The Boys and I on our Ten Year Anniversary in Florida

This summer I really wanted to spend a lot of time with my boys.  Zamir and I had a lovely time on our cruise and were able to spend some one on one quality time.  We really get along well.  I also planned a one on one trip to Peru with Zarien and myself so that we could spend some time bonding, check back for that three part post later.  But together, my boys and I headed to Florida.  My girl Jennifer rented a large pool house for the month of July and invited us down.

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So on Zarien’s birthday, July 2, that’s exactly what we did.  We spent 10 days, relaxing and having fun.  It was 10 years ago when we first experienced Florida together.  It was Zarien’s 5th birthday then, and just the boys and I flew down to Orlando to experience Disney.  We visited four of the Disney parks and witnessed the best fire works show ever.  Ten years later we were back.  One thing about Florida in July, it rains almost every day but we didn’t let that stop our fun.  We swam in the pool on lazy days and went out on others.  We had a barbecue and celebrated Zarien’s birthday with Ice Cream Cake.

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Chillen on a pile of shit in the water
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Fun times in the backyard pool

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Birthday boy blowing out his 15 candles
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One word: GREEDY

We enjoyed played miniature golf and went ziplining.

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I like hanging in trees
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Getting ready to tackle the big zipline

We went to Busch Gardens where I rode a few roller coasters and was the designated bag holder for the other rides.   As I’ve aged, I’ve become fearful that I’d have a panic attack so I tend to not get on too many rides.  I like Busch Gardens though because it’s kind of a mix of an amusement park and zoo.  We saw alligators, elephants, zebras, etc… all around the park.

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Friends and family
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He talked me into going on it with him
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Have fun ya’ll. I’ll be right here, holding your bags.
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Yeah, you can kiss my @#$%, that’s not very nice
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Just chillin
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Pretty in Pink

I always wanted to go to SeaWorld and see a dolphin show, so we did that too.  And forget about that age thing that I mentioned earlier, I rode all the rollercoasters, all 3 of them. (I can hear you laughing. Don’t laugh too hard) The first one was the Manta and even though I’m glad I tried it, you can only fool me once.  That ride is the devil.  I swear I blacked out at some point on that roller coaster.  So when everyone else went back for a second and third dose of the Manta, I became the designated bag holder again.  I rode the Mako roller coaster three or four times with everybody and even sat in the first row one time.  That rollercoaster was fun and has a mean drop.  The last of the coasters was the Kraken; that one was pretty fun as well.

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Finally made it to SeaWorld
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Just couldn’t get this picture right, so there you have it
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The devil roller coaster

On our last day, the boys and I drove an hour away to Cape Canaveral.  We visited the Kennedy Space Center.  It was much bigger than I had anticipated with a lot things to do and see.  We arrived mid day and I wish we had arrived earlier to fully experience it.  But while we were there, we toured where the launch pads are, learned about America’s plans to visit Mars, the evolution of space shuttles and space visits, the heroics of astronauts who lost their lives, and saw many exhibits.  It’s both an educational and fun place to visit.  A must see while in Florida! See you again in 10 Florida!

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She got the whole world in her hand
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A must see in Florida
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Feeling like I’m in one of my favorite movies: Armageddon
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Space ship launch pad
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A pod
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Looking Distinguished

 

What Summer Breaks Are Like for an Expat Teacher- Part 1

**Written June 25, 2018**

It’s been exactly 30 days since my summer vacation began and I’ve been living out of  suitcases ever since.  It started with my first solo trip, to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Copenhagen is just about a halfway point between Qatar and the U.S.A., so it was a good stop over point for this girl who didn’t want to fly 12.5 hours straight alone.  Click here to read all the details about my trip.  I spent 4 days 5 days there.  It was supposed to be 4 days but due to flying a budget airline and a day long delay for a flight out of Copenhagen, it turned into 5 days.

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I’m staying with my sista/girlfriend Michele while I’m in Philly, which is about a total of 3 weeks in all, a few days here, a few days there, a week here, a week there, in between my travels and trips.

