2011...Here I Come

I'd say this year was pretty much a 50/50 split of what I wished had happened. I can honestly say I enjoyed January-July much more than August-December. I was with spending time with family, friends, loving life, and making big plans.

As of today, I've lived here in Florida for 142 days. I know that this experience was different than anything I've ever done and ever will do. That does not mean I had the time of my life here or would wish it on anyone. I'm happy I did this internship. I learned a lot while I was here about myself, work, living alone, etc. That being said, I can't wait to go home and never come back to Florida to live here ever again. Vacation? Yes please. Living here permanently? Hell no.

In her blog, my friend Lauren talks about how our hometown isn't a good fit for her and it makes sense. She and a small town in New Jersey make no sense when put together. That girl belongs in a big city along with lots of people with big plans. Honestly, where we come from doesn't have too much of that. I respect her for that and I agree.

Lauren - if you think Jersey is bad, never come to Central Florida. This place is more boring and small minded than any place I've ever lived. So many people just seem to be so okay with just living life in this one place for their whole life and never changing. It makes me crazy. I'm counting the days to go home and see my friends. I want this year to make up for everything I feel like I missed out on this year while I spent this much time in Florida. So this is my goal.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I feel like people rarely stick to them and it's not hard to see why. At least for me, it's way too difficult to say something cliche like "This year, I'm going to blah blah blah" whatever, and stick to it. Let's be honest. Life gets in the way and you start to slip on your resolution. I feel like most people don't make it longer than a couple of months.

One year (now bear with me, I forget if this was a New Year's resolution or just a change I wanted to make in general..it's the same concept) I tried to stop saying "like" so much in the wrong context. You know..."I was talking to her and I was like 'no way!' and she was like 'yep. better believe it.'" I even recruited my friends to remind me when I had misspoken and guess what? It still didn't work out.

So this year, I'm more motivated than ever to do a New Year's resolution my way. The concept is a combination of a bucket list, the '101 things to do before you graduate' list that I hang in my dorm room every year, and inspiration from my friend Hana's blog. Basically what I'm going to do is make a list of things I want to accomplish in 2011. Some will be serious, some will be fun, but basically what I want to accomplish is to enjoy 2011 as much as I possibly can and make sure I can look back on it a year from today and think that I made the most of my time.

I'm going to be reaching out to my friends & family in the next couple days to formulate my list and then I'll put it up here once I have a least a couple solid ideas.

So here goes nothing. 2011, here I come.

2011 list (so far):
1. read a book i would normally have no interest in
2. make a craft that uses more than paper, glue, and 20 minutes
3. volunteer more
4. learn spanish
5. learn guitar
6. eat at at least 3 restuarants featured on diners, drive ins, and dives
7. live by this mantra
8. finish a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with friends. (i know i already started this one and i'm just now adding it...i don't care. still a goal)


Food & Wine Festival :)

It's been a good couple of weeks since I last updated. I've been working and exploring a little bit more. The 15th Annual Food & Wine Festival began in October and it's still going strong. Here's a video I found on the Disney Parks Blog that tells a little bit about the festival:

It's really a cool place to try foods from around the world and not spend big bucks while doing it. So far at the festival, I've tried foods from...

Puerto Rico. This is the Medianoche Sandwich. From what I understand, it's the Puerto Rican equivalent of a hoagie. The bread is what makes it a medianoche sandwich, not the ingredients inside. That changes along with whoever makes the sandwich. All I know is that it was delicious. Next time I go back, I might get another one.

In PR I also tried that Asopao De Pollo (chicken soup with rice), which I have to admit, I really disliked. After consulting with Gerardo, I found out that the olives that were in this soup are not always there, and that I should probably give it another chance when made properly.

Next, I tried that Flavors of Africa platter from South Africa. It included some bread, various sauces that originated in the region, as well as salad. I thought everything on here was delicious, especially the green sauce. Unfortunately they do not give much of a description past the title, so I have no idea what was it in. I'll have to look it up. Overall though, I would recommend stopping at South Africa.

