Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Many Exciting Things!

Many exciting things happened today and I feel the need to blog about it.

Number 1: We had a HUGE earthquake today at school. Magnitude was 7.2 which is pretty dang big. The news said that because of the earthquake a tsunami is now coming to the east coast. Here is a link to read about it on CNN. Says they could feel it all the way in Tokyo which is over 250 miles away. It shook for about 2-3 minutes. I was singing graduation songs with my kids and during the middle of a song I stopped and said, "Is this an earthquake?" Then all the kids stopped and we crouched down and had our very first earthquake at school... it just had to be the largest one too!

Number 2: Today I had a parent/teacher conference with one of my student's mothers. She was so cute and kept talking about how sad she was that I'm leaving. She even got teary eyed and asked me to please come back and teach here again. She said she notices how her son always gets very close to my face when he talks to me. Apparantly he comes home and talks about how "beautiful" and "cute" I am every day. Then she said "I wish my son was older because I would want you to be his bride" hahahaha So then I started cracking up and she did too and she said, "Now I'm all sweaty because maybe I shouldn't have said that" hahaha. I could not stop laughing and blushing because I was so embarrassed. If only he was 20 years older... jk.

Number 3: On a sad note, my external hard drive decided to break today thus, losing all my pictures from college, china, post college, and many pictures from Japan. I hate technology. I'm praying that it will come back to life. After all my computer from college broke and I lost all my pictures from college. Then almost 2 years later it came back to life and I recovered them. Technology miracles can happen!

Number 4: I come home 3 weeks from tomorrow!!!

Number 5: Today I decided to try Shirataki noodles. Those are the noodles that are in many asian soups... not to be confused with rice or ramen noodles. I was reading some recipes the other night (my usual nightly ritual) and came across shirataki noodles. Apparantly they only have about 20 calories for a 4 oz serving. So I decided I better like these and be able to substitute in pasta dishes. At first I was unsure then I took a giant bite and almost vomited it up because the texture was so chewy and disgusting. If I hadn't been eating lunch with a Japanese person I would have spit it out and maybe up chucked. Instead I swallowed and threw the rest away. Tonight, I made a new recipe using them for lunch tomorrow so I'll let you know how go number two goes. Hopefully much better. I'm determined to like them even if they do smell like fish.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Food, Food, Food!

Those of you who know me well know that I think about food approximately 100% of the time I'm awake... I even dream about it, no lie! So it should come as no surprise to you that I'm finally blogging about my gluttony. My sisters and I all enjoy talking about food with each other. Maybe too much because it's been known to get on people's nerves. Since we all love food so much naturally we also enjoy talking about our weight. I mean, none of us are trying to be a future contestant of the biggest loser here so if we think about food 100% of the time then we also need to spend at least 50% of time thinking about our weight. HA! It may be annoying to some... ok most but we just can't help it.

Before I even eat my breakfast I'm thinking about lunch and dinner. I like to know for sure what I'm going to be eating. It truly stresses me out when we make last minute plans to go out to eat. I've planned my day around my meals and what I eat when so I can't just be making last minute changes like that! It's crazy talk! Unlike many of my friends and family I prefer to eat a bigger lunch and a light dinner. I don't like feeling full at night and that sure makes having a social life hard. I wish being social didn't revolve so much on going out to eat... I guess that should just make me more motivated to throw my own dinner parties where I can control what's being served... control freak? maybe. :)

When I got home from work today I immediately started reading my food blogs (I'm not even going to tell you how many of them I read daily... it's embarrassing). Then I looked at the clock and OH NO! 2 1/2 hours had gone by. I'm not kidding! So I thought... well it's as good as time as any to start blogging about food. I mean, I'm fully committed to food. That will never change. Sometimes I even eat it 3 times a day!!! *gasp* and so why not blog about what I love most.

