Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mail Call

There is really nothing like getting mail. Whether it's a letter, a card, or a package, mail just says love. And because gifts is my love language, it's really like Christmas.

Today, we got a package from my mom. (I'm sure my dad helped in some way....but packages are much more my mom's area).

I asked for ice cube trays, because the ones here are just ridiculously hard to use. I had found a store that had normal ones, but couldn't bring myself to pay over $10 a tray.

Those are dryer sheets on the top. I could smell them before I even opened the box!! Again, you can get these at an import store, but i cannot bring myself to pay the import price. It's not like it's chocolate chips.

And that is a cheese cloth on the left, for the next time I attempt to make ricotta cheese. I believe I will conquer this one day.

That's garlic salt on the right. Our love runs deep. I can find a reason to use garlic salt in almost anything. And no, garlic powder is not the same thing. :)

Ahhhhhhh and the cheese!!! Bless her!

My day has totally been made!!

thanks mom!



Monday, August 29, 2011

No place like Home

Saturday we met up with some friends for lunch. We had a great time hanging out, eating local food, and of course drinking tea.

Saturday night we went back to my favorite restaurant, then walked through the old campus that I used to live at. No one lives in the dorms that I was in anymore.  They are doing some remodeling on the building so i snuck in to take some pics. Honestly, any other place and i'm sure the building would be condemned.

This was my old classroom. There are usually desks and chairs. They repainted and cleaned it up pretty good. It used to have cat poop in it all the time.

In the winter, I would wear 4 layers to class and bring a blanket. It was that cold.

Here's my old room. They've repainted, torn out the carpet, and fixed the ceiling. My ceiling used to leak constantly on my bed. There was a lot of water damage.

I really wish I could find a 'before' pic, but can't find one anywhere. Just for a visual, my bed was on the left, I had a small loveseat on the right, and then a small dresser and bedside table.

This was my old kitchen. Again, they've put in tile and made it look much nicer.

I used to have one gas burner on the far corner, a fridge, and a bookcase where I kept all my food.

This is the bathroom. I WISH you could see what the before was like. The toilet, walls, and floor are all new. My toilet before used to leak from the bottom. And notice at the top is the shower head. I would take everything out each time I took a shower (which really wasn't all that often ha!). But then I would always have to roll my pants up when I went the bathroom because the floor was always wet.

I know you're probably thinking this post is about my old dorm memories. It's not.

We flew back home today to our city. While Daniel and I LOVE being in the mountains, and truly believe we will live there at some point, we both felt so ready to be in our home. It's strange. We both love and miss the mountains, and could easily make it home if we lived there. But we've settled in here. We've created our home here.

When we both walked in the door today we both said that we've never really felt so at home before. We love it here. Even though it's hot and humid, we know this as home. It's strange that we haven't been here quite 3 months yet, and barely 2 months in our house. But it feels so right. And I can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight.

There really is no place like home.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Memory Lane...literally

Thursday we met with a couple of friends. We had lunch with a local friend and drank a lot of tea!!! I've been trying to limit my coffee or drink decaf to make up for all the tea we've been drinking while we've been here.

Thursday afternoon I went and sat by the river and enjoyed the quiet. It's so peaceful here. Life here is so much slower and relaxed from where we live now. The people are in general more laid back and focused more on relationships than climbing the corporate ladder. It's good to be here.

Yesterday, we had a very laid back day. I would describe it as relaxed even though Daniel would strongly disagree with me.

Sidenote: Daniel and I recently read more about our Myers Briggs personalities, and learned a lot. My type is described as living in the past. At first when I heard this, I didn't think it really described me, bc when I think of living in the past, I think of someone dwelling on things they can't change and can't seem to move on with life. But what it actually means (in this test), is that I strongly value traditions, memories, things like that.

