Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stereotype Bus

Nom nom nom. That’s the sound of eating. Food. Food is what keeps us alive. It’s one of the (many) things that keeps us, or at least me, happy. Very happy. One of the countless pleasures of visiting new places is discovering their happy source, aka, their food. Whenever I go anywhere new, I push myself to discover a taste of the local cuisine. As we all know, food is a defining piece of a country’s culture. This may be good, or in the case of America, it may be bad. Let’s take a short detour; everyone hop in the stereotype bus!
  • Americans eat hamburgers, apple pie, fruit roll ups, and the occasional thimbleberry.
    • Despite what everyone thinks, we (or I, at least) are not the typical face-stuffing obese man who eats at McDonald’s for every meal. I think it’s fair to say that although we don’t have our own distinct food tradition, we (or at least I) eat pretty well.
  • Parisians eat croissants, duck, and chocolate.
    • This is extremely accurate, except that crepes were forgotten.
  • Peruvian people eat Mexican food.
  • Behold, Snuggles. I'm sorry. I had to.
    • NO. When I was in Peru, one of the guys in our tour group ordered a guinea pig. Yes, you read it right, guinea pig (called Cui, in the Peruvian language). I know what you’re thinking, but no, this was not the Snuggles you saw at Petco. This was like a small dog. And, yes, I did taste a piece. And yes, it was slightly disgusting. All I’ll say is: if you like salty chicken, then Snuggles is your kind of meal.
  • Mexicans eat Cafe Rio.
    • I hate to break it to you, but Cafe Rio doesn’t really count as Mexican food. ***DISCLAIMER: this blog post is not meant to offend any member of the Cafe Rio family or its food. I love Cafe Rio with a fiery passion and I would kill to eat it for every meal.*** Anyway, when we went to Mexico I ate:
      • The best guacamole in the universe
      • An empanada made from God’s tears
      • Ceviche. Oh.
      • And an assortment of other things. It’s weird though, I didn’t see one Cafe Rio.
  • Hawaiians eat flowers.
    • I truly hope you're smart enough to see the flaws in this statement.
  • In Canada they drink maple syrup for breakfast.
    • I don’t know for sure, but I think that Canadians would be morbidly obese by now if this were the case. I think I’ve shared this before, but Canadian ice cream is prime.

Wherever you are, food is a huge piece of culture, and I think it’s super cool to be able to take that experience with me when I leave a place. Now please excuse me while I go eat Cafe Rio.

P.S: Today in my geography class my teacher brought in a jar of Vegemite (which is Australian) for us all to try. I gagged and spit it out. Imagine salty fish in liquid form. My ginger cousins eat it on a sandwich. *cringe*

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Face Stress

Hello Sweets. I’m not going to lie to you all, I am not excited to write the next 300 words. The AP test is on Friday, and I have been stressing my face off. See, I can’t even type. Stressing my face? It’s a thing now. I really don’t know what to write about. I’ll just scramble some things together.
I hope you enjoy this as
much as I did. Photo cred.
  • Once in Paris we were almost back to our apartment after a long day of sight-seeing. I had to go to the bathroom so bad, so I decided that it was a good idea to sprint across the busy streets to get to the bathroom. I almost got hit by a car. Thrice. Save my life, or save my pants? PANTS.
  • Once I traveled to Cafe Rio and picked up a nice steak salad. I have all kinds of pictures of that precious time.
  • Sometimes I dream that I move to Europe and become super popular and then I become the French president.
  • After the AP test, I shall travel home to my bed. I have reservations there for a really long time.
  • We were in California one year and there was an earthquake, so we all ran outside of our hotel suite. I got so scared I started crying and I couldn’t sleep because I was afraid the ceiling would collapse and kill me.
  • In the summer, there is a possibility that we might travel to Georgian Bay again. They have such good ice cream in Canada.
  • Once when we had just gotten to Lima, Peru, my parents had to go to the bank to exchange some money, but they left us in the hotel. So, my sister and I double bolted all the doors and windows and watched Spongebob in Español.
  • When we went to Arizona to visit my fake uncle, we stayed at this hotel with a super fun lazy river. We only went around it a couple times before my Uncle got us kicked out. I don’t regret anything.
Well muchachas, that concludes my lovely post for this week, wish me luck on the AP test, I hope I will survive to write again next week.

