30

26 Mar
It is currently 4:39 AM in Portland, Oregon. I’m under the covers of my comfy hotel room. I’m here to attend the International TESOL conference. And my body is still on Eastern Time, which means I went to bed at 7:30 PM Pacific Time and I was wide awake by 4:00 AM. So here’s the recap of my 30th birthday, which I wasn’t even going to bother to write about, but it was truly special so I want to capture the memories on paper, or uh, laptop? screen? whatever! So here it goes!

 

The weeks leading to my birthday were kind of depressing. Not because I was feeling old or anything silly like that. I was just missing my family, friends and life in Colombia too damn much. That is the reason why initially I didn’t want to make a big deal out of my turning 30th. In the end, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a little dinner party with some friends so I told J that I wanted to go out to dinner on my b-day and then a little get-together with some friends. He was all cool about it like he didn’t care, but said it was a good idea. Now I should say that I am an expert at ruining surprises that J has prepared for me. Be it gifts, parties, anything, I always figure it out. This time he managed to keep it hidden. I straight-out asked him if he was planning anything at some point and he calmly said no. So I bought it.

So on the Saturday before my birthday, we went out shopping. This should have been the first indicator that something was wrong. J hates to go shopping yet he gladly stood by me and even gave me advice while I was shoe-shopping. Another indicator? I had forgotten to put on makeup and wanted to stop by the house to get my makeup bag but Jason refused to let me go. I thought it was weird but didn’t think much of it. We got hot dogs for lunch and then we wandered around some more. We ended up going to Target too where J got me my favorite movie (Amelie) on DVD. We ate a surprisingly early dinner which I wasn’t very hungry for but enjoyed nonetheless. Then it was time to go home.

I had noticed he was being sneaky about something but I figured it was a surprise gift perhaps. When I got out the car, he told me to get the door while he got the shopping bags. I opened the door and the first thing that my brain registered was that the furniture had been moved. My first reaction? A panicked scream because I thought we had been burglarized. Then everyone said HAPPY BIRTHDAY and it all sank in. Super blurry picture of my bewilderment:

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Yay! I had a blast! Most of my closest friends here in the US joined us to celebrate.

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There are no more photos because, well I didn’t know we were having a party and the camera battery was dead. LOL

The actual day of my birthday was wonderful as well, but I don’t feel like writing about it.  Some things should be kept from the Internet ;)

I will say that even though I had to work that day, I got a kick-ass dinner and enjoyed some awesome carrot cake. All in all, 30th was a great birthday (presents were great too!). I felt really loved so I can’t complaint. Maybe later on I will write some more about the meaning of this milestone birthday. Maybe!

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My Life Playlist: Volume 2

12 Mar

Volume 2: 2009 Edition

Whoa, the sky must be about to bust open because I’ve posted twice in a month. I must be on a roll!

Maybe the reason why I decided to open the old blog today is because I can’t feel the bottom half of my mouth and that I really don’t know what to do to keep myself distracted and not think about chewing my bottom lip over and over again. You see, I went to the dentist today after work to get a routine cleaning, which normally is a pretty common procedure. However, being that the last time I got my teeth cleaned was… ahem, I don’t even want to say it, the hygienist had to bring out the big guns. Basically, I had to get my jaw/chin numbed because my teeth were so sensitive I winced every time the lady tried to scrape them. I hate going to the dentist but I really need to start going more often so that it’s less traumatic every time I do go.

Alternatively, the reason why I am writing this post could be related to the fact that for the past few days I’ve had the worst bout of homesickness in a long time. Maybe it’s because I’m about to turn 30 (what!) or because I haven’t been there in almost four years but I really, really miss home. I miss my mom, my cousins, my aunt, my uncles, my grandpa, my friends, Carnival, December celebrations, the restaurants I use to visit, the mall near my house, the bars where I went to have drinks with my girls, etc. I even miss riding the bus…sometimes. I do not miss getting mugged or the stifling heat. My homesickness has gotten so bad to the point that for a little bit I thought I was suffering from depression.

