Friday, July 29, 2011

What's Up

We are more than half way done with our 8 week intensive language class. There are some days that i feel like i can't put a single new word into my vocabulary, and then there are days where i spit out a sentence full of new words, and i'm like "where did that come from?" haha

When we finish our class, Daniel and I are going to travel for about 10 days to the mountains. I'm REALLY excited about this. It's a place i've been before and have a huge love for!

And then, the first week of September I am literally going back to school! I will start formal language class at a nearby university. I don't have to pack my lunch or anything, but it has been a while since i've been in a classroom setting. What's weird is that i don't really register or anything for class until the week before. Which for my planner self, is strange. I would prefer to know every detail so i can think about it for the next few weeks and plan it all out. But i guess i'll just have to wait.

Onto running.......

I felt like i was getting into a good rhythm of running lately, but kind of lost it this week. I did The Shred twice this week and only ran 3 miles once. i did get up to run today but it was raining. i don't run in the rain here. The ground is already unlevel and i have to constantly watch where each foot goes when i run, adding rain and puddles to the mix is too much. This may be a bit dramatic, but that's just who i am.

p.s. I just had to look up the word 'unlevel' to see if it was a word. Sometimes i forget what words are in english or i'll say a sentence and be like "wait, is that english?"

pss. Last week Daniel stepped in poop on the sidewalk. The worst part, is that we were  pretty sure it wasn't from an animal. No need to thank me for giving you that visual image-you are more than welcome.

Anyways, i really want to add some mileage on this next week. Less than 3 months ago i was running 12 miles at a time. i need to stop making excuses and just do it.

Our weekend plans include, studying, seeing friends, date night, grocery shopping, and a little rest. You??



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

Yes, it is July and probably 110 degrees outside for most of you. But Christmas is RIGHT around the corner and will be here before ya know it.

So I thought i'd pass along a time and maybe even money saving tip for shopping for friends and family this year. You might already know about this, but just in case you don't, this is the perfect time!

About a month or so before Christmas, my family would always email everyone their wish list with what they wanted. But then we were always sending additional emails giving more info, adding links, and adding things to the list. And then we all had to coordinate with each other to figure out who was buying what and so forth.

Then I got married.

To Daniel.

And his family had a WONDERFUL system already in place that made things much easier and in general, just more fun! Each person has an Amazon Wish List. You can set up one or several wish lists if you want to categorize your potential gifts. Right now I have a Christmas/Birthday list and a Package List. Some people will have a list for Christmas, a book list, a list for their children, clothes, movies, you get the idea. And you can totally put everything on one list if you want. I do for the most part.

Also, you can install a Wish List 'widget' so if you're browsing say the GAP and see a cute skirt you want, just click the Amazon widget (after installing) and it automatically goes to your saved Wish List. I love that you can add things from the Amazon website or from practically any website known to man. You can add info such as colors, sizing, amount, or any details you think your gift buyer would want to know.

Here's the best can also rank your desired items by priority. So grandma knows that you REALLLY want the purple scarf more than a new calendar. You get the idea. Then when someone buys something for you, they can mark it so you don't end up with 4 pairs of shoes.

I know this is random, but just in case Christmas shopping stresses you out, i hope this will help. I loved not having to scour the malls and fight over a parking space this last year. And since we're going to be MIA this year for the holidays, it doesn't mean we can't show a little love to the fam from across the ocean.



Saturday, July 23, 2011


This post is all about food. It's a wonder i haven't lost any more weight lately, ha!

On Friday, Daniel and I went to a local tea house for lunch. We drank a lot of sweet tea. But not what you're thinking of....

It tastes like a creamy milky (hot) black tea. Some places make it a lot better than others, but this tea house knew what they were doing. I put back several cups of it.

For lunch, we had this......

It's like a meat pie.... the inside is beef and onions and a lot of oil. Yum!

Then, as i mentioned in my last post, I bought a $5 can of Hormel chili to make chili dogs on Friday night. I scraped every bit of chili out of the can that i possibly could, ha! And the chili dogs??? Amazing!

We had leftovers for lunch today....they were SO good! I might want to splurge on these a little too often!

