Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BEDA 31: Fake babies.

Today is the last day of BEDA! My grandma (who reads my blog) actually asked me tonight, "have you blogged yet today? You'd better hop to it!" So here I am, on strict orders from Grandma Horner.

I will admit, I am a little sad this month of blogging is over. I've had a lot of fun writing every day this month - through all the craziness and traveling and tiredness and adventure, this blog is the one thing that's stayed constant and that was really nice. But, as usual, after BEDA is over I'll try my best to go back to a normal blogging schedule. I'll try not to let more than a week go by without an update, though I say that every time.

Anyway! Monday was kind of a slower day (basically it wasn't jam-packed with relatives, so it felt less eventful than the rest of the trip so far) but it was kind of relaxing to just "hang out" in North Dakota with my parents. We got up and went to Kroll's Diner for breakfast, and not a single one of us could help ordering a big bowl of Knoephla soup. It's so bizarre to me; foods like that are just 'those things my mom and grandmas make', you know? No one in Seattle knows what the heck Knoephla is. But in North Dakota, you can totally just find it on a menu in a diner and that is always strange to see. Anyway. The soup was good.

Then we stopped and visited with a family friend named Vern for a little while, and on our way back to the hotel we passed the old bar my dad use to own. Yeah. My dad owned a bar. You guys wonder why I have such a cool life all the time? I have a LOT to live up to, haha. Anyway, the bar is called the Midway Tavern, and it's still called that even though my dad hasn't owned it in over twenty years. I'd never been inside, so we stopped for a little while so my dad could show me around. We ordered beer and tomato juice (the only way I think beer is even tolerable to drink) and my dad chatted with the new owner while my mom and I played one of those electronic bar games. I think we tied. Then my dad told me all these crazy stories from his days of owning the place. I really love hearing new stories about when my parents were my age. Sometimes you forget that your parents ever WERE your age, so it's nice to be reminded. Especially when my parents were actually pretty cool in those days.

My mom and I stopped at the mall briefly (mostly to check out the few stores they have in Bismarck that we don't have back home) but then we went back to the hotel to get my dad and head out for BAR BINGO. I can't even tell you what a quintessential North Dakota pastime "Bar Bingo" feels like for me. We went to "Main Bar" (which is, wait for it, the bar on Main Street) and they told us they would only play bingo if at least twenty people bought in. My mom and I were on a mission then, going around to all the old bearded dudes sitting at the bar, convincing them they needed to play bingo with us. We finally got enough people, bought our cards, borrowed the bar's green bingo dabbers and settled in for a couple of action-packed games.

Guys, I freaking love bingo. Part of me cant wait to be old so I can just play bingo all the time without anyone judging me. When I get back to Seattle, I'm going to make it my mission to find a place that does bingo near where I live so I can drag my friends there and play all the time. I don't know why I didn't think of this before.

Anyway, I won! In the second game, I got straight bingo (half the fun is getting to yell out "BINGO!" especially in a dingy little dive bar) and I won four whole dollars. Pretty exciting. I was really close to blackout too, afterward, but I didn't quite win that one. I made friends with the bingo-caller; he went to the same college as me, weirdly. I have no idea how someone graduates from UW and ends up calling bingo numbers in Mandan, ND, but to each their own.

After bar bingo ended, my mom took my dad and I out to her favorite Mexican restaurant, "Fiesta Villa". I guess she used to go there with her girlfriends all the time when she was younger. We ordered a big plate of nachos and some margaritas, but the real highlight of the night was my parents being totally goofy and making me laugh so hard I couldn't even breathe. This might not be as funny to you guys as it was to me, but I am going to try to explain it.

So we're sitting out on the patio and this family walks in; one of them was a woman carrying a baby in a little baby holder on her stomach. The whole thing was covered with a blanket. As they walked by, my mom leaned over and whispered to me, "I bet that baby is fake." I rolled my eyes at her, but a moment later my dad (who hadn't been listening) leaned in across the table and said to us, "That's probably not even a real baby." At this, I almost spit my drink out, right over the table. "Why," I asked them exasperatedly, "are you both so convinced that woman has a fake baby? Why would anyone even bring a FAKE BABY to a restaurant?"

My parents were cracking up, and they both kept spouting nonsense about fake babies and how rude it is to bring a fake baby to a restaurant and how we weren't going to fall for it, and I said again, "GUYS. It's not like there's a BABY DISCOUNT at the Fiesta Villa! There is no benefit to having a baby here!" My mom just sat back in her chair, crossed her arms and said, "Well, there's no way I'm letting someone have a fake baby in here."

Then she got up out of her chair and waltzed over next to the family, pretending to be interested in the plants behind them but was obviously looking to see if the baby was real. Her eyes got wide and she came barreling back to my dad and I, saying, "It's real! It was definitely moving! It's a real baby!"

Needless to say, a few minutes later the family moved to a table inside. I overheard them say to the waiter that it was because of the bees flying around, but I think they were afraid my mom was going to steal their baby. Or something. Because I was afraid for them.

...though it would have served them right if it had been a fake baby.

I still need to write about all my time with my other grandparents, but I'll finish my North Dakota write-up in the next few days. I can't believe I am already flying home tomorrow. I definitely wish I had more time with my relatives right now... but I guess this just means I need to make sure I get out here again soon. It's so tough to plan a trip strictly for pleasure/family time when I travel so much the way it is, but being here reminded me very vividly how important it is. So I just need to make time, like I did with this trip. :)

Thanks for joining me for BEDA, guys! Have a great September and I'll talk to you all soon.

Flights taken: 21

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BEDA 30: Cheating.

I am giving myself the night off.

The whole point of Blogging Every Day in August is basically just to encourage myself to write 1. more frequently and 2. about everything I have going on as a means of documenting little chunks of my life more closely than the rest of the time.

I have been having such a good time here in North Dakota and this trip is so important to me that I know I'll blog about it -- so I'm not going to force it tonight. I'm tired and a little blogged out after a whole month of crazy traveling. I don't think I've ever done this much during a previous BEDA - nor do I think I've ever done this much in a single month in my whole life.

So tonight, I will leave you with this adorable picture of my brother and I by an abandoned old farmhouse that was taken today:

Until tomorrow - our last day together for this particular rendition of BEDA! I promise that one will be a doozy.

Flights taken: 21

Monday, August 29, 2011

BEDA 29: Grasshoppers.

I might actually be too tired/burnt out to blog tonight. I was going so strong this month, too.

Here. I will just leave you with this short anecdote from last night at the musical that I forgot to put in yesterday's blog post, and then I will catch up on the rest of today... in tomorrow's blog post. What. I make the rules around here.

So, I was thinking about blogging this all night on the drive home last night, but then I got too caught up in my emotional musings about North Dakota to remember when it came to actually typing it up. It's a big deal, because last night I developed an irrational fear of grasshoppers.

We got to sit in the special handicap seating area during the show because of my grandma, but what that meant (aside from having pretty good seats) was that there was a lot of room on the side of me (unlike the other auditorium style seats). Mid way through the show I felt something hit my head and I smacked it away... when I looked down at the concrete floor to see what it was, I saw the largest effing grasshopper I have ever seen in my whole life. Like, past insect and into monster-status. Huge. Like 6 inches long.

For the next five to ten minutes, I honestly couldn't tell you what was happening during the musical because my eyes were locked on that dumb creature. It was inching closer and closer to my seat and I was too afraid to kick it away or anything because there was this tiny piece of me that feared it might go all Shocker on Shock Street on us. Finally, finally it crawled out of sight and I was able to relax enough to start enjoying the show again.

This was a false sense of security though, because not ten minutes later I looked over and there it was again, sitting on the ledge between our seats and the seats down a tier below us, just watching me. I kind of freaked out a little bit; I tugged my dad's sleeve and hissed, "get that thing away from me!"

Being a loving and courageous father, he flicked it in the opposite direction - which was great, until we realized the multitude of people's heads he'd just sent the volatile creature careening toward. Eyes wide; we glanced at each other guiltily, glanced down, then slouched in our seats as far as we could go. "Don't look over the edge," my dad told me, suppressing a laugh. "I think I just saw an old lady flailing at her hair."

So, yeah. We're bad people. Funny, yes, but bad people.

Flights taken: 21

BEDA 28: Burning Hills Dancers.

I am way, way too tired to make today's blog post anything special, but I had a nice day so I want to at least give it a decent wrap up. My parents keep me out way too late here in North Dakota! It's affecting my blogging!

My mom just mumbled from the other side of the hotel room, "you're still gonna do that tonight?" "Yes Mom, I have to." "Okay, tell 'em I said yo." So. My mom says yo.

This morning we headed over to my grandma's house for an early lunch - she made us borscht soup and sandwiches with her homemade rolls and salami. Then we jumped in the car and drove the hour and a half out to the small town my aunt Colleen lives in. We had a nice little visit with her, my cousin Corina and Colleen's new husband Chauncey.

The weirdest part about this trip, by far, is how many of my little cousins are suddenly so grown up. Corina was always one of the little kids running around whenever we'd visit in the past, but she's 14 now and I was surprised by how grown up she was. It took her awhile to warm up to me, but then she got out this notebook and a pen and said, "You know, I should probably get your autograph since you're sort-of-kind-of famous. Also some of the kids at school watch your videos and don't believe you're my cousin."

