Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Six Things

Yesterday afternoon, I opened up an email from Casey.  It began like this:

Just wanted to give each of you a heads up that I've tagged you in a post on my blog today! I know, I know... people HATE being tagged in these kinds of posts.
And I thought, "Oh my God. What is this about?  Maybe it's one of those super annoying... actually, I don't know what this could be because I usually feel special when I'm tagged by a blogger but this sounds scary."  So I finished reading her email and I clicked over to her post and breathed a sigh of relief because, strangely, I love these kinds of posts!  Sometimes bloggers cop out - if I read one more "I'm afraid to tell you that I'm a perfectionist" I might scream - but Casey got totally real in hers.  (I especially loved her #4.)  So thanks for tagging me, lady, and here goes!

photo from this past weekend's #americanbachelorette

If money were no object, what are 2 things you'd buy for yourself right now?
You know you're a brave new world of adulthood when the two things you'd buy if bills grew on trees are a house and a car.  There are lots of fun things I'd love to splash out on, but these are two significant purchases that would really help Jon and me start our life together here in DC.  I'm renting a studio right now and I love it, but it's not a long-term option for us ("us" includes Charlie too, obviously) and Jon, while not generally a huge fan of making Big Plans For The Future, is super excited about owning a home.  And then you don't strictly need a car in DC - I rely mostly on public transportation and am sometimes able to borrow my parents' car when I really need it plus I have a Zipcar membership - but, especially with a big dog, it makes life so much easier.

Pick 3 bloggers: who would you most like to travel with?
Easy!  I'd want to go on a luxe city break with Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy.  Gesci would be the best travel companion for a slightly more rugged holiday of wandering through scenic landscapes (with the dogs, of course).  And I'd love to plan a history-filled week of visiting stately homes, crumbling castles, and magnificent museums with Belinda.

Tell me about a time you felt in awe of something.
I find medieval cathedrals overwhelmingly awesome.  The National Cathedral in Washington was my second home growing up so you'd think I'd be used to these sorts of places but, even though I'm intimately familiar with gothic architecture and I'm not Christian, I feel absolutely humbled when I enter the soaring nave of a cathedral.  Made of one hundred million pounds of weighty stone, some walls seemingly sustained only by colored glass, with breathtakingly soaring arches and brilliantly intricate carvings, medieval cathedrals were built for the glory of God.  It's easy to understand how, centuries ago, before modern tools and engineering, it was believed that they were built by the glory of God as well.  (This PBS show on European cathedrals is fantastic; I definitely recommend watching it if you want to learn more!)

If you could pack up all your belongings and move to a new city or country, where would you move?
Honestly, I'm looking forward to not moving for a while!  That's part of the reason that Jon's immigrating to the US - I can't bear another transatlantic shlep right now.  But we do talk abstractly about where we might like to live when we move back to England, which we will eventually; London's at the top of the list, of course, but we're also toying with the idea of trying out Oxford or Cambridge.  Because of our careers, we do need to be in a good-sized town with a thriving cultural/intellectual scene, but we like the sound of somewhere a bit slower and smaller than London.  Who knows what will happen, of course, especially depending on what the economy does and how our needs and/or priorities change when we have children, but I do enjoy fantasy property hunting in the meantime!

Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?
Just like everyone has a unique definition of intimacy, I think we each have our own definitions for love.  Based on mine, I don't believe in love at first sight.  Interest at first sight?  Absolutely.  Attraction at first sight?  Definitely.  Lust at first sight?  Certainly.  But love - no.  Love, as I define it, can't be felt until you've explored the other person's mind and heart, and that's not possible on sight alone.

Riddle me this. If winners never quit and quitters never win, how is it possible to quit while you're ahead?
I'm pretty sure this question was meant as a joke, but I actually stayed up really late last night thinking about it!  And I have an answer: I think that you can quit while you're ahead but still win by changing your definition of "quitting" and "winning."  (Man, I'm all about definitions these days!)  This is actually one of the things I struggle with the most - knowing how to pick my battles, where to stop, when to be satisfied with what I've accomplished, and why it's okay to set limits.  (The word "definition" actually comes from the Latin definiendum, which originates in definio or "I set limits."  How cool is that?)  If there are no limits to what you try to achieve, you'll never actually achieve anything!  You can accomplish anything if you change how you understand winning.

Now it's my turn to pick a few bloggers to tag to answer my questions!  I'm going to tap my upcoming September sponsors:

KC at K.C. Saling
Belle at Finding My Virginity
Sarah at The Quixotic Chica
Belinda at Found Love, Now What?  (She's actually done one already - find it here! - but I'm tagging her again with new questions anyway because I'm generous like that.)

And here are the questions:

- Tell us about a situation that ended with you feeling really proud of yourself.
- I always leave conversations thinking, "Oh man, I wish I had said that witty comeback but I came up with it too late!"  When was the last time it happened to you?
- Someone is giving you a full scholarship and a stipend to get a degree in anything, anywhere you want.  Where would you go and what would you study?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- If you could be a fictional character, who would it be?
- What actor would you choose to play you in a movie about your life?

