Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Filip and I have recently joined a really spectacular gym as of a few weeks ago and we really love it! We had joined one before in Bracknell, but it was pretty small (big enough for what we needed, but nevertheless small) and didn't have a pool or anything, just weights and treadmills, mostly. We enjoyed that, but didn't go as often as we would've liked and were paying too much to keep that up, so we ended up leaving it. After a long while, our friend Gogi called up and suggested that we (and a bunch of other happy recruits) should come by and check out the gym he had joined in Wokingham. So we (Keren and David and Filip and I) went on a Saturday night and took advantage of a free-of-charge visitor workout, to check out the place and see if we would be interested in joining. Gogi was really excited and showed us around and told us what they offer, etc., and even gave us a preview of what he could teach us about weight training and such. To say the least, we were interested! The gym has tons more variety and number of weight machines, free weights and aerobic machines than our other gym had, not to mention a nice pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, with really nice locker rooms and showers and even a cafe area for coffee and internet. There's also a merchandise section where you can buy the gym's 'signature' towels, swim suits, socks, workout clothes, water bottles, goggles, etc. We really liked what we saw (even the price wasn't totally unreasonable) and there was a deal upon signing up in the following couple days, so we joined! We've loved it ever since and we've even gone so far as to buy a locker combo lock for each of us that even has the name of the gym on it! Hahaha. We're excited. Filip even had Gogi 'set him up' on a regular weight training routine and we're both seeing a difference. :) And it's extra nice because a lot of our good friends go there regularly too. It's so nice to come with friends - exercise is a great thing to do socially! Every time we leave the gym, we feel so refreshed and energized and healthy - even if we feel a bit sore. Exercise tends to really motivate me to improve in all other areas of my health as well, which is exactly what I need - motivation! I'm trying to drink more water, go to bed on time (which is, incidentally, not working as well as I'd hoped - hehe), get more fresh air, eat healthier and so on. We went last night (we try to go at least 3 times a week) and both worked out harder than before and we actually feel good - soreness is surprisingly minimal! Yay! Are we making progress? I hope so! That always feels great - to start seeing results. I just hope I don't lose that motivation too soon... ;)


Yesterday, I had the privilege, for the first time in forever, of cooking my husband some lunch! :) I mean, yeah, I cook dinner for him plenty (and he for me), but lunch is a different story. We're always working during the day and we can never eat lunch together, let alone a nice, hot meal. Granted, it was really nothing special, to say the least - it was spaghetti and green beans - but it was fun to have that with each other. :) I got to cook while he studied - I felt like a proper family - hehe - and then we sat down and ate together. We even broke open a bottle of 'wine' (yeah, it was non-alcoholic red) and used our 'special' flutes for it. This, I must say, didn't help the taste or anything, but it was an added perk to the whole setting. I couldn't drink more than a couple sips and Filip added Coke to his for improvement - haha - but the atmosphere and result was lovely! I wish I could do that more often! :) Time with family is priceless, no matter what it is that you do together! Mmmm...

Savoury Tendencies and Custard Tarts...

It's been such a long time since I've logged something in my blog and I've really found myself missing it. So, after such a long absence, I have come with something freshly discovered yet not all that interesting, so prepare yourself. Haha. I am going to make a statement about myself, yet (as I am human) it may not be always true or unflinching as I will explain... I have discovered that, against the choice between sweet and savoury tasties, I prefer savoury over all else almost 90% of the time. No telling why, but I found that a bit interesting - shocking, if I may! I used to think that I (like most of the people I come in contact with) would rather snack on sweet things rather than salty if given the choice. But when I look back on my (short-ish) life, I find that this assumption has been proven false the majority of the times I remember. I love savoury and powerfully flavourful food! It's just as unhealthy as sweets, but I am discovering more and more that it is so hugely my preference. Hehe. Granted, this always depends on my mood, but what I'm saying here is that my mood most often calls for salt before (or rather than) sugar. Yes, I definitely still desire a good Snickers bar now and again or a juicy apple pie or some thick and chunky ice cream (I could never deny that!), but it's almost sad and strange how often I discard sweets for a good portion of chips or popcorn or pickles or even a good kofte/chicken kebab. I have slowly realized, as well, that I don't feel attracted to chocolate much in general. I never have. Yes, like I said, I love Snickers and Kit Kats and yummy bite-sized crispy chocolates, but given a pure chocolate bar, I normally turn it down. I would rather drink tea than hot chocolate, Americano than a mocha, etc etc... It's funny and I feel like I am almost a betrayer of my own sex, although both my mom and my sister have observed this to some extent in themselves, so I think this is where I've gotten it. The bottom line is, when I'm really hungry and I crave something, I have repeatedly found that it is most often something savoury. Have you ever come to the end of a chocolate bar (even a small-ish one) or something of the kind and thought, 'Wow - I really shouldn't have eaten that - I don't feel so good'? I almost always feel that way when I eat something sweet, depending on what it is. But when it comes to savoury, I almost never regret it (in moderation, of course). :)

