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Monday, October 31, 2011

necessity is the mother of invention

While we await the arrival of our hoard of belongings (aka boxes on a boat stuffed with essential things like baskets and cookie sheets), we've been having to improvise on some day to day things.  Like measuring cups (might have made smidgen too much rice last night...) and lamps (we have candles.) and throw blankets (lots of cuddling to keep us warm).  Lamps, we're going to have to wait even longer for (they're not really in the budget right now), but I'm slowly figuring out ways to do things while we await our treasure trove of schtuff.

Honestly, the thing I've got to be most proud of right now is our calendar.  I think we might have one in a box, but I just don't know.  But let me tell ya, we've been needing one.*  I pulled out my sketchbook and found a design idea for some November foliage and whipped up this little beauty.  




It was a fun project and I think I'm going do one every month.  Hopefully my creativity can handle that.




*As Mr. F was leaving for work this morning, I wished him a Happy Halloween, to which he responded, "Huh?  Is that today?  Gotta go! Love you!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

lazy sunday


We rolled back the clocks today, so nightfall is settling even earlier over Nicosia.  It's been a lovely Sunday.  We're finally getting to know our fellow branch members better and realizing how much work there is for us to do to help the church grow and prosper here.  The district president came and spoke to us, inviting all of us to come to district conference.   He has the most lovely British accent, how could I decline?  President told us that the Church has begun the search for property here in Nicosia to build a chapel; how cool is that?!  But our little branch is a long way from being ready for such a structure.  Our weekly numbers are few with even fewer priesthood holders.  I don't think I have ever lived somewhere where the phrase, "Every member a missionary" was so applicable.

Spiritually fed, we hunkered down with pudding, hot chocolate, and some Scooby Doo.  (Spoiler: they caught the monster/ghost!)   Lots of cuddling and a blissful Sunday afternoon nap topped off a relatively perfect day.  Ready to take on a new week, full of furniture painting, potential wall painting, and new friends.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

cinderella's carriage



Happy Halloween, my friends!  We're celebrating with a party at church with games like "Pin the Stem on the Pumpkin," with the giant pumpkin provided by yours truly.  To make it even better, Mr. F discovered pumpkin pastries at a local bakery this morning!  Absolutely delicious!  After our stroll in the mountains yesterday, a little bit of pumpkin made it finally feel like fall.  

troodos

After "living" here nearly three weeks, we finally got to go out exploring yesterday.  We took the little rental car and drove up into the Troodos mountains.  It was glorious!  Did you know that this island is actually capable of fall-like weather? I didn't!  There were leaves changing and brisk autumnal air.  We wanted scarves and light jackets, but since we're lowlanders, didn't plan that far in advance.
















Just in case you were wondering, that blue stuff below the really hazy blue stuff?  Yeah, that's the Mediterranean and that is one of the first glimpses of it we've had on Cyprus in the daylight.











Our view from dinner.  Pretty spectacular, right?









We had dinner at a traditional Cypriot restaurant in the mountains.  It was a Greek Cypriot holiday, so the place was cram packed with families.










Thursday, October 27, 2011

pink

I've unexpectedly found myself weeping twice today because of things I've inadvertently stumbled upon.  First, I found this, a photographer's look at his wife's epic struggle with breast cancer.  They are raw images, showing the day to day struggle this little family endures because of the "C" word.  I admit I had to look away when I got to the photos showing Jen's treatment.  Why?

It hit too close to home.  My mum was diagnosed almost ten years ago with breast cancer, and too vividly did I remember similar bandages all over her body from chemo treatments and surgeries.

Tears, round one.

A few hours later, again, totally randomly, I found a review of the book Nowhere Hair by Sue Glader.  The author was diagnosed about the same time as my mum, but she had a one year-old son.  The Stud and I were old enough to grasp the severity of what was happening.  How do you explain that to a one year-old without fear?

A picture book.




Tears, round two.  Not because the memories were painful, like the images earlier in the day had been, but because I remembered how much my family grew and learned from that experience.

For example, boob jokes are essential.  Throw in a couple of tummy tuck jokes and a coke, and a mutated cell doesn't look as horrific.   Laughter became our cure, just like writing for Sue.  And coke, let's be honest.  Coke played a crucial role.

Then I shed a few tears because I wondered if I will ever have to read this book to my own child.  With multiple instances of breast cancer in my family, my risks are even higher.  (You better believe that I'm celebrating my thirtieth birthday with a date with the boob vice.)   Will we be able to laugh together?  I hope so, because the tears are not nearly as much fun.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

one of those



Today is a saggy butt pant kind of day.   Not my black stretchy pants where I feel kind of cute and skinny and presentable enough to go out for ice cream when Mr. F comes home from work.   No, today is definitely not a black stretchy pants kind of day.

It is saggy butt pant day.

It's the day I lounged about the apartment in my pajamas, deciding to shower only because I couldn't handle my own smell, and then climbing into saggy butt pants and back into bed.  It's the day I surfed Pinterest (yes, I succumbed to the peer pressure) and mentally reconfigured my design plan for our little apartment.  Just so you know, the plan entails lots of shelves, even more baskets, and some killer paint for the walls.  It's the day where ironing a few shirts while watching Pride & Prejudice for the bajillioneth time in my life feels like a major accomplishment.

Today is saggy butt pant day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

voila!


my first Cypriot painting

with the mostest


I want this skirt.  It's new at Talbot's and is called the Hostess Skirt.  Got that right!  Isn't it lovely?  Can't you just see Grace Kelly wearing something like this in High Society or To Catch a Thief?  And by that I mean, can't you see me waltzing around our little Cypriot home dusting and ironing, then sitting at an easel painting for hours?

