Monday, February 14, 2011

Can I get a breather here??

I don't think I've had barely ANY time to myself to just RELAX in the past, well...two months!!! It'll take a bit to catch you all up, so here we go!!

I arrived back in the US December 15th, exactly a year after I arrived in Korea! It was great to see the family, my beautiful baby niece, and old friends after a long time. The holidays were great (and I just weighed myself today and have officially lost the 7 pounds I gained back in the US!!). I got to see many people that I hadn't seen in a very long time, spend some much needed bonding time with lil Sadie poo, and just hang out in the US.

And of course, I picked up some shifts at my favorite place, Parkway! After working there for 5 years through college, I was ready to leave it a few years ago. But when the opportunity presented itself to go back and pick up a few shifts over the holidays, of course I jumped at the chance! It worked out perfectly because in the 6 or so shifts I worked there, I was able to earn about half of the cost of my plane ticket to the Philippines!! (save that for a later post)

So Christmas came and went, (I swear, even as we get older the presents under the tree seem to grow!) and then New Years came and went (I spent it at a local bar with a close friend, pretty chill). And then it was time for our Caribbean cruise!!

My parents had been raving about cruises since they went on their first one in 2007. The timing was perfect, cause I was home and the baby was young enough to be left behind...

So we headed off to Puerto Rico. After checking in, we enjoyed the ship, looked around, and danced quite a bit (well, everyone else did, Elena and I went to bed!) The next several days were filled with off shore excursions to St. Thomas, Dominica, Greneda, Bonaire, and a beach filled day in Aruba.

In St. Thomas we did some kayaking, snorkelying, and a bit of sightseeing. Dominica and Greneda were my favorites, cause we got to see some amazing waterfalls and beaches, and they were both filled with lush jungles!! Just beautiful. Bonaire wasn't too much to see, a lot of history of slaves, and lots of salt pyramids (that they export I believe). It actually looked more like Africa with lots of dry trees and sandy, dusty roads. Aruba was a blast too, and we spent the day just hanging on the beach, had a wonderful lunch on the dock, and then headed back to the ship where we would set sail for the next day and a half at sea. The ship was amazing, and there was always something going on!! Movies, zumba, dancing, eating, drinking...that's where I gained most of my weight back home!! Before ourflight back to Chicago took off from Puerto Rico, we got to see a bit of the Old San Juan, as well as the Bacardi Distillery, which was very cool. And of course we got to sample some of the local rum!! It was such a fun trip with the family...a once in a life time thing!! I know my siblings and I are so grateful to our amazing parents!

So then I had another week in the US, where I met up with 4 very close and old friends. All of us are at such different and fun times in our lives so it was great to catch up. After one more family get together (and lots of Sadie-kissing) I was off to Korea again on Monday January 17th...

All in all, it was a much, much needed "vacation" time that I got to spend at home with great family and friends...

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