February 2018 Featured RPG

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Have you read the Newspaper?
You can read it Here

Loves is in the air and Lovematch.com is back to spread it around. If you are curious what to do this Valentine's Day then look no further than the front page of The Lochland Times.

Craziness continues through the town. Some is funny, some is political and some is just plain weird.

Welcome to Lochland Grove
Open since January 2, 2014

We are a Real Life Roleplay site focused on enriching character driven stories through events, newspaper headlines, and even death. Set in modern day Connecticut, our background plot follows the on-goings of a small town with a murderous past. Whether your character explores it is up to you. Life is about choice - this is your story. Our goal is to provide a place where you will feel comfortable writing it. Come join the fun!

The Ice Festival

Beautiful buildings and sculptures made of ice glowing under a halo of fireworks? What a beautiful place for a Valentines Day Date.

Ice Skating Rink

The ice skating rink from last year has returned. Ice Cream Dream will be selling hot drinks at the door. When you get cold why not stop for a treat?

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 Freedom and Fashion, - Nina Wallace [Em]
Nina Wallace
 Posted: Nov 2 2017, 04:38 AM
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Townie
Em


"I honestly believe that as long as you are surrounded by the ones you love, doing something you love, it doesn't matter where you are."

That made Nina smile. It was a nice thought, and one that she would also be thinking about. She knew where it was she wanted to be, and it was close to the people she loved. If she were to ever have a shop she didn't really think she would have it in LA or New York. If anything she would set it up in Lochland or in her hometown in Hawaii. Maybe that was not ideal if she wanted to be more accessible to people, but with the technology today it was possible to be anywhere in the world and do something you love.

She was not ambitious. She had a simple dream, and it was to make something that people love. It was to share a part of herself to people, and making clothes and accessories was her way of doing that. It was Nina sharing her heart and her time to people, and that was what she wanted.

Nina leaned back in thought, a smile on her face as she reached for a cubano as well. There was a short pause in the conversation as she thought about what Michelle said, but soon they were talking about Michelle joining them for one of Casey's competitions. "I'll do that. I actually have it with me so I can send you a part of it if you can get me your email. Is there a particular month you prefer too? Some dates may change still so I would have to update you if there are any changes." Nina shared, taking a bite of the cubano and nodding her approval of how tasty it was. "This is delicious. Can you give me the recipe?"

She popped the rest of it inside her mouth just as Michelle asked if custom targets were allowed. Nina tilted her head to the side as she chewed, not sure she followed that right away, but then realized that her friend could be talking about something they had previously discussed. "What? Wait... Did you talk to Kris?" She asked, eyes growing wide in her obvious interest about the goings on in her friend's lovelife. "What happened to that? Tell me!" Maybe she was getting a bit excited and maybe Michelle didn't even talk to Kris yet, but she was eager to know what was in her head.

((It doesn't let me. TT_TT I just get "Board Message".))
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Nov 5 2017, 08:22 PM
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Newcomer
Mara


Michelle instantly regretted the off-handed comment she had made. Wasn't even sure where it had come from. Well, she did know where, but why was the real question. Oh well, it was out there, and she would have to deal with it. She was not the type of person to hem and haw and tiptoe around topics; if someone brought it up, even if that someone was herself, she would talk about it. Though generally she had no problem discussing anything and everything regarding her life, there were a few things that were harder than others.

But first things first: "No... Sorry. Secret family recipe." A grin. Then she shook her head. "Hmm. Month doesn't really matter. They are pretty much all the same, schedule-wise." That was one thing about working at the hospital. Even if the hours were long, they were consistent. "I may go down to Miami for Christmas, or nearby Christmas. Depending on if and when I can get off. Other than that... I should be able to find some day to get away, as long as I have enough notice." Then she got out her phone, and they quickly exchanged information in order to get the basic plans rolling in the future, hopefully.

Enough stalling, it really was not a quality that Michelle found very endearing, especially in herself. Plus, she had already deflected Nina's questions regarding her ex earlier in their conversation. There was no avoiding it now. Her friend would pester her until she spilled the details. Michelle took a long sip of wine and then a deep breath before exhaling. "Yes. I did. Last month. I thought about it a lot, and you were right... I needed some sort of closure. I haven't been able to really move on. So I met him here in town. And I'm not sure how I was expecting it to go, but it was..." Pausing to figure out the right words, and then she waved a hand in a helpless gesture. "A waste of time."




