Welcome to NYC

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This past summer was pretty full of memorable trips. Along with going to the Bahamas for the first time with my family, I also got to welcome into the country a special person to Caoliang, his twin brother Caoyang.

Having siblings is pretty important to me. I grew up with four other siblings so I know how special it is to have a sisterly or brotherly bond. Caoliang grew up with a twin brother. Both of them were energetic boys who got put into gymnastics at an early age. Fast forwarding to current day, both of them are still very active in their everyday life style even though most of the last few years have been spent apart from each other. Now there was a chance to bring Caoyang to America to study circus arts which would hopefully, bring the Wang brothers a higher chance of sticking closer together in the future.

Before Caoyang arrived into Newark Airport, Caoliang and I had a few days to explore the Big Apple together for the first time. I had traveled to the city before and remember loving everything about it then. It was weird that now coming back, I didn’t love it so much.

I never realized how disgustingly dirty New York City streets are. Literally every corner smells like urine and garbage. I had been to much more denser cities before but even those places, New York seem to beat it levels of horrid smell! I’m not sure if the city is wanting to keep its filthiness to add to the character of the city or what, but it is definitely an issue I wish the city would address.

Besides trying to hold my breath through nearly every street in Manhattan, there were other, more enjoyable things we did in the city as well. With our few days there, we walked The High Line to take a walking break and watch the cars and people go by, checked out what the MoMA had going on, and even met up with a fellow Houstonian friend who had moved to the city.

But the most special thing we did before welcoming Caoyang into the city, was get engaged. So how did it happen? What’s the story? It happened on the Brooklyn Bridge actually. I had never been there before and Caoliang was really keen on taking me there one evening. After a whole day of walking around, I wasn’t the most excited person to go. But I saw how eager he was and figured I get my lazy bum up to check out this bridge. When we arrived, it did exceed my expectations. It was really interesting to be in such an open space with so many cars passing underneath. Also being able to turn around and see buildings lit up and knowing you could literally walk to Brooklyn from there.

So we spent a good amount of time just taking photos of cars and lights and watching cyclist speed by. Finally he handed me his camera and asked me to take a photo of him standing in the center of the walk way with one of the bridge’s arches behind him. Ok, sure. I took a picture or two before he asked if I could take it from a lower vantage point. Um, all right I suppose so. As I was counting off the photo, this adorable guy pulled out a red ring box and only had a massive smile on his face. I clicked the photo and could clearly see excitement and nervousness written all over his face. He didn’t saw anything but just kept a huge grin on his face. It was very sweet and I laughed at the whole situation. After making him stand up to get out of the walk path, I listened to him go into a nervous speech about the whole thing. Finally, he gave me a chance to say yes. It’s funny to write about that night and to think back on it. But it’s a sweet story to tell and will be fun to retell in the years to come.

We spent a total of nearly two weeks in New York and Philadelphia. Meeting Caoliang’s closest family member was not so much nerve wrecking for me but more exciting. I was happy I finally can meet someone he calls family and see how he is with his brother. The whole experience of meeting him and helping him get settled into a new environment and culture was exhausting. I’ll spare you the day by day details. But at the end of it, we successfully helped him set up his new living space, show him how to get into downtown Philadelphia, and showed him how to get to his new school campus, Circadium.

To give you a little back-story on a strange sounding name for a school, Circadium is a new circus school that just recently opened up in Philadelphia. It was actually born with the name, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts but with the growth over the years, it has taken on new grounds and a new name. The creators Greg and Shana Kennedy are friends of Caoliang and have been awesome at helping Caoyang get adjusted in a new life. I also got the pleasure of meeting his couple and seeing the site of the new school. They actually purchased land and property of an old Catholic church. Once it was fully theirs, they redesigned and changed the interior to fit the needs of their students. Honestly the place looked amazing. I wish I could be attending this school!

This trip to the East Coast wasn’t finished just yet. After feeling like parents that are sending their only child off to college, Caoliang and I said farewell to Caoyang and headed back to New York City for friends’ wedding. The wedding ceremony of Guilhem and Liz Cauchoi was set in Tarrytown, New York with an amazing backdrop of a castle-like mansion, Lyndhurst. It was such a joy to witness their love and be part of this celebration. After an evening of good food, great company, and plenty of dancing, we had only one day left in the city before going our separate ways.

Any new, or old, place I get to travel with Caoliang is such a treat. Each time, I realize how lucky and blessed we are to even be able to have such trips! Because of all the great things that happened these two weeks, it will definitely be a memorable one!

Video Bonus! It’s just two seconds but put them all together and you get my whole trip!! Enjoy clips of my trip to the East Coast HERE!

TO STAY: NYC AirBnBDoubletree by Hilton TarrytownCity Rooms Chelsea
TO EAT: The Spotted Pig (NYC), Xi’An Famous Foods (NYC), RANA (NYC)

Tran Clan’s Bahamian Adventure

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As previously promised, my first actual post about travel will date back to earlier this summer, July to be exact. For the first time in a few years, my whole family would be taking a holiday together. The last time this happened was actually on my 25th birthday, four years ago! Since I had been out of the country, my family had gone on a few trips without me. It was a bummer not to be there those years but this summer I would make up for it in an awesome trip to the Bahamas!

I won’t give you a play by play but more of the high lights of this trip. I have a total of seven people in my family including myself. For this trip, however, my little sister’s boyfriend, John joined us as well. After two flights, we landed in Nassau, Bahamas. It was our first time there so everyone was pretty excited. The great thing about my siblings and I (well one of the great things) is that we all had the same mind in choosing a beach destination for our summer holiday. I love the beach and will always choose warm weather over the cold so this was great!

