Saturday, December 5, 2015

The girl who moves again

After 2.5 years in Chicago, I am moving back to Austin. It has been a whirlwind November. And, as I enjoy my morning coffee, I will list a snapshot of all that I accomplished these past few weeks.

  • I got a job offer!
  • I told my boss. Negotiations ensued...
  • I accepted a new job as a talent acquisition partner with Harte Hanks
  • I gave my two weeks to Morningstar 
  • I got pre-qualified for a home loan. So I know about how much monthly payments would be and potentially how much I want in savings for a downpayment. $$$
  • I arranged short term Austin housing in the form of my super generous friend, Chad and his pup, Tyrion.
  • I finally found a subletter! And, made a new friend in the process. Jenna from Denver agreed to buy all my furniture  (quite a steal!) And carry out the remainder of my lease.
  • I visited Kansas City for Katie and Dave's wedding weekend. Fulfilled my role as a bridesmaid.
  • I bought a car! 2015 Honda Civic EX.
  • I drove 8 hours and roughly 500 miles from KC to Chicago.
  • I packed up all my personal affects, giving away A LOT of great stuff to my Chicago friends.
  • I said farewell to a limited number of Chicagoans. Thank you for hanging with me these past few years.
  • I celebrated my 5.5 years at Morningstar with champagne, Specialty's cookies, Latinicity, Starfruit, and lots of kind emails, hugs, and well wishes. Good luck to all.
  • I loaded up my new car, Chance, and took 7 boxes to the post office. Sure hope they make it to Chad's house next week...
  • I finalized the sublet paperwork with Jenna and other administrative moving items.
  • I packed up Chance and hit the road!
  • I drove 8 hours and another 500ish miles from Chicago to KC to celebrate Thanksgiving and my 10 year high school reunion.
  • I drove another 13.5 hours through horrific Dallas traffic and finally made it back to Austin!

Monday, August 3, 2015

My THIRD Year - Lollaz

Mighty Oaks

Kyle Thornton & the Company


Glass Animals




Bear's Den

to this day, one of my favorites

Alabama Shakes

Paul McCartney


Beat Connection



Strugill Simpson


Toro Y Moi

Walk the Moon

Tame Impala

Mt. Eden


Light em Up

Sam Smith



Night Terror of 1927

Shakey Graves
Austin native
Moon Taxi


Of Monsters and Men

Florence & the Machine

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thailand Part 19 - From Bangkok to Chicago

Monday, March 23rd

My flight back to Chicago was one of my most miserable experiences. My stomach was in knots the entire time. It felt like two gears were grinding against each other every time I stretched or got up to walk around. Drinking water or eating crackers caused such an intense pain that I was afraid to consume anything. Gradually, it got better, but oye, it was unpleasant. Making matters worse, when I arrived back at O'Hare and caught the Blue Line, snow was all over the ground. As I rode the train back home, I so distinctly remember thinking, "I have to get out of here."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thailand Part 18 - Puking in Railay

Sunday, March 22nd
And this is the part of the story where everything went horribly wrong. I woke up in the night to the sounds of somebody throwing up in the bathroom. My condolences to whichever one of my friends drank too much. As the night went on, I thought "wow, whoever this is must really not drink very often." That morning, I again got out of bed quickly, ready to hit the pool. As the others stirred, Jaime and Marta admitted that they'd both been throwing up all night. More specifically, "projectile vomiting." They felt terrible, and knew it wasn't just alcohol related. Then, Kimber confessed that she was afraid this might happen. She explained that because Railay is an incredibly secluded place, contained by massive limestone cliffs, the norovirus is known to live there. She said that most people get it when they first arrive there, but then your immune system builds up a tolerance. She'd been hoping that we were all fine, since we'd been there for a few days now with no symptoms. Alas, it got us at the end. Needless to say, I was livid. Besides sharing a room for the past few days, we'd also been sharing drinks and meals and I hadn't taken any precautions to help avoid getting sick. But, two of us had it and at this point in the day, I felt fine. So I got the girls some toast and watermelon from the breakfast buffet and spent my day at the pool in the fresh air.

Check-out was at noon, so as the time approached I went back to the room to check on the others. Entering the room was pretty unpleasant, the air wreaked of stale vomit and the girls did not look good. I turned the AC down, opened the windows, and tried not to breath. It was evident that they were in absolutely no position to leave Railay now. Fortunately, the front desk understood and gave us until 4pm to check-out. And, back to the pool I went.

A few hours later, I ventured back to the room to assess the situation. Jaime was doing a lot better, and had already started packing up her things. We helped get Marta together, as Kimber returned from a day of errands. And, only then, as the three of us were ready to depart, did my stomach decide it was time to start hating me. I puked in the bathroom just as we were leaving the room.

