Saturday, January 21, 2012

California We Made it!

So yes I know its been a couple days now. I unfortunately had some issues uploading my photos so my apologies! 
Tuesday morning we woke up in Albuquerque New Mexico. We were staying at this Days Inn that wasn't the most flattering hotel in the world. Josh was a bit uneasy the whole time we were there but we were ok. It was a really neat city. My mom told me it was one of my grandmas favorite places to visit. We left around 7:30 am and didn't have to deal with traffic so that was great! As we kept going through New Mexico we starting seeing some white stuff on the ground... Yup it was snow and it was cold out. We put our winter coats back on after having them off the day before. We made our way into Arizona and to Flagstaff to see the Grand Canyon. We thought that once we got into Flagstaff it would be soon but it turns out that you still have to go another hour and half north to get to it. As we started getting higher and higher in elevation my head started to hurt. My ears were popping a ton and my mouth where my wisdom teeth were taken out just a week before were starting to hurt as well. It was pretty uncomfortable but what could you do. After a while I got use to it and soon enough we were by the entrance. We got our pass and got on the two lane road that stretched out another 30 miles around the Canyon. We didn't go that far out, we stopped at Mather's Point. We parked and got out to what looked like a visitor's center. There was a lot of people around but the problem was we didn't know where to go! I know this seems ridiculous but I figured it would be obvious where it was! It was very cold and there was snow everywhere. We ended up walking around this trail for a while and finally I saw it. We walked up to a point that had a fence around it but was a bit out which was really cool. The Canyon itself had a hazy fakeness to it. It almost didn't seem real but it was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It just went on and on for miles! We walked around to different views and soaked everything in. This is truly an American Treasure. After we were done we drove south and back on to the I-40 which is the old route 66. We wanted to get into California but I then realized that by the time we would do that it would be dark and I wouldn't be able to get a picture of the state line. The decision was then to stay in a city called Kingman which is about an hour from California. It was a nice stay much better then the hotel from the night before. 
We woke up Wednesday morning very anxious and excited to get on the road however we encountered a couple problems. Our cables to charge our iPhones weren't working and the charger itself kept falling out of the cigarette lighter. Not good obviously. We ended up having to make a trip to get a new charger. It didn't set us back much but we then got everything figured out and were on the road. It took just under an hour to pass the state line into California. From there we ended up having to go through an inspection which I thought for sure was going to be rough just because we had so much stuff in our car. It ended up being pretty painless and quick. They asked us some questions, they gave us a paper, and then we were on our merry way. We would spend most of the day going up the state into northern California. We were pretty south, just a few hours east of LA. We were able to bypass and go around LA and its traffic so i was very relived about that. Around 11:00 we were getting pretty hungry. It was important for us to be able to try In-N-Out that day seeings how it was our first day in California. However, when we looked up the nearest one it ended up being two hours away! The rest stops are all so far apart so this wasn't surprising. Josh and I made the decision to hold out and wait till we got to it. Around 1:00 pm we made it to an 
In-N-Out. We walked in and saw the very small menu consisting of 3 different burgers, one size fry, drinks, shakes, and well that was pretty much it. I was confused because I thought for sure there was more. We went simple and just ordered a couple burgers, fries, and a drink. They give you a number and you wait for your order to be called out. The place was packed! I noticed behind the counter a guy working at the fry machine. There was a machine that he was using to cut the potatoes into a bowel and right into the fryer. I thought that was pretty neat, not to mention I knew the fries would be fresh. Our order came out and we decided to sit outside. It was a bit chilly but still warm enough for me! I took a closer look at the burger and discovered that it had sauce on it... if you don't know Josh you should be informed that he HATES sauces. This wasn't a good sign. I took a bit into my burger and it was incredible! The sauce was amazing, the bun was soft, and it had pickles, it was just awesome! I tried the fries and wow the best fries at a fast food place hands down! In my head I'm celebrating but I turn to Josh scared of what his reaction would be... "this burger sucks" we're his words. I was pretty disappointed but after I saw that sauce I knew it wouldn't be good. I sent a picture to my sister and she then told me there was other stuff to order that isn't on the menu. There's different ways of ordering like 4x4, 3x4, 2x2, animal style, dutchman, grilled cheese, just a bunch of different options that just aren't there on the menu! I guess its a California thing to just know about it. We know better for next time I promise! Josh also agreed to try different things so that was nice. Hopefully next time will be better. With each hour I became more and more anxious. When we were about a half hour away it was around 5:30 and we started hitting traffic! I guess it was bound to happen especially since we hadn't dealt with it during our whole trip. It took us a while but we eventually got to our place in Berkeley which is across the bay from San Francisco. It was dark and we weren't 
sure how to park. 
The evening was spent unloading our stuff and getting settled into our sublet. Which is part of a house that we are renting out. We will be staying here for a month until we find a place of our own. We figured this would give us enough time to find a place we are comfortable with. We have some adjustments that we need to get use to. One is the green way of life. The land lords have a washer and dryer that we are allowed to use. However we can only use the dryer unless its an emergency and theres rain out. We have to hang dry our clothes on lines. Its actually kind of cool we won't have to do that quite yet but we will within the next couple weeks. Another thing is all the trash. There are three different bins for waste, compostable, recyclable, and trash. The trash is the smallest one... yeah this is sure something I don't want to mess up. I think after a while I will get use to it. There are fuel cell busses, waster vehicles that use reusable fuels, this town is very much a green city. I can appreciate that. The first evening we slept we went to bed very early and were asleep for about 12 hours... It had been a long 4 days. However everyday feels like we had been getting only a little sleep. We sleep great but I still feel very tired. I thought it was from the trip but people are suggesting that its from the elevation change. I hope I get use to it soon because I hate feeling like this. The time change is also bizarre. My internal clock has me waking up way earlier then I should be. Just another thing to get use to. It been raining the entire time we've been here. Its better then the snow back home but still a little sad. Its hard to walk around and start to get familiar with everything when its raining. Hopefully we can get our more soon. We've been driving around despite the rain running earns and checking out some places but I want to go exploring on foot! We will be getting into the city Sunday night to see a friend. I'm very excited  for that. Lots to do I'm job hunting and we are working on finding a place of our own. More updates to come but until then here are some pictures.