A few days after I arrived, my oldest son graduated from high school.  This was the whole point of leaving a week before the official end of the school year.   I can’t believe I am a mother of a high school graduate.   He will be going on to attend my Alma Mater, Temple University in Philly to start our legacy.  Words can’t express how proud of him I am and blessed I feel that we’ve made it this far.

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Proud Mother

 

Three days after my son’s graduation, I took him on a 8 day cruise along with my niece whom graduated college.  We cruised on the Carnival Horizon cruise line.  It’s a new ship to sail from New York.  We sailed to Turks and Caicos were supposed to sail to Turks and Caicos but due to an unfortunate event missed that port of call.  However, we did stop in San Juan and the Dominican Republic. D.R. which is where I zip lined for the first time and absolutely loved it.  D.R. is also where we had the most fun.  We spent several days at sea where I gained many pounds from eating and sitting around being lazy and it was glorious.  LOL!  Read about our fun on the water and to find out how I got my scary ass on that zip line and more by clicking here.

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Three days after we returned from the cruise, my sistas and I flew to New Orleans.  I spent 4 days further enjoying food but also doing a lot of walking.  New Orleans is an interesting city, full of history and culture.  Here is where you can experience New Orleans through my eyes..

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I will spend the next 7 days relaxing, visiting, shopping and enjoying Philly before the boys and I go on to our next vacation spots.  I’m enjoying my summer so far but missing my husband and the comforts of home.

See when you teach overseas and summer comes, there is so much to do.  You try to cram so much into two months, visiting friends and family, doing the things you don’t get to do in your new home, traveling, relaxing and unwinding.  You also spend a lot of time being uncomfortable because your new country becomes home and some things and people change while others remain the same in your native country and you start to wonder where exactly you fit.  The more time I spend overseas, the less I feel connected to my home country.  I’m starting to understand how some people have difficulty with repatriation.  Check back later for Part 2 of, What Summer Breaks are Like for an Expat Teacher.

What has your experience been when you travel to your native city after teaching overseas for a few years?  I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment.

 

New Orleans- Seafood and More

I am a member of several travel groups and New Orleans comes up in discussion quite often, so when I saw a pretty good deal on TravelPirates for a trip there, I booked it.  My sister and girlfriend and I try to take at least one trip together each summer and none of us had ever been to NOLA.  I did some research of things to see and do there and places to eat and created a list so that we would have choices.  This trip would be different than our usual trips to an island and beach so I wanted to ensure we wouldn’t get bored.

Logistics: We flew on Spirit Airlines.  I’ve heard horror stories about flying Spirit Airlines so I was really nervous but surprisingly we had really good flights.  It’s a cheap airline so you have to pay for everything including water and checked luggage.  Good thing I belong to #teamcarryon, so I’ve gotten better at light packing.  {Time for Kennesha’s 5 cent advice (K5¢): Airline workers don’t really bother you when it comes to carryon luggage when you use duffel bags that are easy to bend and stuff, or book bags when it comes to personal items.}  BTW My girlfriend won 5,000 miles just for having the designated lucky seat on the Spirit Airlines plane.  We stayed at the AC Hotel by Marriott New Orleans Bourbon, which was only 2 blocks from the main Bourbon street area which put us within access of everything.  It was a nice hotel and I would stay again.  Anywhere we didn’t walk, we used uber to get to.

 

Food: In true Ericka, Michele and Kennesha style, the first thing we did when we got to the hotel was find something to eat.  We followed the recommendation of the front desk and ate brunch at Domenica.  I had oatmeal with berries, maple syrup and almonds and a crab cake atop spring vegetables.  The vegetables were cold and I almost sent them back until I tasted them and figured that they were meant to be served cold because they were so delicious.  The crab cake was okay and the oatmeal was great.

 

We enjoyed dinner at Dragos so much that we ate there twice.  I tried the two salads topped with crab and lobster, the lobster one was my favorite.  It’s a simple salad but with the lobster and dressing it was delicious.  I also recommend the Herradura Shrimp- sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and onions, deglazed with tequila and seasoned to perfection served with a grilled portabella mushroom.

