Hole in the Donut

             

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              This is for travelers who love cities and for those that live outside of city noise or chaos but like to explore things a little sometimes to spice things up. I’m a city girl or at least have grown up in a city. Things like seeing high-rise buildings, lots of people walking around, crossing streets and lots of food places remind me of home. There are good and bad things about city life though. One good part is that there is always something happening. Imagine looking out through your window in a big city versus in the suburbs. The city is full of energy while the suburbs are more likely to be calm. Again, I might be biased about it but some people like the energy while some prefer the calmness, trees, and the chirp of the birds. A bad part about the city is traffic sucks! Although, it depends where you are.

                 A friend, my two sisters, and I went to Chicago for the weekend recently. We noticed that Chicago has a parking problem too. Also, Illinois has a road tax while some other states don’t. So, this means every time you pass toll road, you’ve pay or you can buy a pass instead of stopping multiple times. So, living there can be costly. Perhaps, that’s why bigger city jobs pay higher rates, to accommodate the cost of living.

             Just because you don’t live there, doesn’t mean you can’t go there. If you do choose to go, there are lot of things to visit. There’s a lot of see around and also not everything cost money. For example, you can walk around in Millennium park for free. So there are lots of opportunities that don’t cost money. A lot of times, people perform there too! Unfortunately they did not have anyone performing anything at the time we were there. Everything is mostly in downtown. For international travelers, I would suggest to stay in hotel that’s outside downtown as staying in downtown can be expensive. Besides, downtown is little over an hour away so it’s not that bad and you can always use bus to travel places. The “Cloud Gate” sculpture also known as bean acts as fun-mirror where tourists or people can take pictures. People say you can get 360 reflection of the city there.

                We also visited a place called Devon Street. Devon Street is in a very diverse area and is a sort of China-town area but with many different cultures. I loved food there. We went to an Indian buffet. The hot tea was perfect, and prepared like back home! What I liked about that place is I saw more diversity and people doing their own thing in their traditional dresses. It’s normal life not dressing up for any event really. Wearing what defines their culture or shows part of it, I guess and being comfortable. Not trying to change to fit in! You can hear all kinds of languages there,English, Hindi, other languages are spoken there. You see all kinds of posters, signs in shops written in many different languages. That’s what I picture, when I think of USA, as a melting pot. Although, sadly you don’t see it around everywhere.

            If you like doing indoor stuff, then I would say visit Aquarium. There you will see cool fishes including sharks and the like. Also, Cheese Cake Factory has yummy cheese cakes. Movie theaters play all kinds of movies, including international films too! We went to watch “Jackie: The Foreigner” movie. I’m a big fan of Jackie! He is really good actor and that movie was good. If you like action movies then you will like it or if you are Jackie fan then you know it already! The movie shows more of British and Ireland relationship in the story when Jackie plays a role solving the problem, desperate from losing his family. That’s a little overview of the movie. I’ve never seen such fancy movie theater before where there are these fancy “Dream Lounger” chairs and where you feel like you are watching movie from home. It was really cool experience in the AMC theater. So, I would suggest you to go. Some people bring blankets to get extra cozy! It’s really cool experience, I must say. So, I hope this helps you decide or help you plan a trip to Chicago!

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Runaway…

           

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           Last winter my sister and I were lucky enough to be invited by my landlord to her mother’s place in Phoenix, Arizona. It was really nice of her to invite us to visit their place. There couldn’t have been any better time either. The trip happened in December, so we were so ready to escape the snow of Wisconsin and go to warm Arizona. Even though the weather is cold in winter and people are warm in Wisconsin. But it’s too cold for us tropical girls who loves the sunshine. So, every now and then we like to escape it when we get the chance.

           My sister and I had never been to Phoenix, Arizona before. Travelling with our landlord Mary, was super fun too. She is a funny and loving person. When we flew down there and saw the sunshine, we couldn’t believe that it was really still winter time. We fell in love with that place. When we saw all the buildings, shops around, Arizona didn’t feel like a desert at all. Although it is one! My sister was super happy to see “Chick-Fil-A” there. My sister is a foodie, and that is one of her favorites! Travel without food is incomplete for her. As for me, travel without sightseeing is incomplete. There are lots of cacti and hilly areas. That was my first time seeing a cactus in person. I’ve seen it in books, TV, and such, but never in person before. We wanted to go to Grand Canyon but apparently winter is not good time to go there and Mary was unwilling. That’s what we heard. Home structures are much different than in Wisconsin. I’ve never seen so much yellow, orangish houses before. Although it looks pretty down there.

            You have to drink lots of water and stay hydrated there, otherwise it is easy to get a headache from dehydration. It is hot during daytime with beautiful sunshine! Later at night, it gets cold as the heat of the sun goes away. So, if you travel there..be prepared for that! But if you are from up north then you should be fine as it definitely doesn’t snow there or at least, it didn’t when I was there.

