31 July 2014


There are many, many things I love about living in Guadalajara (I can only think of one thing I don't like), but right this second I'm loving the rainy season.  Usually it rains in the afternoon or at night, but we have a rare morning thunderstorm today.

Also, I understand why the Virgin of Zapopan protects against lightning and storms and travels around the area during the rainy season.  It can get a little intense outside and I love it.

28 July 2014

The Great Visa-Free (Sort Of) Central Asia Trip

Kazakhstan is finally getting closer to jumping on the no-tourist-visa boat (they just started a one-year trial for citizens of a few countries), so between that and Kyrgyzstan's already allowing tourists to enter for 2 months without a visa, travel around Central Asia should get a lot easier.

So here's what I want to do.  First, live in Tashkent with an actual employer so they get to sort out the visa.  Also, make sure we have a car.  Then start on a long adventure through southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Ferghana Valley.

First, head north to Shymkent and Sayram, then west to Taraz and down into Talas in Kyrgyzstan.  Head over to Bishkek, then continue on all around Issyk Kul, then toodle through Central Kyrgyzstan to Osh.  Go back into Uzbekistan through the Ferghana Valley, stopping often, and then back home to Tashkent.

Tashkent after Riyadh?  Please?

Places to Visit in Mexico DF

We'll be off to DF in a few days and I'm working on the list of all the things I want to do there.  We'll have more time than we did when we were there in February, but I still don't think we'll get to everything.

We'll stop at Tula on the way, but don't tell my children.  It only adds on 30 minutes of driving.  I promise.

Our big weekend trip will be to El Tajin. Other Saturday trips could be to Huamantla for their huge August Feria, Puebla to see the pyramid of Cholula and check out the ceramics, Malinalco, Tlaxcala and Xochitecatl and other sites in the state, Tepozteco, Miacatlan with Xochicalco, or Pachuca. And we'll definitely go to Xochimilco.

Here's the  list of some of the things to see in Mexico City in no particular order:

Anahuacalli Museum
Museo de Arte Popular, again, because I loved it
Museo de Arte Moderno
We might be able to pull off visiting Tepotzotl├ín one evening
Chapultepec Castle, since my husband missed it last time
Galeria de Arte Mexicano
First print shop
We might have to check out the Leon Trotsky museum for some Soviet nostalgia
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares
Museo Nacional de las Intervenciones
Palace of the Inquisition, because it's there
Templo Mayor
Museo Soumaya
UNAM and the Olympic Stadium

And we'll do some shopping and eating of tortas.  I doubt we'll go back to DF before we leave Mexico, but we'll have spent 4 weeks there, so I'm feeling good about that.

25 July 2014

Home Again

We've been in the US for the last three weeks and just got home last night.  I've never, ever before gone to the US just for a visit. We never had the money to fly to the US just for fun when we lived overseas. But new jobs and living in Mexico make a visit easy.

The best part was that I could enjoy being in the US without feeling like I was stuck there.  I knew I'd go home to Mexico in a few weeks.  And I could stock up on food I can't find in Mexico or that's really expensive.  We came home with:

Lots and lots of dark chocolate
Peanut M&Ms that aren't horribly expensive
2 cases of coconut milk
16 pounds of rice noodles
Two giant things of curry paste 
1 gallon of rice vinegar

And some unscented laundry detergent, since that's hard to find here.  I think that's everything.  I am looking forward to a year with more coconut milk in it. :)

The other best part about the trip was knowing that I was coming back to Guadalajara where I've already been living.  I went home to my house (still too big, but delightfully white and devoid of furniture), wonderful weather, a place where I know how to shop, friends, and good food.  Our plane arrived late, but there was still time to get tamales and stop at a taco stand on the way home. It's so nice to be home and to go to the tianguis this morning.

We'll be in Mexico DF for most of August, and I am so excited for that.  Then back home for one more year until we go to the US to relearn Arabic, then off to Saudi Arabia.  

09 July 2014


Yes, we are going to Riyadh, and I cannot tell how how excited I am to be doing Arabic again and going back to the Middle East.  I know I'm not supposed to want to go to Saudi, and I know enough about it to know that it'll be hard for some reasons, but I think it'll be amazing for a lot of reasons.  

Shennie was the first to guess Riyadh, so I'll be messaging you to find out what I should send you from Mexico.

07 July 2014

The Contest, Clue 5

See the rules here.

The city is not near the ocean.
Just to clarify, I'm looking for the correct city we're moving to.  I've had several people guess the right country, but the winner will be the person who gets the city first.

06 July 2014

The Contest, Clue 4

See the rules here.

One of the world's major religions began in this country.

05 July 2014

The Contest, Clue 3

See the rules here.


04 July 2014

The Contest, Clue 2

See the rules here.

Clue two:

Nearly everyone in this country is a member of a religion that is not common in Mexico.

03 July 2014

The Where We're Going Next Contest

So. We know where we're going next.  Since I'm not going to be able to blog much for a while, I'm going to do a contest about guessing where we're going because it'll fill up some space. And because that seems like fun.

First, the prizes.  Whoever wins will get something from Mexico. You can choose between something from the Day of the Dead (there is a limited selection now, or you can wait till October), a ceramic lizard that goes on your wall, or Tostalinaz.  I'll mail it what you choose to you later this summer (or in the fall, if needed).

Second, you can only participate if you don't already know where we're going.  That includes family members who haven't heard yet, but will hear sometime soon.  If the first person to guess turns out to have already known, then I'll go on to the second guesser.

Third, I'll post a clue every day or so for a few days.  You can guess the city in the comments; since they'll be moderated right now, your guess won't be posted.  Instead, it'll come right to me.  The first person to guess the correct city wins. You can guess once a day.  *I'm looking for the city we'll be living in, not just the country.*

So, the first clue:

We'll be returning to the largest continent.