I’ve always been more of an adventure seeker. I beg my parents each year to go try something new like elephant riding in Thailand or hiking to a cloud-covered Machu Pucchu in Peru. But every Spring Break, my parents limit my adventure to a new area or island in the Caribbean. I’ve been to my share of turquoise-shaded waters–Antigua, Mexico, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Saint Barthélemy–and I don’t really see the pleasure in waking up each day at noon and being handed a piña colada while I fry up on the beach.
That’s why I find the little pockets of adventure in the tropics so exhilarating: finding a few orange starfish while I swam with my mom in Antigua, driving on the roller-coaster roads in Saint Barthélemy, visiting the Chichen Itza pyramids in Mexico, or seeing this scarlet macaw walking around our hotel in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Okay, so it was the hotel’s bird but still. Her name was Esmeralda, and she was a feisty bird who snuck into the women’s bathrooms a lot.
Even though I do enjoy a good tan and a cocktail, I live in Southern California. I have enough daily dose of paradise everyday. I guess I’m just spoiled in that way, so those of you outside the Mediterranean zones, don’t listen to a word I say, because I say bring on the seven A.M. guided tours, the humid weather, the insurance signatures, all those flying shots, bring on the mosquitos.
It wouldn’t be Ukraine without the strays.
Unlike your typical American neighborhood, there aren’t really things like animal shelters to house the street kitties and puppies in Ukraine or even Russia. It may seem sad to some, but to me it is my culture–they walk around, mewing, and occasionally one kid will take them in as a pet or feed them a few pieces of barbecue. Occasionally, when I see a cat in the states with that same street look, uneven fur, and fast trot, I remember my summers visiting Ukraine. I remember seeing similar cats fleet from us as my mother and I approach the old lady who sells the best damn white peaches in the whole world. Nothing tastes better than a Crimean peach. Nothing tastes more of summer days.
Ukraine is Ukraine. It is filled with its faulty imperfections, from the screeching elevator in our apartment building my brothers would always trap me in to the country’s endless search for a clean public bathroom anywhere. And some might view the strays as another health-hazardous imperfection of the country I am from, but I see these tough kitties as another Crimean (and Ukrainian) quirk, like fresh-fried Kambala fish or the sound of waves crashing on a rocky Yalta shore. So while suburban America might have bikes and toys in the streets, we have cats and dogs, and I wouldn’t change that.
Yellowstone! What a magical place.
It may be my second favorite park right after Yosemite (post soon to come), but I must admit that Yosemite doesn’t have that same mystery about it, a sort of cryptic allure.
We went during the holiday-time while vacationing, skiing, and hot cocoa sipping in Wyoming out of all the places. A bus picked us up along with a little boy, his father, two elderly women, and an elderly man. What a party, right? It was way too early for my owl brain to even begin to function. We got to the station right at sunrise, and I realized…I’ve never seen one before. Maybe it was the crispy cold air, but my cheeks turned red as I realized how pitiful it is that I lay in bed everyday dozing off last Friday night while this beauty happens everyday. I shake it off–not every sunrise has soft white mountains and a lonely lamppost in its scenic foreground.
The tour guide gave us giant helmets, giant boots, and, worst of all, giant jumpsuits. Everyone looks about as fashionable as a swamp-farmer. However, once we got our snowmobiles (which, by the way, we had to do by taking another stop on the car), I am very thankful for my attire, because we are facing 50mph winds in the dead of a Wyoming winter and I could not be cozier.
The Bison herds, the steaming sulfur caldrons, and the piles of untouched snow (one of my brothers actually face-planted into 7 feet of snow) created a quiet, frozen land that we seemed to be intruding upon with our roaring snowmobiles. But no snow mobile mewing could ever compare to the roar of Old Faithful–the most famous geyser in Yellowstone. I didn’t get a good shot because of the cloudy day in the background, but I can attest to the fact that Old Faithful can live up to its glory.
Now if I could only visit during the Summer!
Once upon a time I got Photoshop on my computer.
It was an incorrect of me to think that I could get the addictive program and not be glued to my desktop at all hours of the day. I began to use and abuse it on every photo. I made disgustingly over-edited photos–no–creations.
So one day I came out into my backyard with my old Sony point and shoot and turned the ISO up even though it was a perfectly sunny day. I took these two pictures of nothing in particular then, of course, scurried to photoshop to edit them into this. I guess at times photoshop can be my friend, but it can also be my enemy.
Weird how having your camera on you at all times of the day can lead to magic.
A friend and I biked around my lamp post-less neighborhood, and it was getting too close for comfort to nighttime. Being the paranoid type, I kept looking up at the sky, hoping we would be back in time.
As we neared to the safety of my house, I looked up one last time: The sky was smeared in periwinkle paint and a smiling moon was hanging all by itself.
It was perfect moonlight, the one Beethoven must have saw when he composed his sonata or Glenn Miller his serenade. No sun or star could compare in a million years, and I caught it. With one snap of the ol’ pointnshoot, I kept that moon forever.
As I listen to Miller’s 1939 hit on repeat, I look at my forever moon.
*La la doo doo doo la la*