                 I was also lucky to hear “Simply Three” play live down there. They are amazing musicians! We also got to see lots of red mountains in Sedona as well as Chapel of Holy cross there. We also got to visit Desert Botanical Garden. There are all very pleasing to see for sure! I’ve shared some those pictures here for you to see and decide, if it is something worth seeing for you.

Someday This Day..

         ALLEGHENY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

            Have you ever just grabbed your bags and went to travel, just because you felt like doing it? Or maybe to see your bestie or friend that you have not seen for a while? Travelling with friends is always fun. I never had a chance to do it until college, and I enjoyed it very much. It is a thrill to see a city that you and your friend have never been to. You both get to enjoy the excitement of exploring and the best part is the great company. This year, my summer was filled with adventure.

          My friend Bohye, is from South Korea. I met her through International Club and she was peer mentor to one of my friends. We became friends and soon enough we became roommates. She became both my roommate and my best buddy. How could she not, with such kind heart and caring personality. It’s not always the case for roommates as I know that from my experience living off-campus. If you find a friend or roommate as good as her, you better consider yourself lucky. You are the luckiest person on Earth. Because of Bohye, our off-campus living place felt like a home with people you love and care about.

       Later, my sister moved in to the same house and they got along just as well. Like I said before, Bohye is one of the nicest people I have ever met. We still Skype once or twice a month. After she graduated, she moved to West Virginia for work. I still remember that day when I came home after dropping her off to the airport. The house didn’t feel the same without her. I cried my heart out that night. That’s when I first realized how my parents felt when I came to study in USA. Saying goodbye is not easy. But I made sure that it’s not our last goodbye.

            Things change over time; communication, people, friendships. But I’ve been lucky. Our friendship didn’t change. Bohye and I lived as roommates for a year and have been friends for more than 2 years now. One day, my sisters and I decided to go visit her for the weekend. That weekend seemed to be the best time for everyone! We planned to meet each other halfway as otherwise the whole weekend would be just travelling through planes and bus as none of us have a car. Bohye took a bus to Pittsburgh, PA and we flew down there from Wisconsin. Even writing about it, I can feel it how I felt back then to see her smile face and waving at us as excitedly shouting, “Anniikkaaaaa!”

               One downside of travelling without plans is it is hard to see local landmarks. But  I did see everything else that weekend. Happiness, laughter, being with my bestie and my sisters. We laughed that night so much that our cheeks were hurting. We slept late night at the hotel. Luckily, the hotel had a shuttle back and forth from the airport and also provided free breakfast. That was the first time, I heard about ‘Grubhub’. Grubhub, in short, is a service where you pay somebody to get food from restaurant and deliver it to you. That seemed like a good choice for hungry, broke, international college kids who didn’t have a car to get it ourselves.

             This weekend trip was the first time my youngest sister met Bohye and they too got along super well. Honestly, I am not surprised. My sisters were content with the trip as they finally got to eat “Chik-Fil-A”. I was happy to see my bestie and have a cheerful time with her and my sisters. We went to malls, took an Uber for the first time. Uber gives first time users a free ride. All 4 of us had never used it before, so we all downloaded the app and got four free rides.

           I suggest that you try and just travel. You don’t have to have a reason, just enjoy yourself and you won’t regret a thing. Creating cheerful memories and stories to share is what it’s all about!

Footsteps towards adventure

Travelling is a step toward exploring the world, experiencing the world and the people in it through your own eyes. It is exciting as it sounds! However, it can be scary at times, being away from family in a strange land, the unknown. It is definitely a ride! Imagine getting on roller coaster knowing that it would be fun and you go through ups and downs and screaming yet at the end you still enjoyed the ride! That thrill is what I say traveling is.

The best thing about travelling is getting out of your comfort zone. Making memories and having adventures to tell stories about. Sometimes, those stories sounds funny right away, other times it sounds funny later. Think of it this way, you know the rules and layout of your own house, but you probably wouldn’t know that for your friends house. But it’s always fun going to friends’ house, hanging out and exploring. Being in a new place and socialize and having fun. That’s how I see it. It spices up your life!

Imagine having friends from all over the world. This time, having it in person rather than in virtual. So much better right!!

For some people, travelling is more of a luxury, as it can get expensive depending where and for how long it is. For some people, it is more of a adventure thing. Either way, I think everyone should travel at least once. Everyone has that one place that they have always thought would be a cool place to go but never got time or opportunity to do so. If you really want it, your desire will guide a your footstep toward adventure! Travel can be to a different country, state or even to a city! Travel makes you get out of your comfort zone and explore. Makes you curious to know the unknown. Ask yourself why and how others do things. For instance, different foods, clothes. It’s all comes in the package of adventure! But one thing for sure, you definitely learn that there is more than what you know. You are a part of a bigger picture which makes the world ! 😉