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Friday, September 30, 2011


Hello all!  We've been Stateside a week with one week to go.  Our days have been filled with boxes, phone calls, and lots and lots of family.  As of late last night, we have both sets of parents and our siblings with us in sunny Floriduh.  Our moms ROCK!  They have been hauling and hefting and packing and sorting all of our belongings with us.  Then the Stud arrived and did even more hefting.  There's been a lot of hefting.  But, we are pleased to report that this is all we have left in storage. We merged two storage units and an attic full of who knows what into half of the smaller storage units.  Hot freaking dang!

I'll be honest, I'm going to be scarce for awhile.  This makes me sad, but..well...there's family to be had!  We have hours of pool time ahead of us and I don't want to miss any of it. 

Happy October, friends!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

it only took...

two hours of sleep

eight bags

four different lines to check in four bags

two security screenings

two customs check points

a ten hour flight

three movies

four seats for two people

two almost naps

two happy Swiss families

no sim card

lots of dots to follow on floors

one crappy Coke in Miami

one barely delayed flight

lots and lots and lots of giggles

fun conversations

one mom and a truck

a Chick-fil-A

and a fresh Coke

to get us here

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011



Dude!  Today is our last day in Germany!  How in the heck did that happen?  Those three months went unbelievably fast!  We fly out tomorrow morning for the Great Two Week Family Packing Moving Abroad Visiting Drinking Coke Bonding Over Banana Cake Extravaganza of 2011.  It's gonna be intense. 

Today kicks off our pack-a-thon, though we're doing a marvelous job of avoiding it like the plague.  Luckily, we don't have all that much with us.  But we intend to eat some brotchen, go on a walk, maybe pick up some more cookies...ya know, the important stuff.  Once we touch down in Floridaland, we have a crazy list of things to do.  I have to get my passport renewed with my married name in the next two weeks.  I don't even want to discuss how much that is going to cost. Then there's boxes to go through, hairs to cut, family to pick up from the airport.

Wait, have I mentioned this?  This deserves mentioning.  Due to the fact that we got a job (WOO!!) that is taking us halfway around the world in two weeks (eat that, Jules Verne!  80 days, that's for pansies) everyone is coming to Florida to hang out and go through boxes with us.  Mum and the Tall Guy are flying down from the D and Sista and the Stud are flying out from Salt Lake.  It's going to be nuts, but I absolutely cannot wait to see everyone!  All of my family in one place?  Bring. It. On.

Okay, I should stop procrastinating and least go to the bakery if I'm not going to pack.  Can't pack on an empty stomach, right?

See you Stateside! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Dear Body, 

Hey, it's me!  Engquist!  Just out of curiosity, why don't we sleep anymore?  This stopped being fun about two weeks ago.  Really.  I know there's a lot to think about right now, but I need rest so  I can actually get everything accomplished.

I finally took nyquil last night at two because there was no glimpse of rest on the horizon.  The sun was approaching faster than sleep.  What gives?  Mr. F dozed peacefully next to me for hours.  I read, made a few lists, played on the ipad, drew a few sketches, surfed the internet.  Nothin.  I was tired, I could feel it.  Still can.  But no, you refused to sleep.

Do you and my subconscious have some unresolved issues we need to work through?  Is there a reason you're avoiding sleep?  And don't tell me you're trying to get on the eastern time zone already, that's just not gonna fly.  Something's up and you've just got to deal with it!   We've all got stuff to do right now.  I need you fully functional so I can pack and clean and hop on the first of who knows how many planes in two days.   You didn't freak out like this when I got married, why now?

Hang in there body, we're all nervous about this one.  But it's going to be so much fun!  




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

what i wore today

As Mr. F left for work this morning, he whispered into my groggy ears, "You could have story times for toddlers once a week in Cyprus."  Somehow I was conscious enough to recognize this suggestion, the latest in a long list of ways Mr. F has been finding ways for me to utilize my talents.  We have been discussing this a lot as our budget in Cyprus is going to be rather tight and we don't yet know if I will be able to work.  The common thought has been hosting weekly art classes for little ones.  Teaching them about colors, shapes, and a bit about some major artists through history.

Well, since I decided that today was definitely the day I avoided packing for our triumphant two week return to Amrika, I hit the interweb to see what I could find by way of lesson plans and project ideas.  There were some really great sources out there, but I'm still hunting for the right "thing."  Anyway, during my search, I stumbled upon this and, well, fell in love.  Immediately my muse spoke to me and I grabbed my sketchbook.  I wanted to draw what I was wearing today.

My family will probably see this and laugh because they know that this is, in fact, what I wear every day, not just today.  But still!  A fun project for the afternoon!  Plus it somehow motivated me to start making piles for suitcases and get some final loads of laundry going.

