I started off the year by jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet in Hawaii. Keith and I spent my winter break on the island of Oahu and soon after Christmas Keith’s brother, Marcus, and Marcus’ girlfriend, Chelsea, joined us for some tropical traveling. Marcus somehow convinced all of us to go skydiving. Keith was quite impartial to the idea since he had plunged out of a plane before but Chelsea and I were not on board AT ALL. I’m still not sure why I did it, but I did. And I am so glad I did. It was an awesome experience. But, I am also confident in saying that I won’t ever do it again.
after jumping out of the plane but before vomiting (it was a bit of a rough ride)
Other highlights of our Hawaiian adventure included hanging out with huge sea turtles, rock climbing, snorkeling, camping in a VW camper van, getting free tickets to the Aloha Bowl, seeing President Obama buy shaved ice at his favorite spot, kayaking in the ocean, and snorkeling for the first time. It was a great way to start off the year.
February was busy with Keith, Cliff, and me winter camping, snowshoeing, and hiking.
March brought me my first international trip (if you don’t count our neighbor friend, Canada). Keith has family that lives on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico and I joined him and his brothers down there for a week of spring break amazingness. I loved Mexico and I have so say that it is one place that I’ve visited that I cannot wait to go back to. We slept on a rooftop overlooking the Sea of Cortez, four-wheeled to waterfalls and a lagoon, ate amazing fish tacos, snorkeled with sea lions, took a bus to La Paz where our days consisted of hitting the local beaches, and we finished off the trip by visiting a few more beaches (and bars) and souvenir shopping in Cabo San Lucas.
our entire group the last day in Cabo (friends Chris and Angelina, me, the Benz brothers posing as usual, and Chelsea)
April was full of work and great times in our normal day to day life.
May started out with me running Bloomsday, a local 12k race. It was the second time I participated in Bloomsday but the first time I ran it and I was extremely proud of myself for running 7+ miles without stopping. I like to refer to myself as a ¼ marathon finisher because I’m nerdy like that.
I finished my 4th year of teaching 2nd grade in June. The following 3 weeks consisted of preparing for our trip to Africa, which we departed for on June 30th. I still can’t believe I went to Africa. It was the one place I have always wanted to go since I was small and it helped me realize that I can go anywhere my little heart desires. I can’t wait to tackle my 3rd continent and eventually venture to all 7. I realized that anyone can travel if they want to badly enough. It all depends on where your priorities are. Sure, I sold a few personal possessions, settled on eating eggs for dinner a few too many times, and skipped out on a few weekend trips in order to save funds, but I made it to and from Africa all in one piece (without selling any organs on the black market). And I wouldn't have wanted to do it without my favorite traveling and life friend, Keith.
July (and much of August) was spent in Tanzania, as you know if you have read my blog before. Summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, hitting the safari trails, and backpacking through Zanzibar were the highlights. Oh, and Cliff turned 1 on July 7th! While we weren’t here to celebrate with him, I’m sure he had a dandy time.
with a group of kids on a beach in Zanzibar (before they attacked me when I tried to give them stickers)
August in the United States meant trying to cram a Coeur d'Alene summer into a few short weeks. We met my family for a few days of camping in central Idaho. It was fun to catch up and get at least one camping trip in (it's a bit different spending 7 weeks of your summer in a sleeping bag compared to actual camping in the coniferous forest). We also decided that we needed a new mode of transportation. When we flew back across the pond in mid August, we were convinced from our travels that investing in a scooter was necessary. So, we bought the cutest little Yamaha scooter with red flames. Thank you craigslist. It doesn’t go above 30 and it sounds like a weed eater going down the street but I love it.
my fam on the steps of our cabin we camped in
We went on our annual raft trip with Keith’s shift from the fire department over Labor Day weekend. Every year they go to Riggins to raft the Salmon River and I have been lucky enough to have been invited for the last two years. It is a great time had by all and I can attest that the Riggins night life is more exciting than it looks. September also meant the beginning of another school year was upon me. I am very lucky to work with a great staff and I truly love my job. As I've mentioned, I have a great class this year and they make me happy every day. These little guys are a great little bunch.
me with my friend Kim rafting the Salmon
In October, Keith and I decided to start lightly remodeling the house. Keith has lived in this house for 8 years with many different 20 something men and when I moved in last year we were both ready for a bit of the bachelor pad to leave (some of us may have been more ready than others *cough*). With a house full of white walls and 10 year old carpet, we got busy adding our own bit of character. We removed the carpet from all three bedrooms and added wood laminate flooring. Then Keith made one of the spare rooms his “adventure” room to store all of his (and a bit of my) gear in: mountaineering gear, climbing gear, skiis, sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, et cetera. He painted the walls slate grey and one accent wall is brick red. I decorated the other spare room and I painted the walls chocolate brown (it looks good for those doubters out there) and have plans to add white and green accents and a light tan/cream sofa bed. Right now, it’s just our cute brown pup sleeping in his cute brown room. Our bedroom has darker laminate floors and we painted 3 walls khaki and one wall dark teal. We were going for an ocean idea and I think we succeeded. Even if it wasn’t a success, it’s staying that way for a bit. Painting is overrated. Next on our list this spring will be tiling the dining room and kitchen, new carpet in the living room, and painting the living room, dining room, and kitchen. We may be hiring out for the paint job….
I welcomed turning 28 in November and successfully threw myself 3 birthday parties. What can I say, I love holidays. We spent Thanksgiving at Keith’s parents’ house since the roads were too crummy to travel to see my family in Kamiah. Kevin and Maureen are great about welcoming me to all of the family holidays and I’m very lucky to have such great boyfriend-in-laws.
I finished my 2nd to last semester of graduate school in December and am preparing to graduate in May with my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. I was very ready for my winter break. Keith and I spent time with both families and have been putting our season passes to use and skiing as much as we can (he more than I since he only works 10 days a month...). My winter break has also been full of spending time with good friends, sleeping in, and training for my 1/2 marathon coming up.
my mom, sister, and I with over Christmas with our new shirts :)
I’m excited for 2011 and what it has to throw my way. I have 50 days until my ½ marathon in Austin, Texas, only 5 months until I graduate, and a summer full of semi-local travel plans is on the horizon. It will be a great year.