Even though I went to Barranquilla in 2010, in my mind Barranquilla is stuck in the year 2009. I spent the first 9 months of that year in Barranquilla before I came to the US and that is exactly the way I remember it. So today’s installment of my Life Playlist is a tribute to the first half of 2009 and the music that reminds me of the last time I lived in my beloved Barranquilla. I think I may have to get me a boom box next time I go home (which I’m hoping happens very, very soon) to blast some of these songs while I show my husband my favorite places and things to do in the city where I grew up and that I love so very much.

Lady Gaga- Poker Face

Coldplay – Viva La Vida

Shakira – She Wolf

Wisin & Yandel – Me Estas Tentando

(Whatever, I danced to this song many times even though it’s not my kind of music)

Jason Mraz- I’m Yours

What I’ve Been Up To

6 Mar

In photos…because I’m too lazy to compose any coherent prose.

2014-03-06 08.01.11Delicious oatmeal with chia seeds, flax seeds, roasted nuts, golden raisins and orange-flavored cranberries!

2014-03-03 18.19.21We’re making an effort to eat less refined carbs/processed foods, which means more homemade meals and less eating out. These stuffed bell peppers were so yummy, they made me almost forget about the French bread I was craving. Almost!

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In the meantime, I’ve been dreaming of Ethiopian food…
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And French Toast!

2014-03-04 17.43.28The other day my yoga teacher friend came to visit me and give me a private class. Then, we took her daughters to the Smithfield Outlets for a little shopping. I ended up buying this pineapple shirt and I pretty much haven’t taken it off ever since. It is so soft and comfy! And I only paid like 3 dollars for it! Also, I should clean my bathroom mirror before I post bathroom selfies on the Internet.

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A couple of weeks ago, I was home from school because SNOW, and I found myself looking at professional blenders online. I ended up buying this Ninja Blender, and it was totally worth it! Truth be told, I’ve gone a little crazy with it. I’m always trying to find excuses to use it.

I made “healthy” ice cream with it:

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 This is just frozen berries, half-and-half and stevia! So so so good!

2014-03-03 18.17.53And I also made these little date balls. I just blended a cup of Medjool dates and a half cup of roasted nuts (peanuts or almonds) and then made them into little balls. They sort of taste like one of those No-Bake peanut butter cookies. These are a great snack or dessert. I call them Pookie Balls!

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I know the South doesn’t get snow very often and thus, we shouldn’t complain when we do get it. But man, I’m sick of the snow, the freezing rain and the sleet. At first, it was like, “Yay, snow day!”. However, when you have to make up for those days by working late every single day, snow days somehow lose their appeal. This has indeed been a bitter cold winter. It’s made me never want to live the Northern US or Canada!

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Valentine’s Day Roses. Yes, flowers are not a practical gift. They can be expensive considering they don’t last long. But they’re pretty and they make me happy! Thank you Husband for understanding this!

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Yay for flowers!

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And for spouses that bring you breakfast on a tray on Sunday mornings.

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But nay for husbands who play Call of Duty way too much. 2014-03-06 08.01.43

One of the things I want to accomplish this year is read more. I didn’t read much last year. The first part of the year I was too busy writing my thesis and the rest of the time, I was just burned out. I’ve been loving Donna Tartt’s books, especially The Goldfinch, which I loved so much, it inspired me to use the famous painting a my desktop cover.

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2013 Wrap-Up

5 Jan

I almost didn’t do this yearly re-cap thingy for 2013, but I’m very fond of continuity…that is until I’m too lazy to bother with it. Also, since I mostly write this blog for future Me (I seriously love to go back and read something I wrote in the past) I figured, why not?

I will skip some questions though because I don’t really think they apply to me. Seriously? Do you really think I can afford to visit multiple countries every single year? Please!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

-Have my mom come visit me in the U.S.

