Category Archives: Food

things can only get better

The smells of fresh-baked pastries, a confetti of colors, and the sweet anticipation of warm delight – it was my first trip to the doughnut shop in 2 years.  GADS, oh how I have missed you.  The 24hour doughnut shop holds so many memories: from going with my dad on special weekend mornings to studying for finals at 3am.   And now, another generation gets to experience the joy that this little shop bakes.



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Oh America

What was the absolute best way to spend my first weekend back in America? Going to the RC and Moon Pie Festival, of course!  It has been a tradition since 2008 for us to go the Festival in Bell Buckle Tennessee, and what a beautiful tradition it has been.  I felt like America was welcoming me home with a big Southern hug.  Not only did I eat a corn dog that was a least a foot long, but I had cold RC and a banana Moon Pie just like I remember having when I was little and would go fishing with my dad. We shopped in antique stores, walked through arts and craft booths, and listened to a hog calling contest. Loren went prepared this year to win the hula hooping contest; where she had to drink an RC and eat a Moon Pie without dropping her hula hoop. She came in 4th place this year, but we were not discouraged.  Loren and I decided to compete in the water balloon throwing contest and this is where we won first prize.  Which led to us being knighted on the stage by the Queen and King of Bell Buckle. Our prize: a free t-shirt and the privilege of cutting and serving the world’s largest Moon Pie.






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28 Candles

A Day In The Life: my 28th birthday

bday03Man, I am getting old – do you see all those greys?

bday08Our friend Wendy took us out for French toast at a local hotel.  We have to make and bring our own syrup…

bday09       I thought it would be fun to show you what our “kind-of-grocery store” looks like… and here is our ride – the decorated bajaj.

bday25My besties Marissa and Jordan made this pinata for me and mailed it to Africa. Not only did it have candy in it but notes from a bunch of my friends.  Yup, those are granola bars…I guess I am a grownup when those are what’s in my pinata.

bday13Homemade felafel and pita for my Mediterranean dinner.

bday20Just a little dancing, food, and cake.  We also showed “Wreck It Ralph” on the side of the house and invited a lot of people to come celebrate with us, but I didn’t get any photos.  It was a wonderful day!


Filed under Family, Food, Friends

a second holiday

The National Christmas is not until the 7th of January in the country so the holidays just stretched on for me.  They have adopted some western holiday practices like the Christmas tree and lights, but most people don’t decorate. The main tradition here is to get together with friends and family and eat a bunch of food. They have been on a vegan fast for 4 weeks, so there is a lot of meat being served.  Everyone buys chicken, sheep, goats and cows at the market a few days before hand and then you can hear them bleat and cry all over the city.  I was invited over to two houses for the day.  I ate a lot of spicy chicken wat, boiled eggs, and injera.  I was also given a lot of coffee.  Both houses performed coffee ceremonies where you are given the traditional three rounds of the drink.  Popcorn and a special type of bread was served at the houses as well.  Needless to say, I was very full and very caffeinated that day.



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Christmas Time Again

I spent my second Christmas overseas – and you know what? – it wasn’t that bad.  The first year was pretty depressing, but this year I really tried to create the things I missed.  They do not really have any Christmas traditions here – except eating a lot of food.  So we found a Christmas tree, bought and made presents, decorated cookies, watched a lot of Christmas movies, and went caroling.  We felt like a family this year.  It was good for my heart.



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giving thanks again

Roasted chicken, homegrown yams, pickled beets. Everyone put their best foot forward this year.  I was stuffed to the brim.






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8th annual

This year, we turned my annual pumpkin carving party into a super-kid-friendly harvest party.  We played all sorts of games, ate all sorts of candy, and carved all sorts of pumpkins.  Oh, and the best part?  Watching Casper to close the day.  What comes a close second? Watching all the kids dunk for oranges.  (I know, it is weird to not have apples in the fall.)





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farewells already

This is Marcie and me hugging the first of many goodbyes I will have before leaving Africa.  Though, this one is coming extra early.  Marcie is heading home to Florida for 9 months while I will only be in Africa another 8 months.  So this is probably the last time I will see this lovely lady.  Marcie will be fundraising for Grace Center, a women’s and children’s advocacy center.  I partner with the Grace Center, so I have known Marcie since I first arrived here in my town.  She has been such a support and encouragement to me over the last year.  I am going to miss her terribly.  She also means a lot to so many single mothers and orphaned children in our region.  She works everyday to make sure children have food and clothes and that single mothers can find work and a home.  It was good to get together and celebrate Marcie and her wonderful family.




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mint lemonade

Food in Turkey was the best.  Well, it probably isn’t the best, but after you have been eating the food I have been eating for a year, this stuff was gold.  We ate a traditional Turkish breakfast a few times on our trip.  They bring you all kinds of foods in little dishes, designed to be eaten together in different combinations with different types of bread. Most of it was savory: olives, flavorful cheeses, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, salami, peppers.  But there were sweet jams and pastry style bread as well.  One of my favorite parts of the meal would be the mint lemonade.  I mean, it was ridiculously refreshing.



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It’s Christmas! Lets be glad!

So, everyone tried really hard to make it feel like Christmas here.  We had a Christmas baking party, Christmas movie night, school Christmas party with crafts, and we even drank Wassail. The kids seemed to have fun at least…


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