I have something I need to get off my chest: I just counted and I've saved over 450 recipes this year on different food sites. How can I even cook all those? I've decided to make a goal for next year: Cook at least 2 new recipes every week. Now I haven't admitted to you yet that those goals I made for my 25th year of life... I didn't do! I started it and then gave up. So I'm counting on you to keep me accountable! Mom, Grammy, Jenny - that's you! (I think you are the only 3 that read this!) The question is when to start: When I get home, when I move into my new apartment, or on my birthday? When I first get home I'll be living with mom and dad till June.. and I just don't know if I can compete with mom's cooking. I mean how do you compete with cooking perfection? It's too hard. Not to mention I'm practically a vegetarian these days and I don't think it's fair to make everyone else eat that way when I cook. I think I can count on one hand how many times I've had meat since August... and none of those times were more than a bite or two. I just don't like it. Red Meat = EWWW! Anything from a pig = vom! Chicken = eh. Turkey = I don't remember... it's been over a year! And fish = don't even go there. So what are your thoughts? When should I start?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1 Year Anniversary

Well, I started my post for Rome and then I realized that today is my one year anniversary in Japan! Crazy that I've been here for SO long! 2 more months left...

So, I decided to post my top ten things about living in Japan in no particular order:

1. Cleanliness - public places are SO clean here! I really noticed it in the public transportation when I was in Europe and everything was so dirty. I definitely appreciate living in a country that is clean

2. The ease of walking everywhere I go. I love that I don't really need a car here to do everything I want to do. Of course I do like to check out the car in the summer and winter when I get my groceries haha

3. Tokyo Disney... you know I couldn't do this post without including Disney. Disney in Japan is a culture all on it's own. It's the weirdest, funniest, most entertaining thing I've seen... I love it!

4. My students. I don't know why but Japanese children are like the cutest children on earth! I love my students and will miss them very much!

5. Learning about a different culture. It's been interesting to learn things that I wish were different in America or things that I think are so completely weird and America has it right in that department. Definitely will be things I miss about the culture in Japan

6. Plethora of Indian food... it's everywhere and it's delicious everywhere you go!

7. Cheap bills. My house bills are definitely cheaper here than in America. Even though I have a tiny apartment they are still significantly cheaper than a small apartment in America. It's very nice!

8. When my parent's came to visit me! It was really fun having them here and going to Tokyo and Kyoto together!

9. My many trips to Tokyo to shop at American stores, eat American food, and go to Disney. Definitely good memories there!

10. Now I won't particularly miss Japanese food and I probably won't eat it for a long time after this but I've really enjoyed learning how to make certain Japanese dishes and getting to teach that to other people.

Bonus: The safety! I always feel safe in Japan. Even in the summer I would have gone on a walk by myself at night and felt safe. I would never do that in Dallas. I also would never live alone in Dallas because I'm a scardey cat but it never bothered me here!

On top of all those things Japan has made me appreciate America more than I did before. Before this experience I thought I didn't care if I never lived in America again... don't get me wrong I still want to live in Italy some day, but I'm definitely more content with America now. I also appreciate living near my family much more than I used to! I used to think well as long as you are a plane's ride away it's fine but now I want to be a short drive away haha.

I plan on doing a blog about my top ten things in America right before I leave here!!

See everyone in about 56 days!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


So I forgot that I started this post like 2 weeks ago and then never finished or posted it haha. Thanks to Grammy for reminding me of that today!

So Roma... here it goes.

January 5th - The days started off with our alarm going off at 2:45 so we could make it to our very early morning flight. Our taxi driver actually dropped us off at the wrong terminal that morning... the one he dropped us off at wasn't even open!! So Kelsey and I left our luggage and walked over to the other one to see if he happened to be wrong. He was haha, good thing we checked!
When we got to our hostel we realized that we booked an Asian hostel haha. It was decked out in Asian decor and Asians owned it... Asians named Lorenzo that is. I don't think I can fully express on here how hilarious our hostel owner was. When we were paying for our stay we accidentally gave him like $10 extra. Instead of just handing it back he was like freaking out so concerned, "Why YOU pay MO! I GOOD people!"(*Asian accent) Over and over again. We were doing our best not to laugh. He then spent about 30 minutes showing us a map of the city and telling us where we were allowed and not allowed to go. Once we got to our hostel it was about lunch time so we just checked in and headed back out. He then followed us out the door and was like, "Wait where you go?" He was pretty concerned about us.

