Wednesday, January 8, 2014

returning in 2014..

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day" - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

i thought it appropriate i start with a quote as i have not ventured into the world of blogging for quite some time. apparently not since September and even then posts were sparse. it's not really that too much is going on in my life that i haven't had a chance to log on, it's more due to the fact that working full time is just motivationally draining.. its like being stuck in a rut i guess - as much as i love work, i honestly think i still have not got used to working 40 hours a week, being surrounded by the same people and doing pretty much the same thing for 5 days in a row every week.

aside from work, there actually are some extremely exciting and huge things going on in my life. for one, terry and i got engaged!
September 14th :) he proposed  - typical engagement story probably, he was completely nervous and i was being difficult - the restaurant we were supposed to go to that night had a fire in its kitchen two days earlier and called terry to cancel the reservations. no big deal for me, i had no idea what terry had planned, but i think it threw him off a bit and got him stressing.
- he found a place by the water, got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife... it was beautiful.. i said yes :)

i spent from august to september studying for a certification exam i had to write for HR.. and as badly as i wanted to start planning our wedding, i knew i couldn't start until i finished writing the exam on november 2nd!

after i completed the exam, terry and i started the search for our perfect venue. it took a few weeks and a visit to many places but we eventually decided on one we are very excited about! finding the venue is only the beginning of planning and it's all we have done so far. there is still lots and lots more to do but we have until spring of 2015 anyways, so no rush!

second of the huge things going on in life is that terry and I bought a house (although we don't have it yet). we started going to random open houses and that by far was one of the most disappointing thing in my life. so many houses in areas we want to live that are were already over our price range and further, absolutely needed at least $30000 in work. we finally took it further and got a real estate agent and literally in a matter of days we viewed a house that hadn't even listed yet. we viewed the house on a monday night, and put an offer in on a tuesday morning and that night, the accepted. the house was listed at a very competitive price, in a fantastic area that is so close to my parents house and his brothers house, and it doesn't need any immediate work to be done! we get the house mid february and we are both so excited to start painting and starting a new life together :)
thats been my life for the past few months and now i am gladly welcoming 2014! there will definitely be lots of new excitements, stresses and opportunities this year and i am excited to experience them all.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

bye bye dublin - last odds and ends to my trip

last day in dublin.. we went to the historic kilmainham gaol - a prison!, which was extremely fascinating! kilmainham gaol is one of the largest unoccupied prisons in europe and a common site for filming movies. it was also one of the first modern prisons - before kilmainham gaol, prisons were designed with basically one room in which all prisoners of all ages, no matter what their crime, were placed together. kilmainham goal was designed with the idea of isolation in mind. the cold limestone prison is loaded with tiny cell rooms with one window so deep and diminutive that you can't even see out of it. the prison was the main gaol for the imprisonment of many irish rebellion leaders and a site for many public hangings. the prison was closed in the late 1980's (i believe?) and has since been used exclusively as a museum.

 sturdy doors
 this room of cells may look familiar from some movies
the idea behind this design is "always seeing", every prisoner and cell can be seems from anywhere the guard is standing. 

this last picture is where the final executions took place in kilmainham. the final executions were by gun shot and the prisons who were executed were well known rebel leaders. their names were engraved on the stones close to the cross - this was equivalent to their grave stone.
i would definitely recommend this museum to any one visiting dublin! i loved it.
after we were finished the tour of the gaol and spent an hour or two in the museum we headed back to city centre.. which was about a 35 minute way i'd say. we stopped for coffee at a little shop on the way and walked around the city a little longer. there wasn't many other attractions or site seeing we needed to cover.. all we knew is we wanted to hit up temple bar at night for some live irish music. we went back to the hotel, got ready to head to temple bar - which was absolutely packed! we found some live music and looked everywhere for a table but to no avail. we squeezed three chairs into a tiny section at the bar and orders beers while we listened to some live irish music and once we got hungry enough, we left and went to eat dinner somewhere that we could actually get a table... it was the perfect way to spend our last day in dublin, ireland.
now that is officially the end to our amazing scotland/ireland trip. i loved every about it and although i'm so glad that becky is back in canada with us now, i do wish she would go back just so i can come visit again!

Friday, September 6, 2013

now on to dublin

FINALLY.. i am posting the last two days of my trip to scotland/ireland.. there are no excuses as to why this is so late.
back to wednesday june 5th.. we landed around 930 am at the dublin airport. we got our luggage, hopped in a taxi and headed over to our hotel. check in wasn't until about 2pm so we left our luggage in hotel storage and we went out to explore. we started off at trinity college.
trinity college dublin campus 
 we walked around the campus for a while but there wasn't much going on since it was summer. trinity is known for its beautiful, historic old library which all of us would have loved to stop in and check out but it cost money to get in! i think it was about 11 or 12 euros just to get in and see the library. none of us really thought it was worth it. after walking around trinity we went down to show becky the temple bar area and then found a little cafe for lunch. we visited dublin castle - which was disappointingly closed for some EU conference or something. there was a helicopter landing pad/park that was right around the corner from the castle entrance so we parked our bums down for a while and just relaxed in the sun (with about 60 others who were doing the same thing).
we didn't really have anything specific planned so we just did a lot of walking around.. we went in some shops, some book stores and while doing so - hunted around for a pub we could go to for dinner that had some live music.
after dinner we discussed our plans a for the following day and called it an early night.  honestly i don't think any of us felt very safe staying out until dark in that city. it felt very different than in glasgow or edinburgh.. we thought it best to just stay in and relax.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

