Tag: beach

Valencia, Spain Day 2 and 3

spain beach day 2Day 2 and 3 have come and gone here in Valencia and they can be defined by one word- BEACH!!! I’m sure some people would be up in arms at my missing out on cultural attractions and historical landmarks but aside from seeing my sister the reason I came on this vacation is to go to the beach. (Today we should be getting more of those cultural attractions). It’s also been so hot that all I really want to do is be at the beach.

Day 2 we went to a beach called Pinedo Beach.  It is close to where I went on day 1 but a little more crowded. I’d like to find that beach from the first day because I think it was still the nicest I have been to yet.

This time Anna and Steve were able to join me at the beach and we had a great time together. These beaches are different than what you get in Hawaii- more of a commercial feel but it is still beautiful and tons of fun!

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When we got home Anna made Italian food, we talked and then crashed! I still haven’t adjusted to the time zone change yet and have fallen asleep very early each night I’ve been here.  That’s probably why it is 6 am and I am writing this post right now. I am also finding it a bit hard to sleep with the heat. It’s just tough to deal with being hot all the time.

I have started to get more sun despite my best attempts. I think it just goes with the territory when you are the beach a lot. Everyone gets a little pink.

sunburnThe next day was Sunday so I went to church on my own.  That was an interesting experience attending sacrament meeting without understanding a single word that was spoken.

church in spainThen I ducked into some little shops which was really fun to interact with the local Spanish people.  So far I haven’t had any real Spanish food yet but everything I’ve had has been delicious. There is a pastry shop close to my sisters that was a lot of fun to try the various treats.

spain treatsWe were all so overheated we decided to go to the beach again but this time went to Playa de la Patacoma. This is a very crowded beach but it had nice big waves that were very fun to play with.

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I almost wished I’d had a surfboard but it was fun to use my safe swimmer and ride the waves a little bit. I think you can see in these videos how strong the waves were.  It was great!

We were all pretty tired out from the strong waves and 3 days of sun but it was still a wonderful time.

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After the beach I started to notice I had been bitten by something in the ocean. This of course concerned me especially with how purple it appeared.  I didn’t want it to have some kind of venom that would really hurt me.

biteBut Anna and I went to a pharmacy and got some gel with antihistamine and pain relief qualities. It has already helped a lot.

spain day 3Between the bite and having more than a little bit of redness from the sun we may not do a beach day today. I think it is good to give your body one day to heal and then be ready for the next day! Like I said we are going to the market today and that should be very fun.

I hope you all have a Happy 4th of July holiday and we will be celebrating America one way or another here in Spain!

Tampa Trip Day 3-5

So I am back in Utah and I think you can tell it was a great trip because I only found time to post once very quickly.  I was having too much fun!

Day 3-

This was Sunday and Kim had gotten us tickets to a Rays/Red Sox game.  It was nice to have one day away from the beach (only one) and we rooted for Boston.  There was even a fight! 😉

Play ball
Play ball
The fight! Cleared the benches
The fight! Cleared the benches
Always like a good hot dog
Always like a good hot dog
Kim, the red sox fan at the game.  I became adopted sox fan for the day!
Kim, the red sox fan at the game. I became adopted sox fan for the day!

When we were driving home it started to rain, thunder, lightning and hail.  You can see it in the trip video below.  For the next 3 days it rained but always on our way back to the house, so it was perfect timing!

Each night we got home around 5 and we ate dinner and watched a movie.  We viewed Frozen, Tangled, Emperors New Groove and Return to Me!  So fun.

We also had a ton of laughs over a Mormon romance novel I brought with me that was pretty bad. See description below.

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Yes, he smelled like rootbeer…So romantic.  It was very funny.

So, there were a lot of laughs and also some heart to hearts.  Kim and I had been friends in high school but she wasn’t one of my best friends.  After 17 years of not seeing each other and being from different parts of the country, religions, and everything else I wondered if we would have anything in common, but we had lots.  It turns out we had both been through similar career struggles.  We had had bosses that made us nuts and anxieties to deal with as working women.  We both shared dating struggles and being single.  We both had lots of memories and had a similar sense of humor.  We both love New York and love the beach.

It certainly is another reason to be grateful for facebook.  Kim and I had reconnected during the election because we are both fiscal conservatives and needed some political venting (she lived in NY at the time).  We would chat on fb and I had inquired about staying with her in New York some time.  Then she told me she had moved to Tampa.  Being the nice person she is she invited me to stay there and being the bold, without boundaries person I am I said ‘let’s do it!’.  Most people would probably shrug off an offer like that as being polite but I just had a feeling to go for it.

So many times in my life I have been benefited by not worrying about being polite or following some idea of normal behavior and this is certainly one of them.  I’m glad I didn’t worry about what someone’s ulterior motives might have been and took her at her word.  I think we are both glad and it will be the first of many such visits.

