JavaGirl’s Journal: Packing up!

2 Nov

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Dear Journal,

Yesterday was the start of my vacation! Vacation to travel somewhere and lounge around the pool? No. Vacation to pack! It’s been a while since I have written in my “journal online”, but I haven’t wanted to. Things in my life have changed a lot in the past 4 months and it’s only going to get better! I got a great opportunity to live in Colorado Springs and I had to make a fast decision about it in August. Usually I take months to decide on a momentous life changing decision, but this was one of those “now or never” things. I do feel good about moving cross-country to a State I’ve only been to twice in my life, but the last time I was there last month, I just knew that is where I belong. You know that feeling you get just know about something? I was sipping hot tea and had walked out to the patio of where I was staying; I looked out at what was in front of me. In front of me was this huge mountain with the bluest sky I hadn’t seen since Brazil. The air was cool and crisp, the street was quiet with sounds of birds saying good morning. There is something about looking at a mountain in front of you which makes one really motivated. At least for me. The kind of motivation that says, “You know what? I’m going to the top of that mountain!” which in this case is Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is 14,000 feet above sea level and there are few ways to get up there. I personally want to take the cog train up there. But what I’m trying to say is that mountain also represents any mountain that I will climb or want to climb in the future regarding goals in life. Mountains=Goals in life. When you first look at the mountain (goal), you may think, “Wow. That’s huge!” but then if you are like me and like a good challenge, you then say, “But I’m going to get to the top of it!” Everyday you see that mountain in front of you. It’s a constant reminder (physically). The mountain is looking down at you almost as saying, “Come on, bring it!! Show me what you’ve got!” So, that’s when I knew I had made the right decision.

Packing and moving is nothing new to me. However, this is the first time to move on my own without said mother far away from New Jersey. I’m very excited, not nervous at all, and can’t wait to explore my new home. Sometimes you need to really change where you live to progress to a new chapter in your life. Colorado Springs will be temporary until next summer, then it’s packing up again to move to a home we will buy. After that, no more unpacking and repacking for a long time (except to travel to Europe etc for vacation).

I was telling someone a few weeks ago how my life has been like a rollercoaster the past year. I always use metaphors because they are fun to get a point across and it helps people understand me a bit better. Even I complicate myself sometimes. So, this past year has been sad and frustrating with the selling of my mom’s house, work getting me burned out and feeling of loneliness. Then out of the blue things started to pick up speed (mid July) where I’m thinking, “Whoa. What’s happening?” as things fall into place, I was able to look back behind me and see the dark skies I was leaving behind to head up to the top. I saw how far I had come and I was leaving it all behind and there was no turning back either. The ride of life was slowly heading up and my heart was pumping with excitement. The skies in front of me were brighter and sunnier. The view going up was amazing. As you go up, you see all what’s below you and what is ahead of you in life and you think, “Wow. Is that what I’m going to see and experience soon?” You see for miles and miles all around you and you can’t help but to enjoy the beauty of it all, but the beauty of it all belongs to me. It’s all mine-to enjoy. You’re not quite on top yet, but you’re getting a view of what is to come. I can’t help but to look back behind me and see the dark skies get father and farther away. That sipping tea moment was the beginning of being at the very top of the rollercoaster. I knew after that, things were going to go full throttle in planning, packing, moving etc. It’s a very exciting time in my life right now and Adventure Boy and I are thrilled at all the things we’ll be doing! Things will calm down just a little after April of next year. Until then, there will be many things happening. Just heard that a young couple made an offer to buy my mom’s house yesterday! Hopefully things will happen quickly because I’m leaving on Thanksgiving day right after dinner at my Aunt’s house.

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Can I just say how much I love this town? There’s just something about it that is just so….inspiring. I could write a suspense/thriller book just by this photo or think of a mystery movie. You’ll be seeing more of this town Manitou Springs in the future, possibly December where we’ll be able to walk around for a few hours.

Until my next journal entry,

xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

2 Nov

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The Blue Angels. So much fun to watch!

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Layers of moss on a roof descending down. I imagine this would look great when it rains.

12,095 feet up in the mountains!