Tonight chicken curry was on the menu. I had made it once in the states, and liked the flavor but it was really watery. I found a new recipe here, and OMG please try it! I haven't found a new recipe in a long time that i've liked this much. Seriously delish.

Okay, it doesn't look as good as it tastes, look past that, ha!

I did make a few changes to the recipe. I used 3 chicken breasts, so i just eyed and increased all the spices. And i don't have yogurt (but i'm sure greek yogurt would be great in this), so i used homemade sour cream, about 1 1/2 cups, and couldn't tell the difference. I also used about 1 1/2-2 cups of Coconut Milk. I'm sure you could use less but i wanted a lot of sauce to pour over the rice. I also did not add the lemon juice (after reading other reviews), but i think it would have been fine with it. I also added 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and a good bit of salt. The good thing with the recipe is that it's easy to play with and add less/more of what you want. It also was VERY easy to make.Try it. You'll love it!

And yes, that is fresh mango on my plate. Nom Nom Nom!!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Language lesson

Daniel and i were starting our language lesson today with our tutor. We were learning basic 'grooming' words like hairbrush, toothpaste, razor, soap, etc....

Each lesson, if we have any of the objects we are learning that day, we get them out and set them on the table to help us identify each object with the new word.

Today, when we got to 'hairbrush,' the tutor said "this is for a dog right?" Ummm no. That is my hairbrush and i use it on my head. He (being a boy) was unfamiliar with brushes instead of combs and thought we only used hairbrushes on dogs. Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty funny.

Also, when i was in a taxi yesterday, my drive asked if was Russian. This was after he heard me talking on the phone (in english.). Nope....not quite.'s thursday night here and we're relaxing and have LOTR on. I've seen them all the way thru, but most of the time it's ever on i'm also doing something (like blogging ha!) so i'm always confused!! i ask tons of questions and still never really understand the story line. I do like all of the movies though, i just always get to the end and never really understand what just happened. anyone else???

We're having chili dogs tomorrow and then i'm going to try a chicken curry this weekend too. So far we don't have a lot of plans for the weekend. I might do some grocery shopping and work on language. And probably laundry. I'm NOT planning on cleaning the floors :)



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Give, Take and answered Prayer

A lot of people ask what everyday life is like here. Some things are exactly the same....some things are completely different, ha!

For example, this was my dinner tonight. It's stir fry noodles with green peppers and pork.

It cost me $1.25.

I also bought this today at an import store (for chili dogs on Friday).

It cost me $5.

The normal things like fruits, veggies, eggs, rice are either the same price as the States or cheaper. You can buy sodas and bottled water for about 0.25 on the street. Daniel and i can both eat local food for around $3-8, depending on how 'fancy' of a place we go.

But if i want to buy bagels, cheese, or things like chips that we eat in the states, we're going to pay a pretty penny. Obviously i would NEVER pay $5 for a can of Hormel chili in the states. But when my grapes are less than 0.50 or my dinner is about $1, i take a little splurge every now and then. I do try and make  things from scratch when possible (so far whip cream and crescent rolls).

I tried to make my own ricotta cheese this week. It started out well....

You're supposed to scald the milk then add vinegar and it's supposed to immediately curdle and then you can make ricotta cheese. However, i tried it twice (and went thru a lot of milk!) and didn't come close at all. I'm going to try again though, because no matter how much money you have, you just can't buy ricotta cheese here.
I was planning on making lasagna on Sunday, and i didn't want to give up after the milk fiasco, so I used cream cheese instead. It's pretty crumbly here, and honestly other than not being as cheesey, it tasted okay.

Even though we've just been here over a month, we've got a pretty good schedule going. Monday and Wednesdays we have class in the morning from 9-12. So i get up about 6:45-7, put on a little make up (i usually don't shower on these days), have my quiet time, have breakfast, and try to check email before class.

After class is lunch, study for an hour or so, clean, run any errands, make dinner. i've been trying to study in the area around our apartment in effort to meet people and make friends. I would really like to meet some people in our community.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we have class from 1-4 in the afternoon. I actually get up earlier on these mornings, about 6:15, so i can run a few miles, shower, and catch up on emails and extra study time.

