Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every Thanksgiving I would wake up to amazing scents coming from the kitchen that made my mouth water.... and not so amazing noises like blenders, and cans being opened with an occasional "ouch" from someone burning themselves after sneaking in a quick look at the turkey. That was my family on a typical Thanksgiving day, organized chaos....well maybe more chaos, but that's besides the point

This bittersweet Thanksgiving I wont be spending it with the family I've known all my life which is sad to not hear my mom yelling at at my dad to do something around the house and my dad simply watching something sports related or reading the news paper with a cup of coffee till my sisters crazy family calls or comes over with yelling from all my nieces and nephew "hi, hi, hi papa Jimmy, hi, hi, hi grandma Eileen, hi, hi, hi, hi Ethan!" yup I will be missing out on those days, but in turn I get to spend this lovely Turkey day with another family.

I get to spend thanksgiving with people from North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Australia, New Zealand, and of course me being from Chicago!

What's amazing about this day is that I get to spend thanksgiving with a couple of my friends from the south pacific who have NEVER had a thanksgiving before. It's shocking to know that other places around the world can be so similar and yet so different, but oh man are they in for a treat ;)

I am thankful for technology, for without it I wouldn't be able to get in contact with loved ones back home in Chicago as well as around the world. I am thankful for all the people who've been through the great times, the not so great times, and everything in between with me. 

I am thankful for life and the people I love apart of it

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

light at the end of the tunnel

Hello my name is Ethan and I am a Chronic procrastinator

I work best under stress sadly. I could have a month to work on a paper and wait till the last 12 hours before its due to really start to think about it.

starting a paper, power point presentation, and reading an entire book at 11pm was.... challenging to say the least.

2am I take a break to eat something and watch an episode of Pokemon. 4am I take a nap till 4:40 am. and surrender my sleep 6:30 till 7:40am. getting less than 2 hours of sleep I made it to class looking like a zombie ready to write my in class essay! running on adrenaline I finished my essay with some time to spare so I head out and go on my lap top waiting for my friends to get out.

logging on to my facebook I see my friend, Hannah tagged me in this picture of my niece Eva I took back in December. I was at first just wondering why she was looking at the picture I took a while ago, but then I realized it was a post that she shared from Disney Worlds Facebook page!!! sure enough I clicked on it, and I found out that Disney chose my picture as the photo of the day!!

Finding out something so special to me was being recognized by a fortune 100 company definitely made my all nighter well worth it

and the final results for the day were

over 2000 likes, over 300 comments and 79 shares!

my name is getting out there and I am on my way to where I want to be :D

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gotta Catch'em All

When I was a kid I had no worries in the world. I didn't have to worry about money, having to work, paying bills, school work (to the level I'm at now), and all the things combined that create the mind set of an adult.

One of the biggest concerns for me as a kid was waking up on weekends and watching Pokemon and figuring out how in the world I would discover my first Pokemon and become a Pokemon trainer. 

just the other day I happened to stumble upon a website online that has every episode of one of my favorite childhood cartoons. It's amazing to see how a cartoon could bring back so many memories of when I wanted to just pick up my backpack and go exploring. 

Maybe that's why I love to travel and go on adventures? Either way, I think there is a strong connection of what we learn as kids that carry through over to when we become adults. 

So here's to the kid from Pallet town who made me the adventure seeker I am today

Thanks Ash

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Results

I knew that I would eventually have to talk about this since so many of my good friends and family members were apart of the help that made everything possible, so here we go.

On November 4th the voting for the Valencia's video contest ended. A notification would be sent out November 7th to the videos that were voted into the top 10.

On November 7th, one day after getting back from Paris with Patty, we made our way over to Yessica's house (Patty's friend) to pick up the Luggage I didn't bring with on the Trip. When we got there Patty asked if I could use Yessica's laptop to check and see if I made it to the finals.

After logging in I kinda rushed to get to the Valencia homepage and to set a dramatic scene (because this was a huge thing happening!) ..... I took in a deep breath and clicked.

"Congratulations to the top 10 finalist!"

the list consisted of 10 names, names that were familiar in the sense that I saw them through out the voting period, but after reading the list I learned that my name was no where to be found... my name was gone, my video was gone, taken off the website since I didn't make it to the finals....

