About Me

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Lia is a passionate Flight Attendant. She is a simple woman who appreciates and finds joy in simple things. She loves adventures, sunset, sunflower and books. She lives her best life with grace, gratitude, happiness and strength. Her life has many beautiful journeys. When she's not flying, Lia spends some time to volunteer and catch up with her writing hobby.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

St. John's Lighthouse, Jacksonville Florida

Start in your own backyard. 

I waited the last minute to visit this lighthouse to wrap up my 50 lighthouses. It's a nice historical lighthouse . . . a drive away from my own place. 

St. John's River Light is located on the grounds of Naval Station Mayport. She is tall and stands 85 feet. Her old beacon has served as a guide for many years. Her beauty may have been faded, but she still holds her pride, power, and dignity. 

The lighthouse was constructed in 1858 and first lit in 1859. It was the third lighthouse erected at the mouth of St. Johns River and was designed specifically to overcome the previous lights' problems.  The first lighthouse was demolished, and the second was abandoned and enveloped by the river. 

After 70 years of service, the light was decommissioned and replaced by St. Johns Lightship. It is moored 8 miles offshore from the river's mouth. It would be nice to see this Lightship one day. 

Also known as the "Old St. Johns River Light," this lighthouse is the oldest surviving building in Mayport.  It is considered one of the most significant historic buildings in Jacksonville. 

Jacksonville, Florida, is my home now.  However, I find refuge wherever there is beauty.  Wherever there is love. 

Close to the light is the historic Old Mayport Cemetery covered beneath roadways and private development.  The number of graves buried on these approximately 12 acres of land are unknown.  I had goosebumps reading this memorial. To the graves on this ground that I am stepping on, I offer a prayer to all of you. 

I ended this lighthouse visit and rewarded myself with a big fresh fish lunch at the Safe Harbor Restaurant, overlooking the blue sky and the calm water of St. Johns River. It was a beautiful day!

Sometimes in our own backyard, we would find beautiful things wrapped up in dust.  They may be old or rusty, but if we try to dig in, or clean it or wash away the dust, we will find out that it has significance, too.  

Let us appreciate the beauty around us.  A dime, when treasured and kept for years, would have its own value. 

I secretly told myself with a smile and gratefulness . . . well done, Lia. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  OOO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for this wonderful journey. 
Thank you to all who appreciate the beauty of a lighthouse.  
This journey was not easy, but it is profoundly rewarding. 
The experiences I've gained, the hardships I've overcome, 
the places I've seen, the people I've met, 
and the joy it has brought me . . .  make me who I am. 
These memories are all written. 

To those who inspire me to do the things that make me happy, 
thank you!

I am ready to face a new era in my life.

 I am ready to face another challenge.

Howth Lighthouse, Dublin Ireland

Dublin, Ireland, was one of those spontaneous trips I've had.

I tell you why.  This was my 49th birthday trip.  I've been planning to go somewhere, a short trip to celebrate an equally important year before I turn 50.  My bag was packed for an overnight, but not specifically to Dublin. 

After having a nice dinner sponsored by my kids, I headed back to the airport to catch a flight to Jacksonville.  I lost track of time spending it with them, so I missed the flight.  Hence, my spontaneous decision to go to Dublin happened.  My fate brought me here.  Thanks for the comfortable Delta One seat.  It was an easy decision for me to pursue this travel. It was a good birthday treat.

Most of the time, I do hop on and off bus tours to maximize my trip.  I did it this time again.  The bus took us to this town called "Howth" in the countryside. It is a small fishing village located in the outer suburb of Dublin. 

I spotted the lighthouse on my walk around the area.  It is situated in a prominent position at the harbor entrance.  I  was actually surprised and ecstatic upon seeing her. 

The lighthouse was completed in January 1818, but it was not lit due to red tape. Eventually, it was lit on July 1, 1818. Through the years, they questioned whether the lighthouse needed to be lit at all.  They thought that somehow the lighthouse was still useful as a harbor of refuge in emergencies, so they kept her lit with outdated technology.

With the modernization of Howth Harbour, they constructed a small tower and powerful light. Howth lighthouse became insignificant.  However, they retained the lighthouse in its original structure but kept it unlit.

I traveled to Dublin hoping to see a lighthouse. I enjoyed the scenic view of the cliffs and the bay.  I had a nice walk on the harbor and had a breath of Dublin's crisp air. I had a bite of fresh fish and chips at the Crabby Jo's.  And I stepped inside the walls of the Howth Caste. 

I wish I had a closer look at the Howth Lighthouse. Nevertheless, all these experiences put together is the sum of my surprised encounter with this medieval lighthouse. 

My Ireland trip on my 49th birthday was significant to setting up my goal of exploring 50 lighthouses and 50 countries before my 50th birthday.  It preempted my desire to challenge myself. 

We don't stop setting goals. We work hard, and we try to achieve them.  That's what I am doing. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Statue of Liberty, New York City

The evolution of Ms. Liberty.

Most people know that the Statue of Liberty is one of the iconic places in New York and a symbol of America's promise.  But not too many people are aware that the Statue of Liberty was once a lighthouse. 

The lighted torch in Lady Liberty's right hand was used as a navigational aid for ships entering New York Harbor. It is a piece of information that is good to know.

The statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. It is made of copper and has a height of 151 feet from ground level to the torch. 