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At the recommendation of some locals, we checked out Neyows.  They said their charbroiled oysters were the best and when in NOLA, you have to eat oysters.  I even got the girls to try oysters for their first time.  The charbroiled oysters did not disappoint.  The appetizers from this place were the highlight.  We did not enjoy the main dishes at all.

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While in New Orleans, you know I had to try out the vegan food scene and again I dragged these girls along to try something new.  We ate at Sweet Soulfood.   It’s a soul food buffet and they enjoyed the food here too.  Sorry no pictures of the food.

Finally, do not leave New Orleans without making a trip to Cafe Du Monde.  Everything I read before going to NOLA suggested this place.  So of course we went.  You can’t get a whole breakfast there but what you can get is a small piece of heaven.  The beignets are amazing as well as the cafe au lait.  The cafe au lait is coffee with chicory but I had mine black with sugar.  The beignets are like small funnel cake pillows topped with powdered sugar.  You can’t share them; you must get your own!

 

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As far as drinks go, I tried an Abita beer and I didn’t care for it but do have a ‘hand grenade’ and pace yourself.

 

And yes, I know I speak of being vegan in many of my posts but I was showing off on this trip.  I ate lots of seafood, #YOLO!

Things to do and see: Of course no trip to New Orleans is complete without a trip down Bourbon street.  Honestly, it smelled really bad like old bar and vomit.  But we still enjoyed seeing the young people beating rhythms on the buckets, popping in and out of the numerous bars and shops and people watching.

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Definitely take a trip down Decatur street and to the French Market, where you can shop for New Orleans spices, hot sauce, clothes and more and check out some sights.

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Tasty pralines being made fresh

 

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If you are a strong person, I recommend a plantation tour.  I used Grayline New Orleans Tour  and did a double plantation tour.  I went to the Whitney Plantation and the Oak Alley.  I went to Whitney for the history and to pay homage to my ancestors and to Oak Alley for the beauty.  I enjoyed them both.

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We got a name tag of a young child that lived here
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statues of the young children in the church
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ringing the bell for a child that was enslaved here

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I’m sitting outside a slave home
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This is the Whitney home
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Oak Alley
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Oak Alley together
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Breaker of chains

I enjoyed New Orleans but 4 days definitely was not enough time to see all that it had to offer.  We drove past the graveyards many times and learned that burial plots are shallow in New Orleans because the water table is very high.  If you dig a few feet down, the grave will become soggy, filling with water and the casket will literally float.  I think I would have liked to tour one of these graveyards.  We didn’t get to party or go to a piano bar because everyone wasn’t feeling that.  We didn’t make it to Faubourg Marigny or to take a ride on the St. Charles street car.  We didn’t stroll Royal street, or explore the sculpture garden in Audonbon Park.  I really wanted to tour the Hurricane Katrina area as well.  Oh well, I guess I have several reason to return.

The New Orleans food scene is amazing, that’s all I have to say.  I would go back just to eat and that sounds really PHAT!!!

 

Eight Days on the Carnival Horizon Cruise Line

I’ve cruised before but this was my first time cruising with Carnival and here’s my observations.

On June 2, 2018, my oldest son graduated from high school and I took him on his first cruise as his gift.   I also took my niece and her girlfriend along with us as they had recently graduated college.  We boarded the huge Carnival Horizon on June 5 anticipating 8 days of fun in the open water.  The first few days of sailing were at ‘at sea’ days as we made our way to the Caribbean from New York.  These days were spent by the pool, drinking, eating, enjoying and participating in shows, partying, relaxing, walking around the ship and taking photo shoots, enjoying Zumba on the deck, late nights in the jacuzzi, watching movies on the big screen under the stars, watching sunsets and spending time together.

On our second day at sea we got some unfortunate news.  One of the passengers suffered a heart attack and we had to turn back and sail toward North Carolina to meet the Coast Guard to air lift the passenger to land.  Due to this, we lost a day of traveling and had to miss one our port of calls- Turks and Caicos.  This was very disappointing because I had never been to Turks and Caicos and was really looking forward to it.  Even worse is the fact that Carnival did not give us anything in its place except a 20% discount voucher to cruise with them again.  So we made the best of our extra day at sea by exploring the ship.  Zamir rode the sky ride that I chickened out of at the last minute after seeing another lady having to be rescued once she got scared after starting the ride.  I was not about to be embarrassed like here.