In Greece I tried the Spanakopita. I already knew I liked spanakopita thanks to the Harvest Diner, but was craving it, so I got it here as well. Of course, it was very good, but oddly enough, I think I might prefer the diner version more.

I went to South Korea and tried the Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw (as seen in the video above!). By description (and frankly, by looks as well) this is something I never really thought I would like. I tried it anyway, and so far, it's ended up being one of my favorite dishes at the festival!

This next dish may have been my favorite one of all. It's called Tuna Sensation and you can find it in Japan. The ingredients are simply tuna, avacado, and soy sauce. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

Next I stopped by Austailia for the Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Lemon Oil. I had never had barramundi before and was a bit nervous, but it was great (as was the arugula salad with tomatoes)!

My next stop was Belgium (a country that is new to the F&W Festival this year!), where I tried the Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream. They were good, but nothing to rave too much about. The bread was a bit hard and I thought there was way too much sauce on the mussels, but that's just my opinion.

Next was quite possibly the best dessert I've had in Disney World so far (but then again, I have to to try the Zebra Domes from my restaurant, which are rumored to be the best dessert in the world basically). I've gotten it twice at the Food & Wine Festival so far: once with Gerardo, and once a couple days after when I couldn't resist while walking by the Ireland stand. It's a Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache. How could it be anything but fabulous?! Just thinking about it makes me want to catch a bus to EPCOT right now to get another one.

My next stop at the festival was the New Zealand stand. I got the Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil. The scallop itself was fabulous, I just wish I could've had more of that and less of the vegetable slaw it was served with! Don't get me wrong, those were great as well, they just pale in comparison to the scallop itself.

Next stop? Canada of course! Sue suggested this one to me, even though I was a bit skeptical. Naturally, she was right and it was so good! It's a Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta! I cut up the sausage and mixed it with the polenta. The spicy/sweet dynamic was fabulous. I would definitely buy this again.

In Morocco I tried the Falafel Pita Pocket. It was a nice snack, but I probably wouldn't go back to get this. It was pretty average. I'm glad I tried it, but I think I could get a better pita pocket somewhere else. All of the ingredients in the pocket besides the falafel itself were kind of bland. Not a letdown, but nothing entirely special either.

Then in Germany I tried the Spatzle Gratin with Ham and Cheese. This was delicious. It probably helped that by the time I tried this food, it was getting a little cooler outside and the warmth made this dish that much better. It was kind of like a comfort food even though I'd never tried it before. Very odd, I know, but it was very good!

For dessert, I had to go to France and try the Creme Brulee au Chocolate au Lait. How could this be anything but amazing?

Taco de Chilorio from Mexico

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream from Poland

Xinjiang Barbecue Chicken Stick from China

And of course, a Cannolo Al Cioccolato aka Chocolate Cannoli from Italy!

Countries/Dishes tried, but not pictured:
Roasted Corn and Cheese Empanada from Argentina
Dessert Trio from Desserts & Champagne

Countries I didn't have the chance to try
Charcuterie and Cheese
Hops & Barley
United States


Helping Nicholas

Nicholas is doing his core project at BU. Check out his group's product!


First Disney Post....About 6 Weeks Overdue.

Alright, so...hello! Finally.

This Wednesday it will be exactly 6 weeks since I've arrived in Orlando to start the Disney College Program. I've been very busy trying to adjust to everything here...it's so different than anything I've ever experienced before.

Sure, I've had jobs and lived away from home, but it's got a very different feel. I live in an apartment right now with 1 other person. We've got a kitchen, living room, bedroom, & bathroom. I used to live in an apartment with 5 roommates, but it was entirely too much for me to handle. Screaming at all times of the night? Roommate turning on the television, yelling over the telephone, and bringing boys into the room while I'm sleeping? No thank you. So I moved out. Of course, moving has had some monetary costs added in, but it definitely worth it for the sake of a peaceful life away from work.

