Saturday, July 27, 2013


Happiness is waking up on a cool, foggy, Monterey, California morning and knowing that you don't have to go to class, so it's okay to stay in bed for a while longer.

Happiness is two piping hot cups of French pressed coffee.

Happiness is feeling content with being a student again even though it's sometimes exhausting and brain numbing.

Happiness is being able to hear the seals at Fisherman's Wharf on my walk home from school when I'm almost a mile away from them.

Happiness is getting letters and postcards in the mail when you really needed them but weren't expecting them.

Happiness is remembering my life in American Samoa and how much I loved it there.

Happiness is being thankful for good people.

Happiness is finding the most amazing recipe for a raspberry pie (someone come visit so I can make it for us.)

Happiness is going for a bike ride on my new bike!

Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

¿Cómo te llamas?

When Spanish speakers pronounce my name, it sounds like Coo-eeen.

Today, a teacher from Spain visited my class. She was writing everyone's names on the board and when she got to mine, she tried to write it without my help.

She wrote Queen.

The class laughed. "Jajaja Queen Quinn." I laughed and said I was used to it.

She asked me how to spell it. I paused for longer than I should have. [I'll be honest and say I almost forgot how to spell my name.]

I said, "Q-u-i-n-n." She wrote Quynn. That is one spelling of my name I have never seen before.

I spelled my name in English to a native Spanish speaker. The letter Y in Spanish sounds like the letter I in my name. Ha...ha..ha.

She eventually got it right, but I think I'll always be Queen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reflection/Happy 4th of July

Hola mis amigos!

I apologize for not posting sooner. Last week was quite the week and it took every ounce of me to get through it sanely. Thankfully, I made it and despite my exhaustion, I feel much better now than I did! As we all know, everything can be going really well and suddenly things start happening that you don't expect, and then those things get worse (much, much worse), and other things pile on top, and then you just need to break down, find a way to pick yourself back up, fix the problem(s), and get on with life. Whew! Despite all the craziness of the week, a few good things did happen, so I am thankful for that!
And now, with much delay, a fourth of july recap:

I would just like to say that I forgot how great it feels to have a long weekend when you are a student. Those last 15 minutes before freedom take foooooorrrreeeevveerrr. They really do. I had been eagerly awaiting four days off to celebrate the 4th of July, and while I thought it was going to be a really low-key weekend, it ended up being full of adventure and quality time spent outdoors. Here’s a little replay:

The night of the 3rd, Drew and I went to a bonfire on the beach with some people from MIIS. We were in Seaside so we could look toward Monterey. The fog slowly crept in and was beautiful, but I was hoping to catch the sunset. When it got too cold and there wasn’t enough room by the fire, we headed back. I had the apartment to myself so I spent the rest of the night watching movies and getting some much needed sleep!
On the 4th, I spent the morning watching guilty pleasure tv shows on Netflix and drinking coffee. I hadn't felt that relaxed in a while – it was glorious. Lunchtime rolled around and I got a text from Drew asking me about my plans for the rest of the day. About half an hour later, I was dressed and out the door! Drew had rented a car for the weekend to get out of Monterey for a while, but his own plans changed and he ended up staying here. So, we had a car – oh how great it is to have a car! After stopping to get sandwiches for lunch, we drove to the outskirts of town, and up a mountain – we were headed to Jack’s Peak County Park. We spent the next couple of hours hiking around, enjoying the beautiful weather and views of the bay, and happily picnicking on a bench overlooking nearby mountains and Point Lobos in the distance. The fresh air felt fantastic and I loved hanging out with Drew – I swear, all we do is laugh. It’s good to have friends that you can laugh about anything with. Later that night, we headed down to Cannery Row in New Monterey, had some clam chowder (Drew ate creepy crawly seafood creatures – I tried one and it freaked me out), toured the area, and got dessert. It was a great day!

Monterey Bay in the background!

On Friday, we headed toward Highway One! It was ridiculously gloomy out – chilly, windy, cloudy, grey – the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up on a couch and read. Not us! We were off to see Big Sur with a few stops on the way. The coast is beautiful, just like everyone says. I can’t even really explain it, but I was happy when the sun finally did come out. Gray water is not appealing! I got some obligatory tourist photos by Bixby Bridge, the keyhole arch at Pfeiffer Beach, as well as the gorgeous beach and waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Walking around Pfeiffer Beach was an utter disaster – besides being cold, it was also windy and we were constantly being plastered with sand. I found some creatures, I tried to slide down a sand dune (didn’t work), and we hid in a sandstorm free zone to eat lunch (also did not work – I chewed sand with my pb&j and my carrots.) By the end of the day, we were exhausted and it felt good to climb into bed!

I love the wildflowers here, especially when it's gloomy weather because the color stands out more. Also, that brown stuff in the water is kelp.

 The ole Bixby Bridge.
This wouldn't be a "Quinn on a beach" post without a creature picture.

