Apr 11, 2010 - Wanderlust    No Comments

Amazing Manchester

Serendipity:  the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for…  Merriam-Webster

It’s so strange how I ended up with tickets to a Manchester United game, but hey–whatever, I will take them.  I was hanging out with my new friends at the PUB when I mentioned that I would love to go to a football match if I could swing it while I was in England.  One of the guys in the pub mentioned that he had two tickets to Manchester United’s opening match against Southampton and his original companion would not be able to go as he would be in NY. Would I like to go with them?  Um yes, please.  So that is how I ended up one amazing day [and night] in Manchester.

One of the best ways to see Manchester is from the water.

Manchester’s Chinatown gates are the largest outside mainland China.

Sometimes it’s just better to go on the tour and take the photos there than trying to get a decent shot when the stadium is full of people–unless you have front row seats–which I didn’t…

I love soccer.  I played it until I was in high school.  My high school didn’t have a soccer team [boys or girls] so I stopped playing it, but I kept up with the sport and refereed it while I was in college.  I wasn’t a Man U fan before the match, but after I most definitely was.  To be fair, I’m loyal like that.  I don’t live in an area with a lot of professional teams. My favorite teams are usually the first team I saw in action which is why I am a fan of  University of Tennessee [1st college football game], Miami Dolphins [first NFL game], Baltimore Orioles [first MLB], Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadians [first NHL games],  and Seattle Sounders [first MLS game].  An odd mix to be sure, but it works for me.

So on August 13, 1997, I went to my first English Premier League match.  Up to this point I was a Real Madrid fan mainly because I was a Spanish major in college, and my Spanish professor and I would watch La Liga matches and converse in Spanish [weird I know…]…  Anyway,  Manchester United vs Southampton.  A young whippersnapper by the name of David Beckham came in as a substitute in the second half of the match, and netting the only goal giving Man U a 1-0 win.  I became a Red Devils fan for life [it didn’t hurt that my high school mascot was also the Red Devils].  Manchester United went on finish the 1997-98 season as runners-up to Arsenal.

As I side note:  Nearly 20 years later, I am still a Man U fan, still go for Liverpool as well, but they have not been great lately, and have added Arsenal to the mix of my favorite English Premier League teams.  Something I am sure no true English football fan would say.

Apr 4, 2010 - Wanderlust    No Comments

First impressions–Stafford, England

Until I get going, I will reflect back on some of my past travels and travel mishaps before I started this blog.  This first post recounts my first visit overseas, my first alcoholic drink, and my first attempt at understand a ‘foreign’ language… Yes, I’m calling English a foreign language because in the beginning I couldn’t understand anything that was said.

I am 19 years old and about to get on a plane for the very first time. My carry-on bag [a multi-colored Prince duffel bag at that] is too big and too heavy, but I manage to stuff it up in the overhead bin.  I’m a little bit nervous, but mostly excited.  I’m not all that sure what I am going to do once I get to England, but now, I’m boarding my flight.

This is no ordinary flight.  My first flight happens to be an international one–from Atlanta to London.  And I am flying alone.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  I saved every penny earned from my job at the hardware store so that I could accompany my boyfriend of almost a year to England.  I got my very first passport, bought a plane ticket, and I am going to England–even if I have to go alone.  Boyfriend can join me later.  I am going to enjoy the ride.

Flying is awesome.  Free alcohol is better.  What better way to have my first taste of alcohol [vodka and orange juice in case you’re wondering] than at 30,000 feet flying across the Atlantic.  Gotta love KLM–Royal Dutch Airways and their 18 year old legal limit for consuming alcohol.

The plane landed at Gatwick.  The only airport in London I know in Heathrow.  Getting into London isn’t as straightforward as it seems.  First up Customs.  Then passport control.  Then there is finding your way into central London.  As for me, I just follow the crowd.

My first conversation with a Londoner [ticket agent] goes something like this:

  • Me:  I need a ticket to Stafford please.
  • Them:  kdjfkdjkijgnv joiufigm jkf  fgfdkjare
  • Me:  I am sorry. I didn’t understand you.  Can you say that again, please?  [As a foreign languages major, I have learned that saying ‘please’ is one of the most helpful things you can do to help yourself when trying to communicate in a foreign language.  And this was just as foreign as my first year studying German]
  • Them: jfkdkfiglkgnkdj   dkja k Houston Station.
  • Me:  OK, thank you.
  • Me: [thinking]:  Where the hell is Houston?  I thought I was in London.

