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Travel: Puerto Galera, Philippines

March 6, 2017

A few years ago, my friend Annie asked me to travel to the Philippines with her to visit her dad. While visiting her dad’s resorts, we became certified scuba divers, ate pounds of curry, paid pennies for massages, and soaked up as much sun as possible.

Ever-so-thoughtful Annie was kind enough to send us a package of treats after her last trip to the Philippines. Instead of just eating the treats, I thought it was necessary to turn the gifts into an educational experience. I bribed the boys and therefore, everyone eagerly participated in my Filipino education course in the comfort of our kitchen.

Together we…

1. Painted Filipino Flags


2. Made Jude taste-test the candy




3. Flew airplanes to the Philippines


4.  AND I was able to show the boys my favorite photos from my trip with Annie.


If you ever want to venture to the Philippines, I have a few tips for you:

1. Pack an extra pair of underwear… or three.
Thank goodness Annie is a seasoned traveler and made sure to pack extra underwear in her carry-on bag. She was able to borrow me a pair of underoos after we went for a run during my 6-hour Seattle layover. She also borrowed me another pair after our flight was cancelled and we were stuck in Japan for a night. (Everyone needs an Annie in their life.)

(toilets in Japan)

2. Stay with Annie’s dad.
I always find comfort in going places were I know I can find Americans. Annie’s dad, David, was a great host and gave us the royal treatment when we were visiting. His resorts, Scandi Divers + Campbells Beach Resort both serve Starbucks Coffee and have the fastest wifi on the island!
3. Stay for as long as possible without getting fired from your job.
Between massages, scuba diving, kayaking, sunbathing, and shopping, we were always on the go! If I could do it all again, I would stay for an entire month!

Travel: punta cana, dominican republic recap

February 22, 2017

¡Hola!

Here is my Punta Cana, Dominican Republic recap:


!THE PROS¡

1. The Country
The Dominican Republic is a great place to visit in February. When our friends announced their destination wedding, we were thrilled! I love having a reason to exit the frozen tundra.

2. Resort

Our bride and groom did a phenomenal job picking our resort. We booked through delta vacations so airfare, airport/resort transportation, room, food, and drinks were covered when we purchased the vacation package. The free wifi throughout the resort was not reliable but was still accessible.


3. Tour

Our bride and groom also did extensive research and picked out a catamaran tour, which we had the opportunity to join them on. On the day of our tour, we woke up to rainclouds and a dreary forecast. However, all of the wedding guests made the best of the day and we all had a great time! The tour company snapped photos of us throughout the day, which was a nice perk… until I saw the photos of myself! (Rumor has it that we set the record for the most alcohol consumed during a tour! Oji Oji Oji.)


4. Working Out

I was able to run over 20 miles on the beautiful beach. We were next to many other resorts so I felt safe running on my own in the mornings. I forgot how hard it is to run on sand and I could only run ten-minute-miles. During the day (and after a few cocktails), I would also join the entertainment crew for Zumba.

5. The People

We were two of sixty guests attending the wedding and they were all great to be around! When Jared and I go on vacations alone, I end up sleeping half of the trip. However, the crew we were with kept the party going all day! I may even need a vacation to recover from the great vacation. The bride and the groom were amazing hosts (and even had gift bags for all of the guests upon arrival!)


¡THE CONS!

It was a challenge to think of things that were not absolutely perfect! 

1. Wifi
I teach courses online so I need to be accessible to my students during the semester. As I previously stated, the resort wifi wasn’t always reliable. This also forced me to “disconnect” from my phone and enjoy our vacation, which isn’t a bad thing at all!

2. The Food
When you go to an all-inclusive resort, you are going for the convenience, not for the gourmet food. This was our third all-inclusive resort and the food at all of the resorts was pretty similar. There are buffet options for breakfast and lunch. For supper, you can either go to a buffet or another restaurant that has a theme such as Asian, American, Seafood, or Mexican. I want to point out that the food wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t amazing either (except for the ice cream…eat all of the ice cream).

3. Missing Our Boys
The flight home from the Dominican seemed like it was twice as long as the flight there. Although I really needed a break from our day-to-day routines, I was ready to come home.

¡Adiós!

Travel: A weekend in New York city

December 5, 2016

As a kid, I grew up watching hockey games at the University of North Dakota. One of my favorite memories was riding the zamboni during period breaks on the opening night of the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Although it would take a lot to top that experience, a weekend trip to New York City to cheer on our home team came awfully close!

Friday-3:45AM
I woke up and realized that we overslept. We hurried out of the house and we were on the road by 4:00 AM. We arrived to Fargo at 5:10 and squeezed through security with one minute to spare. You may think I am just being dramatic but we literally had ONE MINUTE before they were shutting the door. When we got to our seats, I turned around to see my shoeless mom walking down the isle. We were off to a wild start!

(Watching 13 Hours– I highly recommend it!)

After our layover in Chicago, we arrived in New York City. In looking for a taxi, Andres, a random man I met on the sidewalk, lined us up with a car service and to our hotel we went.

Tip: If you have a party larger than four, instead of getting two taxis, look into getting a private car service. It can be cheaper to have a car service provide you with a suburban (and driver), than flagging two taxis. In our case, that was true. 

Central Park
After lunch, we walked to Central Park to look at trees, rocks, and grass.

Jared asked me to Photoshop pigeons on his arm like in Home Alone, but I thought a random photo of him sticking his arm out was more entertaining.

pigeon

Lion King
We stayed at the Marriott Marquis and the Lion King broadway show happened to be a few feet from our hotel door. As someone that isn’t crazy about theater, I thought this production was outstanding. After the show, we were all raving about the play. My dad, however, was not as impressed. We later realized that the play didn’t make sense to him because he had never seen the movie… He always surprises me!

Tip: If you are going to go to the Lion King musical that follows the storyline of the movie, watch the movie. 

Night Caps
We went out for drinks after the Lion King and only walked a few feet before flagging down a few carriages. We pressured our bike driver to race the other driver and we lost. After a few drinking games and changes of scenery, we called it a night.

Hockey Hockey Hockey
On Saturday, we did some sightseeing, napping, and eating. My dad insisted that we all wore unflattering matching green jerseys on our Saturday adventures. Before the hockey game, we went to two receptions for UND fans. Both were completely full and we had to leave. That’s when I knew we had a wild night ahead of us. Upon arriving to the game, we met one of my college friends, Joe, and did our best to show him a true North Dakota hockey experience.

I think we succeeded.

(Keeping up with the UND football game.)

(Matching green tents courtesy of the man footing the bill.)

Sunday- 6:00AM
Bright and early we left to the airport. Once again, we used a car service and it ended up being the same price as a taxi fare. By 4:00 PM, we landed in our great state of North Dakota.

Las Vegas 2018
I am thankful we were blessed with such an amazing opportunity to travel to NYC and watch our hockey team dominate. I am already looking forward to the Las Vegas hockey game in 2018!