In other news, work is crazy. I work almost 40 hours a week at a quick service food & beverage restaurant called The Mara in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here's a couple pictures I snagged off of Google Images (I haven't really had the chance to take any myself yet):

The kitchen and greeting area of our little jungle abode.

Beverage Island!

Some examples of the food choices we have at The Mara..my favorite being the bottom sandwich :) It's a Turkey Ciabatta sandwich! It has kalamata olives, arugula, and sun dried tomato mayonnaise! Delicious.

I usually work 5 days a week, and I'm doing jobs anywhere from waffles, burgers, fryer, pizza, greeting, cleaning tables, stocking beverage island, and as of today, maybe even being a cashier. I just trained on cash today and it was a bit confusing at first, but like most registers, will just take some time getting used to.

Next week I'm deployed to All Star Sports, where I'll probably be cleaning the hundreds of tables they have in their food court haha. One of my co-workers, Yu Jin, was deployed to All Star Music and that's all she did all week so it's a definite possibility.

Speaking of All Star Resorts, Gerardo is coming to visit soon! October 28-31 more specifically! I'm very excited. It's his birthday weekend and so far we have reservations at 2 restaurants:

Tokyo Dining


50's Prime Time Cafe!

It should be a lovely time, especially since we haven't seen each other since the first week of May! Needless to say, neither of us can wait.

Well, I think that's enough for now.

I promise, more updates will happen soon!

Happy Sailing :)

P.S. - I'm going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this Thursday. Any costume ideas?



Alright so clearly I'm not very good at updating this. All summer I've basically just been working and taking summer classes, with a few great trips sprinkled in (New Hope, OC, etc.) I'm having fun and that's all that really matters, right?

Basically I just want to say that I plan on using this blog more for when I leave for Disney (so soon!!!) as a way to keep all of my friends and family that I don't get to talk to quite enough updated on my life and everything new that is happening with me. I can't wait for the next couple adventures I've planned for myself and hope that everyone has fun reading about them here with me.

Before I leave I might add in a couple entries, I might not. We'll see!

Until next time, happy sailing!


Start of Summer

Since I last wrote, I've had a lot going on. The Boston Marathon was mid-April, during the last stretch of sophomore year. I'm really already missing BU and all of my fabulous 10C companions so much. One of our "last hurrah" adventures we went on was something I dubbed 10C Excursion Day. Turned out most of 10C didn't show, and it ended up being me, Gerardo, Beck, Usman, and Ryan:

We decided to wander around towards the Cambridge/MIT area to see what we would find. I know I posted some of these pictures on Facebook, but bear with me. First stop was the MIT Museum. For only $3 (for students), I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot. We saw a bunch of great inventions from the students of MIT:

A guitar tuner flower that turns based on if the note is flat or sharp (it blooms is it's just right!):

A kangaroo easel that jumps around when you try to draw:

A robot that acts as an extension of a doctor's hand to perform minor surgeries:

A robot that can sense and respond (with no words, just actions) to human emotions:

After the robots we saw a couple holograms that were awesome, yet pretty creepy. There was one where as you walked by, it looked like a woman was winking and waving at you. Another showed an old man, but as you got closer, looked like a corpse.

Then there were some machines that were pretty interesting. One was a wishbone pulling a contraption behind it, one looked like a walking chair, and one even was a violin duster!

After the MIT Museum, we kept exploring. Ryan found this awesome little alley way that was full of graffiti. We didn't really understand some of it, but enjoyed it thoroughly:

We walked into a used record/CD/video etc. store after the graffiti alley. Looked promising but the only thing in my price range was Season 1 of The Simple Life. A season of Monk was about $20! Please. I can get that on Amazon for 10-15.

We were kind of stuck at this point, so just decided to wander off of the main road and into the suburbs of Cambridge. Everything looked pretty standard until we came across the most bizarre house I have probably ever seen. We're still not positive of what this house is used for. Drug addicts? Mentally unstable people? Just some creative artists with far out thoughts? Who knows. Make up the decision for yourself. These are just a few samples of what we found bouth on the house and the fence surrounding it:

At this point we got a call from the one and only Ellen and decided to meet her for lunch. We took the T back to Coolidge Corner (getting stuck on the Red Line on the way) and found her. We got lunch and afterwards, while waiting for Usman to get something fixed, met a dog with one eye! Cutie.

