29 November 2010


yes... it is true that...

~ i have been (had been) waiting for Thanksgiving for about 3 months.
~ my mom sent me some impossible to find ingredients such as... ocean spray cranberry sauce, and armour dried beef to make a cheeseball. 
~ as well as beautiful decorative paper plates/napkins/cups, and decorations!
~ that ive been searching for recipes all these past 3 months... but it didn't dawn on me to buy the pumpkin that had been in the stores... until the day i decided to buy it.
~ that i substituted carrot for the pumpkin like someone recommended and it tasted exactly the same.
~ that i cooked all day saturday for us + 10 of family and friends
~ that the elderly sat in the chairs and the rest on tapestries and blankets on the floor and it was quite comfy.
~ that we had chicken instead of turkey to save a little, but i still cooked it like i was going to the turkey, and it was delicious. 
~ that julton and kenedy nearly killed the chicken trying to "carve" it, had it not been dead and cooked already.
~we cut out pilgrim and indian hats from colored paper.
~ and everyone wore one.
~ even Jultons grandpa.
we had lots of fun on Saturday night. I cooked all that day, and had so much fun doing it. I don't think that Julton thought we were going to have enough food... but everyone went two rounds! We had... a cheeseball (i'm not sure how I didn't eat that when I was a vegetarian) - everyone was really fascinated with it, stuffed mushrooms, roasted turkey-chicken (what's gaby cooking), green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole (myrecipes.com), stuffing, mashed potatoes, and corn (which was also different for all our friends since I bought the canned kind which is probably 75% more expensive than buying the other from here... but i figured Thanksgiving was worth it. And we even had Pumpkin pie, thanks to Gillian sharing her wonderful recipe and thanks to taking the advice from another lady of using carrots for the pumpkin. I admit I was fearful... but I really wanted to make a pumpkin pie, so I gave it a try... and it worked!!!
 the little electric ovens i cooked everything in
 a friend working hard to make a pilgrims hat for one of the guys...
 even Jultons grandpa wore his hat... even if it was to distract us from noticing him sitting beside the candy bowl...
 kenedy... the king
 i think the glue on Jultons hat was still wet when he put it on... so it was stuck to his forehead!
 we really had a lot of fun making those hats.
 Julton was very ready to eat... 
 the girls.
 Julton and Kenedy killing the chicken for good measure.
 everyone filling up their plates!

Thanksgiving 2010... success.

And now I'm enjoying a Pumpkin (carrot) Latte, thanks to Gillians recipe!

hes 25. on 25.

last week, on the 25th to be exact, Julton had his birthday. I am pretty content saying that I/several friends pulled off a surprise party! I was determined to surprise him after he completely caught me off guard for my birthday (he had an advantage though... I was sick and definitely not expecting anything, note to self: never find yourself off guard around your birthday)

i have absolutely no idea why he didn't guess that we were planning something for him. on various occasions he caught his sisters and i in questionably secretive conversations/situations.  he caught me secretively planning with them in their room... to which i later covered us by saying you know... we were going to plan a surprise for you, but what do YOU want to do... we dont know what to do. hehe. this actually worked to our advantage, we got the scoop on what he did or didnt want. like not wanting a birthday cake. he wanted no bake cookies instead! later, the  day before his birthday when i received an email about how many people were coming from his work....14! I ran downstairs very fast to tell his sisters... and ran right into Julton since he had just walked in the door. I burst in the door saying there's going to be..... oh hi!! (we weren't expecting so many to come from there because its farther away, but they did and it was awesome) the day of his birthday.... he got home early and walked in on us preparing the food! for some unknown reason he stalled in the door and we were able to hide all the food, except the popcorn. i thought we were gonners. but his grandma convinced him she was trying out making caramel corn. whew! the day of his birthday (the day before, the night of the surprise party) we had planned to go look at christmas trees. which went smoothly except for me getting mysterious phonecalls and he couldnt figure out why my 'students' were calling me so often, and at night. and i had to make a lot of trips to the bathroom, or dressing room. 

finally, upon arriving home... Julton looked to me and said, the door is open!! We've been robbed!!! He takes a deep breath the throws the door open and jumps inside... and nearly has a heart attack as the first thing he sees is the silhouette of a very tall missionary friend, right before they turned on the lights and said surprise!!!! 
Birthday surprise party.... success.
and, a few memories from the past year...
 too much rain in trujillo + houses not prepared = sweeping out the house and roof.
Thanksgiving!! (this year).

