Monday, October 28, 2013

Wild Wicklow Tour, #TBEX Dublin

I have made plenty of travel mistakes (I'll be writing about our recent string of bad travel luck soon, actually). But sometimes, a little mix-up leads to the most wonderful discoveries.

When I had originally planned my travel to Ireland for a conference I wanted to attend, I had assumed it would take place on Friday and Saturday. Perfect schedule, as my husband would only need to take one day off from work to cover childcare. I even booked my flights without double-checking. Turns out, the conference started a day earlier, on Thursday, and ended Friday. Even if I could have adjusted my flights, my husband had work commitments on Thursday.


But this left me with a free day to explore Ireland after the conference ended. Fortunately, the conference organizers had connected attendees with several group tours, allowing us to experience more of the country without having to do a lot of planning. I happily signed up for the Wild Wicklow tour, and I couldn't have been happier with my perfect day in Ireland.

Some places defy words, and the beauty of the Wicklow mountains is one of them. So I put together this little video. I think it should be titled 1 Minute of Irish Heaven.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Love O' Ireland

I've always had a bit of a love affair with Ireland. Although not merely for its sweeping landscapes and what I consider to be the best accent on the planet. My romance started about 12 years ago when I visited my then-boyfriend/now-husband, who like many American college kids was studying abroad in Dublin.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Photographing the Streets of London

One of the biggest adjustments of being an expat, especially with young kids, is suddenly finding yourself without a support system. Our families were so generous about spending time watching the boys whenever we needed a break or had something we'd prefer to do without them. I've also really missed my network of mom friends, who even on a rough day, could turn my mood around with a playdate at the park and some fun conversation. I'll be the first to admit that the last 5 months have been very high on the intensity scale in terms of parenting for me.

Fortunately, we found a wonderful babysitter within our first few days here. But like any busy family, we typically only utilize her for parent meetings at school or the rare date night. And luckily, we continue to make progress in making friends, too.

Over the last few weeks, I had purposefully planned a few breaks away from the Arrows. I knew I needed a little sanity check, and these moments provided that for me. (And I'm now strongly encouraging my husband to plan similar outings for himself.)

My first big break was a day-long class on street photography in London. I'm not sure I left any better at photography. I think what I enjoyed more than anything was the chance to take my time with my camera, which I'm still getting the hang of. Goodness, my children do not wait patiently while I set up the perfect shot. So just the act of pausing was such a luxury.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oslo Opera House

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Vigeland Sculpture Park

I have probably mentioned before that while I love art, I know so very little about it. There are some cities so closely tied to a particular artist that I find myself longing to learn more after visiting (Barcelona and Gaudi, for example). That's exactly how I felt about Gustav Vigeland after exploring his work throughout Oslo. I'll admit to having never even heard of him before I started researching the city. But his brilliance is inescapable when you visit Oslo.