Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back Again!

It's interesting how fast time flies, even when it doesn't seem like it. From the last time I posted to now, there have been so many huge things that have happened and have made my life so much more than I expected. Since my last post, I FINALLY came to my senses and got married...best decision I have ever made! The first year of marriage has been a great experience and I look forward to many, many more.

I've made some changes professionally as well. Unexpectedly, a position in the NICU where I work opened up and I was allowed to transfer from the cardiac floor to the NICU. It has been a wonderful change that has opened up some different opportunities and has also introduced different challenges. I believe I have been able to grow more professionally. It has been a struggle, but it has been a great experience so far.

Last but not least, I made it back to Washington, DC. This was an unexpected trip. The last time I was out there, I thought I'd never make it back. As my wife and I were planning our first anniversary, I found out she had never been to DC and was very interested in traveling there. We had a great time! I was able to show her around the historical sites and relive past memories. It was a great time. The three of us had a wonderful time! (and luckily baby cooperated and let mommy enjoy DC before the sickness and fatigue started).

And there I leave the post. I don't know if anyone is still following this blog...if you are, I'm grateful. If not, well, I guess this was a great journaling experience. Until next time :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potsdam, Germany

On my second day in Germany, I signed up for a bicycle tour in a little town called Potsdam. It was about an hour outside of Berlin. It was incredibly beautiful and seemed like it was taken out of a fairy tale story. There were palaces but even the scenery and the look of the buildings in the town added to the
fairy tale aspect. Here are some photos I took:

The gate to the city...I really liked this!

Street in Potsdam

I really liked the yellow in this building...and the architecture!

Schloss Cecilienhof...I really liked this palace as well, and the gardens!

This face made me laugh.

I liked this view across the river
Part of the fun of this tour was being able to use the bikes. It was fun to be biking around and experiencing that aspect of the German Culture. It was a beautiful day as well...all of the makings for a very fun and educating experience! At the end of the tour, I treated myself to some yummy ice cream. We then headed back to Berlin as a group and I went off on another adventure, so stay tuned! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Germany 2012

I don't know if anyone reads this blog anymore (as I have not been posting for quite some time). Nevertheless, I figured I would still post.

I just recently completed a trip to Europe. It was actually very spur-of-the-moment and unlike me (as you may know, I like to plan things to death...big things). This trip came about after a very awful, horrible, no good, very bad day at work. I called my friend Robbie to see if he was interested in taking a little trip and he said he was going to Europe and asked if I wanted to tag along (I may have prompted him to ask me). Anyway, I said yes and we got our tickets. However, during part of the trip, he would be working and I would be playing. He said he was going to be in Germany and Switzerland and that, afterward, we could choose to go to either France or Italy. We both decided on France and got our tickets. However, I chose to head to Berlin first and then meet up with him in Cologne (or Köln, as they call it in German). This was also unlike me as it meant I would be traveling alone again in a foreign country (and one where I don't speak the language). I did it anyway and decided I would worry later.

Anyway, I made some plans, got a hotel, and the magic date came quickly. I flew into Dusseldorf and then had to find a way to get to Berlin (train, obviously). Luckily, the train station is at the airport and I was able to buy a ticket to Berlin. Also, thanks to my paranoia and my OCD, I found out how to print an itinerary that listed if I had to make any transfers and what cities I would have to make those transfers in. Had this not happened, I would have gotten on the train and ended up in some small German town with no idea where I was or how to get to Berlin. Anyway, I arrived in Berlin safely and took a cab to my hotel. I checked in (thankfully, the hotel personnel spoke English) without problem and had about 6 hours before bed time, so I went out an wandered. I did get lost but found this neat little "platz"

Platz somewhere in Berlin
It was really pleasant, there were kids running all over, and people speaking in...German. For those of you who have not had the experience, it is very weird to hear people talking and not understand a word any of them are saying. However, it's all part of the fun of the cultural experience.

Anyway, when I finally found my hotel again (I was joined at the hip with my trusty city map), I wandered to a huge park and found the Freedom Tower (or Siegessaule). I saw people up at the top and so went to find the entrance. I bought a ticket and climbed the stairs to the top! It was amazing! Here is some of what I saw:
Yes, it is a roundabout (kind of like the Arc de Triomphe) 

After about 15 minutes of wandering, I found out how to get to the tower (there were no crosswalks and it was a very busy roundabout)

On a tour I had later, the guide said the only damage this tower got during the wars was bullet holes (they were throughout the park that surrounded the tower as well)

Another view from the top of the tower. And yes, that is the Brandenburg Gate...my next stop in my wanderings :)

If you see that building with the columns on the right side of the street (across from the grass), that is a stair case that you take down to a tunnel, which leads you under the street and you come out at this staircase you can see immediately in front of you (where the people are standing). It was pretty neat.