We were being pelted by sand and wind in this picture. Pfeiffer Beach is not for the weak.

This looks a lot like I'm awesomely sliding down this sand dune. This is not the case. I couldn't slide, I couldn't push myself down it, I couldn't glide down it sideways. Eventually I just went the easy way out: I rolled.

Saturday morning was spent bumming around, doing some Spanish (I had to remind myself that homework is still something you have to do on the weekend!), and waiting for it to warm up (never did). That afternoon, Drew and I drove up to Santa Cruz to check out the boardwalk and the wharf. The traffic was CRAZY! It took us almost 45 minutes to go 2 miles. Sheesh. It was worth it though – we had dinner next to the water, rode the rollercoaster, and people watched. Santa Cruz is also much cheaper than Monterey so we were psyched to eat a cheap dinner that tasted delicious! On our way back, we stopped at the store to pick up a few things, and then we were back and it was time to go to bed because…

We screamed like little girls. Here's proof. (Photo by Drew).

We survived! (Photo by Drew). 
Sunday popped up. Booo. Sunday means homework, cleaning, laundry, etc. It felt good to get it all done though, and I felt productive.
I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend and that you were able to spend time with friends and family!

Friday, July 5, 2013

I love visitors!

When I lived in American Samoa, I would wake up some mornings and wish that someone from home was there to share the beauty, life, and bananas/papaya/limes the size of baseballs/(nostalgic for fruit much?). I understood that flying to a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean isn’t something that most could afford, so I blogged about it and pretended like my friends and family were there to experience it with me. January came around and how lucky was I when I found out that my good friend, Erin, was going to be studying in New Zealand…and was coming to visit me! It felt so great to have her there, to talk to her about things and people from home, and to reminisce about our times together during our undergrad study abroad in NZ.

Flash forward to now, and I must say, that I am lucky once again. Drew is here, several weekends ago, Abby and Doug were here, and last weekend, two of my closest friends (who also happen to be husband and wife!) came to visit! Here’s my story of Libby and Jack:
Sophomore year of college, fall 2008: Being an English major (with a writing focus!), I was required to take several literature courses. Most English majors swoon over courses dedicated to reading – I however, did not. Not one bit. You see, I had (and probably still have) this little problem with not really understanding (or having a strong desire to understand) the concept of “reading between the lines,” and finding the “deeper meaning” of books and stories and novels and basically anything written. Not only am I not good at digging into books, I just don’t want too! I LOVE to read. [In fact, I love it so much that the only New Year’s resolution/goal thingy I’ve ever made and stuck too is to read 35 books in 2013! I have already read 18. I’m gonna make it!] I just love to read for the pure act of reading. That’s it! I was a weird English major, and I understand this now.
ANYWAYS, I walk into my American Literature class in fall 2008 and sit down next to a girl I recognized from our college newspaper staff. Turns out, the girl’s name was Libby and in about two days (or maybe even one day, I knew I’d found a keeper.)  I ended up disliking the class (go figure) but at least I had Libby! Since that day, Libby and I have gotten really close (although most of our friendship has been a long distance relationship!) While I was in New Zealand, she was in the Galapagos. While I lived in Elmhurst, she lived in Chicago. While I lived in Sycamore, she lived in Cedar Rapids. While I lived in American Samoa, she lived in Panama. While I lived in Sycamore (again), she lived in Minnesota. GUESS WHAT! WE BOTH LIVE IN CALIFORNIA NOW! I know. So exciting.
What’s even more exciting is that this past December, she married Jack. Jack is amazing. I love him and more for being such a kind, happy, loving, hard working guy. He is also an incredible friend and husband. I was a bridesmaid in their beautiful Chicago wedding, and I was so excited that I got to spend a beautiful few days with them.
Jack and Libby currently live in Palo Alto which is only about 1.5 hours away by car (however, California traffic is ridiculous and it took them a little longer.) Last Saturday, they drove down here and we had an incredible day together! We ate a delicious lunch, spent several hours soaking up some sun and catching up, ate a delicious dinner, had a good night’s sleep, and ate a delicious breakfast before they headed home. I love having friends that love to eat good food. It’s the best. I was so happy to have them here and while I was sad to see them go, it is nice to know that they are so close.
Libby was such a beautiful bride - I mean, STUNNING. I loved being able to watch her walk down the aisle! (Photo by Kristen Lynn Photographie)

Everything about their wedding was amazing. The wedding party was also ridiculously fun.
(Photo by Kristen Lynn Photographie)
Enjoying the beach (and amazing sun!) in Monterey. Does anyone else think that Libby and I look alike? We think so. (Photo by Libby!)
In other news, Spanish is still Spanish. I'm learning a lot. I'm dancing a lot (my teacher loves to turn music on in the afternoon and teach us all sorts of dances...anything that let's me shake my hips is worth my while! maybe someday I will learn how to Salsa for REAL!) It is a really great class. I do get overwhelmed, but it feels good to actually be a student and to be learning something! Adios!