Now for the exception... and this relates to the 'depending on what it is' statement above. Drumroll please... ;)

I have a terrible weakness for little things called custard tarts! Oh man! Nothing could be more concrete than that statement! Haha. I cannot speak for all custard tarts in the world, but the ones that 'my' coffee shop sells are TO DIE FOR! I didn't really discover them (I mean, I knew we sold them, but never gave them a second glance) until my mom ate one and told me how amazing they were. One of our regular customers is an 'addict' as well, so I thought I should give it a go. I tried one... mercy gracious! They are what I have deemed as a sweet pie pastry crust filled with a smooth vanilla-like pudding, sprinkled with a light dusting of cinnamon, or something of the sort. Regardless of what it contains, even after the last bite, I find myself craving more! I never feel like I've eaten a whole dessert. It is one of the mildest, most refreshing, scrumptious desserts ever made! Especially on Thursdays... Our coffee shop/cafe, Santa Fe Coffee Company, always gets a new shipment in of fresh custard tarts on Thursdays... Ohhh, that shipment warrants an extra star for that day of the week for me. I don't really like Thursdays in general, but custard tarts up it a bit on my scale. ;) And custard tarts always remind me of one of my favourite Britcoms that my family and I used to watch together (and they still do): As Time Goes By. The character Lionel loves custard tarts and would seriously maim anyone who would take one from his tin. It interested me, these custard tarts... Now I'm sold - haha! Seriously, if you haven't tried one yet, do! I highly recommend it! :) And if you try one from somewhere else and don't like it, I am so sorry... But if you try one from our coffee shop and don't like it, I'm even sorrier. That would be my fault. :S Hehe anyways, enough from me. I'll talk to you later. Enjoy the day and eat your custard tart today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What I miss...

Ya know, I've been thinking (randomly at different times) about things I miss from home in the states... and the list has gotten huge! Haha. There are so many things that I love about being home... so I thought I'd just jot them down here (and, mind you, this won't be a complete list, as I can't call to mind everything I miss) and I hope it doesn't bore you to death. :S

Restaurants I really miss:
PF Changs
Cancun (more than anything! hehe)
Petros (although they've gotten rid of it - man!)
Olive Garden
Accropolis (for its bread and soup and salad especially)
Cracker Barrel
Famous Dave's
and I even miss... Taco Bell! Haha!

There are seriously no restaurants or food like these here in England and I just miss that taste and those experiences :)

On to the stores...
Old Navy (definitely nothing like that here!)
GAP (not the prices, mind you - hehe)
Barnes & Noble (good times, good times - and I hear it's moving into the mall... *sniff*)
Hobby Lobby
Wal-Mart (don't laugh - haha)
Fresh Market (man, I miss that - hehe)
Green Life (only been there once, but man, I loved it, and I'm not even that 'green')

But mostly... I miss my family - truly and wholly. Yes, they've each heard this millions of times over the past 3-4 years, but it hasn't been more true than lately. Yes, I can live my life happily without them living next door - I'm settled in such a happy life with such an incredible husband, making new and wonderful memories and loving every minute of it - but I'd love the chance to see my family more often and to spend time with them. I kind of feel as though I had just gotten to really know my family, deep down, as unique individuals, just when I was to leave... Anyway, the bottom line is... family is an essential part of my life. It is not that I cannot live without them, it is that I don't want to. Instead of simply people I knew from birth and that I had been dependent on, they are each uniquely special to me and I love to be around them. They know me, I know them, and when we meet, it's like we hadn't ever left - that's what family is to me. :) I miss family gatherings in the living room, sometimes each of us on our respective computers and periodically talking, long chats on the couch, walks in the morning, meals together in the living room, British accents and quoting movies, being un-lady-like and pretending to be shocked, pampering a sick one, visiting each other at work, decorating the Christmas tree together with Prancer in the background, pretty much everything. This is not meant to be sappy, it's just a log of things that I miss at home. Definitely, I've built my new home and family here in England with my husband now (and there's no measure for my happiness), but this was my other home and will always have a nice little snug place in my heart. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ahhh... :)

