Δευτέρα, 29 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Last Update from this blog!!

Hello everyone!

I would like to let you know that this is the last update from this blog, from "mymindstrips-demetra.blogspot.gr."

I created a new one, the " A Sky Full of Moments". Hope you will enjoy it!! 



Κυριακή, 7 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Update for the last days as an Au Pair - March 1st-18th, 2014

March 1st, 2014

It was my birthday! My host family took me out for dinner to celebrate it! It was my birthday and farewell gift!! It was an unexpected one: dinner on the top of Space Needle!! It's about one of the most expensive restaurants, but that 's not the clue.. The restaurant is in a shape of a circle and it turns around literally.. Anyone could enjoy the city from the top in 360 degrees!!! Thankfully, it turns very slowly! After the dinner, I am going out with my friends..!

March 7th, 2014

It's the first day of my last trip in the U.S.A. My destination was Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Los Angeles. My flight was in the morning and I arrived in Las Vegas in the afternoon. It was a shock for me to realize that there were slot machines even at the airport!!!  Basically, everywhere, anyone can gamble!!! I arrived in the hotel little bit later and I was trying to organize how  I was going to spend my time as better as I could. I booked a seat at one of the shows that hotel hosts after seeing all these signs on the street for shows. I couldn't help it! hahahaha

*I noticed the difference on the landscape. Nevada is flat and there are many cactuses.

March 8th, 2014

 I had to wake up at 5:45  and get ready for my trip to Grand Canyon. On the way there, there were three stops. One stop to a ranch for people, who hadn't bought the helicopter or helicopter-boat tour, the Hoover Dump,  and the Grand Canyon. I had booked the helicopter tour! I was about to see from the top the West Rim. It was amazing, because I was sitting next to the pilot!!! Then, we made stops at two points of the Grand Canyon, the Eagle Point and the Guano Point, which one was my favorite!

The tour came to an end one hour before the show, which I had booked, was about to begin. It was the MO5AIC show by a band of 5 men who sing a capella (without music). I had a blast! It was a perfect ending to a busy day!

:O!! Almost I forgot to mention the "nightmare" of booking seat to the bus to L.A.! But how could I forget since the "nightmare" continued the next day!!!

March 9th, 2014

I woke early in the morning ( not like the day before!), because I wanted to walk along the Las Vegas Strip before getting the bus to L.A. My tour started at the Luxor, a hotel that looks like a pyramid and in front there 's a statue of a Pharao. Then it was the Excalibur (castle looking hotel), MGM Grand, New York New York (with a copy of the Statue of Liberty), Planet Holywood, Aria, Paris (with a copy of Eiffel Tower) and at last Bellagio with the fountains (there are shows almost every 30 minutes) and the Caesars Palace. From there I took the bus to the Fremont Street where is the ultimate Las Vegas experience. There, my "nightmare" came up again, because I had difficulties to print my voucher to L.A. (It was so bad that I was checking flights from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, but the airfare made me insist to keep trying to figure out what to do with the bus voucher..!! pfff... ).

However, I made it and got in the bus. I was thinking the "nightmare" as an unforgotten experience/adventure from this trip. I left it behind me and I was looking forward to enjoy my time in Los Angeles. But, the hassle of that day wasn't about to end so soon. A 4-hour-trip ended up in a 7-hour-trip, which means that I arrived in the hotel around 10:30 pm, but I was relieved with the comforts of the hotel and I couldn't wait to get some sleep...

March 10th, 2014

It's 8 o' clock in the morning and I was at the concierge of the hotel booking a tour to Downtown Los  Angeles - China Town - Hollywood - Beverly Hills - Rodeo Drive - Farmer's Market. The tour was about to start at 10 am and end around 2:00-2:30 pm. It was beautiful. I would not forget the Hollywood Blvd, the avenue with all the stars and the Hollywood sign or Beverly Hills! It was a beautiful area of the city and the Farmer's Market- Rodeo Drive with all the shops.

In the afternoon, I went to Santa Monica, a  bay on the northern pat of L.A. It's where the Route 66 ends (Cars movie)! From there I walked to Venice Beach;  a walk that made me miss my hometown.