Another view from the top

More of Berlin

This was a huge park!

Going down

Going up

I really liked this tower. This also started my first real German History lesson. I am embarrassed to say that I am 30 years old and knew very little about German History. In fact, all I knew was about WW2 and the Holocaust, but there is so much more to Germany!

Anyway, if you read the captions, you noticed that I spotted the Brandenburg Gate. It was straight down a main road, so I left the tower and started walking through the park towards the Brandenburg Gate. This is what I found on the way:
I'm not a fan of weeping willows...unless they are in huge parks by water. This was a perfect place for one and an amazing picture!!!

Another view...amazing!

Soviet War Memorial
I then found the Brandenburg Gate. If you are like me, I had no idea what the Brandenburg Gate was. Well, one thing it was known for was, after Berlin was split into East and West, and before the Berlin Wall, people from East Germany and East Berlin would walk through the gate to West Berlin (from Communism to Capitalism) and be free from the East. Initially, it was an entrance to Berlin and was an entrance that led to the city palace. It was a sight to see and I took many pictures. Here are some:

The Brandenburg Gate. And to your right, the American Embassy :)

This turned out well!
I am a huge fan of this attraction. It was so huge and absolutely amazing! The sad thing is that when the Berlin wall went up, this was right in the death strip, so nobody got to see it, except from a distance.

Anyway, I kept wandering and found out where I needed to meet the next morning for my first bicycle tour. I then wandered back to my hotel and had an amazing sleep (well, not really because it was pretty warm and I was too tired to try to figure out the AC). Here are some other photos that I took as I wandered:

Humboldt University

This is where the Nazi Book Burnings happened.

Cool shot of the cathedral and the TV Tower

I have a thing for churches

Memorial to the Murdered Jew (with the American Embassy right behind)

American Embassy

Well, this post is longer than I thought. I'll have to do Germany in multiple posts. Stay tuned for more fun!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fact or Fiction???

(I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist this post!)

I have stumbled on to one of Ogden City's biggest secrets and I'm now sharing it with everyone (well, everyone who reads, that is, which I fear may be no one as I have not been posting regularly).

As I was walking down the street, I glanced at the street sign and noticed something strangely familiar. I was surprised that I had not noticed it before, but this time, it was very obvious. I was very excited because this street sign turned fiction into fact!

As many people know, I am a huge (sometimes embarrassingly huge) Harry Potter fan! As we all remember from the last book, we are introduced to the Peverell Brothers and the Deathly Hallows (the wand, the stone, and the cloak). We also learn about the quest to unite the Deathly Hallows and that whoever does so would become Master of Death. Xenophilius Lovegood tells Harry that those who become part of the "quest" have a symbol they use to demonstrate that they are part of that quest (and that Xenophilius himself wears a necklace of that symbol). As the book continues, Harry continues to see variations of that symbol (a line for the wand, a circle for the stone, and a triangle for the cloak), and his knowledge of the Deathly Hallows continues to grow. This is what the symbol is:

Obviously, as anyone who has read Harry Potter recognizes (or at least what should be recognized) is that the story is entirely fiction...or is it?

Now we are back where we started. I was walking down the street and my eye caught the street sign. What do you think I saw?

What do you think this means? You are right, it means the Deathly Hallows are real and that Ogden City is part of the Quest! And to think it took me over two years to recognize! Now, Ogden has done a good job of fooling people that this is the "Golden Spike" about to be nailed into the railroad with the sun (or moon) in the background, but they can't fool me! The secret is out ;)


"[Confucius] taught that the country which develops the finest music, the grandest poetry, and the noblest moral ideals--that is, the country with the most exalted culture--will always yield the greatest power in the world."

-Letters from the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears

"Who is such a reprobate as I! And yet it seems that even I am in Somebody's hand!'

-Mr. Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge

"...[T]he magnitude of [life] is not as to [one's] external displacements, but as to [one's] subjective experiences."

-Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

"...I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed--because 'Thou mayest.'"

-Lee in East of Eden