Thursday, January 31, 2013


Dear Clown Car, you've done it again! I'm amazed at your durability as we successfully carried half of a couch on top of you across town. What I loved even more were the looks that we got while in transit (mind you we also had to have our arms out the windows to hold onto it as we drove).

Dear God, I now understand why you make babies so cute. The other day I saw a picture of when Zeke was a kitten (because we all know pets and babies are pretty much the same right? It's all I have to compare to, stick with me) and wanted another one, completely forgetting the annoying traits that kittens can have. I'm doomed when we start having kids. 
All packed and ready to go!
Dear Charades, for the first time since living in Korea I'm really thankful I didn't have to use you the other day when my friend and I were trying to find the 'lady doctor'. I can only imagine how quickly it would have gone downhill if we tried to act that one out. Dear Goodbyes, you suck. End of story. Can't everyone just live here forever? Or at least until we leave? That'd be great, thanks. Dear Jet Plane, we're leaving on you tomorrow! I really hope these next two weeks just crawl by. Dear Blog Friends, Even though I'll be out of town for the next two weeks, I've got some great posts planned for you guys and some even better guest bloggers coming up! And since hubs and I prefer to travel old school (no phone, no computer) I won't be able to answer you're sweet comments until later, but I look forward to reading them all when we get back! Be sure to go visit the guest bloggers and give them some love!

Linking up with Ashley and Lauren

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nurse Ratchet moves on to his next assignment

Our original plans for today were to drive over to the west entrance to the Okefenokee NWR to take the boat tour out of Stephan Foster State Park.  I had wanted Kurt to see how different it was from the swamp near the east entrance.  Large cypress trees draped in Spanish moss create a different feeling and environment from the open wet prairies of the east.  However, when I called them yesterday to be sure to get a seat on the 10:00 am tour, I was told that on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, they require a minimum of five people to conduct the tour.  We were the only ones to sign up, and it is a 75 mile drive one way to get there.  There was also the threat of the approaching cold front with storms moving in from the west. 


I also felt that Kurt was getting a little anxious to be heading for home in Arizona.  So, we cancelled our iffy plans.


After all, by the time he drives home he will have been gone a month, and I’m pretty much at the point where I can take care of myself.  So I gave Nurse Ratchet a big hug this morning and told him how much I appreciated his help.  I just couldn’t have done this hip replacement thing without him.  I must have about the best brother on earth!  He vacuumed, he cooked, did dishes, helped with the dreaded ‘putting on of the white socks’, learned how to give injections, and was a great chauffeur.  I’m a very lucky lady.

IMG_1514This afternoon, I took Emma for a slow walk around the pond.  She has been very good about adjusting to my condition.  All I have to say is slow down, and she adjusts her walking and sniffing.

IMG_1520 (2)

As always, when I say I want to take a picture, she stops and waits until I’m done.  That has always been mind boggling to me since she is such an energetic wild child by nature. 


The bandage nurse, who was supposed to show up yesterday, finally arrived this afternoon to sign me out of that service.  I told her last week that I didn’t need her to come anymore.  Both Kurt and I were not fond of this nurse, and Emma must have picked up those vibes as she ignored the woman entirely.  She didn’t go through her usual antics as the nurse arrived.  I’m just happy to be done with her.

Tomorrow I’ll begin the packing up process inside to move back to the refuge.  Fellow volunteers will be here Friday morning to help me move and do all of those things involving bending and lifting that I’m restricted from doing for a while.  I am very grateful for their help.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Perspective Series-In Budapest

This week I'm happy to introduce Meryl from McLendon's in Budapest, for the next installment of the Perspective Series. This is a series about expats sharing their experience of living and traveling abroad and how it inevitably changed their outlook and perspective on life. I'm a new reader of Meryl's blog but how could you not love her and her sweet family? She blogs about her new life in Budapest (which was never on my travel wish list but after looking through her pictures, it is now!), her two mini me's, and their travels abroad. Hop on over and say hi!

