Tag Archives: Holidays

Before I Travel

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed this strange phenomenon occurring before I travel: some sort of news worthy disaster or near disaster takes place in that city.

It takes place anywhere between two months and 24 hours before I’m supposed to leave, and on one occasion it caused me to change my travel plans. It used to freak me out, but now, I just consider it part of my traveling experience

For those that don’t believe me, I can provide proof of this crazy phenomenon. Here are just a few of the incidents (and links to the news articles) that have taken place before my travels…

October 1997 – This year, my family had planned a vacation to Acapulco, Mexico over Thanksgiving weekend. Then, about six weeks before our trip, Hurricane Pauline hit this touristy city, killing 118 people and leaving city ravaged. When we got there, hotels were still cleaning up and rebuilding, and it was obvious other tourists had changed their plans.

August 2004 – Less than 48 hours before a trip to Turkey with my family, there were car bomb attacks on two hotels in tourist districts of Istanbul. We were all a little freaked out by this one.

July 2009 – The day a couple friends and I were going to fly up to Chicago for a girls weekend trip, there was a chemical explosion at a factory.

September 2009 – Having been scared off from Cabo once before, I wasn’t going to let this category 3 hurricane change the plans my friends and I had to visit the tropical destination. Luckily for us, the hurricane passed by with minimal damage the day before our flight.

April 2010 – Just yesterday, two months before my flight to Northern Italy, this story comes out about a number of WWII explosives found near George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como. The family I’m staying with in Italy lives 10 minutes from the lake.

Kinda freaky, right??

So, do you think it’s a crazy coincidence or something else all together?? hmmm….

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Family, Friends, Ridiculousness

Time is flying by

Things have been very busy these past 6 weeks, so i figured i should do a little recap…

1) My very good friend Erin came to visit me at the beginning of the month. You can read all about her trip in the previous post.

2) Persian New Year was on March 20th. To most people it’s just the first day of spring, but in my family, it’s a major holiday. The whole holiday spans over a 2 week period but the actual count down to new year is on March 20th. Lots of traditions go with this, including a spread like the one here in all Persian homes…

The Haft Sin Table

To learn more about the history and traditions associate with the Persian New Year (known as Nowruz), click here.

To learn more about the Haft Sin table, click here.

3) I took a day trip to see Windsor, Stonehenge, and Oxford. When Erin was here, we booked this tour so we could go together. Unfortunately, i got sick and had to postpone mine. I’d been to Stonehenge before, so I sat out on that one, but Windsor was definitely my favorite. The best part may have been that the Queen was at the castle on the day I was there, which that alone made the entire trip. Oxford was cool, but it was really crowded and at this point I was having really bad stomach and kidney pain so all I wanted to do was get back on the bus.

At Windsor Castle

4) My new project: finding the best Mexican food in London. See, London is notorious for having bad Mexican food. The problem is, i LOVE Mexican food, and i refuse to believe that good Mexican food can’t be found in a city this big. So, i’m starting my own little project to find the best Mexican food in London. I literally just came up with this plan 30 minutes ago, so i’ll update with more details when i have them.

5) Warmer weather…FINALLY! I know that some cities are up in the 70’s already, but London’s been hanging around the low 50’s and high 40’s. Fortunately, it seems to slowly be creeping up to the mid and high 50’s. Time to bust out the t-shirts and find a park near my house for picnics.

6) Another good friend, Taylor, was just in town and I took him sight seeing the past few days. We hit up all major locations: Abbey Road, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben & Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, Harrods, and Portobello Road/Notting Hill. It was great to see him and to catch up after so long.

Taylor and I in front of Abbey Road Studios

thames river

Beautiful day by the River Thames

7) Planning out the summer. So, with no job, my visitor visa will expire at the end of June. This means I need to come up with a new plan…which i’m currently doing. My cousin’s getting married the second week in August so i’ll be back in the US for that, but that still leaves 6 weeks between when I need to be out of London and when I need to be in America. Where’s a great place to spend 6 weeks in the summer? I decided on Como, Italy. Starting at the end of June, I’ll be living just outside of Como as an au pair for an Italian family. I’ll be taking care of their 4 year old daughter for about 5 hours a day while also teaching her English. I will also have time to continue working on my Italian, and 1 day off a week to explore Northern Italy (Milan, Lake Como, Turin, Verona, etc). I’m looking forward to it for so many reasons, and the best part is that the timing worked out perfectly with the rest of my summer plans.