Do you have any suggestions for teaching art to children?  I'm thinking this could be a really fun adventure!

p.s. Can someone teach me how to take better photos of my artwork pleeeeease?  There's got to be a better way to do this, even with a point and shoot.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

monday evening in the rhineland

brown sugar

Amid all of the lists of things to do (get Florida driver's license with new name, find moving companies, eat lots of chicken nuggets and tacos) I've been compiling a list of things we need to buy before we leave for Cyprus.  Mr. F is in desperate need of a new suit, outlet adapters, and deodorant are pretty high on the list.  But since we're still in Germany, I have also been contemplating what sort of food items I need to stock up on in the U.S. before becoming a bona fide expat.  Luckily there are quite a few things that are staples in our diet that you can find just about anywhere, like pasta and rice.  (We're low maintenance, okay?)  Peanut butter is definitely on the "to buy" list, but I've been surprised to learn that brown sugar, baking soda, and vanilla are also on the list.  After a conversation with the family we're living with, I think we're tagging on mac and cheese, ramen noodles, taco seasoning, chocolate chips, and as many packets of Knorr sauces I can stuff into our bags.

What about you?  Have you ever lived abroad?  What were things you missed?  Or, what are things you can't imagine doing without in your daily diet?

On a different note, I have a goal to take a picture a day of the sunset over the next week.  The fall sunsets here are just wonderful, but I'm also wanting to document in a simple way the changes that are coming in the next few weeks.  What are all of the different landscapes going to look like?

With that, I have more phone calls to make.  Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, September 16, 2011

love is

love is...

brushing your wife's hair until you both fall asleep.

giggling over nothing.

telling your wife she can buy the new Tyra Banks book.  (I haven't bought it, by the way...)

crying together.

telling your daughter it's going to be okay, even though you're going to miss her terribly.

telling your sister you're excited she's moving halfway around the world when all you want is a hug.

making jokes with your brother about McDonald's being more important in an international move than the Church.

realizing the above statement is made barely in jest.

calmly realizing  your wife's panic is normal and hiding your own.

plotting a giant family reunion when time, money, employment, and school would normally get in the way.

trying to plow through moving your mother into her new condo so you can focus on sending your son and daughter-in-law overseas.

mourning the loss of a woman who is just as much a mother to you as the woman who gave birth to you.

going to work to provide for your family, even when work really sucks.

phone calls from across the pond discussing fish measuring spoons from Anthropologie.

felt by the words, "I love you" heard through the receiver.

I am one lucky girl to have such an amazing family.   I love you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

happy things

Sitting on the hill with Mr. F, imagining our future, eating döner kebab and watching the sunset.

Sunsets over freshly tilled fields.


Emails from Church members in Cyprus saying, "We can't wait to meet you!"

Realizing how much debt Mr. F and I have been able to pay off since we've been married.

Realizing that we were able to make such a huge dent whilst unemployed.

Döner kebab.  It's cheap. It's yummy.  It's replaced chicken nuggets in my life.


Dribbles of Greek yoghurt on Mr. F's sleepy face as he tries to eat döner kebab.

Harvest moons.

The need for sweaters and scarves now that the seasons have morphed.

Talking for hours about how good things are.

Mr. F playing music as he left for work this morning.

Knowing that we'll be with family again in eight days.

Knowing there's a 32 ounce fountain coke from Macadocious waiting for me in Amrika.

Dinner plans with friends.


Feeling like we're gonna be more than fine in Cyprus.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

slow learner

I'm a worry wort.  Okay, that's an understatement.  I'm the girl who sees change coming, bursts into tears and then climbs into bed for a couple of days thinking it will all go away.  My panic over Cyprus is beyond expression.  There are so very many things that are out of my control with this move. I  don't know when we'll be there, if visas will actually come through.  Moving our belongings is still a mystery.  Do we need to ship furniture or will we find a furnished place?  When can all of our family get together before we leave?  When are we leaving?! 

Yesterday was a good day.  Drink cocoa, go on walks, casually look online at housing and imagine what life on Cyprus would be like.

Today is the day I climbed back in bed and hid.  And cried. And ate my favorite cookies. I can't do this!  There isn't enough time!  There isn't enough information!  We're not even back in Florida yet!

 Serving as their wake-up call, I gave my parents a ring this afternoon.  My very groggy mum put my less groggy but barely lucid Nonny on the phone.  He and I had not spoken much since the decision was made to accept the offer.  Nonny asked some questions, a few of which I could answer, many I could not.  Even though he was barely awake, I could sense his excitement over this change and his repeated statement of "I'm so proud of you two" made me blush.

