Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Ever-Popular Resolution Post

So I'm a sucker for resolutions. I know a lot of people say that they don't last after January second, but mine actually do. I don't know. I like lists. Can you blame me? So. Naturally. I've crafted a new list for 2012. Categorized to make it easier to accomplish. Maybe. If that's the sort of thing you like.

Life as We Know It
  • Get a Job-I have to make the money to pay for that rent. And all the other fun stuff my life contains. Which is hopefully a lot.
  • Do Exciting Things-WOW. So general. But oh well. It may or may not be known that I am an adrenaline junkie. I would like to keep that up. At the very least take a vacation. I'm going to be in school all year, so a nice weekend would be excellent. If it is something full of energy, I'll love it even more.
I would like to suit up again, please.
  •  Make Time-My lucky apartment mate and I will both be extremely busy during the semester/year/etc. It would be excellent to take a day away from the week at the very least to cook something or go somewhere or something like that. I mean. He's a pretty important person. I live with him for pete's sake. If I can't keep in touch with him, there's no hope for anybody!
Socially Speaking  
  •  Stay Friendly-I love my friends more than anything. I know that's really lame, but it's just the way I am. After a semester in Italy I cannot imagine missing out on another four months with them. I want to keep in contact with letters (more than once a semester) and would also like to take advantage of coffee/lunch/dinner/snack/dance breaks to not lose touch with my friends.
Mail of the snail variety. Heading your way. :)

  •  Explore Philadelphia-Eating. Playing. Watching. Biking. Dancing. All of it. I want to take advantage of the city I live in. Because I really do love it. I probably want to get a job first. Probably.
  • InMotion Dance Ensemble-I love these girls. I want to spend time with them especially. Also, I want to put my heart and soul into the team to make it as amazing as possible. Because I know we have a group of the most amazing girls on the planet.
I know you've never seen this picture before. Sorry it isn't updated!
Keeping it Healthy
  • Run A Race-I would be really, really proud of myself if I could stick to a training plan and race my heart out. I am planning on the Broad Street Run and a Spartan Race. It would be really cool if I could get it done. :)
Thanks, website.
  • Eat Vegetarian at Least One Day a Week-I already eat pretty well. My general goal for the year would be to keep that up, but I think one cool thing I'd like to try is doing meatless Mondays, or something to that effect. I'm armed and ready, I just don't know if my apartment mate is going to be as happy with it.
  • EXERCISE-I love endorphins with my whole life. Let's keep this one up. I love it. It is the best feeling in the whole wide world. And that's why I've changed my major. I want to throw myself into this.
I think that's enough for now. But I can't promise you there won't be more. :)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas and Beyond

While the post-Christmas blues are setting in, I figure it's time to write in this thing again. In typical Amanda fashion, I say that I'll keep up with the blog and then successfully not write for most of December. But that's okay. After Italy, I needed my break. I spent time with families and my friends, traipsed up to New York, celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas, and didn't sleep on a normal schedule at all. But my body is caught up, the holidays are winding down, and I'm kicking back into gear.

But I will show you some New York and Christmas pictures eventually. I just have to get some from a nice boy I know.

Look at this generic picture of Central Park in the meantime.

Today, I head back to work to start making some money to fill my poor little bank account. I also spent a good chunk of time at the gym today. Doing nothing planned out, just doing what I felt like. It was good to blow some energy off and I am definitely taking advantage of the endorphins before they wear off.

This also counts, I've decided.

I also went to Casey's and got my MJ on. As well as the inner Black Eyed Pea. I love dance games and I'm definitely not one of those dancers that stick their noses up at it. It's SO FUN and it's a great way to get everybody involved. Plus, chances are you have at least one hilarious dancer in your life. I love it.

I'm currently working on my list of New Year's Resolutions (note the capitalization for emphasis on importance). I get pretty excited about them and they're often very extensive. But naturally I'm going to post those later on this week. Maybe one will be to blog more often. Perhaps.

This is the Christmas tree in Epcot. It is beautiful.
Well. That's pretty much it. I just wanted to wish everybody a Merry Post-Christmas. And I hope you're all gearing up for New Year's. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Honey, I'm Home!

