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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Disneyland Paris

 So we took a few days out to visit Disneyland Paris last week because
 Haven was performing with her choir group!!!!!
The show choir and the jazz band auditioned and got selected to perform on the main stage in front of the castle! It was such an amazing experience!
The next day they participated in a workshop led by the Disney Performing Arts team. It was a really awesome experience for all the kids!
We went as a family and really enjoyed the park. I have to admit I was really impressed. I figured it would not be worth the high price tag, but I was wrong. It was awesome.
The parade was spring themed.
Rob and Ethan were on cloud 9 (or maybe it was the moon of Endor) to visit the Star Wars themed area. 
Every night they do this amazing show at the castle. It was a combination of lasers, water, movie, holograms, fireworks...
It was definitely the most impressive light show I have ever seen. In fact, if you want to see it, someone posted the entire thing here, on YouTube.
If you want to see all the photos from the performance you can view the rest in my Flickr Album, Disneyland Paris.

I know I skipped the whole second month of my trip to America,  but we've been super duper busy. We're moving to Belgium next week!

Monday, March 23, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Parade - Boston

As soon as I realized that this trip would coincide with St. Patrick's Day, I knew I would have to spend it in Boston.

I mentioned before that they started celebrating a week in advance. That was no joke. The college kids were out in full force the 7th and 8th, even though the parade wasn't until the 15th, and the actual day is the 17th. Apparently this is Boston's holiday. I've never seen so many AUTHENTIC ginger haired people in my life.

A little disclaimer before getting to the photos - it was very crowded and I wasn't always where I could see. So this is not even half of the groups that marched in the parade. It was 2 hours long!

Ok, moving on. It was a little hard to move foward trying to get out of the subway... I was on the stairs, thank GOD because the escalator backed up and people were getting squished trying to get off. Not injured or anything, just squished.

There were several Miss This and Ms. That's in the parade. I believe this was Miss Massachussets.
Who you gonna call??
Who were totally throwing mini marshmallows into the crowd.

Patriotism was the word of the day.
But there was some Irish (ish) stuff too.

The event is put on by the Veteran's Council here, and every branch of the military was represented.

I belive some of the people in this fire truck were wounded warriors.
These photos are for my hubby.
GAH!!! Storm trooper in a top hat!!!
Pirates? Why not!
Almost missed this guy! Dread Pirate Roberts!

There was a little guy dressed as a leprechaun, but I kept missing him. I missed him twice at the parade, and then I spotted him at Quincy Market later on and still missed him. 
Sneaky little things - leprechauns.
This isn't him.

Fun Irish rock band.
I'm embarrased to show this photo, but I felt obliged. This was the end of the parade. I should have gotten photographed at the beginning! The weather was icky. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
I made my shirt. That's the main reason I wanted to share the photo.

The crowds were fun. That's really what made the parade. People were just having fun being silly.

So I found it odd that a parade to celebrate the Catholic Saint who brought Christianity to Ireland had nothing to do with him or Christianity at all. Just Ireland. And barely that. I would say that really this parade is a celebration of Boston, its Irish heritage, and American patriotism. And it happens to fall on St. Patrick's Day so everyone wears green. 

I guess the Catholic church was having some of the same thoughts because they actually pulled out of the parade and wanted to have St. Patrick's name removed from the title. Interesting, but that's a discussion for another time and place.

Oh, and I did NOT have green beer. I wanted to - but it turned out to be Budweiser with green food coloring. o.O I had my first Irish coffee instead.

Okie doke! I hope you enjoyed the parade!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Boston Weeks 3-5

Whoops, I got quite a bit behind in giving you a tour of Boston. I've been busy! So here's a not-so-quick round up of a few things.

Boston Tea Party

I think I was more impressed with the fact that those tiny little boats went across the ocean than I was with the people throwing tea overboard...

I love the contrast of the tiny boat in front of the giant looming city.

While out walking one day I stumbled on to a reenactment of the Boston Massacre.

I was super impressed with the costumes, and chuckled at a group of young men discussing methods of binding buttonholes. That's probably not something you hear burly men talking about at the bar...

Did you know that the massacre was only five people? I was expecting like half the town was wiped out. Nope. Five people. Who were haggling a British guard...

They used the incident to fan the flames of the revolution. So, ok, it was an important incident... but seriously, should we be calling it a massacre?

I'm going to share the St. Patrick's Day parade separately so I can post more photos. Boston started celebrating St. Paddy's Day like a week in advance. No exaggeration. By the time March 17th actually got here everyone was all pooped out!

The best part of the celebration was CELTICS!!!

We scored some free tickets to the Celtics game through work. They were the very last row at the very top of the balcony, but it was a lot of fun. It was my first time at an NBA game.

It was perfect timing. Celtics, St. Patrick's Day, everything Irish... Including Irish Step Dancing at half time! Where else (besides Ireland) would this have been more perfect?!

And they won, so that made it even more fun!

Last thing for today - The Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
I should really do a post just on the museum, but I don't have enough photos to do a whole post, so it would just be me rambling about the amazing experience I had...

So I'll narrow it down for you. It's awesome. If you ever have a chance, go.

I spent two hours in the Ancient Art wing alone. Just wow.

Then I probably spent another two hours in the Asian/Middle Eastern wing. Incredible stuff. They have a Buddist temple set up inside the museum! It was just an amazing experience.

