Posts Tagged 'travel'

Time is fun when you are having flies

Ahh… With Beloved off to a long day at school and the networking meeting I planned to attend moved to a far-away location I don’t feel like going to, I’ve decided to spend some of my time writing a new blog post. It’s been too long.

Where did I leave you guys again?

Oh, right.. Work. Things are well, in that regard. Very, very well. I’m on the cusp of securing an assignment big enough that I will be able to start paying the rent and have enough left over for some health insurance. It likely won’t last forever, but I’ve been offered a little over five months duration, so it’s a very good start. It should also provide me with taxable income, which provides me with something to deduct tax from, which provides me with a reason to maybe spend some money on office furniture. this means that soon-ish I will no longer have to work while sitting on my bed.

Kermit the Frog is copyrighted by The Muppets Studio LLC (but original credit goes to Jim Henson, of course)

Last weekend we jetted off to the Pacific Northwest to attend a cousin’s wedding. It was quite the event. I don’t know about you folks, but I had never been to an actual black tie event before and I seem to be one of the few people  who does not enjoy playing ‘fancy dress’  every now and then. Still, despite my trepidations of the wardrobial persuasion (I wore pants, y’all, and lip gloss) it was a highly festive occasion. The bride looked lovely, the groom seems like a cool dude, the toasts were moving and it was lovely to talk to all of Beloved’s relatives. Also: whisky sours! And rain, which made me think of home.

The weather here in the Bay Area is.. funny. It’s October, but projected temperatures for this week are expected to hit the mid-twenties (in Celsius – I’m not fluent in Fahrenheit, sorry). It’s also been dry as dust, with one notable exemption on a Saturday morning. Thats when the local stadium flooded. I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of all the sunshine.

So far I’ve not felt any earthquakes. I hope it stays that way for a while because all our books came in and the bookshelves have not yet been secured to the walls. But: books! At last! Finally! A reunion of the paperbacked companions. Most of last week has been spent alphabetizing fiction and categorizing the non-fiction. We seem to have a strong overrepresentation of the letter H (Haldeman, Harrison, Heinlein, Herbert, Hobb) and of books pertaining to language. I’ve got about a box and a half of non-fiction left to sort, but everything else is in its place.


With the shipment of books also arrived our silverware (so now we eat like grown-ups again), the good kitchen knives (ah! slicing and dicing and chopping and throwing it all in a pan) and the single sketchbook I allowed myself to keep. So yesterday I went out and bought a mechanical pencil and an eraser. I look forward to spending some of my leisure away from the internet, because that has been hard, lately.

New project: Make plans for the holidays. We’ve been invited to go east for Christmas and it would be lovely if I got the tickets sorted before I take on the big work project.

Talk to you again soon, dear blog-pals. But first, let me scour your blogs for updates 🙂


Developments and travel pictures

Guards at a gate

We’ve paid our last NVC-bill, the one for the IV-package. We’ve sent in the last of the paperwork for the IV-package. All we can do now, is wait. Once the NVC checks all our stuff, finds it complete and sends it to the consulate, we can start moving again.

Beloved has had his last day at work, so he’s home too now. I am happy to no longer be responsible for the largest part of house keeping and am curious what it will be like to spend so much time together for the next  month or two.

Next week I’ll join a class on dog behaviorism and body language at the shelter I volunteer at. More quality time with lovable pooches!

We took a trip to Rome with my family and it was great. My feet are still sore. Pictures accompanying this post are from said trip and were all made by my relatives. Please don’t steal them.

I’m negotiating a freelance writing project, which I hope pans out.

I’ve heard rumors about my resume traveling the US and going interesting places (like Stanford *squee*).

Next week we’ll organize an Open House to attract someone to buy our house from us. Fingers crossed on that one.

Inside the Colosseum

Saint Angelo’s castle

The Trevi Fountains

Tasty foods

Southwest US recap

We spent a large part of the tail end of 2012 working towards December first – the day on which we would go on holiday. We had planned and booked the trip before realizing that having a running immigrant visa application might make entry into the US more difficult. We also planned and booked before we decided that I would quit my job on December 31st, 2012.

None of it mattered, in the end. We got the house fixed up and on the market, we managed to send out all Beloved’s grad school applications, work was happy to have me for one single last week between the US trip and Christmas and even the pending visa petition did not get us (well, me) sent back at the US border. Maybe it was the long lead-up during which we spent almost every night and weekend working, planning an arranging for all the Serious Future Things, maybe it was the fact that there were no family obligations, maybe it was the fact that we went to bright and sunny places, but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a trip more than this one.

