Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Truffle Tuesday

Bite-size Delicious
A few weeks ago I eagerly clicked on this recipe on How Does She because the words "3 Ingredient" grab my attention like no other.  It scored double points in my book when I realized that no baking was required - I'm slightly terrified of our ancient oven!

So this afternoon, we skipped tennis and I made these instead.  They turned out great!  Makes enough for 3-4.

1.  Mix together 1/2 package of crushed Oreos (the 15 oz packages) and 1/2 tub of cream cheese.  I used the 1/3 Less Fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese and it for sure tasted enough like full fat. 
2.  Roll sticky black mess into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.
3.  Melt some chocolate in the microwave.  I used Hershey's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips, 1/3 of the bag.
4.  Quickly dip balls in melted chocolate (or drizzle the chocolate on top).
5.  Sprinkle some crushed Oreos on top and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6.  Try not to lick your chocolate covered hands completely clean.  

Step 7: Devour.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Travel Anniversary

Hotel Lobby
On Friday afternoon we jolted out of the capital as quick as we could to get to Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort in Puerto Plata.  The lush 3 hour drive to the northern part of the island is actually pretty painless - you're surrounded by endless rolling hills of green mountains and palm trees halfway submerged into the clouds.  Beautiful. 

Good memories I'll cherish from the weekend: 

Seeing Ildi and her kids.  Duh.
Spending some quality time with the plush white sun beds at the VIP beach, tropical cocktail in hand of course
Banana boating, even if I may or may not have fallen off three times
Late night hotel room chat with Ildiko
Witnessing how many Dominican men have a thing for her
Swinging with A while overlooking the ocean
American magazines on the beach
The pink "homemade" ice cream we had at dinner

Ildiko & I
 I titled this post A Travel Anniversary because on Saturday night, Ildiko realized that exactly one year ago on this same weekend she had visited me in Barcelona.  From here on out this will be my convincing point that she needs to come see me..  I wonder where it will be next year! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Working in a Foreign Language

I truly have a love/hate relationship with working in Spanish as a native English speaker.  There are still lots of times when I fumble, like when someone is walking out of my office and I blurt out the English word "Wait!" and they only wait because they have no idea what I just said, but then there are other times that I'm impressed because I've just spewed out some information or a random order at the speed of a Dominican girl with an attitude.

At some points, like this afternoon, I feel entirely overwhelmed.  Maybe it was the extra long hours I worked today, or maybe because I spent a lot of time on the phone, but when it was time to write a company Memo (in Spanish!) I nearly had a panic attack.  

"Failure to wear the proper uniform will result in a write-up that will be sent to the Secretary of Labor." 

Will "RESULT IN"?!?!  How on earth do I put these words in Spanish?!?!  
I think the look on my face must have cued my coworkers to help me ASAP.

But what I know deep down, past the daily frustrations, past all the grammatically incorrect questions I know I ask while giving interviews, and past all the times I say mid sentence "I don't know the word in Spanish but..", is that even though I don't notice my improvements on a day to day {or even month to month} basis, I know that I'm on my way to becoming perfectly bilingual.  And that makes it all worthwhile.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Small Changes

Ok, enough with the motivational quotes.  

I just wanted to mention that I updated my About page and added a DR favorites page full of links!  I also added a mile tracker a wee bit down on the right side; today it starts with the whopping number  of 3.  I've been wanting to do a complete blog makeover, but I can never decide when looking at new templates - it starts to feel as if its a life or death decision!  

And so, little by little, changes are happening..  Stay tuned. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

15k Training - Day 1

I have always wanted to run a half marathon [and eventually a full one], but if you'd see me run these past few months, you would never guess that I'm that motivated.  As of late, 3 miles sprinkled with a few puny hills are enough to make me want to peel over and pass out. 

Its taken me months to find a webpage that lists running events in the Dominican Republic, but alas, I have it bookmarked!  The next run in Santo Domingo, a 15K, is on Saturday, May 26th.  So we're going to do it, I don't know how, but we will!  And since 15K (9.3 miles) is only 4 miles short of a half marathon, I'm confident that I'll be running the half marathon that takes place this June.  

I know the training will seem intense, but if boyfriend and I ran a 10K after only one month's training than surely this is possible!  When the going gets tough, I'll just think about how good it will feel when I'm crossing the marathon off my bucket list. 

We have 10 weeks - we'll run 3 days a week {4 days just sounds like torture}.
Today is Day 1.  Three miles.  Easy peasy, I hope. 

Tips?  Recommendations?  Inspiration?  Gimme 'em! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Barcelona Bubbly

Until last night, there had been a bottle of cava in our refrigerator for months.  And not just any old pink sparkling wine, but cava rosado from La Xampañeria - our favorite drink from Barcelona.  I had wanted to break it open on a special occasion, but I'd been getting antsy over this past month and sometimes a bland Wednesday night just needs a pick me up [or some alcohol].  