We then went to lunch where in very stereotypical Italian fashion our waiter was a major flirt. He was trying to play Kelsey like nobody's business. He kept kissing her hand and forehead, smelling her hair, asking her out for that night, telling her she had a beautiful face... and nose. We were quite entertained to say the least. Kelsey was doing a good job playing it off and just laughing with us but when we were waiting for our ticket he came up and grabbed her face and stared into her eyes for seriously a full minute while she looked away awkwardly... finally she broke the silence with, "where do we pay?" Naturally we all cracked up because it was so awkward after that.
Anyways after that we went to the trevi fountain, spanish steps, shopping, dinner and bed at 8:30 after our early morning wake up call. Pictures follow...

This guy would not leave me alone trying to sell me a flower. He kept saying it was free but I know that trick :) As I kept refusing and refusing he all of a sudden just jumped in my picture hahaha.
This picture shows how close our hostel was to the coliseum. It was a great location!

January 6th: The day started out with breakfast in our room brought by Lorenzo himself. When we were walking out I told him we wouldn't need breakfast the next day because we were leaving so early so he put a to go breakfast in our room that night so we could eat in the morning. So nice! He also left us a little note to remember him by. This was after many questions of where we were going and what we were doing. After that we headed to the coliseum where we basically just went inside and took a bunch of pictures. It was cool to see the inside!

After that we took the subway to the vatican. It was so crowded we had to get on different subways. Worst subway system ever but it got us to our destination! When we got to vatican city we were talking about food and how it was sad that it was our last day of good food till America. So we decided to eat as much as possible on our last day to fulfill us for the next couple of months. And boy did we eat!! It started off with breakfast, then we got a giant donut to split at the vatican... like maybe 10 inches in diameter. Then we sat down for some pizza at like 11:00... early lunch? I don't know we didn't call anything a meal bc we just never stopped eating.

The vatican line was ridiculously long so we just took some pictures and got gelato. About an hour and a half later we got gelato again. Then Ally and I split a panini (I forget what the other girls ate) at around 6 pm. THEN we sat down for dinner... I was only able to eat a little bruschetta because I was so full but the other girls got a full meal... then we had dessert. It was quite the day!

I'll leave you with a picture of Logan reading the Japan Times before getting on our flight... Just catching up on all the current news in Japan :).

P.S. 44 days till I'm in America!


OK I'm finally getting around to blogging about Stop Number 3: Barcelona.

Janauary 2nd:
The morning of the 2nd we woke up early and flew to barcelona. We got there sometime after lunch and by then I most definitely had the flu. I stayed in that afternoon and then decided to get up and go to dinner. Unfortunately that just made me feel even worse. So the 2nd wasn't too much fun for me. Our room (pictured below) smelled pretty nasty.... luckily ally had brought some travel febreeze and we may have used the whole bottle in a matter of 2 days. Also, our towels smelled like cigarettes.

January 3rd:
Stayed in bed pretty much all day trying to get better. I won't go into details of the sickness because I'm pretty sure everyone reading this has been sick before and knows what it's like :). I did get up at one point and go across the street to the market to buy something to eat. Crackers and sprite thank you! Basically the highlights of my day are as follows: finished two books, maid knocked on my door OVER and OVER and I kept telling her no please I'm sick but there was a language barrier... she finally left after the 3rd or 4th try. Our neighbors were two creepy looking men and our bathrooms shared a VERY thin wall. At one point a girl came up and they took a shower together and I got to listen to that. Then later on that night one of them came up to go poop for like 5 minutes and I got to listen to some unfortunate noises with that one. As you can see I had quite the eventful day.

January 4th:
YAY! I finally feel well again! That day the weather was so nice that I didn't wear my coat. I did get a little chilly though and ended up buying a zip up hoodie to wear haha. That morning we headed over to Sagrada familia and spent a couple of hours there thanks to the English headsets we got. It was pretty cool to listen to everything about how it was built and designed. Here are some pictures:

Then we headed over to the Picasso museum. The girls had tried both days before to go without me because I'm not really into picasso but it was closed both days. After that we ate at Hard Rock... mainly because a) I remember going there last time I was in Barcelona and b) we always eat there when we are in Tokyo. I'm not even sure if I've ever been to a Hard Rock in America.

As we were heading home we came across this little beauty:
That would be a gigantic vending machine in case you were wondering. Anything from an entire bottle of orange juice to feminine products to medicine. Basically a mini grocery store.