This didn't make a lot of sense to me until Daniel and I came to the mountains, a place I used to live. Without realizing it, I put a huge priority on eating at all my favorite restaurants, not bc they are my favorite, but because of all the memories i have at each place. I wanted to go to the same place at the river that I would go before. I wanted to sit in the same park. I ordered the same foods I'd eaten before.

It suddenly hit me how my personality type was coming out in this trip. I was reliving all of my old memories at each place I would go, telling Daniel about the conversations I had at a particular restaurant and at which table. I wanted to relive all that I had known before. It is a very emotional thing for me.

Which brings me to yesterday. When I lived here before, my friend and I would bike through the mountains a few times a week. We think it's about 10 miles.

I wanted to do the ride one more time. Just to relive it all. Daniel came with me, but I knew he didn't have the same emotional connection as I did. The route has a few big hills, and at high altitude I was practically hyperventilating at the end of each one. I thought I would have to walk up a few of them, but surprised myself that I was able to ride the whole time.

At the first part of the ride, we passed the mountains that Daniel and I had are very first official date. Daniel packed us a picnic lunch and we biked and sat on this mountain. (we also both got flat tires on the way back.)

Here we are about 2 years ago. Just a coupla kids, ha!

Anyways, bc we've only been here a week and not fully adjusted to the altitude, the bike ride was a lot more intense than we were probably ready for. I enjoyed it though :)

After a rest, we spent more time walking around town. We "splurged" last night and had duck for dinner at a nice restaurant. And by splurged, I mean we spent about $16. Another thing I love about this city is that you can live and eat REALLY cheaply!

Anyways, at this restaurant they have this amazing plum tea/juice. It's so addicting and we drink cup after cup. I think it's more of a juice than a tea, but it is served hot.

We're hoping to spend today and tomorrow with a few more friends, before heading back on Monday. When we get back we'll have to hit the ground running. We have a few appointments, 3 more tutoring classes, and finishing up everything for our university application. Then school starts on Sept 5th!!! It's going to be crazy.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011


After I left you on Monday, we went and had local noodles and tea for about $2. I know right?

And we've still been drinking a lot of water.

Monday afternoon was a little more sightseeing, and then had dinner with one of Daniel's old friends. We went to a nice local restaurant and as always, it's an experience when you're with the natives!!

Our friend was ordering and asked if mutton and yak tongue was okay. (if i'd known him better i would've been honest, ha). But never wanting to be rude to your host, you always say yes and try to eat whatever is put in front of you with a smile.

Honestly, the yak tongue was really good, it tasted like thin slices of roast beef. If you can mentally get past what you're actually eating, it's pretty tasty! The mutton however was not my fave. I'm sure like any other meat you can cook mutton a variety of ways, but we had it in the form of fat on the bone. I do not like fatty meat. But again, i chewed and chewed and actually swallowed.

What's hilarious, is that halfway thru the meal our friend was telling us about some of his recent travels, and we asked him what new foods he tried and liked. And he told us he doesn't really try new food, but just sticks with what is familiar. I had to hold my laugh in, and really wanted to ask him what part of yak tongue and mutton fat did he think was familiar to me hahahaha?? But seriously, he's such a great friend to Daniel and i was excited to get to meet him.

Tuesday, we had more of a down day. We had breakfast at our noodle shop and ate steamed dumplings. Daniel could eat this every meal of every day.

They actually steam them on this fire stove thing.

We ended up running into another friend of Daniel's (it really is like a small town here, you can run into anybody anywhere) on our way to lunch.

From left to right: bread filled with meat, fried meat, green veggie, and fried potato/meat dumpling. This restaurant is one of our faves too. I found it right before i moved last time, so i need to make up for lost time and eat there a few more times!

Tuesday afternoon we rode to the river and just enjoyed the quiet and scenery.

This morning we were up before the sun to do a little sightseeing outside of town. The drive was beautiful and the mountains did not disappoint!!

Here's me, hanging out with the wild life.