26 November 2010


i can't get enough of this song recently. 

Josh Rouse - Sweetie

“I know it’s kind of funny, this Midwestern guy doing Brazilian songs in Spanish,” says Josh Rouse about his new studio album, El Turista. “I don’t know if it fits, but I like the way it feels.”

his newest album has some spanish.... i can't figure out if i like it.... however i love this one... thats not in spanish but set in a spanish town...

25 November 2010

a cat. a cat!

it is quite possible that we are going to have a kitten friend joining our home this week!! (in approximately one week). i am pretty darn excited. i love cats. well.. most cats... well... im just not very much of a dog person. now... we have to start thinking of names... i haven't seen it yet so we don't know what we are going to call it.... but i wonder if i could get it to do some yoga with me..(or as Julton says... breakdancing...)
1. yoga cat
or just be as cute or awesome as any of these...2. adorable.
3. too cool.

either way... i'm just excited about having a cat. and having a little friend around here to make me smile... and undoubtedly sometimes make me not smile so much, but i'm okay with that. I'm counting down the days until it (she) comes. one week until thursday. Jultons not counting down the days. but he has accepted that its happening... we'll work on his love for it once it gets here. as long as it doesn't go near his books... or his pillow... i imagine they should be pretty good friends... or is that just me imagining.. hmm anyway... to be continued!

24 November 2010

coffee on a sunny afternoon

coffee and i have had our times. and we've not had our times, when we have liked each other. but generally speaking i could potentially be seen drinking a cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon or anywhere in between if not all. but come late afternoon or evening and you won't find me near it. 

that stated, its not really the same for Julton's family. I don't know exactly that I could generalize this to Peruvians, or even to Moyobambinos... because I have really only experienced it with his family, specifically his awesome grandparents. Since they've been visiting we've gotten into the habit of going down to the other apartment in the evenings to spend some time, and naturally we all drink, although instant, coffee. Altomayo is a brand of coffee from Moyobamba. I, even though I already said I can't drink coffee at night drink it anyway because it seems that the instant doesn't have as much caffeine.. I don't know how true that is. They offer coffee because they usually drink coffee with the bread or eggs or bananas and cheese that they usually have for dinner. And because when someone visits your house in Moyobamba - or maybe in the jungle in general - you offer them coffee, and its rude not to accept. 

Fast forward to a few days ago when i was eating lunch with Jultons grandma and it happen to only be the two of us. Julton and one of his sisters were working and not home yet, and his other sister and their grandpa were traveling so she could take a law exam. So we were just relaxing together watching her soap opera, when I had the craving for coffee. Especially since we had just eaten a pretty heavy lunch and I was feeling my eyes start to droop... not a good sign since I had a class that afternoon. No one likes a yawning glassy eyed english teacher. I made some of my coffee from the states, showed her the bean and how I ground it and how I made it with a french press. It was her first time to see or drink coffee like that. So there we sat the two of us and her soap opera... our non instant coffee with milk and sugar, hers with equal. It was a pretty great afternoon.

I only found out later she had never drank coffee in the middle of the afternoon before, and everyone thought we were crazy for drinking hot coffee in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day when we weren't cold, and didn't need to be warmed up!

a relaxing morning

i recently went to spend the morning...get lunch... and the early afternoon before a class with my friend katy at a nearby beach. what a welcomed relaxing morning!!

this is a photo katy put together from some we took while there :)

20 November 2010

for warmth

I am so excited about this, I had to say something here too. I wrote on my other blog more about the subject, but I just had to share this here too, because I am so excited! I remember one of the churches I went to in college, had a crochet group.. and as an effort to be more involved with the church I joined... to say the least, I was the youngest! But it was a great time. This project reminds me of that time with that group of ladies each Thursday.
Lands End partnered up with the Foundation, Warm Up America. ( I say in the past because they have recently ended their project) The passed out their yarn to groups of knitters and crocheters, along with selected patterns, the knitters/crocheters used the yarn to make squares.. mailed their squares in and they were made into blankets to be passed out to families in need of a little extra warmth! As I was reading about their project I could feel my fingers tingling wanting to be a part of it all. I think it's such a great, thoughtful idea. This company willing to donate the yarn, and giving it to individuals to make in their home, then create blankets with it! I just love it! It makes me want to start that project here for next winter! It's certainly an idea...

