Sunday, January 24, 2010

2009 Resolution Recap

I had a few specific goals for can see them here and here. I've never really made any official New Year's Resolution prior to '09, because really, who ever completes them? Let's see if I did...
Resolution #1: Read 75 books. This one was a fail, but it was due to extenuating circumstances. The only reason I didn't get them all, is that I couldn't read anything for a week or so after our cruise because I was too "land sick". If it wasn't for that, I would have smoked it. As you can see from my book list on the right, I only read 73 books. These are all books that I read from start to finish. Of course there were many that I started, didn't like and didn't finish. Those don't make the list. I'm sad I didn't meet this one - I really thought I would be able to. But oh well. Very close.
Resolution #2: Work out at least 3 times a week. This one is clearly a fail. I've become even lazier in the past year. But that's gonna change in 2010. I even joined a gym last week. Now if I could just work up the motivation to drive there...
Resolution #3: Visit at least 2 foreign countries. PASS! Yea, I did one! This one just slipped in to 2009, since our cruise was in December and all, but we did make it to Belize, Honduras and Mexico. Score!
Resolution #4: Find a new job. This one was a hugely disappointing fail. 2009 was a miserable time to be unemployed, and especially to be looking for something in the meeting/events industry. But 2010 will be the year for change because last week I started my new job! Finally!!! I'm working as a contract employee for Meeting Expectations, which is a meeting planning company in Buckhead. I started last week and my contract goes until the start of June. I am so happy to be working with this company - all the people I've met are super nice, the office is less than 5 miles from our apartment, I'll be able to learn/grow in this field, etc, etc. I really hope it turns into a permanent position, but I'll take what I can get for now!
So if we're looking strictly at a pass/fail ratio, I didn't do so hot. But if I include one week of grace time (first week of January), I killed it! I don't have any big goals for 2010 so far...really I just want to get in better shape (like always), travel more (duh) and grow in my career (surprise, surprise). Very typical, but still very worthwhile. So 2010, I'm glad you're here and hope you continue in the direction you started.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Christmas Cruising Part 4 - Roatan & Cozumel

Roatan was our second stop and we had a very relaxing day there. We rented a taxi for the day (our driver, Raul, just stayed with us wherever we went) and spent most of the time at a beach resort at the West End. I did a little snorkeling but we mostly just chilled on the beach and at the pool. The next day was spent on Cozumel. We rented a car and drove around the whole island, which was pretty stress-free since there is only 1 road. We stopped at a few different beaches, drove through some neighborhoods and tourist attractions, and ended up in downtown (had to get our passports stamped!). The beaches were absolutely gorgeous and we loved that we were all alone at most of them.

Our sweet rideWhere we ate lunch and spent most of the day
All in all, the cruise and all of the places we visited were wonderful. It was a lot of fun and good to experience...once.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas Cruising Part 3 - Belize

Our first, and favorite, port of call was Belize. We went on an amazing all-day excursion that consisted of a bus tour through the city, a visit to the ruins of Altun Ha and a boat ride on the River Wallace. We had a fabulous time - perfect weather, great guides and awesome sights!
On the busAt Altun HaOops...I dressed like the staff!
Mark, holding a baby crocodile on the top of one of the ruins

We stopped for lunch at a cute restaurant, but Mark and I ate outside by ourselves since we'd packed a lunch from the ship. This guy decided to join us.
After lunch, we took off on the river tour.
We saw some amazing animals including...monkeys (my first time seeing them in the wild!),bats,iguanas,fighting iguanas,tons of crocodiles (I'd say this one is a little too close for comfort!),dolphins,and manatees!

We were really amazed at all the wildlife we saw. The boat ride took up most of the afternoon so after we arrived back at the port town, we window shopped at a few stores, got our passports stamped (finally!) and headed back to the cruise ship (
this was the only port where we didn't dock and had to take smaller boats to shore). I'd love to visit Belize again...the main attractions are more adventurous activities (zip lines, cave tours, kayaking) so hopefully we'll get to go again after Mark's fully healed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Cruising Part 2 - Carnival Triumph

We were able to board the cruise ship at about 1:00pm Saturday afternoon (December 19). We dropped our bags off in our room, got some lunch and then explored the entire ship. It was really cool because while we were going room to room, deck to deck, we were really the only people around (most people were still boarding or eating). We said goodbye to New Orleans at around 5:30 and took off for the open seas (ok...took off for the Mississippi River, then the open seas). That night we had a fun dinner with a couple from Texas, Edward and Mirna (we later learned that pretty much our entire ship was from Texas - beauty of leaving from New Orleans) and then went to the first nightly show, which was pretty cheesy but fun.
The next 2 days were at sea and spent as follows...sit down breakfast, walking on the track, lay out/relax, buffet lunch, lay out/relax, maybe catch an afternoon show, shower/get ready for evening, sit down dinner with l
ame couple from Canada (we got moved to the early dinner), nightly show. The food was good pretty much every meal, but we were bummed that we got stuck with Laurie and Greg - the 50-something Canadians who loved Obama and only wanted to talk about politics and religion. Didn't they get the memo that those subjects are taboo? Umm...uncomfortable much?
One of my favorite things was the nightly turn-down service, which was of course accompanied by a different towel creature. I was also really impressed with our room size; it was much bigger than I expected (especially the windows).Since I get really motion sick, I was nervous the whole week about getting sick. Luckily we had pretty good weather, with only one bad day at sea (unfortunately, that day was Christmas). So we tried to sleep that whole day (everyone was sick - 12 foot swells tend to do that), but made it to dinner and the Christmas show (it calmed down right in time for dinner). We got back to New Orleans the next morning and decided to stop by and see my family on the drive home. All in all, it was a great holiday.
Just to recap, here are some of the high-lights and low-lights from the ship.
Ship high-lights:
-I loved the nightly shows. It was great to have something to do in the evening, and the variety was pretty good. We had comedians, magicians, impressionists, etc. I especially liked when one comedian (who was from Canada) yelled out "I just love Obama" and everyone booed. Gotta love those Texans. Made for fun dinner conversation the next night.
-I liked having a sit down breakfast and dinner each day. I liked ordering from a menu (and ordering 3 appetizers if I wanted).
-I also loved our singing and dancing waiter, Paul. Especially when they performed "Apple-bottom Jeans" and he was grinding on the pole. It was hilarious.
-Mark and I also really loved the cruise director, Jorge. He was hilarious.
-I liked having so much time with Mark. It was a fun way to experience my first (and likely only) cruise.
Ship low-lights:
-Our previously mentioned dining companions were pretty lame; when they didn't come to dinner on Christmas, I told Mark that was his present.

-At times, I found the days boring. I would prefer more land time, less sea time.
I also definitely hated being crazy sea sick. That sucked. It especially sucked that it followed me home and I was "land-sick" for the next week and a half.
-While I did like the convenience of leaving from New Orleans, that location was apparently also convenient to many people I wouldn't typically associate with. If I ever did cruise again, I would definitely leave from another port. (Do they have smoke-free ships? Cause that would be nice as well.) time to post about the #1 high-light...all the cool places we were able to go!