Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Can't wait for...

...several things while visiting the states:

-Clothes fresh and warm from the dryer, smelling of of a fresh Bounce dryer sheet.
-Using the microwave to warm up any and all of mom's excellent cooking.
-Buffalo Wild Wings, its TV's, tall beverages, general atmosphere, hanging out with friends.
-Chipotle. Enough said.
-Snow, cold, blankets, sweatshirts.
-Christmas lights, sounds, smells.
-Christmas cookies, especially the chocolate cookies with the hershey's kiss in the middle.
-Hanging out with numerous friends at various locations.
-HUGS from my nieces and nephews, and the general wrestling-around-playfulness I love having with them.
-Time spent and football talk with brothers, cousins, etc.
-Going anywhere, at anytime, and having people there who speak English.
-REAL Diet Coke. Not Coca-Cola Light.
-Mom's cooking.
-A night at the Turner Hall, hanging out with The Nik, etc.
-Driving my fabulous Rav 4, on the open road, without honking horns and without constant fear of getting 'snaked' & crashed into every second.
-Harry Potter on the big screen, movie theater popcorn and soda to go along with it.
-Visiting my old school and seeing my students from last year, and the amazing teachers who still work there.
-Family. In general. And the hugs and love that comes with them.

Only a couple more days. I'm so excited!!  Happy Holidays to everyone, here and in the States!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's hot here. I'm just sayin'...

I say this not necessarily to rub it in to my midwest friends and family, but more just out of astonishment. It's still hot here. It really is. Today, walking around the medina in jeans and a t-shirt and I was Hot. says 75. It's every bit of that and maybe more. It's just crazy to me to hear that Iowa has a blizzard warning out for today/tonight, and here I am in the sunny confines of Casablanca, wearing  a t-shirt.

With that said, I'm really, really hoping for some snow and a good cold blast when I'm home next weekend. Just as long as there is not a snowstorm in New Jersey next Saturday that would affect my connecting flight getting me to Kansas City. Because I'm super excited to see my friends and then my family a few days later. Christmas in the midwest is going to be fabulous!  Cheers!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving stuff. Not to be confused with stuffing.

This post is dedicated to the often-forgotten, yet completely fantastic, holiday of Thansgiving.
THANKSGIVING EVE:  As some of you know and happily particpate in, the night before Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with friends, catch up, and consume some cocktails. Since I'm usually back in the greater Keystone area for the turkey holiday, this gathering has often taken place at the one and only Turner Hall. Well, the T-Hall was a bit too far away for me this year, so I discussed with friends and decided to host the "Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving-Party". I believe it might have been cousin Daron who, upon hearing his news, coined my party place as 'Turner Hall East'.  Indeed, it is east....pretty damn far east! So, long story short. I hosted. Lots of people came. Lots of wine and beer was consumed. Smoking took place outside. Music played on the jukebox (iPod dock). People left. All in all, much like being at the Turner Hall. Including the way I felt the following morning!

Gotta love the party pics!



You know it's a good party when this is your countertop                                                                                           

Who wouldn't wanna hang out with me? haha

LATER THAT EVENING...  A few of us decided it would be a good idea to continue the party down on the Cornish (where the clubs/bars are located). Well, being a Wednesday night in a country that doesn't really celebrate American Thanksgiving...there wasn't a whole lot going on. So, we ended up at T.G.I.Friday's. They had karaoke! But, it ended when we got there. We got a table and up walks our waiter. And he's wearing a Nebraska hat. Now, I'm gonna venture a guess and say he had no ties to Nebraska whatsoever. He may not have even known what it was. He was wearing the hat because it matched his snappy uniform. But, that didn't stop me from giving him dirty looks and originally making the poor guy think he had done something to offend me. Then he figured out that I was a silly female from the states giving him a hard time about a college/state he was unaware of. We were then best friends. :) 


THANKSGIVING- It was a fabulous day. Despite having a bit of a headache. And the fact that my