I shared my apprehensions, the lack of information I'm dealing with and the uneasy feeling it leaves in my stomach.  He yawned, and then said, "Act on faith, Boo Boo, not on fear."  I'm not acting on fear, dude, I'm just scared, okay? "Fear is the absence of faith.  Faith is the absence of fear." Derp.

Not long after, Mr. F called to say he had just gotten off the phone with people in Cyprus.  I was expecting this conversation to have answered all my questions.  It didn't and I fell apart.  Poor Mr. F... I started crying and asked him to call me later this afternoon.  I sent him emails over the next hour regaling him with questions I thought he should be able to answer.  He didn't answer any of them.  Instead he sent me this, a General Conference address by Quentin L. Cook when he was called to be an apostle.  As I began reading the thought came to me "I didn't ask you to be a member of the Twelve, just to move to Cyprus."  Derp.

In the opening paragraph, Elder Cook shares a memory from when he was called as a general authority and feeling inadequate.  Neal A. Maxwell told him then "that the most important qualification for all of us serving in the kingdom is to be comfortable in bearing witness of the divinity of the Savior."  I can do that, right?  That's not contingent on boxes being shipped or visas.  I can always do that...  A little later he quotes 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  Act on faith, Boo Boo, not on fear.

My husband and father shared the same message with me in very different ways.   

Mr. F did answer one question for me.  I asked him how he was feeling about things after his conversation with Cyprus today.  "I feel calm and I am confident that things will work out how they need to."  Oh heavens, I love that man!

When are we getting to Cyprus? Dunno! 
What are we shipping over?  We'll figure that out when we need to.
Will our visas go through?   It's an international company, Engquist, they know what they are doing.
Do we have enough information?  We know what we're supposed to at this point.
Can I still testify of Christ? You betcha!
Can I move forward with faith?  Yes. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

fall daze

While it has been chilly in Germanland during the bulk of our stay, the change of seasons has finally come, leaving a distinct impression on the landscape.  Fields are plowed, flowers are changing or gone, leaves are beginning their annual metamorphosis.  Oh, but it's intoxicating!  I went for a walk this late afternoon to soak up some sun and do a bit of pondering..  I have a feeling that this hill and I are going to be doing a lot of bonding in the upcoming week.

Monday, September 12, 2011

what if?

Apparently, I am now a grown-up.  This epiphany just dawned as I have been sitting here for hours, overwhelmed beyond belief because of one itty bitty little thing.

Mr. F got a job offer!

This has been in the works for about a week but we got the official offer today.  It's a killer offer for us and especially for Mr. F.  If you could have asked him what he wanted to do with his political science degree, he would have said this, and this is exactly what we have been offered.

Why is this freaking me out?  Simple.

The job is in Cyprus.

Maybe you're smarter than me, but I had absolutely no idea where this was until two weeks ago.  Turns out it's right in the middle of "Huh???", "Oh!", and "Woah....".  More specifically, an island in the Mediterranean Sea about seventy miles south of Turkey.  (Hence the "Woah...")

Now, Mr. F and I have never had real jobs before.  Yeah, we've both worked, but this gig comes with benefits!  I had almost given up the dream of having health insurance again and the idea of paid time off has got to be revolutionary.  People get paid time off?? Really?? "Woah...."  This alone is a lot for me to handle.  I feel like I've come home from school with permission slips and health forms and need my parents to read over them.  "Is this a good deal?" I want to ask.  The thing is, none of us really knows!  Why?

Because the job is in freaking Cyprus! 

So now we're not only trying to figure out if This is a good offer or  not, but if Cyprus will let us come and live there.  Weird...

Just for the record, when we used to play the "What if?" game, Cyprus was never mentioned.  I think we covered parts of the Middle East, lots of Asia and Europe, but never Cyprus.  You better believe Cyprus is now dominating the "What if?" game.

What if we moved to Cyprus:

Is the Church there?  {yes!!!!!!}
What kind of outlets do they use? {zone G, or like in the UK}
Do they speak English? {yes}
Would we need a car? {TBD}
Do they have bundt pans? {....}
What kind of foods are available?
Are there art supply stores? {yes!}
What about libraries? {yes!}
How big of an apartment could we afford?
How much stuff do we take?
Are there English bookstores?{yes!}
Is the temple nearby?  {no..but travel is pretty easy from the island}
Could Engquist handle the heat?  {umm......maybe?}

So everyone pull out your globes and find the Mediterranean, because so long as we get visas, that's where you'll be able to find us sometime in the foreseeable future!  In the meantime, we've got boxes to go through, yard sales to host, housing to find, and all sorts of crazy outlet adapters to procure.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

rainy day thoughts

It's one of those perfect autumn afternoons. Quiet and just chilly enough for a scarf and a cup of tea.  We slept in today, savoring the remnants of a few, uninterrupted days together. We listened to music, read news articles, and then Mr. F fell asleep.  It's what you do on a Sunday afternoon when you are one of those people blessed with the innate ability to take naps.

