Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Que Tenga Un Buen Día

I have two phrases to share with you this week!

The first is: ¡Que chévere!
which means "how cool or exciting". 
It has been a common phrase used this week. 
It is also fun to say.

The second is: ¡Que tenga un buen día!
which means "Have a good day!"
I try to say this as often as I can because it always seems to make someone smile.

Make someone smile today by telling them to have a lovely day in whatever language you want!
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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Middle of the World

Last Wednesday, we took a field trip to the middle of the world, or "El Mitad del Mundo". The museum was full of neat indigenous huts and information about the people who originally inhabited (and some tribes still do) Ecuador like the Inca and the Jivaro. 

If you are eating something right now, don't read the next sentence. 
Some like the Jivaro used to cut off the heads of their capturers and shrink their heads. It was pretty gruesome. 

We all took turns straddling the equator and taking pictures just like tourists would. :)

There were also a lot of crazy experiments to try. For example, water turns counter-clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere, but on the equator there is no whirlpool. You have to see it to believe it!

This is the original monument created by the early settlers, but they were a little off come to find out when GPS was invented. It was neat to see such an antique museum even if it wasn't exactly on the equator.

It was a cool trip. Something "you have to do in Ecuador". I must admit though touristy things such as this are not my favorite, but I still wanted to shared the cool photos.

Have a lovely day!
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hannah- Wonderment in Neverland

I left my heart in Uganda, Africa.

When Beth asked me to guest blog, she mentioned Africa, and it seemed appropriate considering I’m heading back over in three weeks. Revisiting some of my journal entries and thoughts brought back a huge flood of memories and nostalgia. 
Three weeks can’t pass fast enough.

When I went to Africa last summer, I won't lie, there weren't any gigantic shocks about the living conditions. This sounds heartless, but I had seen so many pictures and documentaries, it was hard to be shocked.

There was one thing that did shock me though. 
 The unhappiest time for me there was leaving. 
You can't help but be joyful in this place. 
People wave at you on the street and smile. 
Any child will laugh when you tickle them, and a piece of candy is the greatest gift they've ever received. 
Even though there are 9 kids shoved into one hospital room, if you paint their nails...


When people hug you there they mean it. 
They look at you right in the eyes and then embrace you into themselves.
 Some of the kids I hugged had never been hugged before, so when I hugged them, they didn't let go.


People have always told me that these are the most joyful people you will ever meet. 
But I know some pretty joyful people here at home. 
I thought maybe people just weren't looking for joy in the right places here in the states.

These are the most joyful people you will ever meet.

Again I say, three weeks can’t come soon enough.

Check out Hannah's awesome blog Wonderment in Neverland!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Be Jealous

Okay, so I might never come home.
I am on the beach right now.
Be jealous.
Here is my awesome room:

Our view is incredible,
but the walk up the mountain to our house is killer.

My group is having a good time,
and enjoying the great food.
My host family is incredible.
They are so sweet and instructive.
I think I learn about 10 new words a meal!
¡No broma! 
(no joke)

Just to let you know, next week, there will be two more guest bloggers: Hannah and Amber. Both are dear friends of mine. Hannah is my roommate and writes a blog called "Wonderment in Neverland". She is going to share with you about her upcoming adventure to Africa. Amber is Jay's wife from this week's post. She writes a blog with Jay called "Adventures in Togetherness". She is always writing about her experience in community from a different perspective.

I am trying to blog as much as possible,
because I have so many fun stories to tell,
but finding time for a computer is harder than expected.

¡Hasta Pronto!
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Friday, May 27, 2011

La Plaza Grande

Hello from Ecuador!
I am having a blast.
I have already fallen in love with the city of Quito.
There are not words to describe it, so I have a bunch of pictures to share. :)

On Monday, we went to "La Plaza Grande".
It is essentially their equivalent to a historic downtown.
It is where the Spanish organized the city of Quito.

Oh my goodness, it was so beautiful!
I can't wait to go back.
I know it was only our first excursion,
but I have a feeling this may be my favorite spot in Quito.

This is me and Brandi, my awesome roommate!

While we were there, there was a demonstration in the square called "La Cambia Guardia", or the changing of the guards.
It was so neat to see all of them come together with their president to sing the national anthem.

This was my absolute favorite photo!
I loved the statue of Virgin Mary in the hills contrasting with the busy street.

We also went into La Iglesia La Academia.
The inside was covered with 23 carat gold and took over 150 years to build.
It was magnificent!

This was my happy place.
I can't wait to share more later!
This weekend we are going to the beach!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jay Howard on Community

Hi everybody! First, thank you Bethany for inviting me to write a guest post for your super-cool blog. My focus in this post will be on the last part of the coffeeculturecommunity triad. (The only part I know anything about!) Specifically, I would like to talk a little about what I have learned from this of year living in an intentional community.