(((Strange... maybe you should PM Kat...)))

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Nov 16 2017, 07:37 AM
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Townie
Em


Nina gasped, at first thinking that her friend was simply joshing her by saying that it was a family recipe and was a secret, but it turns out she was serious. She pouted a bit, but understood the sacred family recipes. "I would just have to come over often and ask you to make them for me then. Perhaps I can purchase orders of your cubana sandwiches." Nina chuckled, thinking she would be happy with any chance to have the sandwiches again.

With that said, Michelle proceeded to say that she had Christmas plans to go home and be with family. That was always a good idea, and that made Nina smile. She was glad that he friend won't be having a holiday away from her loved ones. "Okay, well I will tell you which games are the best to watch and then you can decide which ones you would like to see. Or maybe you can see all of them." Who said she only had to pick one, right? "We can take care of your hotel and airfare. I know Casey would propose that even if you are more than capable of doing that yourself. He always feels thankful when friends and family go out of their way to see him play,"

Her own family was still getting used to the fact that Casey seems to want to pay for everything despite their protests. Nina saved her friend's email address and then slid her phone back in her purse before things moved on to more pressing issues. Juicier things.

"Oh my God!" She was obviously very excited to hear that her friend had decided to really talk to her ex. Based on Michelle's expressions and the delay in her words, Nina could already tell that it did not go as well as she had hoped. "What happened?" She asked, scooting over closer to her friend's seat and leaning over. "Did you guys fight after that? Was he... Was he horrible to you?" If Kris was horrible then Nina would regret even suggesting that Michelle come to talk with him, but she still believed the best way to move on is to confront things from the past that have no closure. "I want to know... Are you alright?" Nina asked sincerely, reaching out to touch her friend's shoulder.

Perhaps she had been too hopeful and thinking of ideal things in suggesting to her friend that she talk with her ex. She hoped that even if the experiences did not turn out as well as expected that Michelle did not regret doing it.
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Nov 18 2017, 10:13 PM
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Newcomer
Mara


"Oh, I'm fine." Giving her friend a small smile. She reached for her wine but left the glass still on the table, her fingers around the stem. The words coming easier now that she was telling someone about this. "I really don't know what I was expecting, to be honest. Why now, after all this time, he just appeared, you know? The curiosity had gotten the best of me. Like you said, it would bother me more if I ignored him."

Michelle shook her head and rolled her eyes. "But it was no different than any other time. He tried apologizing. Again. Everything I had heard before. I'm not sure why he thought it would make any difference this time around. Tried to tell me he had changed or something. Had some sort of epiphany about his life. I don't know. He seemed the same old Kris to me. Full of hot air and empty words."

Picking up her wineglass. "But then he went with something new. An explanation for his cheating." Michelle brought the wine to her lips and gulped down the rest of it, setting her glass back down on the table, perhaps a bit harder than necessary. "He blamed me! Can you believe that?" She was really getting into it, her words tumbling out faster, louder. Perhaps not making entire sense. "Jealous of me. Pitying himself. And instead of telling me like any decent husband would... he... he..." Exhaling sharply. "Well, you know what happened."

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Nov 29 2017, 02:13 AM
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Townie
Em


Nina listened to her friend quietly as she told her about her experience talking to her ex-husband. She felt a little guilty for encouraging her, and then seeing her disappointed now, but she also felt that it was much better to have tried instead of wondering what if. She smiled softly, nodding her head in understanding as she studied her friend's reactions along with her words.

Perhaps she wanted something different. Perhaps she had hoped that after all this time Kris had changed somehow, but then she just saw that the man she had left was giving her the same words he had given before. What was different, however, was an explanation for his cheating. That alone made Nina's brows arch and her mouth fall open.

