Friday, July 07, 2006

Upstate New York

Friday, July 7, 2006
Whoa, what a week it's been! This past week I spent my time in beautiful upstate New York. My sister, brother-in-law, mom, and dad all rendez-vous-ed in Saratoga Springs, NY. There, we relaxed, talked, went out to dinner, and played 54 holes of golf. It certainly was a lot of golf. When I get the pictures, I'll throw one up of me playing golf. I hadn't swung a golf club in 11 months, so I expected it to be pretty bad - but I actually did alright. And, the more I played, the better I got. By the end of the third day, I was hitting the ball well, outdriving my dad and brother-in-law (once in a while). I learned through this experience, that practice makes perfect (or at least better)...and that if you expect to improve at something, you have to keep working at it.

From Saratoga, I drove with my sister to Ithaca, New York, where she and my brother-in-law live. Ithaca is home to two universities: Ithaca College and Cornell University. While out for some runs I checked both of them out...they have magnificent views, since Ithaca is located in a valley surrounded by mountains and at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake. This region is called "The Finger Lakes Region" because the climate and geography is similar - there are a series of long but narrow lakes running north and south created thousands of years ago by glaciers. You can see where this region is located - in western New York - by looking at the map to the above (courtesy of stayfingerlakes.com).

In Ithaca, my sister and I did many things, such as going for a hike in Taughannock State Park in Trumansburg, NY, just north of Ithaca, on the west coast of Cayuga Lake. We found some incredibly breathtaking while we were out for our hike. I've included some of my favorites - me braving the scary rapids, and a view of Cayuga Lake from up top of the mountain.

Since we needed to eat while in Ithaca, I convinced my sister to take me out for sushi. I have always been petrified of ordering sushi - it looks tasty to me, but I have no idea how to order it; the menu usually overwhelms me. My sister, however, is an expert at ordering sushi. In fact, she eats it once a week. Needless to say, I decided it would be great for me to use her as a resource..and so I did. She showed me not to be afraid of the sushi menu; it is just like any other menu. Typically, it will have the Japanese name and English equivalent, or just simply the English word of what you will be eating. Showing me how it was done step-by-step calmed me down - a lot. We finally ordered, having things like crispy shrimp roll, spicy crab roll, yellowfin tuna, spicy tuna, and a few other things that I cannot remember. Obviously, according to this picture, I thoroughly enjoyed eating my sushi. The best thing I learned, however, is not just that I like sushi, but more importantly, I learned how to order sushi on my own! Now, I can go anytime and eat the sushi, be it in Ithaca or Boston. I'm proud of myself, because I learned a skill - how to order sushi, as well as the ability to enjoy eating it anytime I want - the independence is amazing!

Now, it is time to go for a quick run and then watch the New York Yankees. Go Yanks!