Friday, July 30, 2004


hey everyone i'm in switzerland right now. the keyboard is messed up because the z and y are switched so that's pissing me off a bit. oh well. i don't really care too much because it is sooo beautiful here. even the drive over from munich was nice. our tour manager made everyone stay awake so we could all see it (normally we all sleep on the bus because we're so tired from staying up late and everything). last night we went out to the beer halls in munich. it was crazy fun. they serve their beer in these 1 litre steins (that's like about three pints) that are huge and heavy. then they play all this crazy music and everyone has a good time.
before that we were in austria, which was also really beautiful. i hope that all of my pictures turn out as well as it looked in person (although of course they won't). tomorrow we are headed up one of the tallest mountains in europe to do some sledding and have snowball fights. it should be lots of fun (and cold). after that, we are headed back to germany to the rhine valley area and then off to amsterdam and then back to london and then home. i am really sad that my trip is almost over because i am having the most amazing time ever and have met some really cool people (especially this one australian guy named james. hehe).

ok, i will hopefully update again soon. miss you guys!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

loving it in venice

hey everyone! i'm in beautiful venice tonight. (ok, well actually i am in a campsite very close to venice, but i am going into the city tomorrow morning, so i will be there soon). just finished with rome and vatican city yesterday. it was all so amazing. i can't even describe it in words. but i took lots of pictures, so you can see when i get back (i think i am up to over 400 now - and i'm only half done with my trip). went into saint peter's basilica and the vatican museum and saw the sistine chapel. everything was just amazing.

florence was also beautiful. went to the duomo and the santa croce church. some of the people on the trip have given me the nickname "cath" because i want to check out all of the cathedrals. yeah, i'm a dork like that. but they are so amazing! they make fun of me because i want to go, and then they all come with me and area amazed as well. it is funny.

it has been ridiculously hot here the last few days, especially in rome. i thought i was going to die as we were walking around the colosseum and the old ruins. so, i'm eating lots of yummy gelati (my favorite flavor combo is pistachio and chocolate, although melon is really good too) to keep cool. i am drinking about 3 litres of water a day just to stay hydrated. it's insane.

i'm having lots of fun with the australians on the trip. they are crazy and we are all having a wonderful time.  i will try to keep you all updated as much as i can the next few days. tomorrow i go into venice and go on a gondola ride and go to saint mark's church. the day after that we travel to austria and go white water rafting. should be lots of fun.

ok, so i am almost out of time here at the internet cafe. talk to you all soon. love you lots! (btw, haven't sent any postcards yet because i haven't had time. so consider this your postcard. :))

Thursday, July 22, 2004

buongiorno from firenze

hey you all! i am in firenze (florence) in italy. i was having major issues with the stupid internet i was using yesterday, so today i found a better place where i could actually do something without it taking 5 hours (basically, yesterday, i was on for 15 minutes and all i could do was that short post and delete all my junk mail. how stupid is that? this place i am at right now is a proper internet cafe - the other one was just a couple computers at our campsite). anyway, i am loving my trip. everything is so wonderful and i really just can't believe that i am here and seeing all of this. it is truly wonderful. i have already taken about 270 pictures (in just one week) so that will be lost of fun to show you all when i get back. all of the other people on the tour are really great too. we are having so much fun. i am learning all the aussie words for things and picking up a slight accent. it's cool.

so far, i think the highlight has been paris. it was completely amazing. we didn't have a whole lot of free time, but i got pretty much everything done. i went up to the top of the eiffel tower, saw the arc d'triumphe, went into the louvre and saw the mona lisa, went inside notre dame, and saw most of the other sights as well. it was great.

well, i will keep having fun, and you all will keep working or going to school or whatever. hehe. not to rub it in. you can live vicariously through me. :)  cheers, mates!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

ciao from italia!!!

hey everyone! i am in italy! in florence, actually. this is my first chance to use the internet since we started the trip, so i apologize for not updating sooner. so far, it has been a blast. i am having tons of fun and seeing lots of cool places. it is awesome. i have already been to london, paris, the french countryside, and the french riviera (cannes and nice and monte carlo). paris was simply amazing, i think i took about 140 pictures just that one day. the french countryside was beautiful. we had a nice hike and went wine tasting. yesterday we went to the beach at cannes and saw where the film festival is held. it is really beautiful there as well. tomorrow, we have the day in florence and after that, on to rome and venice. hopefully i will update from one of those places. miss you all (well, at least a little bit).