I am not one of those people.

So I thought I'd take advantage of the pristine conditions induced by drizzly, rainy, tea drinking weather and draw while my tall guy slept. But here's the problem:  the creative juices just aren't flowin'.  I tried a few images and nothing's sticking. My hands want the pencils to do my mind's bidding,but nothing is coming out the way it should. A few of the images I want to work on are going to require many practice drawings, which is what I think the problem is.  Right now, I just don't have any patience.


I want to instantly see the happy watercolors on the page and know that I was capable of making something look so happy.  I want to see that now.

It's not gonna happen.

Eventually I'll get my brain to grasp this concept and I'll pull out a few good preliminary sketches, or  I'll just add paint to a page to get a fix.  Either way, this creative sinkhole will fill and I'll be on my artistically driven way.


On a much different note, Mr. F and I went to the Frankfurt temple yesterday.  This was an incredible experience for both of us.

About three weeks ago we were sitting in church and all we could hear was "GO TO THE TEMPLE!"  Unlike when we were living in Columbus, this is not the easiest task in the world.  While Frankfurt is definitely accessible to us, it takes a lot of forethought and money, the latter of which has been exceptionally tight as we job hunt.  We've asked friends if they were going and looked at train tickets and plans continuously fell through.

This weekend, we knew we had to go.  We decided on Thursday evening to leave the following night. Rent a car, drive to Frankfurt, check into  the on-site guest house, wake up in the morning for the first session and play in the city before driving home and returning the car.  Thursday night was the last time this plan looked so seamless.

Friday was waylaid by meetings for Mr.F and a car rental company that never seems to have the car we reserved on hand for when we reserved it.  Mr. F came home nearly two hours later than we had anticipated, extinguishing our chances of getting to Frankfurt that night.  So, we  decided on leaving Saturday morning and making it for the English endowment session at 9.

We like sleep, we left at eight.

We drove contently, thinking we had plenty of time to spare until we realized that the GPS had taken us to the wrong location.  Our time buffer was gone and we panicked thinking we would be unable to participate in an English session. Find the temple we did, but there was no parking to be had.  Mr. F dropped me off so I could rent us some clothes while he drove around the block a few times.

Flustered and at our wits' ends, we entered the temple.  The stress of getting us there was gone as everyone welcomed us with their smiles.  Kindly workers who spoke English guided us through the sacred halls and helped us get to where we needed to be.  We had made it to the temple.

A short while ago I was blog hopping as I was having a rough night. I stumbled across a post from a friend of mine who was spending some time in Ghana this summer.  His parents just moved there as well  to serve  as missionaries for the Church.  He wrote a letter to them, telling his top ten reasons why they would love Ghana.  His number two reason was the Accra, Ghana temple. He wrote:

"Hands down the most beautiful building in Ghana--probably all of West Africa. The Accra temple is a pristine house of the Lord in a country where dust seems to be everywhere. The grounds of the temple are beautifully maintained with hundreds of species of flowers and trees (including these amazing fanning palms and bright birds of paradise). inside the temple is an exceptional peace. The workers are friendly, yet reverent, and the rooms are familiar, but with a distinct african flair (kente-cloth geometric patterns, symbolic colors and shapes, traditional signs, etc.)."

He then adds, "If you ever  feel  homesick, go here...because it is home." 

Living in Western Europe, I can't say that the Frankfurt Temple is the most beautiful building in Germany, but I can say that many of these words ran through my mind as I wandered its halls.  The tiny grounds were immaculate with all of my favorite German flowers growing like it was still June, not mid-September.  The decorations inside were very simplistic, but very beautiful.  Clean lines, no fuss, but fine quality abounded.  And everywhere friendly, reverent, happy people.

I sat in one of the rooms and heard in English words I had not heard for several months but that are very dear to my heart.  Tears bubbled in my eyes and I knew exactly where I was.  I was home.  Despite an ocean, several countries, and many languages in between, I was home.

Mr. F expressed a similar experience to me when we were heading home.  Our moods and spirits were so much altered after our visit.  Where there had been tension, there was nothing but giggles and smiles.  Both of us are looking forward to attending the temple with more frequency upon our return to the States in less than two weeks.  Our trip to Frankfurt was a stark reminder that we need to go "home" more often.

Friday, September 09, 2011

family tree

 Mr. F and I are about to ride off into the cloudy German sunset for a night in Frankfurt.  We've had a lot on our minds so we figured it was time to visit this place.  I'm incredibly grateful that this opportunity is even available to us!  Before we depart, I wanted to share these wonderful images I just stumbled across from EvaJuliet.  I sense some serious family history and projects in my future!

Happy Weekend!