Of course, anyone can play along even if you haven't been tagged!  Let us know if you do - or if you already have - by leaving a comment so we can check out your post.  I can't wait to see what you come up with!

By the way, speaking of sponsors... I have one more Casual Traveler spot left for September and October is almost all booked!  Email me at betsytransatlantically@gmail.com if you want to discuss partnering.


  1. I love that you want to climb castle ruins and see museums with me! Betsy, we need to make that happen! We would have so much fun exploring.... {As long as I can have a snuggle with Charlie!} Second, I love that you tagged me again... you have really good questions!!!

  2. One of the things I want to do in the fairly near future is visit castles in England. I think I would be just as in awe as you are of the cathedrals! There was a cathedral in Savannah, GA that my family went into while on vacation and it was absolutely stunning. I was almost speechless!

  3. Glad you did this post too! Oh, and yeah, I wish I had a ton of money so I could buy an awesome townhouse in DC. Why are they so expensive?!

  4. love your answers!!! so fun! and i like what you said about love at first sight (even if I do believe in it!) and I love medieval cathedrals!

  5. I guess I have a hard time believing in love at first sight because it never happened to me? but that doesn't mean it can't happen to other people if they're open to it! I think that's the secret with love :)

  6. let's go together! you can come with me and Belinda :)

    When I was living in Paris (sorry to be pretentious...) I nannied for this 3 year old American girl who LOVED stained glass windows. She and her family were staying near Saint Eustache - it's an amazing church but not known for its windows. So one day we took a field trip to the Sainte Chappelle, which is THE church you visit in Paris for stained glass. It's very small and very reverberant (is that a word?) and you're supposed to whisper when you're inside so you don't disturb the sacred space etc. We walk in and Lily, this little American girl, says really loudly, her voice FULL of wonder, "Look at all the colors!" I was afraid we were going to get kicked out, but even the guards there were like, "Yes. This is amazing. You are right."

  7. Oh don't worry! You don't sound pretentious at all. If I had lived in Paris (or anywhere abroad really) I'd probably talk about it all the time! That's such a cute story.

  8. I've only been to Wales once but I'm desperate to go back - methinks a long weekend as part of a UK trip is definitely in order!

  9. Thank you for tagging me! I can't wait to play along! Also, I LOVE your answer to the last question. So wonderfully nerdy and perfect.

  10. I LOVE your response to the "love at first sight" question! And these are great questions - thanks for the tag, let me see what I can come up with! :D

  11. you're such an adult, Betsy. ;) I'm not sure how I feel about love at first sight. I go back and forth a lot I think. I was actually going to tag you in my post tomorrow buuuuuut looks like you're coming off that list :)

  12. Y'all can't go to English castles without me! I couldn't get enough of the castles, although if I was going to live in an old property I'd take a cathedral or minster, hands down.

    And I am obsessed with stained glass- I don't understand how anyone with sight wouldn't be?! There's a church in Krakow with amazing modern stained glass windows that are just striking. You should go. And take me, because I love Krakow. And will need more salt eventually.

  13. You kind of crack me up that you make me sound like an outdoorsy adventure traveler... since the main reason I/we ever did long walks and such was for the dogs! Most of our jaunts, dogs included, involved castle and abbey ruins. It was one of our favorite things about living in GB that we could throw the dogs in the car and head to Scotland for the day, or we'd find 2-3 properties on our National Trust/English Heritage maps that were near each other and head to those.
    But sure, I'll/we'll go walking with you, Jon, and Charlie any time!
    Fun post!!

    And I don't believe in love at first sight either... but then I also don't believe in "love" as we culturally and socially define it, so there's that...

  14. Oxford or Cambridge for the win lady! We're going back and forth over this in my house too at the moment - it's exciting to think that we could end up anywhere, but the planner in me wants to know it all yesterday. And wants to know where the money tree is located. Looking forward to reading the responses from the lovelies you tagged!

  15. woop! and thank you :) I always feel like I'm killing someone's kitten when I say I don't believe in it...

  16. I GOT YOUR EMAIL! I'll work it in - thanks :)

  17. we do rambles during the day with the dogs (and husbands!) and then we come back to a cosy b&b and eat all the cheese and bread and drink all the tea. deal?

  18. THANK YOU I'M NOT ALONE! Even if it doesn't happen, I want to plan for the possibilities, you know?

    (When I find the money tree, I will tell you. Promise.)

  19. Woo hoo, I've been tagged!! :D I'm totally with you on cathedrals. It's impossible to be in the midst of all that gothic architecture and not be moved. Oh, the flying buttresses!! They get me every time.

  20. I think people who believe in it mix up love and being in love. I look at it as two different things. I love my husband. I'm in love with the mountains, caramel macchiatos, and half the stuff I've seen on Joss & Main.


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