Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back to normal

Well, things are back to normal for me. I have nothing more planned for the summer, which is wrapping up very quickly. I am still waiting on my acceptance letter for my study abroad program, so things are pretty much at a standstill until it is confirmed that I will actually be going overseas.

Things are dry here in Michigan. Probably too dry, as we haven't had rain in a long time, and don't have any in the forecast. I haven't cut the grass in over a month...not that I'm complaining.

Last night I went over to the Philip's for my first game of croquet. I have a lot of practicing to do, because I didn't do all that well. I have discovered this summer that lawn games are a ton of fun. My friends and I frequent boccie ball, so maybe croquet will be my next task to master.

Well everyone, have a great week! :0)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monday: San Francisco

WOW...what a day. 19 miles of walking can really make you feel every joint in your body screaming at you to just die already. (I'm just a little sore...)

I took the CalTrain downtown this morning, and spent the day doing a whirlwind tour of the sites of San Francisco. I was on my own, but because I don't really like doing touristy things, it worked out fine for me. I started walking down Market Street (the main shopping area) and headed up to Alamo Square. I had to climb up some pretty steep hills, but the view of the city was totally worth it. It was nice to take a break and catch my breath.

My next trek was somewhat more difficult...The Golden Gate Bridge. This thing, as huge as it is, is not that easy to find. I got lost on my way into The Presidio, and wandered around the park for a while until I caught a glimpse of the bridge...actually getting to it, well, I still haven't figured it out. I know it's possible, but I didn't make it. There were some nice nature trails and such, and a great view of the Pacific Ocean. It was cool because I could also see Alcatraz, which I would like to visit someday if I ever come back.

The next part of my adventure took me a LONG way away from where I was. Lombard Street is pretty much the steepest road in America (I think), and it is ridiculously silly. Why in the world they built it that way, I have no idea. San Francisco should fire that city planner, because they did an awful job. It looks nice, it's just so impractical. I didn't spend too much time here, as the area was completely saturated with tourists with cameras. The picture on the right shows the curvy portion of the road, but the rest of the street goes straight down the hill. I was surprised these cars didn't just roll over on top of one another.


I made my way down to Pier 39 and the Fisherman's Wharf, which was altogether too flashy for me.
BUT, the view of the bay definitely made up for the abundance of people. I remembered to eat lunch at a restaurant here...at 4:30.

Then I ran over to Chinatown...pretty much just so I could go back to work and say I went. It was cool, but I was tired so I passed through quickly. My last stop was the Financial District, and all I did was grab a smoothy from Jamba Juice. Then it was a hike back to the train station, and the ride back to Steve's apartment.

Altogether, I mapped out that I walked between 19 and 20 miles...and never took a bus once. I spent about 8 hours in the city, and now if I ever came back, I feel like I know my way around. I figured out most of the layout, and where all of the stuff is...all except for my little slip into the ghetto, which I got out of very quickly.

Sadly, this is my last night here in California. I'll be in Nevada and Chicago tomorrow on a plane, and then flying back into Grand Rapids Wednesday morning. We'll see how that goes...I'm still hoping for a voucher! I may write more tomorrow before I leave, so check back!

And check out the pictures! :o)

San Francisco


Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday: Santa Cruz

Around noon, Stephen and I met up with his friend Kevin and left for Santa Cruz, CA. Kevin graduated from U of M last year with a degree in Graphic Design, and is living near Steve in Sunnyvale. He goes to church in Santa Cruz, so it worked out for him to drive us.

It was about an hour drive...not bad. The traffic was terrible, but the highway was cool. It was a very curvy road that went through the mountains. We spent the day at the beach body surfing, playing frisbee, and reading. The beach was actually pretty nice, and the weather was perfect! The water was a nice temperature, and the waves were just big enough to be fun. No shark or stingray sitings, but trips to the beach are usually better without those. :o)


After the beach, we went to church with Kevin. (http://www.vintagechurch.org) His church was very Soteria-esque in it's style...it must be a West Coast thing (For clarification, I don't consider this bad, just different). It's just a totally different culture out here, especially when it comes to spirituality. The service was actually really great, it was just a little strange in a few places. The whole thing was pretty much conducted by women, accept for the music. Steve said that it isn't always like that; it's more like it's different people teaching / giving announcements every week.

Santa Cruz


Tomorrow it's off to exploring San Francisco...by myself. I'm really hoping I don't get lost, because it's not like I have a phone and can call Steve for help. I think it should be okay, though. I have a map, and a good idea of what I want to see, and where that all is. I have an hour train ride into the city to figure it all out.

