Monday, February 25, 2008

Two continents in two weeks!

I am probably a little overzealous in my excitement for my trip in less than two weeks. The more I research, the more I want to drop everything and leave today! I've always wanted to travel to Asia, but I thought it would be Japan or China...not the UAE. But I'm excited to spend time with my sister and her husband and my two nephews. For six months now, I've been a ticketed passenger on a flight from New York to Abu Dhabi, so there's been a lot of time for me to not only become anxious and excited and a little nervous, but to read history and find some pretty great things to see while I'm there. Add a trip to Cairo in the mix there to boot, and this is shaping up to be a pretty spectacular vacation. Here are some cool things I look forward to while I'm away:

  • Amazing shopping in Dubai. Now, usually I'm not a huge shopper...I don't handle crowds well, and I usually end up frustrated and cranky. But this place? This place is MADE for women with money to spend. I found out there's an H&M there, so I plan on spending the better part of a day finding the deals there and replenishing my wardrobe.
  • Spending time at the beach. As much as I LOVE the 30 degree temps around Utah, I think a little change could be just what I need. And by a little, I mean, highs of 70-80 and lows in the fifties. Sun and sand and water...just what the doctor ordered for a case of the wintertime blues. I pray that Utah will be well on its way to Spring by the time I return.
  • Great restaurants. My sister says there's some pretty great eating there. I didn't used to be the adventurous type when it came to food (stick with what you know you like, right?), but in the past few years, I've ventured outside of my comfort zone and tried some pretty awesome stuff...can't wait to do it there!
  • These awesome islands (see the picture). Who knew they could actually create islands in intricate patterns like this? Pretty freakin' awesome! Not to mention all the other amazing architectural wonders they have there. I didn't realize until my sister's family was transferred there that the UAE was such a hub of commerce and business. Plus, Dubai now boasts the world's tallest building, which I plan to visit (or at least see) for sure.
  • Checking out Middle Eastern life. I've been fascinated when it comes to other cultures and the differences between the ways of living in the US and elsewhere. I guess in the UAE they have small heritage villages where "the old ways" are how they live...well, live is a strong's how they work, showing the traditional middle eastern culture. Kinda touristy, sure, but really intriguing! Having never lived abroad, I've only caught small glimpses of the way of life in other cultures. Yeah, I lived in Texas the first nine years of my small life, but that's hardly a different culture. This is one culture shock I'm kind of looking forward to! And the fact that my sister will be there to help me digest it is probably for the best.
  • Being with the Whittons. Laura's family has usually lived pretty far away, but they always come back to visit every once in awhile. But the little boys grow up so fast that we miss most of it. I'm excited to see them and to see Laura (visibly) pregnant--no one in our immediate family has seen this the last two times she had kids. Laura says she knows some cool things to do like dune bashing (google it) and other events that only happen there.

Cairo, Egypt

  • The pyramids. Come on, when you think Egypt, what do you think? Pyramids. I guess my nephew has been a little bit weary about them since his mom has been telling him that we're going to visit. She told me that he used to call them "kyramids" but can now correctly pronounce the word.
  • Museums. I went to an exhibit at the museum at BYU a couple years ago with a bunch of ancient Egyptian artifacts. I didn't have long to spend looking at them, but I was so interested in them! I don't know what the draw is to all this old stuff...I think just a sense of history and humanity and everything. I wonder what they'd put in museums to show the ways we lived. Probably some sort of iPod they dig up or something.
  • The Nile. No, I won't be actually swimming in it or anything (yeah, diseases galore, people!), but you read about these things and see never think you'll actually get to see them in person. It's kind of surreal...the reality of it hits me every once in awhile. Makes those hepatitis shots totally worth the hassle.
  • Everything I learned about in the sixth grade. When I was eleven, I had to make this tunnel book about Egypt. It was a laborious project, and because of my tendencies towards being a perfectionist, took FOREVER. There were little canopic jars and treasures and mummies. Every stereotypical thing about was in there. And now, my tunnel book can come to life. Well, sort of...