We actually were at about 15,000 feet. After just climbing a few steps, you get SO out of breath and feel completely out of shape! Here is the road that we drove up on. Notice the switchbacks (that's one of my favorite words).

We walked around the top of the mountain. This was the level part of the path.

It's hard to really capture it, but can you see that we are completely surrounded by mountains? love. it.

(those are mountains in the back, they just keep going and going)

We asked our tour guide to take our picture. Clearly, we weren't ready.

This reminded of Psalm 50:10, instead of cattle, i was thinking "He owns the yak on a thousand mountains."

The next few days we're spending time with friends and taking in all the beauty around us.



Monday, August 22, 2011

View from the Top

Daniel and i arrived in the mountains on Friday morning. We rested, drank about 20 glasses of water, and I ate a lot. Word on the street is that most people lose their appetite or have decreased appetite in high alt's. Yeah i could eat 24/7, and I gained 10 pounds last time i lived here, ha! My appetite was insane the first 2 days here, but since yesterday, i think i've gone back to a somewhat normal appetite, ha!
Our first stop on Friday was my fave restaurant. I used to go there quite frequently, and it warmed my heart that the lady who owns it totally recognized us when we walked in and wanted to know where we've been the last 2 years! (i'll try to get a pic with her before we leave).

(broccoli, beef w/ peppers)

Here is our hotel room. When we first checked in they gave us 3 singles.


Friday night dinner-my fave vegetarian restaurant that I used to visit every Friday.

Fried veggie dumpling, cabbage, and the red sauce is a spicy dipping sauce that is EVERYWHERE here.

Saturday we got up and walked around town, and then did a little sightseeing.

But first, this is Saturday lunch. This is our fave noodle shop, and they recognized us here too. My fave-fried noodles!!!

Here are some of our views! (this morning we got up and there was snow on the tops of the mountains!)

sidenote: Yesterday i was reunited with my bike! yay!!!

(i've climbed that mountain)

So one thing i LOVE about here, is that there is NO humidity. My hair stays straight, unlike where we live now if i straighten it 3 times a day it will automatically get wavy.

(yes that is a long sleeve shirt. it was 55 yesterday when we left the hotel.)

Sunday we went to another fave tea house. isn't he cute?

Lunch: Fried rice with meat, meat, rice, potatoes

Today we're doing a little more sightseeing, catching up on email at a coffee shop that has Wifi, and meeting friends for dinner. I'll try to post again when I can.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Food & Travel

Real quick...Granola Bar update:

I put the granola bars in the fridge (bc it's wicked humid here). I ate some this morning and boy howdy were they delish!!! I've had to exhibit a lot of self control all day long to not eat all of them.
Oh, and i made the bars to take on our trip tomorrow, which is why i can't eat them yet.

So this week in food....I made chili. I love that it's almost the same as making it in the States, and just as easy! Crockpot meals (esp here) are my fave! I got the recipe from here (I used canned kidney beans).

Also on the homefront, Daniel made dinner this week. He surprised me with pork medallions, rice, and a vegetable medley of zuchini and bell pepper.  It was SO good! And i'm pretty sure food just tastes better if someone else makes it :)

Tomorrow, in the very early AM, we are taking a 10 day trip to the mountains. It's a place i've been before, but not for over 2 years, and i'm beyond excited! Other than being a place I love, there is AMAZING food (don't worry you'll get pics), temp's in the 50-60's, and just overall a completely different atmosphere from where we live now.

Because it's such high altitude, i'm not planning on running. I'm not even bringing any running clothes. It takes a few days to get adjusted, and you're just easily tired and out of breath, so it just wasn't worth it. I'm going to miss it though, i've been on such a good consistent schedule these past few weeks, and i hate to not run in great weather, but it's too difficult to run up there without really adjusting to the altitude.

We should have internet, so i'll try to post a bit with pics of the mountains and me wearing long sleeves!!

Random sidenote: I was able to get a pair of pants hemmed for about $0.65 cents this week! One of the many perks of living here.....