I practically ran through the regular art sections. I didn't linger in modern art very long. There was a Modrian, but it was a teeny tiny one. They have a collection of Rothschild family heirlooms that I took the time to look at, but didn't photograph. They have a Monet/Degas/Van Gogh/Renoir room that I did spend some time in. And of course Matisse and Picasso - my favorites. They had a visiting Klimt piece - Adam and Eve. It was pretty spectacular, but there were way too many people trying to look at it. And talking so loud! I guess it's not a library... but still.

I usually tell people I'm not into art museums, but what I learned in this museum is that it's a specific kind of art that I'm not interested in. Mainly Italian rennaissance. And Greek stuff. I just find it off putting. I'm not sure if it's the sex or the gore... It's just not my taste. Now - they do have a Da Vinci exhibit coming up and I would be totally into that. But even then I'm more interested in his inventions than his paintings...

I was about one hour from closing time and had seen every religious artifact from every continent on the planet and then stopped suddenly and realized I had not seen Jesus. Not once! Where was Jesus? So I went hunting. I found him - in Italian rennaisance! No wonder I hadn't seen him - he was in the art I dont' like! Hahahaha! Poor guy. But I had to go find him since I had given respect to everyone else's gods.

Ok, I bet that was pretty boring if you aren't into art, since I don't have photos. I took my camera, but I just felt disrepectful every time I got it out, even though it was allowed. So if you want to see really good photos of what I saw please visit their website. Museum of Fine Arts

Ok, next up I'll share some highlights from the parade. And then I'm almost finished with Boston. I only have three weeks left here!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Boston Week 2

The reason I'm in Massachussetts is because I signed up for a developmental program where you go somewhere and learn something different. I'm not going to keep the job after this is over, I'm just learning to learn. Well, I got assigned Cemetery Operations. WHAT? That's a thing? Sure nuff! I had no idea what I was getting into, and jokes abounded. "What are you going to do, the flower arranging?" It turns out there was a big to-do a few years back at Arlington National Cemetery and the whole military cemetery system got an overhaul. (You can read about it here.) So my job is going through and checking records for accuracy and correcting stuff.

SO... my second week they sent me to SAN ANTONIO to get training. Leave all this snow?? Eat Mexican food every day?? Um, yes.

So here's a little comparison. This is the cemetery in San Antonio where I did the training.

 And this is my cemetery in Massachussetts. Needless to say, I won't be photographing headstones.
I was not the only "intern" assigned to this base. My supervisor got another person for a different office. So we team up to do the touristy things together. He is from Uganda, originally, and does NOT like the snow. He mentions it about ten times a day.

Well, to be fair, it does look like this right now:

Last weekend we went and did the obligatory tour bus around Boston. I'm pretty embarrassed by the quality of the photos since we almost didn't get out of the bus at all. Partly because it was freezing @$$ cold and partly because the bus driver was awesome and I just wanted to listen to him speak in Bostonian and drive me around.

OK, so Harvard.
It's just kind of there! Kind of everywhere... In the Harvard area you basically spin in a circle and everything belongs to Harvard - where the kids are wicked shmaaaart.

We also did a drive by through the MIT campus, which just looks like giant office buildings. Seriously - you can't even tell it's a school. AND they are surrounded by all these bio-tech firms and stuff. Kids literally graduate and then walk across the street into a job. Yeah, I don't think I'm smart enough to live in this city... OH, almost forgot, they operate their own nuclear power plant at MIT. I bet 18 year old MIT kids are better at it than Homer Simpson.

Moving on! Shiny! (It's the State House if you're interested, but I really was just attracted to the shiny gold dome.)
 I did make it to the original Cheers for a beer. (Technically a hard apple cider, but we'll call it a beer)

This cool old building had a Curious George store. But more curious than that was what's in the upper floor window. Can you see it?
It's the Law Offices of Dewey, Cheetham and Howe!! I laughed so hard!
Boston Harbour is slightly frozen.

I was completely alone on the warf (no one else got off the bus) and the seagulls were out singing. It was really peaceful!

They call this the Long Warf because the water used to go up into the city, and the pier was like two miles long or something crazy. I think they said it would dock something like 80 ships... Can you imagine the poor kids who had to unload the boat that got stuck at the end of the pier?

Below, see that tiny little building where the arrow is?  That's the Old State House. That used to be at the water's edge. Everything between that building and where I was standing is artificial land. They used wooden palettes, of all things, to fill in the water and create the artifical shore. So clearly Boston is where the DIY obsession with reusing palettes started!
Speaking of old wood - this is the oldest wooden house in Boston. Guess who lived there...
Paul Revere.  
(They didn't allow photos inside.)

The British are coming! The British are coming!

Hey, that's ok, we've got Old Ironsides!

This is the USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides." Wikipedia can tell you all about it if you are interested. But just briefly - it's from 1797. That's not a typo. It's the oldest Navy vessel still floating, and it was made right there in Boston.

Last for this installment - you have to drive across this bridge everytime you enter and leave Boston. (At least from the direction I have to travel) See the little blue streak of light in the bottom right corner? It changes color depending on which sports team is playing! It was Bruins (hockey) night.

Well, I hope my little virtual tour of Boston is a little interesting. I wish I could have Blogger read it to you with a Boston accent!