Monday, April 30, 2012

belgian internet: a haiku.

belgian internet.
thirty minutes to upload
a single photo. 

(said single photo). happy in bruges - we enjoyed lovely weather today!

I intended to share several photos from London, Ghent, and Bruges tonight. To 
my dismay, the wi-fi isn't functioning all that well. Looks as though I'll have 
to wait until our internet situation improves to share more. Tomorrow 
we head to Hasselt - may the internet connectivity be in our favor!

Friday, April 27, 2012

ghent with my gent.

We are in Ghent, Belgium for the weekend & I wanted to share our lovely view from tonight's dinner. 

a little table by the water & a proper belgian beer...and as someone who doesn't really
even like beer, i have to say it's actually quite delicious. go belgium!

just beautiful.
. . . 


1) we checked out of our London digs bleary-eyed around 5:45 this morning (ps we went to bed at 3) and saw a fox about 30 feet from our hotel stoop. shocked, i loudly blurted out "A FOX!!" and he stopped mid-trot to look at us, then continued on into the alley way. It was a surreal & thrilling beginning to the day. 

2) Ghent was the largest city in Europe, next to Paris until the 1300s! Atta boy Ghent. We're looking forward to exploring its old streets over the next few days.

happy friday to all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

a birthday away.

It's my birthday!

Today we:

1)  Explored the British Museum
The long list of wondrous items we saw includes: drawings from the hand of Michelangelo, a brick from King Nebuchadnezzer's Babylonian empire, an elegant marble Venus from 180 AD, giant statues from Easter Island, THE Rosetta Stone, and some of the earliest clocks ever made. 

2) Sighted a Double Rainbow
We couldn't believe it!

3) Ate Wagamama
Wagamama is an insanely delicious/incredibly affordable Japanese restaurant. It's not located near our homes in NC or CA so we're taking advantage of its eleven London locations. We actually ate there last night too (yeh we reeeallly like it). Following dinner & after some strolling around, we popped into a little French-esque restaurant for some dessert and celebratory champagne to top off the evening. Cheers to a London birthday!

the museum building alone is incredible!

what a treat!

this is actually from last night's dinner. tonight we scarfed down
our meals too fast for documentation.

Before we moved to San Francisco, my sister made a beautiful (and equally scrumptious) strawberry birthday cake so we could blow out candles and enjoy cake as a family. I really loved that cake (and the evening as a whole) so I wanted to share that too. It was a part of my birthday celebration after all.

I've had a terrific birthday and was happy to spend it with that fun & thoughtful & charming husband of mine. I am deeply grateful for all the gifts I've been given, seen and unseen, earthly and heavenly.  I've a happy life and so very much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

fun across the pond.

All's well in London! It's dreary, pleasantly chilly, not-too crowded, and full of tulips and lush green grass from all the April showers. I haven't run into the Spice Girls yet but there are still 3.5 days left so my fingers are crossed...

apparently our plane flew backwards. fancy pilot.

After a non-stop flight from San Francisco to Heathrow, we arrived Sunday morning at 7:30 am UK time, with little sleep under our belts. Aiming to adjust to the 8-hour time difference as soon as possible for the sake of Finn's work schedule, we bravely stayed awake all day. 

First order of business: visit the Sherlock Holmes museum of course!
Located at real-life 221b Baker Street, the residence is decorated true to Victorian style and is full of Sherlock-esque relics. We were like kids wandering around, pointing out details that were references and winks to Sir ACD's stories. Neither of us would agree to put on the bowler and be Watson, so here are two Sherlocks: 

We visited Kensington Gardens as well, which was storybook picturesque. We stopped by the famous Peter Pan statue, admired the tulips, and laughed at the fattest pigeons ever to be seen. The day was fun despite our zombie-like state (I slept a full TWELVE hours that night). After some good rest we woke up refreshed and our time here has been great so far. I still can't believe we're here!

The London Zoo is only about 25 minutes from where we're staying, so yesterday I layered up, strolled on over, and ended up staying for about 5 hours. It was an absolute top-notch experience & is the best designed zoo I've visited. I really loved my time there & could write for 30 minutes about the brilliant layout & all the creatures I saw but I'll spare you the narrative. Just know it was really really awesome.

Hopefully I'll get to visit the Tate Modern and British Museum in the next few days. Finn's 
back from the conference so we're off for an afternoon adventure.

have a great day!

. . . 

Friday, April 20, 2012

london calling.

I was excited to get caught up on posts & finally start writing about our San Francisco world.

Looks like that's not gonna happen quite yet...

Tomorrow, Finn and I are flying into London (!!!) where we'll stay for one week and then head to Brussels, Belgium. I'll be back stateside May 5th & he'll return a few days after me. 

This has all come about extremely quickly (like in the last 24 hours quickly) and is for Finn's awesome job. It seems that being a co-founder of a new start-up is going to mean more crazy in our life (which we like!). I feel immensely thankful I'm getting to go along. London together! Won't that be nice? British accents make me feel fancy even if I'm not the one with a British accent (illogical).

Not sure what to expect internet wise, but I'll aim to give at least a few updates while I'm away.


