vacation

Disneyland

Nicole Voris

Just like Morgan, Oliver and I love Disneyland.  When we moved to LA last year, one of the first things we did was go to Disneyland and get annual passes. I hadn't been to a Disney park since I was 10, but walking through those gates as an adult did not disappoint.  I think I get more excited and giddy about the park as an adult than I did as a child.

California Adventure at night. 

California Adventure at night. 

One of my favorite things about Disneyland is the generations of magic behind it.  Both sets of my grandparents took my parents to Disneyland a few years after it first opened.  Both families loaded up in their station wagons and drove across the New Mexico, Arizona, and California deserts without air conditioning to arrive in Orange County.  Despite this journey both my grandparents and parents always spoke very fondly of their trip to meet Mickey and his friends.

When I walk down Main Street or ride the Matterhorn I like to imagine my young grandparents feeling the same magic with their children.  I think that places hold energies and memories,  it makes me feel close to my family to feel the same energy they did even if we can't  be there together.

Mainstreet at Halloween.

Mainstreet at Halloween.

Last week we had the very special treat of being able to go to Disneyland with my parents.  We went the day before Halloween and had so much fun!  I think the Halloween decorations may be more magical than the decor at Christmas.  (After my next visit I'll get back to you on that.)  The last time my mom and dad had been to the park California Adventure was still the parking lot.  It was fun to experience Disneyland in the morning, then explore the new park in the afternoon.  The rides were amazing!  I think it's way too hard to choose a favorite, but beyond the rides I think the performers can't be discounted.  The amount of talented people employed at Disneyland is pretty incredible.  We enjoyed listening to bands and watching a parade.  It was a wonderful day and I'm so glad I got to share it with three people I love most.

My dad in line for Thunder Mountain. 

My dad in line for Thunder Mountain. 

If you're going to Disneyland soon invite me! We'll have fun! :)  but seriously, it's a wonderful place and even for us, a place where we can leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.  

Falling at Splash Mountain,  Oliver didn't fully make it into the photo...

Falling at Splash Mountain,  Oliver didn't fully make it into the photo...

Big Sur

Morgan Quinn

Last week me and a few friends took a trip to Big Sur. The coast there is gorgeous with huge mountains, waterfalls, trees and so much wildlife. If you live in California or are visiting, it is a must see. Especially for those of you who live in the city, any fresh air is much needed. We camped in an amazing campground with a river view. The smell of campfire, and clear air was incredibly refreshing. 

bigsur1.jpg

During our stay we hiked and explored. Sitting by the fire and making food was my favorite part. I felt like the girl-scout I never was.

Avalon, New Jersey

Jeanette Kakareka

When I was a child, once a year, my family would drive down to Avalon, New Jersey. We would rent the same charming, little house for one week. As I got older, I could no longer make it because I was required to go to summer intensives and now my company contract sometimes conflicts with our available week. This year, however, the weeks coordinated and I was able to go along with everyone else!

My mom packed me a little basket to welcome me when I arrived!

My mom packed me a little basket to welcome me when I arrived!

Weeks like this are so luxurious to me. No public transportation, no extraneous responsibilities, no need to stay super fit. I can wake up late if I want or get up early. I can video chat my boyfriend. Go down to the beach. Read a book. Take a nap. Go downtown to the shops. Drink coffee all day like water. I rarely get the true luxury of being lazy and “wasting” time however I want to, so I tried to take advantage of the days spent in this way.

I went down the beach, of course, (just a block and a half away,) and jumped in the waves. The water was actually quite warm this year, so we were able to stay out longer than usual. I also had 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami to keep me occupied.

My family introduced me to the cutest coffee shop I’ve seen, second only to the replica of Central Perk in Liverpool. Almond Joy cappuccino, please.

Coffee Talk located on 3rd and 97th.

Coffee Talk located on 3rd and 97th.

I was determined to take a nice sunset photo this week. The day I brought my camera we were downtown near the shops and the sun was quickly setting. Out of desperation, my brothers, one of their girlfriends, and I also walked down to the end of one road not knowing if we would be able to see anything. Luckily, we were not disappointed and sat a while.

A photo of my brother, Charles, and his girlfriend, Ellen Lewis. Taken with my Canon.

A photo of my brother, Charles, and his girlfriend, Ellen Lewis. Taken with my Canon.

It’s so refreshing to feel truly guilt-free about enjoying my down-time! I haven’t been able to feel that way for quite a long time, and I’m grateful to have gotten a whole week of it with my family.

Here is my dad making our fortress impenetrable.

Here is my dad making our fortress impenetrable.