At first I didn't know how to react, whether to beat myself up about it, that I could've tried harder, or thinking to myself "what if it was just one vote away?"

Patty comforting me, hugging me and telling me that she's proud of me regardless of the results brought me at ease and I ultimately didn't let the results effect the duration of my trip...

On November 15th the top five winners were selected. I was indifferent about the situation, because I knew that regardless of who won it didn't matter to me since I didn't even make it to the finals....But after much deliberation about the whole situation I can safely say that I am happy without a doubt.

I am happy that I created a video to enter in that scholarship and I am happy that I gave it my all, from putting it together, to promoting the video on a daily basis.

To all my friends and family who helped support me throughout the whole experience, thank you so much. I definitely learned a lot over the last few weeks and like the old saying goes, "when one door closes, another one opens" always.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Summary of Madrid, Spain: Part 3

On Thursday, my last full day in Spain, Patty and I planned on riding the boats at Retiro Park since neither one of us had done it yet (more so her, since she’s been there longer than me) and Patty made it a point to wait for me to visit her to do it. So we made it a little romantic date taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful weather and each others company despite the ducks that were fighting in the pond haha:) 

When we finished the boat ride, we strolled around the park where we happened to find a small colony of peacocks, like the blue feathered massive birds, just chillin walking around the park which was surprisingly awesome to see! 

Later, as the day was coming to a close, we had a few drinks and decided to go and see the famous Egyptian Temple of Debod during the beautiful sunset. Not sure where to go, we ventured off turning corners until we came across an extremely large hill. After climbing what seemed like forever of a climb we saw a breathe taking view of the ancient temple overcastting Madrid on an amazing sunset finishing our adventures through Spain.

My overall view of Spain is that it’s a beautiful country to visit and experience, from its food and customs, to the night life, people and of course the Copas ;)

If it weren’t for Patty’s amazing host family, my experience wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable and fun. In life the little things are some times what’s cherished and count the most and I learned a lot from that family which I’ll never forget!

There’s never any goodbyes in life for the people you care about, only see ya’ laters and I will definitely see her host family again in the near future!

Thank you Patty for showing me an amazing time through out Spain and soon enough we’ll be together for the holidays, hopefully under a mistletoe J

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Summary of Madrid, Spain: Part 2

Tuesday night.... we went out tuesday night...

6am wednesday.... its usually the time I would wake up to go out for a run over the long summer days, but this time around it was when Patty and I had returned home after getting Churros and Hot chocolate from a night filled with dancing in Spain. The night life in Spain is surreal, from the music and dancing to being out till 6am!! I've gotta say I'm pretty proud I didn't pass out and finished strong with a second wind before knocking out from those delicious churros ;) and they say New York is the city that never sleeps, pfffft.

By midmorning I stumbled out of bed to pick something up to eat for Patty and myself. We eventually got ready and made our way out to meet up with some of her friends to go to one of these famous museums in Spain.

After finding out I couldn't take pictures in the Museum I was pretty upset, but still managed to be a ninja and sneak a couple pictures in, till I was yelled at, whoops

Following the museum, Patty, myself and her friends Anna, Andrea, and Claire made our way to the Palace where people were celebrating this religious event that was going on and people were lined up to drop off bunches of flowers around this statue, where there were many street performers. after we took a couple pictures and walked around a lot, we worked up an appetite and agreed on some good ol' american food.

so we went to burger king hehe ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Summary of Madrid, Spain: Part 1

After getting back to Spain with Patty, I napped... or took a Siesta as they call it there, which I can definitely get use to saying haha. I took a siesta though so Patty could finish her project with her roommate, Claire.

The next few days were filled with photo adventures, going to school with Patty, drinking sangria at school (yes, at school!), cuddling time, siesta time and fiesta time!

On one of our photo adventures we roamed the streets of Madrid and passed by this relatively old looking building that appeared hidden behind all these trees and bushes that kind of reminded me of Willy Wonkas Chocolate factory. "No way!! this is where the Spanish Gods are!" Patty was telling me. I was lost and thought it was a museum until she elaborated more. "This is where the spanish speaking language is developed and updated. This is where they add and take away words from the Spanish Dictionary that gets updated every so many years. think of this as like Chase Jarvis house in the photography world!"