Thursday, July 15, 2004

i'm in london!!!

hey everyone, i made it! i am here in london at my hotel. the 10 flight wasn't too awful (although definitely not fun). at least i got to watch a couple of movies. i figured out the london underground tube system pretty easily. although, it really shouldn't be called the 'underground' because at least half of my ride was above ground. oh well. i didn't sleep much at all during the flight, so i think i will beat the jet lag. i will definitely be tired when i should be going to bed here. so all will be good. sadly, i won't be able to go on the big bus tour thing because it takes too long, so i think i might try to squeeze it in at the end of my tour instead. we'll see how tired i am that day. i have a feeling that is a bad idea. oh well, more to see next time i come over here i guess. so i have a couple hours to kill before my tour meeting. i am going to go to the british museum and get some fish and chips for dinner (at least that's the plan). talk to you soon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

london calling

my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

alrighty, here it is, the last post from america for three weeks! I will miss you all (at least a little bit). check back here for updates. I will try to post as much as I can. byeeee!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

goodbye dinner

ok, so I was finally able to upload my pictures to my computer (long story, don't ask). here are some pictures from the big goodbye dinner from last monday night. we went to casa guadalajara in old town. and of course, the margaritas were really good and so was the food (note to self: next time get the mango strawberry margarita). thanks sooo much to everyone that could make it. it was lots of fun. (and everyone that couldn't make it, thanks to you too - it wouldn't have been san diego without any of you).

todd, me, and jpg

q, me, and janine

carolyn, me, and jeralin

alex, me, and gregg

meredith, me, and jeremy cogan

wendy and me

30 or so hours to go

ok so I'm leaving in about 30 hours! wow! I can't believe this at all. it doesn't seem real yet and it probably won't till I get off the plane in London (or maybe when I see on the onboard gps navigation thing that we are flying over the Atlantic Ocean). the farthest I've ever gone before is either New York City or Puerta Vallarta in Mexico (I'm not sure which one is actually farther away and I'm too lazy to look it up).

so I've somewhat packed, bought almost everything I need, updated my ipod, charged my batteries, cleared my memory cards, and read my guide books. I think I'm ready to go. almost.

Monday, July 12, 2004

packing progress

ok, so I've finished my first preliminary packing exercise. I put all of the clothes I wanted to take into my tiny suitcase. and they all fit! oh glorious day! I still need to find room for a pair of shoes and a couple random things, but I feel pretty good about it right now. that could all change tomorrow, of course, when I try to pack my backpack as well and when I really try to get all of my toiletries and everything else in one of the two things. yikes. but, as always, I am optimistic and I think I will get most of the stuff I want over there.

on another note, ken jennings won again today. 29 days in a row, over $970,000. crazy! who knows how far he will go?

also, I'm re-reading angels and demons (actually just the middle part) because I wanted to read his descriptions of vatican city and rome again before I go. such a dork, I know. oh well.

two days from right now I will be flying towards london!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

four days to go!

so the packing has officially begun today. I am really upset because I was going to borrow my mom's big suitcase, but I measured it today and it turns out that it is about 1 inch too big on each side. hmph. so not cool. [note: contiki has strict rules about the luggage that you take. not only can it be certain dimensions but it can only be a certain weight (20 kg - 44 lbs)]. sooo annoying. so now I might have to use my suitcase which is tiny compared to the other one. I could have 5 extra inches on one side and 4 on another. that's a lot of stuff that I can't take. so I'm contemplating buying a new suitcase that will work, but I really don't want to spend any more money. that would just suck. this trip is already costing me soo much and moving has been really expensive too. I will get my last paycheck from sdsu this week (hopefully before I leave) and then I have to wait until the end of august to get paid again (from asu). let's hope I can make it.

so there's only a couple more things I need to buy for my trip: a quick-drying towel, probably some clothes (if I have the time and money to go shopping), and a couple other little things. I got most of my toiletries the other day and a little flashlight. I already have a journal and pens and my grandpa gave me his adaptor/converter so I can use my electronic devices. yay for technology.

