Month: September 2014

Lady Liberty, a Symbol of Our Enduring Ideals: Democracy, Freedom, and Hope

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus A gift of friendship from France to the United States, Lady Liberty is a symbol of democracy and freedom. She stands tall through everything we had endured in New York and beyond, a true universal symbol of the strong woven fabric that we are made of and what we can do together. Times may be volatile but there are ideals that remain the same, and the pursuit of these endure not only in our symbols — which help remind us of what we have accomplished, what came before, what can be when all seem hopeless — but also within each of us. Photo taken during a cruise around Manhattan with my parents some years back. Weekly photo challenge: Endurance Advertisements

On Endurance: Don’t Pray for Lighter Burdens

“Don’t pray for lighther burdens, pray for stronger backs.” – Anon Photo taken of hardworking donkeys, as they stop to take a quick break in Oia, Santorini, during our trip to Greece in November 2013. Tourists are often given advisories not to take ‘donkey taxis’ in Santorini as most of them are reportedly being mistreated by their handlers (something we ourselves did not witness: the man in this particular photograph seemed to us to have been intent on the task at hand, like many of the hardworking folks we met in our travels). It’s also symbolic of the endurance and strength we should — and find within us to — exhibit when we have to take on the challenges we are given. Weekly photo challenge: Endurance

Wednesday Sightings: Seen on the Streets of New York

New York: where the unusual is the everyday, and the unique is celebrated. During a walk around midtown, drawn by her umbrella skirt, I motioned to this lady if I can take a picture of her and she smiled for the camera. I believe she was wearing the skirt and top hat because they were doing a promo for a show. It wouldn’t however be unusual to see other New Yorkers who in their everyday walk to the beat of their own drum. It’s a beautiful thing isn’t it — and who’s to say that in their eyes folks like us in our current pop culture dictated selves are the ones who are unusual?

World Heritage Site Tuesday: The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has always been on my bucket list, and when we went on our Mediterranean cruise last year, I finally had the opportunity to see the famous destination. We did our research prior to traveling and learned that Pisa is far from the port. This is the reason we decided that this time around instead of taking local modes of transportation on our own like what we did the rest of the stops, we would try one of the tours offered by the cruise line. The tour bus was crowded as expected, but the most unfortunate thing about this is that you don’t own your time. At one point we had to wait for our tour guide for an hour, time that we could have used exploring the area. In addition, not everyone on the tour came back on the time specified which caused a lot of delays. We later found out through experience that if we would have paid for a private tour, it would have cost us less than …

On Existence And Purpose

A butterfly only lives less than two weeks — but already has brought with its existence so much beauty and purpose, contributed to the cycle of life, perhaps touched even you and I. Can we, as we travel on through and with our limited time remind ourselves, how fleeting life is for us to spend on stresses, seemingly important, but walk away a while and suddenly in the scheme of the larger picture so insignificant? Are we with the time we are given be able to fulfill our purpose, whatever that may be, and touch others in the process?

We’ll Always Have Paris (And That Escargot)

If you were to choose the first time to have a certain dish, I’d say it would be a dream to do so in the place of its origins. I have spoken of my Contiki trip on this blog before, and one of the things I had the privilege of experiencing during the Paris leg was the great food. On our last night, our tour manager took us to Monmarte to show us Sacre Coeur and to a nice Parisian dinner at La Bonne Franquette. For my appetizer, instead of French onion soup I chose escargot — my first time — and it was quite an experience. The dish was served with shells on, with a shell holder and a small fork for you to use in taking the snails out (as opposed to those I had everywhere else since, where the snails are already taken out of the shells for you). The sauce was a perfect blend of garlic and herbs, and definitely great for dipping the bread, for which we were reprimanded (playfully) …

Learning To Deal With The Unexpected, Like The Day Balloon Elvis Didn’t Take Flight

One of the most important lessons travel is teaching me, is that things often don’t go as planned, or things happen that put a damper on how you think everything will go — and how you deal with the unexpected is what counts. Like the day of the hot air balloons that never were. We traveled to the Quickchek Festival of Ballooning last year, but because it was extremely windy that day the only hot air balloon we saw up in the sky was a cloud shaped like one. It was very disappointing to be looking forward to something only to learn unavoidable circumstances are preventing things to happen as you thought they were going to. To appease the crowd, the balloons were still blown up, so we still saw Elvis. So there I was, giant balloon Elvis taking shape slowly in front of my eyes, sitting beside my boyfriend, eating junk food on a windy weekend, about to see REO Speedwagon that night as part of the same event, and the greatest disappointment was …