I slink away not knowing where I am or how to get to where I am going.  And my bag is getting heavy. [It’s not a proper suitcase.  Or a backpack. It’s a tennis bag.] Who’s bright idea was it to carry a duffel bag instead of  a suitcase?  Oh yea… not mine…

Next conversation [another ticket person]

  • Me:  I need to get to Houston Station, please.
  • Them:  Houston?  There is no Houston.  Perhaps you mean Euston Station?  Where are you going, miss?
  • Me:  I am going to Stafford, England.
  • Them: [smiling]  You definitely need to get Euston Station, and then you will be able to board the Brit Rail Train to Stafford.
  • Me:  Thank you.  Is it far… this Euston Station? and Stafford for that matter?
  • Them:   Oh no… it’s just three stops on the tube.  Would you like to purchase your ticket to Stafford now?  It’s about 3 hours away by train.  Past Birmingham but not quite as far as Manchester.
  • Me:  Ok… thank you… Yes, I would like to buy the ticket now… just one way… I am not sure when I am returning.  My boyfriend is meeting me.  We were supposed to travel together, but something happened at work and he couldn’t get away.
  • Them [smiling, again]:  Here you go… enjoy your visit…

Read more »

Mar 28, 2010 - Life    No Comments

Dear Durham

2015 Michelle here:  I moved to Durham on Sunday, August 21, 2005 and started work the next day. While there were aspects of it I liked, living in Durham was hard.  I stayed for three years, but it never really had a chance.

Dear Durham,

It’s not working out between us. I think I may have known that from the beginning. It’s been three years, but I was never fully committed. You see, I never changed my residency. Or quit my PRN job. Or quit calling South Carolina ‘home’. I went into our relationship not really giving it a fair shot.

durham nc
a photo of a postcard

Part of it has to do with a boy. A boy I’ve known for a while but rather [in]conveniently didn’t start dating until nearly 9 months into our relationship. Boys complicate things because while I do want to be closer to him and  see where this thing goes, you are not without your charms either.

duke children's

  • I absolutely love my job. I was a bit worried when I started if I’d be able to handle taking care of sick kids. I’ve never spent time with kids before, but it just seemed as if it was something I needed to do. And I loved it. And I learned so much from it. Children are not just tiny adults. They have their own needs… which adults sometimes seem to forget. Children need someone to look out for them… protect them sometimes… even from their own parents. Children believe in magic, the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus. We help them not to forget that they are people too. Working at Duke is by far the hardest thing to leave behind.

durham Home-run-Bulls

  • Baseball. The Durham Bulls are an awesome team. Their stadium is awesome, and the atmosphere is awesome. I love baseball and Durham has found a way to market it well. Oh, and the movie is one of my all time favorites too.

durham bulls baseball

  • Duke Lemur Center. I mean, come on, LEMURS!!! Quite possibly the cutest animals around [other than cats].  The Duke Lemur Center has the largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar.  I confess to having gone on the tour more than once. The guides *may* even know me by name.

duke lemur 1

duke lemur 3
How could you not love the lemurs?

  • Proximity. The City of Durham may suck the life out of my soul; it may not be the nicest city around, but it’s close to a lot of places that are a lot nicer. Country life in Pittsboro. Coastal life in Wilmington, Elizabeth City, and Outer Banks.  And not too far from the mountains either.
oreo cow

Oreo cows in Pittsboro

elizabeth city harbor
The Elizabeth City harbor

ocarcoke lighthouse
The Ocracoke Lighthouse

But all that is not enough to keep me around. I’ve been accepted to Clemson University as an in-state student and I’ll be studying Microbiology. Whether I finish or not, is not the issue. I want to apply to graduate school. I’m thinking Physician Assistant, but who knows. I’ve got to get through Physics and Organic Chemistry first. Then we’ll see.

So Durham, I’m sorry to go, but in all honesty, you really never had a chance.

Michelle

Mar 14, 2010 - Daily Life    No Comments

My favorite mistake*

*My favorite mistake, a song by Sheryl Crowe–one of my all-time favorite songs*

A few weeks ago, I drove down to Wilmington to check out the city to see if it is somewhere I might like to live one day, while trying to decide if I should visit my favorite mistake who was in Myrtle Beach for a work conference.  There is just something about the coast in late fall when the beaches are deserted. Restaurants are closed. Prices are much cheaper.  It’s still warm enough that a walk on the beach seems like a good idea.  Until that breeze blows in off the ocean.  Then you know that it is definitely NOT SUMMER any more.

myrtle-beach-november-2005
It’s *a little* less crowded in November than say July.

I didn’t go back to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. I don’t really regret that decision, but it certainly did not make me the popular kid. Being the new kid in town means I work all the holidays people really want off work for. Being an only child means having no siblings to celebrate or commensurate with… also no siblings means there’s no one to give me nieces or nephews to play with.  With my father having recently departed this world, it would not have been the most joyous occasion anyway.