First, Some Background

I recently graduated from college and got married. Then, motivated by a vague-but-persistent interest in “togetherness,” Amber and I decided that we wanted learn a little bit about intentional communities. To accomplish this goal, we moved to Pittsburgh, PA where a brand new intentional community called Formation House was just starting up. We have lived here almost a year.

“What is an intentional community,” you ask?

In the most basic terms, an intentional community is a planned residential community designed to have a higher degree of teamwork than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common vision, and they typically also share responsibilities and resources.

This year has been about fleshing out the details of what that means. As we have journeyed through this year we have found that living in intentional community is pretty darn cool. Formation House is a one year program, and because we have enjoyed this year so much Amber and I are already exploring ways to continue incorporating the practice of community into our lives in the future. Here in Pittsburgh we have forged close friendships, learned best-practices for community life, and eaten a lot of awesome, home-cooked meals.


Charisms and Focus

One of the things I have learned this year is that different communities have different focuses, or “charisms” as they are called. (http://www.mattpritchard.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Charisms.pdf) Examples of charisms in intentional communities are:

meals together
voluntary simplicity
interpersonal growth
egalitarian values
prayer or spirituality

Many communities make the mistake of biting off more than they can chew.

It is common at the beginning stages to say, “Let’s pray together every night, eat breakfast together, plant a garden, get involved with the local church, practice hospitality with all our neighbors, build a park in the vacant lot across from our house, and raise chickens!”

Nobody thinks about cleaning the bathroom. But trust me, it will come up! People who are older and wiser than me recommend “doing one thing well,” and then adding more stuff after the community has established some norms.

Formation House was created to be a training ground for how to do intentional community. I would say
Formation House has three charisms.

We eat meals together 5 nights a week,
we pray together 5 nights a week, and
we meet roughly once a week to go over a curriculum which focuses on interpersonal growth.

By “interpersonal growth” I mean communication, listening skills, conflict resolution, leadership, group decision making. That sort of thing.

Those three things keep is pretty busy as a community because all three call for a good chunk of time and effort. But we still have plenty of time to do other things. For example, we each work full time. And we each have our own personal interests and hobbies.


Skill Sharing

A big part of the fun of this year has been sharing our hobbies and interests with each other. We have quite an assortment of fun occupations between the eight of us. Some examples:

Bee Keeping
Bird Watching
Home Brewing
Bicycle Co-Op
Taking care of/playing with a golden retreater
Watching the science fiction television show Firefly

When eight people share their lives together, there is almost always going to be somebody around who is interested in what you are interested in. How awesome is that? When I get share my enthusiasm for chess, for example, or when somebody takes me bird watching for the first time, it is rewarding for everyone involved.

Further Reading

In conclusion, I still have a lot to learn about community. That said, if you have any questions or are interested in reading more about community, check out my and Amber’s blog, Adventures in Togetherness, or email me at jayhoward1ATgmailDOTcom. I would love to hear from you. Thank you for reading my post about intentional community.

Disclaimer: The chipmunks have no significance. :) Pin It

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Everyday Spanish

This week I want to share a couple of important phrases to know when you are travelling in a Spanish speaking country.

First: "Mucho gusto en conocerlo/la".
This means "Very pleased to meet you", and you use "lo" for a male and "la" for female. This is great to say when you meet someone for the first time and flash your Spanish skills.

Second: "¿Cuánto se debe?" or "¿Cuánto cuesta esto?" 
This means "How much is owed?" or "How much does this cost?" This is a very important phrase to in the market place and when you are buying anything.

Third: "¿Qué hora es?"
This means "What time is it?" and people usually respond with "Son..." or "Es..." followed by the number "uno, dos, tres, etc." If "y media" is added, that means 30 minutes after the hour.

So excited to use these phrases everyday this week in Quito!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

New York, New York

Is anyone else excited about the Glee finale tomorrow?
It has been two years in the making,
and it is in New York, the city where dreams come true.

What could be better?

However, I am in Ecuador, 
so we will see if Hulu will allow me to enjoy this pure bliss on Wednesday.
I saw some adorable photos from New York shooting I wanted to share:
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Raspberry Iced Coffee by: Emma

Hi everyone, I'm Emma of Food Coma. And Bethany was kind enough to allow me to share a little coffee drink with you all. Here's one of the ways that I like to enjoy iced coffee at home.

I cold brew coffee over night in my french press. I use more coarsely ground coffee than I normally would for hot coffee, as iced coffee will eventually be enjoyed with ice so it gets watered down anyway.

After 8-10 hours my cold brew coffee is ready and I like to serve it with a scant 1/4 cup half and half or whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract and frozen raspberries (and a few ice cubes). 
It's a homemade raspberry iced coffee-perfect for summer!

