The Blessing Box



The Blessing Box is a weekly blog post/link-up designed to share the blessings in our lives. It's hosted at another blog, Extraordinary Love. I've been reading everyone else's posts for the last few weeks, so I decided to join in this week. I really hope to make it a weekly thing because it's so easy to forget just how blessed we are.

Blessing One:
 I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity to live in a country I had previously never heard of. Though I do get homesick at times, my eyes have been opened in so many ways in the few months that we have been here. Basically, living here- in one of the poorest countries in the world- reminds me how blessed I am every single day. My only hope is that the lessons I have learned will carry on with me long after we leave.

Blessing Two:
We have the best friends in the world. I haven't been the best about staying in touch with everyone, despite my best intentions. But the amazing thing is that each time I talk with a friend, it's as if not a day has gone by.  It's so nice to know that I can count on my friends no matter how much distance or time separates us.

Blessing Three:
This wouldn't be complete without a somewhat silly one. This week I am so, so thankful for Dunkin Donuts Coffee. We bought some coffee in Kenya thinking that it would be delicious, but we were a bit disappointed. Can you say BITTER? Luckily we were able to make a trade with one of our friends: Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen for a gigantic bag of DD coffee. (Personally, I think we got the better end of the deal). I have not wanted to get out of bed the last few mornings but the smell of DD wafting through the house has made the early mornings a bit more bearable.

What blessings are you thankful for this week?

Adventures in Grilling


After several months here, we've learned that many of the things we normally take for granted are no longer available. Grocery stores, at least the kind we're used to, are pretty much non-existent here. There are mostly small markets, similar to this one:
It's not such a bad thing, but it does call for a bit more creativity and resourcefulness, especially when it comes to cooking. Our latest example of this is one of our favorite treats: stuffed jalapenos. We had some for the first time last night! But, believe it or not, it took us about 4 months to make them.
First, we had to grow our own jalapenos:
Next, we had to wait until we were able to travel to a place that had cream cheese. They do ocassionally sell Philadelphia cream cheese here, but it's usually expired by a few months and costs around $12.00. Luckily, we were able to pick up two packages when we went to South Africa. Who knew cream cheese would be so valuable to us? It's the little things... :)
Bacon is fairly easy to come by here and tastes pretty good. So, we finally had everything we needed to make our favorite appetizer.
They turned out to be absolutely delicious and completely worth the wait:
Of course, I have to give credit to the chef. He, as always, did an excellent job manning the grill.
Although it took some work and planning, the end result was totally worth it. It was like having a little taste of home! Stuffed jalapenos will definitely be on the menu again soon- as long as the cream cheese lasts. :)

Day Zero Project-101 Goals in 1001 Days


Have you heard of the Day Zero Project? I hadn't until I came across it on another blog. Here is the information taken directly from the Day Zero Project website. (Day Zero).

The Challenge:

Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:

Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?

Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

I love setting goals, but like so many others, I often forget about them after a few weeks. However, I like the idea of this project so much, that I've decided to make my own 101 in 1001 list and blog about it. (I know- I'm a big DORK!) :) Since this blog is designed to keep our family and friends updated on our life overseas, I don't want to hijack it with 101 stuff. So- you can see my list here. I am determined to follow through with this and I think blogging about it will keep me accountable. It was actually pretty difficult to think of 101 goals so some of them are kind of silly, but some of them are serious and and meaningful to me. The thing I like most about creating a separate blog is that I can talk about completely random stuff like books I've read, recipes, and workouts. I'm super excited- but be warned...the blog will be kind of random because it's about so many different things. :)

So- anyone out there interested in joining in this challenge with me? Even better, are you interested in joining in the challenge and blogging about it? This site has links to tons of 101 lists if you need ideas. If you do decide to complete the challenge and blog about, please leave me a comment so I can follow you.
Wish me luck!