Funny sidenote: I was on the phone just yesterday with my mom who asked what we'd do for my birthday (which is this coming Wednesday). I think I responded with something like "oh nothing, we'll probably just go to dinner". Life is funny. I love surprises.

the voyage west: 4/4

Part 4: Las Vegas, NV --> Santa Cruz, CA --> San Francisco, CA
the last leg, yipeee!

From Las Vegas, we drove 10 hours to Santa Cruz, a beautiful beach town in central CA. Finn’s aunt Sharon lives there & we had the good fortune of spending Easter with her, her kind husband, and their fun kids, who are all our age. We’re thankful to have some kin nearby and Sharon & her husband made us feel right at home. We slept in, did laundry, ate extremely well, and had gifts and candy on the table Easter morning! Sharon even lent us her car for a few days when we drove into SF to find an apartment. Without them, our move into 
the city would have been about 3x more complicated.

Not too many photos to share here. Your eyes can have a rest!

this hasn't been edited. this is real life california. the cows really are happy.

santa cruz beach.

such a good moment. the last box out of big-daddy-penske!

The drives to Santa Cruz and from Santa Cruz to SF were both beautiful – giant trees, lots of green, and the Pacific ocean. The moment of crossing over the state line and the early drive into SF caused some stomach tingling on my part. We were finally in California, so close to where our new chapter awaited us, its details totally unknown. We still had the nervousness related to needing an apartment quickly & didn’t know what to expect about moving into a city. Of course, it all turned out just fine.  

. . . 

the voyage west: 3/4

Part 3: Grand Canyon, AZ --> Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas was a decided road-trip destination for us the moment we knew we’d be driving cross-country. Finn’s brother Michael has lived there for over 2 years and we looked forward to spending some time in his world. Michael is a legendary host & we had a perfect (I mean it) Vegas experience packed into 2.5 days. He took us to the aquarium and famed Bellagio fountains, led us around the extravagant hotels & casinos, escorted us to a bangin’ sushi dinner AND using his Vegas connections, treated us to a night in the Venetian ALONG WITH tickets to the blue man group. The boys knew about this and kept it a surprise from me – I was thrilled to put it lightly. 

happy in the tunnel at the aquarium. also if it looks like we've been in the
steam room, it's because the aquarium was unusually hot and we are in fact very sweaty.
Jean-Philippe's delicacies at the Bellagio and the wowzas-view from our room at the Venetian. 

me hugging the world's biggest krispy kreme, obviously.
 inside the Venetian. exactly like Venice, but cleaner & it smells good!

you know a hotel room is fancy when it has two levels.
the boys with ceremonial cigars while watching the Bellagio fountains. it was a must.

I didn’t expect to like Vegas as much as I did & I believe my level of enjoyment can be totally attributed to Michael’s incredible hosting.  He made it easy for us – we skipped all the lame parts and soaked up the best. I mean, we even had a few hours poolside at the Venetian and got some desert sunburns – it was picture perfect.  Michael, thank you 1000 times for spoiling us the way you did – your attention to detail is remarkable and I’ll remember our time in Vegas always. You’re really great.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

the voyage west: 2/4

Part 2: Greenwood, MS --> Amarillo, TX --> Grand Canyon, AZ
please look at how much land was traversed in 2 days. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were undoubtedly the roughest days of our journey. A double header of over 14 hours and 800 miles completed Tuesday followed directly by another 12 hours & 700 miles Wednesday. this is a lot of time in a Penske people. I would also like to mention that northern TX, New Mexico, and much of Arizona is not the most ideal landscape to stare at for 12-14 hours. These days, we took advantage of my aunt Nancy's road bingo, standup CDs, and even some excellent podcasts about mercenaries & bizarre Russian government experiments. A struggle it was, but we kept our eye on the prize: making it to the Grand Canyon Wednesday evening in time to see the sun go down.

a little on-road entertainment, compliments
of the ipad. thank you apple.

"gallup, new mexico. you aren't missing much".

after hours of driving, this gigantic antenna was much
funnier than it should have been.

I am happy to say that we reached our goal & rolled into the Grand Canyon national park early Wednesday evening in time to unload, bundle up, & head to the south rim to watch the sun's descent. 


. . .

We stayed inside the park, which was great because we could walk to the rim in less than 5 minutes. There were also mule deer everywhere (which for me was the real selling point). We decided we ought to to see the sunrise as well, so Thursday morning around 5 am we set out in the dark, sleepy eyed & shivering, to greet the sun. I'm very glad we did...

Laying eyes on the Grand Canyon was a highlight of our trip. It's as magnificent as everyone says & was a great reward to our laborious 2-day stretch. Seeing such immense natural beauty brings up a spirit of worship in me & I wonder if it does for everyone, even if they know it by a different name. It's astonishing that such places exist on our earth. I like to imagine the first humans who happened upon its edge and the varied expressions of shock that must have immediately spread over their faces...laughter in disbelief, gasps, tears, maybe curse words? Were they moved inside too? Did they see a mule deer and want to pet his head? : )

mule deer!