Life Update: Our Plans for the Holiday Season

Hello!

I wanted to hop on the blog and write a short update about what’s going on with Taylor and I in regards to the holidays! As most of you know, Taylor and I flew back to America at the beginning of November. While I flew to Philadelphia, Taylor flew to Florida for work. A few days before Thanksgiving, Taylor hopped on a flight back to China! No worries though, he got to spend Thanksgiving with everyone else living in China. πŸ™‚ These are some photos he sent me:

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Before the MLB booked any of these flights for us, Taylor and I sat down together and hashed out how we wanted to conquer the holidays this year! I could’ve flown to Florida with him, but really wanted to go home and see my family without buying a round trip flight from Florida to Philly. I also didn’t want to fly back to China before Thanksgiving and then come back right before Christmas. That’s a lot of long flights and time change! Although, now that it’s been over a month, I’m starting to regret not going to Florida with him for a portion of his stay. I miss him!

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His Christmas vacation starts in the middle of December, when he’ll fly back to South Carolina. Then, he’ll drive up to Pennsylvania to spend a week here with my side of the family. After that, we’ll drive back to South Carolina together, where we’ll spend Christmas.Β I hope this isn’t super confusing… even I get a little confused writing about it. πŸ™‚

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I’ve been loving my time at home! I spend most of my days helping my mom plan for an upcoming Christmas party, taking photos, hanging out with Bubba and Riley, and helping my family around the house.Β There’s only 25 days until Christmas…just saying! πŸ™‚

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Taylor is working hard and still adjusting to the 13 hour time change. I can’t wait to see him in a few weeks. We’re going to have so much fun celebrating the holidays together with friends and family, and of course catching a few Clemson games before the season ends!

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Let me know if you have anymore questions about our holiday plans and I’ll answer them down below. xoxo

 

Lake Como, Italy

Another day, another great destination to write about!

If you missed the first two parts in our European Adventure click the links below to catch up!

Part 1: Zurich

Part 2: Lugano

 

Today is part 3, which is all about Lake Como, Italy! Taylor and I were already coming off a high from being in Lugano, Switzerland, and Lake Como did not disappoint! This is another place we’d really like to go back to one day. The lake is so massive, and there’s various towns surrounding it. We visited during a beautiful time because the weather was transitioning to fall, and the tourism was minimum.

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We bought full-day ferry tickets and really enjoyed it. We’d recommend this to anyone interested in visiting Lake Como, because it’s an easy way to see everything surrounding the lake! We hopped on the ferry in Como, and traveled 2 hours north to the town of Bellagio. It took a whopping 2 hours and we were only halfway up the lake! Isn’t that crazy?! We took pictures and shared a bottle of wine along the way.

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We saw so many beautiful hotels and homes! What an amazing place to live!

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Once we got off the ferry, we walked through all the narrow streets together. It was so neat to be in an old town that was built into the mountain.

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We decided to eat lunch in Bellagio, before heading to the next town. One of the biggest tips of advice I can give while traveling, is to try and find a restaurant that isn’t around a huge tourist attraction or where a lot of tourists are coming and going (aka a ferry dock). Not that these places are bad, but they’re usually tourist traps. I’d much rather spend money on a cozy mom and pop shop! It’s places like these where you have the best memories.

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We both ordered pasta and wine, and it was exactly what we were looking for!

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After Bellagio, we hopped on the ferry again and sailed to Varenna next! Since we already ate, we just walked around and shopped.

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After seeing everything we wanted to see, we loaded onto the ferry again and visited Menaggio. At this point we were pretty tired, and this was my least favorite town of the three. The views were pretty by the lake, but there wasn’t much going on elsewhere. It was very residential.

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We had to take the ferry 2 hours back to Como, so we were ready for dinner when we de-boarded the boat! We decided to eat at a local pizza place called Pomodorino and it was perfect. We were seated outside, and there were massive umbrellas and some walls to block the wind. We each ordered pizza because that was what they were known for, and we were very impressed!