went through my closet at home today. found lots of old things (especially pictures that I thought were missing for good) that I had forgotten about. it was kind of fun, kind of sad (in a nostalgic way), and kind of happy (also in a nostalgic way).

oh exciting news. some of you may remember from last summer how I was addicted to watching the tour de france on tv. well, the same thing has happened this summer (although now that I am in LA, my mom's tv does not get oln so sadly I cannot watch it :-( ). buuuut, I figured out that I will be in france during the tour de france! how exciting is that?! I won't get to watch it (I'm missing it by about a day at one point) but I'm sure it will be really exciting just to be there at the same time. luckily I won't be in paris at the end of the race because I think it would be way too chaotic and I wouldn't be able to get to any of the museums or anything, but I will be there less than a week before it ends, so they will probably be getting ready for it so that will be cool. go lance go!

btw, in case anyone is really inquisitive, I am leaving from LAX on wednesday afternoon. this week!!!!! yay!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

why moving sucks

*sigh* finally I am done (mostly). the last two days have been the longest most annoying probably in my entire life. i have this weird kind of jet lag that happens when you travel too much in the same time zone. ugh.
so I guess I should start at the beginning. you all know I am moving out of my apartment in san diego and into my mom's house in los angeles for a week before going to europe for three weeks and then moving to arizona for grad school. whew, that was tiring just typing it. so yesterday I began the move out of san diego. [side note: there will be a post about the big going away dinner on monday night, but I need to vent first. sorry.] I got my u-haul and everything without any problem (thank goodness) and began packing away. thanks soooo much to gregg for helping me move all the furniture. I couldn't have done it without you. promise. basically, everything took longer than I was expecting and although I wanted to leave around 6:30, I actually left around 8pm. oh well. at least there wasn't as much traffic. so, I drove the u-haul up the lovely 5 freeway and made pretty good time considering I was driving a huge truck (ok, maybe huge is not the right word, but it was big). it wasn't nearly as hard as my mom thought it would be (of course - she thought it wouldn't even have power steering - like duh, whatever). unfortunately, when I got home I could not sleep even though I was completely exhausted. too much caffeine I guess, maybe just stress. but whatever it was it was really annoying. I had to wake up around 5:30am the next day so I probably only got about 4-5 hours of sleep. sad.
ok, so the next morning, me, my step-dad daryl, and me caravan (in three separate cars/u-haul) up to valencia where we are storing my stuff (for free, there is no way I would store it up there for no good reason). there was a bit of traffic, but not too bad. daryl is a crazy driver and was like speeding with the u-haul. bad idea. anyway, we got all my stuff out in about ten minutes, which gave me and mom plenty of time to drive the u-haul back to northridge to return it and then get me to the train station by 8:30. even though my mom almost got in a car accident, we made it there with plenty of time to spare. we had a nice little argument about george bush in the car while we were waiting, but other than that, nothing too exciting happened.
the train itself was its own story. now, I have become a seasoned veteran on taking the amtrak since I have now been doing it for five years. I have an entire system worked out so that no one ever sits next to me. the two important points: one, have a backpack or other similar type luggage item (sometimes a big purse will work) to put on the seat next to you that you would like to keep open. two, pretend to be asleep whenever the train stops to get more passengers. just reading a book or staring out the window will not suffice. if you are actually asleep (like the guy who was snoring two rows ahead of me) that works even better. although it is hard to fall asleep with the constant beeping and annoying children running up and down the aisles and hearing every cell phone ring known to man. ah, the joys of public transportation. well, considering all that and that my pen ran out of ink, it wasn't too bad of a trip. I've had worse (like that time laura and I had to sit on the floor most of the way from sd to la one thanksgiving weekend).
when I got back to my apartment, I realized that my laptop backpack was missing, along with all of the cords and paperwork that was in it (luckily my laptop was not in it. thank goodness. I would've died right there). I have a good feeling that it was taken accidentaly when salvation army came to pick up my desk, but we couldn't get ahold of them to confirm this, so as of right now, it is mia, probably never to be heard from again. so, in other words, you will not be seeing any pictures on here for a while since I can no longer connect my camera to my computer. :( but, don't worry, I will find a replacement. anyway, so that started off the bad day. it kind of just slowly got worse as I realized that I needed about three more hours and another car in order to pack all of my stuff and get it into my car. how is it that I've accumulated so much crap? it's seriously ridiculous. well, anyway, it all got done somehow. props to jeralin and nancy for cleaning. you guys rock. we finished moving out around 6, then I had to go and return our time warner modem to their store in miramar.
after that I met up with eric to say goodbye to him (he couldn't make it to the dinner) and then went to say goodbye to the jeremys and q. basically, at this time, the 'bad day' vibe left and it became 'happy/sad day' instead. jeremy cogan made me a candlelight dinner (aww, how cute) and q made fun of us. ah, just like old times. jeremy gallagher showed up later and then I had to go. so sad. I wanted to leave around 8, but again didn't end up getting out of there until almost 9. oh well. the drive back was quick. and now I am here in la, trying to make myself fall asleep. it's not working so well. another early morning tomorrow, but then the rest of the week should be really chill (let's hope).