Friday, May 10, 2013


 Over the course of my life, I have hiked a lot. We hike when we go camping, so I’ve hiked ever since I started hiking. I could fix that, or I could not. I will choose the latter. turned my OCD grammar switch to the off position, so you will all just have to deal with that grammatical error.

I’ve been on all different kinds of hikes. Short hikes, long hikes, right hikes, wrong hikes. You name it, I’ve hiked it. Here is a short repertoire of all the hikes I’ve hiked. Hike.
  • When I was about nine, I hiked a ten mile hike. If you think this sounds fun, you’re wrong. “Come with us,” they said. “It will be fun,” they said. (Insert incredibly embarrassing picture of Kristen in pain here).
  • Do not, I repeat, do not get lost while camping. One way to avoid doing this is to stay on the trail. I got so tired and frustrated, so I started booking it to get home. My mom followed me, but we ended up walking about half a mile off-trail. As I learned, that usually results in a crying child and a small search party.
  • Water hikes! Yeahhh. 60 degree water feels good when it’s 90 degrees and sunny.
  • Ice hiking is slightly dangerous. Make sure you have a decent pair of shoes. I would advise against the type that have zero-traction.
  • No matter where we hike, we always bring some incentives. Candy usually works best, just not chocolate. Chocolate usually melts when it’s hot, and it’s fairly difficult to clean chocolate out of a backpack.
So, do I hate hiking? Yes. But do I really hate hiking? Not at all. It’s actually really fun. It’s outside, it’s social, we hike to amazing places, and I get to eat a lot of food (which is a huge bonus). I’m pumped to go hike some more!

Friday, May 3, 2013

California Style

Over Spring Break, my mom, my sister, and I went to San Diego, California. We stayed with my mom’s mom, who lives in San Marcos, which is north of San Diego proper. We had a flight at 9:45 Saturday night, scheduled so I didn’t have to miss my soccer game (which we won 2-0). We got to my grandmother’s house at around 11:00 Saturday night.  On Sunday we went to my Aunt’s house, which is about 10 minutes away from my grandma’s. My aunt has three kids; a boy in 10th grade, a girl in 8th grade, and another girl in 4th grade. We have parties. They have a pool in the backyard, so we spent Sunday chillin’ out California style. Unfortunately, my cousins were not on Spring Break, their school system seems to be a little more normal, so they didn’t have their break at the end of April. I’m not complaining, I’m just observing the lateness of our well-deserved break. Anyway, we didn’t see our cousins again until Wednesday.
The original

The highlight of Monday was going to Panera. Panera is like Kneaders, but better. We don’t have any here, which is a big mistake. But, I would be about 100 pounds heavier if there was one anywhere near here, so I guess you get the good with the bad.

Tuesday. The worst day of the week. If you’re me, then this holds true even for spring break. Tuesday we went to my great aunt’s house. Nobody really enjoys my great aunt. First of all, she’s 91 years old and she still works out 3 times a week. Second, she talks more than my entire family combined. And not only does she talk a ton, she talks about North Korea. And choking. And her doctors. Now Kristen, would you like to spend your day hearing about North Korean concentration camps, choking on fish bones, or Dr. Gundren? All of the above? Perfect! NO. You can imagine how difficult this experience was for me, and everyone else in the room (I would use a different word than difficult but there are some important people who might read this. I’ll just say that it was a lot more than difficult).

Wednesday we went to SeaWorld! SeaWorld is such a magical place. All those dolphins and whales and such frolicking around make you feel like the world is a much better place. (I needed this experience after hearing about the Korean death camps for three hours). This was probably one of the most fun days of the trip. I also touched a bat ray. Hehe. Want to know a secret? I’m related to Shamu. Yep, the Shamu whale family is in my blood.

