Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Favorite

This is one of my all time favorite pictures. It was snapped by my cousin Rachel when she and my two other cousins came to visit me in Taiwan. It's such a beautiful depiction of a typical moment in Taiwan time (that pink person in the background is me taking it all in with glee). There are so many strange and wonderful things going on all at once. I decided to post this after having a conversation (via facebook) with Emily, who I lived in Taiwan with--she is now in Korea teaching. Anyway, we were reminding each other of funny times during our year of traveling, and the one that really mad me laugh was actually something that happened a lot of times during that year. We would be swerving through traffic on our scooter, or waiting at a crosswalk at a big intersection, or trying to make our way through Sunday foot traffic downtown, and one of us would look at the other and say "Geez! There's Asians everywhere!" or "Can you believe how many Asians there are???" or something of that nature. It was funny to us because , of course there were, and also because we were often in a state of shock that we were living and working in such a place. During my time there I found the Taiwanese to be so pleasant and happy, they were very helpful and sincere.
I didn't usually think that we stood out so much, but there were occasions where it was obvious that we did. Like the time Emily and I walked into a random hole-in-the-wall bar and the music literally stopped, everyone stopped talking, and they all turned and looked at us. It was alarming, so we did the only natural thing we could do and went on stage to sing karaoke. The only song they had in English was Jingle Bells and we totally nailed it. People were dancing on the tables and taking pictures with us and asking for our autographs--it was magical. Well not all of that is actually true, but they did buy us drinks and ask for an encore. I was thinking to myself at the time, as I looked over at Emily giving it all she had, that this was one of those moments in life that I will always look back on a smile about. It was so unusual and happy.
So there is my random nostalgic not about Taiwan for this month. I have been back for almost a year, and lately I have been missing it a lot.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Looking at this picture of the village I hope to call home in the next 6 weeks is helping to keep my hope alive.
And on an interesting side note, the farm accross the street from us and to the right of the church is an asparagus farm! Click here to see their website.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life's Rich Pageantry

Isn't it interesting how when one negative thing happens about 10 more negative things happen right afterward? But that doesn't seem to be the case really when positive things happen. It's more like when a good thing happens, then lots of negative things happen to try and cancel out the good thing. Have a I mentioned I'm sort of a pessimist? But I am trying to show that I am being optimistic here. You'll see why in a minute.

See, here's the thing; yesterday I received a call from the consulate (positive thing) and was given a direct line and contact name (very positive) and was told to call at the beginning of July and said contact would help me get my visa processed if she can, and if not will send my passport back but not cancel my application (extremely positive) so that I can attend my own wedding. So yesterday was a good day!! I felt sort of rattled and shaken, like I had just survived a train wreck, but good and thankful too.

Then I chipped my front tooth heaven knows how, and just now I dropped my phone in the toilet at work. Luckily for me I have the reflexes of a cat and snatched it from the toilet bowl in less than a second (although I'm still debating whether or not putting my hand in a public toilet is good or bad yet). It is now sitting on my desk on a hospital bed of paper towels and we are all hoping for the best. Let me just say that I have had this phone for less than two weeks, you see my other one mysteriously died and had to be replaced, and a new battery was purchased and much money was spent. This is all very annoying because I am going to be canceling my phone plan in less than two months when I move (IF I move, if I get my visa....). So am I really going to have to get a new phone again? Really?

During these times of uncertainty it's kind of scary to think, "what next?" so I'm not thinking it. Instead I am concentrating on how it's so funny, the timing of things. Of course I would chip my front tooth 6 weeks before my wedding, of course I would drop my phone in the toilet 6 weeks before cancelling my service. If I didn't then where would my good stories come from? It's like the time I locked my keys in the car along with my phone and wallet and had the incredible [mis]fortune to randomly knock on the door of the only home where they were having a family gathering and was pulled inside to witness their eldest daughter and son-in-law announce that they were going to be grandparents for the first time. I was hugged, cried on, invited back for dinner and kindly driven home to retrieve my extra key! What?! I just wanted to use the phone! Instead of feeling like a dumbass I am almost pleased with myself when these things happen because I can write about them in my journal and remember it all for years to come as the exciting, necessary things that must happen to keep life interesting.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Paris, Barcelona, Menorca

A long overdue sample of photos from my trip last month. Europe is so easy to photograph.




(this is a photo by my talented sister--too good not to post!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

weekend projects

I am finally posting some fun stuff.  I recently decided that I wanted to sew, but I didn't want to have any more rage blackouts, so I made a deal with my sewing machine that I would not curse it if it would work properly and vice versa.  So far we are both holding up our ends of the bargain.  This means that I am not allowed to swear or raise my voice at my sewing machine. "It's supposed to be fun"--that's what I repeat to myself when I am tempted to damn my machine to hell.  It's going well so far...

Here's a little pillow case that does not match anything that  I own so I am thinking I might give it away. 

This bag is an adaptation of one of Amy Karol's patterns.  My version is smaller ( I didn't measure anything, just made sure all the pieces were the same size) and MUCH easier to make.  It's surprising that I am able to pull stuff like this off considering my low scores in geometry class.  I really like these fabrics--how lovely green and orange are together.

This was a project idea I got from this blog, and it was really fun and easy to make.  Of course it's news paper covered in modge-podge, so you can't put anything edible in it, but it's a really good catch-all for all those little things that have no place.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Google Docs

Hello? Am I just way behind the times or what? Why have I never heard of Google Docs before today? If this is something that's been around for a long time, and you are thinking I'm an idiot, maybe it would help to know that I don't watch tv much. Is that why I never heard?

As a person organizing a wedding, I am so sad that I didn't hear about this beautiful tool sooner. How much help it could have been sharing spreadsheets and whatnot--but I will not waste anymore time, I'm uploading my documents now, and will hopefully have many more reasons to use it in the future.

Why is Google so magical? Does anyone know how to get a job with them? I could think of stuff like that, like little tools where you sign in and a donut automatically appears on your desk. I'd be so good at that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Visa Update--no news

Well I can safely say that I am on the verge of being a total wreck (think mental hospital/straight jacket). A word of advice to anyone who might one day go through this hell: it is not really that helpful to read forums or blogs regarding visa processing as the positive ones give you false hope, and the negative ones make your blood run cold. Steer clear. However, I do not follow my own advice and put myself through this misery almost daily. It's just really hard to sit here and do nothing, even if doing something means taking one step closer to mental ruin.

Here's the stats so far:

-May 12:

Submitted online application, paid $890 fee, booked soonest biometrics appointment

-May 21:

Attended biometrics appointment. I was in the office less than 5 minutes. They scanned all of my fingers three times, and took a photo of me. If you ever find yourself in this situation, and you cannot get a biometrics appointment within a week, go anyway and see if they'll put you through. If I had known this I could have saved myself a week.

Sent the whole dang 4 inch stack of papers to the consulate in Los Angeles via overnight FedEx.

-May 22:

Tracked the package and saw that it arrived at 10:24 a.m. I felt good this day.

-June 3:

Received an email notification that my application had finally been opened.

-June 10:

Waiting. Very anxiously.

This is seriously so hard. According to the many forums that I have read, visas are denied daily for no good reason. They are also approved when there is not as much evidence provided as others that have been denied. I have been told that I will be contacted either by phone or by email letting me know that my visa has either been approved or denied, or to ask for more information. There is no one for me to contact, and no idea how long this will take except that " this time settlement visas are being processes within 40-45 days." Does that mean they're processed by 40-45 days, or minimun 40 maximum 45? Or does that mean that mine could take longer and I MIGHT NOT GET MY PASSPORT BACK IN TIME TO ATTEND MY OWN WEDDING. Or does it mean that I could find out tomorrow? Hells bells.

Come on guys, throw me a bone here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

lunch break musings

I just finished eating some yummy steak leftovers from last night, my desk is covered with papers, I have my space heater on because I work next door to a menopausal woman, and I have three hours until I'm back in my car heading home. This is a good place to be at the moment, because this moment happens to be my lunch break. I have to share a secret about myself: when I have exhausted my other time-wasting resources (i.e. email, facebook, blogs I read, news articles, etc.) I like to take a little trip into the strange and bizarre world of personal ads. And from my somewhat extensive research, I have found Craigslist to have the most ammusing ads of all. Take these for example:

"Seeking female for occasional casual dating, friendship and just hangin' in general. Any age, race, marital status. No serious attachment or strings. Just friends, or friends with benefits (IF it MUTUALLY evolved into that), but if not that's cool too. I'm attractive, WM, 38, 5'9", 195lbs., clean-cut, brownish hair, hazel eyes, very intelligent, careered in the oil industry, non-smoker, don't drink, no form of drugs at all, mild-mannered and easy-going and LONELY."

"Okay I'm not looking to be someones sugar mama or sponsor and I'm not looking for a sugar daddy so no weird old men please. I need someone who can afford to travel their own. I have enough broke friends and if I wanted to pay for someone to travel with me it would be them." ***(this one was titled: "Let's Go on an Adventure")

"Hi, I live in London and would love to exchange stories/chat/email an American lady who loves the accent and loves James Bond -type English guys. I can show you a pic if you like and would love to get chatting. I am 38, tall, dark and handsome and ready, willing and waiting."

"Let's talk! But I would at least prefer you to have somewhat of a brain. If you do, please email me and we will see where it goes. --Ash" ***(Ashley P., if that's you I'm highly offended)

"I want some asian friends lol...a lil strange 2 ask but me and my sis was talking about it and I never had a asian friend (or asian descent) but I just think the girls are so cute and the guys are 2...I'M NOT LOOKING 4 LOVE, so please don't get that confused just some new ppl 2 club with, play pool(even though I suck hehe) lasertag just normal stuff....ima hugggge movie fanatic 2 and wrk with .I'm not like a crazy weirdo SO PLEASE DON'T BE EITHER!!!!!!puhlease be around my age and not pyscho((NORMAL PPL)) oh im full mexican to and send a pic i wanna see my homie haha LMFAO" ***(could someone please tell me what LMFAO means?)

I was not aware that this is legal:

"Hey all, I just moved here, and I have no connections for the green. I need to meet some people that are into 420 that would be able to get me a connect or two for some dank dro. Let me know if anyone knows...I know this seems a bit weird and suspicious. But I swear I am very real and not any kind of law inforcement. I am a 29 year old corporate professional that just likes his meds. If anyone has the hookup that would be great. I will buy some and smoke you out."

Really? Are you serious?

It really makes me wonder a few things like; how many of these people are for real? how many of them get for real responses? how many people find what they're looking for this way? why did they think that posting these things about themselves was a good idea? I am just so glad that they did end up deciding it was a good idea for my own personal reading pleasure. It's one of the best ways to waste time. I once read an add about a man with a foot fetish, it was so incredibly disturbing that I read it again and again and became more and more disturbed. I wish I could find it and add it to the ones above.

***Disclaimer: these quotes were copied and pasted directly from the website and I did not edit them. These are actually real people.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Home Sweet Home

As of today, Sam and I are the very proud and happy owners of this wonderful little cottage:

It's called The Causeway. It is just so adorable and cozy, and I can't wait to move in! Sam is there today putting in the washing machine and Fridge, and will soon start moving all of the sweet gifts we have received and the belongings that I have sent back with him from the States. It's so exciting! Of all of the 26 houses that I have lived in, this is the most exciting to me because it is ours. Our first home together! Weee! It's also wonderful because of its setting: It is in the cute little village of Withycombe in the Exmoor National Park. It has a stream running behind it, along the patio and garden, and the views out the front windows look onto this church yard:

This is The Church of St. Nicholas which dates back to the 13th century. Supposedly in one of the wall recesses there is hidden a figure of a man with long hair wearing a hat--which is one of the oldest church monuments to include a hat. Fancy that. That same man is also holding a heart case, which means that he died somewhere else and only his heart was returned to this church for burial. The view from our guest bedroom are the very best, so come visit and see for yourself!

This is our local pub, The Butchers Arms, which is about a 15 minute walk away--walking distance to a pub was crucial in the home-buying decision. This pub is also the one where Sam's cricket team meets after each game (match?).
I can't wait to live there, only two months now. I love England and always have such inspiring thoughts there, so I am thrilled that I actually get to live there. I'm so excited!