Kris blamed Michelle for his cheating, and like a true, sincere girlfriend she scoffed at that. "Jealous of her and pitying himself so he cheated? What the heck?" Nina scowled, feeling her blood rise at, what she felt, was a stupid explanation. "Well if he pities himself then it's his own fault. You have nothing to do with that. Why is it your fault that you are successful in what you do? Why is he going to use that as an excuse to cheat? There is no excuse for cheating." She really was getting angry thinking about it that she had to pause and take a deep breath. Nina did not want to add fuel to the fire and give Michelle even more reason to be angry with her ex-husband.

"Communication." She shook her head, sighing as she leaned back on her seat. "It's the key to a lot of things, and certainly something that saves relationships." Michelle was right that Kris could have said something about it. Nina understood some men had their pride, and that could have been what Kris was trying to protect by not telling her wife how insecure he was, but still! If you love someone, you tell them how you feel!

"Sorry it didn't work out as well as we hoped..." She smiled weakly, reaching over for her friend's hand again. "I know what must have been hard for you to hear again, but... at least now you have talked, right? What... What do you want to do now? About Kris?"
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Dec 9 2017, 10:08 PM
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Newcomer
Mara


Nine read through her ex's crap just as easily as Michelle had, and her friend hadn't even been there in person to experience it. That's just how thin of an excuse it had been, his explanation of being disappointed in his lot in life. Unable to be completely happy for her in getting her first choice of residencies like a decent supportive husband would have been. Should have been content in the fact that they would both be remaining in Miami together; even if they had focused their interviews there, there had always been a chance they might have had to split up.

Of course, she had grown up in a very different household than he had. She did not doubt that his parents loved him, but... there was growing up with lower middle class parents in the suburbs, just making it by and growing up with top tier upper class parents in the middle of the city never wanting for anything. Always feeling the pressure to live up to something that was unattainable, instead of being encouraged to follow one's dreams and do one's best. Still, though, that did not excuse what he had done in reaction, not by a long shot.

Michelle nodded along with her friend's reaction, agreeing with all of it. Feeling angry and exasperated and hurt. She took a deep breath and this time exhaled a lot more slowly, using it to calm herself down. "Yes... communication. Just a few words, and this wouldn't have happened." At least, she hoped that's all it would have taken, a conversation about what he had been going through, a willingness to open up to her. And not that there was some other underlying cause he hadn't revealed to her.

Then she shrugged and smiled thinly back at her friend, squeezing her hand back. "Me too... in a way. Not that I thought it would erase the past or anything, or that I would ever be able to go back... But I suppose I had hoped, a tiny part of me at least, that we could at least... be civil. Be... friends again." Something she had never admitted, either out loud, or even to herself. Michelle hadn't realized those thoughts were on the table until now. However, in hindsight, she knew they had been an expectation, even if a small one.

"Now? I don't know. Forget him I guess. Move on. Obviously there is nothing left there." Even if she had seen something in his face, true pain. Honest apologies and regrets. Caring... maybe love in some twisted way. And knew that it would be impossible for her to take her words to heart and do something about them. Because seeing him again had stirred something, emotions that should have been dead after what he had done.

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Dec 19 2017, 06:15 AM
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Townie
Em


Nina’s heart stung with her friend’s pain. She wished that her friend didn’t have to feel it, but she knew also that even these stones life throws at us… even if they left terrible bruises… they made who we are. They were beautiful, even if painful. It was simply hard to see it as good while it was happening. Nina could only offer her friend and apologetic smile, wishing she could do more or say more to ease her pain, but perhaps in the end it was just best that she was there to listen. Perhaps it was enough to lend her ears and reach out to give her hand a squeeze to tell her that she understood.

Nina was friends with an ex she had before, even if they no longer kept in touch. They had parted in good ways, and the breakup was mutual. She was thankful for that kind of closure, and she understood how Michelle would wish for her story with Kris to end in a lighter note. She didn’t want him to be an enemy. She wanted him to be a friend. It showed to Nina that Michelle really had a good heart, and she was proud of her for wanting that instead of choosing to remain bitter. She just wished that it did turn out that way… that Michelle and Kris would be friends.