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Granola

A few days ago i asked for recipes for homemade granola bars. My friend sent me one and i tried it out tonight. I changed a few things, but overall used the recipe.

P.S. I actually halfed the recipe because A. i wasn't sure how they would turn out, and B. i had a small amount of chocolate chips and haven't been able to find any at the import stores here. Not having access to chocolate chips is not good for my control issues.

I  added 1 Tbs flax seed to the recipe. Because my sister would want me to. And really, why wouldn't you?

I mixed together the oats, flax, flour,  honey, brown sugar, butter (I used room temp) and  vanilla together.

Then I added a cup (total) of chopped almonds, cashews, and chocolate chips.

I know it really doesn't look like a lot, but in the end, these turned out pretty thick. I lightly greased an 8X8 (recipe is for 9X13, but again i halfed it). I pushed the mixture in pretty hard into the pan.

I actually baked these for a good 25 minutes, if not more. But it was also in a toaster oven, so i guess it just depends on what you're using. They still seemed a bit soft to me when I pulled them out. I looked at some other recipes online and they suggested putting them in the freezer straight from the oven to harden them. Some people said that if you just keep them at room temp to cool, they'll fall apart.

So I froze mine for over an hour. Took them out, cut them and ate them! They were good, but not spectacular. I think because they looked like cookie bars i was execting something really sweet, but these aren't.

Daniel thinks raisins would be really good, but gag me. I want to experiment with adding peanut butter chips, more chocolate chips than I did this time, and maybe substituting peanut butter for some of the honey. But this is a great starter recipe, just add whatever you like for the "extras."

Here's the recipe!!

Chewy granola bars

4 1/2 c rolled oats
3/4 c flour
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 c butter
3/4 c honey
1/3 c packed brown sugar
2 c add ins (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate...)
325 degrees 9*13 pan

Mix all ingredient except addins. Then add addins. Firmly press in pan. Bake 18-20 min or golden brown. Let cool 10 min than cut. Let cool completely before removing from pan."
(Again I froze mine and halfed the recipe, but do whatever feels right to you.)
Stay tuned for another food post tomorrow!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Confession, i like coffee. Maybe a bit too much.

About a week ago, I was getting ready in the morning and thought we were out of coffee. My mind went crazy. I could not grasp what a day without coffee would be like. I can't remember the last time i went a day without it. Even when we moved here, I bought some instant just to tide me over within hours of our plane landing.

I am also a person of routine. When I get ready in the mornings or get ready for bed, i do things the exact same way every day. I'm a creature of many habits. Each morning I make my coffee (half decaf/half reg) while i'm putting on my make up or doing my hair. I then make my first cup to sip on during my morning quiet time. About halfway through i go and get my second cup.

I've also been known to randomly give things up, sometimes for no reason at all. In college, i went over a year without drinking soda, just to prove to myself that i could do it. When I was a kid, I went a full year without chocolate, and a few years ago i went about 6 months without caffeine. I wish I could say there were spiritual reasons or life lessons i took away, but it really just boils down to me being competitive. Even if it's just with myself.

I enjoy drinking coffee. I enjoy a Starbucks just as much as the next guy, but i really like making my own at home. It might be a control issue, ha. I love putting in my sugar, milk, and  (now) coffee syrup-mixing it all in and adjusting if it needs it. I love how it makes me feel each day. It slows me down. I love drinking my coffee while staring out the window from my bed and just watching the city. It doesn't matter how busy or crazy my day might be, if i'm drinking coffee it all slows down, even if it's just for an hour or so.

Anyways, when i saw how crazy i was going when i thought i was going to have to go one morning without it, i realized this may be a problem.

Lately, i've been trying to eat a lot of natural foods, esp fruit. And I wasn't liking how i felt after my 2 (big) cups of coffee. It was like i could feel the processed coffee syrup and sadly  non -organic coffee grains swirling around my body, contaminating everything in sight. (I know, dramatic much?)