March 11th, 2014

I had to wake up, get ready and catch up my flight back in Seattle.

March 15th-16th, 2014

Last weekend in Seattle! Spending my time with my friends. Precious moments!!

March 17th, 2014

St. Patrick's Day or My-last-day-in-the-USA day. After giving a fight with the suitcases' weight, I was in the plane. I was going to be in Athens on March 18th, 2014 in the afternoon after making a stop in London.

The Au Pair life officially came to an END!!! Looking forward to the next adventures! ;)

March 18th, 2014

I got in Athens around 6 pm and I was waiting for my brother to pick me up. The exact date of my return wasn't known by everyone, apart from my brother, my friends in Seattle and the host family. I wanted to surprise my parents!

Τρίτη, 8 Απριλίου 2014

Update for January and February 2014 - Part 2

February 2nd, 2014

Two weeks ago, the Seahawks won against the 49ers (the football team of San Francisco), which led them to the NFL!! After their win, we learnt that they were going to play against the Broncos, the football team of Colorado.

And, here we are now, today it was the BIG MATCH!! It was about to start at 4 pm and everybosy was tuned in front of a television at their places or at a pub. After 3 hours of an amazing game, the Seahawks won the Broncos!!! For the first time, the Seahawks won the NFL !!!! Wooohooooo!!!!

After the game, my friends and I went downtown to celebrate the win with the rest of Seattle people. The whole city was celebrating till the morning!! Hahahahahaha

 February 5th, 2014

The Seahawks are coming home with the Lombardi Trophy. Everybody is downtown to welcome them..Even kids, having permission by their school, attended to the planned parade. 940,000 people
    gathered to celebrate and see closer their favorite football players!  Yeeeeaaaahhhhhh!!! :P

Δευτέρα, 7 Απριλίου 2014

Update for January and February 2014 - Part 1

New Year's Eve - December 31st 2013

Four hours before welcoming the new year, I found myself at the International Fountain of Seattle Center, which is close to Space Needle. I was one of the hundred people who gathered to experience and see the fireworks  from the top of Space Needle closer than ever! At this event, there were other Au Pairs with me to celebrate. I had the chance to meet new people and learn how differently the New Year's Eve is celebrated in another countries such as in Mexico where they eat 12 grapes. Twelve grapes that represent wishes for the whole new year; one grape for each month - a different wish for each month. Unfortunately, the girls had only one bag and we were a big group, so we could make only 5 wishes for the tear. We were supposed to eat them after the final countdown.

11:55 pm : Started looking at the time and saying almost every minute how much time is left for the New Year to "come".

11:59 pm : One minute left! We were excited more than ever, even though it was too cold outside.  The final countdown started... 10,9,8 (the Space Needle was pink and every second a light was popping out), 7,6,5 (holding the grapes and waiting to make my wishes/resolutions for 2014), 4,3,2,1 -----> HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I ate my grapes, I made my wishes and an hour later I was celebrating with my friends in a club!! Woot woot!!!

Κυριακή, 12 Ιανουαρίου 2014

December 13th-16th 2013 - A Weekend To Remember In New Orleans, LA (LOUISIANA)


After having being in New York in order to see the city and get some credits for the Au Pair Program, it was time to take the second and last class for the rest of required credits for the program's successful completion. Since, I learnt about the weekend classes and how fast and "easy" an Au Pair can get credits, I chose to take another weekend class. The class was held by the Sojourner Douglass College of Maryland, but located in New Orleans,LA. The topic of the course was similar to the one in New York and its name was "New Orleans Tour and the American Experience".

Friday, December 13th 2013

I left home to go to the airport after the kids had left for school. My flight was at 11:15 am (Pacific Time) and there was one stop in Dallas, TX for couple of hours. I arrived in Louis Armstrong International Airport at 9 pm. After an "adventure" at the airport trying to find out the transportation to go to the hotel, finally, I made it and went to sleep.

Saturday, December 14th 2013

The signing-in for the course was early in the morning. The first day of the class was the tour in the city of New Orleans [ Downtown/Financial District, French Quarter, Garden Quarter etc.].