While adorable, this is the very reason I needed to come home and visit. Since a lot of this weird internet "fame" stuff has happened in the last two to three years, I just had this horrible image of my relatives losing touch with me as their cousin/niece/whatever and thinking I'm out of reach or something. I was too busy touring last summer to come home and visit, but that wasn't by choice. I was so homesick for North Dakota while my parents were here last year and I was on roflcoptour. And while I bonded with Corina today over knowing people like Shane Dawson and Smosh (boy did she think I was cool for having met them) I was glad to be able to remind her that I'm still just her cousin.

Also, we bonded over Pokémon. She told her mom, "see? Tina likes Pokémon. And you said I was a nerd." I had to interject though, telling her, "Oh, no, don't be confused; we're still nerds. I've just embraced it."

After a couple of hours we had to head out to make it to Medora in time to meet up with MORE relatives. The problem with having such a big family is that even though we have a whole week here, sometimes we only get a few hours with each branch of the family to make time for everyone. We drove the 20 miles to Medora (this adorable little historic town - has anyone been there?) and met with my Uncle Cheekster and cousins Megan and Holly. Those two were both also in the group of cousins who grew the eff up since I'd seen them last. Their school starts again tomorrow and Megan is going to be a senior and Holly is going to be a freshman. The biggest shock was seeing eyeliner and styled hair and cell phones in their hands. Kids these days, I tell ya. xD

We ate at this place in town and I decided to try "fleischkuekle" - which translates literally as "meat cookie" (as Cheekster told me with a chuckle). It's essentially hamburger wrapped in a big doughy casing and deep fried. I had to take a picture of the menu to remember how to spell it. Also, my dad made me order it myself, which was hilarious, as my knowledge of German is much, much more limited than his (which is also relatively limited). We left my dad to bond with his brother and my mom and I took the girls around to go shopping in the cute Medora gift shops. We didn't really buy anything other than ice cream cones a bit later (I got huckleberry, mmm) but wandering around one of my favorite little towns was all I really wanted out of the afternoon, anyway.

We said goodbye to them when it started getting dark, and we drove up to the Burning Hills Amphitheater with my Grandma to see the Medora Musical. You wouldn't think this tiny town in North Dakota would have such a big attraction, but the Musical is amazing and even on a slow night like tonight, there were 700 people there. It's in this great big outdoor theatre where the backdrop is the actual Dakota badlands, and the whole thing is just so cute and fun. It's a combination of nostalgic "growing up in the midwest" stuff, educational facts about Teddy Roosevelt and ND itself, country music and clogging and fun dancing and modern music. I absolutely adore it. We used to go when I was little, and back then my dream was to grow up and be a Burning Hills Dancer. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that's what I would do.

It's kind of funny how this musical (and more importantly just being here in North Dakota with my parents) can make me nostalgic for a life I never knew. I love the stories from my parents about growing up here. I love the prairie and I love these small towns and all the people who are so nice and the "old west" feel of everything and how everyone knows each other. I definitely have a certain pride for being born here, even though we moved away before I even turned one.

It's strange because it's not like I could ever experience the North Dakota my parents even knew, because times have changed and their friends are older and places they loved have gone out of business or closed and people have died and everyone is older now, but I like to pretend when I'm here that I can be part of it all. And since I was born here and everyone remembers me (albeit a tiny infant version of me) I feel like I at least was there for a tiny bit of it. And that's enough for this place to feel like home, in a strange way I can't even really explain.

Flights taken: 21

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BEDA 27: North Dakota Moose Lodge.

Bloooooooog post time.

My post is late tonight on account of my parents kidnapping me, taking me to a biker bar, promising I'd be home by 10 -- and not actually getting back to our hotel until about 1 am. I kept insisting "but guys, I have a blog post to write", but eventually I just gave in, drank my three drinks, and succumbed to the wild North Dakota lifestyle. It's hilarious to picture my parents being the crazy people they were in their twenties, because their old friends I meet here from "way back when" are just... old. But, obviously, it's been about thirty years since their glory days, so I have to suspend disbelief and use my imagination when I picture how things were then.

Today has been a great day. I woke up relatively early and got ready in my grandma's shower (which was literally a trickle of water) and before I knew it, my cousin Mandy had shown up with her new baby Chance. You guys know how much I love babies, so I'm sure you can only imagine what a joy it was to have a baby in front of me I was allowed to play with and not just gawk at from afar. Chance is absolutely adorable (he's 6 months old and such a happy, energetic baby) and I spent the better part of the next few hours holding him and tickling him and dangling toys above him and gushing over him.

My parents keep talking to me. I don't think they fully grasp what "I need to write a blog post" actually means. This post is going to be even later than I thought.

My parents showed up a bit later and we all visited awhile, but everyone was getting hungry. After Mandy left with Chance, we went out for lunch with my grandma at this place called Pizza Ranch. It was a buffet style place, and all the food was pretty standard except the Taco Pizza (which was amazing) and this dessert pizza (called Cactus.. something) that was so freaking good I couldn't even believe it.

After lunch we dropped off Grandma and headed to our hotel to check in. We dropped off our stuff then headed over to my Uncle Gary and Aunt Mel's house to hang out for the evening. My other aunt and uncle Lilia and Rod were there too, which was really nice - I really had no idea which relatives I'd be seeing on this trip but so far I've really lucked out. I spent a huge portion of our time there talking with Lilia... we've always bonded so much because we're both readers (she's the one who forced me to read Harry Potter, bless her) and it was so nice to catch up. We talked about everything before everyone else finally came and joined us on the porch and we all started drinking. Not to say my family is super wild or anything, but they like to have fun, and often that includes alcohol. I had this drink that was bright green and when my mom asked me how it tasted, I told her it tasted "like bright green". I didn't know how else to explain it.

After more general family times, and supper, and my parents embarrassingly insisting I show my relatives a few of my YouTube videos, it was around 9 pm. My parents, Gary, and one of my mom's best friends named Lynn still wanted to party, so they convinced me to come out to this bar called the North Dakota Moose Lodge. That brings me back to the beginning of this post, and the biker bar, and being very behind in today's BEDA post.

One of my favorite parts about meeting my parents old friends here in Bismarck is that I was six months old when we moved away from North Dakota. So many of them really haven't seen me since I was that old. Six months to twenty-three years is a pretty freaking big jump, so when I meet them they tell me things like the quintessential "I haven't see you since you were this big!"

One guy we met tonight brought up the fact that when I was a baby, I raced against his own daughter in the "Huggies Diaper Derby". He and my dad argued over whose daughter won (my dad insists it was me) but the real gem from this conversation was that while other parents were waving little baby toys at their kids to get them to crawl faster, my parents were waggling a pickle at me. Because I loved pickles. My baby contender is now apparently married. Time flies, guys.

My mom is currently talking to me from across the hotel room (we have a room with a little wall divider between their King bed and my pull out couch) about our natural disaster plan. I have literally no idea what prompted this. I keep saying "uh huh", and "yeah?" and while this is a fantastic idea in the broad scheme of things, I'm not certain right this second (at 1:14 AM after an evening at the Moose Lodge) is the right time to talk about this.

Perhaps I will suggest we debrief tomorrow morning. If I remember. Remind me to refresh with my mom about our natural disaster plan tomorrow, guys. Thanks.

Flights taken: 21

Friday, August 26, 2011

BEDA 26: Rummy 14.

I made it to North Dakota!

I flew in around 6:30pm and was picked up by my cousin Jade, whom I'd never met before. My mom decided I needed to "bond with my family" on this trip (...why else would I be here) so she arranged for me to "bond" with Jade by having her pick me up from the airport. We didn't even know what each other looked like. My mom said to me before we left, "she studied abroad. You guys will have tons in common". Because apparently all people who study abroad are alike, haha.

Before I left Seattle I checked her Facebook, tried to memorize what her face looked like, found out that she was just a few years younger than me, and that was it. I mean, she's family, so I knew it would be fine. I was only a teensy bit nervous.

Jade showed up and kind of looked at me from across the parking lot and we both kind of did a "...are you Jade/Kristina?" thing, then laughed, and from there on out it was pretty okay. My mom was right. We got along well. I guess people who study abroad ARE alike.

Jade dropped me off a bit later at my grandma's house; Grandma lives in a retirement community though she has her own little house area with a garden. She was over at the neighbors playing cards when I arrived, so after saying goodbye to Jade, I headed over and settled in for an evening with the old folks.

I haven't been to North Dakota in two years (last year I was on roflcoptour during the annual family trip), so the look on my grandma's face when she saw me... it made this whole trip worth it. Right there. One look. Worth the ridiculous amount of money it costs to fly into the tiny airport in Bismarck.

I had a lovely time tonight. I hung with my grandma and her friends Lyle, Bev and Marion. They taught me how to play Rummy 14, which was actually a pretty fun game. I was doing really well at the beginning (they chalked it up to beginner's luck) but then I got one lousy hand which set me back to second to last place. Bev made a German Chocolate cake, which was delicious, and they kept making fun of me when my phone went off (though I swear, more than half text messages were just from my mom).

Grandma's got me sleeping out in the living room on the pull out couch tonight, and tomorrow we are meeting up with my mom and dad who are already in town but spending tonight at the casino because August 27th is their 23rd wedding anniversary.

I actually have no idea what the plans are for most of this trip or which relatives I am going to be seeing, but I am incredibly excited for all of it. I've been so homesick for this for so long; it's nice to finally be back.

Flights taken: 21

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BEDA 25: Haircuts and toilet paper.

Liz just walked into my room and said, "where did I put my..." and before she could even finish her sentence, I cut her off with an incredulous "really?" That's the kind of day we're having. I found her car keys in the backyard this morning. IN THE BACKYARD.