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We did make it to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Zamir and I decided to explore on our own.  We happened upon a beach and spent some time there.  Then we enjoyed a tasty treat and walked around the cobblestoned streets of San Juan where we took some fab pictures and purchased souvenirs.

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Our last port of call was Dominican Republic.  This was the highlight of our cruise.  We did the Big 3 excursion: Thrill bus ride, zip line, and beach.  The zip lining was amazing and so much fun.  There was the possibility that I would have a panic attack and chicken out but I was not about to do that.  I’ve wanted to zip line for a long time, so I just thought about the fun I was going to have and went for it.  As I climbed higher up the steps toward the first zip line, my heart began to beat so loudly, I thought others in the line would hear.  I was not quiet about being nervous and everyone was cheering me on, so I strapped on, watched my son zip across the trees, leaned back and went for it.  As my heart dropped a little, I allowed myself to enjoy the ride.  I opened my eyes and felt the wind breeze over my body.  Then it was over.  I DID IT and it was fun.  I was ready for the next one and even more excited for the bigger zip line straight across the ocean.   The last time I let go of fear and enjoyed a thrill was last year on my cruise with my husband to Cuba.  We jet-skiied in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.  I’m beginning to see a pattern here.  Anyway after the 3rd zip line, we did a sky course (obstacle course in the sky)- this was very fun too- then the last two zip lines were back over the ocean and over the trees to the beach.  I had a stiff drink after that and enjoyed some time by the ocean.  I’m still upset that we didn’t get a picture on the actual zip line but here are some pictures of the zip line itself and of D.R.

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We met some lovely friends on this excursion and partied with them for the remainder of the cruise

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After zip lining, I was feeling extra pumped so when we got back to the cruise, I decided to go all in and ride the skyride.   I literally pedaled a bike on the edge of a cruise ship over the ocean.  I chuckled just thinking about it.  Then we conquered the ships sky course (obstacle course high above the cruise).

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My son and I really enjoyed the cruise and did some bonding.  We went clubbing together and I saw him intoxicated smh.  We played some adult games together with a team and even won a small trophy at a trivia game.  We weren’t ready to return home.

I’ve cruised before but this was my first time cruising with Carnival and here’s my observations.  Carnival is a party cruise line.  There is always something to do for everyone.  However, their customer service does not even compare to Norwegian.  I had several problems with my meals including waiting over an hour on several days in the main dining hall to eat and finding a bug in my food.  Carnival nickel and dimes you.  There were so many extra charges for this and that, it was kind of ridiculous.  By the time the cruise was over, I had spend an additional 600+ for my son and I.  My suggestions, if you plan on going on the Carnival Horizon: pay attention to the fine print, plan for additional fees including a service and tax fee at the end of the cruise for 120+ pp, don’t expect too much from the food service, get to know the managers on board, make friends early (for several reasons), indulge in the activities, and shows, wear knee length shorts or pants if you plan to zip line, be sure to participate in the Carnival Quest game (18 years old and up) and go to the lip sync battle.  The Carnival Quest game is a must do! And by all means, have fun, try something new, YOLO!!

Here is some video footage of some of the shows we enjoyed..

 

 

My First Experience Traveling Solo- Copenhagen

Since I would be traveling alone back to Philly, I was looking for an in-between place to stop to break up that 12.5 hour straight flight.  This was my first time traveling alone internationally and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  Is it safe?  What if I got lost?  Would it be fun?  What if…? What if…?  Then I remembered a quote:

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So I started thinking about the positives that would come out of this.  I could eat all the vegan food I wanted without compromise or hearing complaints.  I could go where and when I wanted.  If I felt like doing nothing, I could, because it was only me.  Finally, when was the last time I was alone?

It was when I stumbled across a picture of the little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen that I decided this would be my stopover.  The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie of all time.  My connection to the movie has a lot to do with my sheltered child hood and how I longed to be a part of ‘their world’.  I felt everything Ariel did when she sang that song, Part of Your World. 