As of right now, I’m still not sure what I’m going to do after August. I have a couple ideas in mind, and I’m working on one of them now, but I’m going to wait and share the news once it’s all set. I am hoping to make it out to Nashville after the wedding so I can see friends, and I’m also hoping to have some time in California to spend with family. Hopefully i’ll know more soon 🙂

Book & Music time…

The book I recently finished reading… “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

The song i’m listening to on the tube… “Imma Be” by The Black Eyed Peas

Ciao,

Sheila

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San Diego

“Which of course in German means a whale’s vagina” – Anchor Man



San Diego is really an incredible place. While I was there we had rain, clouds, and sun. The temperature would go from 75 during the day to 55 at night. While the rest of the country was hit with unusually cold temperature, we actually had it really good.

By the time I made it home and got adjusted to the time change, I had my first of four dentist appointments. I can’t remember now if I mentioned this before, but my tooth got infected the first week I was in London. It was very painful, but after a round of antibiotics the infection went away. Unfortunately, I needed to get a root canal. Yay! Anyway, at this first appointment the doctor told me that the tooth was infected again and they could do the root canal until the infection was gone. So back on antibiotics I went.

Christmas Day


Friends always ask me about how my family celebrates Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Easter). We don’t really have any major Christmas traditions at my house. Last year my uncles and cousins came to visit so the house was filled with 10 people, this year it was just the three of us. Some years we would spend Christmas Eve at my Great Uncle’s house, some years we don’t. Keeps things interesting I guess. Oh wait, the one tradition we had at my house was that during the holidays (including Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas) my dad would work about 12 hours a day while I was home. For the first time in 25 years (thanks to the recession) he didn’t have to do that. The selfish-only child in me was pretty happy about breaking that tradition.

Yes, we put up a tree and George and I both have stockings (yes, the dog has a stocking but my parents don’t). We don’t do a big Christmas dinner cuz there’s always a Persian restaurant open and my dad would much rather prefer to go and eat there if it’s just the three of us. Bottom line, no matter how many of us there are at the house, we always wait for everyone to wake up and have breakfast, and then we open gifts. We spend the day together. That’s what counts, right?

The Party

My parents like to throw a party every year. When I left for college, the parties started taking place during Christmas time. Food is ordered, furniture is moved, appetizers and desserts are made, and the liquor cabinet is stocked. This year, the gathering took place the day after Christmas. I made a few things, mom made a few things, and dad did the grocery shopping.

NYE

Just before New Years Eve, I had my second dentist appointment. This time, the infection was gone, and they were able to do the root canal. It took 3 hours. Enough said.

On the 31st, I had a couple visitors from Nashville 🙂

Yes, Lauren and Lucy came to visit me in San Diego! First stop when they arrived was In-N-Out. It was Lucy’s first time and luckily she really liked it. That evening we went to dinner with my parents, and then headed down to Little Italy for a little drinking and dancing with my friend Amy.

On new years day, Amy hooked us up with passes to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Luckily, the animals were actually out and about when we reached them so we got to see a lot of them up close.

We saw the koalas

And the panda

Here are the giraffes

The rhinos

The polar bears

We even got to see the lion

The next day we went down to La Jolla Shores (one of my favorite places in San Diego) and saw the seals that have taken over the beach there.

We also went down to the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado (a must see if you ever visit) and walked down the beach.

And finally, we went to Old Town (the original city of San Diego) and had margaritas, taquitos, and nachos.

On their last day, we headed over to Point Loma (a new thing for me) and saw the old lighthouse. Of course, they couldn’t leave without one final In-N-Out trip…and one to take with them for Erin.

Essential California Sustenance

2010

Dentist visit number three was on the 7th. My crown came in so they needed to take the temporary out and put the permanent one in. Luckily they take an x-ray of it before they cement it in (wonder how many times it took them to get that process down) cuz mine was definitely a little big. They sent it back and said they’d call when it came in on Monday or Tuesday. Great. The crown did come in on Tuesday (appointment number four) and the whole process was finally over.

My mom’s cousin, her family along, and her sister came to visit us on the 11th for a week. It was really great to see them and I was so glad I had pushed my flight back so that I could spend a few days with them.

Finally, on the 14th, I said goodbye to family, George, and San Diego and headed back to London. Home was great, but I was definitely glad to be in London again.

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Eating Out, Family, Friends, Movie Reference, Things to see