Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Reasons To Be Happy This Friday

I'm reviving my blog! Today is as good a day as any to do it, and because it's Friday, I'll also post my latest five reasons:

1. My new necklace!
It think this is the cutest thing ever! A little camera with a clock! I LOVE it! 

2. My family - they always make me happy (not only on Fridays)

I was in Germany in July and it was great to spend time with my family and friends! My nieces from Ireland were there because they are on summer break right now. I got to spend time with my little sister who is now engaged!! So we're planning her wedding (and I will be back in Germany next year)! My cousin, who's also my wedding photographer, was back from Canada and I enjoyed spending time with her! My grandma, who turned 85 during my visit, was so happy to have me there. And, of course, my parents were really excited! My mom and and cried when saying hello and goodbye - we're just emotional :) The eight days went by too fast, but I enjoyed every moment. It also made me realize that even though I miss my family, it doesn't seem like they are that far away! I know I can always reach them when I need them and they are always there for me! It is a great feeling. THANK YOU to my family.

3. My promotion. This is a great opportunity, and I have learned so much in the last year! I am now the associate director of communications, and I enjoy my job and the new position a lot. I have a great team, and it's fun to work with them. Plus, I get to travel more, which I'm pretty excited about.

4. That it is Friday! Yes, I love my job, but I also enjoy my time off! I'm looking forward to reading my book. If the weather is nice, I might go to the pool or beach and enjoy the sun, work on my tan. Tomorrow, after my workout, I'm meeting a friend to get a pedicure. I might even go shopping... 

5. And last but not least, my friends make me happy - the old ones and the new ones! I don't know what I would do without my friends. I was so excited to see so many of my friends while I was in Germany, and I was really touched that so many took time out of their busy schedule to spend time with me. Some even traveled for hours and hours! 

I also made some new friends here in Jax. I met a few Germans who moved here, and some of my coworkers have become friends. 

This is it for today! I will try to not make you wait that long for my next blog post. Maybe I will even find some time to blog about my Germany trip... but no promises!

What is making you happy today?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Exploring Nicaragua

In October 2013, Josh and I went to Nicaragua for our two-year anniversary trip. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

We stayed at Jicaro, a beautiful Island ecolodge on one of the little islands in Lake Nicaragua. Lake Nicaragua is a freshwater lake, and the biggest in Central America.

It was our first trip to Nicaragua, and the first time we spent more then a few ours in Central America. I have to say, Nicaragua is beautiful.

We flew into Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. A driver, arranged by the hotel, picked us up from the airport. We arrived late on Saturday night. Our driver did not speak any English and my Spanish is not sufficient to carry on a conversation.
Managua was buzzing with life - motorcycles, cars, and even horse-drawn carriages were everywhere, people were on their way to bars and restaurants, or on their way home.

Once we left the city limits, it was dark, and we couldn't see much of the landscape. Then we got closer to another city, and life began pulsing again. We saw a fight break out in the middle of a busy intersection, somebody had driven into a fire hydrant, and the water was spraying everywhere, our driver took us threw a sketchier part of Granada, we saw casinos and hookers on the street, then we rode down a street that was packed with clubs and bars, most of them had the dance floors on a terrace and the music was blaring from the speakers, the lights from one club could be seen at the next one. People were lined outside of these places to get in. Then it got dark again...
If you are in a new environment, rides like this seem to go on endless. We were driving through something that seemed like a park and suddenly there was a horse in the middle of the street. Other then the car lights it was pitch black. Then we pulled into a tiny harbor. A boat was waiting for us to take us to our hotel on the island. It was pitch black on the lake. All of a sudden rock formation would appear to the left and ride, but the captain knew his way around the lake and hardly ever even slowed down. At the hotel we were greeted with a fresh pressed juice and brought to our hacienda.

After our first night, we woke up to this beautiful view:

 Coffee and fresh-baked banana bread was waiting for us on our porch.

After the coffee, we ventured out of our hacienda to explore the hotel and have some breakfast.

We had fresh food for breakfast.
The view from our breakfast table:

There is a water tower with a viewing platform and the view from up there is just breathtaking. You can see the Volcano Mombacho from there.

One afternoon we explored Granada.

We went on a early morning fishing trip with one of the local fisherman. We didn't catch anything but it was a great experience.

Children on their way to school... Yes this little girls are rowing their own boat to school!

The food was just sooo good. Everything I ate tasted great!
And the best thing: they taught us how to cook Nicaraguan food. We learned how to make ceviche with fresh fish and cheese empanadas made from plantains.

A trip to Volcano Mombacho and the cloud forest:

We saw wild monkeys, lots and lots of monkeys! It was amazing.

This butterfly has see-through wings, and plays dead if it is caught. After a few seconds, it flew away.

We stopped at a coffee farm and learned how coffee plants grow.

They also taught us how to make local cocktails! So much fun!

It was so much fun. We want to go back again.