‘Merica…. Delayed.

25 02 2013

I’ve been slacking. Bigwan.

It’s funny how I thought I would have so much time in America to get stuffs done. Like blogging, cleaning out my storage unit, creating scrapbooks.


I did make time for bubble baths.

I  managed to print out a bunch of photos and shove them in to a few photo albums, but as far as any other things from that list goes, not so much. I took one look inside my storage unit and got a heart-pounding, stummy- churning yuckified feeling in my gut. I didn’t want to tackle that emotional and physical project just then, so I let my kind pal Shaela give me several outfits to wear throughout my time home. She was also so nice as to give me a room in which to totally destroy with piles of clothes, gifts, and luggage. She let me treat her as a “hotel”, in which I could come and go. But staying and  hanging out with her and her beautiful pink cheekyful baby and new hubby (who is an awesome reader-out-louder) and new house and having her along to shop with was wonderful. I loved being their dish fairy and consumer of leftovers. Thank you lady friend and Bryan!!


How I lived for 45 days.

United States of America.

A beautiful place. I was overwhelmed, excited, and in love. I went in to my ‘home leave’ thinking of myself as a visitor. No need to budget, no need to calorie count, no need to work on worky stuffs. I knew I was going back to Vanuatu and was excited to do so. It gave me the opportunity to spend as much of my Stateside visit possible on visiting family, seeing old friends, visiting favorite places, and eating as much as physically possible. Luckily, one of the things I was super excited about  was going to some yoga studios and an actual air conditioned gym. Because of this, I managed to not gain very much weight, if any at all.



Mr.Pigeon on Empire State Building

Here’s a rundown of my 45 days at home.

Nov 18- arrive in Austin, Texas

My first American meal!!! (Ate it all plus one whole bowl of Torchy's queso)

My first American meal!!! (Ate it all plus one whole bowl of Torchy’s queso)

Nov 19- fly to NYC


9/11 Memorial, everybody minus mommy photographer

Nov 19-24  Visit New York City with mom, stepdad, 2 brothers, sister-in-law, 2 nieces, 1 nephew, and 2 close family friends with their daughter.  My mom kept us pretty busy as it was my niece and nephew’s first visit to the City. I managed to have only one nervous breakdown from over stimulation, and that occurred in the 3-story DesignerShoeWarehouse while looking for winter shoes to get me by (I had arrived in flip flops).


Some highlights included…..Wicked, Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular, a boat cruise,  ice Skating in Rockefeller Center, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Greenwhich Village bar with brothers, Dylan’s candy bar, 9/11 Memorial, Katz’s Deli, Canal Street/China Town

Mollie and Gregg, we picked out a real tree! Eeee!

Mollie and Gregg, we picked out a real tree! Eeee!

Nov 24-28 I said goodbye to my family and stayed on with Ms. Mollie Alred and fiancé in The Bronx, New York, two amazing hosts. I was able to hang out with them at night and visit the more laid back parts of the city during the day.

Real snow, yeah!

Real snow, yeah!





– Hot Yoga at Yoga for The People, Strand bookstore, Lululemon shopping, coffee coffee coffee, Spanish club with Mollie, Stew Leonard’s grocery store and picking out a Christmas tree with Mollie, Pizza roll and delicious gyro at their neighborhood pizza joint (very Bronxified), Kalustyan’s amazing spice store, Fishs Eddy, Union Square outdoor holiday markets, SEEING SNOW!!!





Nov 28 fly to Austin

Nov 29 take MegaBus to Oklahoma City/Norman, Oklahoma

Nov 29-Dec 3 Oklahoma


What bloody Marys should look like.

What bloody Marys should look like.





-Seeing a good friend Evelyn and her awesome boyfriend, and Doug- a long time friend who I hadn’t seen in over 10 years! Introducing and drinking kava with them, Meeting an awesome lady Liz, Taco Bell :), Mexican beer with chili lime salt, other delicious beer, seeing a 90’s cover band at The Deli, DELICIOUS pickly bloody Mary at a Burger Joint, shopping around OKC, river walk, beer pong, and cafe’s. Good music, good chats, good drinks with lovely friends.





Dec 4- 13 Austin


My favorite Wheatesville bagel turkey veggie sammy. with cheese and cream cheese AND avacado. yeah, I beat it.

My favorite Wheatesville bagel turkey veggie sammy. with cheese and cream cheese AND avacado. yeah, I beat it.

-Dinners with old pals, yoga at Black Swan, Wheatesville shopping and eating, Whole Foods shopping and Ice Skating with 2 amazing boys and their awesome mama, beers with old friends, Spa Day with Shaela, Pay-Per-View Manny Pacquiao fight with my brother Ben (in San Antonio for the night), lunch with my bloggy “mother” friend, Alamo Drafthouse movie and drinks, Central Market shopping and eating, cocktails and beers with my brother’s, vegan meals with my brother Tony, homemade meals with Shaela

BBQ. meat. mmmmm.

BBQ. meat. mmmmm.

Dec 13-21 Odessa


Sushi rolls, HEB style, with HOT CHEETOS on top (!!!!!!!)

-Cooper’s BBQ, tamales, Fast food, mexican food, mexican food, visit with family, mexican food, fast food, homemade food. work out, visit with family, work on photo albums, get contacts/new glasses, beer with old friends, try Zumba!, see old friends Erin and Marianne, eeee! Red Cake from my grandma, visiting grandma and grandpa.

Red cake!

Red cake!

Pals since Elementary school

Pals since Elementary school


Dec 22-23 Lubbock

-Christmas with family and MeeMaw, more eating of deliciousness



Dec 24-27 Odessa

– Christmas Christmas Christmas celebrations, baking cookies. Visiting all family. Candlelight church service, gift card white elephant exchange, christmas with dad, christmas with mom. Pizza with dad, lasagna with mom, basically every meal consumed every day! driving around in a big truck and my mom’s car. Mom’s full Thanksgiving spread for Christmas.

Christmas Sweater from grandma, my white elephant gift card presents

Christmas Sweater from grandma, my white elephant gift card present






My little babies/Sleeping friends

My little babies/Sleeping friends

Dec 28- Jan2 Austin

East Side Kings Pork buns. nomnom

East Side Kings Pork buns. nomnom









My lil' Texas flower tattoo

My lil’ Texas flower tattoo










-Meeting new friends, seeing a giant inflatable soccer ball, beer with old friends, watching Mike and The Moonpies/two-stepping with a new friend, eating at 3 places in one night, dinner with old friends, delicious ice-cream (sweet potato and cilantro, oh my!), amazing amazing amazing Austin food, drinks, and coffee. Lots of last minute shopping, wild flower tattoo, Korean food party, New Year’s Eve with Marny and Evelyn/staying in a downtown hotel, Alamo Drafthouse movie, Wal-Mart

New eating/dancing/crafty friend

New eating/dancing/crafty friend

Happy 2013!!

Happy 2013!!

Fast Food places/Food Carts visited:

Taco Bell, Taco Vila, Torchy’s Tacos, Chic-Fil-A, Rosa’s, East Side King’s, Papa John’s, Jum Burrito, Fajitas and More



Memorable Restaurants visited:

BRGR, Tony’s Italian, Katz’s, Cooper’s, Rudy’s, Bacon, La Bodega, Mi Piaci,

Homecooked meals:

fish tacos by mollie, steak at tim and steph’s, shaela’s salmon pasta and braised pork (and everything else she cooked, no joke), mom’s thanksgiving spread, dad’s fajita’s and homemade pizza, grandma’s salmon patties/fried okra/red velvet cake

Favorite Drinks:

Didier Reinoso espresso from Houndstooth, Bloody Mary in OKC and Rio Rita’s, the Spicy Bee’s Knees cocktail from Péché, beer and live music at Whip-In, beer+popcorn at Alamo Drafthouse

One of several treats I brought back to Vanuatu for myself. A little taste of home.

One of several treats I brought back to Vanuatu for myself. A little taste of home.

Thank you friends, family, and people who said “good morning” back to me without giving me a weird look. My heart was certainly all warm and fuzzy and belly was super full. Unfortunately, I’m now salivating in my Vanuatu office chair after having to look through all those delicious photos again!

Now for some more recent updates………


Lazy, Runny, Schedules.

2 09 2010

as the one week mark until i depart approaches (ummmm, is here..ahhh!!!), i find myself enjoying lazying about. i realize that once i leave for L.A., my days are going to be pretty much jam-packed with training, meeting new people, and general culture shocky-ness.

so i took today to sleep in, eat, read a bit, nap, watch TV, and chat with my roommate. i must admit that this day of rest was not entirely by choice. my car suddenly decided to spring a leak in the transmission, so i am without a car until (hopefully) tomorrow. i hope it is not an expensive fix. and i hope it is fixed because i have been putting off eating at several of my local establishments until now. time is a tickin!!

i made the wonderfully awful decision of eating a sonic chili-cheese coney tonight and a few hours later was paying for that on the toilet. too much information probably, but the point is this- while i sat on the toilet for a good while, i couldn’t help but think “this is awesome! toilets are amazing! i might not get to have intestinal issues in this comfortable of an environment for two whole years!”

speaking of comforts, my room is finally almost completely empty. it is now primarily filled with items i intend to bring with me- a clothing side of the room and a side for everything else. with the help of shaela it will all come together in to two bags and one carry-on bag (hopefully) weighing no more than 80lbs.

such a sad room now

i got some information on my arrival in vanuatu that i thought might be good to share as well. here is what i gots-

  • Thursday the 9th: Leave Austin at 2pm-ish, Arrive in LA 6pm-ish. Registration.
  • Friday the 10th: “Staging”, meetings all day, ice-breakers (hack, barf), hotel check-out. Fly out 9:30pm
  • Saturday: I will not have one! I will be crossing the International Dateline, woo-hoo!!
  • Sunday:Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand (!!!!!) 5:25am, Fly to Vanuatu, arrive 9:25am. At this point I will be living in all you American’s tomorrows. harhar!
  • Sunday afternoon through Friday afternoon: At a training center with the 40 other volunteers living dorm-style. Full days of orientations, trainings, shots, interviews, etc. NO INTERNET . there might be small opportunities when I go to the capital, which is only scheduled once during this week.
  • Sep 17th: Off to a training site for the next six weeks. This is where the group of 40 is broken down in to smaller groups. I will have a host family and live with them. I will spend the days in language training, and technical training, but  a lot will be self-directed learning. Midway through these 6 weeks I will go and visit another PC volunteer who has lived at their site for a year and has a similar job. I will follow them and learn about their daily routine for a few days. I’m really looking forward to this part!
  • Nov 4th: Official Swearing In ceremony. Making it this far would mean I am officially a Peace Corps Volunteer. Until this date I am technically a “Peace Corps Trainee.”

Hope that helps give you a better idea of what I’ll be up to the first couple of months. My stomach starts churning thinking about it! (Or maybe that’s the hot dog)

if you end me your love via mail now, I might get it during training. It will be a nice time to hear from you, especially if I don’t have much internet at that time.