Around the World in 180 Days

A journey across the Atlantic and into matrimony

NYC Part 1: Funkytown October 4, 2010

Filed under: travel — rhet @ 9:14 pm

beautiful

To make the most of our trip the the States, we broke it up into 3 parts. First we flew into Philly and spent a couple of days at my parent’s place, getting over jetlag and spending quality time with my immediate family. I was soo glad we did this, it was really helpful to be acclimated to the weather and time change before getting to the city because boy did we keep ourselves busy! Where my family vacations tend to be the ‘lounge by the beach’ types, T’s family goes for the ‘itinerary full to the max’ variety.

the funky entrance

our all yellow bathroom, complete with floor to ceiling glass wall in the shower!

For the first half of the week, we stayed in a really hip, modern hotel in the Lower East Side. Our room was on the 19th floor, right below the penthouse suite and the view was stunning.Also, the bed was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on EVER and it was massive. When T and I went to sleep, we didn’t even touch let alone whack eachother during the night!

the room!

I really liked the neighborhood as well, full of cute little boutiques, bars with great music and it had a great atmosphere.  The first floor of the hotel turned into a hoppin’ night club in the evening and it was really fun to come back in the evening, greeted by extremly friendly bouncers who let us in ahead of all the people waiting to get inside. Definitely makes a person feel VIP!

Another one of my favorite things about the area was Babycakes Bakery. They’re cakes and cookies are so tasty that you’d never know they were vegan! Alright, you might guess that they’re not normal baked goods but they’re still delicious enough for it not to matter which is an impressive feat in my eyes.  I really enjoyed having a drink at Spitzer’s Corner as well, with their giant windows that opened up onto the street which makes for a great people watching spot. There are tons of places that do this in Glasgow as well, but I have to say, a NYC summer makes it even nicer!

they had a huge selection of beer on tap, I had the Speakeasy Prohibition Ale!

We were really lucky to have fabulous weather during the whole week. We definitely took advantage of this and used the Staten Island Ferry as a good (free!) way to see the skyline from a bit of a distance. And who doesn’t love a free boat ride?

Coming soon: NYC part 2: Ritzytown!

i don't really know what that means..

lady liberty!

 

Summer Highlights October 1, 2010

Filed under: daily life,food,travel — rhet @ 2:30 pm

I know it’s been a while folks, I kind of lost my zeal as is wont to happen to us mercurial Geminis, but as my 1 year anniversary of being in the UK approaches, I thought I’d pop back in and update!

I’ve definitely feel like I’m becoming more British over the last few months. I went from really hating Indian food and completely baffled by the Brit’s love affair with it to being able to enjoy a good curry every now and then! I absolutely love a few Hobnobs with a cup of tea on a rainy day, lemon curd on toast and a steamy steak and ale pie.

turquois!

It’s not all about the food though, I’ve also acquired a sexy pair of Hunter wellies since Glasgow’s last winter destroyed a total of 3 pairs of shoes not including all the feet soakings I got. Not this year! As of next week I’ll be working at Greggs and am praying I’ve gotten the accent down and can make change with those funny little coins fast enough!

Despite my best efforts at Britishization and to the disappointment of my friends and family, when I came home to visit over the summer, I had no noticeable accent myself. Ah well, maybe next year!

We had a great time in the States though, getting the most out of the trip by spending the first week of our trip in NYC with the hubby’s family and the last 2 weeks at my parents house in Pennsylvania. It worked out really well because in NYC we were all go go go, visiting as many museums, art galleries, cocktail bars and restaraunts as we physically could and when we got to PA, we got to lounge by the pool, do some reading and just generally visit and hang out! Glorious.

my parents pool, or paradise as I call it

wii bowling outside on the deck!

We also had a wedding reception for all my friends and family who couldn’t make it to our ‘real’ wedding in Glasgow. I wore my dress and all the accoutrements and T dressed up all schnazzy (wearing his full suit would have killed him in the July heat so a nice linen outfit was chosen instead). I knew I too would die if I kept my dress on the whole day so a couple days before the party I suggested that when we’d both had enough of the heat, we’d jump into the pool with our clothes on which would be 1. AWESOME and 2. give us an excuse to go change. T was skeptical of this idea. But when it came time for us to cut the cake during the party,  T bravely smashed a huge slice allllll over my face. And so to get him back I decide we would indeed be jumping into the pool. What a blast that was! I wish we had a picture of us holding hands, jumping in together but it was pretty spontaneous so no one really had their cameras ready in time. I’ll certainly remember that moment forever though!

I’m so glad I got to spend so much time with my family! Spending 3 weeks in the US during the height of summer also made it easier to deal with Glasgow’s almost complete lack of summer. Now it’s starting to get dark early again, but at least I can look back at my sunny pics with my family and look forward to dry feet with my wellies!