Thursday I went for a run, napped, went to Panera, and watched Titanic. 

We left Friday morning for a 10:00 flight. My neighbor on the plane was very intimidating. I would guess he was about 7 feet tall (I'm a whopping 5'3").

Spring break was really fun and relaxing (true), but now I am super excited to go back to waking up at 5:45 and learning about where coal mines are located (false).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Camping With My Homeboys

This was usually only half of our
group. You can imagine how
much of a party it was.
When I was little, we always used to go to Capitol Reef National Park at least once a year with a group of families that my family has known pretty much since I was born. We often went with about five families, but sometimes there would be as many as ten. My adorable-ness attracted a lot of people, I guess. So there would be around 25 of us, at a minimum. We always reserved this huge group site. I remember a lot of things about Capitol Reef, but what I remember the most is that it was always so much fun. A typical day would include one or more of the following (what I mean by that is all of the following):
  • Hiking
    • We hiked a lot. I enjoyed the hikes where we were able to frolic in the streams.
  • Eating
    • Each family would take turns making dinner and breakfast for everyone, but everyone was on their own for lunch.
  • Tree-Climbing
    • Of the sloth type
  • Soccer playing
  • Los caballos. (The horses. De nada).
    (You're welcome).
    • What can I say, I started at a young age.
  • Swimming
  • Horse watching
    • There was a fenced pasture behind our site with about four horses. All the girls would admire them from a distance and try to feed them grass when they walked up to us.
  • Maniac running
    • I think this is self explanatory, but for those of you who had an awful childhood, it’s when you run around like an axe murderer.
  • Softball playing
  • Partying (seven year old style)
  • Star gazing
  • Limbo-ing
  • Campfire singing
    • I know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves. SHUT UP I WILL KILL YOU IN YOUR SLEEP.
  • Sleeping
    • Yay.
I have only the best memories of that place, and we went so often that when I think of my childhood, I think of Capitol Reef. We haven’t been back there for about four years now, but I think it would be so much fun to go back again with everybody. I'm not sure if everyone would come back in one piece; the limbo-ing and maniac running might be a little dangerous, but hey, I do know that it would be a blast, and that's all that matters. :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Caution: Falling Coconuts

There is a story. It goes somewhat like this:

Once there was a girl who went with her family to Hawaii. This girl got to Hawaii, and was then happy. “Hawaii is a fun place” she said. She did all kinds of fun activities, like snorkeling, paddle boarding, hiking, tanning, swimming, eating, frolicking, and other watercraft activities. Hawaii was warm and sunny. It was a delightful time. Then, the girl’s parents said “This has been fun. Now we shall return to our humble abode in the polar region of the America.” The girl said “No”. Her parents said “Yes”. The girl said “No”. Her parents said “Yes”. The girl did not want to leave Hawaii. She liked being able to frolic in the warm temperatures. The girl was then forced onto the plane by which she would return to her native land. The girl was sad. Once they arrived home, the girl was still sad. She was tan, but she was sad. She wanted to go back to Hawaii. She still wants to go back to Hawaii. In the girl’s current residence, it is 26 degrees and snowing. SNOWING. It is also April. The girl did not live happily ever after in Hawaii. She is freezing and sad. The end.

The hotel that we stayed in.
The tears are welling up...
This girl was me, if you couldn’t tell. In 2009 we accompanied my father on a business trip to Hawaii for work. We stayed in a super nice hotel for about a week. While my dad was off discussing radiology finance, my mom, my sister and I pranced around in the tropical paradise doing anything we pleased. Ha. (I probably shouldn’t be laughing...he did pay for my plane ticket...and my phone...and soccer...) What I meant is, thank you loving father for everything you have done for us. I will gladly do the dishes tonight.