Things like cooking, cleaning and shopping take a bit longer to do here than normal, so that takes up a lot of my time. Which brings me to my answered prayer this week......

I've been vacuuming and mopping 3-4 times a week in our apartment. And going crazy doing it. The floors drive me literally INSANE! Even after i clean, there are still marks from the vacuum or mop all over, and visible dust and dirt by the end of the day. It was hard not to feel like a failure as a woman or wife believing the lie that because i couldn't keep a perfectly clean house equalled failure.

I had talked to Daniel about it, but don't think he really understood that the floors were occupying every free thought and i felt utterly helpless. So we prayed about it. i literally asked Father for a miracle that the dirt wouldn't bother me. That was Monday night.

It's now Wednesday night and the floors haven't been bothering me at all! I keep looking at them and questioning my sanity that they're not bothering me. They still look dirty and have mop marks all over, but PTL it's not driving me up the wall or taking up any more wasted thoughts.

That's a little bit of what life is like here......i'll try and think of more things to share!



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eating and Running

That pretty much sums up my week, ha!

This week I ran twice. I ran a 5K, and then 4 miles this morning. It feels really good to be running consistently again. I would like to get back up to about 6 miles, but don't really feel the push to run longer than that right now. There is a half marathon in our city next year that i really want to train for, but for now.....i'd take 6.

This past week has been unseasonably cool. We had about 3 days in the 70's with nice breezes. It was nice to have the windows open for a few days. It's hot again today. Not hot like ya'll are experiencing, but still hot and humid.

Which brings me to a new love i have.....

I was at a friends house about 2 weeks ago and was served ice coffee. Let it be known that i am a coffee snob, including iced. I have a deep passionate love and appreciation for McDonald's Sugar-free-vanilla iced coffees. Clearly i can't get those here. BUT, i tried it at my friends house and i'm officially hooked!

Sidenote: You can't get coffee creamer here (you can get the powder but it's about $11). So most people (including me) buy coffee syrups from coffee shops. I bought Hazelnut a few weeks ago.'s the recipe for the iced coffee i'm now in love with:

Brew coffee-put in fridge to get cold.
Once cold, pour over ice and add milk and coffee syrup.
Drink and enjoy!

disclaimer: maybe you all have been making your own iced coffee for a while now, but i've always had my doubts about it. I am now a believer.

After my run this morning, we had breakfast burritos. We don't have salsa, so it was just sausage, eggs, and cheese. It was delish!

I'm attempting to make my own ricotta cheese tomorrow. I'll try and document it to let you know how it goes. After conquering the homemade crescent rolls, i'm hoping this will go well too!

Sidenote: I tried to make a dessert this week that i've made 100 times in the states. But i had to make my own whipping cream. The whipping cream came out okay, but the dessert as a whole was a complete failure. Like, the worst the thing i have EVER made. Ever. It was a sad day.

Anyways.....this past week has been pretty busy with language and responsibilitiess that we have here. This week should be a little less crazy. I'll let ya know :)



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I have had so many people ask for pics of our new place in East ya go!!

This is the entry way. Our front door is on the left. I LOVE that it's purple! The white cabinets on the right are for your shoes. We always take our shoes off as soon as we walk in. The other door is a room our landlord won't give us the key to. I'm kind of bitter about it and keep trying to pick the lock.

I love the life size mirror too!

Our apartment is furnished, so the couches, tables, chairs, and bed frames came with it. This is our living room. We have HUGE windows in all the rooms, and again, i love it. This is to the left of the entry way.

I bought these lamps, and I L-O-V-E them!! They totally make the room! I also bought the pillows and the rug was ours from before. The big thing in the corner is the AC/Heat unit. The red chair in the corner is usually in the guest room, but we're having people over tomorrow so need it in the living room.

Another view.

Don't be jealous of our TV. It has sound, but no picture. Dining room on the right, hall to the bedrooms on the left.

Dining room-kitchen on the right. We have these weird french/accordion doors leading to the kitchen.

Close up view.

