Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Honeymoon: Vernazza Town

Our base for the 6 days we were in Italy, Vernazza was sheer paradise.

Honeymoon: Italian Signs

Bhadri is a huge fan of the sign, so he took a few artistic shots of ones he really liked. Handpainted signs are everywhere and you forget how special they are when you're there and engrossed in it all...

Honeymoon: Bergamo Italy

The last day of our honeymoon we made our way north to a town an hour from Milan called Bergamo (pron: BER-ga-mo). We thought we'd just stay the night in the hostel, get some rest, and not bother with the town. What kind of town has a cheap airline just outside? Katowice, and other crappy towns, that's what. But Bergamo was a shocking surprise. It's a ski town at the base of the Italian Alps, but in good weather it's also a great tourist destination (shh: without any tourists!). The old town was so ancient and mysterious, walled and sitting atop a large hill (or tiny Alp). We walked for hours and hours through the winding streets, small parks, snipping at focaccia bread pizza, peering into boutique store windows, and finally riding the funicular down to catch our bus back to the hostel late into the evening.

Honeymoon: Italian Food is Tops

The food doesn't get any better than in Italy. We ate like royalty while we were there--everything was fresh. We made fresh pasta with sundried tomatoes and regional pesto most days for lunch. With a little side of focaccia bread and 5 euro wine. Bhads tried out the little sardines in lemon juice at our fancy restaurant (you had to eat the fish whole!). We picnicked on the beach and roasted like veggie-turkeys. Speaking of, the little bird carcass things are marzapan. The man at the cafe said it takes 3 weeks to make the candy--and this was the stage right before they painted them. How creative. Little chickens or turkeys...?

Honeymoon: Our Apartment in Vernazza

Irish Birthdays and Best Buddies

We were honored with our good friend Patrice's presence a couple weeks ago. She flew in from Shannon, Ireland on Thursday and managed--and quite successfully--to find us at our school in the city center. She was cheery and cold and such a wonderful treat for us!

We spent the long weekend hanging out, watching movies, eating pizza and Polish food, drinking Zywiec and wine, hanging out in pubs, talking walks in parks, eating Taytos and posh chocolates, and not getting any sleep. The last bit deserves more explanation. Since we have no real bedding for guests, other than two fake leather loveseats which don't really count, we forced Pats to sleep in our bed with us. Poor girl. So we cuddled together under the faux-down comforter, sweating and struggling to not kick each other out of the bed. She's a trooper, along with us, and we all survived. She even made us tea (no one makes tea like Patrice) in the mornings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Around Poland with a Friend

It's been forever since we traveled Poland with Kara, but it's still worth posting a few images of our journey. And here's something I wrote for the blog way back when...

When our friend Kara came to visit us last month, we noticed a disturbingly funny trend. All over the country, people were out in their casual clothes doing their thing, without knowing…they were wearing t-shirts with [duhn, duhn, duuuhn] bad English!

Ok, no, this isn’t a new occurrence. We have blogged about it before. But we did make it a point to scout out and write down evidence of each sighting. They are all authentic bad English actually being worn in Europe as you read this. Hopefully it makes an enjoyable blog.

Please note: the following are spelled as they appeared.

Calm Down: Street Tribe Report
Ambush 72
Finish: We Made it, CHS 1986
Gastro Blues Festival
The Blood Thirst
Life is a New York City Generation
North European Tournament Sail Contest Back Long Harbour Reserved
Night Effect
Yours Style Express Our Style
Ready to Meet You
District of Southern Area
In the Love
I Want to Fly to… [butterfly icon here]
Cajun Annual Alabama 69 [with eagle crest behind lettering]
Super Best
Desert Storm: Welcome to the Desert Area
The First and Only
Strong Power Taurus (seen twice)
Darkness Passage
Player One 01
West Coast City
Getting Records
Wonder Places

I’ll end this blog with a quote:

“There’s like a God-reason you’re here and this is it.”
--Bhadri to Kara on her ability to spot bad English on t-shirts

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday

Dear long lost friends and fam,
Today's my birthday! It isn't quite the same without you all. It's been really strange, I just realized it that my bday was coming up about 3 days ago and since then Bhadri's been working hard trying to get me excited about my day. We've been at school since around 11:00 and will be here until 9:00 tonight--so it's hard to enjoy a birthday that's spent almost entirely at work.

But no complaints here. Bhads worked very hard on my gifts and I was so surprised and delighted when he gave them to me this morning. A beautiful porcelain tea cup (it'll be my cup...we have pretty crappy and tiny cups for morning beverages courtesy of our landlords), a book I've wanted to read for a while, and the biggun, a Bhadri-made book stamp. His design was inspired by the 1970s Ukrainian book marks we found in a little antique shop in Lviv last year. They are basically the book owner's seal or symbol to insert into their books. So he made one for me with lots of Bethanie-symbolism and it's gorgeous. It was so thoughtful, he always is, and I love it.

Another great bday present is our buddy Patrice from Ireland, who is staying with us for about 4 days. She's about to leave the continent for a year long trip in Australia, so she came to visit us before she set sail. It's so wonderful to have her here, especially during my birthday. She's family now and I really miss my family! She brought so many goodies with her from Ireland! Two huge bags of Taytos, 6 packages of good chocolate, a couple of nice frames, and even our old books from Dingle. She also brought a scarf made by her mom Patricia for me for my birthday--it's beautiful and it makes me so happy that her mom knitted each row. Booster loves having her here--she plays with him constantly and even sneaks him bits of her tasty dinners, much to Bhad's dismay. He'll be sad, like us, when she's gone.

The three of us are going out for pizza and beer tonight after work. We heard about a place called Oregano and we're gonna try it out. Hopefully some of the other teachers from work will want to go out tonight too. Holly and Claire, two of the new teachers here, got me the most delicious chocolates and instigated a card-signing for me, too. Very cool.

So in five minutes, we're off to teach our first of three slots today. Hopefully they'll go birthday-smoothly and we'll be off for pizza in no time. Please have a wonderful day for me and grab a slice of over-the-top-sweet-frostinged grocery store cake with assorted color icing for me!