Thanks so much! 
xo. Emma
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

5 Travel Packing Tips

So it is the day before I embark on my adventure, and I am surprisingly not freaking out. Maybe, it is because I am packed and ready to go...almost. Yesterday, I finished up packing and encountered some humbling set backs. I thought I knew everything about travelling...ha that's funny.

Anyway, I thought I would share some packing tips for all you fellow adventurers out there.

1. Know Thy Airline Guidelines: So I thought I knew all the airline guidelines, no liquids over 4 oz. in carry on and all in a quart bag, ya ya. However, little did I know, that now you also have a limit on total liquid items in your checked bag of 70 oz. and no one bottle can be more than 16 oz. (there goes my shampoo bottle). For most trips, this limit is no big deal, but when you are staying somewhere for 4 weeks, you have to be intentional about what shampoo, sunscreen, and make-up you pack.

2. Share The Load With Friends: That leads into my next tip. If you are traveling in a group consider sharing personal care items. My roommate is brilliant and came up with a solution to the 70 oz. limit. She is taking shampoo, sunscreen, and moisturizer, and I am bringing conditioner, contact solution, and face wash. We both made it under 70 oz. this way, and really there is no reason to have doubles of everything.

3. Split The Cost With Your Suitcases: Money is a touchy issue. In my opinion, it is best to separate everything you are taking with you in different suitcases (but NOT your checked bag). Have some in your purse, some in your carry-on, maybe some in your shoe or front pocket. This way if your purse or carry-on gets stolen, you are not stranded penniless.

4. Keep Your Purse Close To Your Heart: Also, on that note, find a bag or money holder that you can keep close to your body at all times. I bought a cute leather purse that slings over my should, so I can keep an eye on it.

5. Attach Cute Luggage Tags: This is just for fun, but I bought some adorable luggage tags that I am super excited about. On a practical note, it will also help you find your baggage in the baggage claim. :)

P.S. Don't freak out. Odds are wherever you are going has shampoo, toothpaste, and underwear, which is really all you need. Don't pack too much stuff because you don't what to burden your group with being unable to carry your own luggage.

Also, you may be wondering about if I will be blogging in Ecuador. The answer is YES, but I also have some super sweet guest bloggers lined up for you. Some are dear friends and some are bloggers I greatly admire. I am so honored each of them are taking time out of their busy schedule to share their life with you on this blog.

This week, I have two guest bloggers lined up for you. Tomorrow, Emma from Food Coma and Red Velvet (remember I wrote an article about her and her sister Elsie, you can find here). She has a delicious coffee recipe to share. Later this week, my dear friend, Jay Howard from Adventures in Togetherness is going to share about community (remember I visited him and his wife in Pittsburgh, here). 
(I couldn't resist the UP reference.)
I will pop in with Spanish lessons and fun pictures as well!
Hope you enjoy. :)

Stay Adventurous, 
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Coffee Thingamabob Showcase

Exciting coffee news!
If you live in the Springfield area and have nothing to do on Sunday night, I have the perfect thing for you. Robbie, my friend who works at Espresso Parts, is doing a demonstration of a foam knife at The Coffee Ethic.

What is a foam knife you ask?
Beats me.
Hence the title a "coffee thingamabob" showcase.

Since I will be out of the country, you guys will have to check it out on Sunday at 7pm and let me know, because it sounds super cool. 

Anything to make the life of a Barista easier and make the coffee in the life of a customer taste better is a good thing. :)

In other news, my little sister graduated high school tonight. It was super cool to return to my alma mater and see  my high school teachers. My drama teacher, Bobby Clubbs, gave a splendid speech. And yes, the band played Star Wars music for his entrance. Got to love the Clubbs!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Do...

small confession

One thing that I am obsessed with outside of coffee, culture, and community, is weddings.

I. Heart. Weddings.

Everything about them.

I have thought about becoming a wedding planner before, and I would love to work in a bridal boutique. One of my favorite shows is "Say Yes to the Dress", (in fact I am watching it right now) and I am currently drooling over Miss Indie's "I Do Sundays" posts. They are simply marvelous!

I especially love the "UP-Inspired" Wedding post from Miss Indie. That movie means so much to me, and this couple really brought it to life.

(Photos from Miss Indie's blog post found here)

I bring this all up because my beautiful friend Lizzy is getting hitched in September, and I am honored to be one of her bridesmaids. Monday, I visited her and we went dress shopping with the other bridesmaids. Her wedding is vintage inspired on a beautiful farm outside of St. Louis. We are all wearing navy dresses with hopefully an antique or unique feel. 

Spending all this time in wedding shops and thinking about bridesmaid's dresses rekindled my wedding passion. I am one of those girls who has been picturing her wedding day since she was a flower girl in many weddings growing up.

But the most important part of the wedding is saying "I Do" to the perfect person, and I love Colbie Caillat's new song "I Do".

Do you ever dream of your wedding day? 

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