My plan of what I would do there started by researching what the city is known for: World’s Oldest Amusement Park – Bakken, Cycling, Shopping Avenues and Beautiful Gardens.  That’s nice but I wanted to see my statue (of course), some pretty scenery (overdue from Qatar), Christiania (something different) and whatever else I stumbled across.  Oh, let me not forget, EAT!  Before I went, I purchased a Hop On Hop Off Pass and a Copenhagen Card.  With these two purchases, I could tour the city, have transportation to major areas and have free admissions to a variety of places.  I booked my hotel room at Wakeup Copenhagen, a budget hotel in central Copenhagen close to popular sights.   I made sure I had ‘The Happy Cow’ app downloaded (for vegan restaurants), as well as ‘google maps’, and ‘From Rome to Rio’ for getting around and ‘Unit Converter’ to check on my spending.  I was ready.

The Hop on Hop off bus Pass was the best choice for Copenhagen.  With it, I was able to basically travel all over and since they don’t have uber it was perfect.  I found Copenhagen to be a great city for solo travelers.   I felt very safe and there is a lot to see and do, even for vegans.

They have this thing called brunch for vegans. I enjoyed the brunch at each of these three vegan restaurants: 42º Raw, SimpleRaw and Souls.  Their apple ginger shots are amazing.

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There are several castles there.  I even took a 40 minute train ride to see Hamlet’s castle.  It’s the last castle in the pictures below and my favorite.  It was worth it to take the train ride in the rain alone.

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Amalienborg- The Queen’s residence

 

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The Guards

 

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Rosenberg Castle- Royal Museum

 

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Kronberg/Hamlet’s Castle

It’s a pretty city too and they are big on sustainability as evident in their green roofs and bikes.  There are more bikes in Copenhagen than cars.

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I put out a bat signal on Nomadness travel group to see if anyone was in Copenhagen and wanted to show me around.  A fellow group member named Michael was kind enough to meet up with me.  He even accompanied me to FreeTown Christiania before it was raided and pusher street got closed.  In fact, the police showed up while we were there.  It was a very interesting experience.  I recommend you stop by there if you’re ever in Copenhagen.

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Michael even took me to and shared the background on the ‘I Am Queen Mary‘ statue.

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And during my travels all around Copenhagen I managed to find these gems, which made this trip dear to my heart and one of my favorite trips ever.

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The famous Little Mermaid Statue
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The Little Mermaid’s sister- Voluptuous, just a few feet away
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Another mermaid that I discovered in front of The Black Diamond
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I stumbled across this lonely chap looking for his mermaid at the pier of Hamlet’s castle

There were a few things that I didn’t get to do like Tivoli Gardens and shopping due to a flight delay that threw a monkey wrench in my plans, caused me to stay an additional day in Copenhagen some place else and cost me unexpected money.  It also rained a lot but I didn’t mind that since I haven’t seen rain in almost a year.  Besides these, I really enjoyed Copenhagen and solo travel.

Highlights: Kronberg and Rosenburg castles, The Lock Bridge Nyhavn, ginger shots, Ride a bike around town, vegan eating, Freetown, The Queen Mary statue and background, canal tour, People waiting for the traffic lights even when there are no cars in sight, Karlsberg beer, Mermaids

Year 2 Rewind

**Written on May 25, 2018**

It’s hard to believe I just completed my second year of teaching abroad.   My original contract term is satisfied and outside of student loans I am completely without debt in the U.S.  I still owe Qatar some money so I’ll be there at least another year but I have accomplished a big goal of mine and it feels AMAZING! As I am typing away I am trying to distract myself from the turbulence of this plane ride.  The plane that will prayerfully take me to the first stop of my summer vacation.  (More on that later)

So how was year two?  Let’s take a look in the rear view:

This year was sort of low-key.  It was the first time hubby and I were empty nesters so we spent a lot of time indoors.  We worked out and even took an Arabic course together. His support is without words.  I can’t recall one meal that I cooked, one load that I washed, one room that I cleaned.   He never complained about my bitching and whining when I came home from work.  Me coming home with my stories was his favorite part of his day, at least he pretended it was anyway.  He has not been able to find work but that has not stopped him from searching and applying constantly.  I am hopeful that something will come through soon or we may have to re-evaluate our situation.