No?

Well I can, and it's a lovely, lovely daydream.

Monday, October 24, 2011

water





Dear Plumbers,

I get that you're doing your job and all, but is there any chance you could do it a smidgen faster?  You were here all day Saturday, which was awesome.  I had plenty to do outside of the house and was gone during a bulk of your toils.

But I'm home now.  Home with a giant pile of laundry and dirty dishes, both of which require running water.  And I should mention that I am starting to smell pretty rank as well.  No teeth brushing, no water for ramen.  Really, Plumbers, I'm sure you can understand my plight.

So, if you could come back from where ever you are while you have my water totally switched off, I would greatly appreciate it.

Hope to see you soon,

engquist

Saturday, October 22, 2011

it's science

This is Mr. F on date night.  He went and got us ice cream, ate his share while I talked to my mum, then locked himself in our room.  I came in to find him putting together our new desk.


"I get why IKEA is so popular!"

"Because it's cheap?'



"No! It's like Legos for adults! Have you seen these directions?  This is awesome!"



I really like this guy a lot.

i'm just sayin'






You know what's a really good feeling?  Arriving in a country late at night that you've only been in for a week and feeling like you're home.  Opening the door to a tiny flat and knowing it's your door and climbing into what you know is your bed.  After two weeks of hotels, home searches, and about a dozen different flights to parts of the world I NEVER thought I would see, this is the best surprise yet.  Feeling totally comfortable in little Cyprus and knowing it's home.

Friday, October 21, 2011

nursery rhyme



This little piggy went to Cyprus.

This little piggy went to Beirut.

This little piggy had schwarma.

This little piggy had gas.

The other little piggy worked.

And both little piggies went, "WEE WEE WEEEEEE!" all the forty-minute flight home to Cyprus!*


*yes, there's an extra line to the story.  for the first few years of my life, I had an extra appendage, or two, okay, four extra appendages. the little piggy story ended with my parents getting to the sixth and saying, "and this little piggy did whatever the hell it wanted."  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

how coca-cola explains the world

Beirut is like my can of Coke.  On one side it's Western.  In English and totally familiar.  There are shops like H&M, Zara, McDonald's, and Dunkin' Donuts.


But on the other side, it's a whole lot of Arabic jibberish.  People are called to prayer throughout the day by the songs of the minarets.  There are women in burkas and ruins from the time of Christ.  




A little different, a lot new, the same great taste.

good morning, asia!

This place is a totally new experience for me.  New currency, language, and totally different culture.  I wandered the nearby streets taking in what I could in the last traces of the morning sun.  Beirut is a wonderful town.








Ruins in the heart of Beirut, a few blocks from the parliament buildings.


The giant mosque we saw at night.



This was my first glimpse of the Mediterranean in daylight and it was glorious!   



Monday, October 17, 2011

bienvenidos!

When did my life become an episode of "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"  (Can you say that in your head without singing the theme song from the show?  I most decidedly cannot.)  Aaaanyway, after a day of unpacking, sorting, dealing with plumbers, and handling rental cars, Mr. F and I decided Cyprus wasn't cool enough for us to stay longer than a week.  So we boarded one of the least crowded flights I have ever been on and took a forty minute jaunt across the Mediterranean to........

LEBANON!

First impressions of the city:  feels like Detroit.  There's Krispy Kreme donuts, dilapidated buildings, and Chevy vehicles.  It's Detroit.  Until...

Second impression:  THE GINORMOUSLY AWESOME MOSQUE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY!  So cool, seriously.

But what's really doing wonders for this week's international jaunt (because apparently we're incapable of staying in one country for very long anymore) is our hotel.  The company put us up in a nice hotel in Cyprus.  This Lebanese hotel eats the Cypriot hotel for breakfast.  HOLY FREAKING COW!  (I'm editing my thought processes for the general masses right now, just so you know.  There are many explicatives going on because I can't get over the fact that I'm in the Middle East right now, let alone Lebanon.)

Our hotel is new to the city within the past few years, and in my opinion, it was a WISE investment.  It's pimp.  Like PIMP!  Beautiful marble tiled entrances, I'm guessing mahogany wood finishes all over the place.  If I don't see the city, it's because I'm lounging in my bathtub or sipping tea on my veranda.  (Yes, we have a veranda!)

Since it's me though, I might be the most excited about the iron and ironing board in the closet.  And the hair dryer.  It's the simple things you miss the most when you don't have them around anymore...

Lebanon...crazy!






note:  Mr. F is here for training.  I tagged along for fun.  He's going to work, I'm going to the pool!

pile up

Mr. F dropped me off to this view this morning on his way to work.  We checked out of the hotel and I've  been at the apartment trying to make sense of the madness.























Why is it that you have to make a bigger mess to clean things up and create order?  I don't understand.  Luckily we don't have all of our things yet, so I can do this a little at a time.  I am wishing for a Wal-mart or Target today as I keep thinking, "Oh, we need hangers!" or "A basket would come in handy here..." and on and on.  As we're heading abroad tonight for a few days, I guess the best I can hope for is four empty bags with belongings tucked neatly onto shelved and two packed bags ready for a plane.

On a much different note,  I have to offer an homage to technology.  Last night we were able to Skype with Mr. F's family and speak on our new Vonage operated phone to my family.  We're on the other freaking side of the world and thanks to the internet, our family and friends can call us like we live down the street.  I don't understand how it works, but it's definitely the best remedy we've found to our occasional bouts of homesickness.