Anyways, this brings me to how i decided to give up coffee for 1 week. Yes, i know there are much bigger problems in the world. But let's focus on mine for a minute :)

I just finished Day 4. Today was by far the hardest. I have felt tired (it could be the lack of sleep, which is one of the reasons i drink coffee....) I have 3 more days to go until i'll "allow" myself to have coffee. But at that point we'll actually be travelling for about 10 days in high altitude, and coffee is not the best thing to have in that climate. So my little one week fast could possibly be 3 weeks.

What have you given up just for fun or to see if you could do it?



Saturday, August 13, 2011


For the past several years, I have thought about adoption. I didn't have a big magical moment where I thought it'd be a good idea, but watching a few families around me go thru the process was a huge part of my understanding of it.

I don't feel that every person is supposed to adopt. Just like I don't think every person is supposed to live overseas. But I think everyone (believers) should be involved and play a role somehow.

About a year ago, i was looking for books to read about adoption to learn more about the subject and hopefully be more prepared whenever the time comes. This book came very highly recommended.

(If you have adopted, what books/resources do you recommend?)

I'm in the middle of reading it now. There have already been several times that i just wanted to walk away and quit reading. Moore brings to life the reality of the conditions that most orphans are currently living in and the cruelty they are subjected to. It's been painful to read. I don't want to think about it. It's easier to ignore it. But I can't. There has been one passage in particular that keeps haunting me. I know that I can't solve the world's problems or adopt every single child, but i can do something.

Moore says (page 83)

"Think of the plight of the orphan somewhere right now out there in the world. It's not just that she's lonely. It's that she has no inheritance, no future. With every passing year, she's less "cute," less adoptable. In just a few years, on her eighteenth birthday, she'll be expelled from the orphanage or from "the system." What will happen to her then?

Maybe she'll join the military or find job training. Maybe she'll stare at a tile on the ceiling above her as her body is violated by a man who's willing to pay her enough to eat for a day, alone in a back alley or in front of a camera crew of strangers. Maybe she'll place a revolver in her mouth or tie a rope around her neck, knowing no one will have to deal with her.

Can you feel the force of such desperation?

Jesus can."

Those are hard words to read.

It's easier to ignore it and go on with life. But thinking of the millions of children who are living without a family, without love, and without the necessities of life is not okay. It's inhuman.

When Daniel and I were dating, the subject we talked the most about was adoption. It's something we both have felt led to do as individuals and now as a married couple. We're not sure about all the details, the timing, and all that. But it's something we are being led by Father to do.

This past month we officially started our "adoption fund."!!!!!!  It's not a lot, but it's something, and it's exciting! Most likely it will be a few years before we adopt, but i love knowing that somewhere a child is a little closer to having a family and people that love them.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This post is pretty random, but also important to me. so here ya go...

Three years ago i went on a trip to Bali with some friends and we spent the night in Macau on the way there and back. I found this drink called Sarsae, which tasted like root beer on crack. I tried looking for it everywhere and managed to find it again when I spent a few days in Hong Kong.

A few months after my trip to Bali, a friend told me she had found Sarsae in a local store in the city i live now. I looked several times where she had bought it, but never found it.

Yesterday i went to our local supermarket and lo and behold!!!!!!!! AND it was only 50 cents. Score!! We can buy A&W Root Beer here at a few import stores but each can is $1.50, so 50 cents is sweet!

My can looks a little different than the one i've had before, but i think it's the same. And after doing a little research, i learned that it is sarsparilla based. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds cool.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Health Exam

It's two words you just don't want to hear in the EA. While i truly do love it here, and enjoy most parts of life here, i'm just not in love with the health system available here.

Daniel and I needed to have a health exam/physical for our university application.

Let me walk you through our day.

We arrive at the larger-than-we-expected health clinic to find tons of people standing in several lines and swarming about. We find 2 other foreigners and they give us a quick synopsis of how the system works.

