Thursday, July 31, 2014

Explaining the Expat Life

Life is a nice "normal" here in Chicago, with no crazy stories to report.

To fill my lack of anything interesting to share, I found two articles which do a good job of explaining my expatriate life.

17 Things that Change Forever when you Live Abroad

Why you Should Move to a New City Where you Don't Know a Single Soul

Both of these articles do a great job describing things that I sometimes don't have the words for.  I have been lucky enough to spend so much time with family and friends in Chicago this summer, but I have been asked the inevitable question of "So how do you like India" more times that I can count. It's so hard to explain because my life there is so different than anything you can compare it to in the U.S.

Hopefully these articles help to understand what I mean to say when you ask me how I like India!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer in the States

Since I am visiting my family in Chicago for the summer, my stories about crazy daily life in India have been lacking.  I have, however, gotten the chance to do some fun things in the states with my family.

I have gotten really excited about getting to do things I don't get to in India, such as going to Target several times a week to buy unnecessary things, and eat endless amounts of cheeseburgers and steak. I've also done some more exciting things like hiking in Estes Park, Colorado.  So, here's part one of my summer adventures...

Estes Park, Colorado

Over the 4th of July, I was able to visit Estes Park with my dad for a week.  Most of our time was spent hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park. The rest of our time was spent shopping, eating good food, and people-watching, specifically barefoot, pot smoking hippies.

We did three hikes between 6-8 miles. Our last hike was 13 miles and by the end of it I was completely exhausted!

This was about 1/2 mile in our first hike and I was dying! My dad climbed this mountain like nobody's business while I was panting and struggling with the altitude.

Bierstadt Lake 

Family of elk

Lake Haiyaha

Glacier Gorge

My dad is that speck on top of Bridal Veil Falls. Pretty sure that separating broke all the rules of hiking. 

Calypso Cascades

Ouzo Falls

Finch Lake

The floods this past September wiped out part of the trail. I was not a fan of climbing down this gorge.

I was hoping to see a moose our entire trip, and we saw one our last day!

I really enjoyed spending time with my dad, and I definitely recommend Estes Park as a place to stay to see the Rocky Mountains. Maybe our next stop will be the Himalayas!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Girls Trip: Part 2

After our time in Paris which seemed to go by way too fast, we took a flight to Athens, Greece!

After our adventures by taxi, plane, and train, we were pretty tired and ready to get settled into our hotel room. Little did we know we would be carrying our over-packed suitcases up-hill for about eight blocks. The longest eight blocks of my life!

I don't think this picture really does it justice, but this part was so steep I was worried of rolling downhill. We could've taken another route that wasn't as long but had a lot of stairs instead. I think we picked the lesser of two evils. 

My first impretion of Greece was not great. There was lots of graffiti everywhere, and apparently there's a large stray cat population. But once we got settled into our hotel and started exploring, it was absolutely beautiful.  Just like any other big city, there are nice and not so nice areas, but the winding streets lined with cafes and view of the Acroppolis were just stunning.

We had dinner outside our first night in a fun area near our hotel with lots of shops set up with handmade items, and the Acropolis is just behind those bushes. We of course had to eat some olives and feta cheese.

Bargain hunting at the Montrasaki Flea Market

A delicious dinner with the best view at Dionysos

The Parthenon @ the Acropolis

Parthenon at night

Views from the Acropolis

Day trip to the island Aegena

@ Lake Vouliagmeni - a natural spring of healing waters

Annie getting a fishy pedicure...the fish in the lake eat away the dead skin off your feet if you stand still. Some people pay lots of money for this at Asian spas!

Our trip to both France and Greece was outstanding. There was more I wish we could've done, but that just means we have an excuse to go back again. Great food, lots of sights, and memories with my mom and sisters - can't beat that.

Speaking of great food, check out a recipe here for a dish we all loved and ate several times in Athens. It is phyllo wrapped feta with sesame seeds and honey. So delicous!