From the bus, the tour guide showed us the Financial District where all the headquarters of the city are located until we made our first stop at the Louis Armstrong Park and Congo Square.http://www.neworleansonline.com/directory/location.php?locationID=1341 Then, we went to the Basin St. Station http://basinststation.com/flash/index.html. Next stop was the St. Louis 1st Cemetery. 

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. It was opened in 1789, replacing the city's older St. Peter Cemetery (no longer in existence) as the main burial ground when the city was redesigned after a fire in 1788.
It is 8 blocks from the Mississippi River, on the north side of Basin Street, one block beyond the inland border of the French Quarter. It borders the Iberville housing project. It has been in continuous use since its foundation. The nonprofit group Save Our Cemeteries and commercial businesses offer tours for a fee.
Famous New Orleanians buried in St. Louis No. 1 include Etienne de Boré, wealthy pioneer of the sugar industry and the first mayor of New Orleans;Homer Plessy, the plaintiff from the landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision on civil rights; and Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial, the first African-American mayor of New Orleans.
The renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is believed to be interred in the Glapion family crypt. Other notable New Orleanians here includeBernard de Marigny, the French-Creole playboy who brought the game of craps to the United States; Barthelemy Lafon, the architect and surveyor who allegedly became one of Jean Lafitte's pirates; and Paul Morphy, one of the earliest world champions of chessDelphine LaLaurie is also believed to lay in rest here. Architect and engineer Benjamin Latrobe was buried there after dying from yellow fever in 1820 while doing engineering for the New Orleans water works. In 2010, actor Nicolas Cage purchased a pyramid shaped tomb to be his future final resting place.[4]
The cemetery spans just one square block but is the resting place of many thousands. A Protestant section (generally not vaulted) lies in the north-west section.

Around 1 pm, we arrived in French Quarter  here St. Louis's church is located and in front of it is the statue of Napoleon inside the Plaza D' Armas. The French Quarter had Christmas decorations every where with red ribbons and Christmas trees pointing that soon the Christmas would be celebrated. Anyway, across the church, it's the Washington's Artillery Park and beyond that the Mississippi River. The four corners of the Plaza D' Armas host different artistic, cultural events such as jazz musicians, parades, etc. At one corner, it's the famous "Cafe Du Monde" which serves the best beignets and marks the start point of the French Market.

Leaving from the French Quarter, we passed through many different neighborhoods. During this tour, I noticed that the architecture of this city differs depending on which neighborhood someone is. For example, I saw from small, not-well-preserved cottages till huge, classical-style mansions. I admired the Garden District, and especially the houses on St Charles St. http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/architecture/.
Next stop was the City Park (http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/) where we rested for while.

From there, we ended up downtown. It was time to explore the nightlife of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is full of bars, pubs , cabarets and adult stores. Therefore, when the sun sets down, all the people go out to have fun on Bourbon St. Walking on the street with some other Au Pairs, whom I met during the class, I noticed people being on balconies and throwing fake necklaces to the pedestrians. Why??? I have no idea!!!! Hahahahahaha

It's impossible to describe how crazy, funny that night was. I can say only two things  that I had a blast and don't think about going to New Orleans... JUST GO!!!!!

Sunday, December 15th 2013

The whole day was spent in a hotel attending the class. After all, it was an interesting and controversial course. I liked it and I am glad with my choice to take this class. The end of the day found me in a hotel room getting some rest.

Monday, December 16th 2013

My flight back to Seattle was early in the morning with a stop in Dallas,TX (for one more time). After a long flight and several minutes of delay, I made it home.!! 


In New Orleans, someone will notice things that nowhere else in the U.S.A would be able to see like the Fleur-de-Lis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis), the Creole culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_New_Orleans) and the jazz music (http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/music/jazzclubs.html).

