05/26/12: Graduation

Whew. It’s been a long day. My cousin Gillian graduated from high school today. The ceremony took place up in Red Rocks Amphitheater, a really cool place up in the mountains that hosts a lot of concerts in the summer. It was the perfect weather for a graduation, too. The sun was shining, it had warmed up, and the mountains were beautiful. And let’s not forget the gorgeous red rock formations. The graduation ceremony was punctuated by three songs sung by graduating students and one by the chorus. The songs were a nice break from the speeches and the students were very talented. Overall, the ceremony lasted an hour and a half (which was still long enough for me to get sunburnt), which was pretty short for 200-something students receiving diploma cases, speeches, and musical acts. While I was sitting there, I was thinking about my other cousins and all of our graduations. In order (speculated years *, missed, attended): Tim HS (2007*), Tim Uni (2009*), me HS (2009), Carley HS (2010), Mikaela HS (2011), Gillian HS (2012), mom Uni (Dec 2012), me Uni (2013), Carley Uni (2014*), mikaela Uni (2015*), Deane HS (2015), Gillian Uni (2016*), Danny HS (2016), Deane Uni (2019*), Danny Uni (2020*). That’s over ten years worth of graduations if we get 4-year degrees and no one goes to graduate school (which I probably will at some point). None of this is pertinent to travel (unless I travel to the graduations), I just thought it was interesting.
Tomorrow we leave for Europe, which is extremely exciting. I don’t think it’s quite set in yet that I’m going tomorrow. Our first flight to Chicago was moved from 2p mountain time to 12:30p mountain time, so we have a longer layover in Chicago and we have to be at the airport earlier. So after we get to Chicago, we have a connection to Manchester, UK before flying to Istanbul, Turkey. Hopefully, things will go smoothly and our luggage will arrive when we do (knock on wood).

Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Summer 2012 at my Flickr page!

05/24/12: Bolder Boulder Books

The last time I visited Denver (last summer), I was with my family (mom, dad, and little brother) so my uncle decided it would be neat to take us to the artsy shops in Boulder known as Pearl Street Mall. This time, my gramma, my cousin Gillian, her gramma, and I went to the Dushanbe Tea House up in Boulder. The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House was a gift from Boulder’s sister-city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The tea house was assembled by local Boulder constructions workers directed by Tajik artists. It opened in 1998 and has been in operation as a full-service restaurant ever since. After waiting for our table, we were seated at a Western table [as opposed to a Tajik-style table] next to one of the fourteen hand-carved columns that were carved in Tajikistan. We had already looked over the lunch menu while waiting for our table, so we were more interested in the tea menu. After trying the house Chai, everyone except me decided to get a glass of it. I decided to try one of their black teas (although I did drink quite a bit of the sample cup of Chai); after perusing their selection of black and flavored-black teas, I decided to get the Passionfruit Peach Black Tea to go with my Tajikistan Plov: “a traditional rice dish with carrots, onions, chickpeas, and spices with grilled beef, tomato-cucumber salad, dried fruit, and flatbread”. Both teas were delicious and the Plov was really good (I was splitting it with gramma, so the meat was a little over-done for my tastes). Nothing could beat the atmosphere, though. Even though we got there after 1p, the place was packed with people. There were some tables that got table cloths and vases of flowers (presumably for reservations) and some of those tables were quite large. The ornate ceiling and beautiful walls make me wish I had gotten more photos.  Next time: take photos like a tourist. After we left, I requested we go to the Boulder Bookstore on Pearl Street. Last time I was in Colorado, I didn’t get to go very deep into the store [although I did find a book that I had been looking for for 5 years or so]. This time, I explored all three floors and left with a guidebook to travel in Greece and a wish for more books. Although, I guess I always wish for more tea and more books.

Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Summer 2012 at my Flickr page!


05/22/12: First Flight

With my face pressed against the glass as if I am a child on my first plane trip and not a 20-year old that has flown somewhere nearly every year of her life, I imagine the plane as a great bird. As it sharply angles to turn, I imagine the wings are piercing the sky and clouds as if they are the water and the Earth is the clouds. The Earth comes into sight again and I imagine it as a map and I its cartographer. I like to look at the houses and the farmlands and think of them as their own people, as if they are what is alive on this planet. Each house has its own personality, even the ones in the sprawling neighborhoods where each house looks about the same. The longer the driveway, the richer the house wants to seem; unless it’s a farmhouse, then they just want to fill the dirt on either side of their driveway with crops and life. I see a plume of steam and imagine it’s a train going up around a mountain (knowing full well it’s some sort of factory on the lake). We finally touch down and it’s as if the plane heaves a huge sigh of relief. It takes us where we need to go and I like to think it feels like it’s done a good job when we make it safely.