We stand in the first line.

When we get to the counter we're told we need to go to another line to get an application. I had to sign that i agreed to the following.

It says " I am responsible for the deception."

That really should have been our first clue to how the rest of the day would go.

We get the application, fill it out, go back and get in line #1.

After a quick glance they send us to line #2 which is quite long.

I need to use the bathroom. I leave line and am about to use the squatty and realize a. i don't have any tissue or anything even close to resembling it, and b. i have no hand sanitizer. (i know what you're thinking, i'm in a health clinic surely.....but no). There is a local girl doing her thing too so i waited and begged asked her if she could give me 1 piece of tissue. She does, and i'm grateful. But then i realize we're going to be there a while and I might need to go again. So, yes, i rip the small tissue in half and i'll spare you the rest of the details. Again, no hand sanitizer and i'm already feeling pretty contaminated.

While we're still standing in line #2 we realize everyone else has small pictures to go with their application. We do not.

We ask the kind man behind us and he points to the little shack out front. They will take our pictures for us. We know line #2 was about an hour wait so we took turns leaving the line to go get our pics taken.

We get our pictures and continue standing in line.

We take another picture at the end of line #2 and are told to go to #4. I don't see anything that looks like a #4 and ask the lady more specifically where i'm supposed to go. She told me floor 2.

I go to floor 2. The lady tells me to go to floor 3.

At floor 3 i have to do a urine sample. I'm ever so thankful that i had half a tissue to use for a urine sample using a squatty. I'm mentally preparing myself for any illnesses that might spring up in the next few days as a result of today.

After the urine sample i get in line to have my blood drawn. After waiting a while i get up to the front and the lady tells me i haven't paid yet. (we were actually told to pay at the end, but whatevs)

I go back to floor 1, pay, get another receipt and stamp and go back to floor 3 to have my blood drawn. There are 2 other foreign ladies in front of me and they asked the technician to change her gloves before she draws their blood. I notice that the technicians hadn't been changing their gloves the entire time i've been in line. Not wanting to be the snobby white american, but also not wanting to die, i also ask ever so nicely if my technician will change her gloves too.

Get blood drawn, and am given a long Q tip to put on my arm. No band aids to be found. This is when i start praying and asking that Father protect us from anything and everything that we could catch while at the clinic.

After the blood I get my height, weight, BP, and all that checked. The lady totally rounded up a full pound on the paperwork. I was tempted to change it, but didn't. I tell myself "Big picture Laura."

Then i go to a series of different rooms and have to lie down on the table in each one. Things were really busy and i also noticed that they're not changing the blue liners on the beds at all. One table had hair and wet goo on it. Que prayer.

I reallllllly wanted to ask for a new liner at each station, but i also wanted to get out of there ASAP.

In one room a lady is on the phone and starts putting these very strange looking clips on me. Like huge chip bag clips. I have this intense fear that she's going to do some type of electric shock on me so i started calling for Daniel. Turns out she was monitoring my heart, which  should've been obvious when she put the clips on my ankles.

I also had an eye exam and had to put the same cover over my eye that everyone else had used. Note to self: always carry my own alcohol swabs. You just never know.

The last stop was X Ray. I was warned that females had to take off everything on top and put on a gown. Which would seem normal if you weren't standing in room full of people watching you get your x ray. I was able to change behind a curtain, but have never felt so exposed. i'm trying to block this part of the day out.

After X ray we realize we have to go back to where we received our application to get some stamp thing and a free carton of warm milk. Yummmmm.

Then we go back pick up our x rays and learn we have to come back in 2 days to get our final results.

At this point it's been a confusing day and we are both feeling infected.

We celebrate by going to Subway (yes we have a few here!) and chase away our contamination fears with coke and chocolate cookies. We found a public restroom that had soap and we both scrubbed at least 2 layers of skin off.

Welcome to my life :)



Sunday, August 7, 2011

2 Months

Today we celebrate 2 months of living in East Asia.