The rest of the semester was kind of a blur. I got pretty sick and got to buy a neti pot. I highly recommend them to anyone with a stuffy nose. It kind of feels like you're drowning at first but the end result is fantastic! No matter how congested I felt before, afterwards I could always breathe freely, I promise. It was great. No one really understands why I advocate for neti pots so much. It's cool, I don't understand either. Since I was sick, I wasn't able to really enjoy the last beautiful Boston days before finals and was forced to stay in and study. Needless to say, I'm glad it happened now, but at the time it really sucked. Finally the time came and I had to leave my BU pals behind and head home.

The next day was Treasure Day (aka town-wide yard sale) at home. Treasure Day is probably one of my favorite days of the year. I've always loved it - not only to see the weird stuff my neighbors are selling, but also just to find some cool things. This year, I bought the movie 21 for $2 off of Becca's little cousin, a plant for my mom, and -get this- an EASY BAKE OVEN for $4 with Jess and Bec. Later on I went rummaging through my neighbor's trash with Sue and Tony and got a little wooden jewelry box and Monopoly Junior (dinosaur version!). I think it was a good day.

Sunday I saw both of my grandmothers for Mother's Day. I love going to see them. It's always a good time. Between how my one grandmother says the cutest things and makes me laugh with some of the crazy things she says and my other one who is a fabulous cook and also says some crazy things (..see where I get it?), it's never a bore to visit either of them. At my second grandmother's house, we had a barbecue and it really got me in the mood for summer.

After that long day driving around (and the trip back from Boston), you'd think I'd had enough of the long car rides. Nope! We went to drop Sue and Tony off at CIA. That school never ceases to amaze me. At BU, you can find so many people who are just kind of bopping around, not really sure of what they want to do with their lives (don't ge tme wrong, there are definitely people who do know, I'm just saying there's a lot of Undecided majors). When you go to the CIA though, everyone is so focused and in love with their studies. I'm sure they complain about homework too, but when it comes down to it, it seems like they just can't get enough of cooking. I really admire them for that.

The next day was a bit of a chill day. I basically just bummed around and went shopping for some new clothing because of my new job. I'm working for Sheraton, and so far, I'm really enjoying myself there. When we talk about hotels in classes, everything makes sense but I can't really connect myself to the ideas. Now that I'm working (and I've only been there for a week or so) I already feel that I've learned so much. I only need to write a couple pages for school on this internship, but right now I feel like I could write so much more. I've shadowed all different areas of the hotel: Sales, Housekeeping, Reservations, PBX, Front Desk, Convention Services, Revenue Management, etc. Although I do have to do some standard intern work sometimes (making copies, shredding papers, filing things, etc.), I really don't mind it at all. The gain is definitely worth it.

I think it's funny. Almost every single person who works full time at the hotel so far has told me to "get out of hospitality now" to save myself. I'm not really sure how to take this. These people don't seem very unhappy in their jobs, I think it's probably just the hours and the personalities of the industry that make people crazy. To be honest, I picked this major on a whim. For some reason though, I find myself being very interested in all of the different components of it. Could I see myself working in a hotel or restaurant full time someday? Yep. Will I be devastated if I don't? Nope. I feel like all of the skills and lessons I'm getting out of both my major at school and practice in the field are transferable to so many different workplaces and industries. All I can say if that I'm excited to see how things will work out.

I'm also taking classes at the local community college. It's alright. After being at BU and seeing how passionate my professors can be and how much they truly want their students to learn, it's kind of disappointing to have a teacher who just hands me the answers. Sure, I'm happy I'll get an A and the credits will transfer to BU, but will I actually learn anything? I think I'm in the minority with my age group where I actually care about getting my money's worth and want the education I'm paying for. I don't know, I suppose I won't look a gift horse in the mouth and just take these classes as they are.

