It is currently January, and I am sitting on a big comfy chair in front of the window with a cup of tea and some music and I’m watching the snow fall and the puppies play in the park across the street where we just built this snowman:
And even though I should probably be doing my homework, I’m loving winter, which is my favorite season (until the snow melts and the flowers bloom, then I’ll be head over heels in love with spring). So I thought I’d share some photos that I’ve collected over the past month or so.
First up: (surrogate) family photos from the snowman-making process. We kinda like each other.
We also love puppies, and thoroughly enjoyed playing with these beautiful dogs, Milo and Galaxy, who live just down the street. (Galaxy, with the gorgeous blue eyes, is both deaf and mostly blind.)
In case you weren’t sure that both Boston and Lake Tahoe are beautiful places to live, here is the Charles River, mostly frozen, and Lake Tahoe, mostly gorgeous.
Last month, after Christmas but before it actually decided to snow in Tahoe, Robby and I went for a walk around the lake and ran into these beautiful puppies
Also, can we talk about the fact that my baby brother isn’t such a baby anymore? It is very clear that he is past little boy stage too, and living on the cusp of manhood.
Over a month ago – really, almost two months ago at this point – I took a weekend trip to Acadia National Park up in Maine. It was the last weekend before school started, the last weekend free of homework and commitments and general stress. It was the last weekend to not feel bad about reading a book just to read a book (as opposed to for some sort of homework) and the last weekend to go camping. (I proved that wrong though, didn’t I?)
Regardless, the trip to Acadia was wonderful and beautiful and actually one of the more gorgeous places I’ve ever been. And it all started with StumbleUpon; it was here that Liz and Elizabeth and I found the “26 Best Places to Camp in the US” and we (jokingly) decided to hit one spot a year. One year, one spot. Aaaaannnnndddd…. it just so happens that Acadia was #1 on the list. Is it alphabetical? Maybe…but no.
The decision to start our list with Acadia was primarily a result of the fact that Acadia is near Boston but not near Boston. And by that, I mean that it is driving distance but not easy driving distance; it takes about five hours to get there, and thus needs more than a normal weekend to see it right. So Liz and I drove up for Labor Day – three days, three nights. Two tents, one hike, and a partridge in a pear tree.
No partridges, but we did see a wide variety of beautiful flora and fauna. I couldn’t catch most of it, but I brought my camera up and got a few awesome shots. It’s amazing how much more observant you can be with a camera around your neck. It was a determination to look for things that allowed me to find these little buggers:
But you don’t have to be that observant to find some other fabulous animals:
And we easily spotted a beautiful heron, about a million snails (here’s one!), and these ducks in the sunset:
Anywayyyyys… the fauna was beautiful. So was the flora. The trees were amazing. The flowers were amazing. The sunsets were amazing. The sunrises were amazing. And the rocks were amazing.
One thing I love about camping is the way it resets your clock. The way you have no excuse to stay up late – especially without a campfire – and no excuse to sleep in late. The way you can see the sunrise and the sunset every day, and it doesn’t even feel that early. I love getting a full night’s sleep and getting back to the ancient understanding with night. We used to go to bed with the sun and get up with the sun, and when we woke up in the middle of the night, we just enjoyed the night – thinking and talking and admiring the stars. I love the stars. Especially when you can actually see them.
I particularly enjoyed the company with this crazy cray:
And we somehow managed a few selfies, even with my giant camera (and its self-timer.)
We hiked up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and were two of the first people in the country to see the sunrise.
And then we wandered around the island, saw some of the beautiful sights to be seen from around the park.
And ended the evening with dinner on the rocks overlooking the sunset.
I’ve been conspicuously silent this past week, and it is because I was out and about enjoying nature. What a strange idea, right? Spending a week in the woods, hiking and sailing and crafting and reading and not touching electronics for seven whole days… Okay, not quite. I touched electronics a lot. Namely, I took pictures and then put them on my computer. But the internet was spotty, so with the exception of one snapchat, no photos got distributed while I was at camp. But that is about to change!!
I’ll be sharing lots of stories as I sort through photos in the next few days, as well as at least a couple book reviews for the books I read and discussed while at camp, but here is a short slideshow to tide you over:
This is a list, with no context for anything. If you want a specific story, write it in a comment and I will happily oblige! (91 stories is just too many to tell!) Also, there are some relevant pictures for fun.
- The super long line for EU passports, no line for us at Gatwick.
- Opening the beer bottles (Gatwick) – drinking in McD’s grass – “Oh my god. That is an ugly ass car.” “His window is down. We’re in an English speaking country.”
- The cold airport floors.
- Lebanese breakfast – fool mudamas – leaving the leftovers in the bathroom.
- Taxi drivers that switched.
- Hula hooping at the bus station.
- Giant fruit market – pomegranate the first.
- Electroworld guy and his directions via bus.
- The kid playing on the bridge with the water underneath lit up by lights.
- Fish market dinner – yoghurt drink.
- The bar that didn’t exist.
- 12 hours of sleep and a kickass breakfast.
- Camels – pet – bite – selfies.
- Fish market waiter while we were waiting for the bus to Oludeniz and drinking coke.
- Zuzu’s jewelry stand.
- Picking the pomegranate of the tree – eating them at the top of the mountain – back photos.