And so we popped it open at approximately 8 pm.  Before our first sip, I told A to make a toast instead of a simple glass clunking Cheers, because this was a special beverage; a drink that brought us so many fun memories.  In response to my tacky request, he says, "Umm..  To our moments.." I say, "Which moments?" He says, "All of our moments.." {Note to self: Never ask boyfriend to make a toast again, teeheehee.} 

{Summer 2010}
Anyway, the combination of the pink fizzy alcohol and Catalan Radio Flaixbach [c/o TuneIn Radio] transported my mind back to our carefree summer days, when boyfriend and I would go for a greasy lunch sandwich and a bottle (well, usually two) of this delicious bubbly.  

I was zoned out and content, when all of a sudden Radio Flaixbach comes to a halt and I hear, "Se fue la luz!" {a very common phrase heard in the DR; in other words, the electricity went out} and I realized I was far, far away; I was in the Dominican Republic.  Bahhh.  

Sadly the cava in our fridge is now gone.  But it got me thinking: I always enjoyed the Xampañeria while living nearby, but did I ever think that the thought of tasting it again would make me this giddy nearly a year down the road?  Of course not!  So my motto is go for it, indulge in your favorite local food or drink, one day it might not be there anymore! 

"Appreciate the little things, for one day you might look back and realize they were big things." - Unknown 

I wonder if I'll ever look back on the DR and think, "Wow, I could really go for a passionfruit margarita right about now.."  Its funny how memories work out. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Midnight in Paris - Living in the Golden Age

On Sunday night I watched Midnight in Paris for the first time.  Prior to watching it I was told that it would make me fall asleep and that it was a movie without a point, but after seeing it I began to understand why its Woody Allen's highest grossing film.

The movie is about an engaged American man [Owen Wilson] who is infatuated with Paris.  While on holiday there, he escapes his present and spends each night with famous writers and artists from the 1920's.  The film highly glamorizes Paris (I now want to go back!) and with all the name dropping it brought me right back to high school lit and college art classes.  Those were never favorite subjects but the movie left me intrigued to learn more {bad timing}.  If you're like me and you're not really in to literature or Owen Wilson, watch it for Marion Cotillard - she is nothing but charming in the film and wears gorgeous dresses! 

I like how the movie emphasized the fact that the characters weren't content with the present; the present day character was fascinated by the 1920's, and the 1920's character was in love with the 1890's.  Because its sort of true, isn't it?  After all, we wouldn't say "back in the good 'ole day.." if it wasn't.  For me, I always wanted to live in the 1950's.  There's something about poodle skirts, rock n roll, and drive-in diners that sound like so much fun.  But maybe I watched Grease too many times as a little girl. 

What do you consider the golden age

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lobster Skin Weekend

Its been a long time since I've written on this blog thing, but I'm back!  The weekend was just too leisurely to fit in blog time.

On Saturday, we played tennis.  At noon.  NOON.  Prime time sun time and therefore not the best idea.  I lost every game [I blame the sun].  In the evening we had dinner with friends and so my pink-skinned self made this recipe for dessert and served it warm with vanilla ice cream.  With just 4 ingredients and requiring only 15 minutes from start to finish, it gets an A+ in my book.  Plus, I was able to sneak in reduced fat peanut butter without anyone noticing.

On Sunday we went to Playa Caribe.  It was my first and last visit to this beach because the non-stop rolling waves wiped me out!  They were the kind that are so strong that when they hit you, you're left with only half a bathing suit on.  I'm sure I flashed the other swimmers at least five times.  
{Sunday: Lobster Ravioli, Drinking Coconut, Cold Beer}
This morning I was greeted with lots of double glances.  The employees and regulars always know if I've been to the beach and never fail to mention when I look like a tomato.  When am I going to learn that living here does not mean my skin will not burn!?


I vow to use sunscreen.  

I vow to use sunscreen. 

I vow to use sunscreen.

I will not look like this lady.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Cloudy Day

Today did not feel like a day in the DR.  It was cloudy.  The whole, freaking, day.  That never happens here.  Ever ever ever.  It may be cloudy for a couple hours, but the whole day?  Really?  I felt like I was in Chicago.  Not only was the weather depressing, but I had to spend the day at a work location full of bitter and demotivated employees.  

You see, the DR is one of those countries where you have to pay someone a lot of $$$ to fire them.  This means that employees who have been with the company for years are pre-tty darn comfortable to do as they please, because they actually want to be fired!  Example: the second shift starts at 2 PM.  The girl working that shift today strolled herself in at 3:05 PM!  Did she say "Sorry" to the morning girls who had to stay an extra hour waiting for her?  Did she even say "Hello" to me or care to give a reason or excuse for being late?  Not even.  I wanted to kick her.  Really, I was close.

