European Bucket List

Whenever I have a goal or a series of goals–serious or lighthearted, it doesn’t really matter–I like to form them into lists. It helps me see the big picture when I can look at a single piece of paper or a single word document or even a single Powerpoint and instantly see everything that I want to accomplish in the near–or sometimes not so near–future.My latest habit is composing bucket list collages. If you can’t really picture what this would entail, this should help:
This page was sketched over time in my Avila notepad. I call it our European bucket list. It lists everything that I wanted Josh and I to be able to accomplish while we were in Europe. Some of them you might expect: watch a flamenco dance, eat dinner on the Riviera, eat churros . . . yeah there’s a lot about places and things that I wanted to eat. Others might seem really random: find a pet store, buy cereal, or learn a new card game. I guess these were personal challenges as well goals. I didn’t want to just sit around!

This is my new favorite format for goal-making! Since Europe, I’ve started a summer bucket list and a lifelong reading bucket list.

Wouldn’t you just love to check things off of a list as fun and quirky as this? What a great motivation to meet your goals!

"I’m Up in the Woods" (Skurugata, Sweden)

The title of this post is from an absolutely breathtaking song by Bon Iver. I highly recommend that you listen to “Woods” while you read this post. So simple, but so deep and majestic. Kind of like the woods!

Skurugata is a long mountain pass in the Swedish countryside commonly used as a hiking resort. It is literally a huge crack through the mountain range formed by temperature changes during the most recent ice age. While the mountains and the crack itself were quite fascinating, I was much more taken aback by the woods surrounding the mountain range in Eksjรถ, Sweden.

Josh and didn’t realize until setting foot in the Skurugata nature reserve that we hadn’t seen any forest in the past four months. Let me tell you, I thought the woods back in northern Pennsylvania were beautiful, but this place was like a landscape taken from the pages of a fairy tale–from the tail end of a dream.

I fell asleep at the peak of Skuruhatt, the mountaintop you’ll reach if you continue climbing after coming out of the Skurugata pass. Dozing off in the warm sun and then coming to again with the picturesque geography of Sweden stretching out to the horizon in every direction, I thought that I was still dreaming. (Pictures at the end of the post)

A thousand thanks to our friend Johan who took us on this unforgettable trip that we so needed after hopping from city to city all over Europe.


Always hike with a friend ๐Ÿ˜‰

More pictures of Skurugata and pics from the mountaintop after the jump!



Playlist for World Travel

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past five months, it’s that anything is possible if you dream big and trust God to handle all the important details. Last year, Josh and I never would have dreamed that we’d get the opportunity to visit one country outside of North America let alone visit seven gorgeous European countries and even live in one for a short time. Now that the trip has been reduced to memories, I can’t help believe that we will find a way to continue traveling in the years to come.

    After all, anything is possible.

    Odds are that the embedded YouTube playlist won’t work very well regardless of what you do, although you may better luck playing it on YouTube than in this little viewer. On the bright side, I added a bonus ten songs to this global playlist embodying the wonder of travel.

    1.  “Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira
    2. “Life Is a Highway” by Rascall Flats 
    3. “LDN” by Lily Allen
    4. “Al Improvviso Amore” by Josh Groban
    5. “Seed to Sow” by Michael W. Smith
    6. “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk
    7. “No Dudaria” by Rosario
    8. “Travelin’ Prayer” by Billy Joel
    9. “Africa” by Toto
    10. “Go the Distance” by Lucas Grabeel
    11. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
    12. “Jai Ho” by A. R. Rahman 
    13. “We Danced Anyway” by Deana Carter
    14. “Waka Waka” by Shakira
    15. “Resten Av Dit Liv” by Timbuktu
    16. “Traveling Light” by Joel Hansen and Sara Groves
    17. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake
    18. “Come Fly With Me” by Michael Buble
    19. “Tekitoi” by Rachid Taha
    20. “Land Down Under” by Men Without Hats
    21. “Amsterdam” by Coldplay
    22. “Traveling Song” by
    23. “Marakesh Express” by Crosby, Stills and Nash
    24. “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers
    25. “Love Song” by Bigbang
    26. “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” by Edith Piaf
    27. “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    28. “American Boy” by Estelle feat. Kanye West
    29. “Hoppipolla” by  Sigur Ros
    30. “I Will Always Return” by Bryan Adams

    An Old Friend Sings "The Prayer"

    Okay, so he is neither old nor a particularly old friend of mine, but in blog years, he is a pretty old friend of Nine to Phive.

    Stryker, whom you may remember from what is literally the only fashion post I have ever featured that talked about the personal style of one of my friends, is the employee who has spent the past week and who will spend the rest of the summer sitting next to me at the library circulation desk. Due to the amount of time we are forced to spend together these days, we have learned a lot of new things about each other since we met about two years ago. Still, I was completely floored by a certain fact that slipped my attention since I was in Spain when the following performance took place here in Rochester:

    He sings!

    I was personally unaware that Stryker sung AT ALL let alone like freakin’ Josh Groban! Seriously, how great was that? I am very impressed (along with most of our campus).