Her friend’s next words, however, led Nina to believe that Michelle had some special feelings for Kris, still. She wanted to forget him… move on… and Nina wondered if all this time Michelle was still in love with him. Nina smiled, shaking her head as her hand reached to squeeze her friend’s again. ”We can’t really say there is nothing now. We don’t know that for sure. Maybe… Maybe there is still something… maybe it’s just that… we’re not supposed to do anything about it. Maybe we just have to wait.” She didn’t know what would happen in the future, but she believed that things would happen if they were meant to happen. And maybe this meeting between Michelle and Kris didn’t turn out well, but she believed there was a reason for it.

“Casey always says good things happen to good people… I believe something good will happen to you. Maybe it hurts right now to be hearing these things or feeling these things again, buy good things will happen. I believe this.” Nina nodded, offering a bright smile to her friend. ”You’re a good person, Michelle.”
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Dec 30 2017, 11:08 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Mara


Having finished her wine moments before, Michelle reached for the bottle. Tipped it to refill her glass. Needing to do something besides sit there and think those confusing thoughts that were now swirling around her mind. Perhaps she would even stuff another mini pork sandwich in her mouth and figure out a way to get Nina on another topic. She didn't mind disclosing all of this to her friend, but even Michelle had her limits when it came to certain things. Like dealing with things she wasn't ready to, or willing to, or even had the slightest clue how to.

But Nina was definitely one of her friends, and in trying to console her, spoke aloud the same thoughts Michelle had had bouncing around since seeing him that day outside on the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop. Even if Nina didn't realize that she was being a little telepathic and just voicing her own theories on the matter. Blowing out a breath, she set down the bottle of wine before she answered. Not wanting to reveal too much, not yet, but not wanting to do her friend a disservice either. "Maybe," she allowed. Even if was too much to ask or wish for, or if she was even hoping for it in the first place. Ay, Dios, why did he have to come back?

At her friend's next comforting words, Michelle did smile. "Thank you. I really do want to believe that." It was the honest truth; she did want to have a worldview closer to Casey's take on things. However, given what she had seen almost every day at work for the last few years, it was a truth that was hard to swallow sometimes. Not to mention the tragedy that had personally shaken her: her mother's passing, her husband's infidelity. "Having you two as friends... I think the good has already happened to me," she smiled again. Everything had a silver lining. Even if she didn't quite take to the 'good things happen to good people' she did believe that all things happened for a reason, and was able to see the good in everything, even in the bad.

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Jan 4 2018, 03:26 AM
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Townie
Em


Casey had been through his share of hardships, but he continued to be this wonderful, positive person. It continuously amazed Nina and, on more than one occasion, made her look to him like she could not believe that such a person existed. He was an angel, and she was fortunate to have been the one he chose to stay with. She knew that hardships made it difficult to see good in the world or in people. It made people lose hope, or expect less, or lose trust. She understood that, and she understood that Michelle had her own mind and her own views.

She remained a wonderful person for Nina though, and where she stops believing, Nina will keep believing for her.

Nina beamed at the words from her friend and she pulled her in for a big tight hug to express just how she echoed the same sentiment. Sometimes words were not enough, but hugs spoke volumes. She hoped to share her strength and her hope to her friend just by giving her that embrace. ”You are wonderful. I believe everything will be as they should be and in the end you will have what makes you happy. Whatever it is.” When she pulled away, she let her gaze linger on her friend’s a moment longer before she looked down to the delicious sandwiches they had been eating.

”Meanwhile… Are you sure you are not going to share the recipe for this one? Because I absolutely love this. Casey would love these too…” She mused, picking up another mini sandwich and tossing it whole in her mouth. ”Mmmm…” Nina did a thumbs up as she nodded and showed her approval to her friend’s food. ”Superb. Absolutely superb.” Nina had to take a moment to just enjoy the food, but after washing down her food, she turned to her friend again.

”Can you believe half the year has passed already? I tell ya, sometimes I don’t know where the time goes.” Nina chuckled, looking around the garden and taking a deep breath. ”It’s around this time that I look back on all that I’ve done for the first half of the year and I think about what I have yet to do. Goals and such… maybe new things I want to add to my list….” So many things have happened.