The beach where my sister got stung
by a jellyfish. Ha. Ah-em.
Besides the fact the my dad was there for work, it couldn’t have been a better trip. Except for that my sister got stung by a jellyfish. Ha. Ha. Good times. Moving on. Hawaii may be part of the USA, but it is almost like another world. The things we saw and the things we did were so different than anywhere else, it was amazing. A beautiful beach placed in volcanic cool. It was five years ago, and although I remember most everything, there are certain memories that stick out the most.
Just one of the hundreds of
pictures I took. What can I say, I'm
a professional.
  • We hiked to this secluded beach, but when we got there we found that it was actually inhabited. By roosters.
  • My sister and I played Hunger Games on the paddle-board.
  • The restaurant at the hotel had mini ketchup bottles. I accidentally grabbed about seven of those and accidentally put them in my suitcase.
  • We had a hard core trick competition in the pool. I was able to do a handstand.
  • I was in a phase called ‘I’m planning on being a photographer when I’m older’, so I took pictures of everything, from lizards to volcanoes that I may or may not have been a little bit afraid of. I didn’t understand the meaning of inactive, okay?
  • Toby Maguire, ladies and gentlemen.
    I know you probably haven't heard
    of him, but he is famous!
  • We saw Toby Maguire in the Hawaii airport. He is famous.
Hawaii was such an amazing trip, and I love recalling all the fun memories I have of it, especially while I watch snow fall in April. I can’t wait to go back!
The pool at our hotel. I am
officially crying now.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tropical Beverages!

  1. Ga·la·pa·gos Is·lands
    /gəˈläpəgəs/  /-ˈlap-/ 
    1. A Pacific Ocean archipelago on the equator, about 650 miles (1,045 km) west of Ecuador, to which it belongs; pop. 9,750. Noted for giant tortoises and many other endemic species, they were the site of Charles Darwin's 1835 observations, which helped him to form his theory of natural selection.

It actually has an accent over that second ‘a’ there. 
A pelican sitting atop our boat.
We called them spies, for we
were convinced that they were always
watching us...
I visited the Galápagos Islands on our trip to Peru and Ecuador in 2008. Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, marine iguanas, what else can you ask for? Since it is illegal for the islands to be inhabited by people (except for the main island), we stayed on a boat and traveled around the islands. Our days consisted of hikes on the islands to explore the countless species, and snorkeling in the amazingly clear waters to discover some pretty crazy marine creatures. Like fish. Fiiiiish. We also saw penguins! Let me tell you, those penguins are party animals. Mating strategies? One word: hardcore.
Oh of course, the classic marine
iguana. Don't be fooled by their
adorableness (not), they're
actually silent killers.
Do you see the look on its face?
One word: pedophile.
But this trip wasn’t a relaxing, beach vacation. We actually had a pretty packed schedule. We usually woke up at around 6 a.m., ate breakfast, got our agenda for the day, had a mini-history class about the island we would visit, or the animals we would see, and then we would anchor our little boaty-poo and take off!
Ahh, a baby sea lion. Can you spell
cute and also smells like a molding
landfill? I can.
Our boat on the ocean, taken
from an island we were on.
El blue-o-footed-o booby-o.
Muy bien-o.
I remember one day in particular. It was perfect. We woke up at 6 or so, and had a lovely breakfast (the food on the boat was actually really good). When we were all ready to go, we got off the boat and onto an island, where we hiked around and discovered that the Galápagos Islands are like an entirely different world. We were able to see what a whole habitat looked like without having the impact of humans. It was so cool. After our tour of the island, we went back to the boat to eat lunch, and then we went snorkeling. We saw trumpet fish, reef sharks, sea turtles, rays, eels, penguins, and so much more. They were all frolicking around in the water like the little marine creatures they are. After snorkeling, we returned to the boat, where we sat on the deck and enjoyed some tropical beverages. Actually, I think I had water. I just wanted to type tropical beverages.
How precious.
Overall, it was just a really fun trip. All the wildlife we saw blew me out of the water (literally though, some of those fish we saw were actually kind of sketchy, and I actually removed myself from the water due to scaredy-Kristen syndrome. Tragic, I know). I am so fortunate to be able to have experienced a place with such amazing diversity and beautiful landscapes! I can't wait to visit the Galápagos Islands again. I just have to watch out for those spies-uhh pelicans.