Τετάρτη, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2013

In New York with the Au Pair International !!! (September 24th-29th 2013)


Since the end of April, all the au pairs of Au Pair International were informed about the getaway that the agency was planning. After a short survey, the destination was chosen ----> New York, NY! The trip was scheduled to be on September 24th-27th, and if anyone wanted to, he /she could stay longer and be benefited by the chance of a weekend class at the Long Island University (LIU Post) and get 3 credits, on September 27th-29th. An au pair MUST attend classes or courses and get 6 credit hours (or 72 non-credit hours) in a year in order to complete successfully the Au Pair Program.

Anyway, I asked my host family if I could go by explaining them the opportunity of getting some credits and also visiting New York. They agreed and I started making a research for the upcoming trip. In a time of 4 months, I had booked the air-tickets, a hotel room for the first 3 nights and a New York Pass for all the sightseeing. At this point, I have to say that I was pretty lucky with my hotel reservation, because staying in New York is very expensive!! Therefore, if anyone wants to visit New York, he/she should look through websites with offers and discounts and sign up on these websites, so he/she can get better deals as far as hotel reservation, rental car, flights etc. Anyway, I got lucky, because I found a hotel at Midtown East Manhattan in a very good price! I could be in Times Square in 10 minutes on foot!!

But, let's get back to the story!!!

Tuesday, September 24th 2013

It was time for my trip to New York, but I had a difficulty.. I got sick the day before! However, after taking some medication and drinking a couple of cups of tea, I was feeling better and ready for my new adventure!

The flight lasted 5 hours and I arrived in NY at 3 pm (Eastern Time). I found my hotel easily, I checked-in and little bit later, I went to receive my New York Pass and start exploring the city.

My first stop was the Museum of Madame Tussaud. I don't know how much time I spent inside, but I took many pictures. Leaving from there and heading to the next sightseeing, I saw little bit of the Times Square and I passed through the Bryant Park, which is beautiful with all the pots of flowers, the ping pong tables on the side (ha!), the benches, the tables and chairs and the land of lawn. My next stop was the Rockefeller Center or else called the "Top of the Rock", where I went up on the 69th floor and admired the view of New York at night! I couldn't believe it! It was breathtaking and, especially, the Empire State Building ant the Chrysler Tower..

Wednesday, September 25th 2013

On that trip, I wouldn't be by myself, but also with Lisa Kempton (Director of Operations) and another au pair Ijima from Japan, who currently lives in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, I would meet them for the first time at the Battery Park. I had to wake up early and be there at 8:30 am in order to catch up one of the first ferries toward the Statue of Liberty.[ Unfortunately, we couldn't visit the Ellis Island because of the hurricane Sandy. ] At this point, I should mention that another au pair joined us that day, Vivienne from Georgia.

Anyway, we got on the ferry and we started immediately taking pictures of New York's skyline and the Statue of Liberty; after arriving on Liberty Island, we went upstairs and we got the chance to see the statue little bit closer and the view underneath. (The tickets to the crown were already sold out! ). Getting back to the Battery Park, there was an old man playing an awkward musical instrument. Anyway, he heard us talking with different accents and asked where we are from. We answered him that we 're from Japan, Georgia and Greece and that's it (!!!!), he started playing the National Anthems of our home countries! It was very nice of him!!

 Then, we went to the Memorial 9/11, I got thrilled to walk around where the Twin Towers were collapsed by 2 airplanes on September 11th 2001. We were waiting for a long time in line, but it worth it! In the place, where the 2 towers used to be, now, there were 2 fountains with the peoples' names that got killed. Some people were letting roses in the memory of those people.

Next stops were the Highline Park, a park built on an elevated railway, the Empire State Building, where we went up on the 86th floor to see the view from the highest building in the city. We could see the whole city from all the 4 points of the horizon.

I know it seems that we didn't visit a lot of places, but we barely used the railway! We preferred to walk all the time. The truth is that the best way to explore a city is walking!!! So, after buying dinner to get some energy, we walked to Broadway Theater to watch the "Cinderella" story!

Thursday, September 26th 2013

Next day found us at Times Square wandering and getting into the stores to take a look. We got into the Hersey's Chocolate store, the Disney Store, the M&M's Store, the American Girl Store and the Lego store. It was a weird tour into the stores, but totally fun!! Plus, we got the chance to buy souvenirs for our host families.