In other news, today I got my hair cut! I wasn't actually going to get it cut until after I got back from North Dakota, but Eia talked me into it yesterday. We made spur of the moment appointments and we both got relatively drastic cuts and I am happy to announce that I am quite pleased with mine.

Even though I am missing PAX Prime and a Seattle YouTube event for it, I am very excited to be going to North Dakota tomorrow (also despite the fact that I have to get on another stupid airplane). I haven't seen any of my relatives in so long, I'm really hoping the whole trip is just a total blast.

I still need to finish packing for the trip actually, so today's blog post is going to be kind of short. I will now entertain you with some anecdotes from spending the last two days with Liz. These are real things that happened/I jotted down over the course of that time:

Liz: When I was in the bathroom I killed a beetle.
Me: Oh, cool. Thanks.
Liz: At least I think it was a beetle, I wasn't wearing my glasses. It looked small and dark. So I just assumed.
Me: Hm.
Liz: It might have been something important.
Me: It was probably twenty dollars.
Liz: I highly doubt that.
Me: Well you wouldn't know now, would you. You killed it.

You know when you only have one single roll of toilet paper left, and you know when that runs out you have to go to the store and buy a new pack of toilet paper and that's just incredibly inconvenient? So you conserve that last roll to the best of your ability?
Well, Liz just dropped that roll in the toilet, so I guess we're going to the store now.

Goodbye until North Dakota!

Flights taken: 20

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BEDA 24: Hot Tub Night.

It's Wednesday night, so here I am at Project Night again. It's nice to be back; I had to miss Project Night last week while I was in London, and even though I was off having overseas adventures, I hate missing stuff. So I'm glad to be here, even though the Internet is too slow to effectively catch up on my email, which was going to be this week's project. Anyway, I'm instead doing my blog post, which is productive enough.

Alexander just introduced me to a new Project Nighter by saying, "This is Kristina. She is an Internet Celebrity." When I protested the claim, he went on to say, "She once killed a man and got out of the jail time with her celebrity status." At this point, I have given up on arguing any semblance of truth and am just letting the new guy believe whatever he wants.

Tonight's Project Night is special because we've decided we're going to work for half of it, then use the second half to transition into Hot Tub Night. I'm currently wearing my swimsuit under my clothes and hoping the project part of Project Night goes by quickly because I am so excited to get in the hot tub. This is going to be the first time my new tattoo is going to be out in public as well, which I'm kind of excited about in a weird and nerdy way.

I had lunch with Eia today, which was nice as I've been so busy with VidCon and this Europe trip that I've barely seen her much this month. While we were out (we go on these routine "dates" at our favorite Indian restaurant) we got on the topic of haircuts and how we've both been tossing around the idea of getting mildly drastic haircuts recently. Since we're both kind of nervous about it, we just decided to go freaking do it, together. As soon as we finished lunch, we headed back to my house and booked an appointment for tomorrow at 1:45. So... I'm still really nervous, and not totally certain what I am getting done, but I'll be sure to post pictures online.

Okay, everyone is doing interesting stuff and I'm over here being anti-social so I'm going to go.

Flights taken: 20

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BEDA 23: Home again, home again.

I kind of forgot that being home from all my crazy travel adventures doesn't mean August is over yet -- I almost totally forgot to blog today. It's only the 23rd; there is much more blogging coming this month!

It's kind of strange to even try and think of anything to talk about after all of the stories I've had to tell the past week. When you've been having a week like I had, a day at home editing videos, running errands and watching a movie seems a bit dull. But it's nice to be home. And I am in need of a few dull days.

I'm so jetlagged and exhausted. I woke up at 6:30 AM this morning and now it's only 9 PM and I am practically falling asleep on the couch. Justin and I ordered in Mexican food and now we're watching "The Frog Princess". I've already seen it, but Justin hasn't.

My brain is all fuzzy right now... I think I need to just give myself a little break. The last few entries were really long, so that should make up for my lack of a coherent blog today. I'll be back tomorrow. :)

Flights taken: 20

Monday, August 22, 2011

BEDA 22 - Poland Day 3 and coming home.

I'm on a flight from London to Seattle right now, after connecting from my much shorter flight from Warsaw. It's midday right now, so I have a sneaking suspicion I won't be sleeping at all on this nine hour flight. I'm only about 30 minutes in right now, so I'll be sure to give an update later on what I end up watching/doing to pass the time as time goes by. So far all I've done is talk to the lady next me, whose name is Linda from Sammamish, aged somewhere around 60 and has a heat rash. So... a few steps down from my last travel buddy.

Yesterday was such a great last day in Poland. We woke up around 10 or so and met in the lobby to learn about the "Urban Challenge" they were sending us out on for a large chunk of the day. I was on a team with Will and Cat. Basically, they gave each of us a map, a list of places in Warsaw and 100 each of whatever the local currency is called (I can never remember). We were then sent out by ourselves in our teams to try and get to all the locations before the other teams could. Right away, the three of us were super into winning. We breezed through the Palace of Culture, the Dairy Bar and Cafe Wedel. But there was this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that we were missing the point of the "challenge" by hurrying like that. Instead of choking down a hot chocolate in the cafe, we should have been taking our time to enjoy a tasty snack in a foreign country. Instead of zipping up and down the elevators at the Palace, we should have been stopping to take in the incredible view of the city we'd been lucky enough to get to visit.

So after our first few stops, we quit racing. Someone else could go home with the prize. Our prize was getting to experience Warsaw at our own pace.

Our next stop after deciding to slow down was the "Prezekaski Zakaski", or "Bistro a la Fourchette". This is apparently the most "happening" bar in Warsaw, since it's open 24 hours. We sat down and had a beer with Lukas, and also ran into Greg and Dan while we were there.

After the bar, we headed to the Old Town and had to find the Zygmunt Column -- where we then were instructed to ask someone what time it was in Polish. It's "Przepraszam, ktora godzina?" if you were curious. I was a boss at saying it, but I managed to pick the one person in the square who DIDN'T speak Polish, so I looked silly anyway. Haha. Then we had to find the statue of the mermaid in the Old Town market square, which turned out to also be a fountain. I couldn't help but put my feet in, along with all the other children under the age of seven. You're never too old, guys. Never.

We only had one stop left after the fountain, but it was across the river, so we stayed in Old Town for awhile instead of completing the challenge at all. We ran into some of our Polish friends we'd met the day before in town, so they tagged along with us -- which not only made the experience more fun, but was also useful when we wanted to order an ice cream and hot dog from a stand and the people working there spoke very little English.

One of my favorite parts about this trip, and one of the things I feel most lucky about, is that fact that I was able to meet so many local Polish people. Especially ones who share my interest in new media, video-making and YouTube. While walking around Warsaw, I was actually running into people I KNEW. In a country that just two days earlier I knew literally nothing about aside from what I learned in high school about the Holocaust. I have to say, Poland is such a lovely country, it definitely deserves to be famous for more than the Holocaust.

An update -- since I wrote the above section of this blog post, I have also met the man on the other side of me (I'm in a middle seat) and the best way to describe him would be as a nice Vernon Dursley. Then I watched "Water For Elephants", which was a really good film (though a bit sad for a plane movie). I definitely had the tears coming on a few times, as well as embarrassingly gasping out loud and having to look away more than once during the animal cruelty bits. I would absolutely recommend seeing this movie; I especially loved it because of my fascination with the circus, but I think it really shows that industry for what it was, which is important for people to understand.

Anyway, back to Poland. We had a bit of a break after the Urban Challenge, where I swore I only rested my eyes in my room for a second but it turned out nearly a full hour went by. Luckily I woke up just in time to head downstairs for dinner. It was our last night out as a group, so the night had a bittersweet feel to it. The food was all amazing, as usual. This time I ordered a venison dish that also came with those potato noodles I have come to love, as well as a delicious cranberry sauce.

After dinner we ordered a bunch of desserts to split, and among them was something that was actually called "Soup of Nothing - with clouds". We had all seen it on the menu before, but since this was our last night, we obviously had to try it. I can't tell you what was in it, but literally every person at that table with us who took a bite exclaimed something along the lines of "oh my goodness! What the heck this, it's so amazing! What IS this?!" It was some sort of incredible strawberry and vanilla mousse type thing with something else white in it that actually melted in your mouth. I think that bit was the "clouds". It's a mystery to me, but it was another crazy Poland adventure I was glad to have taken part in.

After dinner we saw some guys spinning fire in the square (seriously) on our way back to the limo-of-epic-proportions, which was a fittingly surreal end to one of the most surreal weekends of my life.

I tried to fit in as much sleep as possible last night, but the hotel had this amazing breakfast for us every morning, so I diligently set my alarm for 7:45 am. I like food more than I like being well rested. I stuffed my face with potato pancakes and Brie cheese and jam on rolls and fresh fruit. Totally worth sacrificing the extra half hour of snoozing.

Jimmy and I had flights at similar times, so after a brief chat with the man who'd put this all together (thanking him profusely for the experience and promising I'd be back next year if he makes it an annual event) we hopped in a cab and began our adventure home. That pretty much brings us to now, where I am sitting in my middle seat and trying to process the week I've just had.

You know, it's funny. I'm exhausted. I feel like I haven't had any quality time at home in ages. I am tired of airports and living out of suitcases and waking up early, but I am never happier than when I am coming home from one of these incredible experiences. Sometimes I don't even know what I really did to deserve this, but I feel so lucky and thankful every day. And I really love that so many people do read my blog, because it makes it that much more rewarding to know that in a way, I'm kind of taking all of you along with me.