last day in Scotland

tuesday was the last day we had in edinburgh - we had our flight to dublin at 8 am on wednesday morning - so we tried to do everything we had yet to do.
we got up early on tuesday, ate breakfast and walked over to edinburgh castle in Old Town

 all around the grounds of the edinburgh castle
 inside the hall in the castle

there were not a lot of signs around directing the tourists were to go or explaining what each building of the castle was used to what (what its purpose was for).. there were free guided tours throughout the castle grounds but unfortunately i was very distracted by how "picture perfect" the castle grounds were that i didn't listen much to what the tour guide was discussing - i took pictures instead!
after we were done exploring the castle we headed over to greyfriars graveyard (during day light this time)

i heard the saying "graveyard are the parks of europe" and after walking through this graveyard during the day I now understand that this saying has truth - at least in edinburgh. as we walked through the graveyard we passed many people sitting on the benches reading and couples sitting on blankets with a picnic basket. we even saw two individual crack open a bottle of wine.. it was a little strange to me but i guess its normal to them. 
after walking through the graveyard we walked over to the grass market (an other extremely old and historic area - where public hangings used to be performed).
late afternoon we went on a tour of historic edinburgh.. the history in this is incredible - i really enjoyed the tour. the tour walked us through the entire old town - from the grass market, to closes between buildings along the royal mile.. information overload! every building, every gate, every statue, even the parking lots had historic secrets behind them.
we then headed hiked up to arthur's seat!.. it may just look like a slight rolling hill, but i'll tell you.. the hike up arthur's seat was one intense climb!

a slight picture overload.. it was some tough work lugging a 10 pound camera in my purse on our climb up but i truly am glad i did.. very picturesque
our next stop! cold beer and food then we called it a night.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the travels continue..

Monday June 3
Up we woke on monday (after way oversleeping) and headed out for breakfast. we went to the counting house for breakfast -a pub that actually used to be a bank..
it was really neat looking.. no building designed as a bar would have this much architecture inside the building.
after breakfast we checked out of our hotel and got on the bus to edinburgh (which is pronounced more like ed-in-burah) - the capital of scotland.  only pictures can describe how beautiful this place was.

the city of Edinburgh is divided into Old Town and New Town. 
Above is a view of Old from from New Town.
We climbed a monument called the Scott Monument which provided us with an absolutely gorgeous view of both Old Town and New Town (Above is Old Town)
Edinburgh Castle

View of New Town from the monument

the "Unfinished monument"
the Nelson Monument
our walk from New Town into Old Town Edinburgh

the "royal mile" is a series of continuous street through Old Town.. it runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.
the streets of Old Town
the buildings were all so historic and beautiful

Apparently if you spit in the centre of this heart you will have good luck for life

we had a night tour booked around 930 pm at night.. we had enough time to walk around New Town and Old Town, go on a Scotch/Whiskey Experience Tour  (in which we got to see the process in which Scotch is made and do a taste testing) and go for dinner - i had fish and chips and a Scottish beer!
the tour we went on was called hidden and haunted  - in which we got to explore the vaults that run under the streets of Old Town which the tour guide told stories of haunted Edinburgh and paranormal experiences others had experiences in these vaults. there is so much history in this town it was unbelievable! i loved it all.
after the tour we walked around Greyfriars graveyard. it was pitch black at this point so we couldn't see much.. we decided to head back to the hotel and visit the graveyard during day light.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

welcome to glasgow

Sunday June 2
we started our morning out with some coffee at a place my sister had highly recommended called the tinderbox. it's a cute coffee shop with a quite charming atmosphere. once we enjoyed our coffees (iced coffees actually because it was already pretty warm at this point) we walked around beautiful glasgow. we walked through Kelvingrove Park and stopped into an art gallery on the way to the University of Glasgow.
 street of Glasgow
 some art gallery we stopped into

 University of Glasgow in the background
 One of the most amazing looking buildings at the University of Glasgow
 at the university campus still

the campus was so beautiful.. i've never seen anything like it. so many of the buildings were so old and the architecture so rare. 
walking back to my sister's campus (she went to a different university, not the University of Glasgow) we stopped to get something to get something to eat and a refreshing beer/cider to drink. we did lots of more walking around, did some shopping and then walked even more. when we had enough walking around the city for the day, we checked my sister out of her residence and checked into the hotel we were staying in sunday night. once we were settled into the hotel we went out for some dinner at a local pub (which had 1/2 price sundays) and headed back to the hotel. another late night without even realizing it - it honestly didn't get dark until after 10 pm the entire time we were there, it was great!
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