Win! And also Fail.

Skirt? Done.*

Along with some spiffy sunglasses (which I’ve been dilly-dallying about purchasing), and a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes.** Altogther, about $14 USD. Not bad… if you don’t count the skirt as a loss.


Ran by the grocery for some goodies.†

Went home. This is my room.††

This is my closet. For those who are curious. Is that Hamlet hiding up there? Is that a box of Pocky in the corner? Do I only wear half the clothes shown? ‘Yes’ to all three.

Wish I was eating this tonight. Having ramen instead. Cooked the last of my fresh veggies last night in preparation for leaving… didn’t quite time things that well.

So… enough pictures for you? Yes? No? You let me know.

– – –

*But unfortunately, see-through. The trials of buying at a place where you can’t try it on… until you get home. No convenient return policy in this country, either.

**We’re going to the desert… lots of sun.

†Not these particular snacks this time, but hey, Daddio, do you have these?

††Where magical language skills get absorbed into my brain. No, really.


Heading Westward

We leave in two days, bright and early. Though I’ve known about our trip for a couple of months, now that it’s close, I’m wondering where the time has gone. With my days shortened by commitments, I have little time (and little scooter power, incidentally) to get my few errands accomplished. Like buying a long skirt. That shouldn’t be hard, right? Especially when there are clothes stores right outside the entrance to my complex.

But if I want a cheap skirt, that’s a little harder. Why has this city become one of the shopping destinations for this country? I see more Prada, Gucci, Luis Vitton, Versarce, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co* in this city than I ever did in Austin or Dallas combined.

Um, in case you didn’t know, those labels are not on my Christmas wish list. And in no way do they equal a “cheap” skirt.

Someone gave me a scarf a week before I would need it. I love useful gifts.**

I want this to be the lightest I’ve ever packed for a trip. Three changes of clothes, max. I don’t aspire to be a backpacker, but since it’s culturally o.k. to re-wear clothes several days in a row, I will take advantage and blend!†

The other thing to look forward to (other than packing a lot of disposable diapers for the baby, who has been needing about 6 per day), is the sleeper trains! We just don’t have these in Texas. Or many in the US, at all. I sort of wish they’d make a comeback; I imagine training would be much cheaper than flying†† and a larger percentage of the customers can lay down and sleep! Planes might be faster, but I don’t mind taking my time travelling, as long as I have some room to stretch.‡

What do you think? Someone want to buy up a lot of old trains and start a new/old business? No? Your loss.

BEAUTY & TRUTH: Caring for Dad’s Art

– – –

*You get the idea

**And it’s pretty!! Pretty and soft!

†Maybe not blend. I’m pretty American once you try to engage me in conversation.

††Feel free to correct me on this.

‡Reading time, oooh. Writing time, aaah. Sleeeeep. 😀

Daily Talk Topics* *with footnotes

It’s been an interesting week here. The men left Wednesday for the West, ahead of us women, and so we are outnumbered by kids, 2:1 (or in our case, 6:3). I’ve been staying over at the (little) boys’ house to help out, and it’s a different world from little girls. ‡

BUT, since I don’t have my computer or internet over there, I’ve had more time to devote to writing and talking (when not stopping one boy from hitting the other). Which is life-giving to me. I’ve been searching out ways to ‘strengthen myself’ through new and old methods. Some of those I will try to share here, others may not be possible to share. And some ways that can bring life to my day I am just now learning.

For example: I never knew how much I enjoyed cooking food until I was in a situation where cooking for myself wasn’t necessary for each meal. Most people would love to not have to worry about buying groceries, planning and then cooking a meal, but lack of choice can be just as much of a pain sometimes.

So yesterday, when our house-helper suddenly couldn’t come to make dinner, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve felt limited in my ability to make the meals I used to in this country, because the ingredients for baking are hard if not impossible to find, and there are no ovens in homes here. But there are more fresh veggies and fruits to be had, so I wound up my courage (and kicked the defeatist attitude to the corner) and sailed out of our apartment to track down what I needed to make dinner for six kids and three adults.‡‡

Thanks go to Sara for sending me Joy the Baker‘s website. I took two potato dishes: Roasted Garlic Potatoes, and a mixed up Potato Hash to work on, that I was pretty sure I could pull off in a first attempt, and that I would also be able to lay my hands on the needed ingredients.

(For those not food inclined, skip this paragraph). I added zucchini to the hash, and had a time of it finding spinach at the market.* But all my work paid off! It was definitely yummy, and I was thankful for spending the extra money on canned corn from the import section, to sweeten the dish. The kids’ leftover mini-hotdogs got cut up and fried with the veggies, but I didn’t try them myself… meat is enough of a question for me in this country** and processed meat here? No thank you.

My parents will be glad to hear that I cleaned the kitchen both before and after cooking – including dishes.

The evenings are interesting while the guys are gone, because I shower (quickly) at 7:10, then head over to the other house as soon as I pack what I need for the next day.

Have I mentioned that I love my scooter? Because I do. A Lot.

John wants me to name it. I think Ashley would approve this. But what do you name a CN scooter? An American name? That doesn’t seem right.

BEAUTY: creating pretty & healthy meals

TRUTH: Tim Keller’s podcast – How S.n Makes Us Addicts

– – –

‡ I’m sure all the parents out there are laughing at me.

‡‡ Thankfully for the kids, there were plenty of leftovers from previous meals to satisfy them while my own meal took a bit longer than planned.

* Thank you iPod, and translating programs, and my broken language skills… the grocery girls rolled their eyes, took the greens I had gathered and walked off… then brought back something totally different.

** (is that really lamb?!?)

Hello world! (Or my small bit of it)

So… after trying to foist off suggestions of doing a blog during my ‘year’ abroad, I’ve succumbed! The writing bug (and the desire to make my updates pages long, rather than the condensed version of half a page of text and as many pictures as I can fit) has struck! Or struck again, since writing isn’t really new to me, per se.

As with any writing endeavor, there are bound to be boring bits, grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. Feel free to point out the later two; I will hopefully improve on that first point, without too many suggestions of “More adventure! More excitement! Less you!”

Also, I will rarely touch on the other side of my being here, for obvious reasons. Being a student and living abroad (and with a family! – new experiences yay!!) is more than enough to chat about. No promises on how regular updates will be either, sorry; when the students return in two weeks, I have no idea what my life will look like.

Thanks for taking a look in, and hope you are encouraged/amused/distracted for a few minutes by my experiences abroad when you come by.


p.s. (ask my father – the human one – if the nickname doesn’t make sense to you)