Day 4 and 5-

Monday and Tuesday were pretty simple- beach, beach, beach, beach.  All together we went to Madeira, Passe de Grille, Honeymoon Island and Fort De Soto.  Passe de Grille was my favorite because of the closeness of the beach to the parking and the cute little town.

beach18 beach14 beach13 beach12 beach10 beach9 beach8 beach7 beach6I feel blessed.  Blessed to have seen God’s beautiful oceanic creations and even more blessed to have made what I know will be a life-long friend.

At least to me vacations should remind you of why you work everyday and how perfect before starting a new job to remember the potential for happiness that lies in my heart.  It’s a good day to be Rachel Wagner my friends.  A new job, new opportunities, beautiful memories, great friends and a happy heart.

I’ve done my fair share of complaining on this blog and I want to let you all know that never have I been happier than this moment right now. 🙂

This video is a little bumpy so I don’t know if you will enjoy it but it shows how beautiful a trip it was and how much joy it brought me.

Tampa Day 1 and 2

Hello from Florida!  (Almost said Aloha but wrong beach!).

I don’t have long to write this morning but I just wanted to say hello and let you know I am having a great time in good old Florida.  Getting here took me 2 days and was miserable but it was all worth it for the beautiful beaches!  The sand is white, the water is turquoise and warm as bathtub water.  The company has been great and I’ve just had a blast!

I will include more details in my next post but this should give you some flavor.  Hope you all have a Happy Memorial Day weekend.  🙂

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A Nonworking Vacation

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Wednesday this week I am going on vacation!!!! Like a real vacation.

I am not exaggerating when I say I haven’t been on a real vacation since Japan in 2005.

I realize I’ve been a lot of places during those years including Hawaii three times but each time I was working at least at a minimum level.

Anytime I see my folks I end up working because my Dad is my boss. I’ve usually brought some checks with me, written wires, checked emails the whole nine yards.

My problem is letting things go that only I can do.  I never have had a sub or back up so if it needed to be done I had to do it.  That is hard to let go.  One time my boss told me ‘get off the phone and enjoy Hawaii!’.

It’s a problem many Americans are having.  See article

But not this time! My work responsibilities for Poler are minimal and can be done by other people while I’m gone.  My roommate is kind enough to get the mail and make deposits.  My supervisor and Dad are taking over wires and checks so that’s taken care of.  And as far as my new job goes it hasn’t started yet so no worries on that front!

2 of my Hawaii trips I was actually working and going to school so that was interesting.  My first trip I tried to get people to fill in for me but it was a disaster and I had to do an entire team project in 3 days or fail the class (sigh…).

Last year I got pretty close to real vacation in the trip to Disneyland but I still did some work and I will probably still check my email on this trip out of habit more than anything else (plus it goes to my phone so kind of hard to not check it)

Anyway, I’m very excited to be taking a true vacation and to a place I know very little about.  I never thought about going to Tampa or traveling to Florida but my high school friend Kim was kind enough to invite me and probably to her surprise I accepted.

She’s taking time off from her job and has purchased tickets to baseball games and other activities.  Thursday we are going to Harry Potter World in Orlando!

Mostly I am greatly looking forward to the ocean.  I love the ocean.  The first time I went to Hawaii was one of the toughest times of my life.  I was so unhappy and I went to the North Shore and called my Dad the day I was to leave and cried my eyes out.

It had been so beautiful and going back to the cubicle dungeon of my life seemed to much.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have been sad and thought of my beloved North Shore and felt happy again (I even have it featured in artwork above my bed and in my office).

I love the sound of the beach.  I love swimming in the beach. I love reading and then swimming and then reading.  I love wearing floppy hats and big sunglasses soaking up the sun and hearing the wish-wash of the tide.  It is heaven.  Last year I got to spend one day in Seal Beach, CA and realized that was the truly happiest place on earth not Disneyland!

I also hope to just relax, maybe go to a movie or two, watch the Survivor finale, go to good restaurants and have a great trip!

How fortunate I am to be in this position to take a trip.  I am so grateful for my friend for having me and to have the resources to travel.  I am also grateful that I planned the trip, accepted the invite and am making the effort to go.  It was such perfect planning right before starting my new job.  I could never have known it would work out that way but it worked out great!

I’m so excited to have a non-working vacation and hopefully I come back to you more tan than burned and full of great stories of my trip.  I will update the blog while I’m away but there will be a gap in videos.

If any of you have been to Tampa and have some suggestions let me know.

To travel!!

TAMPA mural

Beach Day!!!

So if you hadn’t gotten the idea yet, I love the beach.  I love the sound of the waves.  I love laying out in the sun reading.  I love swimming in the ocean.  It’s just so great.  Nature’s amusement park if you will.  I miss the beach greatly when I am away for it and haven’t seen it since 2011.

