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Showing posts from June, 2011

Travel Photo Friday: Krakaw and Zakopane, Poland

From the archives:

Poland was the first stop on our European vacation in August 2007. We spent only one day in Krakow before traveling several hours by train to the mountain town of Zakopane, where my mom's family is from. Zakopane is in the Tatra mountains and there is wonderful skiing and hiking and delicious, hearty food. My cousins have a guest house (so if you're planning a trip, let me know!) steps away from some of the hiking trails. I can't wait to get back there some day so Muffin can run around in the mountains.

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Travel Photo Friday: Yosemite National Park, California

From the archives.

In 2007 we lived in Walnut Creek, California, which is about an hour (maybe a bit longer) away from one of the Yosemite entrances. We went there for one night with another couple in April. It was cold and rainy! And we could hear bears in the campground at night. I didn't sleep a wink. Gorgeous scenery though and I'd like to go back some day with Muffin.

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The New Rugs

If you read my previous post then you know I've had some trouble buying new rugs. I went back to the dealer on Monday and held my ground, insisting on an even exchange with something that was better quality. The shopkeeper said everyone knows that you don't vacuum that kind of carpeting, that you have to use a stiff brush and after one week pieces will stop falling out. I said, No, obviously not everyone knows that. You should have told me that before I bought it. If the carpeting is that great you should no problem reselling it to someone else. And I have a baby, I can't have pieces of carpet falling out for one week. One weekend was too long. She's eating the pieces and they're stuck all over her clothes. We went back and forth like that for awhile. Finally he showed me some other rugs that were comparable in price. But much smaller. He unrolled everything in the shop and then had a guy take me down the block to the warehouse. I eventually settled on two that I c…

One Week and Several Thousand Rupees Later and We Still Have the Same Old Rugs

Our housing came with some rugs. They were decent enough at first, but as we got settled we decided we wanted something a little more personal. They are cheap Oriental-style rugs, not colors that we like, and they weren't cleaned well before we moved in. The best thing we could say about them was that the intricate design hid all of Muffin's spit-up well. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

We'd seen plenty of shops around town with basic, solid-color rolls of carpeting so we thought it would be no problem to get a couple pieces. We have two living rooms and wanted a new rug for each. To save time, I sent our driver out to get swatches and prices.

He couldn't get any color samples or swatches. No one believed him that we wanted plain, inexpensive solid colors rather than fancy Oriental rugs. So two Saturdays ago we loaded up Muffin and went to the Begam Bazaar district to look at carpeting ourselves. The first few places we looked at only had outdoor or indus…

Travel Photo Friday: Basket Shopping, Hyderabad, India

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Travel Photo Friday: Joshua Tree National Park, California

From the archives:

Joshua Tree National Park, California, June 2005
When Mike and I first met he was living in Twentynine Palms and I was in San Diego. His house was close to one of the Joshua Tree entrances. We spent a lot of time in the park, even after he joined me in San Diego. This was our last trip there, just a couple weeks before we moved from San Diego. A friend of ours from Germany went with us; he took these photos.

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Mango Fest 2011

Today we went to the Department of Agriculture's Mango Show 2011 exhibition. Over two hundred varieties of mango (who knew there were so many?) from all over India were on display. But of course, who wanted to look at mangoes once the little white baby showed up?

Our whole group of friends was big news. Literally. There was press from the local news channels there and they were all interested in getting us to eat mangoes on camera. The vendors have apparently learned that the best way to sell mangoes is to offer free tastings (two years ago, friends report, there was not a single mango to taste at Mango Fest) but some would only offer tastings if they could take photos, too.

Muffin was happy to oblige!

A friend and I remarked that it was actually one of the cleaner, more-organized events we've seen in India. We were early so it wasn't crowded. It was small, and they should have been selling the recycled burlap-bag shopping sacks at the entrance--to fill up with your mango …

Expat Women: Confessions

I'm a frequent reader of the Expat Women website. When the founders of the site contacted bloggers to read and review their new book, Expat Women: Confessions -- 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions About Living Abroad, I was excited and couldn't wait to start reading.

The founder of Expat Women has been compiling letters and answers from the popular Confessions column on the website and has put the most common subjects and frequently returned to topics into one book for easy reference. What I think everyone will take away from this book is that "You are not alone." Moving within your own country, even within your own town, is hard. Moving to a new country is very hard, no matter how prepared, organized, determined, or open-minded you are. It helps to hear others' stories for inspiration.

The book is organized into different topics, such as culture shock, raising children, death and divorce overseas, and moving back to your home country. There are questions fr…