Fear

by Lisa on Wednesday: Aug 14, 2013

After all the stress and worry that came with buying a house and moving, D and I knew we needed to take a vacation and get away from reality for a while. It was very important to me that we do this, and throughout the whole process of moving, I kept saying that at the end, we would plan our trip. We knew we would be going back to our favorite vacation destination, the one we try to make it to every year: Disney World. About 2 weeks ago, Disney released information about their free meal plan deal for the exact time frame we were looking at going, and we immediately jumped at the chance and booked our trip. We’ll be going in late fall, and I can’t wait!

However, this does bring up some unresolved anxieties: Over the past few years and several trips to Florda and one to Vegas, I’ve become VERY uneasy about flying. To be fair, I’ve had some very bad flights recently, and I think they’ve somewhat traumatized me. On our first trip to Disney in 2011, the trip there was completely uneventful and easy, however on the return trip to Boston, we had very bad turbulence the entire time. We flew over multiple lightning storms (you could see the lightning below us out the window of the plane! So freaky) and to make matters worse, I had a horrible cold and as a result, my ears felt like they were going to explode from all the ups and downs the plane was experiencing.

In 2012 we went to Vegas. Again the return trip was particularly nasty. On takeoff, the plane was shaking and bobbing so much that other people on the plane were swearing and freaking out. It was so bad that one of the cabinet doors in the back of the plane (probably one that led to a closet) was slamming back and forth. I was so freaked out, and we still had 5 hours to go at that point.

Copyright Fox Broadcasting
(Image copyright Fox Broadcasting – not my own)

And the rest of the flights during those years, while not quite so traumatic, were still no picnic. At this point, I think I can safely say that I have a fear of flying. There’s nothing I hate more than that dropping feeling (hence, why I avoid roller coasters like the plague) and anytime turbulence is a possibility, I start to feel like I’m on a rollercoaster where you can’t see the track. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but that’s what it’s come to.

Strangely, I remember that as a kid, I had no fear when it came to planes. When my family and I went to Florida when I was 13, I kept a journal for most of the trip. Part of it was written on the plane, and I distinctly remember reading one sentence I had written back then about how the turbulence on the plane was the “fun part” and that I couldn’t understand why my mother was freaking out.

I guess you could say that times have changed – drastically.

The flight to Florida is only about 2 hours and 45 minutes, so technically it shouldn’t be that bad. I know the excitement of going on vacation will overpower my fear until the time comes when we arrive at the airport. Thank goodness for Jetblue and their in-seat TVs, which is the only thing that can distract me while we’re in the air.

Has anyone else experienced a fear of flying? Any tips to get over this fear??

Where did the year go?

by Lisa on Saturday: Dec 29, 2012

There’s officially only two days left in 2012 after today, and I don’t know if you feel the same way, but for me, 2012 flew by in a whirlwind. I know other bloggers are doing their yearly recaps, and I figured now would be a good time for me to do the same. I was going to go month by month, but then I realized that there were some months that went by rather uneventfully, so let’s just focus on the highlights!

February
D and I took a trip down to New York City! It was the first time he and I had ever gone down together, though we both had spent a good deal of time there separately at various times before we met. The main reason for going down was to see Bjork in concert:

And we also saw Spiderman: Turn off the Dark

March
In March, we got our geek on and went to see Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was actually a great show, even though historically I haven’t been much of a FF fan, but the orchestra played the music from all the games and we had a great time.

June
In June, we took our first big vacation of the year and went to Vegas! I had been wanting to go to Vegas for quite some time, but never had the opportunity. This was an amazing trip and it felt like we were in a different world. Neither of us had ever been in a desert environment before! We did some gambling, saw some shows and ate at a lot of delicious restaurants.

August
My 29th birthday! Let the last year of my twenties begin.

(Yes, we have a triple birthday every year for me, my mother and my brother)

September
We had been waiting all year for this one – our trip to Disney World!

November
No pictures for this one, but this was the biggest accomplishment of the year. I finally finished paying off my massive student loan debt!!

And those were the highlights of the year! Looking back, it was a pretty good one, and I’m so happy we got to do all the traveling that we did. Next year will be a lot lighter in the travel department because we’ll be saving up our money to hopefully buy our first house.

What’s the biggest thing you’ll remember from 2012?

Vacation Recap: Hawaiian BBQ for a Vegetarian??

by Lisa on Thursday: Oct 25, 2012

In case you’re just tuning in, I’ve been recapping some of the amazing meals and adventures from our recent trip to Disney World.

One of the most interesting and out-of-the-ordinary meals we enjoyed while we were there took place at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. We had never been there before and really hadn’t even heard of the place until our travel agent recommended it to us. I was skeptical at first because the menu is Hawaiian bbq food, which is pretty much ALL meat. So I talked it over with our travel agent and she let me know that they would be very accommodating and have a very nice vegetarian meal that isn’t listed on the menu.

Polynesian Resort 3

When we first arrived at the Polynesian, we decided to walk around the hotel a little bit and do some exploring since it was completely new to us. It’s one of the deluxe hotels which means it is extremely expensive, thus likely a place we’ll never end up staying, and so we were expecting pretty big things. The lobby and shops inside were very nice and the Polynesian theme was very well done.

Polynesian Resort 2

As soon as stepped off the monorail and into the hotel, the skies opened up and it started pouring. This was also the very last night of our trip so this dinner had the potential to be slightly somber as we knew we didn’t have much time left on our vacation. However, there is SO much going on at this restaurant that it was able to distract us from this fact.