Monday, July 05, 2004

happy fourth of july!

yesterday was fourth of july and I spent it in typical san diego manner. started off by sleeping in a bit. then jeralin and I went down to La Jolla Shores beach to tan a bit. we decided it was best not to even bother trying to park down at the beach, so we parked way up La Jolla Shores Drive and walked down. I also wanted to take pictures of the view from there, so it all worked out really well (except for the considerable hike back up on the way home). the beach was really crowded, as expected, but we managed to find a place to lay down and soak up some rays. I read my magazine for a while and then when we were done with the sun, we headed over to Jeff's Burgers for some lunch. oh, they have the best burgers in the world. we used to go there after surfing last year and they still taste just as good. that is one place I will definitely miss.
after the beach, we hung out at the pool at our complex for a while and then came back and relaxed for a bit. later in the day we had a bbq over at todd's place (since he was on duty, poor thing). we had hot dogs, hamburgers (with cheese!!), veggie burgers and turkey burgers (so everyone would be happy), watermelon, and of course many different choices of beverages. we listened to fun eighties music on todd's new computer and played stupid board games. around 9pm, some of us headed over to muir to watch the fireworks from the top of tioga where there was a good view. we sort of weren't supposed to be there, but oh well, not really an issue. all in all, it was a great day and one to remember.

the pier at scripps (and in the distance, downtown la jolla)

la jolla shores from a distance..doesn't seem so crowded from here

aaahhhh, the beach was ridiculously crowded. people were everywhere. but it was the perfect day.

at our bbq later on in the day. jeralin, jeremy gallagher, todd, q and janine

we watched the fireworks from the top of one of the buildings at ucsd. these are the downtown la jolla ones.

Friday, July 02, 2004

my last karl strauss

so I know this is a little out of order, but oh well, deal with it. I only uploaded the pictures this morning. by the way, I LOVE my new digital camera. it is so fantastic. as long as they don't pass a constitutional amendment barring me from doing it, I just might marry it. haha. (seriously, though, we shouldn't be telling anyone that they can't marry someone (unless it's like their cousin or something). that is just stupid. and you should let your representatives know that.)

so, anyway, this past wednesday night was my last karl strauss college night ever. I had been going there for like over a year or something and it was always lots of fun. I will definitely miss hanging out with everyone there, and of course, the garlic fries. :) oh yum.

here are some pictures from the evening:

jeremy paul and q. aren't they so cute?

for some reason, cogan could not keep his eyes open long enough to take one picture (and trust me, we tried like 20 different times - good thing it was a digital camera). i think he has some kind of medical problem.

peace out, yo

last day of work

so today was my last day of work at sdsu's center for research in math and science education (crmse). we had a little party during lunch and had chocolate cake. it was nice to see everyone there. they all wanted to hear about my upcoming trip (which I was more than happy to tell them about) and giving me tips on grad school. I actually had a lot of work to do today before and after that; basically I needed to organize everything I had done over the last 10 months and then try to relay it all to someone else so that my work would live on in infamy forever. hehe. it was sad saying goodbye to everyone and I will really miss working there. I learned so much about physics education and about how a textbook is written and also how a big project like ours is run. it was really interesting and I'm sure all this experience will help me a lot in grad school.

two weeks from right now I will be wandering around Paris. ahh, wonderful.

also, ken jennings won jeopardy again today, making it 23 days in a row and about $750,000. so crazy.