As I mentioned, Railay is only accessible by boat and is not built for car transportation. Thus, we had to schelp down from our hotel to the boat docking station and catch a taxi boat to the nearest town, and then catch a shuttle van to the Krabi airport. En route, I threw up twice on the streets of Thailand. Although I felt absolutely miserable, I was really glad to have my friends with me and really glad to be going home. Jaime, Marta, and I made it to the Krabi airport and spent a very long time sitting on the ground just outside the bathrooms whereas Kimber stayed in Railay. She had another friend from the US joining her later that day and was venturing on to Ko Phi Phi.

Fortunately, the three of us made it to Bangkok without any barfing on the plane. We parted ways with Marta, who was staying the night in downtown Bangkok so she could explore the next day, before her flight back to Barcelona. I'd booked a hotel near the airport because I had a 6:30am flight to Chicago the following day.

Thailand Part 17 - Last Full Day in Railay

Saturday, March 21st

Despite our very late night, I woke up bright and early, in typical Jane fashion, ready to start my day. Why, breakfast on the lanai surrounded by monkeys? I think I will.

monkeys (and humans) loved to climb that cliff
When the other girls woke up they wanted to hike to this hidden lagoon swimming hole. I was a little disenchanted by Kimber's guide capabilities, so opted to stick around the pool/beach while the others explored. In retrospect, I probably should have gone with them.
at the top of the view point

all of Railay

the girls swimming in the lagoon
I was chillin' while they were trekkin'.
They were very ready for a swim when they got back from their trek.
That night we went back to the three bars in Railay to hang out with our fire dancer "friends" and make the most of our last night together.
watching the Muay Tai boxers

"where is Kimber?"

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thailand Part 16 - Relaxing in Railay

Friday, March 20th

After traveling for days and partying it up on a boat, we were all ready for a day of solid Thai relaxation. We started the day at the beach. Railay is teeny tiny, you can get around the whole town by foot. There are two main beaches, divided by a gigantic limestone cliff.
the path between beaches

Jaime and I woke up from our nap surrounded by Chinese tourists snapping photos of us.

That afternoon, we treked to the next beach over to explore. It was a tiny little hippy town, super removed from the rest of the world.
On our way home we stopped and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

That night we ventured out in Railay, made friends with the local fire dancers, and had a great time.
authentic Thai cocktails

the fire dancers picked ME to spin fire around. VIP.

Thailand Part 15 - Railay Beach

Thursday, March 19th

We left Ao Nang early to catch our boat to Railay, our last stop on our journey across Thailand, and Kimber's second home.

the weary crew

homesick yet? Nah.

Railay is famous for the huge limestone cliffs jetting out of the water and all around the mainland. These cliffs make it only accessible by boat, thus very secluded.

limestone cliffs from the boat
Postcard Thailand

so happy to be here

In Railay we stayed at Kimber's go-to, the Putawan Resort. She's a regular and got us a deal for a suite with two bedroom areas, AC, and free breakfast so we'd be comfortable for the next three nights. However, we did not spend much time there before joining up with Kimber's friends and boarding the Krabi Sunset Cruise.

VIP in Railay

Kimber was friends with the boat captain, and knew a lot of others on the tour, so it ended up being a little reunion for her.

Dinner on our sunset cruise

One of the first stops on the cruise is to see Chicken Island.

Rock climbing and cliff jumping
sunset cruise
Perhaps the coolest part of the pirate boat cruise was the bioluminescence you swim with at the end. It's too tough to photograph so I have no proof, but swimming around with it should definitely be on your Thailand bucket list.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thailand Part 14 - Koh Phangan to Ao Nang

Wednesday, March 18th

DAY OF TRAVEL! We covered a lot of ground by boat, bus, and car this day. It had to be done, and we did it in the cheapest, best, way we could. But, boy oh boy, were we happy when it was over.
from one end of Thailand to the other

way too much AC on the boat to the mainland. My Chicago clothes came in handy.
For dinner in Ao Nang, Kimber's favorite is the Mexican restaurant

In Ao Nang we had trouble finding a suitable guesthouse for four, and ended up staying in a lovely apartment above a nail salon. It was weird, for sure, but complete with AC, a balcony, a nice king sized bed and pull-out couch so nobody had to sleep on the floor.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thailand Part 13 - Koh Phangan (Thong Nai Pan to

Tuesday, March 17th

After an amazing night's rest, the four girls traveled by boat to another beach on Koh Phanang. Head Yuuan, one of Kimber's favorite spots, filled with lots of super-cheap housing, hippys, and real bad service. Basically, Thai paradise.

journey on a boat
mode of transportation
our home for the next two nights

When we pulled up to our new beach, the surf was pretty high causing me to very graciously get pummeled by a wave. Attempting to keep my bag above my head, the rest of my body was drenched underwater. Furthermore, our room was far from ready for us to check into, so we camped out on the beach to let my stuff dry and soak up some rays... Thai Paradise. 

First, stopping for lunch, and other things you buy at Thai restaurants.

Pina Colada was way too sweet at first taste.
Sometimes you just want to take a quick nap.

The rest of our stay in Head Yuan was very relaxing. We spent most of the time at the beach, and ended the day doing the crossword puzzle with a group of ex-pats who call Thailand home, including the "International Love Doctor." All in all, an experience not to forget.