 

Pollok Country Park February 9, 2010

Filed under: travel — rhet @ 1:12 pm
Tags:

My maid of honor from the the wedding and childhood best friend (we’ll call her B) stayed a week longer than the rest of my family to see the sights of Glasgow. While I’d done my best to show them all the coolest stuff in the city and the castle of Edinburgh, B had come to Scotland expecting a bit more country, rolling hills, sheep, the lot. So to this end, we set out to Pollok County Park and the Burrel Collection (an art museum) on her last day here.  This is what we saw!

highland cows!

I have a slight obsession with Highland cows and think they are the cutest thing on the planet. I took lots more pictures of these adorable ginger beasts but will move on to more interesting things..

Wildlife Garden

The Wildlife Garden was closed, but I’ll go again over the summer and try again!

Clydesdale Horses

I turned a corner and there were these mammoth horses! They were having their hooves..reshoed? Is that the proper term? Probably not but I’m no horse expert. I stood and watched them for at least 5 minutes, quite taken by their huge, beautiful and muscled bodies.

the stable house front

Let’s pretend there are old fashioned carriages instead of cars there.

a lovely stone bridge

Pollok House

I had no idea this house was even in the park, so when we walked past it, B and I were flabbergasted!

part of the house gardens

This place made me feel like I was in the movies Secret Garden or Black Beauty! The inside of the house is equally extraordinary as its full of the original family’s personal collection of mostly Spanish art. Because of the art, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the inside of the house or the Burrel Collection but highly recommend both!  B and I indulged with a personal guided tour around the Burrel Collection which was absolutely fabulous! I learned so much more about what I was seeing than if we’d just wandered around and read the plaques.

 

Take A Walk on the Wild Side January 19, 2010

Filed under: travel,us — rhet @ 10:39 pm
Tags: , ,

reindeer!

Alright, so Christmas is long gone. But I think having just gotten married (yep, the girl is now the wife) is a good enough excuse for a late post. Here it goes!

As excited as I was to spend Christmas with the hubby for the first time and see the family traditions he had grown up with, I can’t say it was easy to spend the holidays away from my own family.  Especially since it seemed that each approach to the holiday could not be more different.  Where we have 20-30 people over for dinner, theirs is never more than 5. For me it was an eerily quiet and calm day.

One of their most cherished traditions turned out to be the most challenging part of the day for me, however. After the typical wrapping paper shred-fest, the gang gets their winter gear on and heads out on a walk through a reindeer park. Which sounds pretty awesome right? And it would have been if Manchester hadn’t been hammered with snow for the past 2 weeks which left all the pathways solid sheets of ice. That combined with the fact that I was the only one who had absolutely no decent shoes for that kind of weather made the experience dreadfully frustrating. Teeny..tiny..steps..for miles..on Christmas. Eek. Luckily, at the end of that walk was a pub!

After returning to the house, I was glad to have scheduled some Skype time with my fam to get my spirits back up. Hooray for the power of the internet!

My next initiation into British Christmas traditions was the Christmas cracker. Exhibit A:

Apparently what you do is, two people pull opposite ends of the thing and then it splits and makes a loud noise (hence calling it a cracker). Inside, one finds a random cheap toy (i got a miniature tape dispenser), a silly joke and a paper crown. You then wear said crown for the remainder of the day.  It made me feel like Max from Where the Wild Things Are but it was quite funny to see the hubby’s parents in pastel coloured paper crowns!

Both of our family’s follow dinner with a round of games. The only difference is that with the hubby’s family there is a lot more alcohol involved which is a great improvement on the tradition I say (though in recent years, the less conservative of my family members have been easing glasses of wine into the days festivities here and there).

Speaking of alcohol, when I have my own family and the hubby and I start making our own traditions..there will definitely be mulled wine involved! I’d heard of the stuff in the States but I’m typically not fond of red wine so I never tried it. But now after giving it a taste, I’ve decided that mulled wine is liquid Christmas Spirit. I’ve never felt so jolly as when I’ve had a few glasses of mulled wine.

And on that holly, jolly note, I hope you all enjoyed your (long gone) holidays as much as I did!

 

Next Stop..London December 24, 2009

Filed under: travel — rhet @ 2:22 pm

A display that the Natural History Museum whose relevance to history I don't really understand but find humorous

Backstory:

Huge cities intimidate me. New York, Paris, London, LA, etc. I love visiting them but their chaotic and bustling nature can really fluster and overwhelm my inner country girl at times. Places like Seattle and Glasgow feel perfect to me. Big enough to have lots of culture and interesting things going on, but not so big as to feel impersonal.  The boy’s best opportunity for a job (after he graduates in 2011) will certainly be in London  however, and he is quite keen on relocating. An idea I certainly wasn’t sold on.