The last few days in Italy were crazy. They were filled with "OH MY GOD, I STILL HAVE TO DO THAT"s and lots and lots of walking. But they were also filled with sunsets. And goodbye hugs. And if you know me, you know I love goodbye hugs.

Hugging is the best.

From the tippity-top of St. Peter's.

So. Gelato was eaten. Bags were packed. Hugs were given (again). And all of a sudden, we were in the airport. Then we were on the plane. Then we were in the airport again, only in Philadelphia.

No more Rome. :(

And any of that sadness was gone. I saw some very, very happy people. Some of our friends showed up at the airport. And of course parents were ecstatic to see all of the travelers. It was amazing. And full of even bigger, tighter, happier hugs.

I've spent this week eating a lot of breakfast food and doing a lot of talking. I saw New Year's Eve with my sister when she was supposed to be in school. I've tied up any loose ends in terms of Christmas shopping. Steve the Apple Genius saved my computer. I got my ears pierced (I'm really five). And I've fallen asleep before eleven thirty every night.

Happy New Year's, Zac.

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Philly to reunite with some very special people. I'm super excited and I just want it to be tomorrow already.

We have lots of fun, you see.
This is my best friend, maybe you know her?

I'm actually wearing those pants right now.

So yeah, I'm doing pretty freaking brilliantly. Studying abroad was wonderful and I would never give up that experience. But I am so grateful to be home. So unbelievably grateful and beyond excited.

Also. The point of this specific blog was to let you know that I'm not stopping it. I know you're probably 43% less interested in me because I'm now in the United States. But give me a chance, you know? I try to live a very exciting life. Also, I very much need to get back in shape and gain my flexibility back. So if you're interested in that kind of stuff, I'm here for you! Also I bake. And cook. I'm funny too! I swear.

So thanks for sticking with me through Europe. But the fun doesn't have to stop there. Have a lovely day! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Portrait of the Dubliners

So now that I'm back in America, I've decided it is time to show you all how Dublin went. Something's really backwards about that, I know. Blame it on me being sick, then finals, then my computer deciding to toss itself off a cliff. But that's a bit too dramatic. It's okay and can hopefully hold on for another couple of months.

Why is it that AP English is everywhere?
Now, Dublin was such a beautiful trip. But I was sick for the majority of it. I suppose I really should have forced my doctor to give me a flu shot. What can you do, really? But the point is, I would get super tired after doing one simple thing, so a lot of the times I was the lame travel companion asking to go back and falling asleep before ten.

I know.

But it was still a super relaxing time and just what I needed to push me through the last few weeks of the semester. And also a nice way to distract myself from the fact that I was not home for Thanksgiving. BAH.

This is NOT Ryanair! How exciting!

The plane ride there doesn't usually stick out to me. But the fact that our pilot decided to make it a bumpy ride does. Now, I understand that turbulence is a real problem. But when I am bawling my eyes out because my ears are going to explode (head colds, what are you going to do?) and the plane is not stable, one can panic. Also, when you are supposed to be parallel to the landing strip and the plane decides to land on it's wing, you may grab your boyfriend's hand and get a little nervous. Then at the last second when the plane straightens out, you may feel like a doofus.

Ah well. When we got into Dublin it was WINDY and a bit chilly, but I was LOVING the colder weather. Rome was still hot, and I was jonesing for some weather that actually felt like November. We found our hostel with ease and got our first dose of Irish hospitality. It's a great thing! Of course, then we took our usual nap because traveling really tuckers us out.

After we woke up, it was really just a wander around and take pictures kind of evening. We also ate amazing, amazing curry and potatoes. But. We really just didn't take pictures of our food this trip because we forgot. Sorry.

Outside of some gardens by our hostel.

Hey there, glasses.
At the beginning of O'Connell Street

Who knows, really. 

After our delicious meal, we went to bed. But the next day we shopped around Grafton Street and then went to the National Wax Museum! Of course we played with all of the stuff in the science room and the music room, but who would we be if we didn't take funny pictures?

I wish my feet were this tiny.

Biggest indoor clock. Or something to the likes of that.

See how I frolic through the sickness?

And we bought CUPCAKES. :D

This was in the scary room.

I always knew he was a wizard too!

Kicking some butt.

Come on guys, this is gold.


Don't worry, he made it out alive.