Polynesian Resort

We had a prior reservation, so we didn’t have very long to wait until we were seated. When they called our names, we were escorted by one of the hosts to our table and on the way he gave us a mini tour of the restaurant. He showed us the bar, the barbecue (which was out in the open), pointed out the drink selections (all of which were served in glowing glasses) and tonight’s dessert. Right before we arrived at our table, he pointed to the food selections and said, “We have pork, shrimp, chicken and steak. You don’t pick one, you get them all.”

As soon as the waitress arrived at our table I asked about the vegetarian option (I guess I was still a little skeptical), and right away she told me about the entree (which would also be all you can eat) and some special appetizers they make for veggies like me.

Well, the dinner didn’t disappoint. My first appetizer was an Asian-style noodle dish with green beans and broccoli, and then the SECOND (again, I didn’t explicitly pick these things – they just give you everything!) was pita chips with three different kinds of hummus. My favorite was the sun-dried tomato, but all three were extremely delicious, so much so that when I got back home to my regular hummus I found it kind of boring.

My entree came out and was quite large and filled with lots of good things: tons of vegetables, and a generous helping of roasted potatoes. They also presented us with three different dipping sauces, which did spice up the dish a lot. I could have gotten the dish refilled at any time, but it didn’t take too long until I was so full I couldn’t take another bite.

And then….

Dessert came out! It ended up being a bread pudding style of dish with caramel sauce and bananas and topped with ice cream. It should come as no surprise to you at this point that this dish could ALSO have been refilled as many times as we wanted.

From a meat-eater’s perspective, D really enjoyed his meal as well and was equally full when we were done eating. He didn’t particularly care for the steak, but the chicken and shrimp were his favorites and the appetizers for him were equally pleasing.

This meal was included in our dining plan so we didn’t have to pay anything but the tip, but when we took a look at the bill, it was actually quite affordable. It was around $35 per person, which when you consider the endless amount of food we got, is really quite a good deal, especially at a fancy resort in Disney!

Have you ever tried Hawaiian bbq?

Wordless Wednesday: From Our Disney Trip

by Lisa on Tuesday: Oct 16, 2012

Disney - Nemo shirt

Vacation Recap: The Many Meals of Epcot

by Lisa on Saturday: Oct 06, 2012

Epcot was without a doubt our most visited park this year during our Disney trip. Why? Because of the food!

Epcot

The fact that there are so many different types of food at World Showcase is what kept us coming back. Before leaving on our trip, we made reservations for three different dinners here: one in Mexico, one in Japan and the third in China. Out of those, our first stop was China on our second night of the trip.

We dined at the Nine Dragons Restaurant which is located right inside the China Pavilion.

Before we went in, we took in the Reflections of China show, which is shown in a room where you stand and the screen surrounds you in 360 degrees, and we also took a look around the small Chinese museum in the same area.

China - Tomb Warriors China - Tomb Warriors

When we finally arrived at Nine Dragons, we were seated right away, thanks to our reservation, and our waiter was a man who had spent most of his life living in China, but who had been working in this particular location since the 80’s. He was very attentive and extraordinarily polite as a waiter. I have no complaints about the service here.

Chinese wisdom

I ended up getting the veggie stir fry, which was a little on the small side. When it arrived, I thought to myself “I’m still going to be hungry after this”, but despite that fact, it was very tasty and I cleaned my plate. It came with big chunks of eggplant, which is something I really haven’t seen before in a Chinese stir fry. I also got myself an iced chai tea, something I never order (I usually stick to water, diet coke or something alcoholic when I’m out at restaurants), but since our plan came with a free drink, I decided to try it out.

Our second visit to Epcot brought us to Japan. D especially loves Japanese food and Japanese culture, so there was no way we were going to miss Japan on our trip.

Epcot - Japan Epcot - Japan 2

We ate at Teppan Edo, which was kind of like a hibachi-style dining experience. We were seated at a big table with two other parties and were treated to a show of the chef cooking our meals on the grill. I was not even the only vegetarian at our table that day! Nice surprise.

Luckily they did have one veggie option, and our waitress was also kind enough to ask both us vegetarians at the table if we minded if our meals were cooked on the same grill as the meat. Very considerate! We both said we didn’t mind, but I do wonder what would have happened if one of us had said yes. Would they have cooked our food at a different table, then brought it to us?

I got a little nervous at first when the chef started cooking, because everyone got a small helping of veggies as a side dish with their meal and that was put on all our plates first. I wondered if that would be all I was getting? I found out in about 10 – 15 minutes that it wasn’t. Phew! The veggie dish came with udon noodles and lots of veggies. But the real star of this meal was the dessert: chocolate ginger cake. The middle was a ginger cream and the top was a chocolate frosting/glaze. Delicious.

Our final Epcot meal took place at La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico – the one I had been most excited about as Mexican food is my absolute favorite.

Epcot Mexico

Epcot Mexico2

We had eaten a quick serve meal in Mexico during our last trip that we also revisited for lunch a few days prior to this particular meal that had the best salsa (sooo hot and spicy), and it turned out they used the same salsa at this restaurant. I was excited.

This restaurant did not have any vegetarian options whatsoever on the menu – however, I wasn’t worried because I had picked up a valuable tip from our travel agent before we arrived: if you’re a vegetarian or have any special dietary need, they will accommodate you at Disney no matter where you go. So, when the waiter came over, I asked if there was anything vegetarian I could have and he offered me two different things that were not listed: veggie tacos and veggie enchiladas. I went with the tacos:

Epcot Mexico - Veggie Tacos

They were SO DELICIOUS, especially with some of that spice salsa on top. And the serving was so big I couldn’t even think about finishing them (very rare for me!). I was so incredibly full afterward.

As you can see, we got to sample a whole lot of really interesting cuisine while we were in Epcot this year, and should we go back for another trip someday, we’ll probably try out another several countries.