She was thankful for all that she experienced but sometimes she found herself still reeling and needing to take a step back to see how everything is going. ”You have any other personal goals for this year? I think you can check out ‘talk to ex husband’ from it already… That is an accomplishment you have even if things didn’t turn out as well as we hoped… But what other plans do you have? You know I still want to take dance lessons. I have been talking to Casey about it and he pointed out that I wanted to do it for a couple years now but never got around to it. Somehow I just always had somewhere to travel to that I could not be here long enough for lessons.” Nina sighed and chuckled at the thought, but was not really complaining.

”Maybe this is the year I finally drag Casey to samba lessons.”
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Jan 8 2018, 09:28 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Mara


Embracing Nina back, Michelle couldn't help but think how lucky she was to have friends like her and Casey here in Lochland Grove. Though she was very extroverted and quite the people person, there had been a little apprehension even for her in moving to a new town full of strangers. Fortunately her personality had allowed her to overcome that easily, and she now felt like a good share of the town could be counted as her friends. Not only that, but they were so genuine and caring... probably that small town charm spilling over into its residents.

She had had her friends from back home in Miami, of course. But as she thought back to them, unable to stop the comparison to her new friends, she realized that a lot of those relationships had been more superficial than anything. Yes, they had all confided in each other and had deep conversations about everything under the sun, done everything girlfriends (and guy friends) usually did with each other. However, in hindsight she really was unsure how close she still was with most of them. And did not think it a coincidence to this day that her group of friends had shrunk almost immediately after her split from her husband. Her husband with all the money and connections. Nina and Casey were definitely the real deal.

"Thank you," she smiled, finally letting go of her friend and sitting back in her seat. Michelle really wanted to believe that Nina was right. She of course felt happy and content with the way her life currently was. What did she really have to complain about, after all? Great friends, great job, great dog, great home... what anyone else would hope for. But there were moments, in the quiet, when she did wish for more. Someone to share this fabulous life with. But she knew if it was meant to be, it would be, and there was nothing she could do to force it.

Nina started raving about the mini cubanos she had made again. And again trying to pry the recipe from her. Shaking her head and laughing, "I'm sorry. I can't." Mostly because, if she was entirely honest, there really wasn't one. At least not a consistent one that she kept written down. And it was one of the few things she had left of her mother, so she wasn't about to give it up. "I have to keep some mystery in our relationship." Michelle winked at her friend.

Reaching for another sandwich of her own and taking a bite, she swallowed and then shook her head again, this time in amazement. "I know... it seems like it has just flown by." Even if the last month or so had seemed to drag on and on. And Nina was right; it was good to reflect on what had already passed by, and what there was left to do before the new year dawned. "Hmm..." Michelle wasn't one for making goals or resolutions, at least formally. Talking with her ex had definitely not been something she would have put on a list at the beginning of 2017. "Not sure if I have time this year anymore, but I would like to make more of an effort to travel some more. Even if just for a weekend sometime. To go somewhere I haven't been and just take it all in." She finally said around a bite of bread and meat and pickles.

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Jan 19 2018, 03:23 AM
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Townie
Em


All Nina could really offer was a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to her... maybe occasionally some words to lift her spirits, or advice when she did not know what to do. She was not a constant presence in Michelle's life--at least not as much as Nina would actually hope--but she wanted to be there for her whenever she needed a friend. She was one of the greatest Nina has made in town, and she was very grateful to know such a woman.

She laughed when Michelle still did not concede and give her the mysterious, magical, secret recipe for the sandwiches. And when she said that she had to keep some mystery in their relationship, Nina nodded solemnly. "I suppose that's correct... Keep things exciting... We need to keep discovering things about each other, perhaps one day I'll earn the right to know this recipe." She was maybe partially counting on that, even if she would also not take it to heart if the recipe really was a secret.

Hopefully it wasn't.

Nina smiled when Michelle said that she wanted to make time for travelling. "All the more reason for you to watch one of Casey's competitions. But, you know, the best ones are the spur of the moment ones. Maybe one weekend you just wake up and feel like going to Peru or something. Climb up to Machu Pichu. Then you just book a flight and wing it." It was something Nina wanted to do this year too. Apart from the planned ones that they had for her job and Casey's, she wanted one trip that was totally not in the plan. She felt that those kinds of adventures are extremely rewarding in experience and memories.