Anyway… and perhaps against my better judgement, I decided to soldier on to Myrtle Beach, where I did in fact meet my favorite mistake.  It’s been a hell of a three months. Loneliness + being overwhelmed both on a personal level and tragedy level, sometimes my head hurts from all the knowledge and skills being crammed in it on a seemingly daily basis.  Sometimes it’s nice to be with people who really know you, people willing to hold you when you need to be held, and kiss you when you need to be kissed.  I miss my life in South Carolina; I miss the people in that life.  I needed to leave, no doubt. I needed to not be around my family. I needed to not be around those two lying bastards I dated this year (one dated back to 2003). I needed to not be working at Hillcrest or GMH or the Children’s hospital.  Too many recent bad memories. I needed a fresh start, but by God, it’s hard.  It’s so hard to move as  a 20-something year old introvert who would rather hibernate than go out and meet people. It’s so hard to meet people in a city when you are trying to avoid the bars.  It’s so hard to meet people when you work the night shift. I don’t want to date my favorite mistake again, especially since we now live in different states, but my God, it was so good to be with him again.

myrtle-beach-november-2005-3
The incredible blue-ness of the water that you just don’t see during the summer

We did beach-y things like walk hand in hand on the beach with me stopping every 5 minutes to snap artsy photos. We had dinner at a local Italian restaurant. While he was in conferences I managed to leave the hotel and visit the state park. It’s so much more peaceful here than in the busy season.

myrtle-beach-november-2005-1

And we had long meaningful talks where I implored the universe to ‘show me a sign’. Give me some sort of direction of what I should be doing. Should I forget South Carolina and all the people there and make a new start in Durham, or should I learn as much as possible in Durham, but still make my life in SC. In with the new, and out with the old, or keep the old and make new? Please universe, show me a sign.

myrtle-beach-november-2005-2
And then this happened…

Clearly it was the universe talking…

Now if I only knew what the hell it means…

Feb 24, 2010 - Life    No Comments

A certain milestone

Hi, my name is Michelle.  Welcome to my blog.

So I did a thing… well two things really if you count one of them as this blog.  Well, three if you count having a milestone birthday… which I did today.  The thing about milestone birthdays, at least for me, are indications that I should re-evaluate my life and see if I am on the path I want to be on.  And while I love my job, it is not a job I want to be doing for the next 35 years.  So here I am, re-evaluating my life’s plan.

Milestone birthdays–not just markers of time…

The Blog

Adventure Adikt*, is my blog 2.0.  I wasn’t really sure what to do with this re-incarnation of the blog. I started blogging way back in 2005 as a way to process my feelings about life and death, love and loss, endings and beginnings, and whatever else life was throwing at me.  Back then, I’d just graduated college, moved to a new city, started my first job in healthcare working with teeny tiny babies and really sick children. I processed all those changes by writing. And traveling.

But I wasn’t ready to release those thoughts into the blog-o-sphere. So I blogged for me.  It was essentially an on-line [but private] journal.

So here it is, a few years later. I’m still in healthcare. I have moved back to South Carolina. I want to buy a fixer-upper. Grad school is in my future although I still can’t decide between physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, so until I do, I’m going to keep plugging along. And traveling. A lot. And writing to process my feelings.

In order to to avert my impending mid (?)-life crisis, I’ve decided to go public for the first time ever. I love my job. I love learning languages.  I love history, the history of places, and the history of things. I love science–what it is now and what it used to be.

In a nutshell, my ‘new’, reformatted blog is a [very] vaguely chronological timeline of life events, travel, and mishaps along with some life lessons and musings thrown in for fun.  Life is life. Adventure is still adventure, and wanderlust is still wanderlust; I’m trying to find new ways of having a bit of each in my every day.

The ‘other news’

While opening up the blog to the public is one attempt to stave off the potential mid life crisis, some may say I’m already in full blown crisis mode.  Earlier today, as I am prone to do when I’m bored, I was surfing the ‘net for airline deals.  And I came across a steal.  Without truly thinking things all the way through, I jumped on it.  I found a one-way flight from Charlotte to Caracas for $99.  I bought it.  Have I ever been to Venezuela?  No. Have I ever even wanted to go to Venezuela?  Not particularly.  But I studied their history while in college. I speak the language. And I really do want to see Angel Falls.  What else will I do?  Who knows?  Where will I stay?  Not sure. Will I be kidnapped by narco-terrorists?  I certainly hope not.  And the big one– When will I come back?  I’m not sure.  Maybe I’ll hate it and only be gone a week. Maybe I’ll love it and try to figure out a way to stay permanently.  Who knows? But follow along and see how this little adventure plays out.

bulls island - Copy

Edisto Island, SC

And #3?

I turned 24 today. It’s a big milestone. I’ve always thought of  mid 20’s as adults.  I am nowhere near ready to be an adult. And truthfully, I’m freaking out just a bit.

*Why Adventure Adikt?  I went through a lot of names [A Traveler Rests, Black Cats Travel was a couple of them] before I decided on this one.  Somehow, it just fit.  And I like the word adikt better than the word junkie. I seek out adventure–in all ways, traveling to foreign countries to explore history and culture, hiking in my back yard and across the country, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and life in general. My goal is to never stop learning and never stop adventuring… just never stop.