After hanging out at Times Square, Rockefeller Center and the "famous" stores of the 5th Avenue, we arrived in Central Park. We went from the entrance on 5th Avenue or else the Upper East Side of Manhattan. From this side, it's the Zoo and little further down a sculpture of Alice in Wonderland! It was beautiful. So beautiful that a family decided to take family photos that day! :P Generally, Central Park is like another world; an "oasis" in the middle of the concrete "desert" called New York. There are many ponds, small cafes and restaurants.

Before going to Metropolitan Museum, which is in Central Park, too, we made a stop at the fountain and the stairs that were seen on the last scene of the "One Fine Day" movie (1996), staring with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.

Next stop, as I mentioned above, was the Metropolitan Museum! It's huge! It's impossible to visit all the exhibitions in a day. Therefore, we decided to visit only the Modern Art Exhibition with masterpieces by Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali or Roy Lichtenstein. We stayed for couple of hours, but we weren't able to stay longer after so much walking. So, we went to sit and get some rest, and then  we headed to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.

At the entrance of the Hard Rock Cafe, there was an enormous electric guitar on the ceiling, meanwhile downstairs, where the restaurant was, the walls were covered by frames of people who have visited the Hard Rock Cafe, such as the Beatles, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and a picture of the founders.

And just like that, another day came to an end!

Friday, September 27th 2013

The last day of the tour in New York was spent between the Chinatown, the Brooklyn Bridge , the Little Italy and the stress of catching up the last train for Long Island.

We wandered on the streets of Chinatown between the open-air market, the souvenir shops, the restaurants (the lunch was delicious!), and then on the Brooklyn Bridge with the wonderful view of the city and the Manhattan Bridge. On the way back, we passed through the Little Italy with the authentic trattorias and the stores with leather accessories.

However, it was 3 pm and we had to get our things, go to the train station and catch up the last train in order to be on time at Long Island University. Our weekend-classes were about to begin !! :P





Δευτέρα, 4 Νοεμβρίου 2013

A weekend in Portland!! (August 24th-25th)


For almost a year, now, I am living in Seattle. However, I had never been in Portland, OR, which is 2 hours away by train. Viola, my Italian friend, also wanted to visit this city, so we started planning our trip there for the weekend of August 24th-25th 2013.  One day before we left, we booked the train tickets, the hotel room and that was it!!! We were ready for Portland!!! 

Saturday, August 24th 2013

We were about to leave early in the morning, at 7 am, in order to have as much time as possible to explore Portland. We met at the King Street Station and we got on the train. We arrived in Portland at 11 am and still with the back packs on we headed to Lan Su Chinese Garden, which was pretty close to the Union Station, and from there to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Both places were beautiful. At the Chinese Garden we admired the architecture and at the Crystal Garden, we liked the meadows.. It was like an image from a fairy tale.. ! 

Leaving from there, we headed to the hotel in order to check-in and get rid of the heavy" back packs and keep exploring the city! : P  After that, we wanted to visit 2 more gardens, the Japanese and the Garden of Roses. But due to time, we changed our plan and we went to see the Convention Center and, later, eat and have fun at the Pioneer Courthouse Square  where an Italian Festival was held; and... WE DID HAVE FUN!!! 

Sunday, August 25th 2013

The first thing that we did was a walk on the Waterfront and from there we headed to the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden. Even though it was raining and we got soaked, we liked the Japanese Garden, especially the rock gardens, and the variety at the Rose Garden!! OMG!  So many roses in different colors! By the way, Oregon is called as the Land of Roses!!


Later, we went downtown to eat something and take a walk around the neighborhoods. Of course we didn't forget to visit the Powell's Bookstore! Aaaahhh [sigh]!!!  I could camp inside there! I love reading and the smell of the books and paper..

But it was time to go to the station to catch up the train back to Seattle... :( 


* NOTE: I prefer to describe a little bit of 
                the places that I have been, 
               because it's a different experience
              for everyone! Therefore, I just make 
             sure that I have mentioned the places
            (names) if anyone would be interested
            in visiting them some day..!  
                                                      Thank you!!