Wednesday, April 27, 2011

....repeat reason

Bajan Love is a repeat post because I'm trying to get my post on Pink Pangea. PP is (not running down your leg (i know...how AM i still single???!!!!)) a community for women travelers to share their stories. It is on my of my favorite blogs to read, and i'm wishing and hoping and thinking and praying I make the cut. I'll let you know if I do!!

...Bajan Love


Who knew you could fall in love in 2 days?!! Well, I've fallen hard for the tiny island of Barbados. I spent about 2 days in Barbados where each morning started with a HOMEMADE breakfast! The wife of the Gemini House B&B fixes breakfast from scratch every morning. My first day started with some freshed baked, fabulous, honey wheat with raisin bread and a fat veggie omelette. There was also a platter of fresh grapes, pineapple, finger bananas, and amazing oranges. I was also brought tangy orange juice and warm tea. [It was a lot of food, BUT my genius plan when traveling is to eat free, eat late, and eat every crumb so it will last me till dinner!] After breakfast I readied myself for my beloved beach.

I found a semi-quite beach (most beaches were tainted by the many tourists) and I was able to rent a chair and umbrella for $7.50USD! It was gonna be about $10, but the renter guessed I was from Guyana, so I think gave me an island girl discount. With the money I saved I bought myself a coconut to tie me over till dinner.

After beaching it I headed back to the B&B to shower the sand off and get ready for dinner. Oistins is a town nearby that is infamous for their weekend fish fry at their fish market. Now, I didn't know what to expect from this night, but I'm glad I ventured out for the night. First, I roamed around Oistins to get the lay of the land. There are a TON of little restaurants, rows of quant kiosks for vendors to sell local souvenirs, and a gazebo filled with old men playing dominoes, cards, and plenty of witty-old-man-banter! Reality was first thing was first...DINNER!!

I found a little restaurant with a reasonable line (word is the longer the queue, the better the food!) I ordered the flying fish meal. It included my grilled flying fish, red beans & rice, macaroni pie (Bajan tradition), plantains, and a beer. :) My belly was a very happy belly. All this only cost $15USD...I also had a happy wallet. :)

This night I made friends with some local Bajan (slang for Barbadian) men and we hung out. They bought me my drinks...don't worry mom, it was beer and it came with the bottle caps still intact. The guys actually taught me how to pop the cap off using the table edge!! I was also taught that "bird watching" isn't referring to our feathered friends. My new friends and I enjoyed the local DJ spinning hits for us. The DJ let people on stage to dance...locals had moves, tourists looked like fools.

All in all it was a fabulous Barbadian night!

Day 2 involved in Barbados I hit up a different beach and swam, slept, swam, read, slept, swam, listened to music, napped, enjoyed.

For dinner I decided to go into town and eat at the Waterfront Cafe and Restaurant. When I arrived I asked for a table in which the waitress replied, "For 1?" I answered "yes" confidently, but with a ginormous pit in my stomach. This was my first nice, sit down dinner in my life.

"Ok Tash, you gotta ooze confidence and reek of apathy towards the idea of eating alone amongst couples and families."

"Deal."

"GAME ON!!"

(Don't get snobby...you know you talk to yourself too.)

I ordered a beer, my dinner, and later a dessert with another beer to polish the meal off. It was actually a GREAT meal!! I really didn't care that I was alone because I was able to take it all in without any interruptions.

I sat on the patio and enjoyed this view of the boats docked up. There was a live jazz band inside the restaurant that filled my dinner air.

I drank Banks beer the night before, so I thought I would try Carib this night. I think I like Banks a little more. Either way it was delish.

After my meal I met and ended up hanging out with some Canadians! One is full Canadian, and married to a half French and half Zambian, and the one I originally met, Tarence, was half Trinidadian and half Bajan. They were there helping Tarence's mom renovate her house to rent out. The 4 of us went down to The Gap to hang out...no we didn't fall into it. The Gap is an after hours place to hang out with bars, music, and loads of people to meet. It was a fabulous way to end my 1st trip to Barbados.

I would recommend Barbados to ANYONE. The weather is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the water is cool. You're a fool to not go! There is even a direct flight from Dallas to Barbados, so hit it up and kiss Barbados hi for me!