It's been a ride already, and i know it's only the beginning.

If i'm going to be honest, it's been hard. Much much harder than i ever imagined or anticipated. Daniel and i had both lived overseas before and had relatively easy adjustments. We both weren't ready for the big changes that came into our lives so suddenly.

I've never moved overseas married. I didn't realize that moving on a semi-permenant basis would look so different than knowing a specific time frame, like i knew before.

In the last 2 months, we

- searched, found, and signed a 2 year contract on an apartment
- prepared the apartment to be lived in : paint, cleaning, bedding, misc. furniture,
- learned how to cook in a toaster oven (still a work in progress!)
-tried and failed miserably at making my own ricotta cheese
-rocked my own world with the amazing homemade crescent rolls i made
-completed 6 weeks of intensive language study
- faced with feelings of guilt and exhaustion
- living thru moments of being constantly overwhelmed and defeated
- made and spent time with local friends
- learned more about marriage in 2 months than in 2 years
- enjoyed amazing time with Father and seeing Him work miracles
- soaked up fellowship with our community around us

I could go on and on. Each day can consist of a variety of emotions. This past weekend has been such an amazing blessing! Daniel and i have been so eager to make local friends in and around our community to share life with. In the last 2 days there have been wonderful opportunities for both of us in this area. Even today, i met a new friends for coffee. We've both been able to have meaningful conversations that are priceless.

One thing that Daniel and I are blessed with is an amazing community of other foreign friends that support us. I moved to East Asia in desparate need of community, to share life with those around me that 'got me.' I am so grateful for the old relationships we've reconnected with and the new ones that have enriched our lives so much already.

I know in the big picture 2 months is not a long time. But i want to remember this part.

I know it's the very beginning of what will be an amazing, rocky, life changing, difficult, and yet beyond rewarding part of our lives.



Saturday, August 6, 2011

When all else fails

If you've noticed, i talk about food alot. I rarely post without a picture of something we've eaten from the week. i did this in the states alot because i was still learning how to cook and wanted to document all the new meals.
Here, cooking is just different. I have to make some ingredients first and improvise, so cooking can be a challenge. I try to still plan our meals 2 weeks at a time. And if a meal comes out good, i feel the need to document it. :)

Thursday night we made pizza. Cheese is SO expensive here so we try to use it sparingly, but last time we did it on pizza it just didn't taste so great. So we splurged this time!

Friday night we had burritos. There is a local business that makes and delivers flour tortillas for pretty cheap (for here). And they are GOOD!

This weeks menu is:

Sun/Mon: Tortilla Soup
Tues: Daniel's cooking!
Wed: Dinner at friends house
Thurs: Local dishes
Fri: Enchilada Ring
Sat: Western

Schedules change quickly here so i won't be shocked if our week looks different than planned, ha!

Also, i want to start making homemade granola bars....anyone have a good recipe?

And, we might buy a blender soon, so any smoothie recipes (that don't require yogurt or things i can't buy here, ha) are welcome!

Onto's been going really good! I was able to log 14 miles this week, which hasn't happened since April. I find the earlier i go, the more i enjoy it. There are far less people out and i use up less energy dodging around people. I was even up at 6:30 this morning to get in a few miles. It was hot and humid so i rewarded myself with a (maybe 2!) iced coffees! They are so addicting!!!

We're travelling in less than 2 weeks and i am behind myself with excitement. We'll be going to the mountains, which means cooler temperatures!

What did ya'll do this weekend?? (and yes i realize that you probably haven't even started your Saturday yet!)



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Get Lost

All day yesterday i worried about running this morning. I hadn't run in a week, and it was only 3 miles. I really want to have a consistent running schedule, even if it's just twice a week. And i really want to get my mileage back up....there are so many good things i want to eat, haha! Seriously though.

So of course last night i prayed that I would have the motivation and ability to run, because i just wasn't feeling it.

