Which Way Is Your Deck Chair Facing?

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Which way is your deck chair facing?

I came across this little comic while cleaning out paper piled up over the past year. Little bits and pieces shoved in file folders, hence this comic, told the small story of what has transpired in 2018. Some of these pieces of paper showed where my “deck” chair was pointed. Every year I have blogged, I always look back on what happened in the year (What A Year It Has Been) and thought about the lesson or experiences I have encountered. Yet where was my deck chair facing? Was it facing backward instead of forwards?

I remember last year as I was riding the ferry all over the Puget Sound, I always found myself at the back of the boat as the ferry pulled away saying goodbye, but as the boat headed toward the new destination, it was in the front ready to greet whatever was to come once I stepped off the boat. Then there were times I was at the front of the boat looking at the horizon the whole time. The horizon the future, the port left the past.

The song Auld Lang Syne comes to mind around New Year’s Eve.

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.

The song is often used as symbolism to endings/new beginnings. New Year means new beginnings, hope for the future, hope for an answer long overdue, or a long waited for a goodbye to the past. Saying goodbye to the past year in the Scottish tradition reminds us to not have the past keep holding us back. Make a decision which way you want to greet the new year.

Yet the wax eloquent of Lucy’s statement to Charlie Brown hits into a deep recess of those of us who find ourselves standing one foot in the past and another foot in the future. You could say our deck chair is neither in one direction nor our cruise ship out of port.

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Photo by allows the happiest face on Pexels.com

The deck chair facing which direction indicates where you want to go in life. Where you want to go this year. Facing the bow towards the future? Facing the stern towards the past? Or does the chair face in another direction? Is the new year a new beginning or is it an ending?  The deck chair is the decision we all must make about the new year ahead of us.

On the cruise ship of life, pull up a deck chair and decided in 2019 which way your deck chair is going to be facing. Where it is facing is where your year is going to go.

What A Year It Has Been|A Year In Review

Looking back on all that has transpired over the twelve months, I can honestly say it has been one adventure after another. Just like the picture on the left side, life takes you on some unexpected paths by the end of the year. Here is a recap of what all transpired over a year and yet, I still have a feeling it is just the beginning of another big adventure coming in 2019.

Graduation From University

Took three long years to complete, yet I persevere through it all and got it! Going back to school later in life is not easy, nor is it for those who want the easy route to a better life. There were a few obstacles in getting to the end, and yet when I look back on all that has happened, the obstacles made me a whole lot stronger for the next obstacle ahead (workforce). I am relieved to have a bachelor’s degree, and for the past few months, I have been putting it to great use.

Hiked Across Western Washington

New Job

After three years of further schooling and countless hours of searching, interviewing, trying to keep the faith, I finally got a job in October! Lately, it has come to my attention how competitive the job market is nowadays (in the Seattle biotech industry). There is so many applicants and not enough positions open, and recruiters are all trying to get as many people possible through LinkedIn to fill those positions. But after almost two months of searching, I now have a job, one that is a contract position, but nothing less a position with a great company. Will have to see in the coming months when this position will be permanent.

Friends and Family Moving

At the beginning of the year, my grandma decided it was time to move to Idaho to be closer to the family. All of my childhood summers were spent at her house in the southern part of Oregon. After a few years of close calls with wildfires burning in the area, getting older, and having a house located quite some distance from the majority of the family, she moved. Sometime next year I will be going to see her new home in Idaho and possibly seeing Yellowstone National Park. Also before the year was out, my childhood best friend move clear across the state of Washington to Spokane with her boyfriend for a new beginning. It has been a little bit sad since she no longer is just 10-15 minutes down the road anymore, but I am happy she finally found a place she is happy to live. Two weeks later after my friend moved, her mother got a new position in eastern Washington and moved as well. It seemed all of a sudden a huge migration with people in my life started. Slowly watching people moving on in life has been concentrated in the last three years of my life, yet there are always people moving into my life as well.

Celebrated 6 Years With WordPress!