That's when it hit me like a new Nikon 70-200 2.8! this place means A LOT to Patty and I could see it glowing through her smile and the excitement that was running through her!

At that moment I really did see how passionate she is about her degree in Spanish Education and how I 100% know she's happy about her decision, which makes me super proud of her :')


Following the nice stumble upon, we made our way through the amazing Parque del Retiro! everything from the people, street performers and pond, to the fall colored trees that made the place look beautiful all around was simply stunning to walk through! 

Finishing the day at the park before heading off to Patty's class was awesome, but when in Madrid the nights are just as long as the days.... if not longer and kicking of the night with some sangria at school and a short siesta at our hotel was the way to go;)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The morning we left Paris

Sunday morning came for our departure back to Madrid, Spain and although it was definitely hard to leave such a beautiful place full of life and romance, we were definitely ready to continue our adventure for the rest of the week!

Before leaving for the airport we took a couple pictures for the parentals and Patty’s aunt near the Eiffel Tower because we thought it would just be a really cute memory for all of them.

After taking our last few photos in Paris, we headed down towards the train station that would have taken us to a shuttle bus station that would then drop us off at the airport. But before all that we ran into a relatively large set back…. The ticket machine that would let us through to the train was out of order, out of tickets or something. So right away I was thinking, “oh we’ll be fine, we’ll just buy one from the help desk” except to to find out that the help desk was closed and no one was there.

Slowly we began to check out the situation we were in and finally agreed to just opt for the….. the dreaded taxi since it was coming close to that last 1 hour and 30 minute point before our flight. So Patty being the more attractive one in our relationship obviously flagged a French taxi driver down in a matter of seconds…. Which I have no comment on

But we made it to the airport in less than 25 minutes and cost fewer than 30 Euros, which was pretty reasonable considering how close we were to the very touristy area and still paid off because we didn’t miss our flight, thank God!

Our flight was fast and smooth, lasted less than two hours, and what made the flight amazing was the view we had…. See the day was a cold overcast day, But after breaking the clouds Patty and I had a stunning view which made for a beautiful Departure from France!

Patty and I definitely loved this weekend and look forward to the LONGEST week ever until Friday!

Until next time Paris, we will miss you and your lovely pastries ;)!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

the second day in Paris

On the second day of our lovely trip Patty and I went all over paris from the Eiffel Tower,  and Arc De Triumph, to chilling with the hottie Mona at the Musee De Louvre,  and Notre Dame. Simply a beautiful and magical day, but go ahead and see for yourself

After checking out Notre Dame we started to head back to our hotel before the night was over. On our way back I was telling Patty that since it was our last night here in the city of love, we would go all out by going up the Eiffel Tower at night to see all of the city on our anniversary weekend :) 

Making it back to our hotel with some new souvenirs I had gotten for Patty, we got ready and took off to the Eiffel Tower.

When we actually got to the Eiffel Tower, we made our way up to the top taking in the biggest most beautiful view of Paris with the help of being on top of the Eiffel Tower and that's when Patty told me:

"Hun, people dream of coming here in their life. I love you so much, thank you for all this"

We began to take pictures of each other all around the tower when finally I told her to turn around so that I could get her back looking over the city.....

Patty- "Did you take the picture?... "
Me-"turn around hun"
Patty-"what's wrong hun, why didn't you take it?"
Me- *glancing down at my two hands holding a light blue box*
Patty- "hunny, what is this!!"

I had gotten Patty a ring as her last surprise for and gave it to her in Paris, France. The ring represented us being complete, given that she had gotten us two rings 6 months into our relationship, but sadly a few years ago hers was stolen. So I decided to not necessarily 'replace' it but rather give her an upgrade that would make us complete again :) because "home truly is whenever I'm with you" 

Patty- "I am so happy baby! this truly is the most unforgettable anniversary ever, I love you so much."


Best part about the night?

The only reason I'll be going back to Tiffany's is to get the ring engraved, because it was a perfect fit :)