Here's our kitchen! This is NOT a normal sized kitchen for here. Almost all of them are the size of half a shoe box. We totally lucked out on this!

Daniel built these shelves for makes it so much easier and frees up a lot of counter space for me. We cook in this large toaster oven instead of a stove.

Opposite view. The door leads to our enclosed patio that has our washer and dryer.

Washer and dryer. Dryers are a huge luxury here. (the vent leads to an outside window) When we went and bought ours the store only had one kind. So we bought that one :) Daniel also built me this frame to free up more space too. He's handy.

Here's the hall between our living room and dining room. First room on the left is our guest room. The door opposite is the bathroom. Door straight ahead is our room, and the one next to ours is the office.

Guest bathroom. We usually keep this door closed. The drains smell pretty bad here and this room is the worst.

Here's our guest room! The red chair is usually in the corner. i love this room!

You can't see it, but each room has an amazing deep window seat. I want to put cushions and pillows on these eventually. And most of our walls are bare. We have pictures and small things to put up, but the walls are SO big, it seems weird to put something small on them. Thoughts??

Here's the office. It's pretty much Daniel's man-cave. I try not to go in here very much. It may never be this clean again, ha!

Our room!!!

We had our bedding made. Our bed is between a queen and a king, and to find anything brown here is like finding a needle in a haystack. So I bought brown king sheets and had someone make a duvet cover for me. Then we had a duvet/filling made to go inside.

The white cabinets are the closets.  We bought the dresser and mirror.

Our amazing bathroom that is also very uncommon here.

Here's a close up of our bedside tables. They're so Asian, i love them!

Thanks for seeing our home! Come visit anytime!!



Best meal ever

I have to document this.

Kelly's Enchilada Ring recipe has been a fave of ours for a while. I double the sour cream and only add black olives to a portion because Daniel hates black olives. I usually use lime juice, but i haven't seen limes here, so i used lemon juice instead.

I really wanted to make this recipe here, however crescent rolls are unheard of. But a friend of mine has a recipe blog and had a recipe for homemade crescent rolls! So i decided to give it a whirl...

The rolls were actually much easier to make than i would've thought. I did skip the step of rolling them up and letting them rise for 30 minutes, because the enchilada ring recipe calls for the crescents to be unrolled. After letting the dough rise for an hour i just rolled them out and filled them.

Here is the finished product.......

It was definitely the best i've ever been able to make it. I mean seriously, Daniel and i agreed it was probably the best thing i've ever made. Ever. The homemade crescent rolls were to die for!

Sidenote, i did run 3 miles yesterday. It was actually harder than i thought it would be, but since it's been so long, i know it will take a while to get back to where i want to be.

Cultural side note: I decided to take the bus to a store yesterday so i could pay 0.25 rather than $3 for a taxi. Well, it took me almost an hour to find the bus stop. I got on and after riding around for a while i asked if we were going to the store. Everyone told me i was on the right bus but was going the wrong way. No problem i thought, i'll just ride it till we get there.

Then the bus stopped at the station and everyone got off.

A sweet old man took pity on me and helped me find the right bus to get on. I sat on the empty bus for about 10 minutes. Then we went right back to where i first got on the bus. Apparently there are 2 stops on the same street for this bus. One side takes you one way, the other takes you another. So 2 hours later i was at my store. I taxied home :)



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life here

We've been here in East Asia for exactly one month today.

One of the things i did almost as soon as we moved here, was go to the dish market. It's about a $5 taxi ride one way from our house (which means it's actually far!). Anything more than $1.50 taxi ride i consider far. I went with a friend of mine to buy plates, bowls, etc....

There are some normal stores that have very plain dishes, some fine china, and glasses. There are also a few stalls that sell all sorts of dishes that you can pick and choose from. Some dishes you'll see in every store, and some stores are the only one who sell that pattern.

I fell in love with these!


I bought 10 large plates, 10 small plates, 6 bowls, 2 large serving bowls, and 3 platters for about $50! I love getting a great deal!!! And i love bartering, which works since almost everything you buy here (except at large stores) is negotiable!