"You'll find time for it." Nina nodded and smiled, reaching for her drink to wash down the food in her mouth. "Do you have a place in mind that you want to visit?"

One of Nina's dreams was to travel all around the world, and she felt extremely lucky that she gets to do that. It was a wonderful thing to see new people and learn of new cultures... It was good to widen your horizon and see more of what was going on outside of the small place she frequented. She wished the same for Michelle. She knew that her job was a lot more hectic than hers, but she hoped that her friend could go to places she wanted.
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Jan 28 2018, 07:14 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Mara


Going to see Casey compete in person was definitely something Michelle wanted to do. Watching him on videos just wasn't the same as actually being there to cheer him on. But with her schedule, it was sometimes hard to put one or two days together, let alone a whole week off, unless she planned it well in advance. Lochland General wasn't quite as busy as the big hospital in Miami she had worked at previously, but it still did a fair bit of business, especially in the ER, just like most hospitals.

Nina mentioned Machu Pichu, and her heart clenched. She couldn't remember if her friend knew about her previous trip there or not. Michelle had told Nina so many things over the years, though; maybe it just slipped her mind. A completely innocent remark, most likely. While it had been a happy trip at the time, with everything else going on recently, she had mixed feelings. So she just pushed it away and smiled at her friend. "Well, I do love spur-of-the-moment, you know that," forcing out a laugh that managed to sound genuine. When she did find herself with time off, she quite often made snap decisions about how to spend that time.

Reaching for her wine, she took a sip before continuing. "Oh, there are so many places. But recently, I've been thinking about Australia, actually. Or New Zealand. Both maybe. I read awhile back that there is this super popular bungee jump there, a really big one. I'd love to do that sometime." She smiled, thinking about it. "It's so far away though, I'd need a lot of time off, definitely." This time her laugh came more naturally, before she found herself adding: "I wouldn't mind revisiting Peru though... or South Africa. See things, do things, I didn't the first time around." Because besides the climb up Machu Pichu, she hadn't seen much more than the hotel room, and South Africa had been full of compromises, not to mention her honeymoon.

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Feb 8 2018, 01:43 AM
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Townie
Em


Nina loved spur of the moment! Now, she was not really remembering something about Machu Pichu and how that could bring some unpleasant memories to her friend, but if she does realize it she would surely feel bad. What she said was innocent though, and probably Machu Pichu was even a randomly selected place to mention.

She gasped when her friend mentioned Australia and New Zealand. Those were two places she wanted to visit as well, and she knew they were both gorgeous. "Both!" She laughed, raising a hand. "I vote both! That would be so awesome, and you deserve an awesome trip." The mention of bungee jumping got her even more excited because that was an activity she has always wanted to try.

"The long trip will be well worth it... Like, Greece was the first really long trip that I made, and it was like fifteen hours away but it was so worth it." Not only was it her first trip with Casey as his assistant, it was also the trip that changed their relationship. It was a wonderful experience and something Nina stil fondly looks back to even now. "You know that's also a good idea." Nina nodded, hearing her friend mention the places she had visited already--including Peru. "There is a lot to explore in the country that it's impossible to see everything in one trip. It would be good to go back and make new memories in a place you've been to before. Better memories."

Nina looked towards their dogs as they played in the distance, and for a moment she just thought back to all the places she has visited over the past years. She's been to so many countries at this point, and she continued to check out names from her list. It was her dream to travel everywhere in the world and it was amazing that she could do that now really easily. She felt very lucky about that, and it was something she was always thankful for.

"Australia's a good place for Skydiving too." She noted after a while, pulling her thoughts back to what she and friend have been discussing. "And Kauai... If you ever want to visit my hometown I will gladly show you around... Give you a free tour on my father's boat... Maybe you can even see my brother or Casey conduct the tour for you." She grinned, nodding her head. "The first time I brought Casey home, my Dad had this initiation thing for him where he made him lead a tour on his boat. Casey was so nervous about it but I heard he did a really great job. Maybe that's another thing we can do. You can come home with us and enjoy Kauai. It's easier to reach than Australia."
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Michelle Cordero
 Posted: Feb 17 2018, 03:09 PM
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Newcomer
Mara


"Yes, it would probably have to be both, to make the trip halfway around the world worth it!" This time Michelle's laugh was easier. "I'd hate to have to explain to my boss why I need two separate long vacations to go to two places right next to each other." She smiled. "Just extend it by a couple days and fit Australia and New Zealand all together." With her personality, it would be no problem at all for her to fit in all the activities she wanted to and places she wanted to see in both countries within ten-day to two-week vacation. Especially if she went alone and didn't have to cater to someone else's whims and compromises.

