Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Greetings from Haena

We arrived in Haena, Kauai yesterday afternoon. My parents and I had a lovely drive up the coast from the airport to the community of Haena. We took in the lush vegetation and amazing ocean views along the way. We gleefully explored our rental house upon arrival. It is just like something on HGTV! Every room has been beautifully decorated. The ginormous kitchen is fully stocked with all kinds of small appliances and nice cookware. The beds have excellent mattresses and nice linens. The master bathroom is about the same size as my bedroom at home! We're just living in the lap of luxury. I'm thrilled!

It was very warm all afternoon and evening, but the rain let loose very early in the morning before the sun rose. It rained hard for a while and then it became partially cloudy around breakfast time. For breakfast, I prepared for my family (with a little help from Mom and Julie) papaya with lemon juice, and Portuguese sausage, rice and eggs. My sweetie was born here in Hawaii. He is teaching me what he knows about traditional Hawaiian and Filipino foods, and I'm sharing what I've learned with my family while we're here. My BIL isn't a big fan of papaya, but he LOVED it with the lemon juice drizzled over the top.

A two minute walk across the street and down a little path takes you to this beach:

Don't you just love the color of that water?

I'm so glad I brought along my laptop and my wireless thing-a-ma-bob. My BIL and I are able to feed out Internet addictions! LOL! And I was able to Skype my sweetie, and my grandmother this morning. It's good to keep in touch. This vacation could only be more perfect if the two of them were here with us.

Oh, too funny! My whole family just went down to the beach for a swim, and now it's pouring rain! I'm glad I decided to hang out here for a little quiet time.

More later...


Saturday, July 28, 2007


I'm packing up my swimsuits and sunblock and heading for Kauai!

I'll post from there next week.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Local Beauty

Sunday evening my sweetie and I drove down to the Mont@ge Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach to attend a vow renewal ceremony for some dear friends of his. From the road, you hardly notice the place. But once you're inside, this is the view from the balcony of the lobby. It nearly took my breath away. The clouds had moved in across Southern California yesterday, and there were sprinkles in some places, so we didn't have the sunshine you see in this photograph I found on the web. While we were there, a gorgeous Jewish wedding was taking place on the grass behind the pool area. There must have been at least two hundred guests, and thousands of red roses decorating the ceremony area. It was stunning!

We ate our celebratory dinner on another balcony with the same view. The pool looked amazing all lit up in the dark, too. I wished I had my bathing suit. ;-)

Staying at the Mont@ge isn't easy on the wallet. We heard from our hosts that the least expensive room was $800, and that there was a three-night minimum. Ouch!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Honorably Mentioned

Ian and LiLi's mom (I think she's password protected?) honored me with the Rockin' Girl Blogger award a few days ago. She said:

I will also give the award to Joannah who is another awesome blogger! I just love her blog and the way she makes me smile! She has one of the most beautiful blogs out there!

Thank you, Debbie for your kind words!

I'd like to pass on the Rockin' Girl Blogger award to three of my favorite bloggers - it was hard to choose just three.

Shana - Waiting for Sophie
Shelley - Mager Madness
Jen - Mijita

Go check out their wonderful blogs!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Girl

Summer School ended,
and I had a wonderful facial (compliments of my last class).

My sweetie comes home from Europe!

Eleven days from now:
I'll be in Kauai with my family.

I'm a happy girl!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Well, my time in Madrid and London was wonderful. Getting there and back was challenging - especially for my suitcase. But despite my missing suitcase (eventually found), I managed to enjoy most every moment of my time there.

Madrid is a beautiful city! In some ways it really reminded me of Paris, so I've taken to calling it the "Poor Man's Paris". Madrid has amazing architecture, impressive boulevards, lots of parks and fountains, world-class art museums, and great food. My first full day there we took the metro and walked a ways to see the Museo Prado which houses lots of religious icon-type pieces, including many by El Greco. I'm not really into that type of art, but I appreciated the opportunity to see it. We then walked to a little sidewalk cafe where we enjoyed a cold beer and a tapas plate of cheese, pate, and pear. Muy bien! Our afternoon included a walk to the Plaza Mayor, Royal Plaza, and the cathedral. By this time my feet were killing me and I was so wishing I had my suitcase and could put on a pair of my flip flops.

After a siesta, we asked the concierge to make a recommendation for dinner. He directed us a a nearby plaza where we had our choice of about six outdoor cafes all serving raciones, which are similar to tapas but larger servings. We tried their stuffed tortilla, calimare, and a dish that sort of looked like fried Oreos, but was actually made from rice and pigs' blood. I know it sounds gross, but it wasn't. We also enjoyed the sangria there. It was warm out, and even thought it was after eleven o'clock, the plaza was packed with locals enjoying the summer night.

The next day, we made it over to the Puerta del Sol which is a great shopping and dining district. We also returned to the area by the Royal Palace for lunch at a sidewalk cafe we had seen the day before. The thing that appealed to us the most about that cafe was the misters in their umbrellas. On a hot day in Madrid, it feels so good to catch a little mist in the face whilst you sip rose and enjoy tapas. We then made our way to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia where we saw many works by Picasso and Dali. Once again, not my thing, but Michael really enjoyed the art there.