Back to Reality


As I mentioned in an earlier post, Jesse and I had a chance to rejoin the civlized world this past week on a trip to... South Africa! Jesse had to go for work and I decided to tag along. We didn't get to make it down to the coast (that will be our next trip for sure) but we did enjoy being back in the modern world for a few  days.
Our first stop was...
That's right, Mickey D's!
 I'm not a big fast food fan, but even I was excited to get some McDonald's fries and chicken nuggets.
Next on our agenda was a trip to the hair salon. I usually get my hair cut and highlighted every 5-6 weeks. When we arrived in South Africa, it had been over 4 months since I had set foot in a salon. I had been trying to grow it out a bit, but I ended up getting it cut short again.
It's amazing what a little bleach can do to make your day! :)
We spent a lot of time in grocery stores and malls. I know- it doesn't sound like the most exciting thing to do on vacation. But trust me, when you haven't seen a real grocery store in a while, it's really fun to walk up and down the aisles. :) We were excited to leave with some cheddar and mozarella cheese, South African wine, and a few other goodies.
Besides shopping, we also did A LOT of eating. One of my favorite places was a little cafe right down from our hotel. They had the BEST cappucinos.
We had several wonderful dinners including steak, fajitas, and pizza.
But our favorite was a little Italian restaurant. The food was amazing and the wine was delicious.
It also helped that we had some good friends to enjoy it with.
Besides the great food, we were beyond thrilled to see that many places had something other than Amstel. Budwesier? Yes, please!
 I know it seems like we did nothing but eat, but we did spend some time seeing the sights around town (okay- I'll admit we mostly saw the sights on the way to the mall- but that still counts, right?).
As you can see, World Cup fever hasn't left South Africa.
Overall, the trip was a great escape. It was so nice to be in a place with stoplights and and traffic laws for a while. We definitely plan on heading down to South Africa again- but we have our sights set on Cape Town this time. Shark diving, anyone?


Wordless Wednesday


Friday Favorite


I know I just posted, but I've been thinking about starting Friday Favorite for a while and today... well.. today IS Friday, so hence the double posts.
Basically what I'm planning to do is feature a favorite blog each week. Since becoming a "blogger", I have realized just how expansive and amazing the blogging world is. You can find really interesting and fun blogs on just about anything. I will probably vary the types of blogs I feature each week because there are so many good ones, but I want to start with one that is pretty amazing.

Of course, it's a blog about Africa, but it's one that is totally different from mine. I created our blog to share our life here, and I often focus on the lighter side of life in Africa. However, I do want my readers to know what life is like here for so many others.

So-this week's Friday Favorite is:

The authors, Isai and Samantha, are working on a mission to build orphanages for the forgotten children in Africa, while also raising an infant of their own. Their story is pretty cool and they also share many details and pictures about life in one of the poorest countries in the world.

It's definitely not light reading, but it is uplifting and encouraging that there are such awesome people out there striving to make a difference.


Life Lately

Hey everyone! I'm sorry I've been such a slacker with posting lately. There's been a lot going on, but I haven't really taken any pictures... I feel like my posts are boring without pictures involved- but I'll do my best not to put you to sleep!

First of all, I worked my first full week since quitting my job in February. It's nice to be back in the working world, even if it's not my normal line of work. Basically, I'm working with American citizens on passports and such. It's mostly paperwork and that type of thing, but it's fairly easy and I get to meet Americans, so I'm enjoying it. It's also fun working right across the hall from Jesse. It's pretty funny because we ride to work together, see each other throughout the day, and ride home together. Don't worry- we're not tired of each other yet. :) I do miss being involved in education, but I'm hoping there will be opportunities for that at our next post. The best news about my job is that I'm working halfway between part-time and full-time so I still have plenty of time to have fun! :)

We've had lots of hail and farewell parties lately as this is the season for comings and goings in the embassy community. We were sad to see some awesome people leave, but we're also excited about all of the new faces. We've had some fun people arrive and we're looking forward to getting to know them.

Jesse and I are gearing up for our first trip since our arrival. We are so excited to get out of town and go somewhere we've never been. The first thing I'm going to do is get my hair cut and highlighted. I usually do it about every 6 weeks- it's now been over 4 months!! To say that it looks terrible is a complete understatement.  I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it yet, but ANYTHING will be an improvement at this point. We have a lot of things we hope we get to do while we're traveling, but honestly we're just excited to be in modern civilization for a few days. I have a feeling Starbucks and McDonalds will be somewhere on the itinerary.

Jesse is continuing his kiteboarding hobby, though I'd have to say it's become less of a hobby and more of an obsession.  He and his fellow kiteboarders LOVE to talk about the wind and anything kiteboard related. I have a strong feeling that we will be trying for posts with water and wind from now on. :)

Other than that, not too much going else is going on with us.  As Jesse would say, "We're just livin' the dream...."

Have a great weekend!
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