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[Kalabaka, Greece, Sept 20, 2017] Mom and I saw four of the six Meteora monasteries yesterday. Today, we headed for the other two. We took dad with us, as one of the monasteries involved no stairs. The monastery of St. Stephen was first on the list. It was built in the 16th century. It was bombed by the Nazis in WWII because they believed rebels were hiding there. In 1961, the monastery… Read More

[Kalabaka, Greece, Sept 19, 2017] Meteora means “suspended in the air” in Greek. This name quite aptly describes the collection of monasteries precariously built on the rocks just North of the town of Kalabaka, in the Thessaly valley in Northern Greece. Meteora was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The rocks upon which the ¬†monasteries were built are a result of sandstone and conglomerate deposits being pushed up into a… Read More

[Kalabaka, Greece, Sept 18, 2017] In the last few years, I’ve always tried to tack on additional travel to my usual Bulgaria visits. Whether it’s visiting sites in Bulgaria or adding a few days somewhere in Europe, it’s been a great way to see my family and get some of my bucket list items checked off all at the same time. I am in Bulgaria for less than 2 weeks total this… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 17, 2017] Today is another big holiday in Bulgaria. We celebrate St. Sophia, Vyara, Nadezhda and Ljubov. The last three names mean Faith, Hope and Love in Bulgarian, and Sophia means The Holy Wisdom of the Lord (from Greek, Agia Sophia). ¬†Everyone who carries one of these four names celebrates what we call a name day. Since I carry the name Nadezhda, today was my name day. The city… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 15, 2017] School begins here in September 15th. It’s the same day for all schools in the whole country, and it’s a big celebration. First, your parents send you off by spilling a bucket of water outside the door for good luck. I know it sounds strange, but there is a saying that goes with it. The literal translation is something like “may everything go like on water”, which,… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 14, 2017] Here I am, headed home again. This time I am spending a couple of weeks in Sofia with a small 3-day side trip to Northern Greece. I am excited to be home for the first day of school (Sept 15) so I can see my niece and nephew off. I’ll also get to celebrate my name day (Sept 17) and my dad’s birthday (Sept 18). It should… Read More

[Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI, Oct 17, 2016] This was our last day on the Big Island – well, for the majority of us! Most of us were leaving with a red-eye in the evening, while a few lucky ones were staying one more night here before continuing on to the island of Kauai. We got an early start to the day so that we can drive a couple of hours to… Read More

[Kona, HI, Oct 16, 2016] Sunday was our day to celebrate! Our organizer extraordinaire Arev had arranged for a lunch for all 36 of us at the Kona Brewery – same one we visited on our first day here. It was great to see everyone and hear the other teams’ stories! Everyone had some good ones to share! We took lots of photos, of course! One set of photos was the corresponding… Read More

[Kona, HI, Oct 15, 2016] And here we are, day 2 of this adventure! We spent the night in our van in the parking lot of major exchange #2. Van #2 has been running their 6 legs since midnight or so last night, so we were expecting Creighton to be coming in fairly early this morning. Yes, we slept in the van! And this is not a big 12- or 15-passenger van…. Read More

[Hilo, HI, Oct 14, 2016] Yep, that 3:30 wake up call was not fun. Our van was loaded from the night before, so we just had to add the coolers with the perishables. Mike, Laura, May, Camilla, myself and Lena jumped in, all of us jealous that the six peeps in van #2 got to sleep in. The two-hour drive to Hilo was uneventful. We crossed the Big Island in the middle,… Read More