New York

I have a half day layover in New York. I've already been there before, so I'm not completely bummed that I can't get out there and see everything, but I have enough time to take in a couple things.

  • Central Park. I was about a block away from it last time I was there...but never got to see it. Which I was ok with, really, considering it was about 10 degrees with the wind tunnels that occur on those streets, and I was walking about 30 blocks to help Laura find a gift. So much fun, though.
  • Gray's Papaya. Awesome hot dogs. Or so I hear. So I'm going to eat lunch there if I am lucky enough to find the location. That's what the Internet is for, right? I found one right next to Central Park, so it's ideal, really. And cheap. We love cheap.
  • Riding the Metro. Coming from Utah, I don't often get the opportunity to ride public transportation...and as filthy as it seems, I kind of enjoy people watching and experiencing some "big city" things that us country folk miss out on with our cars.
  • Being back in the U.S. where I can turn on my cell phone. I will have gone 12 days without my phone. And if you know me at all, you know I don't handle that very well. It's my vacation, so I need some time away from it, but I'll be happy to have it back!
Well, I'll try to post pictures on here as I'm there, just so I can stay up-to-date with life... Did I say before that I'm so excited? Let me check...yep, I still am. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Earthquake! Sort of...

Northern Utah experienced the leftovers of an earthquake that occurred in Eastern Nevada yesterday morning. Coulda fooled me! The extent of my experience of it was this: I was walking down the hall at work to go use the restroom. I guess one of my co-workers saw me walk past as his chair sort of began to shake and the computer monitor was wobbling. He told me later that he was thinking, "Annie walking past couldn't have caused that much disruption!" (Thanks!) I didn't feel a thing. Does walking make me oblivious to such quaking? Apparently. Because I didn't find out about it until fifteen minutes later, back at my computer as the headline scrolled across my Google sidebar. And this was my thought...."Whaaaaa? Earthquake? Couldn't have been in Provo at all..." Yep.

Funnily enough, I recently had a conversation with a friend about earthquakes--just on Sunday. He had been to an emergency preparedness meeting and was a little freaked out by the possibility of something disastrous happening and how we are now expected to be adults, should such situations arise, and can't just rely anymore on getting taken care of by our parents. We agreed that Utah's biggest threat for a natural disaster was probably earthquakes, but that even so, we usually don't experience those. Looks like the joke's on us! Ha!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Milestone (literally!)

Today, my little Honda hit 111,111 miles. I took a picture. I'm kind of a freak like that. :)

I remember when I used to drive a Mercury Sable my first couple years in college, and it hit 166,666.6 miles. I had taken a camera along to document the auspicious occasion. Strangely enough, when it hit that 1/10th of a mile, I was driving past the cemetery in my hometown. If I were to take that to mean anything (and I'm not a superstitious person..."I'm only a little stitious."), it would mean something ominous. The circumstances for my car's 111,111th mile were a little more ideal. Yeah, it's just a Tuesday afternoon, I was just on my way home from work, but I was listening to John Mayer and cruising along (at a speed of 30 MPH, as you can tell by the picture), mostly just loving life.

Now I wonder if she'll make it to 222,222...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day...

I should be complaining. I should be depressed and want to sit around in my pajamas and stuff my face full of something chocolate. I should be crying into my pillow and wondering when my knight in shining armor will show up with arms full of roses and red Valentine's Day cheer. And yet...I'm not. Is that weird? Usually I do feel these things as this time of year rolls around. Yeah, sure, what woman doesn't want someone to love them and treat them like a queen? This year is mine, though. Seriously! I'm doing things for myself and loving it. I'm truly happy for everyone who does have someone to love. And I know that maybe someday I'll be the one with schmoopy eyes and little birds twittering around me. Until then, I won't be bitter. I won't hold a man-hating seance. I won't glare down those loving couples I see. Know what I will do? I'll love me. Because let's face it, I'm amazing. :)

Oh, and here's a picture that made my friend's mom works at this junior high. My friend posted this picture on Facebook with the caption: "Yeah, that's one event I will NOT be attending..." Classic!