I only took one trip this school year but it was a big one.  Cape town was absolutely beautiful and fun.  You can click here to read all about my travels there.  I may not have taken many trips, but I did take multiple vacations.

Work relationships were difficult this year.  I started to write a whole paragraph on this but no.  The school year is over for me and I will not dwell on the past.  I need to start next year with a new plan.  If any of you guys reading have tips for coping with team members that you don’t particularly mesh with, I’m all ears… As far as my students go, they turned out to be an okay group of kids.  There were some doozies but I really enjoyed teaching them.   I found ways to teach what I believe in my heart they needed to learn along with the required curriculum and it worked out.  If I can’t teach my students so that we can see progress, what’s the point?  I’m enjoying teaching the PYP framework too.  It’s new for me but PYP along with some time to teach foundational skills is pretty damn good.  PYP exposes students to subjects and skills that will help them to develop background knowledge that they may otherwise be lacking.  I’m looking forward to our school becoming PYP Accredited so that I can add it to my CV.   Next year, we are also supposed to be moving to a brand new school building with top of the line amenities.   That gives me something to look forward to.

This year was filled with confidence boosters on a personal level.  I did photo shoots, interviews, was a subject of college assignments, and even modeled, all while bald.  Most of these events were to bring awareness to Alopecia.  I felt like I was doing my part to help other women with alopecia feel comfortable or to at least let them know that they are not alone.  My alopecia group grew to over 100 members.  In a small way, I am doing something to help the world.

Something else that I am proud of this year, is that I was able to eliminate my high cholesterol without medicine.  With the right diet and exercise, you really can be healthy.  (If you need tips on this let me know)  But unfortunately, I am vitamin D deficient now.   This came as a surprise to me being as though I live in the dessert.  But it makes sense because it is often so hot, that we stay indoors out of the sun and when we are outdoors, we are required to dress modestly and cover our shoulders and knees.  And the only way to truly fix this, is sun exposure and or Vitamin D supplements.  So now I have to take a pill a week for 8 weeks but the good thing is, it’s summer and I’m out of the desert.  Time to get some sun! (This is something to consider if you are thinking of moving to the Middle East)

So what about the next school year?  I will be in Qatar.  I am taking it year by year.   I am moving, again, to a new apartment, to be closer to the new school and to have more expendable money.  I have moved every year that I’ve been in Qatar.  That’s funny to me.  It’s kind of like my life, if something doesn’t fit my needs, I move on.   I have decided that starting now, I will try to be in the ‘NOW’!  I want to enjoy the moment, not always looking for tomorrow.  If I can find some joy in every moment, I believe I will be a better person.

Don’t forget to leave your suggestions in the comment section, on ways to cope with a team that you don’t mesh with.

 

Vegan Eating in Cape Town

My group of 6 that I traveled to Cape Town with included 2 vegetarians, 3 carnivores and me, a veganere (yeah I just made that up) who sometimes cheats with seafood.  Finding places to eat where we all could enjoy our meals may seem tiresome but we made it work.  In this post, I will highlight a few places where we ate, some vegan, some mixed, and my review of them.

Before I get into to these reviews, I need to first recommend an app my girlfriend put me on on to: Happy Cow.  Make sure to download this app when you are traveling to find local vegan spots and restaurants that offer vegan and vegetarian options.  It will come in handy.  Although, I had done some research on some places to eat vegan in Cape Town, the app proved extremely helpful to finding spots that were close to wherever I was located.  Okay, on to the good stuff.

Restaurant: Hungry Herbivore– it is a bit unfair to start with this one because in my opinion it is the best but it was also the first restaurant we visited in Cape Town.   We went for an early dinner.

Location: They have two locations.  We visited the one located at 11 Orphan Street.

Ambiance: It’s a intimate restaurant with table and bar seating.

Service: The service is good.  Servers bring you menus and explain them while also offering their preferences.