17 November 2010

birthday tuesday

yesterday was like my birthday, all over again. but different. 

let me explain, my mom and grandma had sent some goodies intending them to be here around birthday time... but... well, you know how the mail goes. then we (i and the tax officer and julton) went through a fiasco trying to get the two (!!! - read: excitement) packages home. 

it took three trips. 

the first day i went to the post office, expecting everything to go normally, i've never had problems. of course the moment you are not expecting problems and are patiently awaiting your birthday package things blow up to remind you to stay on your toes. i gave up all my identification/paperwork, and signed all their forms. and just as they were about to bring out the boxes... .du du duuu. the tax man interrogated me and by interrogated i mean he was borderline put me in a chair in a dark room with one light over my head. i couldn't figure out what was going on. he kept saying, whats in the boxes? what did she send you? do you understand me? no, really, do you understand me? i got really annoyed with that question. i was answering his questions thoroughly and in complete sentences... obviously i understood him. but he wanted to make a scene. 

end of the first day story: both boxes were marked with $100 values and he wanted me to pay uhh uhh 106 dollars (after he typed away at his calculator for a few minutes) in taxes! when i asked how long i had to come back and get them because i didn't have 106 dollars on me (to his surprise... apparently he thinks americans carry large sums of american dollars on them at all times... ) at first he answered dec 17th. which i thought was probable, around a month after.. but then he thought for a moment and changed his mind to one week. uh uhh sir, your story has a few missing pieces here, it looks a little shabby. i quizzically looked at him but confirmed a couple of times $ 106 by one week. trying to show him i didn't believe him, he didn't budge. 

the next day i went back with Julton. after going through more of the "whats in here" and "do you understand me" same ol same ol... he looked over at julton and said "oh, you understand me.. then proceeded to speak to julton as though i didn't exist. i was not a very happy person. that day they actually opened the boxes (which the do anyway... and i always went along with but now that i think more and more about it it makes me frustrated... i wanted to say he thats miiine! who do you think you are? your name isn't julie rogers now is it?? i don't know if thats usual in any country when they receive packages internationally, but its starting to get to me. but i was also just agitated from the whole ordeal. end result: the looked at the packages and realized that they weren't worth what was marked on the front (which i tried to explain had been a mistake, that the employee at the US post office had written that in on assumption) and ordered us to get an official letter from my mom stating that they werent worth what it said. 
finally yesterday i got to take the packages home! i have never felt so relieved. imagine going in two separate times to pick up something that is yours, knowing its there, and knowing you can't have it and instead leave without it. bummer. 

lots and lots of fun things that are either impossible to or hard to get your hands on here. im very thankful for all of it. one of the many, best parts was the group of cards that i found! im not sure why, but I wasn't expecting cards, at least not more than one. so to my surprise i opened up one and nearly cried as i looked over all of the names of the congregation that had signed the card from my home church in WV! that absolutely made my day and made me miss home :) right along with the notes on a separate card from a couple of little girls from the church that were just fabulous "julie, how are you, are you good or bad?" i loved them!!!
so, happy tuesday, happy birthday to me, happy thanksgiving early (cranberry sauce!), and thank you to my mom, grandma, brother, and henry's fork baptist church for such a great birthday box!

10 November 2010


meet my breakfast:

or rather.... a more than half eaten version of my breakfast. 

toast with peanut butter, honey, bananas and just the slightest hint of garlic.

wait... garlic????

yep garlic. let me clarify.. it wasnt intentional. its what happens when your cutting board doesnt look used and you forgot that you had chopped garlic on it the night before you decide to put the toast/bananas down. 

as i was eating, i was thinking to myself... hmm this tastes different...its got a kick... wait, like garlic? they put garlic in the honey??! (i was trying a different brand). shortly after it all settled in and i remembered Jultons late night snack and my early morning don't remember anything comprehend much less... but really it wasnt so bad. and it made me remember when i was making/watching my friends mom make peanut butter.... and after she ground up the peanuts she added garlic. as i watched with my mouth agape... she explained that they always put in garlic and that it helps your body digest the fat in the peanuts. 

now, i don't know how true that is but she promises it does. but it made me search for some more garlic/peanut butter info. according to various websites garlic is considered an immunity booster, lowers high blood pressure, high cholesterol as well as helps prevent other heart disease, and according to some chinese studies may prevent cancer. that is... garlic eaten raw. because even though the garlic capsules may be  more appealing since they won't cause the odor that the actual clove will... real, natural garlic is the most helpful. 

when i was reading about the garlic, and considering when i actually eat raw garlic... i immediately remembered when Julton went on his trip to Uruguay, and was gone for a little over a week and I basically survived on hummus. i have a really bad habit of finding (when im eating alone) a food that i really like... then eating that for days on end. Which is exactly what I did with hummus. And is exactly why I reeked of garlic when Julton returned from his trip. I must have been had super immunity powers then. Because if you eat enough... it really will start coming out of your pores. 