Friday, April 22, 2011

...Good Friday Couch Post

It is currently 09:51, Friday morning. I should be at work, but I spent my night ralphing in trashcans, and other non-entertaining events happened in the water closet. I'm laying on the couch watching Al Roker make Peep wreaths. Riveting!! Uh-oh...now it's Hoda & Kathy trying fried peeps.

Anywho...I thought I would update you on some dear loved ones in my life.

Firstly, Jana (from Japan) came to Dallas for about 6 weeks to participate in weddings and baby births.

We all love Jana, so it's always a joyous event when she's in the same timezone as me. :)

One of the weddings Jana came in town for was our dear college roomie, Ashlee!














A fun bride with her bmaids photo, and then the crazy gorgeous Mr. & Mrs. Langevin!

Next, we have our 4th roomie, Becca, who couldn't make it to the wedding because she was super preggo!! A few weeks after the wedding she had her sweet baby boy, Jonathan Cole.

The proud parents with their new son.

The girls and I drove down to Corpus for the weekend to see Becca and her son.

♥ Me with my new little nephew! :)

THEN...my good friends Steven and Allison had their little man on Tuesday!!!

Allison ended up being 10 days late...Allison you deserve a million dollars for carrying him around those extra days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

♥ Sweet Eli Quinn!!!!

Gotta love the different chapters in life. It is always weird to think that we're all getting older and actually moving forward. I sometimes wish I could do college again because it was the right mix of independence without all the responsibility. Then I remember having to write papers...


Sunday, April 17, 2011

...dot. dott. dottt.

Sorry I've been MIA...I'm not a great blogger, my apologeez...

I was going through my camera and decided I wanted to post some fun pictures!
















The past few months my Sunday afternoons have been spent with the Previlon family. Dieula is my fun friend from Haiti and I ADORE the fact that we share a similar culture. This particular Sunday Dieula had returned from India and I had returned from Guyana. While we were catching up we just so happen to acquire enough goodies for a Carib Afternoon Snack!

Her twin boys are sportin the treats for us: Juicy juicy mango, I enjoyed banana soda in Guyana and found some at the local Fiesta, Chili-Lime Plantain chips (also found at the Fiesta), and Haitian peanut butter on cassava chips. All in all it was a fabulous afternoon of eating and fellowship.

WHAT THE HAIL!!!!!!!!!!???????????????

The random hail from Thursday night's storm.

















Move Over Al Roker!

video


Now for the BEST WEEKEND EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, I went into work early so I could leave early for the Long vs. Field soccer game. Long is my middle school alma mater AND the school I teach at twice a month. Field is the middle school I taught at last year. I had a such a great time seeing old and new students! :)

After the game I went to Taste of the Islands with Dieula and my new friend Heather! We ate some great Caribbean food, watched some comedians, and got our dance on to some great reggea. Now, not all of the comedians were that funny, but a couple guys had us cackling so much we ended up getting pulled into the show! We were first called the, "Housewives of Plano," and then asked our names and where we were from.

"Heather from Dallas"
"Dieula from HAITI!!"
"Natasha..."
The comedian looks at me a little confused in which I immediatley rebuttle with the pointer finger waving, "Just cuz I'm Indian doesn't mean I can't be named Natasha."
He laughs and imitates my finger wave, neck wiggle, and re-quotes me but with an Indian accent.

Props for being quick Mr. Funnyman!

He then asks where I'm from and Dieula responds for me, "GUYANA!!!"
"Diana?"
I roll my eyes, "GUY-ANA!!"
Once again, "Diana?? Who here knows what shes talkin about?"

Pretty much the whole restaurant knows where I'm referring to. I mean, hello! The owners are from Guyana!!

It was funny, nevertheless. (Have you ever wondered why "nevertheless" is ONE word??? It's 3 words!)

After the comedians Mr. Rasta comes out and plays for us. We had some fun, for sure!

Banks is a local Guyanese beer that the owner actually brings back himself since he can't get it imported. To show my appreciation for his efforts I bit the bullet and had 3.
:)
















Dieula got her groove back, and for Heather...well...she's fun. :)

















This was our rasta reggae man...he was a trip and I'm pretty sure we made his night.

