Our First Vacation

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
(Maya Angelou)

 

In the three fantastic years that Joe and I have been together, we never took a proper vacation together. We've done our fair share of traveling including La Union in the Northern Luzon, Iligan in Mindanao, and our back and forth visits between San Francisco and Chicago but they felt more like quick getaways instead of relaxing vacations.

On our trips to La Union, we were surrounded by his family and/or friends for most of the day, being carted from one tourist spot to the next. In Iligan, we stayed at my parents' house and shared a room with three of our friends. While it was all incredibly fun, it didn't give us too many opportunities to be alone together. Our SFO-CHI visits were weekend getaways, usually arriving on Friday night and leaving on Sunday evening or Monday afternoon for holiday weekends. These short trips left us emotionally exhausted, panicky about our use of the little time we had, and frustrated.

So this year, I was determined to go on a vacation with him, an 8-day vacation away from our daily stressors, frantic tourist schedule, and all the noise of the everyday grind.

 

 

 

San Francisco

I have fallen quite deeply in love with San Francisco. There's something magical about the bay, the hills, and the small town feel of such a beautiful, colorful, bustling city. The diversity and stark contrasts sprinkled all over gives the city character and also presents a grittier side. Tour guides do not shy away from pointing our the number of homeless or discussing the Tenderloin, a high-crime triangular neighborhood in downtown San Francisco (only blocks away from Union Square shopping center) known for its graffiti, drug trade, and cultural gems like theaters and restaurants.  Tour guides encouraged people not to be afraid of the area and simply keep their wits about them when exploring the area. This recognition and respect made me love the city even more.

For this trip to San Francisco, we went back to Pier 39 and explored the section I had not seen before. We also visited the Walt Disney Family Museum and walked around Union Square.

 

Las Vegas

I'm not quite sure how we decided on Vegas. Joe and I are not exactly sin city material. We are moderate drinkers, non-gamblers, and can barely stay awake past midnight. So when we booked our flights to Vegas, I began to research what we could do. There were shows, music events, clubs, buffets, and tourist spots to see.

We eventually settled on barely doing anything which I think was perfect. Our hotel, the Aria, was beautiful and we scored a king deluxe room. We spent most our 2 1/2 day trip walking in the desert heat, eating amazing food, talking, soaking in the tub with our bath bombs, hanging out poolside, and simply being together without pressure to rush or tone down.

Til our next adventure!