It will be nice to sleep in my own bed, don't get me wrong. But I really wonder... if it's always going to feel like this, so wonderful and eye-opening and horizon-broadening... whats the point in ever slowing down?

Flights taken: 20

Sunday, August 21, 2011

BEDA 21: Poland Day 2.

My alarm went off much too early this morning. I scrambled out of bed, dragged myself into the shower, and finally started coming to life around 10 AM. We met downstairs in the lobby before piling (once again) into the limo-of-extreme-proportions, on our way to the Chwila Klub for the first day of the YouStars event. None of us really knew what to expect, but the club itself was really nice. It kind of gave off the vibe of an indie coffee shop, with mismatched furniture and pillows and neat art on the walls. There was also a table on the ceiling, which I didn't notice until Kate pointed it out to me.

The first hour or two was meant for hanging out and chatting, and slowly but surely we started to meet some of the people who had come from across Poland for our meetup. Of the people whose names I remember -- I met a nerdfighter and fellow NaNoWriMo winner named Nela who was lovely, another girl named Hannah who watches my videos, and a girl named Klaudia who hadn't seen my videos yet but promised she was going to look me up when she get home (she was very enthusiastic about YouTube, which was adorable). Everyone I met and talked to was so nice, and so interested in what we all do online. It was fun to talk with people from a country where YouTube is something most people don't understand (as in the general public). I think a lot of us American YouTubers spent a good portion of the day encouraging people to make videos, to vlog, and to try and convince their friends to do it with them to help them find ways to make a larger YouTube community within Poland.

After they got the livestream up and running, we jumped into our individual talks. I went second, which was kind of nice (I always like getting things that make me nervous out of the way so I can just enjoy the rest of the event). It was 15-20 minutes long; I mostly just spoke about how I fell into YouTube through Harry Potter and how I discovered the larger community of vloggers, and how that community was built on the desire to talk about mutual passions. The crazy part about the whole experience though is that we had a Polish translator up there with us. After every minute or so of talking, we'd have to pause while they repeated everything we said back in Polish for the people in the audience who couldn't understand, or who we maybe had spoken too quickly for.

Everyone did a really good job with their talks, and I even learned some stuff about some of the other American vloggers that I hadn't know before. It was such a relaxed setting for giving "presentations", and I think everyone really appreciated that. Jimmy played a little music during his talk as well, which definitely helped give the afternoon a casual, welcoming vibe.

I have to stop for a second to complain about something that's been bothering me this whole weekend -- the pillows in this hotel room are so SQUISHY. I am currently propped up on FIVE pillows and I am still sinking back into an almost lying down position. How is that even possible. I don't understand. Polish feathers must just be REALLY small, haha.

Anyway. We took a bit of a break from the YouStars event to go and have some lunch, where I ate the most delicious mushroom soup I've ever had. I'm a huge fan of mushrooms. Dan didn't want his and offered them to me, so my soup was doubly mushroom-ified. Then we head a breaded pork dish that they called a schnitzel (though I was always under the impression that schnitzels were sausages; guess you learn something new every day) with cabbage and these potato noodles that I really loved.

We went back to the "Klub" after lunch to listen to a few of the Polish YouTubers speak (though we didn't get English translations, sadly) and then our two Polish buddies who've been helping with the event (I am so terrible with name spellings here; I think it's Vlaudich and Karl?) played some music for everyone. The Polish kids were going CRAZY for them! It was amazing; I loved watching people fangirl over something in a language I can't even understand. It was such a surreal experience.

I don't remember the exact course of action for the rest of the evening, but at some point the event transitioned from speakers/live music to more of an actual club atmosphere as they got the karaoke up and running. It was at this point in the evening as well that we realized there was an open bar for us, which definitely changed the tone of the night from academic to fun-time. While we looked through the karaoke song lists, one of the Polish guys (named Lukas -- the thing about names in Poland is that many of them sound like American names, but aren't exactly - so I have no idea how to spell them. I figure if I just replace all the C's with K's, in general, I'll be okay. I actually made a comment about that last night - this is the first time in my life where the "K" spelling of my name is actually more common than the "C" spelling… maybe this is where I belong! Wow this was a long tangent. Maybe I should just start over.) (One of the Polish guys) decided we needed to try some of the local common drinks and kept bringing them over to us totally unprompted. I figured I couldn't come to Poland without trying their signature drinks though, so I obliged. Especially since one of the drinks was made with apple juice! Vodka and apple juice, none the less, but I at least FELT like I was drinking something cute.

…that might help explain how I ended up onstage with my new Polish friend Klaudia singing Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". And "Wonderwall", with the aforementioned Lukas (and a bunch of other YouTubers). And "Can't Fight the Moonlight" from Coyote Ugly, totally by myself. I'm pretty sure all of these got filmed, so for better or worse they'll most likely be going online at some point.

I had such a great time that night. I felt like I bonded a lot with the other American YouTubers, as well as making friends with a lot of the Polish people as well. I chatted for a long time with Nela (the NaNoWriMo winner). I also spent a lot of time with Klaudia, one of the girls who Meghan and I were trying to convince to start vlogging (also mentioned above - can you tell I wrote this blog post in multiple sittings?). I met a boy named Paul on the way back from the bathroom who had just watched all eight Harry Potter movies last weekend after being a "hater" for years and years who after hearing my presentation, felt I would appreciate how much he likes it now. I watched a lot of people sing incredible karaoke, in both English and Polish. I tried to sing along as Lukas interpreted a Polish love song to me in English, but only managed to catch the "Yeah yeah yeah's!". And I danced onstage to "Mambo No. 5" with the winner of the karaoke contest as well as everyone else who'd gotten onstage and "competed" as well.

When we finally boarded the crazy-town-flashing-lights-mobile to go back to the hotel, we were nearly dead on our feet. But this was the good kind of tired. The kind of tired you would not only expect, but would welcome after a day like this day. It was the kind of tired that you know will leave a permanent mark on you, for being in a new country, making new friends, experiencing new foods, traditions and ideas, and pushing yourself to new limits.

This Poland trip has been all of those things for me. I went to bed Saturday night with a smile on my face and absolutely filled to the brim with love for everyone sharing this experience with me.

Flights taken: 19

Saturday, August 20, 2011

BEDA 20: Day 1 in Poland.

There were a couple of excited comments from people on my blog post yesterday saying they're coming to the YouStars event -- I can't wait to meet you guys! As for tonight though -- I've spent a whole day in Warsaw now and I am beyond exhausted.

Leaving London was the worst. I blearily said goodbye to Liam around 3:50 in the morning, left the flat with Alex and walked with him the 10-15 minutes to the bus station I was being picked up at. Luckily I am moderately familiar with London public transport, because as soon as I said my final goodbye to Alex when the bus pulled up, I was on my own for the next two hours during my journey to Heathrow.

The bus ride was relatively easy. I think my body was so confused as to what time I was trying to tell it to adapt to that it just assumed 5 AM in London was a normal time to be awake and functioning normally. I got to Paddington Station, bought my ticket for the Express train to Heathrow, and situated myself in the comfy train seat for the 25 minute journey back to the airport (it was easy to stay awake at that point because there was free wifi on the train, which meant I could spend that leg of my trip complaining about my lack of a Pottermore email on twitter with my friends back home who were actually awake at a decent time).

I didn't start really fading until I got to my gate (and also, Heathrow doesn't the same free internet luxury as their public transport). I nodded off a few times as I sat there waiting for the flight to board with my clunky black boots up on my suitcase. I was joined eventually by my new YouTube friend Dan Dobi, who happened to be on the same flight as me from London to Warsaw. The flight was only about 2 hours long, and somehow we tricked the flight attendants into giving us each two bacon-and-egg salad sandwiches (for airplane food, it was pretty good) so all in all it was a relatively painless flight. I even dozed for about 40 minutes or so before landing in Warsaw.

Once we got into the airport, I had another one of those moments where I rehearsed my speech in my head before going and talking to the customs people because I know my reasons for travel always sounds a bit fishy when it involves YouTube. But in Poland, they didn't even ASK. They just stamped my passport and sent me on my way. Why did I have so much trouble in foreign countries before?? It's been a breeze this time around.

We were greeted by our two contacts from FEEL IT Communications, the company that is putting on this whole event (two women named Karolina and I don't remember how to spell the other girl's name but we are calling her "Alex" for short). We walked outside and saw the biggest limo I have ever seen in my entire life. Picture a hummer limo? Yeah, got it? Okay, it's twice as long as that. No joke. There were disco balls (yes, plural) inside as well as one wall with a screen for playing DVDs and literally everything was made of color changing lights. Everything about this would have been a lot more exciting if I wasn't still running on fumes from Thursday at noon on Friday. I don't think I have ever gone that long without sleeping before.

Our rooms at the hotels weren't ready for us, so Karolina and Alex took Dan and I to this park where the name translated to "Toilet" in Polish. We walked around along the pretty paths and looked at statues and flowers and a big pond before stopping to get milkshakes at a little outdoor café. The Dan and I both had to use the bathroom and both simultaneously got yelled at for not paying when we left (paying to use the bathroom! How bizarre!). After an hour or two of this, I was literally dead on my feet so we headed back to the limo-extravaganza and began finally making our way to the hotel.

