Saturday, June 18, 2011

Last year at this time....

Hard to believe that last year at this time we were wrapping up our weeklong adventure to South Africa to attend the 2010 World Cup.
Not only is it hard to believe that a year has already gone by but it is hard to believe we were actually at the World Cup!
The city of Johannesburg really rolled out the red carpet for all the visiting fans and the people of South Africa were so proud to be at the center of the world's attention.  I remember getting off our 18 hour flight from DC to Johannesburg and seeing signs everywhere welcoming World Cup spectators. It was such an awesome feeling to be walking into something so big and for someone that has very little international travel experience, I was just an awe of everything that was around me.

As soon as we got to the airport, our first task was picking up our tickets to the games. We entered a lottery for tickets back in Feb of 2009! It was quite a surprise that we received tickets to three games but after going to our first couple of games we realized it was pretty easy to buy tickets right before the game. We actually met another guy from the US that didn't have tickets to any of the games but just depended on buying tickets when he got to the game.

The place that we stayed at the whole week was an empty YMCA-type building that they set up beds and brought in staff to operate the kitchen. It was a great place to meet people as they came and left Johannesburg, but there were no heaters and it was a lot colder than we anticipated. Despite being the sickest I have ever been to date, staying at "Tent City" offered us a safe, secure place to stay every night and I would do it again in a second! Just with warmer clothes!

The people watching at the games was the best. I pick the Netherlands as having the best fans! They were pretty serious about showing some team spirit! Of course, once we got to South Africa and saw all the camaraderie amongst fans we regretted not having our USA flags and face paint! We will be better prepared next time.

Two of the games we went to were played in Soccer City. This stadium was the host to the opening match and championship game. It was refurbished for the World Cup and holds 94,000 fans, which makes it the largest stadium in Africa.

Every time I think back about this trip, I try to pick out one thing that was the highlight of the trip and for me that is hard, but one of my favorite things about this trip was seeing Brian surrounded by all the things that he lives for. His love of international travel, meeting new people and being surrounded by soccer certainly put him in his element. I would have to say that despite the low temperatures, the pneumonia, the cold showers, the taxi fights and getting lost in the dark streets of Johannesburg, experiencing the World Cup with Brian will remain one the best weeks of my life. We definitely learned a lot about each other and managed to make it back to US still married! So, I think we can handle just about any adventure that comes our way and I am anxious to start planning our next big trip!! 

Here is a fun video I put together last year with all our pictures! It is so fun to watch and be reminded of the amazing time we had attending the 2010 World Cup! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Look back at May

Well, apparently May was so busy I didn't even have time to post any blogs! Hard to believe my last blog was about Cinco de Mayo. This month has really flown by and as always, things have been as busy as ever.
I enjoyed so many fun things in May, I wanted to share a few of them with you before I start writing about June which has already turned into a busy month!

Virginia Gold Cup
During the first weekend of May, we joined the New Mexico Society for an outing to the Virginia Gold Cup! It was just a well planned day. We started with breakfast burritos at Arlington's Santa Fe Cafe and boarded a bus for the 45 min drive to Great Meadows in The Plains, Virginia. The 86th running of the Virginia Gold is a steeplechase race that is a spring tradition in Virginia and definitely a social event for all Virginians. There was an estimated 50,000 spectators, which makes this race one of the largest and most popular sporting events in the greater Washington metro area. In addition to horse races, there was Russell Terrier races (sadly we missed these), TONS of tailgating, and of course hat contests. As guests of the New Mexico Society, we had our own tent area with food catered from Santa Fe Cafe and PLENTY of beverages to last the whole day.  Although the horse races were exciting to watch, the people watching was probably the best part for me. Seersucker galore!

Tart Party! 
I am fortunate to work with other people that have the same love for all things food that I have! A few of us have come together to form a cooking club that meets monthly. It would probably be more appropriate to call it an eating club, because in our first meeting, just two of us cooked and the rest ate! This month's theme was tarts! So I baked two tarts, savory and sweet. This savory tart was so delicious and was a big hit. If you are ever looking for a great brunch item, I highly recommend this Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart

Marine Corp Half Marathon
As you may recall, in my post "Spring Race Schedule", I signed up for a few races this spring/summer with the hopes that I be prepared for a full marathon come fall. training schedule has not gone as planned due to a long list of excuses and overall lack of motivation. So the Marine Corp Half Marathon date quickly approached and I had done little running to prepare for it. So I looked to my ever-fit husband to fill my spot in the race. Fortunately, he can go from not running for weeks to easily running a half marathon! So I was his cheerleader for what turned out to be a great race for him! It was also great to get a visit the town of Fredricksburg. Such a cute town that I hope to visit again soon. (the pictures are a bit blurry....Brian was running so fast! )

(this was Brian's cheer squad)

Beach Trip
Before the beaches filled up after Memorial Day weekend, we drove done to Outer Banks, NC with some friends for a couple of days relaxing on the beach. Although it is a long 6 hour drive that was made longer from terrible traffic on I-95. It is always nice to get out for a weekend. We stayed at a hotel that was conveniently located right on the beach. We spent the weekend eating and trying to get as much sun as possible! It was scary to see how translucent our skin had become over the winter! Too much time sitting in our office cubes!! We also took Sasha with us to the beach! Not only was this her first road trip, but also her first beach encounter. She did so well in the car and had a blast playing in the sand. She was a little too timid to play in the water, but we are hoping her love of water will develop in time. 
Outer Banks is such a great weekend trip and we were lucky to have great weather and plenty of beach space to enjoy. I can't wait to go back again. 

A visitor
YAY! Look who came for a short visit!
My sister was in Baltimore for a work trip and she made time to drive to DC to spend some time with us! I love having her here! Of course, Alexa didn't make this trip, but I am hoping to see her sooner than later! My sister was here long enough for some cupcake tasting, happy hour and movie watching. It was a great treat to have her here!

Rolling Thunder
For Memorial Day weekend, we stayed in DC and enjoyed some of the events held here. Washington DC is definitely the best place to spend Memorial Day weekend. It is easy to be reminded of the true meaning of Memorial Day when you are surrounded by monuments to the fallen and Arlington Cemetery.  In the few years that we have lived here, we have never attended Rolling Thunder.

In 1987, Rolling Thunder was started as a demonstration to bring awareness to POWs  and MIAs of the Vietnam War. The first ever group of motorcyclists was just over 2500. They rode the streets of Washington DC as an attempt to petition the government to take responsibility for the soldiers that were abandoned after the Vietnam War ended. Today, it is estimated that over 250,000 motorcycles ride during the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day event. Since we live within walking distance of the start of this event, we had a great view of all the motorcycles assembling in the parking lot of the Pentagon as well as getting a good view of them crossing Memorial Bridge from Virginia into Washington DC.
The Pentagon Parking Lot (all motocycles!)

Well, that was a quick look at May! It was a great month and June has already started with many exciting things! I vow not to wait to the end of the month to write again!