1. Feeling a little bit up in the air… after approximately 40 hours in Richmond, I took the train up to DC to stay with Dad for the night, then off to Austin!  Let the grad school adventures commence!

    Feeling a little bit up in the air… after approximately 40 hours in Richmond, I took the train up to DC to stay with Dad for the night, then off to Austin!  Let the grad school adventures commence!

  2. Album Art

    sonicjazz:

    'Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home' by Keira Knightley

    (Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home, 2014)

    Both surprised and not surprised.  Every actress can sing, huh?

    Title
    Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home
    Artist
    Keira Knightley
    Album
    Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home
  3. Day 10/10: Back to Amurrrica

    Travel day in summary:

    Wake up early.  Leave Bratislava, head to Vienna airport.

    Look for awesome chocolate pistachio candy bars in Vienna airport.  Fail… they must be a Slovak thing.

    Attempt to stay awake on the flight from Vienna to Washington DC.  Achieve success by watching The Matrix, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and The Avengers back-to-back-to-back.

    Arrive in Washington.  Connect to Richmond.  Go home.  Prepare for two more weeks of travel in 2.5 days.  Party on!

  4. Day 9/10: Castles and Wine Tasting

    Our final day of the tour turned out to be both busy and calm at the same time.  We started the morning at the Cerveny Kamen Castle, located a little ways northwest of Bratislave.  The Castle has essentially turned into a museum, which has been very well preserved and maintained over time.  I managed not to buy anything at the flea market outside the castle gates, which we wandered through as we waited for the castle tour.  We weren’t allowed to take any photos, but the tour guide was very informative and they’d organized the rooms to appear as they would have back in the time its inhabitants lived there. 

    After the tour, we took a quick stop for lunch in Modra before heading to one of my favorite events – wine tasting!  It was super hot out, but we got to see some of the vineyards and learn a little bit about wine production in Slovakia… all while eating wild black raspberries that were growing nearby! 

    Vineyard!

    Wine on the way

    Wild black raspberries… yum!

    We went from the vineyards to the headquarters of this particular winery, where we were served generous tastings of six different types of wine.  I don’t know a whole lot about wine, but I learned a lot and definitely enjoyed the experience!

    Time for some wine tasting

    Yes, thank you, more please!

    Our final stop of the day was the Bratislava Castle, which had been one of the first landmarks pointed out to us on Day 1 of the tour.  We got to eat our farewell dinner in the castle restaurant, then enjoy the perfect evening weather while overlooking the city and preparing to say our goodbyes. 

    Bratislava Castle

    Overlooking Bratislava

    The trip was full of great things, sprinkled with some not-so-great things, but overall, fantastic.  Looking out over Bratislava on Saturday evening definitely filled me with some thoughts and feelings - so happy to have learned more about where half of me comes from, sad to be leaving, uncertain when/if I’ll return, hopeful that one day I’ll hold myself to the desire to learn at least a little bit of Slovak, and apprehensive/excited about all the travel still left ahead of me this summer!

  5. While eating dinner at our hotel in Bratislava...

    • Waiter (to Mom): Are you finished?
    • Mom: Yes, thank you.
    • Me: I'm done as well.
    • Waiter: (looks at my soup) No. Two more bites.
  6. landscapelifescape:

    Tatra Mountains, Poland

    by CitizenFresh

    I saw these!!!

  7. andthenitsperfect:

this is one of the greatest writing prompts i’ve ever found.

I’m planning to daily warm-ups of some kind this year since I’ll have 90 minute classes, and this might be a good one for the 12th graders… closer to the end of the school year though haha.

    andthenitsperfect:

    this is one of the greatest writing prompts i’ve ever found.

    I’m planning to daily warm-ups of some kind this year since I’ll have 90 minute classes, and this might be a good one for the 12th graders… closer to the end of the school year though haha.

  8. What does "pendeja" means?

    lasfloresdemayo:

    loved one

    Too good.

  9. Day 8/10: Driving Across the Country

    Over the course of the trip, we worked our way from west (Bratislava) to east.  In order to get back to our starting point, it took a good chunk of today to drive from the eastern side of the country back to Bratislava.  Although this also means that I spent a good chunk of the day asleep on the bus, we also made some memorable stops to see some things we missed on the way east and to take breaks.

    I can’t find the name of the first place we stopped; it was just a church with a little building off to the side.  The church and building were a bit behind a supermarket, outpost-like store, and some kind of restaurant.  Nothing memorable.  The church was being renovated, so we could walk in but there was not much to see in comparison to some of the other magnificent churches we’ve visited.  The side building, however, held the treasure of the stop: a huge, hand-carved Nativity scene that included moving details from different regions, industries, and traditions of the country.  The Nativity scene was small and central; the rest of the carving represents Slovakia and the customs of its people.  I could’ve stood there and stared for much longer than we had time for; the minute details were incredible.  I think that seeing it at the end of the trip also meant much more to all of us in the group because we’ve been able to get a sense of the spirit of the country over the past eight days.

    Slovak Bethlehem

    The middle part of the Nativity scene… so much detail!

    After another stretch of bus time, we stopped in the town of Ĉiĉmany.  I’m not sure what it was, but this place just blew my mind.  It’s another tiny village with one main thoroughfare and a few smaller streets that branch off for just a block or so.  But the tradition of the village is to paint the brown wooden homes with white symbols, and nearly all the homes were painted as such.  There is so much detail in the symbols, and apparently they have to repaint fairly frequently.  But as I walked around with a dropped jaw, there were residents outside sunbathing or barbecuing, just like any other day.  It was quiet and modest, but so unique.

    Decorated home in Ĉiĉmany

    Decorated home in Ĉiĉmany

    Decorated home in Ĉiĉmany

    Our final stop of the day before arriving in Bratislava was Krakovany, another town where we ate dinner and witnessed more wedding traditions.  This wedding show was more of a skit (freeing us from participation), but also looked tough to do with enthusiasm in the sweltering heat of the evening.  Regardless, it was a well-done performance and many of us ended up dancing for at least a song or two after the ceremonial bit.  Krakovany is a historically better-off region than Spiŝ, where I got “married,” and you could see the difference in the dress and style of the wedding party, all of which was more colorful and elaborate than the other wedding outfits we saw (or wore).

    Wine, coffee, and homemade pastries

    Sunset en route to Bratislava

    We were wiped out when we made it to our hotel in Bratislava.  After a snack and some down time, we were ready to crash and rest up before our final day of the trip.

  10. ultrafacts:

    For more facts, Follow Ultrafacts

    I think that schools should take notes from places like this… creative, innovative, tech-savvy, cutting edge, individualized… I like all those words.

About me

Richmond to Durham to Santo Domingo to who knows where.  Aprovechando todas las oportunidades para vivir full.