to all my boo-boos.... :(

but todays travels went totally fine and i am in riomaggiore, italy. i guess its part of cinque terre.... i am still a little confused about how that all works. but i am definitely in a funk. i started getting in a funk during the train ride and it didnt help that i was listening to depressing music.... oops :( hopefully it wont last long. i am sure i will enjoy my time here. i will be here for six nights, 5 days. it is beautiful so far but i am just really ready to be home. and i am really hating being alone. i mean REALLY! when i am home i enjoy my alone time, but not for weeks at a time!! sheesh!!

so yeah, thanks for the comments on the previous post. they brightened my night for sure!! and i will get pics posted asap. hopefully while i am here :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

where's waldo?????

i seriousy love how when i don't blog for a couple of days people are wondering where i am at. that gives me reassurance that you do in fact care about me ;)

i feel the need to back track a bit... staying at kelli and mark's was seriously soo great! i had so much fun relaxing with them. it rained the whole time i was there so i didn't really get out and see much of newry but i was fine with that since i wasn't really feeling good. i am feeling better now except i still have a nice cough. but i will probably have that till i get home.... no worries. it was great though because after just one day of knowing mark i got his sense of humor and it was fun to ribbing him ;) i mean, i must be at least 14% irish since my last name is jackson. shoot, trinket shops had coasters with my family crest on it and all.... ;) and kelli finished reading redeeming love while i was there which is mz all time favorite book so i was pumped for her because she loved it just as much as me!! one highlight was that upon lindsey's urging we ate dinner at Friar Tuck's which is a place that mark always talks about when he is in the states. it was soooo good! i had a chicken sandwich (the best one i have ever had) and chips (fries). yumtastic! too bad everything is fried there because its not so healthy but too hard to resist :) also, we went to belfast one night to have dinner with some of their friends which was really nice and a lot of fun. i was sad to go but nonetheless i had a flight to catch. so thanks kelli and mark for everything!! especially the scones and soda bread :) *has anyone noticed that the main highlights of my entire trip has been food.....oops*

anywho.... i got back into paris and had another long day of straight up travel. i took all forms of transportation - taxi, plane, bus, metro, train, foot. i was able to get a bunch of connecting trains to eventually end up in........ luzern, switzerland!!!! i met a nice italian guy on one of the trains who was coming back to luzern after a holiday in france to come back to work. and it was nice b-c one of our trains was cancelled and rerouted and i would have never known if he wouldnt have told me. and he even pointed me to a hotel, so that was so nice. thanks dario :) anyways, i figured since sarah and i meant to come here back on day 4 it was only right for me to actually make it :) and its perfect!! exactly what i was hoping for. the weather has been phenomenal!!! sunny, breezy, but warm enough for shorts. yay!! yesterday i walked around and took lots of pictures. and there are tons of shops and stuff. but since i am not really in the mood for "souvenirs" i didn't buy much. but i did buy a new pair of sunglasses because i crunched my other pair that i LOVED apparently one day when i used my bag as a pillow while reading on a bench. oops. but my new pair is even more ghetto and huge and a tribute to my childhood ;) just wait to see them... so yep, luzern has been good to me. today i am renting a bike and hopefully getting my bike on finally!!!! i've been wanting to for weeks now, so my dream will come true today :)

then tomorrow i am taking a train to riomaggiore, italy which is in cinque terre. i am really excited, even though i know sarah is gonna hate me forever now :) i just hope that it is still really hot there so that i can get some good sun before i come home :) and i think that there is a park/forresty area close to my hostel so i might be able to do some more biking or hiking too which will be fun. i will be there for 5 days so i don't know if i can just lay on the beach the whole time.... ;)

but speaking of coming home - i come home a week from tomorrow!!! whoo hoooooo!! i feel like i have been gone a whole semester without getting to come home at all for a visit, its ridiculous!!! so i can't wait to see everyone and actually TALK face to face!!! i have 3 more cards to open between now and then. can you believe that i actually spaced them all out and didn't open them all on the plane ride over here?!?!? i guess i really am growing up :)