It almost looks fake

There was snow!

On the road in Arizona

New Mexico!

At a gas station in New Mexico

Grand Canyon 


People try to jump to rocks like these to get better views.

 Josh and I 

I thought this plant was awesome

Rock Hills

I love this one


Lots of Snow

Cool trees

Its me! 

The canyon was hazy

Orange trees!

California state line!

On the road in California

Best burger and fries I've ever had!


 I've never seen so many cows in my life!

They say California cows are the happiest

The house we are staying in!

~Vanessa M. Martinez

Monday, January 16, 2012

Road Trip Day 1 and 2

Wow we have had a long couple days. We left bright and early Sunday morning at 7:00 am. Getting out of Holland was thrilling and sad. I just kept thinking to myself... wow am I seriously doing this? Its not avoidable really but the further and further away we got from Holland, and eventually out of Michigan, I got more excited. We spent a while crossing Illinois. The snow piles kept getting smaller and smaller. We got into St. Louis and decided to stop and see the Arch. I was very excited to see it. Wow was it huge! We had planned on going to the top but unfortunately it was too long of a wait so we had to scrap the idea and continue on. However, I was able to get some pictures that I'm happy with. Getting out of St. Louis was interesting. We wanted to stop at a Starbucks but kept having a hard time finding one. We eventually found one but then we wanted to gas up after that and had a hard time finding a gas station. It took a while but we eventually got out of St. Louis and across Missouri. At the end of the day we stopped in Miami, Oklahoma to call it a night. 
Today went smooth. We made it across the prairie lands of Oklahoma. It wasn't the most breath taking scenery but it was fun seeing all the cows and horses. There were many billboards and signs talking about the Native American history of the area. As we drove it kept getting warmer and warmer. It was also extremely windy. We saw a lot of wind turbines, which I thought was great. Lets hear it for renewable energy right?! We got out of Oklahoma and into Texas. Everyone talks about how big Texas is but I think it was the state we spent the least amount of time in. We only crossed the pan handle which is the north part of Texas and its the smallest. We passed Amarillo which was just a couple hours north of Lubbock which is where my mom was born. There was a Starbucks in Amarillo that we ended up stopping at. There were many people who had accents and even saw cowboy hats. The south is great. We got out of Texas and into New Mexico where we switched into Mountain time! The sun was setting when we started to see the mountains. The road continued to get curvier and steeper as we traveled through the dark. I was bummed I couldn't see the mountains better but tomorrow we will get to see plenty of them. We are currently in Albuquerque resting for the night. Its been a great couple days. Tomorrow we are going to see the Grand Canyon. I'm very excited. Here are some pictures of course. =) 

Missouri Sky

He's been doing such a great job!

Me being a dork... =) 

Sun Setting in Oklahoma

Land in Oklahoma

In the car

My bear Bernie had his own seat

Loved seeing all this renewable energy in Texas!

More Wind Turbines 

New Mexico

Only 2 more days! 

~Vanessa M. Martinez

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 8-14 Week 2

 Week 2 In January!

January 8, 2012
Spent another day in bed. This was a view from the couch I had to lay on. The doctor said I had to stay sitting up.

January 9, 2012
Nolani Rae came over to give me my Christmas present. She paid for it all by herself. I was so proud and honored to get this beautiful new charm for my Pandora bracelet.

January 10, 2012
I finally got some ice cream! It felt great on my mouth. I was able to start eating more solid foods as well.

January 11, 2012
This is Froggy's in Holland. Its one of my favorite local burger and fry joints. AMAZING! I met Miriam here to chat and say goodbye.

January 12, 2012
Just a few days before we leave to California and we get slammed with snow. This was just the beginning it got worse but way to say farewell Michigan!

January 13, 2012
Over the past 6 months I started collecting access vinyl from the projects that I weeded at work. By the end I accumulated a lot of confetti. It was my last day of work and I think you can see what happened...