-Get my Master’s Degree

-Present my thesis research at a conference

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

For the past two years, I have not made resolutions and I’ve found it liberating. I guess my only resolution for this year is to try to be the best person I can be.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Again, a few of my friends had kids. I’m at that stage in life where everyone around is having babies. And yeah, definitely babies are on my mind.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully nobody in my immediate or extended family.

5. What countries did you visit?

Whatever, Question #5.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

More commitment to certain things that felt like a chore but that would have had a positive impact in my life.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 26th- When I went to pick up my mom from the airport

May 11- When I graduated from College

December 28th – Our first wedding anniversary

Also, I can’t remember the date, but there was one day in December when my husband and I turned off all the lights and lay under the Christmas tree playing Christmas carols. I don’t really know why but that was such a nice evening. I will forever cherish that memory.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finishing grad school and getting promoted at work.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m skipping this one simply because I refuse to dwell on my “failures”. What I perceive as a failure, someone else might consider an accomplishment. It’s all relative.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I still have migraines. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. Also I was diagnosed with a weird heart condition. Although, my doctor said I’m very healthy overall.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets for my mom. And, I cringe as I type this, a video game console.

12. Where did most of your money go?

To the US Immigration department, our lawyer and our savings account. Also, gas stations.

13. What did you get really excited about?

My mom’s arrival, graduation, our first anniversary.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

That would be Applause by Lady Gaga. Even my husband hums the chorus sometimes. I blame the local radio stations for that one.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter?Richer or poorer?

I’ve always hated this question so I won’t answer it.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Showing those I love that I care about them.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying over insignificant things.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Just the two of us and a couple of friends. It was quiet but nice. We had a belated Christmas celebration at the in-laws’ this year due to conflicting schedules.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

New Girl and How I Met Your Mother, maybe. Dexter (the TV show) really disappointed me this time. True Blood was also meh.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

-Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. What can I say? I love to hate characters.

-Dexter’s Final Cut–Just because I’m still loyal to Jeff Lindsay and it was a bit different from the other Dexter books.

-The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert was truly lovely.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Pandora’s Brazilian Music Station, Bomba Estereo and all covers by this group

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I didn’t absolutely LOVED any film. I liked a few indie productions on Netflix. Can’t remember any names. The 2nd Hunger Games movie was way better. Ender’s Game, which we were looking forward to, kind of sucked. And I still haven’t seen Desolation of Smaug.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29. J and my awesome friends threw me a surprise party. I looked awful in the pics and not very happy. I was sleep-deprived and in the worst stages of thesis-writing! Also, I got an awesome laptop from my love!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I don’t really know.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

I’m into dark colors again. Lots of gray and dark blue. I wore mostly nude and black shoes.

26. What kept you sane?

Valium? Just kidding.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

We must learn to forgive. Even those who don’t seem to deserve forgiveness.

Better Luck Next Time!

16 Dec

I believe we can all agree that this write-a-blog post-everyday endeavor has been a flop.  I chose the worst month ever to do this really. The “holiday stress” as people call it, in addition to the mountain of paperwork I’m working on,  and my efforts at trying to catch up with the workload before we go on Christmas break was just too much. Last week was particularly stressing. So much so that I dreaded waking up, and I’m usually what you’d call a morning person. Once I am up, I’m ready to go. Not last week I wasn’t. So I admit defeat. Nothing wrong with that.  I guess I will give this writing exercise another try over the summer when, you know, I AM OFF WORK FOR TWO WHOLE MONTHS!

Back to our regular erratic-posting schedule.

Tales From The Weekend

9 Dec

So yeah I didn’t blog over the weekend. Who cares? I decided I wasn’t going to fret during my two free days of the week over some silly self-imposed posting deadline. I think I’m going to skip posting on weekends. Also, today’s post is going to be a short one ( and I probably won’t have time to proofread either so, Self,  pardon my mechanical errors in advance) since it’s already 9:30 and I have a super early wake-up call tomorrow.

What did I do over the weekend? Let’s recap! I used to do weekend recaps when I first started blogging as a way to preserve memories of time spent with family and friends or places I visited. As I started grad school and my blogging almost diminished to non-existent, I completely forgot how amusing it can be to go back and re-read a recount of what you did on, say, Friday June 5th 2009.

Onwards with this past weekend’s adventures!

Friday was pretty busy. I pretty much ran from one school to another and didn’t have enough time to get everything done.. I don’t know why the last couple of days, it seems like there’s always something that needs to be done and I can barely keep up. After I got home from work, I had some tea, talked to my mom on Skype, showered and then got ready for our date night. We met with our friends I and JP for dinner in a town that is exactly halfway between our respective towns. I is from Brazil and brought me a present from there: a cool pair of Havaianas Sandals. Can’t wait to wear them next summer! Even though I had a lot of fun at dinner, I realized how much I miss our group of friends that used to get together often. It’s hard being so far away from your good friends.

Saturday night, we went over to my friend’s S to celebrate her b-day and Dia de Velitas (Little Candle Day). I’ll let Wikipedia explain what this holiday is about. How the night was in one word? A blast! I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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Sunday, on the other hand, wasn’t so great. I had the bright idea to go grocery shopping in the rainy, cold mess of a day we had yesterday. Bad move. The roads were wet and I had to drive slow. By the time I got back home, I was moody and tired and all I wanted to do was put on my PJs, watch a movie and veg out on the couch. I learned my lesson: if I can avoid it, I won’t ever go grocery shopping while it’s cold and rainy out.

That’s all for today. I’ll try to come back tomorrow with a few tales from past Candle Days.

Night!

Five Things Friday

6 Dec

1) I’m so pumped about this weekend! First of all, tonight is date night! Double-date style too. We’re meeting our friends who we haven’t seen for a long time. Then, tomorrow we’re attending a Dia de Velitas Celebration. If you’re from Barranquilla, you know what I’m talking about. If not, I may have to write a post about it and explain one of the most awesome holidays ever ;)

2) My paranoia knows no boundaries. My cousin G was traveling abroad for the first time ever and staying with a roommate who she hadn’t met in person yet. I was so afraid said roommate would turn out to be a psycho killer that I sent her the following message on the morning she was supposed to fly out:

Hey! You must be asleep still but I just wanted to tell you that if you don’t feel uncomfortable for whatever reason once you get there. If something “goes wrong”, and you can’t speak freely, use the code word “soup” to let me know something’s up. Maybe I’m being too paranoid?

3) So our 1 Year Anniversary is coming up, and we’re trying to decide if we want to eschew (expensive) presents and instead go on a mini-vacation somewhere special and just exchange small, meaningful gifts. I mean we really don’t need any material thing. Sure one can never have too many pairs of shoes or leather jackets, but a trip to a nice, secluded cabin in the mountains is something we will both cherish forever.

4) Since starting this little experiment to post every day, I have gone back and read through my archives just to see how I could ever muster the energy to write entire paragraphs of navel-gazing drivel. Two interesting things I noticed: a) I used to be really careless with spelling and formatting and b) I dropped the F-bomb an awful lot. I’d like to think since I have a Master’s Degree now, there’s no excuse for me to neglect proof-reading of my posts and that the reason I cursed so much back then was because I had never lived in the US, and therefore I didn’t quite grasp the overtones of this word.

5) Once thing I have realized while living here in the US: I am not competitive at all. At least, not when it comes to sports. Most people I know around here plead allegiance to at least one team, but I feel like I really couldn’t care less about that kind of thing. When I’ve been asked to wear colors to cheer for X team or school’s team, I always forget. When people ask, where’s your spirit? I go, meh, I have no spirit.

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