We prepared by booking a flight to Las Vegas, and two nights in a hotel on the strip. For the second half of the trip we booked two nights at the Grand Canyon and then we arranged a hotel for the night before we flew out. We bought a road map rented a car and… most importantly.. brought some things to listen to. In our collection we had Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula le Guin, a dozen episodes of This American Life,  an anthology of stories by Heinlein, some episodes of The Wrath of the Khans in Dan Carlin’s series of Hardcore History.

In the end we drove out of Las Vegas, through Arizona, into New Mexico. We hop-skipped through parts of the Navaho Nation, hit up Four Corners (so technically we were in Utah and Colorado as well, but it doesn’t really count) and then back into Arizona for the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, Flagstaff and its observatory and its Holiday Parade, the Grand Canyon and some tiny cowboy towns. We had some days to spare and set course for Needles and the region around Death Valley. Then, we sprinted back to Vegas and came home.

What we’ve learned:

– If you are ever in Barstow in California.. Go to Lola’s Kitchen. It’s a teensy little place with no vegetarian food, but they served a chicken burrito that almost made Beloved cry because it was so good.

– Whatever you do, don’t try to eat Thai food in Flagstaff. Find the diner in downtown and eat nowhere else while you’re there.

– We’re not Vegas people. It’s opulent and decadent and it has a wow-factor intended to dazzle. Other people love it. It was good to come and see it for myself. We will not go there again.

– Drive your car up a dark, deserted mountain road at night when temperatures drop to minus 15 (in Celsius) and go stargazing. Don’t forget to breathe.

Here, have some pictures and think about silence and solitude.

Driving Southeast from Las Vegas

The road to Jerome, AZ

Sunset from Sedona, AZ.

A tree we met while hiking.

View from a hiking trail.

The Painted Desert.

A desert vista.

A view of the Grand Canyon


For once, the pictures are mine. Feel free to use them, but please drop me a line about it and credit them to The Smitten Immigrant.

Work.. pays off.

alternative title: Why I blog so little.

– The book I (co-)authored is back from the printers. I am now officially a published author.

– The second book has been sent out to the graphics people to be laid out. Printing will take place later in the year.

– We have a weekend trip planned to London to hang out with the in-laws. Flights and hotel are arranged.

– Beloved will do a two-week tour around the US to visit universities. Flights, trains and university appointments have all been taken care of, and are mostly fully arranged. I won’t be coming with, which makes me sad.

– We’ ll be going to Las Vegas (ahem), the Grand Canyon and some more desert a few months later. Flights are booked as well as hotels at these two locations. The rest of the trip won’t be planned, although we will rent a car before we go. We will not meet any family of friends on said trip. I look forward to desert panoramas and a few good audio books.

– The very, very final wedding celebration has been had. I’ve heard no complaints, so I think it all went well. Our whisky supplies have been considerably expanded. Family seems to be pleased.

– Residency permit extension requirements for Beloved have once again been fulfilled, so assuming the immigration folks don’t mess up, all should go off without a hitch, until the day of naturalization.

– I am one year older than at the time of my previous blog post.

– I have developed a bit of a celebrity crush on Simon Reeve. He travels, he writes and I posted his picture below. You may want to consider trying to find his documentaries, because frankly: they are awesome.

Photo under Creative Commons License by

Alive and..

Can I just be honest and say I’m getting my ass kicked? You know, in case it wasn’t obvious from how little I post these days.

It’s the time of the year, which is always ridiculously busy (all of the year’s deadlines fall between May and July), but it’s also the particular project that I’m working on. I’d rather not talk about it too much, because thinking about the project makes my stomach clench and my heart sink and it also gives me a head ache and sore shoulders. The project is particularly Sisyphean in nature and I am not particularly mythologically equipped.

There is also plenty of good things going on. 92 episodes of Animal Cops (dubbed in Russian, but the English track is underneath and we’ve managed to turn the dubbing off) gives me regular doses of puppies and kittens and happy endings. I recommend this for everyone who is stressed and wanting to be able to sleep. We’ve planned out the trip for Beloved’s university scouting and also decided to take a holiday later this year. Three weekends have been booked for family travel. We’re still eating healthily and discovering new food because of it (seriously, dry roast some raw almonds and toss them in a garlicky pepper, sugarsnap and tofu stir fry. Serve with peas and onion with thai basil, made in some ghee). I had a difficult social engagement which ended up being great fun and before the appointment I cried and I was hugged tight by my husband and told it would all be fine. He told me that he is sometimes surprised because I find such a great many things scary, but that it’s okay because I then go out and do those things anyway. I’m a particularly brave scaredy-cat, apparently.

With that insight I leave you to go pursue some deadlines.