Today I got to go to the beach!!  We went to Seal Beach in California, which was a new beach for me but great.  It’s crowded but beautiful, with a huge pier and lots of parking.  I was just so happy to be back in the water and away from the ‘walking vacation’.

seal beach

The day started great.  We left the hotel and headed to Seal Beach to first meet up with one of my twitter friends Samantha Ferraro.  She is a food blogger and we started talking because of a mutual love of cooking and Julia Child.  The first time we tweeted she asked the question-

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I thought it was funny that anyone would be deciding to make tomato cobbler and orange curd.  After that we kept in touch and she asked for some advice in preparing for a triathlon and we chatted about the open water swimming part.  She lives in Seal Beach so it was too convenient not to meet up, so that’s what we did for lunch.

We ate tacos and chatted and had a lovely time.  I told her to come out to Utah and I can show her around.  It would be fun to cook together sometime.  You can read her food blog at http://littleferrarokitchen.com/

My second tweet up.  Both have been great!
My second tweet up. Both have been great!

It’s so neat the way we can connect with others so easily, have a positive impact and make friends with people we would never come in contact other ways.  I especially love twitter for this.  It is so nice to have a forum to share with likeminded individuals that share common interests.

So after our lunch Maddie, Mom and I went to the beach and spent the rest of the afternoon playing.  I got out my safe swimmer and swam for about 20 minutes.  The current was really strong or I could have gone longer.  It was so much fun!

open water beach beach girls beach2

It was just so peaceful and fun. I could have stayed there forever.  Sadly we had to leave to get back to my folks house and the long trip to Northern California started.  My Mom drove the whole way which I was very grateful for and we had good conversation, so it all turned out well.

Favorite day of the trip- beach day- followed closely by the massage.  So great!

 

Family Reunion Folsom Lake

So yesterday started the Richards family reunion and you could say I had fun…Spent whole day at the lake.  I swam, and swam and swam.  Probably a mile and a half.  I felt very strong which was exciting because I am trying to decide whether to do the 5 k again at Deer Creek and this made me lean towards the 5k (right now I’m signed up for mile swim).

It was really fun.

Here are some photos of the day.   (The next few posts are mostly photos so please indulge).

I SURF!!!!

this wasn't my board. Mine was huge but it was awesome!!

Today was one of the best days of my life!!  It all started yesterday when my friends and I were talking about how we wanted to finish the trip.  We spoke about taking surfing lessons but were a bit trepidations about how we’d do and it was expensive.  As I mentioned in my post ‘Too Fat For List’ learning to surf is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Its like walking on water which who doesn’t want to do that?

I have also always felt like I wasn’t in shape enough to do it because of the upper body strength required. Even now after all the training of the last year and a half I was was nervous.  It is scary to attempt to complete such a big goal. After all, what if I fail?  There is something devastating about such a notion.

Anyway, we decided to go ahead and give it a try.  (This makes 3 new experiences I had this trip- I saw dolphins, hiked through the Waimea state forest and swam in the waterfall, and went surfing! So great!).  We arrived at Surf N’ Sea at 10 am and got put with our instructor, Karen.

My instructor Karen. She was so great.

We are so lucky to have gotten her.  She was patient, kind and an experienced teacher.  When we first got to the beach my surf board was too small to hold my body up.  This was very discouraging and made me feel fat.  I had told Karen about my weight loss and my surfing goal and she seemed personally invested in making everything right.

In fact, she told me that I ‘would ride the waves today’ and that she wouldn’t let herself see me fail.  (I must admit that I got a little emotional when I failed.  It was pretty discouraging).  She told me to show up at 2:00 pm and she would have a bigger board for me to try.  She even insisted saying she’d track me down if I didn’t show up!

After my roommates surfed for a 2+ hours we went to lunch and I came back at 2. The new board was huge (really a paddle board) and it made all the difference.  I immediately dove in and paddled my way to the waves (with the help of my teacher!). I was able to catch 4 or 5 sets of waves.  I never stood up completely but I got pretty close.  It was so exciting!!

 

you can't really tell but I am the first dot to the left!

I held on to the wave for  while and just being able to get back up on the board again was a huge accomplishment.  There is no way I could have done that the last time I came to Hawaii, let alone doing it 4 or 5 times!  I couldn’t believe how much fun it was.  It is a great sport because you don’t have to be perfect to have a good time.

I really can’t believe I actually did it!  It made me feel like all the hard work of the last year and half has been worth it.  I am so grateful to Karen for giving me over 2 hours of her time just for me.  She didn’t have to do that but she joined the ranks of people who believe in me more than I believe in myself.  I think it is remarkable that she gave so much to someone she doesn’t know- and she did it so willingly.  I hope I am that free with my time and willing to serve others.

I am also grateful to my roommates for pushing me to surf.  It was so great!  I can’t wait until my next trip to Hawaii when I can get out on the waves again- anyone want to come with.  Taking applications now? What a glorious trip it has been.  There will definitely be a tear or two on my face tomorrow as I board my flight.  The trips always go too fast but what a memorable one it is.