But the hummus was soo delicious. I made sandwiches, ate it on vegetables, with chips, crackers, actually... i pretty much put it on anything i ate. note to self: in the event that you find yourself eating a lot of hummus or a lot of especially raw garlic in general... you should also find yourself showering more often, and letting the listerine do its thing for the full 60 seconds in your mouth rather than chickening out somewhere before the times up. 

so... you're inspired to eat more raw garlic right? tomorrow i might just be a little intentional with the garlic finding itself in my peanut butter. you may be shaking your head... but really, its quite tasty!!

09 November 2010

an extra note on the Monday post :D

I almost forgot to add a little something about the drink I tried out and fell in love with but happened to en up being a Julton repeller because he doesn't like ginger. 

It's a ginger, lemon and honey tea that I tried out. That I found on a blog through FoodGawker: The Weather In Cascadia you can find the actual recipe there (the picture isn't mine its from that blog also)

I'm already a fan of ginger tea. But it had been a long time since I drank it. The lime (i used) cut down a little on the spiciness of the ginger. (which really does get spicier the longer you let it steep)

It went perfectly with lunch! 


i don't often venture into the center of the city... not that it's so far away... it just naturally repels me. every time i need to be there, especially if its in the middle of the day... i feel like all the dirt and fumes from the jam packed traffic are accumulating in my lungs. i dont like the feeling. i think thats one thing that growing up in west virginia and then moving to south carolina stayed with me. i get a little itchy to see something green. and the chewing gum wrapper the guy walking in front of me just nonchalantly threw onto the ground doesnt count. (thats a pet peeve of mine... seeing so many people throw their trash right onto the ground or out the window of the bus (probably on top of someones head) when theres a trash can not too far away.)

our neighborhood may still be in the city, and still have too much traffic for me to care for (noise), but at least there are a few trees and parks to trick you into thinking that your lungs arent in such bad shape. even if theres too much dog poo in the parks to even think about laying a blanket down there, if you got past caring about other people staring at you wondering what you were doing factor. 

today i had to go into the center for a few things. i had my list and my mission. on that list was to go to a book shop where they have lots of old books and magazines, mostly textbooks. i wanted to go there because ive had in my mind to make something like an art journal/scrapbook/keep recipes that Julton and I eat a lot.

something a little like that, which is a mix of collage art and "creative response" that i did for a psychology class in college (inside an old book).

weve (ive) been talking about doing it. talking and talking. and yesterday i was finally on track to get the book to get started... as i went into the shop there were two people working and following me and asking if i needed help. i told them i was just browsing and with that the man left the shop. as i moseyed around and found a couple books i liked i started to ask the price for them... one was too expensive for what i wanted to do with it... the other... "i don't know the owner didnt leave me a price for that one" i, assuming the owner was the man that had previously left said "and when will he return?" she replied... "i dont know, hes going to be a long time, he left for lunch" (with an, i dont really care tone in her voice) me.. annoyed because i wanted the book.. responded with "so... if i want to buy the book?? what am i supposed to do?" (with a hint of, just a hint!, of annoyance in my voice) she looked at me blankly and said "come back later" 

im not exactly sure what kind of chemical reaction happen in my body, because i usually dont react this way. but i got super annoyed and aggravated at the fact that she was content with not selling the book and telling me to come back later. i was thinking to myself "what kind of business is this?! there are all these books and i find the one that i need and i cant buy it??!" i quickly placed the book back in its place and rushed out the door. the girl asked when i return and i just looked at her surprised. i said i couldn't (which was just my reaction to the situation) and left. i might go back... another day... not anywhere near lunchtime. 

but my lunchtime... lets talk about that. its a happier subject. recently (especially today) my body has been screaming no to anything fried or anything in anyway related to meat. that happens sometimes. on those days, veggies make me really happy. and so does my favorite recipe since... forever ago. Pad Thai.  