Real story:

Our weekend in “The Big Smoke” began with one  flustered and anxious girl and one (thankfully) travel-savvy boy hopping around on the underground at rush hour with a bunch of bags. Buckets of fun.

Then, upon meeting our hosts (the boy’s best man and his girlfriend, from now on referred to as L and J) I discovered that no one but me was at all interested in hitting the major tourist spots which made me feel a bit like the stupid American girl who’d never been anywhere.

It all turned out fabulously though because L&J took us through some amazing back street markets and areas that I’d definitely would have never found on my own (and was too busy enjoying myself to take pictures of!). Then the next day when L&J had to work, the boy and I set off on our own tourist-hot-spot-inspired traipse around London.  Best of both worlds.

And now I have to say I’ve become quite enamoured with the place and am actually quite looking forward to making it my home in a few years time! Enough talk, now pictures!

like the occassionally picture happy tourist I am, I took a ton of pics of Tower Bridge but I'll show you just my favorite from a nice sunny day

The Globe Theater

a cute little alley on the way to the Design Museum

How cool are these coffee machines from the Dieter Rams exhibition at the Design Museum

another one from the Design Museum, 70's hairdryers

The Gherkin!

The squirrels in Hyde Park are not shy!

Buckingham Palace, I have better pictures but they have me in them..

Big Ben

I couldn't get far enough away to do this building justice but you get the idea. MASSIVE and wonderfully ornate

Escalator in the the center of the Earth!

I’ve got way more pictures but I think that will conclude our visual tour through my recent memories of London.

 

Please, do keep it dignified December 12, 2009

Filed under: travel,wholy matrimony — rhet @ 10:41 am

We’re on the train down to London! My first time at the nations capital and also my first time meeting the boys best man! just in time too, seeing as the wedding is just round the corner..

We’ve been so busy wrapping up loose ends, that this is the first chunk of time I’ve had in a while with no tasks to be accomplished!

The biggest concern of late has been writing the ceremony, so reading this comic the other day was perfect timing:

The boy and I aren’t huge gamers but we are hoping to have similarly funny yet still cute vows.

I came across the Dr. Seuss vows ages ago and have been trying to talk him into using those, though without much success. They’re definitlt worth a read if you havent come across them yet:


Pastor: Will you answer me right now
These questions, as your wedding vow?

Groom: Yes, I will answer right now
Your questions as my wedding vow.

Pastor: Will you take her as your wife?
Will you love her all your life?

Groom: Yes, I take her as my wife,
Yes, I’ll love her all my life.

Pastor: Will you have, and also hold
Just as you have at this time told?

Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold,
Just as I have at this time told,
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife.

Pastor: Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you’re happy or sad?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love through good and bad,
Whether we’re happy or sad,
Yes, I will have and I will hold
Just as I have already told,
Yes, I will love her all my life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love her if you’re rich?
Or if you’re poor, and in a ditch?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her if we’re rich,
And I will love her in a ditch,
I’ll love her through good times and bad,
Whether we are happy or sad,
Yes, I will have, and I will hold
(I could have sworn this has been told!)
I promise to love all my life
This woman, as my lawful wife!

Pastor: Will you love her when you’re fit,
And also when you’re feeling sick?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her when we’re fit,
And when we’re hurt, and when we’re sick,
And I will love her when we’re rich
And I will love her in a ditch
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold
Ten years from now a thousandfold,
Yes, I will love for my whole life
This lovely woman as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death you part?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we’re rich,
And when we’re broke and in a ditch,
And when we’re fit, and when we’re sick,
(Oh, CAN’T we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I’ll love her my entire life,
Yes, I WILL take her as my wife!

Pastor: Then if you’ll take her as your wife,
And if you’ll love her all your life,
And if you’ll have, and if you’ll hold,
From now until the stars grow cold,
And if you’ll love through good and bad,
And whether you’re happy or sad,
And love in sickness, and in health,
And when you’re poor, and when in wealth,
And if you’ll love with all your heart,
From now until death do you part,
Yes, if you’ll love her through and through,
Please answer with these words:

Pastor and Groom: I DO!

Pastor: You’re married now! So kiss the bride,
But please, do keep it dignified.

I’ll admit they’re a bit long and overly repetitive, but I think it would be really fun to use if it were trimmed down a bit.

Though if all the wedding planning were up to just me the whole day would be a silly, lighthearted affair!

 

I’m leaving on a jet plane.. October 6, 2009

Filed under: the process,travel,us — rhet @ 5:35 am

Just a little update to say I GOT MY VISA! the wait is over my friends.

I’m hoppin on the next plane outta here and startin phase 2: life in Glasgow. Stay tuned!