Time for an Adventure!

One of the loveliest sunsets of vacation

One of the loveliest sunsets of vacation

My vacation has finally ended.  The past 3 months have been a bit of a blur!  I traveled a lot, and was blessed to be able to spend time with friends and family.  Here are some of the highlights.

Snow! Didn't see that in Australia!

Snow! Didn’t see that in Australia!

After about a week back “home” in San Francisco, I went to visit a very close friend in Portland.  We were mainly focused on catching up, but also managed to do some tourist activities.  She took me downtown a few times and convinced me, quite easily, that I should move to the Pearl District when I’m done with ships.  We also drove out to Multnomah Falls.  Due to heavy snow, we weren’t able to climb up the bridge, but the view was amazing!

Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville, VA

I went back to SF for a training course, and then packed up my winter gear and went to visit family in Charlottesville, VA.  I enjoyed some much needed time with my sisters, took a few yoga classes, and played in the snow!  Unfortunately, I don’t know how to drive in snow, so I was housebound for most of my visit.  I’m now an expert at snow angels, however!

Snow Angel Pro

Snow Angel Pro

My next stop was Romania.  I went to visit a gentleman from the ship that lives outside of Bucharest.  Early in the trip, we went to Peles, a beautiful castle built in the German Renaissance style.

Peles

Peles

We also went on a tour in Bucharest.  Our first stop was the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, where we were able to walk around a village of sorts featuring houses, mills, and chapels in traditional styles from across the country.

Museum of the Village

Museum of the Village

After lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, we went to the House of Parliament.  It is the second largest government building, after the Pentagon.  We took a tour inside, during which I learned a lot about the country.  The decor is beautiful, and I was fascinated to learn that all of the materials used to build and decorate the building, except for one set of doors, are from Romania.

Parliament

Parliament

Towards the end of my trip, we went to Brasov.  We went up to a ski slope to meet some friends, wandered in the city, and took advantage of the nightlife.  It was a great week.  I was able to explore a new country, learn more about a special friend, and meet some wonderful people.

See ya, Romania

See ya, Romania

Upon returning to the States, I spent some time with one of my sisters in Northern Virginia.  From there, a friend from the ship picked me up to drive to New York.  There, I saw a few ship folks, including my roomie, and some recently relocated friends from SF.  I did a few touristy activities, like going to the MoMA and walking through Central Park, but mostly made the rounds to see my people.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

My next stop was Texas.  I was able to spend a good few weeks with my parents, see my old friends perform with the ballet, throw my best friend a bridal shower, and do a photoshoot with an old dance buddy.  It was nice to be home, but I was anxious to get moving again.  I needed to feel like I had a purpose once more.

Bridal shower

Bridal shower

For the past few days, I’ve been back in Florida.  I just started rehearsals for my next ship, the Adventure.  In the past 3 days, we’ve learned a hip hop routine, a lindy, cha cha cha, foxtrot, and quickstep.  Only one of the dancers from my last cast is with me this time, so I’ve also been busy getting to know my new group.  So far, things are going well!  Check back next week for more updates from rehearsals!

A Little Help From My Friends

Although I’m thrilled with my cast and am enjoying getting to know them, I’ve started feeling a little homesick.  I miss my friends and my “normal” life.  Don’t get too concerned, I think exhaustion has just made me emotional.  Luckily, my friends in SF loaded me up with lots of little goodies that make me smile when I’m feeling blue.

Emergency kit and sunscreen

Emergency kit and sunscreen

At my going away party, I was given a few items that I would not have thought to buy myself, but that I really appreciate having.  The masterminds behind the party gave me a big bottle of sunscreen, to protect my oh-so delicate skin.  I’ve been applying some everyday before walking to the studio, and while I’ve still gotten a bit of color, this lovely banana scented bottle is the thing saving me from becoming a lobster.  Best of all, it makes me think of the awesome girls that gave it to me.

One of my other girls gave me a cute little baggy full of bandaids, motion sickness medicine, mints, and various other emergency items.  The bag is adorable, and all of the items were really thoughtful.  I’ve already gone through a pack of mints!

Knapsack of Hope

Lovely reminders

Another very close friend came to town to help me pack up my apartment.  She knew my bags were full, so she sent me the above photo with some sweet little reminders, rather than actual objects.  It came on a day that I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and succeeded in restoring my hope and happiness.

Ferngully

“The Ferngully Tree”

Each evening when I walk home from the rehearsal studios, I smile as I walk past what I’ve dubbed “The Ferngully Tree”.  This bizarre, twisted tree reminds me of my sisters, and watching Ferngully with them when we were young.  I can’t wait for them to come visit in a few weeks!

Bed

My little room

My little bedroom is far from “homey”, so it’s been nice having these reminders of my support system.  While I’m still suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), I know these friends and family members will be available to encourage me while I’m away, and will be around when I return in 8 months.

To my friends and family, thank you and I love you!

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

Saturday night I left San Francisco, my home for nearly 4 years, to fly to Florida for rehearsals.  The last week in SF was bittersweet.  I had tons of fun, spending as much time as possible with friends, but also had a lot of work to do!

Luggage for the cruise

Luggage for the cruise

Packing my life into a storage unit was difficult!  It was also really hard to decide what I will need in the next 8 months.  I only can have 2 suitcases with me, so I had to leave many things behind.  All of my other things are strategically arranged in a 7″x10″ unit in San Francisco.  My movers arrived early Thursday morning, so I hadn’t actually finished packing yet!  They worked at lightning speed, so I left some nick nacks to deal with later.  They had everything else moved out and into the unit in just 2 hours!  The following day I finished boxing things up, rented a ZipVan for 3 hours, and with the help of some amazing friends, finished moving into the unit just in time.

Storage unit

Storage unit

I wanted to see as many people as possible, so in addition to a going away party planned by 2 of my girls, I had an endless stream of coffee dates, out of town visitors, and my weekly kickball mess.  It was a lot of fun, but there were still many people I wanted to see and spend more time with.  I’ve never been good with goodbyes, so leaving is always a challenge!

Socializing in SF... Sangria!

Socializing in SF… Sangria!

My new “crew” has helped ease the transition!  I’m living in a 3 bedroom apartment with 5 other girls!  There are 7 girls and 6 boys in my cast, and we are already living in pretty close quarters.  The other dancers/singers have come from all over the world… Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada.  I am one of 2 new hires, so I feel lucky to be part of such an experienced group!  The returning dancers have helped show me the ropes, put up with my never ending stream of questions, and have calmed me down when I start feeling stressed out.  They are wonderful!  I’m looking forward to getting to know them better over the next few months.

Florida

Florida

I was a little concerned about rehearsals, since I haven’t danced full time since Nutcracker season.  So far, they have been challenging but fun!  Choreography is taught quickly and efficiently.  Monday started with orientation, so we just danced in the afternoon.  In that time, we learned the Welcome number and a Farewell piece.  Tuesday was also a shorter day than usual, but we knocked out the opening of the Broadway show, as well as a part of the West Side Story bit.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done much jazz dance, so it’s taking me a minute to get back into “sassy” mode.  I’m loving it though!

While this has been a week of changes, I’m feeling good.  I can’t wait to see what the next week will bring!