“And then the Umayyad Caliphate expanded their empire all the way across North Africa and up into Spain.” Yep, this statement is a regular occurrence in my life. After all, I teach Advanced Placement World History where we cover all sorts of historical details that you (and quite frankly, I) never learned in school. I know many of you are probably wondering, who in the world are the Umayyads and what’s a Caliphate? Unfortunately, some of my students still ask those questions, even though the school year is almost over…
Confession: I am horrible at speaking foreign languages. I can’t get the accent right and most of the time I mispronounce some part of the words. Does the “o” sound like “out” or “book”? I have no idea. It’s pretty bad, especially when you take into account the amount of traveling I do.
In high school, I took Spanish I and II classes. Over the years, I’ve spent time in Costa Rica and Spain, 6 straight weeks in Puerto Rico (and even returned for another week the next summer) and now 10 days in Ecuador. AND I live (and teach) in Florida – the home of many Latinas. So after all of that exposure to Spanish, you would imagine that I could carry on a conversation in Spanish, right? Continue reading
One of my favorite things about Latin America is the Spanish architecture. I love the colonial buildings, plazas, brick streets, and old churches. Quito has all of that and more with the a breathtaking cathedral in the middle of downtown, Basilica del Voto Nacional.
I’m not going to lie, this cathedral threw me for a loop. My friends and I were taking guesses as to what year it was built and I totally went with the educated guess of the 1600s. It made sense to the nerdy history teacher in me. Continue reading
My recent journey to Ecuador brought me, not so surprisingly, to the equator itself. The name Ecuador is derived from the Spanish name of República del Ecuador or the Republic of the Equator. Since we were in the country named after the equator, we had to go to the place where you can in both the northern and southern hemisphere at once! Continue reading
I’ve been a bit MIA here on the blogpost front and that is only because I was traveling for Spring Break with an amazing group around Quito, Ecuador. This team was made up primarily of high school students who were excited to spend a week sharing about their faith in local Ecuadorian schools with Cru High School’s Global Projects. This trip had many fun adventures from hiking and standing on the equator to life changing conversations with local high school students. And of course some major dessert eating took place as well (more on that gloriousness in the future). Continue reading
Yosemite National Park. My parents are adamant about traveling over the summers (my mom is a teacher as well. Where else do you think I got my love for summer travel from?). Now my parents typical vacation and my typical vacation vary a bit as my mom has never been outside of North America. But when it comes to North America, especially United States National Parks, my parents go big. The last vacation I took with them and my brother (my sister wasn’t able to go) was in 2006 to Yosemite National Park in California. Continue reading
I’ve been accruing credit card rewards for quite some time. I’ve earned a ton with all the flights abroad, hotels near and far, local restaurants, and cute clothes I’ve purchased over the years. I came up with a policy on how I would spend such rewards: Do something that I would NEVER pay for with my own money. My mom is all about cashing out her rewards for gift cards to places like Olive Garden, I decided to be more ridiculous and started looking into some of the travel options on the reward site for my January trip to NYC. And then I came across this… Continue reading
Glasgow has one of the tiniest subways I’ve ever been on. When I say tiny, I don’t mean like a short line with a few stops because it really does pale in comparison to NYC, Paris, or London but let’s be real, Glasgow itself is also way smaller than those mega-cities. What I mean by tiny is cute little toylike subway cars. I think I may have had to actually duck to get in and out of the petite subway capsules. In fear of looking super touristy, I didn’t take any photos while on the train. Looking back, I wish I did just so you all could properly understand how small the cars truly were.
People often ask me what is my favorite place that I’ve ever visited. And honestly, that is a really difficult question to answer considering how I have great memories from all of my trips – from snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and touring the Tuscan countryside to going to the Olympics in London or playing with the cutest kids in Haiti. I’ve been to some pretty amazing places. But, if I had to pick a place that was my absolute “favorite”, I would have to say the Mediterranean Sea Basin. Continue reading
If I took a survey of dream places my students would like to travel, most of them would say they would like to visit Australia one day. I think this would be true of most people in general. Making a journey across the global into a reality is a totally different story. A few years ago, I decided to go for it. Australia was going to happen in August 2012 and I was going to hit up the Outback AND the Great Barrier Reef (story about snorkeling on the Reef HERE). When I began the research, I found that there are only two major cities in the Northern Territory of Australia: Alice Springs and Darwin. In between those two landmarks are a few small towns, epic national parks, and some aboriginal protected land. Because I didn’t want to end up lost or even worse, stranded in the middle of the Outback, I decided the only way to travel through the Northern Territory was with an official tour company. We signed up with a young adult group, Contiki Tours, and began a journey across the Outback. Continue reading
A couple of summers ago, I took some students on an almost two week journey around Spain (we happened to take a side trip to Morocco). And of course, no trip around Spain is complete without a visit to one of it’s largest cities: Barcelona. Barcelona quickly became one of my favorite Spanish cities. I loved it’s Mediterranean vibe, which is hard to explain since honestly, it’s a feeling. It’s the outdoor sidewalk cafes, hustle and bustle of Las Ramblas, fabulous fashions that the women rock (like the flowing harem pants) readily available gelato, and the Christmas light decorated nightlife along the water. Continue reading
Normally when I visit New York City, the majority of the meals I eat are in Manhattan restaurants. This time around, I had the full Brooklyn dining experience. And yes, I do realize that it’s kind of ridiculous that I have a “normal” for NYC, but it seems that I get up there at least once or twice a year. So over time, I’ve developed some regular occurrences. In fact, some of my Florida friends were shocked that that I didn’t make time (or room) for Max Brenner. His Peanut Butter Euphoria Ice Cream Sundae is my number one favorite dessert! Continue reading
Success! This Florida girl managed to make it out of the great Northeast, during the month of January, alive. I know many of you were concerned that the 30 degree weather would have me completely paralyzed, but don’t fret. I survived. AND I even ventured out of New York City to a ski resort in New Jersey! Continue reading
Years ago, before I even started teaching, I went on “The Best Cruise Ever!” around the Mediterranean Sea with some amazing friends – eleven of my favorite friends from college, to be exact. This cruise was a mini journey through history – stopping at places like Rome, Athens, and Alexandra. One of the lesser known port cities we stopped at was Kusadasi, Turkey. Continue reading