All day, it's been raining constantly - non-stop - and sometimes absolutely down-pouring! It's been completely miserable and I haven't minded being inside all day (even at work) escaping the yucky rain. Even though I had to walk to work and again between jobs and got wet enough to be colder than normal, I have surprisingly kept in a pleasant mood! :) Filip picked me up from my last job and we went home at around 5:45 this evening and it was so nice to see him at the end of the day. We ate together and right now, we're just hanging out together in front of our computers and relaxing after a full day (and a bad one, for him...). We both took nice, hot showers after dinner (I even shaved my legs!) and now we're both very content and happy. :) It feels so good to be clean, especially after a miserable and wet day. We may even go to bed before 10 tonight! :) I love it when we do that - it's really nice. I think I might ask him to play a game or read with me... Good night, world... Until tomorrow!

Autumn season and nostalgic sensations :)

What is it about autumn that makes me all giddy inside? What makes it so special and warm (even though it's getting colder outside) and sensational and purely satisfying?

I was walking home from work one day very recently, shuffling through the massive collection of bright yellow leaves that had fallen, covering the sidewalks, and I couldn't help but smile. I physically felt giddy (you know those little heart palpitations you get when you are anticipating something incredible or when you have done something really fun or creative or satisfying or kind?) and it must have been apparent all over my face. I'm kind of embarrassed to think that someone may have seen me and thought: 'What in the world is wrong with that girl?' But these are some of the things that were going through my head, provoked by the simple sound of shuffled leaves:

The smell and the crackle of nearby bonfires,
plump orange pumpkins on supermarket shelves,
sweaters that smell of the drawer you had them in for half the year,
cool breezes that are starting to get through the little holes in those sweaters,
marshmallows, s'mores and smoky coats,
jumping in a huge pile of leaves and nearly breaking your tail bone,
hayrides and silly games,
buttery acorn squash fresh from the oven and pumpkin dip with ginger snaps,
hot spiced cider on the stove, complete with cinnamon sticks,
Thanksgiving dinners around huge tables full of family,
the Christmas tree going up and holiday decorations and music appearing here and there...

Do these things comfort you and give you an incredibly nice feeling as they do me? I don't know... maybe I am nuts, but I love autumn! I favour it above every season and I wish it back every time it goes. I tend to miss family more than ever at this time... What a joyful time of the year! Thank God for the seasons and their individual beauties! :)

The Tutorial Centre is back (or I am)

Hey, guess what? Even though I am no longer a student at Newbold College, the Humanities Department has appointed me to take on the Tutorial Centre once again as a part-time (4 hours per week) job! For those whom I haven't told or who don't know, the Tutorial Centre is essentially a service for students to come and get help with writing (essays, theses, dissertations, CVs), whether they need proofreading, tips, or answers to writing queries, all free of charge. I have been the student worker there for the past 2 school years and now they have appointed me again. I already have 2 part-time jobs, but this one is very small and will just suit me and my schedule. :) It will give me a total of 40 hours/week, a perfect full-time schedule that I've been wanting! Yay! I posted a few adverts here and there around campus so that students would be aware of its being in action again, and posted a sign-up sheet near the centre. My first day back was this past Friday and I even had a 'client' come see me already! It's proving to be a good start and I really love that job. I get to meet students that I didn't know very well to begin with, get to talk to them about what they're studying, and learn a lot from their studies and papers. I've become more and more interested in the topic/act of editing and I've come to really enjoy it. I'm starting to feel that I can help students that need it, at least to some degree. :) It's quite a satisfying position and I hope it is of some service. Something makes me want to create a 'business card' for further hours... hmmm... :) I don't know, but here's a start. It's funny... I'm seriously following more and more in my sister's footsteps as time goes on, without even realizing it - hehe. :) She is one of the most admirable people I am privileged to know and love. I'm so proud to be her sister! :)