Hi there, Lost in Travels readers!  I'm Meryl and I'd like to share my corner of the world with you.  Two and a half years ago my family moved to Budapest, Hungary from Houston, Texas, where my husband and I both worked in the oil and gas industry in Texas.  When his company offered him an opportunity to work in Budapest, we jumped!  I'd like to share some of the experiences we have had and some pictures of my favorite spots. 

The moving process itself went smoothly, but adjusting to Hungarian culture proved to be a bigger transition. Hungary has a strong and proud cultural identity. Everything from its language, its food and its many, many festivals is distinctly Hungarian, with very little connection or overlap with any other country or culture. Hungarians even name their children from a defined list of nationally approved names. 

The first order of business was to attempt to learn the language. Hungarian has a 44 letter alphabet, with each noun having 17 different forms. It has no connection to any other language, although some think it sounds slightly like Finish. We started with the highest hopes and ended with the deepest of frustrations. It was a flop. We learned enough to get by and that was enough for us!

Aside from the language, adjusting to Hungarian culture meant a few changes. I (try to) cook like a Hungarian because the ingredients are more limited. I buy a few groceries every day, because our refrigerator is the size of a dorm room mini fridge. I drive like a grandma, because most of the streets here were built to accommodate golf cart sized vehicles. After countless theory and driving lessons and examinations, I still don't have a Hungarian license... and it doesn't look like I ever will. I am no longer surprised when old ladies (strangers) hug and kiss my children... they absolutely dote on children here. Sometimes I am taken aback by the cool nature of some Hungarians, but it's easy to understand when you consider that Hungary was under strict Soviet control for over fifty years, with the last of the troops leaving in 1991. Those that were around at the time will remember this as a terribly oppressive period for the Hungarian people.    
After making the much needed adjustments to Hungarian life, we were able to appreciate the physical beauty of the city, including its amazing buildings and bridges, the blue Danube splitting the city between Buda and Pest, the impressive tree-lined thoroughfares of the Pest side and the villas that dot the rolling hills of the Buda side. Hungarians love festivals. There is never a weekend without a big festival of some sort. Another fun fact about Hungarians: they absolutely love thermal spas. There are several spa houses that offer steamy hot open air baths located inside beautiful buildings I often mistake for museums. They are perfect for beating the cold, Hungarian winters. There's a lot to love about our new home.

 As for our old home, I love and miss Texas and Louisiana! My short list of things I miss includes: drive through anything (fast food, ATMs, pharmacies, etc), Target (or any one stop shop / big box store), Netflix, realistically sized parking spaces and parking lots, and the ability to buy things online. As for the people, I miss the diversity of America. After moving and travelling throughout regions where the people are more homogeneous, for lack of a better word, I realized I took for granted that America is the ultimate melting pot of culture, color and creed. This will be a welcome change when we do return.
Thanks for reading and thank you, Chelsea and Jeremy for letting me share some thoughts and pictures of our home in beautiful Budapest!   Meryl

Thanks so much for writing Meryl! Be sure to stop by her blog and show her some love! 

If you have lived abroad and would like to be featured please email me at I would love to hear from you!

You can read more of the Perspective Series here.

Linking up with Shanna and Rolled Up Pretty

Monday, January 28, 2013

Travel Tuesdays-Thailand

Just a little something to cure your wanderlust for the week.

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears. -Cesare Pavese

The ‘wild child’ returns

Not much happened the last five days.  It’s been rounds of PT exercises and not much else, but this morning it was time to pick Emma up from the kennel.


As usual, she ignored me when we went to get her.  She’s spent three weeks romping around with other dogs each day, so she’s had more exercise than I’ve been able to give her in quite some time.  However, I think she was happy to be home.

This afternoon, Kurt and I went back to the refuge to be sure I am able to drive my car.  The plan is for him to head home to Arizona on Thursday, and I’ll move back to the refuge on Friday.  Before I relieved him of duties, I needed to be certain my leg worked for driving my little car.  I left it on the refuge these last three weeks, and things went smoothly as I took it for a test drive.  So, it looks like a go.

