Today has been a wonderful, lazy Sunday. The power went out at our apartment about an hour ago, and we spotted the electrician in his truck playing Solitaire on his laptop, so we figured it might be out for awhile. That was the perfect excuse for a trip to Starbucks! Progress reports for Sam’s students are due tomorrow, so he’s busy entering some last-minute grades and he needed to use the internet. I got him a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino and I got a Raspberry Mocha Frappuccino, so we are both happy at the moment.
I wasn’t sure what to write about today, but I promised Sam I would post something on my blog while he worked on his progress reports so he wouldn’t get discouraged watching me play games on my phone while he was working hard. Fair enough.
I started browsing my pictures and thinking about all the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. I picked three places on Earth that are my absolute favorite and posted pictures I took of them. These are the first places I would go if I had the power to teleport. If someone told me to close my eyes and “go to my happy place,” one of these places would pop into my head.
1. The Front Steps of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, UK
When I studied in London, I visited this spot every few days for several months. There’s always something to see and people to watch. If offers a great view of Big Ben and Nelson’s Column. I loved picking up a sandwich and crisps from Tesco and sitting on those steps to watch the busses drive by. This is the place I sat on my last day in London and bawled my eyes out (much to the disturbance of some nearby tourists). Those steps offered me peace in the midst of chaos, love in the midst of loneliness, and I want to sit there again so badly.
2. The Panda House at the Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington, D.C.
I’ve already covered how much I love pandas, so this one shouldn’t be a huge surprise. I first saw pandas at the San Diego Zoo when I was 11, but the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. is the first place I visited pandas with Sam. I went back a second time last summer, and I could’ve stood there watching the pandas all day. This is a place that gives me hope. I see a species that has struggled to survive and the efforts people have made to save them. I love pandas so much that seeing them in person makes me positively giddy. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian feel like friends whenever I see them. I’m that annoying “big kid” front and center of the exhibit who won’t move to let other kids see the pandas. Sorry. They’re my favorite.
3. Beckham Courtyard, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX
You’ve probably never heard of this place, and that’s all right. This place has an extra-special place in my heart. Sam and I went to school at Hardin-Simmons, and this courtyard is where we had our first kiss in October of 2009 and where he proposed to me in January of 2011. This place has so many fantastic memories, and I love each and every one. Sam and I would sit at the bench there late at night and talk for hours. When I sit there, all I think about is how far we’ve come and how excited I am for our future.