There is a design on the side of the bowls that i really like.

What's funny is that they had my exact same pattern that we got from Dillard's (that we left in the States) when we got married! EXACT same!!! Not shockingly, it was a lot cheaper here. So at least i can buy replacement pieces if i ever need them :)

Daniel and I are still taking language class 4 days a week. We use a lot of objects and things that we have in our house. Our teacher will tell us to put the knife on top of the cup, put the comb inside the blue book, things like that, so it's always a little crazy looking!

This is what our table looks like most days.

I'm planning on running tomorrow, maybe 2.5 miles?? What are ya'll doing this weekend??



Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm back!! (and awkward story)

I ran this morning.

I haven't run in one month. It's the longest stretch of not-running i've had in the last year and a half, since i've started. Last night when going to bed i kept thinking 'i wonder if i've still got it?' 'will my body remember how?'

This is me before:

And this is me 2.1 miles later!

I was trying to capture how sweaty i was. Even though it was only 2 miles, i had sweat literally pouring off of my body. Not sure what the temp was, but it was 90% humidity.

I feel like i started running for the first time all over again! I was SO proud and excited that i actually did it. It was more of a mental victory than a physical one. I've been scared to run here for a while. But i ran at 7 am so there wasn't as many people out yet.  I didn't run with headphones though. There is so much going on with motorbikes riding on the sidewalk, cars honking, and people that will walk straight into you, that i want to be pretty aware of my surroundings.

I would like to get back to running 5-6 miles at a time. I think i could do 3 later this week if i had to. It feels SO good to be back!

Sidenote: We made Cajun blackened tilapia last night with corn and rice with a twist. What is the twist you ask?? Cooking the rice in coconut milk instead of water. We had the rice this way at a friends house last week and i loved it!! And i don't even like coconut-but it gave it such a great flavor! This dinner was good!

Cultural sidenote:

Okay, this may be weird to share, but here goes. We have Western (american) toilets in our apartment. However, once we leave our house, almost all bathrooms are squatty's. They can be nice ones that actually flush, or trough style where you just straddle the hole. I have squatty'd many a time. Never had a problem. You do want to be careful to keep your balance though because nothing is grosser than falling forward (or backward eww) in a squatty.

SO, last Saturday night we went to our friends cd release show. I had showered and was wearing jeans. I went to the bathroom at the restaurant. It was a squatty.

So i'm going.....and i hear a strange sound that doesn't sound quite right. I kept going.

I walked out of the squatty stall and looked down at my pant leg. Soaking wet!!! I had peed all over the bottom of my jeans! Hello, what the heck???? I have NEVER peed on myself or had issues before. So i rolled up the bottom of my jeans to hide it and went back to the show.

Life goes on. You have to laugh at these things. You never know what kind of weird situation you'll be in at any moment. You have to learn to roll with it. It's life and it's awkward.



Sunday, July 3, 2011


I'm running out of ideas on what to title my posts. I feel like they're all 'random' or some type of 'update.' I haven't been running so there's just less to talk about, ha!

Here's a hodge podge of a few things we've been doing.

Last Friday night we went out for pizza for a dear friends birthday. Which means i showered, wore jeans, and did my hair and make up. I usually only wear jeans if we're taking a taxi and i know i won't be outside much. The humidity here has been out of control lately. If i wear make up these days, it's not until sometime in the evening usually if we have plans with other people. Most days it's ponytail, no makeup and athletic shorts.

After dinner, a group of just girls got together and watched the Miss America pagent (recorded). Since we don't have TV, it's fun to get together and watch big shows or events.

Last week we also ate burritos, and it was the BEST meal i've cooked here so far! It was SO good and everything tasted perfect! I cleaned the lettuce extra good.

Last night Daniel and i went to dinner at a Western restaurant and then went to hear a friend's CD release show.  I'm afraid we're both looking a little rough's been a crazy busy week.

Daniel has been getting into coffee lately. I'm afraid i've created a monster.

At our friends show!

We're getting together with some friends tomorrow to celebrate July 4th. The house is coming along, and i will TRY to post pics sometime this week. I really am going to try and run this week.