Friday, January 15, 2016

Christmas in Colombia



We barely made it to Colombia this year. There was a 62 page leave packet submitted, terrible airline problems (I'm looking at you Spirit Airlines) and serious parental dislike in our destination choice. We made it though and we managed to return without being kidnapped, drugged or attacked in any way. Lucky us, right?
Colombia has a bad reputation but seriously, it was almost 30 years ago! Of course they have their problems still, but I highly endorse vacationing in this magnificent country. It is too large to explore everywhere so just start with the touristy cities and I promise you will not be disappointed.
Cartagena was our first stop and was incredible. Safe, beautiful, diverse and cheap! Cheap if you are making USDollar pay. We ate 3 course meals with a bottle of wine and paid $30 USD for both of us. The food is delicious, fresh and so flavorful. Bonus, neither of us returned with any stomach problems.
Cartagena from La Popa
La Popa Monastery

Old Town Cartagena
Entrance to Old Town
A day at La Playa Blanca

Pargo Rojo with coconut rice on the beach

The top photo is from this year at the pool, the bottom photo is 7 years ago on our first vacation to Mexico

Our next city was Medellín and we were blown away by how modern, clean and unique it is. It recently won the "Innovative City of the Year" and it's clear to see why. We went on a great Colombian street food tour, walked around some nice neighborhoods, rode on the cable cars and ate at so many great restaurants.

Botero Plaza

Botero Plaza

Arepas, empanadas, queso and more on the La Mesa food tour

Medellín from the cable cars

Typical lunch. Let me tell you about these avocados!!!
 Bogotá was our final stop and I was a little apprehensive about our safety in the city. I've read about the dangers hailing taxis from the street and being robbed at gunpoint, etc. We had no problems and the taxi situation turned out to not be a problem because it was so inexpensive to hire a driver. The hotels can also call you a taxi from anywhere you are to be sure you are getting a certified driver.
It's hard to say what my favorite part was, but I really enjoyed Bogotá. It may have been due to my lower expectations and initial fears. Then when we realized we weren't going to have any problems, it may have made this experience better than we imagined. Either way, this adventure was incredible and I am so glad we were able to go.

Bogotá from Monserrate

Graffiti in the city

Me & Corey on the mountain

New Years Eve on the small cities tour

  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Flight School Graduation

It's difficult to sum up the last year and a half so here are pictures ;) The main lesson I've learned from being here and struggling everyday, being tested on the reg and in a constant state of anxiety/panic, is that the time will always pass. I waited a little longer than the average to really follow my dreams and I almost didn't even do it. If I had just done nothing, the time would have still passed and I'd still be wishing I had done something more with my life. 
The world's most supportive husband pinning my Aviator Wings.

At the Aviation Museum after graduation in front of a Huey.
Outside trying to leave but the families wanted pictures with our berets on. I'm not good at the beret.


My graduating class 15-002.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Almost Went to Honduras

I am 3 weeks, I repeat, 3 weeks away from finishing flight school. 15 more flights and I will be a Blackhawk pilot! I have to pass one last checkride so that technically still stands in my way, but I am about to leave Ft. Rucker. 2 months ago our class got orders and mine said Honduras. I was not happy since I've been geographically separated from my husband for the last 18 months and he was deployed for 8 months right before we left Germany.
Honduras is a year unaccompanied tour with the "guarantee" that I would get my follow on to Ft. Bragg. If I were to go, that would mean over 3 years of separation from my husband and I about lost my mind. It really did take all I had to keep myself together and let's just use that term loosely. Honestly it was hard to even think about it without tearing up, let alone try and talk to cadre who didn't care at all and told me to look on the bright side. I'm a "bright side" person and I am very good at looking on that side, but that was not even an option in my mind so I was not hearing any of it. I did everything I could to try and change my assignment but nothing was happening.
Fortunately my husband's unit came to the rescue and knew the right people to talk to the other right people to force an assignment change. I can't really describe my relief but I am ecstatic that someone out there cared enough about a family to do something. I consider myself a career-oriented person and I feel that I make a contribution to the workplace and I enjoy a great amount of satisfaction from working. However, I will always choose my family over my career or job. I never want to be poor and never want to rely on someone else for sustenance, shelter or any other provision, but I truly believe that families are worth more than careers.
Nothing is official yet, I only have verbal orders but I should be moving to North Carolina next month to finally live with my husband again in our beautiful new home. I am so excited to be a normal family unit and work in the yard and clean the house and enjoy marital bliss again. Maybe in a few years I'll get the chance to go to Honduras because that is on my radar, but not just yet. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Burt Family Reunion

