Tag Archives: florida

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Part One

17 Aug

This summer feels like it just flew by.  It was a bit shorter than last year, but it was also significantly busier.  It was filled with travel and visitors, family and friends.  I have split this post into three parts in order to share photos.  This is the first of the three posts!

Like last year, I started my summer with a trip back to Florida.  It was a great two weeks spent eating, drinking, shopping, and relaxing with family and friends.  When I think about being so far away from my family during the year, I try to remember that being able to dedicate a full two weeks to vacation with them is one of the perks of living over here.

I did change my permanent residency in the States over to Florida during this trip.  I am now a licensed driver by the state of Florida.  Naturally, soon after I had that I signed up for a library card in my old county system.

One thing that my mom and I did this trip was to spend an afternoon at Vino Van Gogh painting owls and sipping wine.  It was so much fun and gave me a chance to paint for the first time in a few years.  Every time I sit down with a canvas I remember how much I love it and how much I have missed it.  I definitely would like to do this again.

It seems that I didn’t get all of the photos from my parents, but I don’t want to put this off any longer, so here are just a few photos from the trip.

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A Tourist in My Hometown

8 Jul

As previously mentioned, I spent two weeks in Florida visiting family and friends. I haven’t lived full time in Florida for almost eight years, but being born and raised in Pam Beach County means that this place will always be one of my homes. I definitely took it for granted while I lived there and totally appreciate that this is where I can vacation without having to pay for a hotel:

My parents took the full two weeks off during my stay, making this a vacation for them, too. We split our time between hometown memories and being tourists. Driving around I saw the only two houses I lived in, as well as my elementary, middle, and the rebuilt-version of my high school. I also went through boxes of cards, letters, photos, etc. from my childhood and teen years. We also visited beach-front hotel restaurants for fancy cocktails, took photos in front of the ocean, and I declined savings-card memberships because “I don’t live here.”

Some of the note-worthy food and drink stops were Tap 42, the Breakers, Burger-Fi, Four Seasons, and, of course, TooJay’s.

There were two must-visit restaurants while my sister and brother-in-law were in town: Sublime and the Mai Kai. Sublime is a gourmet vegan restaurant with one of the best sandwiches I have ever had (the rueben). Not one of us is vegan, but we all loved it. The Mai Kai, well, that was something else altogether. Happy hour drinks and appetizers, dinner, and a show – this place is way more than a tiki bar. My brother-in-law described the full experience, including the serendipitous moment that put this place on their radar, over on his blog.

Over the years my friends have spread out across the country, but I was fortunate to see a few while I was in town. Dinner and drinks were enjoyed on separate occasions along Atlantic Ave. with Katie, who I haven’t seen in over two years, as well as Becca and Charles who I haven’t seen in over seven years. I am lucky to have the kind of friends that make it easy to pick right back up, as if I saw them a few days earlier.

While I managed to eat-til-it-hurt and shop almost every day, there was also a lot of relaxing going on. Books were read and crosswords completed (sometimes only attempted) on my parents’ porch or living room, movies were watched on the big and small screen, and walks were taken around the neighborhood. This was an amazing way to vacation and next time, when Ben is with me, it will be perfect (I cannot wait to take him to Mai Kai!).

A few photos from the trip:

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Countdown: Three Weeks!

29 May

Three weeks from today I will be spending my first full day of vacation in Florida!  This trip will be the first time I am leaving Russia since October and I am so excited.  I definitely think that eight months is a long time to be away from the States.

I will be staying with my parents during the trip and my sister and brother-in-law will be coming down to visit.  I have some friends in the area, too, and I’m hoping that maybe some others will be home visiting while I am there.

Other than simply spending time with family and friends, I have been trying to think of all of the things that I want to take advantage of while I am there.  There will be much shopping and eating, maybe a movie or two, and I will definitely visit the ocean.  There are also the small details: free water and refills at restaurants, I can explain what I am looking for if necessary at a store, I can pay with a credit card and not have to dig for those last 10 kopecks while receiving the stink-eye from the cashier, and I can have anything imaginable shipped from Amazon.com FOR FREE.

Even though I am completely excited about this vacation, there are two major downsides:

  1. Ben will not be joining me.
  2. I won’t be visiting California.

This is a strictly vacation trip for me, but Ben has a conference at the end of the summer that he has to attend. We discussed so many variations of how we could make the two work together, but taking separate trips was the option that made the most sense.  It worked out for the best, though, because he was offered the opportunity to teach a seminar while I am away.  We do have a month and a half together in Moscow between our States trips to explore more.

As for California, I am so glad that we were able to go back last October.  It was exactly what we needed after our move at exactly the right time.  Southern California is one of our homes and we absolutely love it there.  I will always look for opportunities to visit and I know that we will get there again, I just hope it is sooner rather than later!

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