Took a walk around the campground this afternoon and found something interesting.


There’s a pond on the north side that I hadn’t been able to investigate before.  I think I’ve mentioned that the owners of this campground are a little different, and this reinforced that for me.

_MG_1504 _MG_1505

I’m not really sure what all this UFO stuff is about.  I especially found the white sign with “Use of deadly force authorized” a little odd.  Then there was the light leaning out over the water that is on 24/7.  I have no idea what that’s all about.  The owners are on vacation for the month, so I may never find out the significance of this stuff.  Maybe it’s just a hoax.  Who knows?

That’s about it from out in the swamp for now.  I’m hoping we’ll have an exciting tour on Wednesday before Kurt leaves.  It all depends on the weather.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Afternoon in Dehli

Our cooking list for the day
One of my favorite parts of living overseas is all of the different cultures you cross paths with. Especially on our small island where the community of teachers and engineers is exceptionally dense and diverse, bringing people from all corners of the world. I feel like I have now experienced the true meaning of a 'melting pot'. In just our church alone, which consists of about fifty people, we represent nine countries and speak 13 different languages. It is here that I have had the privilege of getting to know two Indian families that decided to invite myself and some other girl friends into their home and teach us how to cook some authentic Indian dishes.
Rolling the chapati

The first dish that we made was chapatti, or also known as roti. When you are eating curry, this bread is used as a sort of utensil to grab and pick up food since instead of using silverware, hands are traditionally used.  

Chapatti / Roti 
(This will make approximately 6 rolls)

What you need:
.1 c. wheat flour
.1 tsp. salt
.½ c. water boiling water

What you do:
.Mix dry ingredients together and then add the boiling hot water. Mix together with a spoon until it  cools. Then use your hands to knead it. If it is sticky add 1 T of flour to dry it out a bit.
.{Optional} Take 1 tsp canola oil and add it to the mixture and knead it back in.
.Cover the dough with another bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
.Rolling – lightly flour the chapatti before rolling. Roll and turn the chapatti. Repeat this process until the chapatti is a nice circle with no bulges or bumps.
.Cook the chapatti in a non-stick pan. When the chapatti bubbles flip it over. Repeat this process until the chapatti is golden brown.
.You can refrigerate the dough for 4-5 days if needed. When rolling the refrigerated dough be sure to roll it in the flour to remove any excess moisture. 

Fresh ingredients and spices used

I was amazed at how absolutely nothing went to waste. When I cook I am extremely guilty of this. A little flour left in the bowl? Trash. Water from boiling a vegetable? Down the drain. I more so focus on a clean work space (guilty neat freak right here) rather that on keeping all excess cooking materials and preserving all nutrients from the food. For example, they boiled the spinach in water and instead of dumping that water down the drain, they used it in other recipes that called for water. Therefore, getting every last ounce of nutrients and use out of the ingredients. Here are some more tips we collected throughout the day:

.Every time you cook onion, add salt. It breaks down the onion and brings the juices out and therefore makes it tastier.
.If you cut the chili pepper ‘open’ style it will be spicier. If you cut it in circles it will be less spicy (good to know since I like the taste of peppers but am a wimp when it comes to spice) 

Making tandoori chicken

Vegetable rice
The finished products! Clockwise from top left: Basic Indian Chicken Curry, Palaak Paneer, Vegetable Rice, Tandoori Chicken
Our wonderful hosts and cooking teachers

We ended the day with a sweet yogurt drink that was to die for! It's the perfect sweet ending to a meal that can be adjusted in so many ways by just adding different fruit concentrate. 

(makes drinks for two)

What you need:

.½ tsp. Cardamom (open the cardamom, take out the seeds and grind it)
.½ c. water
.1 cup yogurt
.¼ c. sugar
.6 ice cubes

What you do:
.put everything together in a blender, mix and serve!

This day went straight to my list of favorite experiences of Korea. I can't wait to cook these dishes again and again for family and friends in the future. Anyone up for a dinner party?

Linking up with Brooke and Molly