I had an ultra quick Fourth of July trip back to Roseburg, OR for a full Burt fam reunion. Every single family member made it and it was incredible. The weekend was pretty short because I only got 4 days off, but we packed it in as best as we could. The travel part was sort of difficult and frustrating (ie delayed flights, cancelled flights, terrible weather) but eventually I made it to Portland and met up with Corey to celebrate our 6th anniversary. We drove down to the Burg the next day and had all kinds of family fun.
My mom scheduled family pictures and they weren't as bad as I imagined. Corey and I are not what you would call good at taking pictures. Ours turned out as well as you would imagine for two awkward people who are trying to get photos done as quickly as possible. Luckily all of the grandkids made up for it with their adorable cuteness!

This is everyone! I am so glad we were all able to make it. 

My grandparents and all of my cousins. I can't tell you how much fun we all had together as kids, playing at my grandparents house in Cerritos. There was a pool and there were big wheels. 'Nuff said.

All of the spouses who were lucky enough to marry into the Burt fam ;)

My parents, siblings, spouses and nieces & nephews. My favorite group of people!

Corey is desperately trying to escape.

One more cousin shot with our Aunt Cindy. She was the one who spoiled us the most growing up :)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Born to live

I heard this lyric the other day and I had a moment where I thought about something I've heard before, in a totally different way. Not to get too philosophical, but really we should think about letting go of stress, conflict and just being alive. After all, why were we born? 
Anyway, I love having fun and doing as much as I can. I get super tired too and have veg out days but

My first Army 10 miler!

The Warranted Aggression softball team


Wine & art on a Friday night

Putting some miles on the Thruxton

Panama City Beach!!! 

I met my baby in Helen, GA to pretend we were back in Germany
The hybrid battery died in the Prius so I had to upgrade :)

I bought the Benz! I love it.

Dove grey interior...my dream


My view from the office


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lady Luck

That is what I named my new motorcycle :) I'm so excited about this purchase and can't wait to get some miles on this beast. She's a Triumph Thruxton Ace edition. Ace Café in London worked with Triumph on this bike and it is classic and gorgeous.
I'm new to this style of bike so I'm a bit shaky but will hopefully get comfortable after a few more rides. My first motorcycle was a Yamaha V-Star and you sit more upright on that bike than the Thruxton. My foot keeps searching for the shifter because it is further back now. Small changes can really throw me off.

At the dealership patiently waiting for me

All ready for the drive home

Just sitting on it. I always ride with PPE.
My V-Star back in 2007

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Selection

Yesterday was the big aircraft selection day that I've been waiting for. It was an exciting day full of sweaty palms and pits. We all met in a conference room and anxiously waited for the list of available aircraft to select from. There was 1 Chinook, 5 Apaches and 25ish Blackhawks for the picking. One by one they called our names and we stood to claim our future helicopter. I love them all but decided that Blackhawks suited me best.
Now I can tell people that I'm training to be a Blackhawk pilot instead of explaining that I'm still learning on the TH-67 and don't know what I will end up flying. It feels great and I'm so excited to get on those controls and see what this beast can do.

My first time in a UH-60
A badass picture of a badass bird!
I can't wait until people are fast roping out of my aircraft!