Howdy! If you're here because you recently received my holiday card, welcome! Thanks for stopping by. If you want to see pictures of my travels this year, scroll down. If you want to see my Christmas tree and read my good news, hang tight!
It's hard to believe it's December. It feels like just yesterday I arrived to an empty airport in March, but also feels like that was an eternity ago. I had this year planned out, but of course, things didn't quite align the way I hoped. After I returned from Antarctica, I was supposed to fly to New Zealand on March 15th for about 3-4 weeks. Upon my return from NZ in April I was going to begin looking for a job. Well, things took a turn obviously. I didn't go to NZ since borders closed in March, and my job search was basically null for several months as the country tried to figure out what was going on. I began searching for a job in late July, and I will say, it was definitely a challenge. In the past I have been fortunate to find new positions rather quickly, but this year presented a lot of competition. I made it a goal to apply to as many positions as possible, and hoped that I'd land somewhere great! I made a list of the dream job qualities and put it on my vision board. I did not want to take just any job; I wanted a new "home," a new "family."
Well, after 5 months of searching, I accepted an offer last week with a private real estate company as their new Assistant Controller. I'm home. I found my family. And I'm incredibly grateful. This new role is everything on my list.
With the new job beginning next week, I'm doing everything I can to get things organized at home. In the past my family and I have decorated my Christmas tree together. This year was different. I brought my tree home and set it up by myself. I missed having my brother, sis in law, and parents with me at home, but I keep reminding myself, it's just for this year. So here are photos of my Christmas Tree. I also enjoy collecting ornaments from my travels and new ones I find that are unique.
Last week, I celebrated the new job with a bottle of Cabernet Franc from Chappellet and a bone-in ribeye.
As I look around, I can’t help but feel immense gratitude for all of the opportunities for growth this year has provided. I celebrated 5 years of being cancer free, hosted my cousin from Peru, traveled, spent a lot of time with my family, had the opportunity to volunteer and give back in many ways, became closer to friends and welcomed new ones, and found the new job. I also had the chance to celebrate what would have been Chris’s 40th birthday and 3 years of his passing; he will always be my best friend. I am humbled and moved by how much I received and experienced this year. I truly hope everyone continues to remain healthy, and safe.
Much Love & Light to all!
I am finally getting around to writing about the details of my trip to Antarctica. It's in order of each stop, all the way through returning to Ushuaia at the end of the trip and flying to Buenos Aires. I've written a summary already, but this is more in detail with a ton more photos of each stop.
I took a ton of video as well, so if you're actually interested in seeing more photos, let me know and I can share more photos and videos. Otherwise, all these are still photos I took with my iPhone, my Canon SX720 HS pocket camera, and my Canon EOS Rebel T7i (with several lenses). Due to the snow and just the overall nature of the trip, I had to get a new Canon pocket camera (same one) and a new iPhone when I came back to the US. The Canon pocket camera died (lots of water in it) and I upgraded my iPhone (which means I lost some numbers :-). I would not take the Rebel out if there was a chance of rain/snow in order to protect my gear.
So here is my story... enjoy!
I wrote about Ushuaia earlier this year in greater detail, while I was still in Ushuaia actually, so this is a condensed version of my time there. Here we go...
I arrived to Ushuaia days before my boat to Antarctica left in order to explore the town a bit. I had the opportunity to go to Tierra Del Fuego by train, enjoy Argentinian BBQ, and walk through town enjoying all the sites.
A day before my boat left, I met Laurie. I've written about Laurie before in more detail. The way our trip was structured, we meet our cabin mates the day before we leave on the boat, so we have time to get acquainted. Laurie and I hit it off and we hung out most of the day after she arrived. The morning of our departure, we left our luggage in the lobby and continued to explore the town. Laurie had a chance to do a tour so she left, and I stayed behind to continue enjoying the city. We met up at 3pm and headed to the port to embark on our adventure! Somehow, Laurie and I got separated and I arrived to our cabin first and had the chance to take pictures of our cabin. It was amazing to be among so many people and receive champagne as I walked on to the boat. Watching Ushuaia become smaller and smaller was beautiful as the sun began to set.... off to my adventure!