The next few hours were a blur because I was too tired to even really process what was happening. Between more hotel room mix-ups and getting yelled at for sleeping on a couch in the lobby, being dragged to the mall to get food while they stalled with our rooms and then getting VERY STERNLY yelled at for wearing our shoes in the pool area (I have now learned that such an activity is NOT OKAY in Poland) I just can't even tell you what a long day it was.

After the shoe-wearing-pool-debacle, I trudged downstairs and saw that Meghan, Jimmy and Cat had arrived… but I was so over-tired and grumpy and shuffled-about that they took one look at me, hugged me, and totally understood when I grabbed my suitcase and high-tailed it up to my room. The next two and a half hours were spent in exhausted napping bliss alone in my room.

I wasn't quite refreshed at that point per se, but I was at least more of a functioning member of society. I met up with the whole group downstairs in the lobby (we had since been joined by Will (thewillofdc), Corey (smpfilms), Kate (Katersoneseven), Greg (mediocrefilms) and a few Polish vloggers who'd be spending the weekend with us as well. We were then off to dinner, which we walked to, which was something like twenty minutes away in the part of Warsaw called "Old Town".

We were in a cute little restaurant called "Phucker" or something (I bet you can already imagine the jokes we made about that name) and we all sat along a single long table with candles decorating it. The menu was in English as well as Polish but that only helped so much -- I ended up ordering something that was half made of words I didn't know, but I wanted to be daring so I went for it. One of the things I ordered, a mini dumpling dish, came with something called "lovage". I still don't know what it is. I also ordered a main dish with a name like "Tenderloin in the Woods" or something, which was honestly too funny NOT to order. Kate and Meghan and I shared a dessert that was a type of pancake with blended something or other inside.. I think it was a sort of pureed nut filling. It also came with ice cream. It was delicious. We spent the evening laughing at our food, sharing bites, and getting to know each other and our new Polish friends. As tired as we all were, it was a really nice way to spend our first evening in Warsaw.

We all piled back into the hummer-tastic transport device spectacular after dinner and on our way back to the hotel, we discovered that the limo had fog machines installed inside. Fog machines. It was at that point that this trip passed "surreal" and went straight into the realm of "seriously, what on earth is my life?". When I finally crawled into bed that evening, I was more than happy. It was a really wonderful (albeit exhausting) day, and I couldn't be more happy right now to have the life that I do. :)

Flights taken: 19

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BEDA 19: Sundaes and Evernote!

I'm going to start today's blog post with a conversation I had with Alex and Charlie a few hours ago that made me laugh really hard:

Alex: Have you finished your sundae?
Me: Yeah I did; it was good, thanks.
Charlie: Are you excited for your Monday?

It's currently 2 AM on Friday morning, so it's not really quite time for blogging yet, but I have a long morning of obnoxious traveling ahead of me so I kind of just want to get it out of the way. In about two hours I'm taking a bus to a tube station to get on an express train to Heathrow so I can be there by 5:30 AM for my 7:30 AM flight to Warsaw, Poland. The good news is I will be there by 11 AM so I can hopefully sleep a bit before the other YouTubers even get in, but the bad news is --- my travel schedule. And saying goodbye to Alex, Charlie and Liam, who I'm currently hanging out with. Well, Alex and Charlie are working on a script in the kitchen while Liam and I watch My Little Pony and organize things on Evernote in the other room, but still.

Leaving is going to suck. Having not been in London for two years, being here such a short time was absolutely not enough. I could complain about this all day, as I did yesterday, but I'm just so frustrated with the fact that there are so many amazing people over here that I don't get to see nearly enough, as well as so many things about London that I just adore (and had even forgotten I adored, like staring at tube maps) so basically, this trip was merely a huge tease. I need to come back. Maybe next summer, we'll see.

On that subject, I got a comment on my last blog post that really got the gears turning in my head so I wanted to share it:

"Which would you prefer: To have many brief visits with friends all over, leaving many little holes in your heart? Or fewer but longer visits with friends, leaving you with larger and deeper holes that will take longer to heal? More likely, it'll progress from the former, to the latter, and finally to settling down, when your heart finds a part it can't bear to lose." -badbob001

That was such a beautiful way to word that sentiment. In general I've always felt it was better to have stronger, more meaningful connections with a handful of people rather than a bunch of casual friendships that are only surface level or a few layers deep. But all of this crazy internet and fandom stuff has really thrown a kink into that, since I feel like I make those deep meaningful friendships all the time. With something like this, quantity doesn't really actually detract from quality, but it gets harder and harder to make everyone a priority in your life, especially when they live so far away.

Okay. Now Alex is back and he's reading Liam and I hilarious articles about horrible chip (crisp) flavors so there's no way I am going to get to be any sort of insightful anymore, so I will continue these musings later. Onward to Poland!

Flights taken: 18

BEDA 18: Stretched thin.

The only thing I don't like about blogging every day is that I don't feel like I am doing justice to my time in London by forcing myself to blog about it in these tiny spaces between the things I'm doing while I am here. I don't like rushing through writing, but I also don't want to spend my time here crafting artful blog posts when I could be just living my life. So again, this will be short, and hopefully I'll write more about it later when I have a bit more free time to reflect.

Yesterday was mostly spent recording the video I mentioned (which will be on YouTube soon) and then I got Alex started on watching Community. Around four thirty (is it weird that after only two days I already find myself almost typing "half-four"? Oh London.) we left with Charlie to meet Rosi and everyone else in town for her birthday bowling excursion. She was already with Lex and Claire, so we got our bowling shoes on and headed over to our reserved lane.

When I was getting my shoes, they asked, "size"? and I froze for a moment and then replied, "Um. I have no idea what show size I wear here." I remember I had memorized it back when I was living here, but that's definitely the kind of fact that leaves your mind after two years away. After trying a few pairs, we deduced that I am a 4. So. That's a fact about me. Although I seem to recall being a 5 now that I think about it.

Bowling was a ton of fun. I felt badly, because everyone was saying "I'm terrible at bowling!" before we started, and I was joining in with the sentiment (because I am) but somehow, that just wasn't true last night at all. Maybe it's something about being in London. Maybe UK bowling is easier. I have no idea, but while everyone else scored in the 50's, I managed a 111. I think it was the first time I scored over 100 in my life, seriously. Unless we're counting Wii Bowling, in which case, I'm awesome.

Melissa came and met up with us about halfway through the bowling, and the computer made her take all five turns she'd missed at once, which was hilarious to watch. I can only imagine how sore her arm was after all that. Lex got a drink called a Zombie which was delicious but had so much alcohol in it they only let you order two in a night -- I decided I should get one too, without looking at how much it cost. It was twelve pounds. TWELVE POUNDS. That's like a $20 drink. There was a tiny of piece of me that was screaming as I handed my fancy little traveler's debit card over, but who cares. How often do I get to hang out with my friends in London, right?

We went to a little Italian restaurant afterwards which was lovely. It was so nice to get to chat with everyone. I mean, I've been spoiled in getting to spend a lot of time with Rosi this past year, and I see Melissa every few months; even Charlie and Alex I just got to hang out with at VidCon, but there's something different about hanging out with them in London. And especially Claire and Lex -- I haven't seen either them since 2009. So it was just overall a really nice evening.

We met up with Jazza again after dinner and headed to a pub for our third stop of the night. I had another "Cider and Black" (I realized I got it wrong yesterday, drat!) and we hung out there for an hour or two. It was in that moment, sitting there with my friends, talking and laughing, that it really hit me how short this trip is. I guess that's the nature of my life though. I have so many amazing friends in so many different places... you can't really spread yourself that far across the globe and ever really feel like you have enough time with anyone. Every moment you get with someone just makes you realize you had a hole exactly that shape in your heart that you'd forgotten about. And London left a huge hole in mine.

Alex and I are just simultaneously writing blog posts right now, and I think Rosi and Liam are both on their way over to the flat now. So it'll be nice to get a bit more time with people before my stupidly early flight to Poland tomorrow. At least I'm going someplace else that's fun and not just home. That would be a lot more difficult.

Anyhow. London. It's great. I'll write more tomorrow.

Flights taken: 18

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BEDA 17: Cider with Black?

Yeah, blogging every day is proving to be more difficult than I thought while I'm here in London. There is so much to do and so little time to do it all. I'm currently at Alex and Charlie's flat and this post is being typed up between takes of a video Alex and I are trying valiantly to record. It involves playing music, so it's hard. Alex is taking a break right now to drink some tea, because he's British.

Yesterday Rosi and Lex picked me up at Heathrow Airport and we went right to Nando's for lunch. I had really forgotten how much I love some of the restaurants in London, and Rosi knew it had been much too long since I'd gotten to enjoy Nando's. After lunch we met up with Jazza in Trafalgar Square, where I had to stop for a moment and close my eyes in an attempt to imagine the place being swarmed by Potter fans as J.K. Rowling and the actors from the films waltzed in for the Deathly Hallows part two premiere. Then Jazza found out I had never sat on one of the big lions, so we rectified that immediately. That will be in a video.

We walked and chatted for awhile before Lex insisted we go to M&M World. After wandering for bit, we deduced that the whole store only carried about ten different items but some reason they had found a way to spread those items out amongst four whole floors. Also, it was about 3 and 1/2 rooms of M&M dispensers and only half a room of actual M&Ms. So, that was M&M World.