6 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

Has it been that long? I read my first blog post, and I have grown since! After a long eight months of not blogging, it shows how much this corner of the interest has changed. Thank you to all of my readers for six years!

I Have Been To:

3 National Forests
2 National Parks
1 National Monument
5 State Parks
6 Campgrounds
2 Museums
8 Farms
1 Lighthouse
2 Military Forts

I Have:

Rode the Washington State Ferry 17 times
Watched full Sunsets
Watched 3 full Sunrises
Watched 3 sunsets on top of a mountain
Watched 3 Sunrises on top of a mountain
Watched 4 times Military jets fly over

Hiked 12 trails
Dipped my feet into 3 alpine lakes
Hiked 3 times in the dark
Peed in the woods 3 times
Smelled of Campfire 9 times
Up close to 3 volcanoes
Total of 30 bug bites
Sighted 2 bears
Seen 2 dozen deer
Seen 5 marmots
Seen 1 orca pod (J or L)
Done 2 field journals
Ate a total of 10 pieces if pizza after hiking 12 trails
Ate 5 smores
Ate 2 whole hiker dehydrated meals
Ate 3 really good hamburgers after a day of hiking
Ate 2 whole Costco size boxes of granola bars by the end of summer

Ate shellfish 3 times
Ate 4 different berries on hikes
Ate 6 meals cooked over a campfire
Ate 10 ice cream cones
Ate 3.5 whole watermelons by summer end
Slept in a sleeping bag for a total of 41 days
Slept in a tent 10 times
Slept under the stars one time
Been to Walmart 6 times
Seen a ghost 2 times
1 time climbing inside a cave
2 driving tickets

The Year’s Soundtrack:

Mausoleum- Seryn
Things We Lost In The Fire- Bastille
All Time Low- Jon Bellion
The Village– Wrable
I Will Wait- Mumford & Sons
Oh Brother- Saint Raymond
Yellow Lines– Brendan James
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) –Hillsong United
Wagon Wheel- Darius Rucker
Fuego- Eleni Foureira
Eternity- Yianna Terzi
Whatever It Takes- Imagine Dragons
Natural- Imagine Dragons
Believer- Imagine Dragons
White Flag- Bishop Briggs
Walk On Water- Thirty Seconds To Mars
Into The Wild-Wrabel

Cheers to a new year! 2019 is going to another fantastic year.

Sunsets of Whidbey Island

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“Never go too long without watching a sunset” -Atticus

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“The only kind of sunsets that I don’t like are the ones that I missed.”

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“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens every day can end beautifully.”

-Kristen Butler

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Location: Fort Casey State Park and Camp Casey Conference Center SPU

Tanzanian Adventures|Bells Toll & Bargain Shopping

Updated: 12/2017

Since it was a long drive back to Arusha from Ngorngoro, our team checked in to the Karatu Hotel run by the Lutheran Church of Tanzania in the town of Karatu. I would not exactly call it a hotel, but more like a hostel. The rooms are clean, there is a shower and bathroom, but the room I was assigned would have things left over from the last person who occupied it. The beds all have mosquito nets which hint at the fact there was a rather large hole in the screen of the windows in which these nasty insects could come in. For the first time on the trip I had to use DEET spray for the bed sheets, and put on my insect lotion before bed. At this point all those anti malaria pills I have been taking all this time better be effective since I did get two mosquito bites during the night (as of this writing I DO NOT have malaria!).

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After checking into the room, I found myself along with the rest of the group eating dinner communal style with the other guests in the large dining hall. Being college students we have no problem with this concept, but the other guests may have not. Dinner consists of a potato chicken broth soup with rolls, some Tanzanian pilau, cucumber salad and some Tanzanian dessert I don’t recall the name of. With dinner done, I headed back to my room and crashed.

My room-mate got the scare of her life in the middle of the night when she walked into the bathroom to discover a moth flying into her face and a rather large spider hanging out on the wall near the toilet. Earlier on the same day I too had a rather large insect attach itself onto me. I have never seen a grasshopper as big as the one who flew into the jeep window while at Ngorogoro crater. And it was black too!

