The best surprise

Last year was full of surprises for me, good and bad, but the best and happiest had to be Andrew proposing to me on our cross country adventure (more about that trip in another post!)

He proposed on June 23, 2017, while we were on the California Zephyr train heading to San Francisco. I was hoping that it would happen on this trip, but I had no idea, and it was perfect. He did a good job tricking me, and best of all, he got me on camera. We enjoyed the rest of our trip on a newly engaged high.

We’ll be getting married this year, on June 23rd =), and my goal for myself is to enjoy this crazy time, no matter what. There is a lot of planning to do, a lot of family craziness in store but I need to appreciate this time and take it all in. It will be a year of celebrating us and our love, and I embrace it.

Here is a collage of the two of us on the train, we used it as our engagement announcement pic. Andrew is not great at taking serious photos, so I had to get creative!IMG_1482

A glimpse of my life as a caregiver

As an only child, it’s my responsibility to take care of my parents the older they get. Last year, I got a little taste of what that would be like. Both my parents ended up staying with me, separately and together, for some time in my small two bedroom apartment. My father got sick and was afraid to be by himself, and my mother’s living situation was no longer habitable (it still isn’t). My parents have been legally separated since I was three so it was a packed (and awkward) apartment in Astoria!

It was a bit rough, but it had its beautiful moments. I was lucky enough to be unemployed at the time, concentrating on Grad School, and was able to be home to look after them. I never lived with my Dad, so I had to get used to his quirky ways. I also had to get used to cooking for four and abiding by everyone’s food preferences. Trying to respect everyone’s personal space and routines was hard, but we made it work.

One of the positive things that came out of it, looking back, was that I had the tough talks with my parents and got the 411 on wills, health proxies and power of attorney. I witnessed how vulnerable they could be. We generally look at our parents as the strong ones, the people we go to when we are weak. It was hard for me to see them that way but it was also eye-opening. I had to be the strong one this time, and I will have to be in the future.

Another positive thing was that I started helping them improve their living situations. None of us are great at keeping things neat, but both my parents are hoarders. My mom is the worse of the two! Last year, I helped my dad clean out his place and get new furniture. I also did a major clean-up job in my mom’s kitchen. It’s wasn’t enough, and there was so much to do that I convinced her to move in with my dad until we get everything sorted. So now my parents are living together. After them living separately for 33 years, I’m so proud of them for making it work.

One of my main goals for 2018 is to clean up my place, continue cleaning my Dad’s and cleaning my Mom’s place. I want us to live clutter free. It is true when they say clutter causes stress! I also want to begin collecting all the important financial documents and having access to everything I need just in case. This means continuing to have those tough, awkward talks. Most importantly I want to spend more quality time with my parents. I def. take them for granted.

Here is a pic of my lovely parents <3!

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Romance Under the Stars

This month is all about love and celebration, well for me it is! Before our amazing trip to the Dominican Republic, Andrew and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. We enjoyed the open bar, some snacks, and some tunes but what made the night was viewing the night sky in the planetarium. Astronomy gurus identified some of the constellations and shared some romantic stories about them. It was pretty amazing seeing them up close considering I can never identify them EVER just by looking at the sky =).

I was slightly disappointed with the food, though they did advertise hors d’ oeuvres only, the servers hardly got around to us because of the crowds and the small sampling sections they did have were limited. However, they did have three bars to make it up to us patrons! Overall it was a fun night.

valentines-day

Last minute trip to paradise

Andrew and I decided to get out of New York for a few days and booked a last-minute trip to the Dominican Republic. We’ve been twice before, and it has always been super relaxing and chill. This time around we stayed at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville.  I highly recommend it. We did all-inclusive and stayed in the adult only section, as the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana was right next door. It was perfect! We had access to two private pools, a private section on the beach and adult only restaurants but still had the opportunity to explore the family areas as well.

Here is the suite we stayed in, had a jacuzzi and outdoor patio area too =). The hallways had these amazing gate like pieces that made the place feel like you were walking in a castle.
hotel-room
One of my favorite things about the resort was the sculptures. They were everywhere and each pretty unique. I would say a nice blend of European and Modern.

sculptures

The pools were spacious, and there were plenty of spots. We didn’t have to reserve any chairs. Andrew and I even found a spot where he could smoke his cigar without it being an issue.

pool
The beach was beautiful. Pretty much all the seating had a cabana/hut feel, and there was plenty of space. The water wasn’t crystal blue but still a sight to be seen, and the sunsets were gorgeous. We took advantage of a free hour of kayaking on our last day.

beach

The food was pretty good, the best all-inclusive buffet experience I’ve had! On Friday, Andrew’s birthday, they had a seafood buffet with grilled lobster which was yummy. We also got to try their signature restaurant, Don Pablo, which had an AMAZING foie gras appetizer (we had two!) and their Brazilian restaurant.

food
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spa. We got massages two days in a row and took advantage of their sauna and jacuzzi sections because why the hell not!

spa

Overall I had a great time. It’s been a while since I traveled to a country that doesn’t predominately speak English. It was a bit refreshing to have to try to speak and learn something else. This trip has reminded me how much I love to travel and to explore. Need to pick my next travel destination soon!