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Before catching our train the next day, we got up early and bought tickets for the funicolare. It went straight up to the top of the mountain, where we had amazing views of Como below. It was only a few euros per person, and we had a great time. I’d recommend getting there early!

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Lake Como treated us well. Next stop, Venice!

 

Lugano, Switzerland

Good Morning!

I’m so excited about today’s post! This is the second part in our European adventure, so if you missed the first part you can read it HERE. I don’t know about y’all, but I had never heard of Lugano, Switzerland before this trip. Taylor found it on the map while we were planning our itinerary and told me that he really wanted to stop here. I was hesitant at first, but I’m so thankful that we made time for this incredible city. We took the train out of Zurich, and rode 2 hours through the Swiss Alps to get here.

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It was BEAUTIFUL. If you’re wanting to visit Switzerland and have some time to spare between the major cities, I’d highly recommend Lugano. In fact, I enjoyed it more than Zurich! There was so much charm and it was the perfect escape.

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There was so much to see and do here! You could hike, eat, walk around the streets, swim, ride a boat, etc. Taylor and I were talking about how we could see ourselves bringing our kids here one day because it seemed like the perfect place for a family vacation. If it wasn’t so far away, we’d own a vacation home here!

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Literally. This was the neatest little town in Switzerland.

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During our first afternoon in Lugano, we decided to swim in the lake! Swimming in this beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by the Swiss Alps was incredible. If you find yourself here during the summer, this is a must! We paid 4 Franc a piece and rented one chair for 5 Franc. Not bad for a fun and relaxing afternoon. (Side note: the water was surprisingly warm. I thought it would be cooler.)

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On our second day, we spent the morning walking around the water until we hopped on a bus to our next destination…. but the bus never came (more on this later).

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**I do want to quickly mention that Switzerland is a very, VERY expensive country. I’m not sure why, but you will pay a whole lot of money for accommodations and food here. Thankfully, Taylor and I weren’t too picky with our lodging arrangements. However, there’s really no way around paying for food. You will pay an absurd amount of money for food and drink in Switzerland. Just keep this in mind if you’re planning a trip.

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Like I said, We were supposed to take a bus from Lugano to Lake Como, but as we were waiting (in the pouring rain) we received a notification saying our bus would be 4 hours late!! We improvised by taking the train instead. πŸ™‚

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Next stop, Lake Como!

Taylor in Tianjin

Hello!

I thought it would be a good idea to update y’all on how Taylor is doing in China. If you didn’t know, I’m currently visiting friends and family back in the States and Tay is still working in China. You can find out why I left in my last post.Β Taylor will be in Tianjin until the end of August, so he’s working hard to build relationships with the Chinese National Baseball Team right now.

Here are some photos he’s sent me!

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Since there’s literally nothing else to do besides work where he’s staying, Taylor’s been taking the train to Beijing on the weekends. It’s obviously way bigger and he can walk around and eat in areas that have a heavy western influence.

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Overall, he’s doing really well and taking things day by day. If anyone can stick this out, it’s Taylor. It doesn’t take much to please him. πŸ™‚ We miss each other, but we’ve got some exciting plans coming up in the near future. Stay tuned for more and keep him in your prayers! ❀

 

 

A Week in Hawaii!

Hello everyone! Or should I say Aloha!?

I think I have some explaining to do. Technically, I’m still supposed to be in China right now. However, you know nothing ever goes as planned, so here I am! Let me catch you up on what’s been happening. πŸ™‚ Grab a snack while I try and explain!

We landed in Tianjin very late at night after leaving Hong Kong. Things started going south as soon as we started driving to the hotel. We had to drive over an hour to the hotel that was literally in the middle of nowhere. Literally. It was dark and everything was covered by fog, making the building (can I even call it a hotel?) we pulled up to super eerie. Nobody was at the desk when we walked in, but there were people sleeping on some couches in the lobby. Once these people woke up and realized we were there, they handed us a key to a hotel room. My stomach dropped as soon as we entered. All I wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep, but the room was horrifying. I’m not going to go into detail, but just trust me on this. We tried to find a different hotel the next morning, but there was nothing else around. Taylor and I were both feeling anxious and uncomfortable. This says A LOT, because Taylor isn’t hard to please. When we went to the baseball field where Taylor and I would be spending most of our time, I realized there was no wifi and very little cell service. I know this sounds so high maintenance, but I depend on internet for work.