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Morning was a real treat! I awoke to the sound of church bells clanging (it was Sunday after all) and the call to prayer from the local masque all blending together. The Lutheran church across the road treated us to a spectacular sounds of singing that when you listen to the recording of it, the sound is surreal. Breakfast was again communal style with the menu of toast, more Tanzanian pilau, omelet, and juice. After breakfast we all gathered our things, and headed for Arusha to do some shopping before leaving Tanzania.

Once in Arusha we were let loose on the Maasai market in town looking for whatever we wanted. I will say being American, bartering is not something we do much, and thus I am not very good at. The thing is it does turn me off when you have store owners trying to get you to buy something you do not want at all. It is considered to be rude in African culture to not buy something after viewing someone’s shop. I committed this offense and it was exhausting after all that shopping. I only got a few things for people, like a carved wooden giraffe, chonga for myself, African tea and coffee, and a shuka (Maasai wrap). One US dollar equals $2,000 Tanzanian shillings. So $10,000 shillings equals roughly $5.00 USD. So there was a lot of things we could buy with our American money, but mostly it was transactions in shillings since shop keepers would make a huge profit off you if dollars were exchanged. Also at one point all the street vendors gathered around one store waiting for us to come out so they could hawk their wears. A crazy adventure in itself trying to get back to the van.

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I would say shopping in Tanzania was a learning experience, and I wish I could have bought more, but when you have to keep in mind the weight and size of the suitcase, it just could not all fit in there. I really wanted to bring back a floor standing wooden giraffe, but it was not going to happen. Maybe next time I come back.

More Information:
Karatu Lutheran Hotel

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Tanzanian Adventures|On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 2

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama (oh yes, it’s a lion)
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama (oh yes, it’s a lion)
Ingonyama
Siyo nqoba (we’re going to conquer)
Ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabaal (it’s a lion and a tiger)

Once at the bottom of the crater the animals were all within sight. Pumbas (Warthogs) were very curious of us, and looked like they wanted us to feed them. There were three elephant sightings in various parts of the park, and the guide told us it is at time rare to see elephants in the park. Lions are hanging in the sun like fat house cats, and the whole place is alive with animals going about their day without a thought about the safari jeeps passing by.

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Two elephants hanging under a tree

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Pumba-Warthogs

These guys were quite the animal. Nothing like the wildebeest that run out in front of the jeep like they wanted to get hit ( I think they would do more damage to the jeep then a deer would). They stayed pretty much away from the roads and hangout among the gazelles.

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wilderbeast

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This lion is a male who is roughly around a year or two and is yet to get his full mane. My cat at home has a better well developed mane then this one does. The lions in a group saw him coming and greeted him with so much love and attention. This is the only pride we saw in the whole crater, so theses must be the lions everyone talks about.

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Lions greeting each other

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Pride of lions

At one point someone did slip on the bank and put a foot into the hippo pool. Hippos are not cute creatures when they are upset! Lucky no one got hurt and they stayed in the water, but we all know it could have ended up ugly. We were allowed to walk around the small area while having lunch. As long as we ate in the jeep, the Black Kites would not steal or rip our fingers off to get our food.

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hippos

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selfie at the hippo pond

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more hippos

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hippos

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seriously don’t feed them

The elephant population in the crater is older elephants that come here for the soft grass and to die. They are safe here in conservation area away from the big game reserve close by. Most of the animals in the crater live in harmony of each other. Even with the lions, it seemed there were an overpopulation of wildebeests and zebras, but the flamingos were not in abundance this time.  As we ascended out of the crater we passed into Lerai forest where the monkeys were. It seemed like most of the animals here are nocturnal and were asleep when we passed through. The forest had those trees that have the look of an African tree with the vines hanging down. To bad a picture was out of the question because of a group of baboons were hanging out close by. You just have to take my word for it.

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ostridges

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Flooding in parts of the crater

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Blue ball monkey

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another elephant

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another elephant

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Two elephants hanging under a tree

Last stop before heading back into town was the Heroe’s point where we were earlier that morning. Here you can see the crater spread out, and the setting sun over where the jeep had been. A perfect way to end the day of safari, and perfect reminder of how precious this place is for future generations. An expereince that I will never forget and the people who made it special.