Before heading out of central London, Jazza wanted to get a drink - so we headed off to a standard pub, which felt incredibly reminiscent of my study abroad days. I ordered my favorite - a cider with blackcurrant in it (I still can never remember how to say it all cool like a local... I think it was "cider with black"? I have no idea, I'm probably wrong) and reveled in the remembrance that I could get all the things I loved about London that aren't sold in America -- like Millionaire's Shortbread and Strawberry Ribena and Indian food that doesn't suck. I wish I was going to be here longer. 2 and a half days is such a tease.

Well, I have lots more London adventures to be had and a video to film, so that's all for today.

Flights taken: 18

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BEDA 16: Sparkling wine.

So. Here's a thing I learned today. On international flights, alcohol is free. It's funny because in yesterday's blog post I was still doubting this trip a little, but only a few hours into my flight to London, I'm already having the time of my life.

I sat down in my aisle seat (52C, I didn't even know there WERE that many rows) and within minutes a 20 year old girl named Olivia sat down next to me. She's lovely - from Alaska, studying abroad in Vienna, incredibly sweet. We got to talking right away (her about her nerves concerning studying abroad, me reassuring her as I've done it before) and then we started bonding over the fact that both of our parents told us before leaving on this trip that alcohol is free on overseas flights and encouraged us to take advantage of it.

We were both a little timid in asking for it; when the fight attendant came by we asked, "um, do you have champagne?" Bored, she replied, "we have sparkling wine".

Yes, sparkling wine will do. Haha.

But then! Then she asked, "and what would you like with dinner? White or red?"

Clearly she was asking about wine, so we both replied, wide-eyed, "white please". So here we were, two timid girls just wanting a glass of champagne, being handed two mini-bottles of wine EACH. Needless to say, I finished both before starting this blog post. I'm having a GREAT time.

This is the biggest plane I have ever been on. It's one of those planes with three sections -- two seats on the outsides by the windows and a row of five seats in the middle. That much is standard, but THIS plane also has these crazy sleeper pods in the front for the rich people, as well as a STAIRCASE at the front of the plane -- I don't know where the staircase goes, but I can only imagine it goes to a crazy second story of the plane filled with magic and wonder and things people like me (of average income) can only dream of.

I crack myself up every time I travel, because I always worry and stress and in the end, traveling is where I am meant to be. I'm only just on my flight right now but already I'm having a blast. I'm about to watch Sucker Punch (the kind of movie I would probably only watch on a plane) and maybe eventually I'll try to sleep. There's just so much exciting stuff to watch/do/experience on this flight - what's a little jet lag, right? I'm going to regret this tomorrow.

Flight update: Sucker Punch was really weird, so I only made it about 2/3 of the way through before I gave up and tried to fall asleep. I had accidentally kicked my blanket under the feet of the sleeping man in front of me, so I had to go into cat-like stealth mode and ninja my way on all fours up to his seat to expertly un-wedge it. I think I ended up waking up anyway (oops) but I was back to my seat before he realized what had happened.

We're landing in about 40 minutes, I have no idea how long I slept, and I'm kind of hating everything right now. Someone opened a window a few minutes ago and it was SO BRIGHT. It's going to be interesting to see how long I last today... I had such high hopes for my lack of tiredness. Fingers crossed.

Flights taken: 18

Monday, August 15, 2011

BEDA 15: Airports and writing.

I'm sitting at SeaTac airport right now, about a half an hour early for my flight and it suddenly hit me -- when I get off my flight in London, it will be Tuesday. So, rushed Monday airport blog post, commence!

As Justin drove me to the airport today, there was a tiny piece of me that was sort of bummed as the sun shone down on us and we cruised down the freeway. Seattle always has such a short summer, and it's so beautiful. But summers are always my busiest, most hectic traveling times, so I ALWAYS MISS IT. I know I am going to have an amazing time in London and Poland this week, and I am so thankful for the opportunity, but as I sat in that car on my way to the airport I definitely said a mental goodbye to another summer in Seattle. Maybe it will still be nice in September. I hope so.

I just found out I have an aisle seat on this flight -- 9 hours, in an aisle seat. I really try not to complain about things like this because I know many, many people don't get the opportunity to travel at all, but nine hours in an aisle seat (overnight) is going to be pretty rough. I promised Rosi and Lex I would try to sleep on the plane so I can attempt to skip jet lag and jump right into fun with them tomorrow morning when I arrive, but... I wouldn't be surprised if I trudge out of Heathrow tomorrow as zombie Kristina. Whatever. Worth it.

I forgot to mention this yesterday -- when Liz and I woke up on Sunday, we started chatting about nanowrimo and writing and novel ideas. I was agonizing over the fact that I don't even have the slightest hint of an idea for mine this year, but after talking with her for awhile (Liz is totally my muse) an idea fell out of the sky right into my lap. This wasn't just any idea either, it was one of those fully-fleshed-out monsters of an idea that appeared in my brain demanding I write it immediately. So later that day when I was at the park with Tyler, I couldn't help but pull out a notebook and furiously jot down ideas and details while the sun warmed my back.

People ask me sometimes where I get inspiration for story ideas, and a lot of times it's just like that. In the midst of a conversation with Liz, something she says will spark something and my brain will wander off on a completely different tangent - and soon I'm not even listening to her anymore but instead dreaming up a whole separate plot/world/etc. She knows that happens sometimes, and she's okay with it. She does it to me too. Haha. It's half the reason we even talk to each other about writing.

Anyway, I was excited to have come up with a new idea that I'm so into, and I can't wait for November to get here. I think my flight is boarding soon so I should probably go. Next time I update, I'll be in London!

Flights taken: 17

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BEDA 14: Casper!

Well, tonight was one of those "oops, I forgot to write a blog post" nights. I've got friends over right now, we're watching "Casper" on TV, and I leave tomorrow for London. So... I might give myself a free pass and make tonight's blog post short.

Last night I went to my parent's house (Liz came too, which was fun) where we ate a lot of food, had a bonfire, and my brother took Liz and I out in his modified jeep. It was hilarious, because when Nick asked "you wanna go for a ride in my jeep?" I knew exactly what he meant but Liz just assumed he meant we'd be going for a drive... like on streets. We didn't drive on streets.

Instead, we headed back to the woods just south of our neighborhood where my brother took us through the trails on a ride akin to being chased by dinosaurs. I can't believe how wild it can get back there, but he has that trail memorized like the back of his hand -- so I was never really too worried. Liz kept exclaiming, "this is not what I expected!"

When it got a bit later, Liz and I drove out to her parents' house where we were spending the night and stayed up until about one in the morning eating strawberry rhubarb pie and watching a "best of the eleventh doctor" special on BBC America.

Today I went to the park with my friends Tyler and Ted, where we laid in the sun, played the card game "Guillotine", tossed around a frisbee and picked blackerries. It was a lovely way to spend my last day in Seattle for traveling off to Europe for a week.

Now we're up to date, so I'm gonna go. Forgive the relatively boring update post. Cat's Halloween party is about to start and I can't wait to find out if Casper gets to be a human.

Flights taken: 17

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BEDA 13: Dogs and Cats. And Pottermore.


I did myself the favor of not making any plans for this weekend (since I am going out of the country on Monday) but I forgot to consider the fact that I would then be bored out of my mind, alone in my bedroom, as a result. So when my mom tried to talk me into coming and hanging with the family tonight.. I agreed. I think she and my dad were both surprised; usually they have to twist my arm to get me to drive out there.

I'm not leaving for about an hour though, so right now I figured I would get today's BEDA post out of the way. I have been feeling apathetic about the styles of blogs I've been doing lately (the kind where I just list the things I've been doing, even though I've been doing relatively exciting things) so I decided to ask for various topics to blog about from you guys.

Here are the topics people suggested I blog about on Twitter:

1. Cats: I'm not even sure exactly what to say beyond this -- I absolutely love cats. I reblog way too many pictures of adorable kittens on tumblr and if someone has a pet cat and I'm over at their hosue, I can't help but start playing with it. I already have a natural affinity for things that are adorable, and it just so happens cats generally top that list for me. Sometimes I wish I didn't travel as much so I could have a little kitty of my own, but I know I'd be a terrible owner; always leaving it with a babysitter (catsitter?) every month when I'm out of town.

2. Dogs (particularly my dog): This story is a bit more complex than "OMG KITTIES I LOVE THEM!!" I never really liked dogs when I was younger. I don't like being licked or slobbered on, I don't like having big muddy paws landing on my shirt, I don't like hearing barking or stepping in dog poop or seeing any of my possessions covered in chew-marks. When I would go to friends' houses with dogs I felt like I spent more time pushing furry bodies away saying "get down, boy," and "go away!" then I spent enjoying myself.

My brother decided he wanted to get a pet dog when I was about fifteen and I was furious. Even more so when my mom and dad let him. An overexcited catahoula bounding down my hallway every time I wanted to leave my bedroom was not something I was excited to get used to.

But I did. The first year or so of having our dog, Honey, she and I had a strict co-existence policy on living together. She didn't mess with me, I didn't mess with her. I think she could tell I didn't like her, because she didn't come in my room, she didn't lick me, she didn't touch any of my shoes I liked to leave by the door.

I think it was this alone that made me fall in love with her. The fact that she was smart enough to realize I needed space to come to terms with her made me feel like I was living with the best dog in the world. After a while, she started testing out sleeping by my feet while we'd watch TV in the family room and resting her head on my lap while I sat at the dining room table. Over time she began to greet me when I came home from school and I would scratch her head/belly (but she still never jumped on me).