This was the very first stop on our Antarctic Tour! We had a beautiful hike through Saunders Island. There was a beautiful area full of nesting birds and penguins. We were SUPER close to all the animals, what a site!!!
I continued on a hike on my own to the other side of the island and I saw some sheep passing through. It was beautiful to see such a bright sun on a clear day. At the end of the hike, there was an SUV that was selling random souvenirs. It was by locals that made money by selling to tourists that visit the island.
At West Point I saw penguins for the first time, hanging out by the beach. I also saw a tiny colony of king penguins that were taking care of their young. I also took a photo with whale bones. Such a great start to the trip!
Last stop in the Falkland Islands before heading out to sea again was Stanley, the capital. There are about 2,500 people that live here. The city has shops, restaurants, even a brewery. We had the opportunity to enjoy the city all day and the sites. I had the opportunity to call my parents from this location since they had wifi. It was nice to call and hear their voices and wish my dad a happy early birthday. I spent the day walking around with Laurie and then we did some souvenir shopping. It was nice to have one last day of civilization before heading out to sea again.
That evening, we had a birthday celebration for Alison. We had a great dinner!
This is the first stop through the South Georgia & Sandwich Islands, and this area was where I first saw thousands and thousands of King Penguins, in Salisbury Plane. They came up to about my ribcage and they are absolutely beautiful. The camera cannot fully capture how the sunlight radiates on their beautiful yellow and white feathers. They look so regal as they walk around.
In Prion Island there were many other animals like seals, mostly pups hiding in high grass areas. So adorable!
As we continue south, it becomes a bit colder. To go out on hikes I am wearing multiple layers. Fortuna Bay is on the northeast side of the islands. Traveling through this part allowed us to avoid strong winds coming from the west. This area once had a whaling station, several through these islands. We were not allowed to step foot there; however, we cruised through the area and were able to see the extent of the station.
Grytviken was the last stop through the South Georgia & Sandwich Islands. This is an old whaling town where in the last century, whalers would work here round the clock. The remnants of that history are prevalent everywhere, and our group was able to have a tour of the grounds. There is a small post office, and a small little shop that are active. There is a church, and old dormitories that are still there which were in full use once upon a time. I spoke with one of the ladies that worked at the shop and she said she was previously in a station in Antarctica before she arrived to Grytviken. Can't imagine living in such extreme cold for so long.
En route to the Antarctica Peninsula, we were able to stop at the Orkney Islands, specifically Laurie Island. This is a scientific base used by Argentinian scientists (yay science!!), and protected by the Argentinian military. They do 1 year rotations, and the new team had just arrive a week before we visited. It was cool to be able to speak Spanish with the people on base. It's was truly fascinating! While I was there, I decided to mail myself a postcard. It will probably arrive next year when they do their next rotation in February 2021.
I need to explain the next photo. When the boat was at sea, the movement was quite extreme. In our cabin room, the top drawer kept flying out when the boat would rock back and forth. I put my boots in the trashcan and put it against the drawer to keep it from flying out. I weighed down the trashcan with stuff on the bottom, and my boots upside down to make it reach the drawer's height. Someone said it looked like we stuffed someone in the trash can. Ha!
The A68a Iceberg has been floating since 2017 when it broke off the Larsen Ice Shelf. It is bigger than the size of Delaware with over 2200 surface area miles.
While on our way to the Antarctic Peninsula, we came across this gigantic iceberg. It was incredible!!
Since most everyone was out and about on the boat, we took a group photo.
Curtiss Bay was full of zodiac cruising. When conditions are not okay to land at a beach, we cruise. We enjoyed more orcas and icebergs!
Have passport, will travel.