January 14, 2012
My going away Party. This is Rosie with our cousin's daughter Mia. I thought this picture was precious

Another great week! This next week will sure be eventful... California here I come!

~Vanessa M. Martinez

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Wesco Journey

My Parents live on a little street with just seven houses on it. If you walk to the end of Rose Street and look across Lakewood Boulevard you will see a convenient store called Wesco. Ever since I was a little kid growing up and riding my bike to the end of that road I knew there was something special about that place. It was the only Wesco in Holland and as far as I knew it was the only one around the area. They always had the nicest people working who were always patient when we would bring pop cans to cash in just to get an icee. You could always count on walking in to the smell of fresh popcorn. In 2005 they started tearing down the small brick building and I was of course in agony because I thought they were taking it away! I found out they were rebuilding the store little did I know what that would do for me. 
In the Fall of 2007 I was starting my Senior year of High School. I was working at Mcdonalds but wasn't too thrilled about it. The managers were awful and the hours didn't work well for me. My mom had talked to our neighbor who was the manager of the ToGo at the Wesco. She said she was looking for help and asked if I was interested. I was coming home from volleyball practice when my mom sprung it to me that I was about to go in for an interview. She dropped me off and next thing I knew the interview was over. I was hired within the week and more then thrilled to take my 2 minute walk across the street to work. I knew a lot of the people there from coming in so often so it was an easy transition. 
My senior year of high school I was the sandwich and pizza girl. I loved making people happy, it was and still is one of my favorite things. That summer I graduated from high school and decided that I would attend community college to save money and work. Wesco has a reimbursement program that will give you back money for good grades. July that summer they closed the Deli and because my 18th birthday wasn't until September I became a stocker and cleaner. I worked a few days a week, saving my money and enjoying the summer with friends before they went away to college. September came and I became a Sales Associate, serving customers with a smile was my goal everyday. 
November 2008 I met a guy with glasses and a funny beard that came in a filled his popcorn buckets before working his 3rd shift at the radio stations in Grand Rapids. I received a message from a friend telling me that a radio show in the morning was talking about me. Turns out that guy had a big crush on me. He appeared a lot older then he really was. He once asked me for coffee and I wasn't sure what to say I hardly knew him after all. I started hiding in the cooler or the back room whenever he would come in. After several months of convincing and conversation, not to mention a good shave, I finally realized what a wonderful guy he really was. We started dating late spring of 2009. I don't think we would have ever met if it weren't for those buckets or my pink polo that he thought was cute on me.
November 2009 my coworker Rob approached me with an email that wassent down from corporate about a job opening at the office. His wordswhere "you can do this this, it sounds like you. I really think youshould apply!" There was a tight time frame for me to get my resumeand internal application filled out but I managed to get everything in. I interviewed in Muskegon on a cold November morning. I left extra early to make sure I wouldn't get lost. Problem was I left too early…I ended up showing up 40 minutes early and wasn't sure what to do with myself. I parked in the parking lot with my dads loud pick up truck because my mom had my car that day. It was so embaressing. I met Bryan and Cody and wasn't sure what to think, especially after using the word cute to describe the place. I gave it my all, left it at that but latter that week I got a call from Bryan Link asking me to come in again for another interview. I was a bit shocked but of course excited. I came in for a trial run. I cut, laminated and even helped wrap a car. It was exciting and so much fun. A week went by and Bryan called and asked if I wanted the job. I gladly excepted.
I would spent the next 2 years learning about the printing and marketing world at Wesco known as Studio W. I've wrapped cars, ice chests, climbed on the tallest ladders to install graphics, taken pictures of some amazing people, and worked with an awesome team. Our room is across the hall from the owner of the company, Jerry Westgate.Working for a company who's president know you by name is one of the many reasons I loved my job. I have so many stories and wouldn't even know where to begin with explaining all the skills I've learned over the past 4 years.

Bryan and Cody thanks for taking a chance on me. It's been wonderfulworking with you. I won't forget the things I've learned and will put them to use.

.Jerry, Nancy, Lauren, Kim, Allison, Jessica, Kathie, Jeanie, Linda,Nicole, Mike, Stacy, Sam, Amy, Jena, Bob, Jake, Barb, Jim, Russ, the list really goes on, but I wish you all the best and hope you keepdoing great things with this wonderful company.

Heather, Winona, Angela, Rob, Phaula, Tanya, Jerret, Kristi, Candy, Joel, Kacie, Leah, Jess, Wendy and everyone else I worked with at store 4, thank you for helping me and keep up the great work wherever you may be.

With that I hope you smile and make every day a WINNING day!

All my love

~Vanessa M. Martinez

The sign at the store in Holland when I got my promotion

Me in store 4 during my goodbye party

Angela Goulet and I

The first truck I ever wrapped

Zippy and the summer of fun car that I wrapped

I came home after a day of being at school for a day and they had made a cardboard cut out of my head. I guess I was loved that much!

Studio W

2010 Summer of fun car. I was very excited after we finished the wrap on it

Modeling for the Wesco Market Place

Enjoying an icee

I think I could be Wesco's number one fan!