21 Oct

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See those mountains off in the distance? We had to go through them to get to Aspen. Driving along this road and seeing those majestic mountains in front of us made me very excited and brought back to mind why I find mountains so fascinating. Down where I was born in the jungles of Brazil, we had hills off in the distance covered with trees. The first time I really saw mountains was when my mom and I went to Colorado when I was 17 years old. I briefly remember my time there such as feeling the lack of oxygen and feeling breathless. I remember it was cloudy and very cold, but that was it. I thought the mountains back then were cool, but nothing like the ones I was going to see this day. Part of me was thinking, “How are we going to pass over those mountains? They are so big!”

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See that tiny snake like winding road below? We came from there. I remember when we were driving down there looking up to where I am (standing to take this picture) and thinking, “Wow, we will be up soon!” The roads leading up the mountains were narrow and scary! But, that is what made it fun! After the bridge that was suspended high up in the air, I could handle snake like narrow roads with no rails along the side of the road! There were many points in the roads going up the mountains that if you were not careful of driving, you could end up rolling OFF THE MOUNTAIN! The drivers coming the opposite way (from Aspen) had the unfortunate luck of being on the left side closest to the cliff! This road is not for the faint of heart!

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From this view point, you can see the road we’ll be on in a few minutes. But can you see that cliff drop off?

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I love this picture. Once we arrived at our location “Independence Pass”, there is a trail you can walk on. On our way up there, it was snowing! Good thing we wore jackets and wore hats, I mean, we were on a mountain after all! This trail looks like it goes straight to the heavens.

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Simply amazing. By this time, I was mesmerized by where I was. I was taking it all in.

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Love the reflection of the sun on that lake. This picture is on my phone as my background picture. I show it to everybody and tell them I was up there. :)

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This photo is special to me. When I took this picture, I was thinking of my mom. It’s almost like I can reach through the clouds and caress her cheeks or try to hold her hand for a few seconds. My mom’s presence is always with me in everything I do, but for that small moment, I felt like I was so close to her-up in the clouds. Simple picture, yes, but it speaks volumes to me on a personal level. I miss my mom. They say when you’re on a mountain and you see the majesty of how big the mountains are compared to how small one is, a lot of things come to mind. There are a lot of thoughts that run through your mind when you’re on top of the world.

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Coming up here was one of my favorite things I got to do while visiting Colorado. Something tells me, this won’t be the last I’ll be up here because, after all, I will be moving here next month (not this mountain, I mean Colorado Springs). I’m already in love with the mountains and I already feel like Colorado is my home. There are so many fun things I’ll be doing and experiencing once we move here that I can’t wait to share them with you!

Below is a quick video of Independence Pass. For more information, check out the official website. http://www.independence-pass.com/

And this next video I did just for fun. What happened was that we ran into a very foggy area in the mountain that appeared spooky. This was on another day and we were trying to find the wolf sanctuary, but our GPS on our phones were not working because of our location. We kept driving and driving, but got more lost as we went deeper into the mountain. We decided to finally turn around at one point and head back to sunlight and civilization.

This clip is of us finally coming out of the mountain.

As we were driving, having no internet on our phones and feeling helpless if anything happened up there, I thought adding creepy music to this short clip would be kinda fun. I always thought I’d be a good suspense filmmaker. The end is what was creepiest. Just the fact that there was vast amounts of land on both sides and anything could have run from out of nowhere and attached themselves to our car was enough to get my imagination into overload. Haha.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

17 Oct

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This was taken on our way to Aspen, Colorado. It was one of the most amazing and beautiful rides I have ever been on. Every turn on the highway was decorated by rows and rows of incredible hues of yellow and oranges. It was like being in a dream. Beyond the trees were snow capped mountains and valleys below.

I took a video of our drive and hope you enjoy it! Watch video in 480p.