So that's my week every week basically. School, work, school, work, work, weekend. Restart. I know that it's all going to be worth it in the end, but I'm not so happy that I can't see my friends as much as I usually do. For those who really know me, you know I'd love to hang out with Belling in my basement yelling at each other about Mario Kart. But alas, I must work for my future and that's fine by me.

The other night I had a really great time hanging with a couple of my favorites. After a long day of watching the Flyers at Millmental's house, a couple of us headed to Jess's casa to make a fire. Needless to say, even with my camp experience, fire building is not one of my strongest skills. It took about 3,425 sticks, 12 matches, 2 cups of gasoline, and 9 fire starters to get it going. Once we did though we put on some nice jams (Belle & Sebastian, Ben Lee, etc.) and made smores by the fire. Not to be cheesy, but it's times like these where I really appreciate what I have. I love my friends and wouldn't trade them for anything.

A couple days later, I worked an Open House at camp and realized, of course, how much I'll miss it this year. Camp is a part of me. How can it not be after 12 years of attending as both a camper and a counselor? I really have to give camp a lot of credit for making me into the person I am today. I've made some of my best friends there and I'll never forget or regret the years I spent there. Maybe I'll go back some day...I hope so. People there are just so genuine and free to be themselves - no pressures of the "real world."

So anyway, I was at camp and I gave a couple tours to prospective campers. I really hope it went well. Camp isn't doing the best financially as it has in the past, and I just want to know it'll be around to help kids in the future. My friends Alicia and Rachel made some "slime" with the kids. It was both so gross and so awesome. I got to see a couple people I hadn't seen in a long time, which was nice.

I'm going to officially be a Disney employee come August and we'll see how that goes. I am extremely excited to go down there and see for myself what people keep telling me is such a great experience. Working full time (and getting paid) while hanging out with Mickey? Yes, please! I'll definitely try to update again before I leave for Florida, but if I don't, I will for sure once I get down there.

I actually started this blog as a way to keep all of my friends and family informed on my whereabouts and how life is going when I'm away. I'll be in Disney August through January and I know I'll be missing everyone so much. Senior year I might study abroad and I want to stay connected then too - I might be on the other side of the world! Until next time, happy sailing :)


Working The Boston Marathon

Alright, so I basically just stood there for 5 hours. But I'm glad I did it. I worked the "Family Reunion" section of the route, which was after the finish line (also after the runners collected their water, Gatorade, blankets, food, etc.). It was full of things I didn't expect, but probably should have.

First of all, I did not anticipate the smell. It wasn't that I thought the runners wouldn't reek after running for 26.2 miles, I just didn't know I would be in such close quarters with them. Even though they smelled awful, I'm glad I got to be next to some of them and even talk to a couple of the runners. I also didn't expect such a range of emotions - not just from the runners, but their friends and family as well. I saw tears, laughter, and people who looked like if you even tapped them that they would fall over.

Most friends and family members who were crying were doing so because of how proud they were of their loved ones, but one sad mother was basically weeping because she was not able to see her daughter cross the finish line. Call me insensitive, but aren't you happy enough that she finished the race with a relatively good time and didn't end up in the medical tent? I know it would have been great to see her finish, but I just don't see the sense in crying over that. Oh well.

As for crazy antics, I definitely did not expect to see people with crazy wigs and even dressed as clowns (see photos below). People would do the most odd things to get the attention of the runners - one woman had a giant bell that you could hear ringing from 2 blocks away. Needless to say, she was not too popular.

Mainly, I'm just happy I got to experience this madness at least once in my life. I may try again to volunteer, but if I do, I'll definitely try for a section where I can actually watch a bit of the marathon.

The Finish Line:

Where I worked:

Before the runners got in:

Some of the first runners to finish:

Runners waiting in line for the chiropractors/massages:

Adorable father-son hug:

Some of the post-run madness: