Going Away To College

Well, here we are. This is my first blog post from my new desk in my new dorm. AKA, my first time away from home! It still feels strange to say that. I’m not sure when I’ll get used to it.

It’s been a little over 24 hours since I’ve been here and it’s all sinking in ever so slowly. Right now it feels like I’m about to go home soon; but in reality I have no idea when “soon” is. It’s quite silly now that I think of it-for the past few years I’ve itched and awaited and hoped for the day that I could finally leave home and be on my own, but now that it’s finally happened, I feel a bit remorseful. Especially in the fact that I didn’t really appreciate how good I had it at home. There you go mom, cheer about that and feel free to say “I told you so!”, I deserve it.

It’s a very bittersweet feeling about moving out and starting a new chapter in my life. On one hand, I’m incredibly excited to start a new journey and meet new people and learn until my little head can’t take anymore. But on the opposite side, I know have to say goodbye to a lot of things. Granted, moving away to college may seem quite small on the scale of things, but for me, at this point in my life, it’s huge. It signifies me growing up and having to become a…dare I say it…”adult.” I can’t just call up my mom and have her fix things for me when it gets too hard (I’ll still try though, have no fear). I can’t cross my fingers and hope that things will work out in my favor. I have to take initiative and become completely responsible and that scares me to death.

But…I’m excited. I’m excited to take classes that interest me and learn subjects that I’m passionate about. I’m eager to become a better writer, along with becoming a better person. I can’t wait to become even more independent and knowledgeable. I’m excited to meet people with the same opinions, and even those with differing opinions. I’m excited to be apart of this great school and atmosphere. And I’m extremely excited to learn more about myself. Because if I’ve heard anything about college, it’s that you “find” yourself in college. I just hope that I don’t find myself completely lost on campus. How terrifying does that sound. I probably just jinxed myself. Great.

I suppose it’s time to go snack on something; looks like dinner is a choice between Gushers and Poptarts. Mmmm.

Better Late Than Never

Urghh…hi? I’m not sure that any intro would make up for the weeks of not posting, so this will have to do. Although in my first post I did put a disclaimer in about my laziness. So it was bound to happen, really.

As you probably guessed, I’m no longer in Croatia. “How do you feel about that Mariah?” Terrible. Absolutely rotten. That was a silly question on your part. But here I am back in Minnesota, with the sea and the sun miles away in a mystical place. How accurate that it’s been cold and rainy here ever since we returned. The universe must think it’s really fun to play tricks on me like this. Ha ha. I’m not laughing.

Ok so I don’t think a lot of you will understand the soul-crushing, bone-breaking, hope-dwindling feeling that comes with packing up your things and leaving Croatia. It’s extremely similar to the feeling of having the absolute best meal ever in your life and realizing that you ate it much too fast and all of a sudden it’s gone. Here I go again relating EVERYTHING to food. But seriously, what do you have to look forward to now? You’re desperately trying to scoop up the last of the crumbs whilst still in denial that it’s actually gone. Before you know it, you’re full on licking the plate clean because it was SO GOOD. That’s not even the worst part, believe it or not. The worst part is that the restaurant you’re at doesn’t even have dessert. So you just ate an amazing meal and you have nothing to look forward to after. All you’re left with is a bout of bad breath and the bill.

There’s the universe again, cackling and yelling “BACK TO REALITY, SUCKA!”

Now it may seem like all I’m doing is complaining (because I am), but I am so incredibly happy with how the trip turned out. I can honestly say that it went perfectly. Between the weather, the cities, our families, it couldn’t have gone better.

It might seem far-fetched, and I’m pretty sure everyone that hears me says this just nods approvingly to satisfy me for the time being, but I hope to someday be able to call Croatia my home; even if it’s just temporary. Being over there and experiencing the culture and being surrounded by the beautiful people and buildings gives me a happiness that doesn’t surface all too often. It’s enchanting and intriguing and delightful and so much more that I can’t even put into words. You truly have to experience it to understand it.

So thank you to my wonderful Grandpa, because without him and his passion for Croatia, I wouldn’t have had the chance to visit and fall in love with the country. He always has and will continue to go out of his way to make sure his kids, grand kids, and now great-grand kids are able to take part in amazing experiences such as this. A lot of people know him for his basketball, but our family knows him for his love and his selflessness when it comes to all of us.

Since I’ve finally posted again, this officially wraps up my trip. I sincerely hope you all enjoyed reading these posts, because I have loved writing them. Luckily this is just the beginning of my blogging so once again I hope that you will stick around to hear about my future adventures :)

Sunburnt and Sentimental

Dobar dan! It’s our last night in Rogoznica and I’m really starting to feel sentimental. After tonight we only have 2 nights left in Croatia. The end has come too soon.

I won’t dwell on the sad stuff though because there is too much good stuff to discuss! For example, today. I woke up around 10:00 and ate another fruity and delicious breakfast and then read my book for a bit until it was time to head down to the beach. Joel took the younger cousins to a basketball court someplace to shoot and play against each other while everyone else hung out under the sun.

I had my book and my ipod and a chair on the beach; there’s nothing else that I needed. It was extremely hot today and since it was our last day with a beach, I decided against sunscreen. I may or may not be regretting that decision at the moment. Let’s just say I’m very very itchy.

Three hours later I was all sunned-out so I took a shower and treated myself to yet another nap. And yes, it was fantastic. Thank you for asking. Ha!

At six we drove to Primošten to walk around a little and eat dinner. We found a place called Konoba 2010 and I had mussels and even a bit of Ayden’s shark. Yeah, shark. Sadly I can’t report that it tasted like Ultimate Fish, but rather it tasted like walleye. How anticlimactic.

I bought myself 2 pairs of earrings after dinner, and my dad bought Tomi and I a gerb (thanks dad!). We ended the night with some ice cream-watermelon for me-and bags of candy. Mmmmmmmm cavities!

I hope to someday return and stay in Primošten because it’s got that charm about it that just draws you in. It’s small but not too small; busy but not too busy; everything about it was just right.

An exciting game of rummy is unfolding again in our room and I’m listening from my bed. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to spend these two weeks with my cousins. As we’ve grown up we’ve seen each other less and less and it’s fun to kind of get to know each other again. It reminds me of all those summers spent playing spoons at the cabin!

Thanks for tuning in-until next time!

A Fantastic Food Filled Friday (I love alliteration)

I just want to start off this post by saying that my 24 year old sister is currently galavanting around the room in near tears all because there is a moth the size of my pinky nail fluttering around. I think that speaks for itself.

Anyways, I’ve just partaken in a nail biting game of rummy…well, as nail biting as a game of rummy can get, and I guess my team (Adam and I) aren’t in last place so that’s exciting.

This morning seems like days ago, but I don’t mind that the days seem to drag along. It makes having to go home seem like a long ways away. Have I mentioned that I don’t really want to go home? I would be perfectly contented if someone just shipped my dogs over here. Then I’d never have a reason to leave! Except for maybe like, I don’t know, work and school and responsibilities and stuff. Eh.

Woah, let me get back on track here. So this morning we woke up and my dad, Mike, Joel, Kailee, Tomi, Grandpa and I took a drive to Knin where we visited the medieval fortress. It was-you guessed it-another hot and sunny day. The fortress was really cool; it’s a bit mind blowing when you actually think about how long it took to build it way back when and all the time and energy that went along with it.

Once we’d seen all we needed to see at the fortress, we drove through the town on the hunt for some place to grab lunch. We ended up at a small, kind of off-the-road restaurant called Buffet Gagi. It was evident right away that the waitress didn’t know any English, so it was fun to experience the conversing that happened between all of us. Tomi and I had a cucumber salad and some delicious bread, Joel and Mike both got stuffed peppers, my dad got goulash (yeah mom, he actually did-and he even at it ALL), Grandpa had some sort of meat and french fries combination, and Kailee had a cabbage salad. Surprisingly enough it was one of the better meals we’ve had this whole trip. And the cheapest!

Once we were filled up we set back to Rogoznica where we all got our swimsuits on and cooled off in the water.

Around 7:00 pm we were ready for dinner again so we drove back into town and sat down at a restaurant that I somehow overlooked the name of, oops…and I decided to be brave and ordered a tuna steak. Mind you, I’ve never had even a bite of tuna before, thank you very much. And oh my goodness, it was the most amazing thing. I could probably eat it every night for the rest of the trip. After we ate we had a complimentary shot of cherry flavored something-all I know is that it burned from the minute it touched my tongue and all the way down my throat. Look at me being so brave tonight. I deserve an award.

Because the crepes were so good last night, we had to stop there again and they were somehow even BETTER tonight. Perhaps I should open up my own crepes shop along the street in Ely. Although I’d probably end up eating everything before anyone else got a chance to buy it. Why is it that everything important to me revolves around food?

Ironically enough, I’m about to open my book (EAT, Pray, Love) to read a bit before I fall asleep. I’ll try to refrain from gushing about how great this book is for now. I’m only on page 76.

My tummy is full and my heart is content. I’ll sleep well tonight.

Sunshine Sunshine

Do you know what it feels like to lay on a chair next to the pool overlooking the sea in 82 degree weather while listening to your favorite songs? Hopefully you get to experience that at some point in your life because it really is incredible. AKA, that’s how I spent my day.

There’s nothing like waking up without an alarm clock or any disturbances-although I do miss waking up to my pups howling away-and being able to walk out to the balcony and see the beauty outside first thing in the morning.

I popped over to my mom and dads room to eat some breakfast; apple strudel and nectarines and strawberries and blueberries. Mmmm. I then made myself a cup of tea (sadly there was no sugar so I had to drop my habit and drink it straight) and sat out on the balcony. I wouldn’t mind if that was my morning routine for the rest of my life but alas, that seems highly unlikely.

Around 11:00 we all headed downstairs and dispersed to either the beach or the pool, I chose the latter, to spend the day. I put in my headphones and let the sun warm my skin, taking a break midway through to hop in the pool.

Around 2:00 I had finally had enough of the sun for the day so I made my way back to my room and ended up taking an hour and a half long nap. Without interruptions. Just peace and quiet. Amazing.

We then waited for the guys to…recuperate from a rather…hydrating day at the beach, and then jumped in the vans to find dinner once again.

We sat down at the San Marco restaurant and Abbey and I shared, and finished, a cheese pizza. Then a few of us stopped at a little crepes stand and I had a delicious Twix crepe consisting of nutella, crushed biscuits and caramel. I may have died and gone to heaven, I’m not quite sure if I’ve recovered quite yet.

It’s not even 10:00 and I’m blinking away heavy eyes, but I can’t help it that this bed is so comfortable and the pillow is so soft. Clearly vacation hasn’t erased my love of sleeping. Goodnight from this side
of the world!

Another Day In Paradise

Apologies yet again for not posting yesterday, I know all you avid readers were disappointed!

Today we left Hvar by the ferry and headed to Rogoznica, a smaller town about an hour or so from Split.

We pulled into the resort and were quite pleased to see such a swanky-when will I ever have the opportunity to use the word swanky again-place. There’s two outdoor pools in addition to the small beach just off the balcony. Tomi, Kailee and I have our own room for the first time, although it’s unlikely that anyone has to worry about us sneaking out considering that we’re usually in bed by 11. The rooms are all really nice, with fancy bathrooms and big beds and all of that jazz.

The majority of our group spent a few hours in the pool and in the sea, and some even put on some snorkeling gear and went to explore. Eventually we ended up with six hermit crabs and a sea cucumber (???) and we played around with those until finally we had to get showered and ready to go to dinner.

We drove five minutes to an area with some shops and restaurants and found an empty restaurant to sit down at. The kids table ordered all spaghetti bolognese, except for me who was welcomed with an actual full fish for the first time this trip!

After a pit stop to a side shop selling homemade liquor, Grandpa treated the three sons with some interesting flavored bottles, we hopped back in the vans and drove back to the resort.

Now all the cousins are playing cards while I’m sat on the couch listening to the teasing and bickering (what would this trip be without it!) and contemplating eating a whole bar of Milka chocolate. What, I’m on vacation. That’s a perfectly good reason, right?

The Island of Hvar

Hello all! Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, but it was a day full of traveling and I fell asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow, so not much to discuss!

Today was our first full day on Hvar; we woke up around 9 and decided to skip going out for breakfast and instead we had a bit of a home-cooked meal here at our most recent apartments (which are great, by the way). Our lovely host Sandra took some of the ladies to the market to grab some breakfast ingredients and soon enough we were eating delicious eggs made by joel, bread and marmalade, and a bit of fruit. A perfect way to start the day.

Around noon or so (I lost track of time once again), we headed to the nearest beach. It was yet another great day, which felt sweltering hot to me at first but once I got in the water it was just right.

Most of us hung around the rocks further away from the actual beach, because of course there was quite a large rock/cliff that we could jump off of and that’s become one of our specialties on this trip.

The water was amazingly clear and just the right temperature, and it felt great to plunge into it. We spent about 4 hours hanging out on the rocks and jumping back into the water, and Grandpa was able to take a little nap under the shade in the meantime.

After the beach we all headed back to the apartments to shower and get ready to go out. Thankfully I was able to get a short nap in before we left, so I woke up feeling ready to take on the world. Despite a bit of hunger and some sunburn, that is.

We took the vans down to the center of the town where we sat down at the Mizarola restaurant. I ordered the sea bass, my first fish of the trip, and it was like heaven on my tastebuds. Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic again with my descriptions. Typical.

After our delicious dinner we spent about an hour or so roaming around the street, stopping at various different shops and checking out all the unique little things. Such tourists.

We’ve made it back to the apartments and I’m about to head to bed soon, as I need to prepare my body (and mind) for another trek up a mountain of sorts to see another fortress. Fingers crossed that we all make it up alive again. Even Mom says she’s going….yeah, definitely bringing my camera to document THAT ;)

Enjoy the rest of your day/night!

Until Next Time, Dubrovnik

I’M ALIVE! After yesterday I wasn’t too sure that I’d make it, but I woke up this morning feeling loads better. And also very hungry.

My morning began around 9:00 when we headed to breakfast at the Dubravka for the last time. It was another beautiful day here so naturally we had planned to spend it at the beach. Right after breakfast we headed back down to Banje Beach again for the last time, and started swimming right away.

Time seems frozen here most of the time because we spent almost the whole time at the beach and it felt like no time had passed whatsoever. I wouldn’t mind being stuck in time on a beach in Dubrovnik, to be honest.

Around mid-afternoon Abbey, Kailee, Tomi, Adam and myself hopped on a boat that would take us parasailing. Adam and Abbey went first (Adams face was priceless, by the way), followed by Tomi and Kailee, and I finished it out on my own. It’s amazing how peaceful it was way up there in the sky, with the pretty blue water rippling underneath me and the buildings and houses of the city in the distance. It was an incredible experience.

Finally we had to leave the beach because we were going to walk the walls of Dubrovnik a few hours later. My family and Mike’s family headed up around 6:00 pm and the sun was still hot as ever-plus it probably didn’t help that we were huffing and puffing after the first flight of steps. Yikes.

The view from the wall is something you can’t quite describe with words, or even pictures, but I’ll do my best. It’s like all of the buildings and shops tell their own little story; there’s so much effort and energy and heart that goes into everything within those walls and I think sometimes that’s overlooked by the typical tourist. The restaurants along the side streets with the tiny kitchens and hardworking staff; the jewelry stores with beautiful handmade pieces; the street performers; and everything in between. Ahh. I love this city.

After our walk (workout) we headed to meet the rest of the gang at the Nava restaurant which was just what my tummy needed!

We popped in a few stores after dinner, but eventually the activities of the day got the best of us and we headed back to the apartment. Tomorrow morning we leave for out next destination, Hvar, with a pit stop in Medjugorje. It’s a bit sad that we’re leaving Dubrovnik already, but I have high hopes that I’ll soon return!

Dubrovnik Day 3

I want to start out by apologizing for this post being so bland. But, much to my dismay, I’ve spent a majority of the day lying in bed sick. [insert a large amount of sad faces here] Fingers crossed and wishes sent that I wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed, healthy, and from the looks of it, 10 pounds lighter. Ugh.

An early, 6:30 am wakeup started off our day here in Dubrovnik as me, Tomi, Kailee, Adam, Ayden, Abbey, Kyle, my dad, Joel and Mike (okay, maybe I’ll refrain from using names from now on because holy crap there’s a lot of us) made our way to the pathway up Mount Srdj. Being a bit of a wimp when it comes to heights, I was very anxious. Let’s just say that by the end of the hike, heights were the least of my worries. The throbbing in my legs and the inability to breathe normally took it’s place. You could say I’m slightly out of shape.

The view of the Old Town from atop the mount was simply amazing, and if I wasn’t battling some more nausea (my new friend, apparently), I probably would’ve never wanted to leave. But, alas, the cable car took us down quite a bit smoother than we came up, if I may add.

Unfortunately that was one of my only excursions of the day, because I got even more sick when we arrived back at the apartment. The cousins and uncles took a breather and then tried their turn at a bit of sea kayaking. It sounds like they had a blast, and everyone came back in one piece, so that’s a definite plus.

A nap or so later, I ventured outside again to join everyone at the “cove” which is just a few steps up from our apartment. While the brave ones cliff-jumped, (even the old men all did it; sorry guys!) I floated around in the bright blue sea and thankfully it’s magic healing powers were able to make me feel better for the time being.

Now I’m writing as I lay in bed and the crew is out for pizza. It’s not so bad on my half though, because the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and I’ve got the most spectacular view from my bedroom window. When you put it in perspective, it doesn’t seem so terrible. Besides, I’m in Croatia, so it’s all worth it.