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view of the crater from the ridge

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creater below

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monkeys hinding in the grass

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road traveled

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wildflowers

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view

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church

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view

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view

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Map of the area

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selfie again

Previous Post: On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 1
Next Post: Bells Toll & Bargain Shopping

More Information:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Cheeky Monkey Safari Tours

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Tanzanian Adventures|On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 1

Updated: 12/2017

It was six in the morning when we all headed to the Ngorongoro Crater for our safari to begin. Along the way, the jeep passed all sorts of the scenery of northern Tanzania including the very large military base in the middle of the bush. As we got closer to Ngorongoro the driver pointed out the African part of the rift valley. This valley starts from Jordan and runs all the way to the West African coast. The Maasai are believed to have descended from the people who migrated through the rift valley and the first humanoid skeletal remains was discovered in the area of the crater a few years ago.

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Rift Valley Range in the distance

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Rift Valley range

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communities on the rim of the crater

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community at the rim of the crater

We passed through Karatu, there were baboons hanging out along the side of the road causing trouble to all who walk by. As we drove further up to the main gate, there was glimpse of the lake Eyasi ( a huge lake when you see atop a hill) and the valley below. A few small shanty towns are along the way where a few people live within the gates of the park.

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Monkeys in town causing trouble

At the park entrance we were all informed to keep all cameras, phones or anything you did not want stolen off you by the baboons in the vehicle. Our group was luck because the baboons were not around, and probably were the same ones we had passed earlier in town. After our bathroom break, we all began our safari journey.

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The beginning of the safari there was an overcast fog hanging around the top if the crater. This is the reason why in the pictures below half of the crater is shrouded in fog. As you can see this side of the crater is lush and green compare to what lies on the other side of the crater (Serengeti National Park and Maswa Game Reserve) which is what you expect to be tundra like in the Lion King.

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mist over the crater

After many selfies taken by the whole group, all of us jumped back into the jeeps to warm up after the chilly wind blowing.

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selfie again

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looking down in the crater

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selfie

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selfie

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mist over the crater

The jeep had to climb up the side of the crater in thick vegetation. Here there was not much to see of animals since this part of the park was within the rain shadow, and overcast. It is amazing at all the lush green there is and trees with jungle vines hanging down. It makes you think of the Jungle Book and Mowgli is about to come swinging through the trees or maybe Tarzan.

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Seeing the Maasai village as we take a view of the slope in the crater. This picture does not capture the real true beauty of this scene. You dear reader need to see it for yourself!

 

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Following the red dirt road towards the floor of the crater. This section of the crater has a view of the Maasai village below. As you can see the sun is out! This part of the road had a few wildlife such as cows that were fat from grazing all the lush grass.

18527296_1432323986824507_206056173109597348_o18527434_1432324023491170_5407326521946501900_oThe Maasai tribe here in the crater want money if you want to take a picture of them, and the children we saw as we made our way down to the crater floor ask for “lunch” which is begging for money. This Maasai tribe are the only people permanently living within the park’s boundaries and have grazing rights for their livestock and hunting. Not such as friendly as the ones I previously encountered back in Arusha, but when you think about it, a lot of tourist hand them money all the time and this is why they are so bold into asking for a handout.

 

After a while we descent down into the crater we all had another pit stop to use the toilet (another squat toilet) and to stretch our legs. From here we can get a sense of how vast the crater is, and there we could see the large lake in the crater (Lake Makati) along with seeing a pair of elephants in the distance. From here it was windy with puffs of heat. Having sunscreen on is a must even under the shade of the safari view canopy. I could feel the sun’s full force on my skin after a minute exposed. After spending twenty minutes taking in the view and everyone hopped back into the vehicles to start the finding animals. Next post is where the real safari begins.

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Zebras grazing

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Next Post:  On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 2.
Previous Post: Unexpected Hike

More information:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Cheeky Monkey Safari

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

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