Originally, my mother was planning to book Atlantis All-Inclusive Resort. Now this place looked crazy! With the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, 141-acre waterscape, 11 pools, a full casino, golf course AND four miles of beach, who wouldn’t be excited for this! But, to our disappointment, Atlantis’ all-inclusive packages were fully booked. Ouch.. But that didn’t deter us from our holiday. Instead, my mother found Breezes Resort and Spa, which did have all-inclusive packages available for our dates.

Now Breezes, well if you got a chance to click the links above, you could kind of already feel what we felt in having to settle for it over Atlantis. It didn’t have the massive waterpark or the full casino, but it looked promising. Once arriving to Breezes, you could tell one thing straight away, “Man this place is dated!” With decor and architecture that looked like it was built in the 80s with no updates, this place looked like we stepped back in time. And the rooms! My little brother described it as, “Looks like where nuns sleep!” Now what he meant by that was the rooms were so simple in furniture and amenities it looked like a nun’s room in a convent.

Even though the resort wasn’t what we were picturing, the point was we were with each other and intended to enjoy this all-inclusive package as much as we could! So let the sun bathing begin!!

For the four nights we stayed there, we got a lot of sun. I mean ALOT. The sun was so strong in Nassau that sunblock was a definite necessity. Along with lying out on the beach, we of course enjoyed the clear blue waters as well. I was very impressed with Nassau and their clarity of ocean water. It felt like you were in a swimming pool!! Breezes had a netted off swimming area but even in that, we were able to see some fish and even find some starfish!

Being that Breezes was an all inclusive resort, they also had many other activities that you could partake in. Some of the things we tried were stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, a trapeze class, and volleyball. I favorite out of those was the trapeze class. It was a bit terrifying at first, being that high up but after doing it a couple times I felt like I could master it easily. It was fun to scare myself and then get over the fear.

Even though my favorite was trapeze, I think my family’s favorite was volleyball! We played so much of it and with so many players; we never had to ask anyone else if they wanted to join. This trip I also learned that my dad is pretty good at volleyball, while my mom on the other hand…needs some practice.

An all-inclusive resort is fun, but for adventure seekers like myself and my siblings, this could become a bit dull. Luckily for us, we had booked an excursion with Stuart’s Cove before our trip online. After doing research on popular Nassau excursions, my siblings and John decided on the SUB Adventure. We all gravitated toward that choice because it would be a new experience for all of us being that none of us had ever seen a SUB or partook in it before. The SUB was like an underwater Vespa. In the SUB, your head goes into this helmet that stays dry and has constant air pumping into it. Now I had done something similar to this in Boracay so felt like it would be familiar. To my surprise, it was more different than I expected.

Our SUB experience was a little rocky at first. We had an early pick up time with a shuttle that never came. We had to call Stuart’s Cove and pick a few bones with them. In the end, we got picked up and received some free goodies for them forgetting to get us. Once situated, we got taken out to a bigger boat with more people from cruise ships. It was kind of a funny site. There were some big, tough guys on the boat but they appeared so weak because they were seasick. Just imagine, both sides of the boat was people getting sick. Yikes! Had to be sure to stay at the back of the boat! Finally it was our turn. All of us got seated in our SUB and dropped into the water. You constantly have to blow out your ears to adjust to the pressure. I found myself really being aware of my breathing. I did not want to get seasick!! When we all got in the water, it was a pretty cool experience to “drive” around the ocean trying to catch up with each other and touch the pretty fish that cam around. There was this one point I saw a bunch of fish swarming John’s SUB. I thought to myself, “Cool! What a nice photo!” The hilarious thing I found out later was he only had so many fish around him because he actually threw up a little in his helmet! Free fish food!

The experiences at Breezes and the Bahamas were some to remember. The resort may not of been perfect, or the excursions arranged so well – but the time we got to spend together was. Looking back on holidays like this, I feel even more grateful for the family I got to be born into. With loving parents and siblings that actually get along, I know I am one of the lucky ones.

Video Bonus! Check out my little brother, Johnny’s awesome video from our trip to the Bahamas by clicking HERE.

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RESORT: breezes.com
EXCURSION: stuartcove.com

The First Post

Pressure. It’s hard not to feel some sort of pressure in writing my first post on this new blog. If you’ve followed me through the years, then you kind of know what I’m about and what I’ve been up to. But if you are someone new, welcome. Welcome to my online home where I share my life with anyone who wants to come along for the ride.

To update you guys on my current life, I decided to move back to The States about three and a half months ago. I just got done wrapping up three years in Japan as an English teacher and decided I wanted bigger things in my future that Japan couldn’t give me. Since then, I got engaged to my sweet boyfriend and have started deepening my career as an educator.

Why start a completely new blog? Well for one, my blogs have always been about my travels. I wanted to keep my family and friends in the loop about where I was, or what I got the chance to see or do while traveling. Even though I have chosen Texas to settle in for now, I still plan and intend to have travel in my life.

Travel has become a sort of habit and lifestyle. I think the universe really listened when they sent me Caoliang. With his job as a performer in a touring circus show, I get the chance to visit him in different cities and countries. His job allows us to explore new places together. Traveling together has deepened our love for each other and for the world.

In this first post, I just wanted to share the small update and catch up those of you who may be new. So as for the first few posts, it’ll be me playing catch up with Summer 2017, but I hope to deliver exciting and capturing stories that make that little travel bug in you want to get out and explore for yourselves.

It’s true what this quote says, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” In a world that can easily get comfortable and robotic, it’s good to scare ourselves with new challenges and remind ourselves to live a little (or a lot)! That’s my boat in life anyways. why don’t you jump on in!