Randy carving turkey #2

corn & noodles dish wasn't so great. And the fact that my  banana bars were a gooey mess. It was STILL a fabulous day. Jim and Luann offered up their home and to host a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. Jim  and  Randy  manned the turkeys, Luann headed up the rest of the kitchen, and we all pitched in with other fixin's. There was turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. So, it was an official, fantastic Thanksgiving Day. Having friends while teaching abroad, like the ones I've been lucky enough to meet here, is truly a blessing. 
Jim and Luann, turkey torturers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Thank-you, Portugal! Yes, I'm a little behind with posts. Sorry 'bout that. Excuse is that I got behind with grading, and now grades and comments are due. Procrastination is an art form for me, and I've been practicing this craft for a lot of years now...honing it little by little along the way.

Anyway, so Portugal. Fabulous! "obrigado" means thank-you in Portuguese. And there are many things to THANK Portugal for during my 5-day stay, most of which is giving me somewhere to go in order to avoid the sacrificial killing of lambs and/or goats all over Morocco as they celebrated an important Muslim holiday here.

Lisbon (Lisboa) was where we stayed, in a fabulous hostel that was about a 10 minute walk from downtown. Lisbon is a city of hills, so we got some good workouts in trudging up and down them throughout the days. But, at the tops of these hills are some gorgeous views of the city! Looking out over red-tiled roofs, with an old castle in the background, was worth the walking! Lisbon is known for its tiles. They actually have buildings that are still tiled, on the outside, from back in the day. Really cool!

Funicular, coming up the hill

We spent a lot of time walking around the different 'barrios' of the city, exploring the views, architecture, people, etc. There ended up being ten of us from school who traveled to Lisbon during this break, albeit in different groups. We all managed to meet up for lunches and drinks a couple of the days we were there. Lisbon has an area of small bars, where patrons just pour out into the small bricked streets...drink in hand, smile on their face...looking for the next bar to head into. We started two evenings at a tequila/margarita bar that was a lot of fun. We met some new friends (Australian trampolinists) and eventually even found a karaoke bar. We were thrilled! We all belted out some tunes, with yours truly singing a rousing rendition of Prince's "Kiss", with some help from my friend Danni. :) 

Danni and I rockin' out to some Prince

Me with bartender.

There was also a day trip with friends to the town of Sintra, which is about 45 minutes from Lisbon. Beautiful little town, full of castles, palaces, beautiful views of the countryside. We climbed all over an old Moorish castle, despite my slight fear of heights. It was an amazing day and an incredible experience I won't soon forget.

I also attended my first soccer match. Portugal vs Spain in what my friend Filipe called a 'Friendly'. Meaning they were playing each other, but it wasn't as big of a deal as some matches? I dunno. I was cheering for Portugal, and they won 4-0. Stadium of Lights in Lisbon was pretty amazing. We were a little disappointed, however, that they did not sell beer in the stadium. Weird.
Corner kick...

St. Jeronimo's monastery, where Da Gama's tomb is located
Another day consisted of a visit to the town of Belem, just outside of Lisbon. They are known for their custard pastries, and tribute to the Age of Discovery. Think back to elementary when you were learning about the Explorers who sailed from Portugal, or who were sailing FOR Portugal. Well, there's a massive monument dedicated to that 'era' if you will. Vasco Da Gama's tomb is also in a huge cathedral there. Pretty cool to see...

Vasco Da Gama's tomb

Discovery Monument


Belem Tower

Sidewalk outside of famous pastry store

 A few of us also visited the castle that dons the hillside in Lisbon. This is the castle that was featured on an episode of The Bachelorette a few seasons ago. I can't remember which crazy-train lady's season this was, but I remember thinking how cool it would be to go to that castle. Alas...
Castle of Sao Jorge, in Lisbon
Me entering the castle
Steps going down the castle

Of course, in addition to all of the sight seeing, we managed to just have a lot of fun. Eating, drinking, dancing with old friends, and while meeting new ones.
Fil, Nina, me...modern art.                                              Tom, Karissa, Pauline - CAS friends
Jenny and I on way to soccer game.

New friends from Australia + friends from CAS = Gooood karaoke!

The whale looked thirsty.