Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I have been a bit bad posting as of late. I went to a whole country and didn't post about it. But, I am in Ireland now. After Morocco we went to Paris and of course loved it - again. But, we are in Ireland now and we are leaving Thursday to go home! I am so excited to come back to the US, never thought I say that, but I am excited. But, enough on that and I will say a few things about Ireland.

We are both so pleased we are ending our trip here. It is true - everything in Ireland is green, even in winter. We arrived early evening and the next day we left Dublin, so I haven't even done Dublin yet - we are doing that tomorrow. We rented a car and have been spending time traveling around the Southwest of the country. Yes you read right - we rented a car and I am the driver. Those of you who know me well will find the irony in that. I don't want to say I don't like driving, but if I have a option I would prefer not to drive - i.e. other people drive, walk, or public transportation. But, since the car is a stick shift and Amy hasn't driven those a lot, and my car in America is, by default I am the driver. Needless to say driving on the left side of the road, changing gears with my left hand, having the passenger seat as the driver seat, round-abouts, roads that can only fit 1 1/2 cars but are really 2 lane roads, no street lights - all this takes a lot of getting used too! Amy helps me out a lot by telling me when I get too close to the curb on the left (which I constantly do) and she is in charge of navigating. It is getting a bit more normal now so Amy will have to make sure I drive on the right side of the road when we get back to America! But, I am having a wonderful time here. We went to Glendalough, Killanarey National Park, Cork City, and Blarney (where the Blarney Stone is) thus far. Tomorrow we will go through the Guinness Brewery and some other fun things in Dublin. I tried to upload picture to facebook a few minutes ago but it wouldn't load for some reason. So, I will try again later and hopefully add some pictures.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I am going to start off this post with a warning - I am biased so take my views of Morocco with a grain of salt. I have always wanted to come to Morocco, actually twice the PC told me I would be placed there. So here I am finally spending a week traveling around Morocco... and I can't wait to leave. I am not having a good time here at all. I think if I was coming here at a different stage in my life I would really enjoy it more; but not now. It is way too similar to my life in Azerbaijan. And coming here after spending time in Europe is brutal. I am back to being harassed walking down the street, having guys trying to grab me, having a guy kick at soccer ball at me, tons of unwelcome attention. It is just too much my life for the past 27 months too soon. But harder here because I don't speak the language or better so I can't understand what they are saying to me - depending on your perspective. We have already been to Casablanca and tomorrow we are leaving Fez for Marrakesh. Our first night in Casablanca we watched the movie Casablanca for the first time (the first time seeing the movie for the both of us) and we actually ate lunch at Rick's Cafe the next day. Our conclusion - Casablanca during WWII was much cooler. I am just having a hard time here in general - it is hard to find food I can eat, the tea is so sweet I don't like drinking it (never did I ever think I would find tea I don't like drinking) - I feel like I am drinking liquid sugar, I am just not in a good place mentally here. But on the positive side - the weather is quite nice during the day and it is cheaper than Europe.

We leave Morocco on Monday for Paris and then to Ireland and then back to the States.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Let me just start off saying I love Lisbon! I definitely want to come back to Portugal and spend more time, there is so much more I want to do. And this is definitely a place I wouldn't mind living in the future. I absolutely love it here. I am not sure where to begin. I love the weather, the history, the people, everything. And it has a circus school! And as I wrote previously I love the circus, I kind of want to come to Portugal and go to circus school. Amy's mom knows a Portuguese man who lives just outside of Lisbon and we spent Saturday with him as he toured us around Lisbon and surrounding cities ending the night at his house for dinner with him and his family. The other days we just wandered around on our own. Tomorrow we fly to Casablanca for more adventures!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I have been asked which city do I like better: Barcelona or Madrid. To be honest I am not sure: in Barcelona I went to the circus and a Flamenco show (which I could have done in Madrid but we booked it for Barcelona). And yes I did say circus, not the typical Barnes and Bailey style circus, but a circus none the less. We were walking down the street when I saw signs for the circus and made Amy and Olga go with me to the night show. So my new desire in life is to run away and join the circus (a desire I get every time I see the circus). But, for my first meal in Madrid I had a salad with avocadoes on it. I was so excited (I have had them in 2 ½ years). Then we were walking to Renia Sofia (a very famous art museum) when I saw a street seller selling sweet potatoes. I almost peed in my pants with excitement. A little background information – the only food I have truly missed my entire time abroad has been sweet potatoes. I already told my mom to stock the house with them because that is all I want to eat for the first month after I get home. So when I saw them on the street I was overcome with excitement so much so that I couldn’t even enjoy the art museum because all I wanted to do was go outside and get sweet potatoes. Needless to say I impatiently went through the museum with Olga only thinking about sweet potatoes so tomorrow I am going to the museum again so I can actually focus on what I am seeing. (And yes I loved every precious bite of my sweet potatoes.) I also went on a walking tour of Madrid and learned some interesting things about the history of the city that I didn’t know. So, back to the original question – I still have no answer. Amy and I will be in Madrid until Jan 6 when we will take a night train to Lisbon, Portugal.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I am spending my last night in Barcelona and tomorrow I am heading off to Madrid. I have a few observations about my trip - I like Spain but I am not in love with it; I don't foresee myself coming back anytime soon. I guess it is a good thing I never followed through with my childhood dream of becoming a bartender in Spain. I am now, however, a huge fan of Sangrias; I tried it for the first time this trip and love them. But, eating in Spain is quite difficult for a vegetarian who doesn't eat dairy; not many options. And the hot chocolate is a no go - never thought I would turn down hot chocolate but here it is quite thick, like pudding. Continuing on the food topic, which eating is my favorite past time, I like mezas (Turkish version of tapas) better than tapas. Well, I should log off so I can continue packing and go to bed. Be on the look out for pictures on facebook in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today is my last full day in Istanbul. Tomorrow we are heading out to Spain. I am very excited to leave Istanbul even though we have had a good time. We haven't done tons and tons of stuff, just taking it easy and enjoying a laid back relaxing vacation. We did however go see some of the major sights. It is Amy's first time in Istanbul and she had a list of thing she wanted to do.

Below are a few pictures but I posted more on my facebook account.

The Blue Mosque

Aya Sophia

Amy and Me at Subway

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No, I didn't quit my blog.

Its been too long since I last updated my blog. Since my last post everything, literally everything, in my life has changed. I am no longer as PCV; I COSed (completion of service) on Dec 16th. I am now an official RPCV (Returned PCV)! I know that is a bit of a surprise for some people since I posted a while ago my decision to extend. But after much thought and soul searching I came to the conclusion the best thing for me was to finish my time in Azerbaijan and come home.

So where am I now? Currently I am sitting in a flat in Istanbul that Amy and I are renting for the duration of our stay here. We will be here until the 30th, when we will leave for Spain. And yesterday I was in Paris, my new favorite city. After I COSed I met Sara and Laura there; I absolutely fell in love with it. I am not sure if I loved it so much because it is so different from where I have been or it is just that amazing. But I like it enough that Amy and I will make our way back there while we travel through Europe. We (Sara, Laura, and I) rented a flat near in a cute little neighborhood and had an amazing time sight seeing, eating, and relaxing. Below are pictures from my time there.

Sara and me at The Louvre

Our last supper - (I had monkfish)

Laura and me

Yes, I am drinking a bowl of amazing hot chocolate

At Notre Dame

Yummy sushi dinner

In our flat

At the Louvre