Garden of the Gods, Cliff Dwellings & Royal Gorge Bridge

14 Oct

Hello my dear friends,

So I just came back from a 4 day mini vacation to Colorado Springs, Colorado. I faced two of my biggest fears while being there-the fear of heights and of flying once again. The last time I was on a plane was in 1997 when my mom and I went to Brazil. I’ve flown over 58 times in my life on airplanes, but after September 11th, I got scared. But I knew I had to get on that plane to get my destination and nothing was going to stop me. The flight to Colorado Springs was horrible. I had eaten a very creamy broccoli and cheese soup at the airport and since I am lactose intolerant, I had stomach pains for about 14 hours afterwards. Luckily, I listened to two of my favorite songs, one being Jason Mraz’s song called “The Remedy” and Adam Clayton’s “Mission: Impossible” by U2 on my little ipod each time the plane took off and my nerves were calmed down. Mission Possible! The last thing I needed was the fear of flying somewhere to stop me. Lol. The second trip from St. Paul to Denver was turbulent for 2 hours straight and I was in agony. Oh, did I mention I had missed my flight too from Philadelphia to St. Paul? So, there we sat for 4 hours at the Philadelphia International Airport until the next plane came. Overall, it was not a good day and we were so tired when we arrived.

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Luckily, the trip back from Denver was perfect and flawless. Thank you Delta airlines for bumping us to first class on the way to Philadelphia. We had the best seats and so much leg room. The above picture was taken flying from Denver to Cincinnati, Ohio.

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My view every morning of Pikes Peak as I sipped hot tea (Orange Blossom Hibiscus) on the patio. Words can’t describe how looking at that mountain made me feel. When I see mountains I always think, “I’m going to get up to the top.” The first few days I felt a headache due to the elevation, but one aspirin and I was good. One thing I did clearly notice was how blue the skies were in Colorado. I couldn’t take my eyes off the sky because here in NJ, it’s not as blue.

GARDEN OF THE GODS Continue reading

American Dream Vacation

14 Oct

Emma from www.RelayRides.com asked me what my dream vacation would be, what I would see and what ride I would use. So, here is my entry.

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LAKE TAHOE

I would start off by flying into Sacramento International Airport to be in the California side of Lake Tahoe at 8 AM in the morning to make the best of the day. Once off the plane, I would already have a white SUV car waiting for me at the airport to take me to the activities I would have planned. How would I have a white SUV waiting for me at the airport you may ask? Well, beforehand, I would have gone to www.relayrides.com and have signed up for their peer to peer service, which means instead of paying huge prices to rent a car for a few days, it means you rent a car from a suitable and reliable person who is willing to rent out their car for your use during your stay. Once you sign up, you check out your list of available cars, depending on what you will be doing and the kind of terrain you will use during your stay. I would want a SUV due to it being sporty and specious car to haul around the things I would be doing during the day. There are many choices of cars to choose from, so it’s totally up to you of what kind of car you want for the time you need to rent it. Once you choose your car, you follow the directions of what to do next at http://www.relayrides.com to meet up with the person who is renting out their car to your. After fully inspecting the car you are about to rent out, you are on your way to a fabulous journey in a car that just saved you more cash in your pocket than what you would have had if you had rented out a more expensive rental from a corporation. For more valuable information on airport rentals near an airport near you, please go to https://relayrides.com/airports

Our first stop would be Tributary White Water Tours just to get some water adventure. Anyone who knows me well, knows I love water and white water rafting, so this would be a no brainer for us to enjoy for a few hours.

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photo credit: All Lake Tahoe

Next, because I’m a girl who loves to shop, I’d head over to The Shops at Heavenly Village to see what they have. According to their website, they have eclectic shops, delicious foods and concert series, so we would walk around for 2 hours.

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photo credit: Plan My Getaway

After dropping off my purchases and wanting to hit the waters once again, we’d go on a Kayak Tahoe tour. Kayaking is one of my favorite things to do. I feel so close to water, nature and it’s so peaceful. There is no feeling like it. This comes from kayaking all my life down in Brazil in a canoe and also a kayak when I was in grade school at a local lake. There were water snakes in the lake (this was in Brazil) and my kayak mysteriously starting sinking in the middle of the lake and I had to hold on to a friend’s kayak until we got back on shore. Had I known there were creepy water snakes in the lake, I would have literally ran on water and gotten on land in a historical 4 seconds. But, I know there aren’t any creepy black water snakes in Lake Tahoe, right? The water is so clear and gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to go kayaking before sunset?

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Photo credit: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort

After staying at a hotel, we’d return the car back at the airport that afternoon the next day. That my friends, would be one of my dream vacations here in the USA.

Haiti 2014 vacation video

14 Sep

Hey guys!