ps. if anyone knows of anyone looking for some temporary work (for a few months till i leave for spanish school) let me know b-c i will be looking for some work once i get home.... i'm a real good worker i swear :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

gotta love that honey rum... ;)

ok, for starters i apologize for leaving anybody out on the shout out for some TLC. i meant to say that i really needed some roomie tlc, some poppy tlc, som bff tlc, som CG tlc, basically - some USA tlc!!!! :)

and beer was a good idea steve, but kelli and mark took it one step farther and made me a nice mug of hot honey rum and it really helped. it licked my cough in a matter of minutes. so maybe another dose tonight might just do the trick :)

so yeah, needless to say i am in newry, ireland right now!! it is absolutely beautiful! it is more in the country than the other cities i've been to so its just perfect!! my trip here yesterday went smooth as silk. i didn't realize that i had to switch trains a couple times, and take a bus from one station in dublin to a different one, but i worked it out :) and the sun was bright all day yesterday which made for a nice day of traveling. its just too bad that its not sunny on one of the days that i want to spend outside... :( if the weather improves today (and stops raining) i am gonna bike this one path that kelli and mark told me about. its about 20 miles one way. i'm pretty pumped about it. so hopefully the weather will clear up. if not mark is gonna take me into town and i'll walk around, go shopping, putz around and then kelli will pick me up after work. and some of their friends are having peeps over tonight for dinner and they have graciously allowed me to tag along. so that'll be fun. kelli and mark have been great!!! kelli is quite the hostess with the mostess and it has been wonderful just to chat and catch up! and mark is full of stories that just crack me up! and his accent is awesome (of course), i can understand about 90% of what he says :)

a major highlight to my arriving in newry was a little goody bag that lindsey had kelli's mom bring over when she was here visiting last week!!!!! it was full of all things i love - pringles, cookies, hot tamales, you name it! so great. thanks SOOOO much linds! you're just about the best BFF in the world!! :)

right now i'm watching THE OFFICE and its 9:30 in the morning. whoop whoop!!!! its the sexual harassment episode and the dundees (my all time fav!!) - freaking awesome! :)

oh yeah, i mentioned some life reflection that i've been doing.... i'll take a couple minutes to go into that. its nothing really major or anything but i've just been doing a lot of thinking while i've been traveling. if this trip has showed me anything about myself its that i am much more a homebody than i thought. i mean, i've always enjoyed an evening in as opposed to going out on the town. but i've been missing my family and friends immensely while i've been gone. and the other night i was sitting on my bunkbed looking thru the photo album that liz made me for this trip and seeing pictures of my neices made me start to really question if living/working overseas is something i really want for my life. i mean, i've never been 100% set on working overseas after spanish school but its been at least an option. but i just really love the relationships i have back at home and i really don't want to be away from everybody... if that makes sense. and i don't know, maybe it is selfish of me to want to be home and an active part of people's lives (instead of being maintaining long distance relationships). i'll have to work through that or something. but as of right now, its just something i'm thinking, so don't hold me to it :) but its weird how things work out b/c i would have never thought that i would want to actually plant myself in st. charles! i mean, what?!?! but i've grown to love it, i love my church, i love my family, etc! so who knows, thats just something i've been thinking about. and i am definitely still planning on going to spanish school, thats for sure! b/c i still totally want to become fluent in spanish. but another thing i've been thinking about since i've been here is the idea of translating. i know that a girl who used to go to church goes around with spanish speaking people to doctors appointments and things like that and she translates for them. that sounds really interesting to me so its something i'd like to at least look into. once again, don't hold me to it at this point - these are just thoughts.... :) so yeah, who knows where life will lead me. things might totally change once i'm down in costa rica, but as for now, i'm excited for the few ideas that have come into my mind thus far...... so now huge life reflections, but life reflections none the least ;)