She nodded at Nina's comment in revisiting places from the past. "You're exactly right.... to make new, better, happier memories." Not that her memories of those places were exactly negative. Michelle still looked on those moments with fondness. A remembrance of a happier time in her life. Or well, a different time in her life, because she would definitely consider herself happy and content with her current circumstances, despite everything. "I will have to put Peru and South Africa back on the list."

Lost in thoughts of planning holidays abroad that may never happen, she and Nina ate in silence for a couple of minutes. The bottle was full more of air than wine, and the plate of tiny sandwiches was just about scraped clean except for one lonely morsel. Then her friend brought up the possibility of adding Hawaii to her vacation destinations. "True... the flight would be shorter!" Though still quite a long ride all the way from the East coast of the U.S. "I have always thought of trying out surfing." Michelle had always been a bit of water bug, from childhood through adulthood, but surfing had never been apart of that.

Eying the last sandwich but deciding to leave it for Nina, she added, "Not that Miami didn't have good spots... I just never went out there and did it." She shrugged. Perhaps because most of her trips to the beach as a child had been with her family, spent on a rented boat a few hundred feet from shore. Or playing in the sand. Having picnics and a bonfire at night. "Well, if I come to Hawaii sometime... you will definitely have to come down to Miami sometime," reaching for the wine to fill up her glass. "I can take you down to Calle Ocho and you can have some authentic Cuban food." A wink.

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Nina Wallace
 Posted: Feb 19 2018, 07:24 AM
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Michelle was agreeable to her suggestion of just making the trip a long one and she hoped that, for Michelle’s sake, she would be allowed to have a long vacation. ”I’m sure they’ve seen how hard you work so they had better allow you to have it.” Nina was already thinking of helping her out with how to convince the bosses to let her have the vacation even. Perhaps a Powerpoint presentation was needed for his. Complete with printouts.

Making new memories was a good thing. Even if something gives a bad memory, there was still a chance to redeem it and Nina wished for her friend to have that chance too. Seems Michelle wanted to go back to South Africa and Peru again, and Nina nodded in approval. ”Sounds like a plan… If not this year then the next. Pretty sure we’re all allowed a certain number of days to travel. It’s the best thing to do in the world.” Nina certainly loved it and was glad she had a job now that let her do that. She felt very lucky about this. It was her dream! Now she wasn’t stuck in just one place. She was always going somewhere and learning something, and meeting people. It was fantastic.

Nina gasped when she learned that Michelle has never surfed. ”I’ll teach you!” She volunteered, reaching for her friend’s hands excitedly. ”We’ll get you a great board, too. Your own. My younger brother designs them and gave Casey a really awesome one before. We can get you something really nice that we can maybe even help design. If you’re up for that…” Nina had a couple surfboards back at home to lend her friend though, so in any case it should be a fun time for them.

Michelle was quick to point out that Miami had good places for surfing too, and when she suggested that Nina come to visit her too, well… Nina was just like an excited kid after hearing that. ”Yes! Ohmigod. That is perfect.” And she gets to try Cuban food too? ”I am in. I am so in for that. Yes. Definitely.” Nina nodded eagerly, laughing as she took her glass and asked for a refill as well. ”Maybe I can meet family and woo them into giving me the secret recipe to these Cubanos too. I would love to try all the authentic Cuban food. And also go surfing. And shopping. Miami fashion is cute.” She hoped they would really have time to do these things together! So much of her travels have been for work aside from the personal ones she takes with family. She hasn’t really visited a place to experience her friend’s home so she wanted to do that.

”Whichever comes first. We will do it. You coming to Hawaii or me to Miami. I will be planning it now though, I hope you know that. I’m going to make you never want to leave Hawaii.”
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