Archive for the ‘international travel’Category

10 Years of Thankfulness

Today is Thanksgiving, and tomorrow is our ten-year reunion. And while I’m not usually the sappy type to list things for which I am thankful, I have to say that over the last ten years, I have a lot to be thankful for. When added up, the past decade has been an immense time for me — learning, seeing, growing, doing — and it has made me the man I am today. So in spite of my less-than-brilliant life situation (eg, broke, single, unemployed), I still have to give thanks.

In the last ten years, I:

  • Moved to Philadelphia
  • Survived my first term at college
  • Made the Dean’s List
  • Learned to play rugby
  • Became good at video games
  • Mastered basic Calculus
  • Visited London
  • Learned to Salsa dance
  • Moved back to Maplewood
  • Got my first [indoor, professional] job
  • Voted in my first Presidential election
  • Became a disgruntled working stiff
  • Got fired
  • Joined a Shakespeare troupe
  • Built websites
  • Attempted Modern Dance
  • Learned to Swing Dance
  • Attempted Ballet
  • Visited Minneapolis
  • Joined a Fraternity
  • Forgot how to Salsa dance
  • Mastered the finer points of Shakespeare
  • Mastered the finer points of Christopher Marlowe
  • Visited London
  • Worked as a graphic designer
  • Read all the Harry Potter books
  • Visited New Orleans
  • Performed modern dance and ballet
  • Finished a degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Moved back to Maplewood
  • Worked an unpaid internship
  • Moved to England
  • Visited London frequently
  • Learned the basics of British culture
  • Voted absentee ballot in a Presidential Election
  • Visited Paris
  • Learned to use Chopsticks
  • Mastered the finer points of British culture
  • Picked up a British accent
  • Waited on line for the midnight release of a Harry Potter book
  • Earned a Master’s Degree in Graphic Communication
  • Moved back to Maplewood
  • Freelanced as a graphic designer
  • Lost a British accent
  • Started a design blog
  • Started a podcast
  • Got a full-time job
  • Moved to Brooklyn
  • Became a disgruntled working stiff
  • Quit a full-time job
  • Returned to Freelancing
  • Trained for a marathon
  • Waited on line for the midnight release of a Harry Potter book
  • Ran a marathon
  • Returned to playing rugby
  • Moved to Jersey City
  • Started a blog about business cards
  • And the rest is just details.

    Thanks to everyone who made the last 10 years necessary.

    Craig & Lisa

    Craig & Lisa, fresh from their move to New York, entertain me in their Chelsea lobby and elevator. Or as they call it, a lift. They don’t miss London yet, but they haven’t experienced a real winter yet either.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    19

    10 2009

    Crabby on the Way Home

    The weary New Yorker may not entirely understand, but after a week of Puerto Rico I’m ready to head home. The heat, sun, animals, spotty television and phone service, cars breaking down, and generally eccentricity of my family (and extended family) are all good for a few days, but not for extended sets.

    In typical fashion, we were late out of the gate, and got sidetracked buying breakfast, refueling, picking people up, taking stops, buying hammocks, looking at crabs, and taking the long way to the airport so we could deposit Mischa and Gabe to an entrance for El Yunque.

    Somehow, we made to the airport in time. There was still plenty of sitting around to be had. Star Trek played on the flight home, which was a nice surprise. Crappy headphones and monitors tried their best to ruin the experience, but alas, I enjoyed the movie. That’s about the best part of the day.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    It’s good to be back. I suppose I could have gotten a better tan.

    06

    08 2009

    A Monument to the Jíbaro People

    Stopping on the side of the Autopista, we visited a monument to the Jíbaro people of Puerto Rico. The Jíbaro aren’t the natives of Puerto Rico, per se, but they embody a specific home-grown culture that is neither copied from Spain, nor from America. It has to do with the land, and the agricultural traditions, foods, music, etc. Hard to explain really (although Wikipedia does a decent job). Sort of like the American Redneck of, say, Tennessee. It could be seen as an insult, but if you get distill the stereotypes, you’ll find it actually is a unique cultural heritage.

    And later in the day we dropped Gabe and Mischa off at a hotel in Patillas, which was actually very nice, although completely empty.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

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    05

    08 2009

    Patillas Beach

    The beach in our neighborhood is relatively low-key compared to the craziness of metro San Juan. That is all.

    Also, we have “free range” chickens on and around our property.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    03

    08 2009

    Balneario de Carolina

    With the cousins in Carolina for some beach fun and wackiness. Javier, Pito, and Angel continue to age, as do we, and yet together, they still act like ten-year-olds. Nothing wrong with that.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

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    02

    08 2009

    Isla Verde

    Mischa and Gabe arrived a day behind Johanna and me. So we are off to the beach for some much-needed sun, sand, and drinks. The day started, as if often does, in Patillas, with the family piling into our sweaty old car. Hey, it’s gets us around.

    Later on, we found ourselves in a typical supermarket, but with a few interesting cereal-based products. Is it just me, or are cereal mascots increasingly bizarre? Half these guys look like they’re on drugs.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    Read the rest of this entry →

    01

    08 2009

    Baba’s House

    In Puerto Rico, at my grandparents’ house. And for entertainment, old photo albums with pictures of us children, and my parents, from years ago. Oh, how young we were.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

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    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    31

    07 2009

    La Playa de Patillas

    Amid the mangroves and winding paths is a place where locals can tuck away to a semi-private beach. The Caribbean is calm and welcoming. This is one of the few places where I can tolerate the beach.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    Somehow, I didn’t snap any photos of the neighborhood kids who took their horse for a quick swim in the shallows. Seriously, have you ever seen a horse swim?

    27

    07 2008

    Crafty In Guayama

    Heading to Guayama for the craft festival of the Ingenious Artisans of Puerto Rico. Or something. I forget the actual name of their organisation.

    Guyama is a classic southern plantation town, complete with Spanish-style plaza. Vintage PR right here. Strangely, there is a monument to deceased servicemen of Ohio in the town center. Why not.

    Also pictured: improvised and hand-painted signage, vintage art deco movie theatre, and a piña colada prepared in an actual pineapple.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    Read the rest of this entry →

    26

    07 2008