Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Answers. And Traveling.

Well, some of you guessed. That's better than none, right?

The answer was #1. HA! Like I could ever play in Carnegie Hall!? It was always a joke to us piano geeks in high school ("one day, when you play in Carnegie Hall...") and I'd like to think that even if I HAD managed to major in piano pedagogy, the Carnegie Hall thing would have still been an unconquered dream.

But here are the stories of the other four. Which are completely true. Starting backwards:

#5: Hiking a 12,000 foot mountain. Pregnant.

It was the summer of 2000. Brandon and I had been working at Aspen Grove Family Camp (our second summer there) and we decided it was time to start having children. We weren't planning on it happening right away! But right away, it did. My job that summer (which was the same the previous summer) was to romp around with 7 and 8 year old kids --and running around, hiking, playing, etc. meant I was in pretty good shape. So when the opportunity came to hike Mt. Timpanogos, we grabbed it and off we went! Brandon and I hiked with two other girls we worked with, and even though I was in great shape, I was SLOW. I didn't want to push myself. Although I was only 6 weeks along, it was my first, and so I wasn't taking ANY chances. Although it was frustrating to Brandon (and the girls), we still made pretty good time, and it was well worth it. What a gorgeous hike! If you ever have the chance to hike Timp, do it! It's worth it. In fact, Brandon's probably going to hike it again this weekend (his 10th? 12th? summit?).

#4: Got stranded in the jungles of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I can't remember the year. Was it 2005? 2006? Probably 2006. Anyway, we were on a cruise to the Mexican Riveria. It was a company trip, so there were literally hundreds of us on this cruise together. When we ported in Puerto Vallarta, Brandon and I already knew what we wanted to do (it was our second time to the Riveria), so we loaded up a bunch of people and took a taxi out to Playa Los Arcos. I took a bunch of snorkelers out to snorkel; Brandon took a bunch out to scuba dive. Then we all met back on the actual beach (Los Arcos is a bunch of massive rocks with arcs in them out a ways in the water and has, in my opinion, some of the best snorkeling ever!) and bought some tacos at a local guy's taco stand (best fish tacos I've ever had in my life! Amazing!). Best part? We could use his bathroom for free. Anyway, after that, just four of us (Brandon, me, another couple) decided to take a taxi up into the jungle to Eden (a place with zip lines, fresh water springs/natural slides, a restaurant, hiking trails, the helicopter from Predator because that's where they filmed it). The taxi guy asked us if we wanted to have him come back to get us --we declined (he wanted a lot of $ up front!). We hiked around Eden (huge, scary spiders!), swam in the pool with the natural slides, watched the zip line people zip line, and I think that's it. We decided it was time to head back down to the ship, and that's when we realized:
No taxis.
Apparently, the restaurant had just closed, and so nobody was coming up to get customers --unless they had paid in advance.
We were a good 3 miles to the main highway/road at the bottom of the hill.
So, we started walking. Yes, we were panicked --not only were we 3 miles from the bottom, but we were nearly 25 miles from the actual ship, too. We were on the opposite side of the Bay! One taxi took some people down and we tried to flag them down; another was coming up for somebody else, we tried to flag them down. Finally --finally (after we had hiked about 1 1/2 miles, were positive we were stranded, our friend's sandal broke and she had to walk barefoot), a taxi came by (the 3rd one we saw) and stopped to take us down before going back up to get some people.
We got out on the highway, and right there was a bus that we could take to the marina. Huzzah!
So, really, I guess we weren't "stranded" per se, but it was still nerve-wracking for a while, especially when I think about those massive spiders. *shudder

#3: I got spit in the face by a giant manta ray

This time it was a cruise to the Caribbean and I was very pregnant with #4 --so, 2006? November, I think. We were in Grand Cayman. Brandon had gone to scuba dive, and I went with some other people to experience a sting/manta ray snorkeling tour. Grand Cayman has a large, large bay, but at the opening of the bay (northwest of the island), there is a huge sandbar (atoll?). This is the sting/manta ray paradise and dozens of boats take tourists out there every day. The rays know that food is coming when the boats approach and they come in hoards (I'm conflicted on this, btw. It's like feeding the bears. Or the deer. I don't really like it) because the tourists can feed the rays (appointed food, only). The water is so shallow that you can get into the water (it's about armpit/waist deep) and "swim" among the rays.
Some people were too freaked to get into the water --but not me, man! It was soooo cool. They would swim around your legs (the underside of their fins are very soft) and pause to get food (if you had some). The tour guides would then do something really cool. They would lift the ray out of the water, and then, when their mouths are exposed to the air, they would literally spit out a huge stream of water. But it would take a moment, so the guide would convince people to come close to see the mouths of the sting ray (he was very gentle, just in case you were worried) and then the onlookers would get spit in the face. Happened to me! I was spit in the face by a ray. It was actually pretty incredible. I got to hold one, too (while the guide was helping). They are amazing creatures and very gentle.
And just so you know, Steve Irwin's death was a total freak accident. Rays don't just shoot their spikes for fun --they have to feel threatened, and even then, it won't kill you, unless it stabs you in the heart. Which is what happened with poor Steve. :(

