Tag Archives: travel

Blogging challenge, day 19

19 Aug

August blogging challenge, day 19: The Bucket List – three things that you are yet to achieve

This is harder than yesterday‘s. Off the top of my head…

1. Travel to Europe. I’ve never been outside the country except for one trip to Mexico for a week. But I want to drink coffee on the Champs-Elysees, I want to wander the Scottish highlands, I want to see the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, I want to pray in St Peter’s Square, I want to see where my Irish ancestors left from…

2. Watch AFI’s 100 Funniest Movies. So many classics, many that I haven’t seen. And I love movies especially old Hollywood. It’d be great to have seen all of these.

3. Go to another ballroom dance competition. The last one (the only one?) was so fantastic but anxiety-provoking too. I want to go to another one to prove to myself that I can go and just enjoy every single second and not let the emotions win.

It’s Dance-O-Rama time

22 Aug

TOMORROW IS THE DAY.

Dance-O-Rama. Begins tomorrow night. I fly out at 10am.

Preliminary heat sheet

I can’t begin describe my emotions. Happiness. Excitement. Joy. Nerves. Disbelief. Gratitude to my teacher for preparing me so well.

This is my dream coming true. This is the number one item on my bucket list being crossed off.

And it’s not about the competition. My goals are: have fun (my teacher makes me put that as the first goal), dance the best I can, give it my all, make myself proud, make my teacher proud, and make my studio proud.

Everything beyond that is gravy.

Girls’ weekend

29 Aug

Number one on my bucket list probably is to go to a Dance-O-Rama competition. This weekend was the Northstar Dance-O-Rama in Chicago. Our studio made a big push earlier to get a bunch of students to go. I couldn’t afford it, but many of my friends went.

I really didn’t want to sit around and pout because I wasn’t in Chicago, so I asked my friends the H’s (who were going) if I could use their condo (which I’ve stayed at before) for the weekend. They said of course, and I asked my friend AM if she wanted to go with me. She’s had a pretty tough run of life the last few weeks (months), so I figured she could use a relatively cheap weekend out of town. I think she was delighted to go, and I was delighted that she wanted to go.

We left Saturday morning after stocking up at the liquor store. One thing about AM: she likes her alcohol, which is one of the reasons we’re such good friends. When we got to Lake City, we stocked up on food at the grocery store. Interesting priorities of how to stock up, no? Take care of liquor first then food. For me, that’s simply because I live in a dry house. So I tend to soak up the opportunity to have alcohol whenever I can.

We had a wonderful weekend. We spent sometime on the rooftop deck on the condo building, enjoying the sun and the views. Lake City, and the condo, is right on Lake Pepin which is a natural lake and the widest part of the Mississippi River. The weather was 80 and sunny, the views were amazing, and it was so relaxing!

We also spent time drinking, eating, watching movies and talking. A LOT of talking. I think we figured out all our problems…well, maybe not. But we did talk about a lot of them! It was so relaxing and wonderful and just what I needed to forget that I wasn’t in Chicago with my friends at Dance-O-Rama.

Here’s a picture of our casualties of the weekend.

Thank God for friends like AM. Friends that you can spend time with, talk to, drink with, and just enjoy being in their presence. I love my friends! And AM, you’re welcome to travel with me anytime – thanks for making it awesome!

“Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world.”

Leaving town is always a good thing

21 Aug

I don’t own a cabin. In Minnesota, everyone either goes to their cabin on the weekends or goes to a friend’s cabin. I don’t own one and neither do my friends. However, friends of mine at the dance studio have a condo in Lake City they use as a weekend getaway. Earlier this summer, they had said I could use the condo some weekends if they weren’t using it. The idea of getting out of town, even only an hour away, was very appealing. But the question would be who would I go with?

This goes back to my comment about not having a core group of girlfriends. So I had to think about what girlfriends would I be comfortable inviting and who would maybe want to go? I decided that I really enjoy spending time with my friends SR and NA, so I asked them. They both said they wanted to go and were looking forward to it. So we found that this weekend was open for all of us, and my friends the H’s weren’t using their condo, so we booked it.

Of course, I was anxious a bit. I haven’t traveled with many people especially recently. What would we do all weekend? Would they be bored? I didn’t want them to regret going. What would we do about food – make it, go out? So many questions. But I decided to just try to go with the flow a bit. We met for coffee on Thursday to finalize times we were leaving and coming back. We talked about food and decided to just make lunch but go out for breakfast and dinner. Friend SH who owns the condo had sent me a list of what restaurants were nearby and which were good. Friend NA has recently moved, so she needed to spend most of Sunday cleaning her old apartment, so we decided to come back after dinner on Saturday.

We left late on Friday night because SR had to work until 9:45. I had Googled directions to get us down to Lake City. I had a dance lesson before I left, which went really well. Some big accomplishments – got through the cha cha open and the swing open multiple times with music. Woo hoo! After my lesson, I went to NA’s apartment and hung out there until it was time to get pick up SR. Then we were off!

The Google directions were a bit odd but they worked. At one point, the directions had us cross into Wisconsin and follow WI35 along the river and then cross back into Minnesota. Weird. And ps – very dark and Children-of-the-Corn-ish and we saw 3 deer. Luckily we never hit one – whew!

We finally got to the condo around 11:30. We had to figure out where to park because I had forgotten to ask SH about that. We finally get inside and were stunned – gorgeous condo! We sat and talked for about half an hour, and then SR and I were both exhausted and went to bed. The condo has two bedrooms each with a queen sized bed. How do we do sleeping arrangements? SR volunteered to take the couch, because apparently she’s a sprawler when she sleeps. NA and I decided that we were fine sharing a bed, so we took the master bedroom and SR took the other bedroom. Ahhh, sleep!

I woke up around 6:30. Stupid body clock that gets me up at that time regardless of when I go to bed. Grrr. I got up around 7:30 and took a shower. After getting ready (including realizing I forgot my saline solution and therefore couldn’t wear my contacts), I went into the living room to read. SR got up shortly after that. We were debating ditching NA for coffee and food (we knew NA wouldn’t get up until at least 9). Then NA woke up, so we went out after that.

We went to a cute little bakery for breakfast. It had great pastries, good coffee, and good pancakes. We sat and ate and talked and drank our coffee for a bit. We also watched this adorable old couple – they must have been in their 80s, but they sat together on the same side of the booth and held hands. When they left, he held the door for her. So cute!

The rest of the day we watched movies, played games, played Wii games, took short naps (well, I did) and laughed. We made hot dogs for lunch which we ate with corn SR’s boyfriend had picked on Thursday. For dinner, we went to the Chinese restaurant in town. We ate it on the rooftop deck. The food was OK, the rooftop deck was awesome.

I was worried all day about making sure the others were having a good time. But I tried not to let that show and I tried not to obsess on it. I just tried to go with the flow and let the others decide what we should do next. Well, let them voice an opinion – they are both not willing to decide things, haha. I also tried to not be overly concerned that the food I was eating, including the snacks, was not what I was used to eating recently. But I figure one day wouldn’t kill me and I could just relax it for a day. So I did. I feel a bit gross today, because I ate a lot of processed food and my body isn’t used to that anymore, but it also felt good to eat a hot dog and potato chips.

I had a great time all weekend. It was fun to just hang out, play games, and talk to them. The day went by slowly which was nice; weekends and vacations usually go so quickly. It was nice to connect with them some more, and I think they had fun too. I worked on just letting things go and not worrying too much. And again I made a small step in my journey to go outside my comfort zone and not let my anxieties win.

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.”

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