This trip is going by SO fast! Be sure to check back!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Saturday: Yosemite

I got into San Francisco a little late, so we slept in on Friday. Steve and I went over to In 'n Out to eat lunch. It's a fast-food chain that is only in California that is way better than McDonald's or Wendy's. Then we pretty much just hung around at the pool and in his apartment. The weather is great: about 75F and sunny all the time.

We left around 6 to go to our hotel near Yosemite. What an adventure...driving through mountains in the dark, with lots of twists and turns and obscure highways, proved challenging. But everyone got along at it worked out really well.

We didn't do very much hiking in the park. Yosemite is HUGE! There is so much to see, and we only covered a small portion of it. We started on a trail that went around some huge redwoods.
They were similar in size to what I saw in Washington with Aryn and Tim. There was even a tree that we could walk through!





Next we drove out to Glacier Point, which was 35 miles from the sequoias. The view was absolutely amazing! There was a clear view of the Half-Dome, and also of the Yosemite Valley. The park was crawling with people, being a Saturday, but we didn't see anyone hiking out there. The park is so big you'd definitely need to spend a few days to see everything.

Our last stop was Bridalveil Falls, where we did get to do some "rock-climbing" and swimming. There are more pictures in the album I'll post a link to.








Tomorrow Steve and I are going to Santa Cruz. It's a beach town where we can swim in the Pacific, and I guess it's a good surfing hot-spot. He says the water is too cold for swimming, but not much can be colder than the waterfall water. Here's the album for Yosemite, be sure to check back for more updates!

Yosemite


Have a great Sunday! I'll be home early morning on the 25th.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Busy...

Today has been moving almost non-stop! I've done a lot around the office. It's nice to feel productive every once in a while. One guy keeps giving me these outrageous jobs to do, like making 12 color copies of 24 different files...at 4:30. I have come to expect it from him, because it happens almost every day.

I'll be packing up for California tonight. I leave tomorrow at 8:15 from Grand Rapids, and I'll be spending a week with my friend Steve in Sunnyvale near San Francisco. We're supposed to go to Yosemite this weekend, which will be great! I'm going to have to go out and do a little shopping before I leave though, just to make sure that I am prepared for another marathon travel experience. I never seem to keep my travel simple...

My trip to the Philippines is starting to take shape. I've turned in my program and scholarship applications, and I'm just waiting for the official letter of acceptance. After that I will have to apply to the University of the Philippines, and start working out flight and living arrangements. It's crazy that I could be in Southeast Asia in 3 months! I have a lot to do before then, and this summer is flying by!

I'm bringing my laptop this weekend, so I may get to put up some pictures over the weekend. Make sure to check back!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

74F and Sunny

It's a BEAUTIFUL day here in Michigan. Nice and breezy, a good break from the heat wave we've had for the last couple of weeks. For once I won't have to be concerned about my car melting while I'm at work.

I leave for California a week from tomorrow! Steve and I plan on visiting Yosemite, which is exciting, and just spending some time in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. I'm also heading up to the UP this weekend, to Drummond Island. Bob and Linda Kingsly from church are building a log cabin up there, so we're renting a speedboat and staying up there with them. It should be a good time.

That's all I have to report for now! Have a great week.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

College trips, Immersion camps, and Baseball games...

I finally got a new laptop, so my mouse doesn't go all bezerk on me anymore! This is a very good day. But because of the new laptop, I'll have to upload my pictures from the weekend at the cottage tomorrow sometime. We had a good time, and although there was about 22 of us, the group didn't feel that big. I admit to getting a little emotionally exhausted trying to play host for 3 days, but it all worked out fine.

Work is extremely busy. It's a little strange coming in on a Thursday to a ton of things to do, but hey, it has to be done. Our summer camps (the Confucius Institute Immersion Program) begin next week, and there is still so much to be done. Lucky for me, my boss knows I'm not good with children, so I won't actually have to GO to the camps. I can laugh at my co-workers from inside the office. But in the mean time, we have registration and medical forms to sift through, backpacks and nametags to put together, and supplies to compile for the teachers. Should be interesting, as this is the first year for the program.

The fourth was fun...I went to a Lugnut's game downtown, and saw the fireworks. I thought it was a little odd, they started the downtown fireworks during the game, and then the Lugnut's fireworks started in the middle of the downtown display. There were crashes and bangs all over the place! The people behind us were joking about how they were going to explode from too much to look at.

Well, that's about it for now. Hopefully everything goes well with the wedding in Milwaukee, Mom and Dad will be home Saturday evening sometime.