Now I don't live at home anymore and I really miss Honey sometimes. She showed me that dogs are just big loving creatures who want to be your friend, and through my relationship with her, I started to learn to love other dogs as well. In the end it was a really good thing that Nick wanted to adopt her. She really helped me grow as a person and an animal-lover.

I have now exhausted the topics suggested to me on twitter (slow day for social media, though I suppose I did ask on my second twitter, which has much fewer followers than my main one) so I'm going to finish this blog post today with a Pottermore survey I stole from Hayley.
  1. What's your Pottermore username? StarPotion101
  2. What House do you think it sounds like? I think it sounds like Slytherin house, mostly because of the Potion bit and always relating Potions to Snape. It also kind of sounds like Ravenclaw to me, because the "101" at the end makes it sound like a class one may take.
  3. What House do you want to be in? I would like to continue to be a Slytherin, if it were up to me. The more I think about it though -- Back in 2004, I decided the best theme for a wizard rock back would be a 'Slytherin girl band', and I feel like I've spent the better part of the last seven years adapting my vision of what Slytherin house is to fit me (because I wanted so badly to identify with that house after 'representing' it for so long). I think I do embody a lot of the traits of Slytherin house (ambition, cunning, deviating from the norm, being overly emotional) but I may have lost sight of how much of that was from the band and how much I really truly identify with Slytherin myself. So I'm excited to get sorted, basically.
  4. Does your username relate to you at all? I think it does! I was happy to get a username with "star" in it (in the sense that stars/space is awesome, not that I consider myself a 'star') and I like it paired with "potion". I think the best usernames are the ones where the two words kind of work together, not to mention I super lucked out with getting "101" as my number. I was hoping for a unicorn name, but I am very pleased with what I got.
  5. What kind of wand would you wish to get? I always thought my wand would be willow, slightly springy with a unicorn hair. But... this is one of the aspects of Pottermore I am not worried about at all. I'm sure whatever I get will be cool.
  6. Are you pure, half-blooded or Muggle born? You know, I never actually thought about that. In the Parselmouths we have a bunch of songs about being pure-bloods, but in all honesty, I bet I'd be muggle-born.
  7. Which day did you get into Pottermore? Day 1. Like I would have waited. :)
  8. What shape is your Patronus? A unicorn.
  9. What does your boggart look like? I'm with Ron on this one - a big-ass hairy spider.
  10. Would you rather be an Animagus or a Matamorphmagus? Animagus, definitely.
  11. If you were an Animagus, what animal would you be? I would be a cat for sure.

Flights taken: 17

Friday, August 12, 2011

BEDA 12: Green fire!

It was funny - last night after I finished my blog I bounded downstairs looking for Justin, ready to watch Milo and Otis - but then the doorbell rang. I had completely forgotten my friend Tyler was stopping by to pick up his phone that he'd left here on Tuesday. He'd come with our other friend Ted, and I has assumed they were just going to drop in for a second but they ended up staying for a couple of hours to hang out with us.

We spent a majority of the evening in our kitchen talking about Halloween costumes (hey you can never start too early) but before I knew it, Justin was getting out all these crazy materials to make green fire. He put it all together in one of our bowls and we stood around it on the back porch (outside, for safety), transfixed on the strangely colored flames as it danced around the edge of the ceramic dish.

Then he made another one with blue flame, which wasn't nearly as impressive since a lot of flame actually is blue in real life. It's really amazing to me that after all this time, after inventing the wheel and discovering electricity and getting TV and the Internet and having millions and millions of websites full of information so readily available to us - fire is still such a novelty.

The evening ended with all of us (including my other roommate Gabe) in the living room, sprawled out on the couch, chairs and carpet, coloring pictures again. Only this time, Gabe had hooked his laptop and awesome speakers up to our TV and we were watching crazy music videos on YouTube for dubstep songs. Really, really loudly. In the middle of the night.

Now it's the morning, and I wanted to comment on a few things people said on yesterday's blog post:

"I just hate all movies involving talking dogs. Any and all movies. So, I can't even." -Afton
I don't think you understand how much this statement resonates with me. I seriously loathe talking dog movies. But it's specifically movies where REAL dogs are physically talking (ie. behaving like humans). I'm totally fine with animated dogs talking, or in the case of Milo and Otis, real dogs behaving like dogs but having a voice-over of their thoughts. As long as they don't use movie magic to make their mouths move, I'm okay with it.

"I have never watched Milo and Otis! I am really bad at movies. Like, there are a disproportionate amount of movies that "everybody's seen" that I haven't. xD" -Manar
I'm terrible at movies as well. My friends actually used to joke about it. I'm always that girl who, when asked, "You know in that one movie where the guy..." "Haven't seen it." The problem is, there are so many older movies that people always say are "classics!" but, there are also so many NEW movies each year, when do I ever have time to go back and watch the ones I missed? And who thinks, "Hey. Today seems like a good day to finally go back and watch the Sixth Sense." You know what I mean?

"It was 2 years since you were living in London? Wow I've been following your blog for a long time xD and thats not even when I started." -Ben
It's crazy to me, too. It feels like so long ago, and it's amazing to think some of you guys have been with me that long (or longer!). To be perfectly honest, you blog readers know almost everything that happens in my life. It means a lot that you guys care so much, and I've been happy to share it with you. :) Thanks for being here with me, guys.

Flights taken: 17

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BEDA 11: Milo and Otis.

Well. This morning sucked. I am tired of thinking about it though, so I won't delve into a six paragraph long rant about how I lost everything on my iPad and had to restore it to its original factory settings. Worst.

Instead, I will talk today about the movie Milo and Otis. My roommate Justin has been pestering me to watch it for literally four months (that's how long we've had the dvd from Netflix) since it was his favorite movie as a child. We finally sat down last night to watch it, and while I am totally worthless at staying awake during movies/tv at night, I made it at least 2/3 of the way into the film (we'll be finishing it tonight). I know it was made a long time ago and is meant for kids, but I was SO BLOWN AWAY AT HOW GOOD IT IS.

I seriously don't understand how they filmed some of those scenes. Especially the ones where Otis is being all protective of the chicken egg, or when he and Milo are watching the baby chick hatch together, or when Otis is pestering the toad, or when any of the kittens jump/fall into the floating box. Not to mention how they made a dog and a cat appear to be best friends and have them actually interacting with each other as if they're thinking like humans.

I was just so impressed. I wish more movies were like this one. It's such a cute and playful narrative documentary of animal life and I just love it. I can't believe I had never seen this movie before. What was I doing as a child??

I spent most of this afternoon editing a video (one that took much longer than standard vlog-editing) and it's definitely a relief to be watching it export now. I had so much footage to sort through for this one. That's the worst part of video editing -- having too much footage and having to dig to find what you want to use. It's so time consuming and tedious. I guess on the flip side, not having enough footage and having to make it stretch is actually worse. Well, whatever the case, it's convenient when you have just the right amount of footage.

I'm starting to get a little nervous about leaving the country on Monday (and going to a place I've never been before, Poland eek) so I'm just very glad I have virtually no plans for the next three days. I'm looking forward to just relaxing, catching up on TV shows (I haven't even started watching the new season of Torchwood) and packing for my trip. It's not like I haven't traveled to foreign countries by myself before, I just haven't really mentally prepared for this particular trip yet. I'm really glad I am stopping in London before heading to Poland. Going to Warsaw will be new and exciting and scary, but London is familiar.

I truly cannot believe how long it's been since I was "living" there. It's been two whole years next month actually, and I am itching to go back. There are so many people I want to see, restaurants I want to eat at, sights I want to see. I hope I can fit it all in my three days there!

Well, blogging about Milo and Otis made me really want to finish the movie, so I'm going to go find Justin and make that happen. I think he's watching stupid boring pre-season football. I wonder if I can make him switch it.

Flights taken: 17

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BEDA 10: Drinking Night.

It's Wednesday night, so as usual, I'm at Project Night again. There are very few people here this week, so instead of being productive, Alexander decided to redub the evening as "Drinking Night". I've now had 2 shots of something I couldn't identify and there's currently a third sitting in front of me. So, the rest of this blog post will be interesting. Also, my "project" tonight was cleaning out my inbox/replying to emails. So. Lucky you, people I am emailing tonight.

In bloggy related life things, we took Eia out to Beth's Cafe for her birthday last night, which is one of my favorite diners in Seattle. I think it was on 'Man vs. Food' one time, actually. They're pretty famous for their out-of-control twelve egg omelette (though the menu explicitly states there is no prize for finishing the omelette other than the feeling of a job well done). I have never tried the twelve egg omelette, myself. Someday. Maybe someday.

Anyway, I personally love Beth's because 1. I love places where you can order breakfast all day long and 2. the walls are completely covered in drawings by past customers. So we went out for food around 12:30 at night, we all ordered these freaking huge plates of food, and we colored.

I am so obsessed with coloring lately. Have you see my new tumblr about that very topic? I'm just kidding. Of course you have. In fact, you're already following it. Right?

Oh. Oh no. This third shot is not good at all. I said that out loud, and Alexander just told me, "just shoot it. That's the fastest way to get rid of a drink you don't like." I asked, "Oh, shoot it? Just drink all the alcohol, then you don't have to drink it anymore? Great idea. Why have I never thought of that before?"

Oh yeah! Today the My Little Pony episode of Know Your Meme went live, and I was super nervous about it because I want their fandom to like me, and you never know if people will think you've misrepresented them or something. But everyone seemed to really like it! The response on YouTube, Equestria Daily and the actual Know Your Meme site were super positive, so that was a huge relief. I'm pretty proud of the episode, and I'm so glad I've gotten to keep helping with the new KYM episodes.