But enough moaning about my blah day.  I know I shouldn't complain about bad weather (if it comes here once in a blue moon), and about employees that I don't have to see everyday.  And the day wasn't even all blah.  

The perks: 
I ate platano maduro [food makes me too happy..]
Boyfriend met me for lunch
I finally ran today after a two week hiatus
I found an extra hour in my day that I didn't think I would have
(And that extra hour was spent reading, writing this post, and painting my nails)
Tonight we're going to an extra long Happy Hour for a birthday

Plus, this made me giggle:

Guess what..  The week is halfway over tomorrow!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday Love

With my new work schedule, this weekend was my first two day weekend, 
and let me tell you..  It was bliss.  

What a difference it makes to have two days off instead of one!  For the past six months, Sundays have been my day of "rest" [my only day off], and subconsciously, my day of stress.  I think I felt that since it was my only free day, I had to jam-pack it with something big, like traveling to a new place or going to a far away beach, etc. etc.  Of course this was a good thing, but it made the day and weekend speed by so fast, leaving no time for the peace & quiet.

With my weekend essentially doubling, Sundays are finally going to be a day of rest/relaxation - exactly what Sundays are made for.  Yesterday we didn't do anything crazy - we spent the entire day at boyfriend's parents house.  We sat in the hot tub, I read gossip magazines while watching Chelsea Lately, and we ate too much Papa John's delivery for dinner [they really get you on the "specials"!]..

Sunny Day
These types of days can do wonders.  Two different people told me today that I seemed more relaxed and rested than normal.  So, cheers to my new favorite day of the week!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Last Week in Pictures


Left to right:

*Sightseeing in the Colonial Zone - La Casa de Colon (1st house in the Americas)
*Playing in the straw house at Altos de Chavón
*Boat shopping at the marina of Casa de Campo {I wish}
*The view from our room in Bávaro
*Parents sipping on drinks before the nightly entertainment
*Detour at Juanillo Beach, Cap Cana
*Boyfriend doing archery at the resort
*Having dinner at Neptuno's
*Our beach for the weekend
*Another shot of Playa Juanillo
*Last dinner; sunset at Boca Chica

Missing the beach..  But just three more weeks until our next beach getaway!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sexy Yaya

My sexy yaya turned 67 on Monday!  Because she is spending a month in Greece, I still haven't had a chance to wish her a Happy Birthday in person or voice-to-voice, so I do hope this birthday post reaches her all the way over there.

{Park Guell, Barcelona}
Yaya is a smart, often-times stubborn-minded, strong, and beautiful little lady.  Before moving abroad, I probably saw her twice a week, and so its very hard to only see her a few times a year these days.  When I moved to Barcelona, she went straight to the store and told the salesperson that she needed a computer, just so that she could talk to her granddaughter living overseas [thank God for Skype].  She had never used a computer before in her life, and since then she has taught herself how to type/Skype/Facebook/e-mail and even stumble on StumbleUpon!  I wish that I am as determined as she is when I'm in my 60's.

{Having lunch with me in Barcelona}
She is a wonderful grandmother to have; she cooks and bakes me up a storm at every chance she gets, she always supports me, and always expresses how she feels - whether its how much she loves me/how proud she is of me in a card or email - or whether its her pouty face on Skype because I haven't talked to her in two weeks [she'll say its been two months] - I always admire her for her honesty, unconditional love, and overall energy.

Happy Birthday, Yaya.  Missing you always. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Parents Visit - Recap 2

Week Highlights:  Part 2

Sunday: The Day we went Snorkeling
We took an excursion that day and drove speedboats out to snorkel in the middle of the sea.  My dad, traumatized from his banana boat incident from the day before, stayed in the boat while we had bread thrown at us in the water for the surrounding fish.  After snorkeling, we parked our speedboats in a very shallow area where party boats accumulate and laughed at all the old men getting down in their speedos.

{Worn out from snorkeling}
Monday: The Day we saw Playa Juanillo and ate too much Seafood
On our drive back to the capital we stopped at CapCana, which is similar to Casa de Campo but with a picture perfect beach.  We ate a big seafood dinner on the water in Boca Chica, which I'm sure paid a big contribution to my week's 4 pound weight gain!  We finished the night with red wine on an outdoor terrace in the colonial zone with A's parents. 

{Playa Juanillo}
Tuesday:  The Day we returned to Reality
My parents left on Tuesday and it was time to go back to work.  I think they liked the country more than they thought they would, because as my mom put it, I "make it sound like I live in Rihanna's Man Down video" - But hey, we did give them the censored version of the DR..  Hehe.

{Our last dinner}