Food (click food to see the menu): Amazing.  Go more than once and try everything.  Personally I recommend the fries, loaded or regular, Oh Sweet Kim Burger, french toast and The Cleanse- fresh juice (best green drink I ever had).  My only regret is that I was too full for dessert.

Hearts: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Restaurant: Royale Eatery– a burger joint that offers carnivore, vegetarian and vegan options.  We went for lunch while shopping on Long Street.

Location: 273 Long Street

Ambiance: Inside has a diner feel with booths and regular seating.

Service: The service was good but my husband ordered a salad and it took the longest.  Our waitress was nice and when we told her we ate at the Hungry Herbivore, her face cringed.  I guess they are in competition for the best vegan burgers.  Sorry Royale Eatery, the Hungry Herbivore has you beat.

Food: The food was good.  I must compliment them on their extensive menu and variety of burgers.

Hearts: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Hungover or not, we've got your Saturday covered. Our kitchen opens at 12 noon so come through for a burger feast!

Restaurant: The Old Biscuit Mill. While this is not really a restaurant it is more of a collection of restaurants.  It gets honorable mention because all of us were able to get good food here and it is not to be missed on your trip to Cape Town.

Location: 375 Albert Road, Woodstock Cape Town

Ambiance: It is outside but with tent coverings and stores to go into, you can escape the heat.  There is live music and wonderful people everywhere.  There are clothing and art shops.  There is food for everyone as well as drinks.

Service: Well it’s pretty crowded but we never waited in line for more than 10 minutes to get anything.

Food: There is all kinds of food, from bison to sushi.  I enjoyed a vegan edo wrap which was very delicious and some Sangria which was also so delicious I went back for seconds.  I purchased some vegan desserts to take back to our Airbnb but they were not good.  I wish I remembered the name of the restaurant, so I could tell you not to go there.

Hearts: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (The distasteful vegan dessert made me take away a heart but the Old Biscuit Mill really deserves 5)

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Restaurant: Tasha’s– contemporary, urban, boutique café.  Everyone that I spoke to prior to going to Cape Town talked about this Butternut Squash Salad that I just had to get at Tashas.

Location: Several locations around the world, from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi.  We visited the one at the Shop 7117, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town.

Ambiance: Warm and welcoming with flower pots hanging from the ceiling and plants around.  You can sit inside or out.

Service: The service was slow at first but then it picked up.

Food: Of course I had the Butternut Squash salad.  That’s the featured image above.  The salad did not disappoint.  I’ve never tasted butternut squash semi charred, sweet and delicate.  It was a nice addend to a salad.   I also had some beer-battered cauliflower which was yummy.  I would definitely return to Tasha’s for more.

Hearts: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Restaurant: We went to Jarryds, Espresso Bar and Eatery.  A restaurant that boast a commitment to sourcing locally produced and seasonal produce.

Location: 90 Regent Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town

Ambiance: The restaurant reminded me of a train station stop, glass encased and airy, tall vaulted ceilings and seating for large groups.

Service: The service was great with several people attending to us.

Food: I was disappointed that the only true vegan item on the menu for breakfast that I wanted to order was no longer available- The Vegan ‘Nice’ Cream Slice.  Instead I ordered The Summer Quinoa Breakfast bowl without the poached egg.  The breakfast bowl was great and my husband’s potatoes were too.  Everyone enjoyed their meal and wished we had come sooner because we were leaving Cape Town that day.

Afterwards, we met Jarryd and he was sorry about the breakfast item.  He assured me that next time, I could request to speak with the chef or himself and they would make accommodations to suit my preference.

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Hearts: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (normally I would take a heart due to not having what I wanted but because everything else was so good and they were so nice, 5 hearts)

We visited other restaurants but I didn’t feel like they deserved to be discussed in detail.  I really wish we had an authentic African dining experience.  We visited an Ethiopian restaurant, Addis in Cape, but I was disappointed as outside of salads there wasn’t any options for me.  Cape Town is a real gamey eating city, so carnivores will love it and can experience something new and different.  We vegans have a little bit of a tougher time as usual.