Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tourism To-Do's

After living in Orlando for two years, we've been able to hit most of the theme parks and Central Florida attractions. We've been to all of Disney: the Magic Kingdom, MGM, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom is my favorite because it’s a classic. MGM was beautiful during the Christmas season because they have a spectacular light show and fake snow which is great for Floridians. Epcot was our least favorite park, but we went during their annual food and wine festival, which made it worthwhile. And Animal Kingdom is a very impressive combination of rides and animals. We've been to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Islands of Adventure is by far one of the most fun parks there is. We also managed to get to Universal Studios during their Halloween extravaganza which includes tons of haunted houses. We went to Kennedy Space Center on a day that happened to be a ceremony for the astronaut hall of fame. We saw John Glenn, Jim Lovell (of Apollo 13 fame) and about 15 different astronauts. We were able to see a shuttle launch on the 4th of July, 2006 from Cocoa Beach and a shuttle launch a few weeks ago from our apartment balcony. And although we've now seen gators in the wild, I don't know if Robb will ever get over the fact that we never made it to Gatorland.

This past weekend Robb and I got in our last few touristy-things on our to-do list. We went back to Sea World one last time. We got a year-long pass in the spring and have enjoyed seeing the animal shows time and again, because they’re a little different each time. This weekend we even saw two new shows, which were wonderful. We’re really excited about moving to Seattle though and seeing a “Shamu” in the wild. (Pictured is a beluga whale from the Arctic attraction.)

We also went back to St. Augustine. For those that don’t know, St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the United States (older than Jamestown!) It’s a beautiful city with a Spanish fort and tons of history. They are well-known for their ghost tours of the city (third most haunted United States city). We went there for our mini-honeymoon 1.5 years ago, and one of the activities that we were most excited about was the ghost tour. However, we saved the ghost tour for our last night in town and it ended up being rained out. This weekend Robb and I drove back to St. Augustine and finally did the ghost tour. We definitely feel as though spirits were present because our pictures are pretty exciting. We were told that cameras are able to capture spirits faster than the human eye can and if you can see orbs in your picture, spirits are there. Please notice in this picture of a very old house (now a very awesome coffee shop) the several circles of light that look like smudges. Those are orbs. (Insert twighlight zone music now.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Plans Are Falling Into Place

We've decided to hire professional movers to take our junk to Seattle. We got quotes from two companies and decided to go with United Van Lines. The cost is a little higher than I expected, but still cheaper than renting a Penske truck ourselves, with the gas prices that they are today. Plus, using movers gives everyone in my family peace of mind. My Dad will no longer be forced to drive a rental truck across the country. And Robb and I don't have to worry about how I would've moved all of our heavy belongings from the second story apartment into the truck since he will already be in Washington by the time I leave Florida. So I'm really excited about our decision. And a little scared because now I have to fax the contract which makes everything more real.

So the plan is for the movers to come on Wednesday, July 25 and pack up my apartment. And by pack up, I mean that they will take all the boxes and furniture to the truck. I will have to pack all the boxes myself before they arrive. Then I will have Thursday to clean the apartment. And I will turn in my key Friday morning and take the cats to my parents' house in Tampa. I will spend the weekend there to get in some quality time with my Mom and last-minute good-byes with the extended family. And early in the next week Dad, the kitties, and I will be on our way!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Moving Plan (Subject to Change)

It's somewhat overwhelming to make a plan to move us, all our stuff, and two fat/spoiled cats across the country to an area that we have never even visited before. We had a million different ideas about how to best approach this move, but we've decided on the more 'adventurous' option.

We have decided that Robb will leave Orlando (in his car) around July 1st. He will probably take a week to drive out there and then hopefully be able to sublet a room or apartment in Seattle for about a month. Then he'll spend his time trying to nail down an apartment for us to live, getting to know the area, networking with people he meets, and applying for jobs. His last day of work was on Monday, so he has less than 2 weeks to find a place to sublet, help me pack up some of our apartment, and create his cross-country plan. I think Robb's very excited about driving across country by himself and having this 'once in a lifetime' adventure. I think I'll buy him "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac as a book on CD for his drive.

In the meantime, I will be packing the rest of the apartment and taking care of all the last minute details that come with moving (forwarding the mail, arranging for the electricity to be shut off, cleaning the apartment, etc.) I plan on leaving town the end of July, when our lease is up. And I'm so grateful that my recently retired Dad has offered to drive out to Seattle with me so I don't have to do the whole trip by myself.

There are some big questions still on the table that will hopefully be resolved this week. We haven't decided if we're going to hire movers or drive a Penske rental truck. We're getting moving quotes this week, so I'm hoping that the costs are where they need to be for us to use professionals. Otherwise, my poor Dad will be driving a Penske truck and towing our car for the entire drive. (Although I'm an excellent driver with my little Honda, I don't know if I could handle a moving truck and towing!)

If anyone has suggestions or ways to make our move easier, please let me know! While I've moved several times in my life because I was an Army brat, most of those moves were handled very well by my parents and the United States Army. And Robb's and my move from VA to FL will not even compare to moving from FL to WA.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Katherine and Robb: The Adventure Begins...

After many months of making decisions and then second-guessing ourselves, Robb and I have finally decided to move to Seattle in six weeks. We have been planning to leave Orlando for quite some time now. Not only do we miss the seasons, but we also feel as though Orlando is a cultural wasteland, obsessed with Mickey Mouse. So as I completed my master's degree and Robb decided to leave restaurant management to pursue his dream of a career in a more creative field, our question was, do we move to Seattle or Washington, DC?

DC is the practical choice of course. The job market there is perfect for my line of work. My sister lives there. The vast majority of our friends live there. We know what the area is like. My parents could easily fly there for long-weekend visits. But the idea of actually living in that metropolitan area and dealing with the traffic, attitudes, and cost of living has been so disheartening. DC is practical, but Seattle has been a dream. We know that in Seattle we will love the weather (I imagine it's like the rain I loved so much while living in Germany). We know that we will love the scenery (Seattle is an hour away from the mountains and an hour away from the beach). And the more laid-back attitudes of Northwesterners will match our personalities and how we hope to live our lives.

So Robb and I talked about it and we decided that the timing is perfect for us to take the risk and adventure of a lifetime. We are going to go with our hearts and move to Seattle, without ever even visiting it before. Of course the hardest part of this decision was knowing that we'd be far away from friends and family. But this is the only time in our lives where we'll have this opportunity to just go for it. We're in our 2o's, we're both done with school, we both want to start over with new careers, we don't have kids yet, we don't have a mortgage yet, and we have nothing tying us down. If we don't do it now, we never will!

We have approximately six weeks until our current lease is up. So the next six weeks will be a whirlwind of planning, organizing, and making tough decisions, a lot of times based on the faith that everything will just work out. This blog has been created to let loved ones (or anyone interested in our adventures) know how our adventure progresses, and then once we arrive, how we adapt and discover our new lives.