I mentioned the other day that I'm going to Poland? Yeah, they booked my ticket today so I can officially say, I will be in Warsaw, Poland from the 19-22 of August for this YouTube event called YouStars Live. I actually don't know a ton about what is actually happening there, but it's essentially a meetup, in Poland. Myself and a handful of other YouTubers will be doing panels/talks and then there are some parties and general YouTubey fun. If you live anywhere near that area, you should really come. Because, let's be honest, I doubt I'll ever be in Poland again.

You know, I am thinking back right now, and I honestly don't think I have ever written a blog post while drinking before. This is a really surreal experience. Taking something that's so familiar and normal and making it slightly more outwardly difficult... is weird. This is enough to constitute a BEDA post, right? Am I done? I think I'm done. It feels like I have been typing forever. On that note, I think I'll go word-vom on some other realm of the Internet now. So... bye.

Disclaimer: I'm 23. So this is okay.

Flights taken: 17

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BEDA 9: Game Night!

I feel like every moment since I've gotten home from VidCon has just been a nonstop party. And in a way, it is. From spending time with friends to the Renaissance Faire to last night's game-night... I really haven't slowed down one bit. And today is Eia's twenty-third birthday, so naturally we have to take her out!

But before I get ahead of myself, game night.

I don't know if I have made explicitly clear how much I love my house. I live in this big old college house near the University of Washington (lovingly dubbed the "Mammoth Caves" off a Apples to Apples card from nearly three years ago) and while it's not very wonderfully decorated and maybe everything doesn't work exactly as it should, it has so much charm. The kitchen is huge and has a big island in the middle for cooking, the dining room has a big window out to the back yard, the living room is so comfortable and inviting - not to mention the house is fantastic for parties. We have had so, so many amazing parties here.

Anyway, last night was no exception. I had 8-9 friends over to play all these board games I bought recently, and everything was just so much fun. We started out the night by buying two bags of those break-off cookies, and then Ariana waltzed in with two more bags, so before the game-playing even started we made about something like four-five batches of warm gooey cookies. After loading them all up on plates, we headed to the dining room and began the games.

I'm going to be making a video about all of the games we played soon, so I don't want to give too much away, but man. I think playing silly board games is one of the things I enjoy doing most with my Seattle friends. It just gets so ridiculously crazy so fast. Especially when it's a game that encourages silly behavior.

We took a big break in the middle of the board gaming to color a bunch more pictures in my growing collection of coloring books (I'm just going to keep plugging this tumblr until I have you all submitting to it, haha) and I was amazed at the artistic skill in crayon shading in some of my friends. Especially after a few of what Justin likes to call his "Forever Panther" drink.

The night continued uproariously with the boys flying this rogue remote control helicopter all around the house and the girls worrying it was going to get tangled in their hair. We ordered pizza and kept daring Justin to send the helicopter out to get it when the pizza delivery guy got to the house, but no one could fly it quite well enough to accomplish such a feat.

A lot of people ended up staying over, which is always fun, and it was another fairly late night. But hey. It's summer. We can do whatever we want. Even on Monday nights.

Flights taken: 17

Monday, August 8, 2011

BEDA 8: Green goop.

I haven't really done too much since my last blog post, but I have a bunch of friends coming over for a games night in a little while and I can't guarantee they wont be gone by midnight, so here I am. BEDA day 8. Trying to find something to say.

Last night I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones with Liz, Ariana and Justin. I will admit, I was super, super tired so I was nodding off a little at parts, but I did really like what I managed to see. I'll be watching more in the next few days hopefully, so I'll give an update about that as it's relevant.

Liz and I both passed out extremely early last night (the faire really takes it out of you) so my day began around 8:30. Most of the morning was spent replying to emails I missed over the weekend and having a skype conference about a trip to Poland I may or may not be taking next week (details forthcoming, I promise). Around one, Liz and I drove up to Panera by the mall and had a freaking FEAST there (we were both just ravenous; looking back, I don't even remember tasting my tomato soup and bread-bowl combo) and then spent some time wandering around a Tokyo gifts store exclaiming about how much we love looking at cute things (such as Hello Kitty and erasers shaped like unicorns and sushi) and shopping for a birthday present for Eia (who turns 23 tomorrow!).

The afternoon has been spent cleaning up my living room for my party, coloring a picture of Rapunzel for my new tumblr, and trying to cover my ridiculous face sunburn with makeup.

I think I've resigned myself to the fact that today's blog post will just be short. In the mean time, I will leave you with this thought - I wish it were easier to get aloe vera gel onto one's scalp. Because no one wants green goop just chillin' in their hair. Sigh.

Flights taken: 17

Sunday, August 7, 2011


My skin is so hot right now.

I don't get sunburned very often, but when it does happen, it happens badly. I spent all weekend at the Renaissance Faire (which was a total and complete blast) but the last few hours there today completely destroyed me. I have weird tan-lines between my sunburns in the shape of off the shoulder Renaissance blouses and a leather purse strap across my chest. Dumbest souvenir ever.

But anyway! I got up (relatively) early yesterday and packed up the car with Liz and Ariana. We put on our Medieval best and headed out for the "Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire". It's about 40 minutes away, and let me tell you, 40 minutes in a car wearing a tightly laced bodice is an adventure. Bodices were not intended for use on car rides; that much is clear.

We got to the faire-grounds and ditched our car in the camping area before heading over to the festival itself. None of our other friends were there yet, so we spent the next hour or two picking out an outfit for Ariana, as she didn't actually own any medieval garb yet. I suckered myself into buying a new short sleeved red chemise that matches my gold and black costume pieces better (and gives me more of a pirate look) and a sturdy leather belt (to hold all my accessories, since my old one had been breaking).

After our shopping adventures, we met up with Eia, our friends Gabe, Nick and Justin, as well as the whole crew of guys we met at LAST year's Renaissance Faire. It was funny to have planned to come together this year, since last year we ended up camping right next to each other on mere accident (and then becoming friends). So anyway, we found Tyler, Ted, Trevor, AJ and Jeremy wandering around decked in furs and holding chalices, just as we would have expected to find them.

I'm going to be honest... since it was the Renaissance Fair, most of the rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, and wandering around the fairgrounds looking for people who were having parties we could crash. We spent a good deal of time at our own campsite, but headed to another tent called "Paisley Glen" later in the evening where wenches and pirates were making mixed drinks, and of course had our (now annual) trip to Ye Old Tavern Bar where we downed spiced mead and erupted into raucous singing with little regard to those around us.

The evening ended with a moderately drunken scramble to get everyone situated into tents (though for some reason we had a 12 person tent that only 2 people ended up sleeping in while at least 4 people slept in their cars) as well as the horribly stumbly trips to the port-a-potty in the dark (naturally the worst part of the renaissance weekend). Seriously. Using a port-a-potty is bad enough, but when you can't actually see anything you're doing? Worst. Luckily we had these glowstick bracelets that helped a tiny bit... just the tiniest bit.

Anyway, we all woke up the next morning groggy, covered in dew, and in rumpled half put together versions of the previous day's outfits. Tyler had this dinky little grill he used to make us a potato/peppers/onion/egg scramble for breakfast (that only took about an hour to make, which was hilarious). While he cooked, we laughed at ourselves and the state of our campsite (I wish I had a picture to show you -- not only were there red solo cups and empty bottles EVERYWHERE, the wreckage was period appropriately decorated with nerf battle axes and a few various swords sticking out of the ground, claiming the territory as our own). It was seriously the funniest aftermath of a nerdy party I've ever seen.

The faire opened again at ten so we did our best to make ourselves look decent without showering, laced ourselves back into our outfits, and set out for the fairegrounds. Today was a very low-key day at the faire, which was nice. We stopped by the tavern (where we found a curly blonde wig one of us had lost the night before, propped up on the head of a dragon that decorated the bar - which was hilarious) and stood awhile by the misters they had against the back wall. It was hot today. Much hotter than Saturday.

I kept cycling between "this mist feels amazing", "wait, I'm actually soaking wet right now," and "how did I dry that fast, I'm hot again". Eventually we decided to get some food (I got an ear of corn and a chocolate/banana crepe) and watched a bit of the Queen's Pike and Rifle. Once we got bored of that we just found a shady bit of hay to sit on and watched the faire-goers stroll by in their outfits, enjoying the slight breeze and chatting with each other. There was this guy dressed as a.. I'm not even sure what. A goat man or something? But he literally spent the whole weekend just creeping around in a creepy manner walking all goat-like and staring at people, and my friends yelled at me when he locked eyes with me from across the field and waggled his fingers in this totally weirdo way -- and I waved back. Haha. Whatever! The goat man cracked me up!

Mid-afternoon we headed back over to the camp to pack up our tent and think about heading home. This was the point of the day that I'm sure we all got terribly sunburned, as I could feel the rays beating down and we transported stuff to the cars, tore down the tent, and said our goodbyes. Weirdest tanlines. Skin is so hot. Totally worth it.

Overall, this was another successful Renaissance Faire. I freaking love dressing up and being around other people who love this stuff too. I was telling my friends, Renn Faire is basically just a glorified weekend of playing dress-up, but I am totally okay with that. It also involves camping, eating, and spending time with good friends; three of my favorite pastimes.

So, I had a great weekend, I'm sad it's over, and I think I'm going to go put more aloe all over my body. :)

Flights taken: 17