Also, when we got to the subway there was a little band playing and people dancing in the subway terminal.... only in Barcelona! Kelsey got her groove on with an old guy. It was pretty funny. A really creepy looking guy asked me to dance and I'm sure you'll all be surprised to hear that I said no. I just video taped and took pictures.

And that was pretty much the end of Barcelona. The next morning we had to leave at 3 am to get to Rome so we tried to go to bed early that night. Unfortunately, I was only able to enjoy Barcelona one day so if anyone wants to go back with me sometime I wouldn't hate it :)!

Next post: Roma!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Before I can tell you about Paris I have to tell you a little about our flight getting there. The morning of the 29th we left to hop on a Ryan Air flight to London and then connect to Paris. We had about an hour and a half layover so all was good. Unfortunately our flight to London left about an hour late. When we exited our plane we of course had to go through customs and security again since we were in another country. The lines were SO long. Naturally I'm freaking out thinking we are going to miss our plane and that this totally sucks!! So let's make a list of what happens 1) Flight to London was delayed 2) I dropped my passport AND boarding pass while going through security and a 12 year old girl picked it up and gave it to me... I had no idea I even dropped it 3) I was wearing snow boots which I didn't have time to zip or buckle after security 4) we see a sign that says our gate number and says 10 minute walk 5) It was already 5 minutes past what time our flight was supposed to leave 6) We start sprinting through the airport with our 20 pound carry ons, jeans, long underwear, coats, 2 long sleeved shirts, sweater, and boots undone 7) We arrive at our gate sweating profusely to find that this flight had been delayed too.

Needless to say we were frustrated and thankful haha. I think it took us about 30 minutes to cool down from that short sprint simply because of the amount of clothing we had on. Anyways because of all the delays we arrived in Paris late that night and went to bed.

December 30th - Paris Disneyland
The next day we decided to go to Disney because when else would we go to Paris and actually go to Disneyland if not with each other. First of all it was FREEZING! The sky was overcast and misty all day and so it just made it feel so very cold! The first ride we rode was Space Mountain and let me tell you it was crazy! That thing went upside down, side ways, and it's faster than any of the other space mountains. This was the day I first started feeling sick so I felt a bit nauseous afterwards. I kept my eyes closed the entire time hahaha. The park was fun but definitely not as fun as America or Tokyo Disney's. It felt much smaller and there was less to do. That night we rode the Indiana Jones ride which was also quite different than the other ones. It's an outside roller coaster which is completely different. I think because I was feeling sick I just couldn't get warm and so after that outside roller coaster I was literally shivering uncontrollably. I couldn't stop shaking and as we were walking away I tripped and seriously face planted haha. I blame it on the shivering because there was nothing I tripped on. I just fell. And I fell on top of Ally yet somehow she managed to stay up. Also, as I was leaving I went to bathroom and I was the only one in there other than two grown women who went in the same stall together. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Here are a few pictures of the day.

Entrance to the Park
View of Castle in the morning

Castle at Night

As we were taking the subway home a subway car performer got up and started playing the guitar and singling la bamba. It was pretty awesome and made me forget about the sickness for a while.

December 31st
The next day I woke up feeling good and we headed out for a day in Paris. We started the morning off right by going to the Louvre. Ally and I had been before but the other's hadn't and I think they really enjoyed it. It was fun to just walk around and look at art work.
Money exchange at the Louvre = the blend of my lives at that moment (yen, euro, and dollar)

Outside the Louvre

After that we headed over Muse de Orsay. It's a smaller museum that we had heard good things about. They had a van Gogh exhibit there and he is my favorite artist so I really enjoyed that. By the time we finished that it was about 4 pm so we headed back to the hotel to put on more layers for New Years Eve. By 6 we were back on the train heading over to the Eiffel Tower. We found a small Italian restaurant to eat dinner at and had a great time. By the time we finished it was around 10 pm. We decided that it was just too cold to be outside for 2 more hours and plus I wasn't feeling great by that point so we went back to the hotel... we're pretty cool like that! To make a long story short we spent new years eve reading in bed and it was quite enjoyable.

New Years Eve Dinner

January 1st
We started off that morning heading over the Champs Elysees to get our shop on. I was feeling pretty terrible that morning so I was thinking I was going to head in after lunch time. At lunch Ally gave me some advil and I started feeling a little better after that. I decided to brave the flu and stay out the rest of the day. And I'm glad I did because if I had gone in I would have missed Kelsey getting kissed on the cheek by a subway car performer. It was quite the magical moment for her. I also would have missed being called Miley Cyrus by a street vendor.

