Thursday, May 29, 2014

How Puerto Rico Stole My Heart

I come from a very diverse family. My immediate family growing up was quite Polish, we still have family on a hill once called “Pollock Hill”. The Polish festival was always one of my favorite days of the year because my great uncle would make homemade pierogies. Om nom nom.
When I was around 10, I think don’t quote me on that, my mom married an Italian man. His parents lived in South Africa, he had family still in Italy, his brother was married to a Puerto Rican woman, and he had lived about a gagillion places I swear. Including living in a van in Michigan for a year.
The introduction of my step-dad changed the shape of our family culture. I swear I didn’t know what loud was until I saw my step-dad and Uncle in a room together. They switch back and forth from Italian, Spanish, and English mid-sentence. And as Italians, all conversations are loud and have lots of gestures. With my uncle and step-dad there is always lots of swearing in three languages as well. Along with my new uncle also came my new Puerto Rican aunt. A loud and sassy woman who used to live in a house with both my uncle and my step-dad, you know she has got to be one brave tough lady.
I have grown up with these characters and the diversity they provided my family for so long I barely remember a time before them.
The point of this spiel though is that if my mom had never married my step-dad I may have never traveled to Puerto Rico.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Cruising

I have been fortunate enough to have a travel agent as a grandmother, albeit one with a definite preference to cruising. This blog will be dedicated to the pros and cons of cruising as a form of travel.

Lets begin with the Pros:
  1. If you have kids cruising can be a very appealing option. I went on two Disney cruises before hitting my teens and absolutely loved them! Cruise ships have day camps (day cares) for children, which are especially helpful for days at sea. The Disney kids room had a pirate ship, toys, and interactive activities; one day we got to play with dry ice and make flubber. This allows the adults some free time to enjoy the rest of the ships amenities, particularly the spa and the bangin bars. 
    • Aside from the day care most ships, particularly Disney, have a lot of space dedicated to kids throughout the ship. This ranges from kid friendly pools to a rock wall or mini-golf. Obviously these can be enjoyed by all ages but are a special bonus if travelling with kids.
  2. The entertainment factor! Cruises have something going on at all times and it is always listed in the daily itinerary, so there is no searching for something to do that night. I have seen fantastic plays, water shows, comedians, game shows and more on cruises. Now that I am old enough, I have also enjoyed the on-ship casinos. 
    • As I stated earlier many ships today come equipped with rock walls, mini-golf, surf simulators, zip-lines and more. These are fun on there own but there are also competitions associated with them that are fun to participate in or watch. My personal favorite has been the "Mr. Universe" contests, where men must strut there stuff and show off there best belly flop.