#2: I rode in a limousine with Ed Asner

We were in San Francisco, June of 2007. We'd been living in the Bay Area for a few months and some of Brandon's former deacons (12 and 13 year old boys) had just graduated from high school and decided to come and visit us. We took "the boys" to the city to see all the sites (Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, a Giant's Game). Time was getting late and the Giant's game was going to start soon --all the buses and rails were crowded and we couldn't seem to get a taxi anywhere (not sure how 8 of us would have fit in one, anyway) and then some guy driving a limousine appeared. He offered to drive us for about the same as a taxi, and so we agreed! We (and some other people) all crowded into this limousine when he made another stop. He picked up an average looking old man who sat in the front with him. We listened to their conversation and as we drove up to a hotel to drop him off, we realized: It's Ed Asner! We looked at him as he got out, as he walked away, and it was confirmed --it was Ed Asner! Ed Asner! We rode in a limo with somebody famous! Yeah, we didn't really know it until the end, and yeah, he didn't really talk to us, but I still rode in a limo with him!

So, there you go. Congrats to those who guessed it correctly.

Someone mentioned that we travel a lot. We do, it's true. We LOVE to travel. I mean, REALLY love to travel! It's kind of our thing. The only problem is that we haven't seen even half of what we still want to see. But we're grateful for all the chances we've had to travel the world. It's definitely something we don't take for granted, but neither do we apologize for it! You know how you can tell what is important to families based on what they spend their money on? Well, we spend our money on electronics, travel, and BYU sports. Oh, and music and art. And yummy food. Okay, maybe we spend it on a lot of things, but travel is definitely one of the big ones!

Here's a list of the places we've been together (Brandon and I, with or without kids):
Hawaii (Maui, Kauai, Oahu)
Mexico (Cozumel, Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta)
Grand Cayman
England (London area)
China (Beijing, Shanghai)
Canada (Alberta)
Texas (Houston, Galveston)
New Mexico (Albuquerque)
San Diego

Brandon has also been to:
Australia (his 2 year mission to Perth)
Hong Kong
New York City
Washington D.C.

I've also been to Connecticut and NYC and British Columbia.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm missing some places (and others don't need to be talked about, since it's obvious we would travel around Utah, Nevada, Idaho, California, etc.), but that's the gist. Where do I want to go next? In no particular order:

Australia, New Zealand
Thailand, Cambodia
The Baltic States
South Africa
Costa Rica

Plus the whole rest of the world. I'd also like to go back to England and spend a few months touring the whole United Kingdom. Some day!

Where have you traveled that you loved? Where do you want to go? Do you love/hate travel? Why or why not?


Amanda D said...

I love to travel. However, international travel doesn't really interest me. I need to be where I can speak the language and eat the food. My favorite places have been our trip to California a few years ago (the perfect blend of extended family time and immediate family time), and our visits to Canada and Colorado. I know taht Canada is a different country, but I don't consider it international.

I hope we have the time and money to do more traveling as the kids get older. There is so much in the US that I want to see.

Curls said...

I love traveling, the more international the better. My dad loves to travel so he's taken us all over the world.

I have loved nearly every place I've been to. The most important thing to me about traveling is seeing the world a bit more clearly. Because I have experienced so many different cultures it has made it easier for me to reject American cultural norms when they contradict the gospel. And I'm so grateful for that.

It also made it easier for me to immigrate to another country, and to marry someone from a different hemisphere.

you've had some amazing adventures, swimming with rays would amazing. I'm not sure if I'd like getting lost in a jungle though, spiders really creep me out.

And yes Mount Timpanogos is a great hike, and you are awesome for doing it while pregnant!

Rebecca said...

You've lived a very full life, even without Carnegie Hall. I mean, Ed Asner! Plus, you have so many years left.

I actually hate to travel. I enjoy being in new places while I'm there, but I hate all the stuff I have to do to travel, and I get nervous being among unfamiliar surroundings. That makes it sound like I don't enjoy being in new places. But I do!

I've long wanted to go to Israel, but I doubt very much that I will in this lifetime. I don't think my husband will ever agree to go, and I'm not about to go by myself. Traveling by myself makes me nervous as well. Especially to a foreign country. Domestically, it is okay. It beats traveling with children any day.

Cheryl said...

Oh! Thanks for the reminder --I have not been to Israel (and like you, I'd really like to go one day), but Brandon was there in December 2010. Yeah. He's pretty lucky. I forgot to put it down on his list, though. Not sure how I forgot.

Linda Liebhardt said...

I frequently feel that, in spite of life and the difficulty surrounding it, I have managed to live a charmed life in the MIDST of it all. I, too,choose hope.

I love to travel with your grandma Glady's cousin, Berenice (my mother-in-law). I've accompanied Berenice to China, Hawaii, and the Northeast (Boston, New Hampshire and Vermont).

I've been in many of the United states, and lived in five of them, but have never seen NY or Chicago. They are on the list.

I have visited Europe with my mom when my sister was living there and would SO love to go back with my hubby and show him Rome and other stuff. We lived 9 years in Hawaii and absolutely loved it. A cruise is on my bucket list and it needs to be in a warm water place.

I Love the adventure of an airport and travel. And trains! And Boats! I like to know where we are and where we are going, so I always vow to never travel without an atlas in my lap, yet I always forget (or we fly at night and can't see anything).

I've never been to Canada or Mexico, but Canada is on the list for this summer! :-) Maybe we'll see you there!!