it makes me really excited to see so many vegetables and fruits in the kitchen at one time.

today i changed up the recipe i usually use to make my pad thai, and added kaigwa.. a vegetable here thats like... umm.. well... the top right is what it looks like! (the seeds are a little scary)

since today was a "julton doesn't eat lunch at home day" day, it was perfect timing for my vegetable craving. i searched and searched for the one recipe that ive had in written form for years. (you can probably tell my the food stains) since i tried out being a vegetarian at the age of 16. its stuck around that long. i have no idea where it came from. i just know it came from some vegetarian website somewhere. the ingredients i use change each time i make it, and now sometimes (especially if with friends) involves chicken instead of tofu. but today was just me and vegetables, no chicken, no tofu. 

i sauteed half a red pepper, half a smallish eggplant, half a kaigwa, bean sprouts, green onion (that i didnt chop up, i cut them right where they start to turn dark green, and also slit them in half so that there were just big chunks of onion) also some broccoli (lightly steamed). 

all that gets sauteed with olive oil. then you add the (key) sauce:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. tahini 
(i never use tahini, even when i lived in the states.. sorry pad thai, sorry homemade hummus..)
2 green chilies ( i usually just add some spicy red powder that i can find)
1/4 cup sugar (i seem to always forget that part)

seeing all the things i forget or dont use, i realize that my actual Pad Thai probably doesnt taste anything like its supposed to. but it tastes exactly how i want it to. which is delicous. 

if i had had them i would have thrown in peanuts also. it adds a little something. and i always eat it with rice, or noodles. 

if you have never tried this dish, you really and most certainly should. then tell me what you think.

03 November 2010

an awesome book of thanks!

this video... makes me smile... a lot.... 
An Awesome Book of Thanks! from Dallas Clayton on Vimeo.

Dallas Clayton has written two books.... which can be viewed for free online... or purchased through amazon. Which I am seriously considering doing (the latter... since I've already done the former... a few times...) This video/these books makes me smile... and makes me think of friends... which makes me smile, and.. makes me think that if i still worked at the kindergarten that we would read at least the first book a million times ... which... kind of makes me smile. okay okay, it does, it makes me smile too. 

so.. yay for online free reading and books and illustrations and art and ... and... dreams!

PS: their website: veryawesomeworld

a birthday

one thing i've learned, if i learned anything this birthday season... is that even if you are sick in bed, and all you want for you birthday is sleep... it still does not excuse you from a quema. a quema being the 'surprise' birthday party the night before your acutal birthday, many times at  midnight. honestly, my birthday or anything pertaining to it, were far from my mind on Saturday. i spend the whole day in bed, just feeling gross and wishing it would pass. later that night... Julton was supposed to be out getting me some medicine... and when he returned, he laid the medicine down but said no don't take it yet, come with me i want to show you something. when i asked what and he wouldn't respond, but handed me a jacket instead... i said no no... im tired... i'll see another time. and the more he insisted... the more i was curious... and as we were about to leave the bedroom i thought, there are people outside... so i asked, and of course he denied... asked again and he said no no, you hear the neighbors. (which is quite a possibility, not that our neighbors are loud or anything of the sort..)

but in the end... it wasn't the neighbors... it was a room full of julton's family and many friends also, cake and candles and soda. i was so surprised that i nearly jumped back into the bedroom! there i was PJs and all in a room full of friends that were singing happy birthday and taking lots of pictures. what was there to do? nothing but join in, and let it happen. i dont think it would have gone over well if i had asked them if they could possibly come the next night, when i was a little better... 
so, that's how my birthday began... with a cake and friends... and ended the same also the next night, with another cake and friends... all in all a pretty good way to spend a birthday. (with a pretty great lunch thrown in the middle, we had a lunch at church on Sunday to celebrate Reformation day, all the cell groups made different dishes and we all shared... yum)
(with Natali, and my alfajore (cookie) cake still a little sick on sunday...)

and to finish off an excellent weekend, we, with jultons sisters and our friend kenedy, took their grandparents out to dine on KFC ( don't get much of that in the jungle.... and its fun to watch them watch everyone eat with their hands in amusement)  and... we found the Tomanguillo/Chumbe/Rogers/Paima-Adams Family! :D

02 November 2010



how do you introduce your friends?

(we used this in class to talk about ways to introduce your friends)

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