I know it’s taking me forever to post all my vacation pictures and videos, but here is a video from our trip to Haiti. We went on the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship “Explorer of the Seas” this past July. On this trip, we chose the Malfini Castaway Beach for three hours, which I specifically wanted for privacy and seclusion. We spent 3 hours just swimming in the warm waters and never sat on the beach during those 3 hours. Later, we went to Labadee and just walked around. We rode the Dragon Tail coaster several times and watched the zip liners above us. I wish we had more time there, but Haiti is a place we truly enjoyed ourselves at. The people are beautiful, friendly and sweet.

You will see some familiar shots where I took the pictures from in my previous blog post before this one. :) One of my favorite pictures is the Cabana photo. In the video, you can see the cabanas and the curtains billowing in the wind. Total bliss.

You can change the quality of the video by changing it to either 480p or 360p on YouTube. I had trouble uploading this video on Vimeo for some reason, so I had to use YouTube for this video.

Vacation: Haiti 2014

25 Aug

Dear Haiti,

Thank you for your hospitality. Your warmth of your tour guides, the beauty of your country and the healing waters of your ocean exceeded my expectations. We both loved it so much and hopefully will return again in the near future.

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This is the beautiful cruise ship that took us to all four countries. This was the view from our boat that took us to Malfini Beach, a private Royal Caribbean cast away beach. If you ever go on this cruise, I highly recommend going to this beach. It is well worth it and you’ll fall in love with it.

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This was a fun picture to take.

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It was funny, while Adventure Boy and I were swimming, we saw this boat come to the beach. Our hosts on the beach, local Haitians, had ordered take out. You can see one of the tour guides picking up the food. The boat later turned around and left. Did they get Chinese? Greek? I bet it was a delicious Haitian cuisine. Once on the beach, we were served a special punch that tasted amazing. No lunch was served because that was going to be on Labadee Island after our 3 hour time on Malfini Beach ended.

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Our mats. We had the best time on them!

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A yacht on the beautiful waters of Haiti? Yes please!

Look at the water! I couldn’t take my eyes off of the colors of the water. The water was so warm and calm…and clear! Floating on my back, closing my eyes and feeling the sunshine on my face was one of the best feelings in the world. I let everything that caused me stress go and allowed the waters to just gently caress me. Basically, we spent 3 wonderful hours swimming and exploring the sea life under us.

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After spending 3 amazing hours at Malfini Beach, we were then whisked away on a boat to Labadee Island where we had a delicious lunch. The cords you see in the background are the lines for the zip line. I thought about going on it, but decided it was funnier and better to watch others scream their heads off as they descended. I, on the other hand, just sipped on my pina colada as I laid back on my chair enjoying the view in front of me. The picture below is my view.

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Cabanas! They are the reason why I want this type of bed in the future. I should have rented out one, but thought of that way too late.

VIDEO COMING SOON! Please check back to see if it has been posted. Thanks!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

25 Aug

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Textures of stones by a nearby lake I go to sometimes.

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I love this picture. This was taken on the ship where they have the theater. These were the curtains which captivated me. I stared at these curtains because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I couldn’t tell if there was a very thin veil in front of the curtains with the women or if it was just one curtain with the flowers sewed on them. It does give off a 3 D effect which I find rare in my photography.

Vacation: Puerto Rico 2014

25 Aug

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We had a very short time in Puerto Rico. After coming off the ship, we were hit with a very humid atmosphere, however, the organization of where people had to go for their excursions were much more organized than other places. Once in our little mini bus, Adventure Boy and I sat at the very front. Our tour guide was nice and talkative.

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This was a walkway to the Information Center. Very Jurassic Park-esque.

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Tall trees in the jungle! Just trees we saw on our walk through the jungle. It was great to see Adventure Boy experience a hot jungle. It will prepare him and give him a little taste of what Brazil is like. Hehe.

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This is a waterfall. Without so much the water. Perhaps we came during a drought? I think so yes. Nevertheless, it was still beautiful to see and once again, I did have to rock climb to get this picture. It does seem far way, but it was quite a interesting journey to just get close to the waterfall. Believe it or not, climbing all over the rocks in my sandals was not exactly fun like the time I did in Bermuda.

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The capital building. Puerto Rico was nice and we learned a lot from our tour guide. I just wished our time there wasn’t so short.

VIDEO COMING SOON! Please check back to see when I post up the video portion of this blog. Thanks.

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