The record says that "it was first illuminated at 7:35 PM on November 1, 1886. On November 7, 1886, the statue went dark for 2 weeks.  The "World" reported, "The torch of the Goddess of Liberty is suffering from an attack of red tape." President Cleveland then gave the executive order to continue the lighting. Since November 22, 1886, the Statue of Liberty became operational as a lighthouse."

However, in March 1902, the Statue of Liberty was discontinued as an aid to navigation. The National Park Service assumed control and transformed the statue into a tourist attraction.

The formal title of the statue is "Liberty Enlightening the World." For me, the Statue of Liberty is the mother of all the lighthouses, at least in America. It may not be the traditional lighthouse structure, but it is more than that, and it has served its purpose for many years. 

It is interesting to know that her left-hand carry a "tabula ansata" (a tablet) with July 4, 1776, inscribed in Roman numerals.  On her feet is a "broken shackle and chain as she walks forward commemorating the national abolition of slavery." Thus, she became an icon of freedom. 

New York has a big part of my life in America, especially when I was new to settling in.  It is a "welcoming sight to immigrants arriving abroad."  She did welcome me, too.  I've visited the statue several times with my children on different occasions. I have many good memories.  

The Statue of Liberty is a must-see attraction for anybody visiting New York. You wouldn't say you have visited New York if you didn't see this icon.  It is a piece of history. It is a beauty. 

Landing in New York, passengers first time traveling in this city of "big apple" always ask which side has a better view, especially to see the Ellis Island where she is standing.  The Statue of Liberty can be spotted nicely on aerial view, surrounded by the NY harbor's busy sights and sound.  You would see her right hand raised with a torch but without light this time.  It's kept in history. 

Lady Liberty is one of the symbols of America, and it was once . .  a lighthouse. 

St. George Island Lighthouse, Halifax, Canada

Theodore ride and the lighthouse.

I was excited to make my work trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, because I wanted to explore another lighthouse to finish my journey of visiting 50 lighthouses. I am almost there. 

Yes, I did join the kids onboard the "Theodore" boat.  The weather was a little chilly and cloudy, yet a beautiful day to sail the harbor.

History says that “the original lighthouse on George Island was built in 1876. A second tower was built in 1903 but was destroyed by fire.  This current tower was built in 1917 and was first lit in 1919.” A lightkeeper's house remains standing next to it, which projects a historic lighthouse's typical image. It’s a beautiful image.

There is no access to the island, and the only way to see the lighthouse up close is via sailboat. 

St. George Island Lighthouse is an icon on this island. She's been a guiding star for many years.  A picturesque guiding star.

Our tour guide told us an interesting story. He said there are 30+ Volvo cars on the bottom of Bedford Basin where we’re sailing. We were all wondering how and why! Apparently, there are few versions of this story. One version says that in 1969, a container ship didn't have the correct paper for the Volvo cars' shipment. So they just dumped those cars in the middle of the Bedford Basin. It was unbelievable, but it could be true

Theodore passed by the Macdonald Bridge. We came across this billion-dollar huge ship docked at the harbor.  Maybe that ship is carrying Volvo cars too? We saw boats sailing by and ferry bringing people to cross the islands. 

I met the Captain of the boat and borrowed his hat for pictorial. Did he look like I scared him? Maybe I did. 

I enjoyed a nice view of the city on Citadel Historic Site Hill. After a relaxing stroll, I ended my day with a little pricy shrimp taco. It was good anyway. 

My Canada trip is not complete without having a cup of my favorite Tim Horton's coffee.  I actually had two that day. It kept me awake and warm.

My lighthouse journey gives me different and fun stories. This one, for sure, is something peculiar. 

I would go back to explore more lighthouses around. They have 41 lighthouses in Nova Scotia alone. Maybe another ferry will take me to see some of them.

Did I emphasize my passion for a lighthouse by wearing my lighthouse scarf and lighthouse hat? Yes, indeed.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Faro Castillo del Morro, Havana Cuba

A vintage ride and a fortress. 

Riding a vintage car to see a lighthouse was a fancy experience. This is Cuba, and this was my grand experience!

Faro Castillo del Morro was built in 1845 on the wall of the "Castillo de Los Reyes Magos del Morro," an old fortress guarding the harbor of Havana.  She is tall and has a height of 82 ft—a beautiful piece of landmark and history.

This lighthouse is one of Havana's symbols and one of the most visited places by tourists and locals.  Given its popularity, it has appeared in several movies. Its history, location, and structure draw people to use it as a subject for photography and painting.  I've seen photos, and they are captivating.

I was excited to climb the top and to see the view of Havana from up there. However, it was unfortunate that we came at a time that it was closed for viewing.  Nevertheless, I was happy enough to see it and touch it. 

Rey, my photojournalist tour guide, has made my exclusive lighthouse and Havana tour more insightful. Learning something from someone who is educated and an experienced journalist was a great advantage.  Thanks to "I Love Cuba Photo Tours" for this awesome experience. 

The prison, the canyon, and the church are interesting features of the fortress.  The prison was said to have holes in the back walls through which prisoners were fed to the sharks.  It was indeed an interesting story.

The lighthouse wasn't open for us to climb, but I was glad to see that the church was open.  A minute of prayer was all I needed. It was a prayer of gratitude. 

Cuba was one of my top countries to visit.  I've finally made it! Visiting Faro Castillo del Morro lighthouse has complimented this exciting trip. 

Fun memories. Nice photos. Incredible experience.