Love this place and these people

Friday, January 23, 2009

Like a Lighthouse...

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”

-Dwight L. Moody

Three girls, one vibe, and four lighthouses, it was a weekend never to be forgotten.

My roommates and I decided on Thursday night that we didn't want to be in DC with all the inauguration craziness, so Friday afternoon we headed South. Destination? The Outer Banks of North Carolina. Why? There are seven beautiful lighthouses along the banks and I have a thing for lighthouses. We had nothing else planned or scheduled except visits to the lighthouses. Which, for those of you who have traveled with me, know is a little out of the norm for me (I really like itineraries). But this was one trip where we just rolled with it, and had a great time.

We started at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse in Harker's Island, NC. Sadly we couldn't actually get out to the lighthouse because it was so cold the water was nearly frozen over and we couldn't get anyone to take us over there. So we had to look at it from a distance. We actually got a little lost trying to find it, and we met the NICEST people who were literally coming out of their houses to help us. We were stopped on a road trying to make sense of the GPS and the directions this other nice woman had given us, and out of the house where we were stopped come a little blond lady. When we explained what we were trying to do, her response(in the most charming southern accent) was, "Well if I'd a known you coulda gone out there at 5 oclock this mornin with my husband. He woulda given you a ride on his way to duck hunt." She then proceeded to tell us how to get as close to the lighthouse as we could without going out to the island. One place was right down the street from here and the other was in Harker's Island, just down the road a way. As we were thanking her and about to pull away her final comments were, "Now if you have any problem findin' it just come back here and get me and I'll take you. I don't have anything goin' on today". So NICE!! And the best part came when after we had gone to the first spot down the street, we had to drive back by her house to get to Harker's Island and she was standing on her porch watching for us and waving as we drove by!! We were all so delighted by this we proceeded to make a really silly video about the whole experience, which actually took place in Smyrna, NC.

The day continued to go better than we ever could have dreamed. Since we couldn't go out to the lighthouse, we had a few hours to kill before we needed to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island where the next lighthouse was. There wasn't much going on in Harker's Island, since it is a city that mostly exists for tourism. But as we were driving back out we passed a sign that said "The Kindred Spirit". Anyone who is a fan of Anne of Green Gables will recognize that title. When I saw the sign I didn't know if the place was open or not, but I wanted to take a photo by it. I turned around and when we pulled in we were amazed to see a sign that actually said "Green Gable Tearoom"!!!!!!!!!!! True story! And it was OPEN!!! I don't think you can even imagine our excitement about this. We walked into a great little antique store where we met Libby Liles (don't you love her name!!), owner and Anne of Green Gables enthusiast. We spent the next two hours in our own little world of happiness. There were lovely old hats for us to play dress up. We had delicious tea and scones with all sorts of different toppings. Libby told us stories about moving to Harker's Island, which apparently has a high concentration of Mormons (who knew?). And her gold fish, Matthew and Marilla (of course). And we each left with a rather large bag full of great little treasures including serving trays for us to use when we host our upcoming tea party (I'll be sure to post about that when it happens). All in all, it was a very serendipitous visit. We are already planning our next visit. You're all welcome to join us for tea with Libby Liles at the Green Gables Tea Room.

We were enjoying ourselves so much that we were almost late for our ferry to Ocracoke. And usually you need a reservation but due to the freezing cold weather there weren't a lot of folks headed out to the island. Lucky for us. We passed the 2+ hour ferry ride pleasantly in my car reading and napping. What a weird feeling, moving in a car, but not being the one doing anything. We could already see the lighthouse as we pulled off the ferry and we drove straight to it for our first pictures close to a lighthouse. We had contemplated staying the night there, but there was really nothing open and so we immediately headed to the other end of the island to catch the next ferry to Cape Hatteras. Since we didn't have to hurry to the ferry we decided to get out and watch the sunset on the beach. Which sounds heavenly, and it was, but it was also FREEZING cold!! It was beautiful and we entertained ourselves for far too long taking photos. We are AWESOME!

The next serendipitous moment came after we got off the next ferry and we're driving through a completely shut down and deserted town, wondering where we're going to spend the night and there off to the right was a light beckoning us. The Seaside Inn B&B was calling our name. I just love B&Bs. And this one was run by the nicest people. They let us check in and then go get something to eat (we had to hurry because the only place open was going to close soon). When we got back our suite was all warm and cozy for us. And the next day when we had to rush out because we needed to visit a light house before we headed north to make it to church, they gave us a tray that we could fill with food and eat on the road. Loved it! And they of course had a lighthouse on a beautiful wrap-around porch...my dream!!