- Meeting the British couple – hiking – coffee the next day.
- Oludeniz dog – humping the other one – teaching it how to swim – the other dog’s nasty shit on the beach.
- French fries and a fish bowl for lunch.
- Waiter was HOT – we pick that one.
- Sunset on the rocky beach.
- Pomegranate on the beach wall after sunset.
- Bathroom incident – “just be polite”
- Dinner with the hostel followed by drinks with the staff – guys talking about Molly in French – Aniko’s ex – lamb pizza, cheese dessert – cheese bread – cool music at the bar.
- Smelling like cigarettes.
- Dawn hike – pomegranate at the tomb – creating “pomegraminal”.
- French toast breakfast.
- Paragliding – Molly scared on the drive – Alyssa’s guide.
- Feeding a fish to the cat on the pier.
- The sea turtle just chilling.
- Changing into sweatpants before the bus ride.
- When do we get off the bus? Bathroom breaks?
- Teaching Alyssa to play Backgammon.
- Found the hot air balloon company all by ourselves.
- Rolls – Molly getting defensive.
- Climbing into the caves – 2 hrs = ½ km – moving the ladder – tunnel joints – dogs that stole Molly’s bag – how did we get up that first rock? – mountain biker that thought we were crazy – stupid horse.
- Hot air balloon – awesome guide – Asian Polaroid – champagne shower – pomegranate that we almost forgot to eat – Kathy’s ripped jeans – top ramen noodles.
- Delicious lunch, stupid cats – Molly tried to feed one.
- Too-long cab ride to the airport.
- Molly’s tickets.
- Security twice at every airport.
- Cops in Fethiye, Gatwick – guns aimed at our heads.
- 11 postcards for 1 Lira.
- Molly bought all the harem pants the store had.
- The bus to Taksim.
- “Are you the guy to check us in?” (nope.)
- Sexy Australian men.
- All of Molly’s alarms.
- When Kathy thought Molly was the bed post.
- Guy that shit in the hostel and then didn’t wash his hands.
- Men’s room at the mountain top when paragliding.
- Molly’s tea with coffee.
- Mini-Hagia Sofia.
- Figuring out the head scarves (and skirts – Alyssa).
- Bread. Bread. More bread. (Not that we’re complaining!)
- Why are the dogs always following us?
- Photography museum for 1 Lira.
- Shoe maker that wanted Kathy to take his picture.
- Pictures of the kids at the Best Western.
- Lunch after following the guy in the blue shirt.
- Textile, button shops.
- Bulk bazaar.
- Spice bazaar – spicy spice – trying the string cheese – getting those chocolates – love tea.
- Walking the wrong way to get to the bridge.
- The fishermen getting out of our way when we wanted them in the picture (sunset on the bridge).
- Street food – corn, sesame rolls, hot dogs, honey bread with nutella.
- Turkish delight – What’s it made of? Turkey!
- Turkish guys sounding like seagulls saying “boyfriend” when Molly told her story – Kathy’s fake boyfriend.
- Molly almost getting hit in the face by a fish.
- Lesson on how to open a pomegranate.
- Postcards – the pile handed to the guy at the hostel – the stack from Voyager that we left in the airport.
- German fountain?
- Recounting all of this nonsense at the falafel place.
- Getting led around the Turkish bath like a little child when you’re basically naked.
- Not waking up at 2:45am like we were supposed to.
- Passport stamps!
- All the people buying their bus tickets from the airport with 500 crown notes.
- UK passport guy – questions, seeing him in the parking lot.
- Woman with the bus company.
- Electro world guy – 1st time we asked for directions, 2nd time, at lunch the last day in Fethiye.
- Flight attendant at Dalaman.
- Guy that works in hotel / saw at the market across the street on the way to the hostel – three times – he lives in Cappadocia, we’re going there, “you’re still here?”
- Waiter from the fish market – at dinner, walking to the bar. Also, his little brother.
- British couple – hiking, in Fethiye.
- Bec and Aniko.
- “No bathroom” guy at the falafel place – told Alyssa to go back to the Hagia Sofia.
- Airport American (Japanese ethnicity?) with the mustache.
- Creepy guy in the taxi/bus back to Kayseri – smoking, Axe, google translated conversation – Ivana Humpalot.
- Spice bazaar guys – “I have poison for your boyfriend.” “Spice girls” “Spice lady” “Spice ladies” “Are you real?” “The short girls are the best lovers (the guy we bought spices from)
- Australian family from the balloon – “no bullshit best coffee”
Spotted July 21st, around 8pm. Absolutely breathtaking; the photos don’t do the clouds justice, but its the best I got.
We all have those places, people, objects, whatever. We have these mental pictures of them, and as time goes by, our memories change. Places get fancier, objects get more valuable, and people get prettier. Or the opposite. Psychology and neurology tells us this is inevitable – our memories consist merely of neural pathways, and those change over time.
Sometimes, though, it doesn’t matter how much our memories change, because they will never live up to reality. This statement has always and will always be true for me when it comes to Stanford Sierra Camp. There’s something about SSC for me that is perfect. The lake isn’t perfect – its actually effing freezing most years. The people aren’t always perfect – I’ve gotten into my fair share of spats with my annual best-friend-for-the-week. But camp itself is perfect in every single way.
For starters, it looks like this: