In an incredible turn of events, I ended up back in Ghana last week, to visit my little brother. Most of you are my friends on facebook and have seen the highlights of my trip already, so I thought I would just post two short videos from my favorite day in Ghana- visiting the kente village.
Kente weaving is a significant tradition in the Ghanaian culture. Each of the designs they weave have a special story or moral connected to it. This particular kente site was being run by a Peace Corps volunteer, who was kind enough to show me around and teach me the ins and outs of weaving. I ended up purchasing a bag, and was able to meet with the worker who weaved it. Okay, so here are the links to the videos: In this visit to the kente village you can see how a real pro does it. Incredibly, they let me try my hand at kente weaving which was a lengthy process that yielded very little fabric.
My old friend Melissa mentioned that with summer upon us, I should make a trip to DC to visit her. A quick, perfect trip! Since I've been there plenty of times, and she lives there, we were able to bypass the typical experiences, and visit things I hadn't seen before (like Roosevelt Island, a tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, our most BAMF president. We also made it to Lincoln's Cottage, which I would highly recommend to any fan or history.) And probably my favorite part of the trip was seeing DC on bike. We were able to cover a lot of territory, fly past the familiar monuments, quickly access new (to us) museums, and be able to justify decadent Greek food that night (hey, we burned, like, a million calories, right? RIGHT?!?!) I'm grateful for a good friend, who showed me the best side of her city.
After a grueling 24-hr drive from Southern Utah to Dallas, Texas, Jay and I unpacked the car and repacked our suitcases to head to Ft. Lauderdale for my brother's graduation from Dental School and his girlfriend's graduation from Optometry School (thankfully, it was only one graduation ceremony.) My little sister was able to fly in for the weekend, and my parents joined us as well. It felt like a good old-fashioned family vacation, minus the boring bits.Tessa and defied gravity and science to go parasailing (I'm telling you, it's black magic) We drove through the Florida Keys and stopped at Robbie's Marina to feed the tarpon. These tarpon and huge and hungry. They will snatch the little fishies right out of your hand. My dad was brave, but my mom stared those tarpon right down and showed them who's boss. We are so incredibly proud of our smart brother, Doctor Blair! A proper family picture. As per usual, my dad's eyes are closed. Beach time with my little TJ. Our most favorite matching, monogrammed beach towels :) Out at the Cheese Shop for dinner. Dr Cynthia, Dr Blair, Dad with his eyes closed, and my lovely mother.
Overall, a great weekend! I loved being able to spend time with my family and to see such a huge milestone for Blair and Cynthia.
For the past five years, I have taught 8th grade US History at Pineview Middle School. It has been an incredibly rewarding career, full of exhaustion, elation, new friends, giant hurdles and morning coffee. Leaving Pine View, to pursue my new life in Dallas, TX, was heartbreaking, to say the least. I made the closest friends of my life, gained confidence I didn't know I had and made a positive impact in my own community.
Five years ago, on the first day of school, I wore a black pair of heels, a black fitted top and a black and white polkadot skirt. For whatever reason, those items were still sitting in my closet five years later. For a proper farewell, I chose to relive that outfit on my last day of school(minus the anxious first-day-of-school-jitters, as well as an apparent tan I was rocking in 2006). So, peace out Pine View Middle. It was a hell of a ride.
Having to live 1,000 miles away from the ol' ball-and-chain has made me appreciate my time with him even more. This week we were so fortune to be able to meet up in Florida for a week of sunshine and spring breakin'. We spent the first few days in the Florida Keys, visiting our favorite winery, picnicking on beaches, exploring Key West, parasailing (450 ft high!) and eating key lime pie.
Key West is famous for its stellar sunsets. Everyone gathers on the pier and cheers as the sun goes down. There are street performers and vendors, which lead to a really vibrant atmosphere. It didn't hurt that it was a perfect 70 degrees outside. We couldn't have been luckier! The second half of spring break was spent with our favorite couple ever, Blair and Cynthia! Blair, of course, is my handsome, soon-t0-be-dentist brother, and Cynthia is his gorgeous, soon-to-be-eye-doctor girlfriend. We take advantage of every chance we have to spend time with them! We also greatly appreciate the fact that they live on the beach. We laid around on the white sands of Fort Lauderdale (which lead to my back peeling in a disgusting way that I do not want to discuss.) Our last stop in Southern Florida was a Spring Training game. I'm not exactly what you would call a "sports fan." Sports elude me. Confuse me. Plus, the games are reallly long. But I've always enjoyed going to baseball games with Jay. (Besides, he has a 7-inning rule- if I've been a good girl, then I only have to stay 7 innings. What a champ.) Either way, it was actually way fun to be so close to the action!
One more thing- while driving through the Keys, we made a stop at Robbie's Marina, where for a few bucks you can buy a bucket of fish to feed to the giant tarpon (about four feet long and just shy of 200 pounds!) Anyway, while there, I learned of my massive fear of pelicans. Man, those guys are huge and have NO shame! Either way, here's a fun trick we learned while feeding the tarpon (and trying to avoid feeding those damn pelicans!)
Jay and I flew out of separate airports and landed in separate states. I can play this commuting game for 9 more weeks, which is all we have left. Anything more might just kill me!
Dallas will make me fat. Correction: Dallas will make me fatter.
Every trip to Dallas ends up revolving around food. And with so many incredibly culinary options, it stands to reason that eating would remain my focus while in the Big D.
My flight arrived at Love Field around 11pm and I hadn’t eaten since lunch, twelve long hours ago. (Airlines peanuts don’t count… although props to Southwest for going the honey roasted route. A bold move, indeed.) So, it’s taco time, and I don’t mean the mediocre Tex Mex chain. Jay and I avoid chain restaurants, which has lead to many great gastronomical discoveries in our relationship. We head to the lavanderia. That’s right. The Hispanic laundromat. Because you know you’re having authentic, delicious carnitas tacos when it is adjacent to a lavanderia and pay-as-you-go cell phone store. The tacos did not disappoint. It’s bed time.
Saturday breakfast was cold cereal (Kashi’s Strawberry Fields. Love it.) because we had to save room for lunch. We were having lunch with our internet friends, at a Reddit meet-up, a chance for nerds to eat lunch with other nerds and discuss all of the awesome nerdiness that we have seen on the internet that week. Lunch was held at a vegan Chinese buffet. You would think that tofu orange chicken would be offensive to my distinguished food pallet, but it wasn’t! The fact that the broccoli and beef contained no actual beef, certainly didn’t stop me from grabbing seconds! Suma Veggie Café is a hole in the wall, with cult-like devotees that come for the food and stay for the strange television program being played in the corner (was that a classical piano version of the Rocky theme song, along with interpretive dancers? Yes. Yes it was.)
We had our mid day snack at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, a place that I imagine myself shopping at religiously once I finally can call Dallas home. It was like going to Costco on a Saturday, with vendors practically shoving delicious fresh fruit down your throat, with the guarantee that their blackberries are far superior to the guy two booths down.
On my way to the Farmer's Market
Dinner was with friends at Dumma Sushi Bistro, where the “Yummi Shrimp Sushi,” lived up to its name. Where the sake was smooth, the edamame was fresh and the lighting was dim. Tempura fried ice cream anyone? Yes, please. And while you’re at it, can you bring me another pair of pants? These ones are feeling a little bit… tight.
Our flight left early Sunday morning, so our last food stop was for breakfast tacos at El Paisa. No lavanderia connected to this location, but I still was able to use my Spanish to interpret the signs in the area. Chorizo, eggs, beans, cheese, and tortillas that were so fresh you began to wonder just how early these people began their day. It was huge, it was filling, and needless to say, my next meal wasn’t for another twelve hours.
I’m going to the gym today. If I say it here, I’m more likely to do it. And after a weekend in Dallas, I need it.