After all that fun, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. We stood in line for 2 hours in the freezing cold. Then the top was closed because of the overcast. I think we all agreed that it was definitely not worth it. I decided not to put the picture of me on the eiffel tower up because I definitely look like I have the flu in that picture ha. After that we all went back to the hotel to warm up before dinner. I ended up staying in that night and going to bed at 8 because I felt so sick. I also woke up freezing at one point so I put on a bunch of layers including my coat and then woke up an hour later drenched in sweat haha. Poor Ally had to share a bed with me.
Eiffel Tower
Arch de Triumph
Eiffel tower from below

Next up - Barcelona, feeling sicker than ever, and then finally feeling better!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Frankfurt, Germany

Ok, I'm finally getting around to blogging about Europe!! Yay!! I have so many pictures to share that I decided to do my blogs per city. I'm going to try to do them all this week too... crazy I know!

Our first stop was Frankfurt, Germany. None of us had ever been there before so it was exciting for our first stop.

Here we are on December 26th about to hop on our night bus to Narita airport. Our bus was actually quite comfortable (seats went almost all the way flat back) and we were all able to get a little sleep. We arrived at Narita at 6 am on the 27th. The check in booths don't actually open till 7:30 am so we sat around and waited for a bit. As we were sitting there a huge line formed from all the other early arrivers. We were dreading waiting in it and there were two ladies at a different counter but no one was in line. It said something like premium first class boarding. We ignored that and walked up and they let us check in. We figured they didn't want to explain to us that we were in the wrong line haha. Then since we were the first to check in and the flight wasn't full they let us change our seats... and we got to choose the quite roomy exit row!!! Yay for being foreigners haha!

Our flight didn't leave till something like 1 pm so we had quite a bit of time to kill at the airport. Here we are getting our exercise on in the airport haha. As you can see Ally wasn't so into it... she was busy playing her DS.

Here we are in our spacious seats. My shoes basically came off the second I sat down as you can see.

When we got to Frankfurt it was late at night so we basically got to our hotel and went to bed. Above is a picture of the most confusing ticket machine I've ever had to use. It made no sense whatsoever and we still don't know if we did it right because no one ever checked our tickets and we didn't have to put them through any machine.

We only had one day in Frankfurt, and we didn't actually have any plan for the day because none of us knew much about what there was to do. We ended up at a few churches, museums, and in the old town square and had a great time.

We went into one church called Kaiserdom and I thought the stained glass there was really beautiful. The coloring was lots of greys and light blues and it was a nice contrast to the normal stained glass.

Here we are in the old town square area. It was the only part that looked exactly like what you think Germany should look like. We ate lunch at a "traditional" German restaurant in this area as well. Ally and Logan tried some wienerschnitzel while I went with the ever safe tomato soup.

After that we headed down to a different area that we were told had good shopping. We heard a group of people singing in German in the street and when we walked near them two girls jumped out and started talking to us. They were a group of American mormon's. We thought it was pretty funny that we would go to europe and still wind up talking to a group of mormon's. We actually have these 2 ladies in Japan who show up EVERY saturday to our apartments and try to talk to us. They don't speak English, yet they still come and I always try to remember not to open my door so I don't get stuck for 45 minutes. Anyways, we also tried to go to this tower that we read in our guide book had the best city view from the top floor. First we went to the wrong tower, then when we finally made it to the right one it was closed and we couldn't get in. So after that we headed back to the shopping area and ended up eating dinner at an italian restaurant inside this mall area.

All in all it was a successful day in Germany. The weather was sunny and so it was not near as cold as we had expected! Thank goodness!

The next morning we headed back to the airport and check out what we saw in the train station. That's right a vending machine selling hot dogs. No thank you!! Also, this homeless guy came up to us and was speaking to us in German. When he realized we didn't understand he started speaking english. As he was walking away we noticed he was wearing Lacoste jeans. We thought it was pretty funny that not only could he speak more languages than us but he was also wearing more expensive clothing than us.

And that concludes our time in Germany. Next up, Paris, sprinting through the airport, and getting the flu...