Saturday morning Allison came over and we loaded my car to head to Austin for the day! We (Allison, Mary, Luke, and I) went [separately] down to see Brian Regan on tour. We hit Austin around 2pm and were greeted by the Austin Reggae Fest!!! (I still regret not paying to go inside.)


Allison and I had about 3 or 4 hours to kill in Austin so we hit up S. Congress St. and fell in love with Austin! I would say Austin is the southern equivalent to a Seattle or a Portland...aka...awesomeness.

Congress St. is home to our 1st (and most important) stop in Austin. HEY CUPCAKE!!!

















While waiting in line we enjoyed some melodic tunes from this young gentleman. My dear roommie, Mary, loves this place. I figured since I love her I'd try it out! I got the 24 Carrot Cake and Allison got the Michael Jackson. The MJ entails a chocolate cupcake with white icing...clever!!! They were both EXCELLENT!!! (Mary came back tonight and brought back a strawberry cupcake for me and a chocolate for herself. We split them both and are, currently, very pleased consumers.)

After we got our cupcakes we hit up Homeslice Pizza for lunch. We were informed that this is an Austin staple, and dude....so good! Cheap and DELISH!! After lunch we started our random wanderings. We hit up Ten Thousand Villages, which is a fair trade retail shop, and then a ton of little random boutiques, vintages shops, and actually another giant fair trade type shop. Love socialism!

Here are some fun pixies!


Ever wonder what happened to your old beanie babies!?!?!?!? We all knew they'd be worth SOMETHING one of these days...




















How about a
BINDER BLOWOUT SALE??!!!!!
















I
JUST
LOVE
THESE


(especially the left one)












BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY
ROCKIN EVERYWHERE, ROCKIN EVERYWHERE!

We totally had this EXACT rum bottle growing up!! It chilled on the top of our kitchen cabinets as decor. I'm assuming it was tossed when the parental unit moved houses.


After many hours of going from shop to shop Allison and I were pooped!!! We headed back to the Long Center and waited patiently for Mr. BR!







We waited for BR and for Mary and Luke! Everyone finally showed up and it was a fabulous night of laughs, giggles, and grins.










WORTH
THE




WAIT



FOR SURE!







Sunday (TODAY!!!) was excellent too!!! (Seriously...awesome weekend!) I went to church at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship where I've been attending since January-ish, and I really enjoy it!! I, especially, like it since I learned the pastor's wife is Guyanese! (There is something comforting about being known without having to do much explaining.) Today, after service, there was a West Indian lunch at a Trinidadian couple's house. (Say that 5x fast!) She cooked about 8 different dishes and each one was worth the 50lbs I gained in one sitting.

The items on the "menu," curry goat, curry chicken, oxtail, saltfish, okra, rice & beans, rice & peas, jerk chicken, this awesome spinach w/ scrimps (shrimp), veggie chow mein, and plaintains. There were amazing pepper sauces, AND fresh mango & strawberries, AND home made cheese cake, cassava pone, fruit cake, AND lots of new friends from different islands and from the states, AND lots of love and stories.

I love that I get to do these kinds of things. I'm 27, single, and smart with my monies. I didn't purposely plan for my weekend to be packed with adventures, which is why I love when these things happen.

If you're still reading...thanks for hanging in there!

Monday, April 4, 2011

...Lent

I got this in a mass email today, and really appreciated the quotes from Richard Foster's, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. For those remembering Lent or any other practice of fasting, here are some quotes from the book:

"Fasting must forever center on God. … If our fasting is not unto God we have failed" (54, 55).

"More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us" (55).

"We cover up whatever is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface" (55).

"Fasting reminds us that we are sustained 'by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Matt. 4.4). Food does not sustain us, God sustains us" (55).

"Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting!" (55).

"Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them" (56).

"This is not excessive asceticism; it is discipline and discipline brings freedom" (56).

"In many ways the stomach is like a spoiled child, and a spoiled child does not need indulgence, but needs discipline. … You are to be the master of your stomach, not its slave" (57).