We stopped at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse on our way to church. It was so much warmer than the day before and we were only going to jump out and take a photo so we left our coats in the car. So when we got up to the lighthouse there was a photographer there and he looked at us and said, "I just have one question. What are you guys doing out here?". Our response,"What, doesn't everyone come visit lighthouses at 7:30 on a Sunday morning in February wearing dresses and no coats?" He was really nice inspite of our obvious craziness and took a picture for us. It was cold.

The rest of the day went by quickly. We went to church at a little branch somewhere further North. I always love visiting different wards and branches. It kind of makes me feel like I'm back on my mission. Then we back tracked to the Bodie Lighthouse. And yes it is pronounced like body. There are some great stories about how it got its name. We changed out of our dresses in the car and then ran out to take more photos (between Christina and I, Ani didn't even have her camera, we took over 300 photos in the 2 days!!). This one was probably my favorite. There is just something wonderful about tall, majestic, well kept lighthouses. I love them. I was so excited that I did some jumping and cartwheels. And randomly, the same photographer from that morning was there and took a picture for us again. Hahaha, I love meeting people.

Okay, this is the longest thing ever and I'm impressed if you even read all of this but I'm going to end it right here. After Bodie lighthouse we headed back home and it was a smooth trip with the exception of a bridge closure in Virginia Beach. Thank goodness for GPS systems.

This trip was a dream come true. I love it all and can't wait to do it again when it's warm outside and I can wear my bathing suit to the beach instead of my coat and gloves!

Winter Heat...African Dancing

This was one of the experiences I wanted to blog about. There are always so many wonderful things going on in DC and sometimes I actually get out and participate in them. When I heard about this I knew I couldn't miss it. Anything to do with dancing and Africa was going to be great.
So my friend Cady and I went and it was more than I could have hoped or dreamed. There were three different groups that performed and they were all amazing. The theater was really small and I was on the 3rd row so I felt like they were dancing just for me. There were African drums (it reminded me so much of Mozambique!) and costumes. There was stepping, slapping, break dancing and it was all incredible. I wanted to get up on stage and dance with them! We met some of the step dancers after the show and I asked them if they could teach me. They just kind of laughed...what? don't I look like I would be a good stepper? I actually did a step routine in high school for cheer. I'm sure my mom has that on video somewhere. I'm pretty sure I was good at it :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New year, new eyes, new blog...

Here it is 2009, and in the first few weeks there have been several instances where I thought, "this would be a good thing to blog about". But since I didn't have a blog, that wasn't possible, until now. So here I am starting a new blog. Mostly for the purpose of keeping my family updated. I love you all and I love talking to you all, but there are a lot of you, and if I talked to every one of you about all the things I would like to share, I would be spending A LOT of time on the phone. So this is going to save all of us some time. This doesn't however mean that you don't need to call me just because you already know what is going on in my life. So here goes nothing.

The first big thing that happened this year was I got new eyes!! Well I didn't actually get new eyes, but I did get new eyesight due to a wonderful little procedure called Lasik. I know most of you have probably heard of it cause it's been around for awhile. I have been waiting a lot of years to have this surgery and I was very excited about it. The place where I got it done is conveniently on the first floor of the office building I work in. The doctor, Dr. Holzman has been doing it for more than 10 years and has performed more than 40,000 surgeries. I won't bore you with all the details, but the whole procedure took less than an hour and I walked out with blurry but substantially better vision. I had to go home and nap for 3 hours and by the time I woke up I could see almost perfectly. When I went in for my day after appointmen they tested my vision and it is now 20/15!! For those who know how blind I was before, this is a substantial improvement. And it has just gotten clearer each day since then. One of the highlights was wearing goggles to sleep for the first week (so you don't rub your eyes accidentally). Hence this photo. I still have to put drops in for a while, but other than that, my eyes are more low maintenance than they have been since I got glasses when I was in elementary school. Hooray for modern miracles!!

For those of you who are curious as to what they actually do during this surgery I have included the following Youtube link. I had actually never watched it until after I got it done and I'm kind of glad because I don't know that I would have dared to go through with it. My roommate who had it done compared it to peeling the skin of a grape back, lasering it and then folding the skin back on top. Awesome!