That night, we also decided to go see Arthur Christmas. Because we do stuff like that. You should really go see it because we both thought it was hilarious and so sweet. We also got heckled by middle schoolers in the back row, hoping that we would make out during the movie. Come on now, kiddos. During a Christmas movie? Get a life.

We then went out to dinner where there was Irish music and Irish dancing! It was so much fun! The food was pretty good, but the entertainment definitely beats it out. Especially this young child dancing. :)
I hope one day my child dances like this.

The next day was more wandering and the Guinness Factory!

I love it when pictures get photobombed.
Oh, a large pint!

Then we went on a tour of Dublin (led by us, of course) by night. It was really lovely! We stopped to get burgers for dinner because we do stuff like that. And then we had a banana split for dessert and life was good. So besides the sick, it was a really lovely trip! The people were so sweet and the city itself was wonderful. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

So, I know I promised a blog post. My computer has other plans and decided to start it's crashing on me. Now, there's no Apple Store I can take it to, so I'm going to have to hang on a very long four days. It is sad how much I depend on that thing. Thankfully it waited until all of my papers were turned in. It's the little things, really.

POINT IS. All of the Dublin pictures are on there. So that's not going to happen right now. But I do have some mighty fine pictures of skydiving that I'm going to struggle with on a PC so I can entertain you. Note: All of the spacing is really insane and I blame it on a PC. Sorry if that makes me an elitist.

So. Leann and I had devised this plan about a month, maybe a month and a half, ago. We managed not to tell anybody at home and we also gained another companion on this trip.

There he is. Think he's nervous?

I should also mention that these pictures were taken by Jules. Obviously, the three of us were battling with the concept of falling through the sky and were too occupied to take pictures. So thank you a million times over to her.

So to get to The Zoo, we had to take a metro to Termini and a train to Terni and then a nice man named Crocodile drove us the rest of the way to the small little complex they had set up.
It was a stressful train ride.

We were lucky enough when we got there to see a million things fall out of the sky. We were going to be doing that so soon. But first, it was time for a short lesson and to suit up. (HIMYM, yes, I am referencing you.)
Signing our lives away.

I'm a very good learner when it comes to falling out of planes.

He is also learning how to fall out of a plane.

They gave me the small suit. Cold ankles.

Don't you feel safe with that face?
Once we were all prepped to go, we boogied to some music. (Yeah, I don't know). And in what seemed like four seconds we were heading off to cram into a tiny airplane.
Our last words or something like that. :)

There I go, orange butt and all.

They were probably speaking Spanish at this point.

And away he goes!

Now, here's where documentation is lost and you have to rely on my words. Sorry. So we all cram into this tiny plane, and let me tell you it feels like there are four hundred people in there. We were the only three flying tandem, so the rest of them were crazy insane and awesome. We took off and starting going up and up.

And up.
And up, until we were above the clouds at fourteen thousand feet. FOURTEEN THOUSAND FEET. WHO DOES THAT? We do that. Apparently. It was a really long ride, it seemed like, giving you a lot of time to contemplate what you're doing. Also, the fact that Italian was flying around the plane (Ha. It's a pun..) like crazy made it all the more intense. Oh yeah, did I mention that the guy I was flying with didn't speak English? Yeah.
Once we were up and the rickety door was open, people literally just started pouring out of the plane and jumping to the ground below. Honestly, it went so fast and you had no time to think and all of a sudden you were flying THROUGH A CLOUD making faces at your camera guy, hoping your pictures turned out alright. Also. It snowed on the plane. And it made me really happy.
I believe you've seen this picture before.

It was incredible. And I know you want me to describe it for you. But I really, really can't. Words put me at a loss here, because they aren't talented enough to paint you a picture of what happens. OHMYGOD. I said that about four hundred times, and my guy just kept laughing at me. Such an American thing to say. BUT WOW.

Coming in for a landing! Apparently, we missed the rain while we were in the air!


That's a look of pure happiness. Don't be mistaken.

That's right. We jumped with a rainbow.


All of us just chillin. No big deal.

My boyfriend jumps out of planes with me. Beat that. :D

CROCODILE. Aw yeah. And my amazing hair.

I can't explain to you the feelings. I really can't. That feeling when you just jumped out of a plane in Italy instead of studying for finals. I highly suggest it.

Our message to you.