By the end of the day, Taylor had decided that he was going to stay the full four weeks and finish the job. I really admire this about him. He could’ve went back to Nanjing where he was more comfortable, but instead he stayed so he could work harder and make a difference. Staying wasn’t an option for me. I could’ve probably stuck it out a week, but definitely not a whole month! Taylor knew I couldn’t stay either, so he researched flights and booked a one way flight to Hawaii for me.

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Things could be worse right? πŸ™‚

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I had no plans for my time in Hawaii, except to relax and take a break. We’ve been GO GO GO in China for the past two months, so it was refreshing to return to something comfortable. There’s no better place to chill than in Hawaii! My wonderful cousin lives in Hawaii, and I was able to visit her 8 years ago too. I’m so thankful she took me in for a week!

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As I mentioned above, I really wanted to spend my time relaxing and that’s exactly what I did. Besides working (I love working remotely!), I went to the beach, did some hiking, and ate an abundance of aΓ§aΓ­ bowls and drank plenty of Kona coffee!

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I didn’t get the chance to hike Diamond Head the last time I was here, so I was eager to do it this time. The views make this easy hike super worth it!

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I also got to hike Moana Falls! It was super wet and muddy, so keep that in mind if you decide to do this yourself.

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My week in Hawaii was a bunch of eat, sleep, beach and repeat. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing time!

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Thank’s for following along! I’ll keep you updated on Taylor soon!

Quiet Time in The City

I wish I had something super exciting to share in this post, but to be honest we haven’t been been doing anything wild and crazy these last few days! We had plans of going to X’ian last weekend to see the Terra-Cotta Soldiers, but we just wanted to chill and enjoy our city instead. Another huge MLB tournament started today, so Taylor will be working basically every single day for the entire month of July so we wanted to get some relaxation in our own city. August will probably be busy as well, so we’re laying low and trying to stay cool.

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Since we’ve been laying low in the city, we’ve been eating at all our favorite restaurants. One night, while we were eating at our favorite “Mexican” restaurant, we saw a young couple that looked about our age. Tay went over to say “hello,” and they invited us to join them for dinner. We gladly joined and ended up making some new friends! They were very friendly and are from the South! We went to dinner with them again the following night at an Irish place they recommended. It was tasty, so we’ve added it to our list of great restaurants.

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The weather is extremely hot and humid right now. I think it’s way hotter and way more humid than anywhere we’ve ever lived before. Not to be dramatic or anything, but the humidity is so thick it’s suffocating. It’s also China’s rainy season, which really affects Taylor’s work schedule.

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Taylor and I decided to explore the city by bike the other day and it was awesome! It’s such a good way for us to stay active and see more of the city without taking the metro or taxi.Β The bikes are owned by the city, and you rent them through your phone. It’s a little hit or miss, because you unlock the bike and can leave it literally wherever you want. It’s nice because you never have to return the bike to a certain drop-off location, but you just never know where you’ll find a bike. There’s so many of them though, that they’re not difficult to find. We paid $2 each and can now unlock and ride any bike for the next 30 days.

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Our translator took us to the Jining Temple the other day and it was beautiful! He said it was his favorite temple here, so he was able to give us our own private tour. πŸ™‚ It was fascinating to learn about his beliefs.

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We also had our first KTV experience! KTV is Chinese Karaoke and it’s a BIG DEAL here. This is their way of relaxing and having a good time on a Saturday night. It’s so different from America. You rent a big room with all your friends and take turns singing whatever song you want! Nobody stands in front of an audience, and you’re basically singing while everyone is doing something else! πŸ™‚ There is no pressure to sing well and it’s so much fun! We can’t wait to go back!

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This is about all we have going on at the moment! We’re enjoying our time here, but working hard to power through these long days of baseball season!

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Talk to y’all soon!