    Finding out that Stryker also dabbles in the arts has given the two of us a lot to talk about. It’s nice working with like-minded people. If you’re going to be with them for nine hours a day, it helps if you can carry on a meaningful conversation with them. Our current half-serious joke is that we’re going to land the starring roles in our college’s upcoming production of Singing in the Rain–which happens to also be one of the favorite musicals of guess who? Well, me, for one . . . and Stryker, too! Haha, hurray!

    I wonder what other surprising connections I’ll make by being confined to an empty library with other students?

    Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Still Truckin’


    • Living an hour from campus for the summer. Talk about a commute!
    • Vacuuming the books in the library. All of them. Who even knew books needed vacuuming?
    • Josh working from 8 to 5, me working from 12 to 9, and only owning one car. Guess who gets to come to work four hours early and then ride home with her husband who has stayed there four hours late?
    • Packing lunches (and sometimes dinners, too). Haven’t missed it. 
    • Gas prices. So much driving. So much money!
    • A freakin’ 12-hour shift at the library today. Yay weekend!

    • Josh’s interview with the gas company tomorrow.
    • We’re back in the Valley this weekend!
    • Banana pecan whole wheat pancakes with caramel sauce. We haven’t had real breakfast food in months ๐Ÿ™‚
    • How nice and cool it always is in our temporary basement bedroom.
    • Chilling with my amazing coworkers.
    • Homemade loaded burritos that tasted just like Chipotle. 
    • My parents shaved one of their Pomeranians. She’s so freaking cute! She looks like a fat burrito with legs and a squirrel tail!
    • Wendy’s sells macaroni and cheese and baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar butter now!
    • Wow, there’s a lot about food in this post . . .

    The Jacket That Saw the World

    All right, I swear on all that is holy that I did not plan this in the least, but it is just about the cutest coincidence in the world!
    While looking through all of the 4,000-some photos from our life-changing trip to Europe this spring, I noticed an interesting trend. I may have only sported my turquoise blazer in a handful of outfit photos, but I can be seen sporting my (apparently) favorite jacket in at least one set of photos from each and every “touristy” trip we took to a country outside of Spain!
    This coincidence ended up being a fun way to track of all of the traveling we have done in the past five months. There is a constant in all of the photos regardless of which country they were taken in. Who new that an article of clothing could come to contain so many memories? As I type this, my good old blazer is tucked in the drawer next to me in case I get chilly in the library’s AC.
    As of May 2012, the turquoise jacket has seen the following countries (including the US of course):
    • Spain
    • France
    • Italy
    • England
    • Ireland
    • Sweden

    And now for some visual representations of the adventures of this intrepid piece of outerwear!

    I challenge you to look through some old photos to find evidence of that one fallback piece that has always been there for you–and that has seen a lot of interesting places as a result!

    Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

    Hello, everyone!
    Took a little bit of a social media hiatus for a week, but I guess I failed to mention that to all of you! Haha, sorry for the unexplained disappearance, but between actually traveling back to the States and then getting semi-settled over here, there wasn’t much time or energy left for blogging. Okay, so I probably could have managed a tweet or two, but just trust me that the break will make a much more sane and well-adjusted blogger in the long run.
    In my absence, a lot has happened both in regards to Nine to Phive and in Josh’s and my life in general. Let’s get right to it! News and life changes for all!

    1. May 17th was the one-year anniversary of the birth of Nine to Phive!

    Sorry about the anti-climactic lack of celebration, but for us the immense gift of returning home after our five months abroad was celebration enough. Here’s hoping that Nine to Phive features a lot of new content to interest both artists and art-lovers worldwide in the years to come.

    Coincidentally, the 17th is also the anniversary of Josh’s and my first date back when we were babies in 11th grade ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. The winner of our Spring Giveway and a 25$ gift card to Hobby Lobby is Julianne Elizabeth Singh!

    Congrats, Julianne! Hope your new materials from Hobby Lobby will enable you to enjoy a bunch of creative projects this summer.

    Keep an eye out for Nine to Phive’s Summer Giveaway!

    3. The winner of the Who Did It Better? poll for “Somebody That I Used to Know” is Gotye and Kimbra!

    I guess sometimes you just can’t compete with the original. What’s interesting is how popular this song turned out to be back here in the US when our class had discovered it and bonded over it all the way over in Spain. 
    Another thing to be on the lookout for is our next Who Did It Better? poll.

    4. Josh and I are back in Rochester!

    Sort of. At the moment, we are both working at Roberts–he in maintenance and I at the library–but we are actually living in not-so-nearby Canandaigua with my grandparents until our apartment becomes available in July. We each have an hour-long commute to and from work! To make things more confusing and stressful, Josh now has a job offer with the gas companies back in PA for double what he’s making now. Hmm, pay off our debts or live in the same city this summer? *Sigh* a choice I am definitely not thrilled about making.

    5. My parents’ house back in PA is on the market!

    It’s only a matter of time before they sell that puppy and move into some new digs in Rochester while my Dad works on his doctorate. It’s so exciting to think that after months of living thousands of miles away from them, Josh and I will be a stone’s throw away from family this next semester.

    6. This is the 300th post written for Nine to Phive!

    All 300 posts haven’t quite been published just yet, but that means you have a lot to look forward to this summer!

    7. Also, we just hit 30,000 views!