This morning i got up a few minutes after 6 to hit the road. I knew i could do 3 but would be happy if i did 4. i was going to try a new route this morning that i thought would be close to 4 miles. The first 2 miles were regular territory and then it got interesting.

I knew (or thought i knew) that this one road would intersect with what we call "the river road." It's not that big but you can run near a canal that leads back to our house. So i was running and before i got to where i thought i should've turned i noticed a girl running down some stairs and it looked interesting. I followed her and OMG there was this hidden path that was a few feet below the road that followed both sides of the river, AND it was lined with trees! i SO wish i had my camera, but don't worry i will post pics in the future.

At this point i was already at 3 miles, but i thought i would just go a bit further because you just cannot beat a good running trail!! Ya''ll know i can get worked up about running here with dodging all the people, avoiding being swept up by a street sweeper, dog poop, people poop, and the millions of motorbikes. Words cannot describe how excited i am about this new find!!!!!

Anyways, i ran by the river until i came to a bridge, then turned around to where i came from. I got back on the main road and was still looking for the river road so i could go home. I never found that road.

Instead i just kept running until i hit a huge intersection that i was familiar with and realized i was NOT close to home, ha. So I turned around and made the trek back. Thankfully, i had some clue to how to get home from there.

While i wanted to run 4 miles this morning, i ended up with 6! 6 miles people!!!! With no hydration or food. I'm actually shocked i made it. But being lost kind of motivated to keep running, ha!

Anyways....SO thankful that i got lost this morning, that i found a new running path, and that I realized i had it in me to run 6. woo hoo!!!



Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekend Rewind

WOW, i haven't done one of these posts in a long time!

Friday, we studied, ran some errands, and went to a new (to us) market to explore and see if we could find anything good. We did buy fresh asparagus, which has been very hard to find here. I was able to get 3 lbs for $3, totally worth it.
But it was also pouring down rain the entire day so when we tried to get a taxi home we waited a long time!

Friday night we went to friends house for dinner and games. I love a good game night and love that we have friends in our city that do too! We got home about 11:30 and found that our freezer was practically thawed. The fridge wasn't super cold, but the freezer was bordering on room temp. We weren't sure if we left the door open, or if it was broken. Because of the weird humidity here we keep a lot of things in the freezer-spices, cheese, bread, etc....I did not want to lose any of it. We unplugged the fridge and plugged it back in to see if that would help. We waited a little while and things seemed to be getting a little cooler.

I set my alarm for 2 am to get up and check it. If it still wasn't working i was going to put the $ items in the fridge to save what i could. Thankfully, it was all working and we haven't had a problem since. I totally took for granted coolers and bags of ice readily available in the states, ha!

So Friday made for a long night and i was EXHAUSTED on Saturday! Daniel helped me out and went to the market for me so i stayed home and cleaned and got caught up a bit on life.

Saturday Daniel and i had a date night. It was SO much fun! Daniel had given me a note earlier in the week inviting me out. It was really sweet!

Daniel took me to a huge nearby park that i had no clue existed! There were trees, water, and little trails to walk on, very unusual in our city to see. And the weather was perfect! It was cloudy, but with a slight breeze and in the 70's. Amazing.

We walked around for about 1 1/2 hour and didn't even see the whole park. My absolute favorite part was sitting on a bench, talking, and listening to the wind blow thru the bamboo trees. We live in a city of 11 million people, foliage is um shall was say rare?

I can't remember the last time i was able to sit and listen to the wind. It may be a small thing, but it's def something i've missed. You just can't put a price tag on some good nature! I see some good visits to this park again in my future!

For dinner we went to a Western restaurant and got completely spoiled with good bread! We had pesto, oil, and an olive spread. Words cannot express how delicious this was. Nor is it important how many pieces i ate.

I'm planning on running tomorrow. I have to be honest and say that i have zero motivation. Mostly because i've missed a full week and it's always hard to come back. But i'll let ya know :)