:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

zondag 18 september 2005

So Christine and I went to Fort Vechten today, just outside Utrecht. Apparently September is 'fort month' in this country. I'm not sure how I've lived over a year in Utrecht without knowing these details, but apparently the Netherlands' primary defense system a couple hundred years ago was made up of a series of forts and bunkers which stretched through the middle of the country in such a way that if they needed to, they could open the dikes and flood part of the country. Not Katrina-style, but knee-deep or so, just deep enough that foot soldiers would be pretty much helpless to make any progress. The line was called the Waterlinie. Now that I've written that, the phrase 'open the dikes' sounds familiar, so maybe I did know this at some point, but it was news to me this afternoon. Anyway, I took pictures, which I've just posted, so go have a look.

Christine and I had a good time; it was great to see her again. She's one of those people that I can lose contact with for months - I've barely spoken to her since Christmas - but then pick up again right where we left off with no effort whatsoever. We chatted about this and that and reminisced about Ton-A-Wandah and 'our girls' ("Who was that chubby little dark-haired girl with the loud voice? She was so rude and annoying." "Not Jennifer?" "No, no, the one that you said had such a weird name? There were seven letters in her name." "How do you remember things like that? Umm... for some reason 'Chelsea' is coming to mind, but we didn't have a Chelsea, did we?" "Chessly! Thank you!" LOL.). It was also great to speak Dutch for an extended period, because I was really able to get into the swing of the language in a way I normally can't at school because of the large international presence. (Even if a group of us are speaking Dutch at first, when a foreign student sits down, we have to switch to English so we won't be rude.) Christine and I have spoken approximately four English sentences to each other in our lives, all of which were in 2004 - "Hi, I'm your co-counselor Jess." "I'm Christine." "Where are you from?" "Holland." "Echt waar?!" ... and that was where it ended, LOL!) But anyway, we ended up with 'slappe lach' multiple times today - love that Dutch term - it means laughter that starts out normal but for some reason just keeps going until you barely know what's funny anymore, but still can't stop. Example: we were strolling through one of those low tunnels and saw a large hole in the ground with a barricade to stop people from falling in. "Whoa," I said, stopping short. "Hmm. A hole," said Christine, peering into it. For some reason that struck me as insanely funny, and off we went. (Other catalysts: the guards at the gate - that was the first one - and a group of women at a cafe who were (a) extremely old, (b) exceptionally ugly, and (c) from the sound of things, rather crazy. One came running up to the other shouting, "Ik heb de vogel!" - "I have the bird!" - and then ran away again. We were dying, trying to laugh without letting them see.)

But I actually got everything done that I wanted to do today - swam (10k total for the week), got money to pay for the membership tomorrow, got my Olympos card, hung out with Christine, and am currently listening to the Jags game. I still need to print and read my linguistics reader, make a copy of certain pages of The Time-Traveler's Wife, and read my Spanish texts, but none of that is especially pressing - my first and only class tomorrow is at 4pm.

Oh, I love these radio announcers, LOL! They're totally on our side. Colts' coach John Tierling (sp?) apparently has a history of masterminding dirty plays, and he just cheered when one of his players tackled our quarterback right at the knee and injured him. He encouraged the crowd to cheer, and even made a 'throat slash' gesture. The announcers are up in arms. "That was a dirty play." "That's going to be a huge fine. John Tieling should be fined right now." "This is outrageous." "When you have the option to hit high and choose to hit low, that's a violation of the rules!" "That hit was dirty, it was low, and it hit him right in the back of the knee." The way things are looking right now, 2:39 left with the Colts up by 4 and running down the clock, I think we're going to lose, but it's nice to know that people are on our side. And you never know - I mean, our backup quarterback is in many peoples' eyes better than our starter, so we might have a shot.

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