That night the concierge recommended another place for dinner. He described it as home-style Spanish food. It was delicious! We both had roasted asparagus (something I make at home, and my sweetie just loves it), and grilled salmon with potatoes.

The following morning, Michael tried to track down my bag and I went shopping because I was sick of wearing the same thing everyday! It's hard for a girl to be without her bag, let me tell you. We had no luck finding my bag until we were back at the airport in Madrid. There he was able find it in one of the airlines' lost and found. When we met up again several hours later in London, I was thrilled to see him with my bag!

We arrived in London late in the evening. The hotel was on the Thames River across from Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. We ran out to take some pictures and find a place for dinner. Nothing in our neighborhood was open, so we took a taxi to Piccadilly Circus where we found a little Chinatown and had some soup and a tofu dish for dinner. It wasn't the best Chinese food I've ever had...

Our last day together only allowed us a half-day for sightseeing as Michael had to go to work in the late afternoon. So, we took some more photos of the local sites before heading over to Buckingham Palace, where it just so happened that we were able to witness the changing of the guard. Very cool! Lots of pomp and circumstance, you know. Then we took a rather long walk over to Harrod's. The thing I enjoyed the most about Harrod's was the food court downstairs. What an amazing place! Such gaudy displays of every imaginable type of gourmet food. And there were many places to eat down there - sushi bar, oyster bar, pizza par, etc. We took a break and enjoyed tea and pastries.

Now I mentioned that my sweetie had to go to work, right? Well, that night he was working at the Tower of London! During the summer, a promoter puts up a large concert stage in the former moat of the Tower of London. After the sound check, we were given a private tour of the Tower. It was fascinating! So much history there.

The next morning, my sweetie escorted me to the airport for my flight home. I made it home, and so did my bag! He's still out on the road enjoying the sights in more fantastic cities when he isn't working. Lucky dog! I had such a wonderful time in both cities, and I really hope to go back and see more of Spain one day when I have more time.

If you would like to see some of my pictures in a slide show, you can use this link. Click on the "i" on the first photo to see captions.

Friday, July 13, 2007

July Referrals

America World is pleased to announce that we received 9 healthy female referrals from the Hunan Province today. The girls ranged in age from 7-8 months old and were all located in the Chenzhou Children's Welfare Institute. Please join us in congratulating these families on their exciting day!!
Wow! Notice how young those kiddos are? They'll get to celebrate their first birthdays with their Forever Families. Nice!

I'm back from my European adventure. It was so much fun. I'll post about it over the weekend - with pictures. But, today I'm just going to take it easy and get over my jetlag. Okay? ;-)

Catch you later!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Happy Independence Day!

I am so blessed to be an American. It is with a grateful heart that I celebrate our nation's birthday tomorrow. As much fun as it is to travel around the world and see new places when I get the chance, I believe this is as good as it gets this side of Heaven.

Enjoy the day! Have fun and be safe. I'll "see" you when I return from you-know-where. ;-)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Jon's June Wedding

Last Saturday, my dear cousin Jon married the lovely HyeRin (pronounced Heddin) down San Diego way. Here's the beautiful couple just after the wedding:

Jon is quite a bit younger than I, and so I remember him from some of his earliest days. In my opinion he was the cutest baby boy ever, although his brothers were pretty cute, too. My sister and I really doted on him, and he had the sweetest nature so he just soaked all the love right up. Now he's all grown up, and from what I heard, it was practically love at first sight when he and HyeRin met last year. It was a beautiful wedding, and I hope they will make each other happy for the rest of their lives. Congratulations, Jon and HyeRin!

Jon's parents happen to be my favorite aunt and uncle. We had a lot of good times while I was growing up, and my aunt has always been somebody who I could talk to about almost anything. Even now she is always there for me. I love you Aunt Maureen!

Don't they look so happy and proud! I'll bet my aunt is happy about having another woman in the family after raising three sons. ;-)

And, here am I with my mom just before the reception.

Yesterday and today I was doing the mall crawl (more like a sprint) making sure I have the things I need for my European adventure. I'm still searching for a cute, comfortable pair of brown sandals. I keep having flashbacks to the time I spent in France two years ago when it was so dang hot. My feet and ankles swelled up and I was miserable. Anyway, really good shoes are essential if I'm going to keep moving in Madrid. Apparently, it's cooler and wetter in London this week (yet scarier, thank you Isl@moF@cists...) so my feet will probably be fine once we get there. Hey, if you're one to pray, and if you'd keep me in your prayers while I'm traveling, I'd really appreciate it. I'm not a seasoned traveler and I'll have two days on my own getting there and back. With all that's going on, and my destinations being unfamiliar to me, I just get a little apprehensive.

I might get one more post in before I leave, but probably won't post again until I return. When I get back I'll share the highlights and some pictures here.

Hasta la vista...