Coffee or tea? Which do you prefer? For me, it depends on my mood. I associate tea with comfort and cozy time spent reading on the sofa. However, when I want to focus and check off everything on my to-do list I brew myself a cup of coffee. Interestingly enough, I prepare my cups of tea and coffee the same: a spoonful of sugar and a generous splash of milk.
And just like that, we are in the final month of 2017. Seriously, where did this year go?? Okay, okay I’m not launching into a year-end review just yet. This post is all about November, the month that is sandwiched in between Halloween and the Christmas season yet still stakes a bold claim with Thanksgiving and the fullness of autumn. And can I just say, autumn in Japan is something special. The tree leaves burst into an array of reds, oranges, and golden yellows. We made sure to get some hiking in this month to soak it all in. Check out my video below!
This isn’t my first time celebrating Thanksgiving abroad. The first time was back in high school on a family trip to England. The second time I celebrated abroad I was living in Sweden and brined and cooked a turkey plus side dishes for 15 people. You should have seen the kitchen after. It was a mess but there was very little food to clean-up because it had all been eaten. After this, I spent a few (frigid) Thanksgivings in Mongolia, albeit, without turkey but there was still lots of delicious food to chow down on. Continue reading
This past October I lived by the motto, “work hard, play harder”. Not only was I busy with work, but I was busy exploring Tokyo and spending time with friends in Kawagoe.
Kawagoe sits about 35 minutes by train from Tokyo and is a major transit hub for getting around Saitama province. There are just over 350,000 people living in Kawagoe and even though it is considered a suburb of Tokyo it has a city-like feel. There are a number of universities with campuses in town which have attracted foreigners, like me, with academics and job offers. Year round, Japanese and international tourists come to Kawagoe to enjoy the Kurazukuri no machinami (Traditional Warehouse Street). These warehouses have been preserved from the Edo period and give visitors an authentic look into Japan’s architectural past. For this reason, Kawagoe is also known as Coedo, Little Edo. Edo is the old name for Tokyo.
Snippets of our 2-day train travel from Tucson, Arizona to New Orleans, Louisiana. We left on Christmas Eve and got to our destination on Christmas Day. Enjoy!
As if our honeymoon wasn’t adventurous enough, we also decided to go on a swamp tour of New Orleans. The city has a rich history and is well-known for being the birthplace of jazz, its delicious cuisine, and for throwing the best Mardi Gras celebration in the world! However, the city is also deeply connected and defined by its relationship with the weather and wildlife. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which caused levees to collapse and terrible flooding, is still felt throughout New Orleans and the surrounding areas to this day. But not all of New Orleans’ relationship with nature is doom and gloom. The magnificent Mississippi River courses through the heart of NOLA to end its 1,000 mile+ journey at the Gulf of Mexico and brings with it an entire ecosystem unique to this region. A quick 20-minute drive outside the city brings you to the Jean Lafitte National Park where you can enjoy Louisiana’s beauty.
Hello, Friday, it is soooo nice to see you! This week was low-key and filled with lots of work. At the moment, I’m working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in the evenings. My lessons are always fully booked since at night the school-age students are out of school and the adult learners are off work. This makes my nights go by quickly because I will teach a 25-minute lesson and then have a quick turnaround time of 5 minutes until the next one. It’s one lesson after the other for a few hours straight. Two days this week I opened up morning lessons. Teaching during the day would be ideal because that is when my husband is at work. It’s a bummer missing out on eating dinner together the first half of the week but it’s also nice making some sweet, sweet cheddar! $$$
September was a whirlwind of a month for me! It started out with a week-long trip to Seoul, South Korea which was a ton of fun. We ate so much delicious food, saw the sights, and even went on a tour of the DMZ. Then I started my new job with 51Talk and got paid for the first time, woohoo! To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to starting this job. Living abroad and not speaking the local language makes job searching difficult. Luckily, my previous TESOL experience allows me to find online work easily. Luckily, my new job has been going very well and I am actually enjoying it! My students are adorable and because they are elementary school age they are all super excited to be learning.
Sayonara, August! The past month was quieter than usual. With the weather continuing to be hot and humid we tried to stay indoors as much as possible. Although, the first day of September proved to be a cool and breezy day which brought a smile to my face. Sweater weather is just around the corner!