Saturday, June 30, 2012

Holla! Amigos! Part 1

So I've been in Costa Rica this past week fulfilling my Cross-Cultural requirement for Asbury. Asbury you say? Didn't you graduate a year and a half ago? ...Yes, well...almost. This stupid Cross-Cultural requirement has been haunting me like Great Caesar's Ghost. Basically I was required to pay lots of money to go outside the country to "experience" another culture. I might be a tiny bit bitter, but we won't go into that. Every trip that came along, either fell through, or was at the wrong time. Luckily, my dad let me tag along with him on a business trip. His company has a plant/branch in Costa Rica that he visits a few times a year. I might have spent a lot of time by the hotel pool, which is totally Cross-Cultural by the way, but I did have a chance to do a few cultural things.

I stayed with my friend's Rob, Yami, and their 2 girls Natalie and Heidi. Rob is from the states, and works with my dad for the plant in Costa Rica. He and Yami graciously offered their home to me for a few days. Yami and the girls showed me around their beautiful town, which included a trip to a volcano, their coffee farm, an oil painting lesson from Yami, and lots of beautiful countryside.

Small view of town

- Side story -
When Rob and Yami first met they couldn't talk. Rob didn't speak a word of Spanish and Yami didn't know a word of English. I asked Yami how they communicated and she slyly laughed and then made kissy noises.

 The Volcano
(left to right)
Natalie, Yami, and Heidi

By the end of my stay I wanted to stuff these two into my suitcase and illegally take them home with me stay for forever. Her girls are simply fun, we had a great time together. Yami and I found a common love of tea, painting, and loving on her girls. I'll post more pictures and write more about our adventures later!

A few things that I've learned about Costa Rica so far:

* Traffic lights, signs, and rules are simply suggestions not regulations.

* Motorbikes have a special lane.
Which would be in-between you, and the car next to you. 
Like this:

* Costa Ricans' always back into a parking spot, and can parallel park like nobody's business. Please come teach Americans your parking skillz asap.

* I hopelessly suck at understanding Spanish. I'm mentally exhausted everyday from just trying to understand what the heck people are saying. Hence why this post might be anywhere from boring, vague, or confusing.

* Loose fitting clothing doesn't exist. The tighter the better.

* Ceviche is amazing.

* You have to beg for your check at dinner. They just aren't in any hurry, and don't think you need to be either!

* There are no street signs. All directions are given in landmarks. (Women's paradise!)

* Dad and I rented a car. When we picked it up they explained to us that they would be moving the car rental location Wednesday. We called to get directions (that in itself is funny) only to tell us that they hadn't moved yet, but would for sure be moving the next day. Needless to say, we have called everyday only to hear the same thing, they would for sure be moving the next day. It is now Saturday night and they stilled haven't "officially" moved. All this to say, they don't get in a hurry.

* It's completely normal, and OK to stop in the middle of the road, shut the car off, get out, and take a picture.

Buenos Notches!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That Guy

So along with the 24,545 things going on this summer I feel like I'm forgetting someone...someone kind of important. I think I've talked about him a few times. That guy Evan. In between driving home, visiting with my family, and now being in Costa Rica (I'll explain about this one later) Evan isn't getting the blogging update he deserves! In real life he is probably thrilled that he has slipped by without me talking about him here. He's not one for attention of any kind. Evan is that guy at a party where you kind of forget he is there. At the end of the night you realize he was sitting quietly in the corner right beside you the whole time. Believe me, don't feel sorry for him. He totally likes it that way, and does it on purpose.  

Its kind of hard to believe that hes been gone 2, almost 3 months already. This deployment is so much different than the last one, in a good way for me at least. Its very low-key. Maybe its because this isn't my first rodeo. Another reason is because Evan's job is so much different this time around. This time its all paperwork and meetings with minimal patrols. (Because of his promotion his job is no longer a platoon leader) They are in the mountains this time, which means IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) aren't as common. Last deployment was a completely different story. A constant cloud of stress hovered over every hour of my life when he was gone. I always felt slightly nauseous when my phone rang, and tried not to go into panic mode when I hadn't heard from him in several days. I had dreams of the casualty notice people coming to my dorm room. Every day that he was on patrol was like waiting for a time bomb to go off. Every other day somebody was shot or stepped on an IED. There wasn't anything any of us could do to stop it. Guys were going to get hurt. Men were going to die for their country. It was just a matter of who it was going to be. Its kind of hard to explain how completely helpless and terrified I felt all the time. I know right now Evan is bored. Part of me says - good! Boredom means safety. But, at the same time, I feel a little sad for Evan. I know he didn't sign up to be bored while he's there. Is that crazy? I'm sure it sounds a little nutty.

  Every deployment has its phases. I'm at the point in the deployment where I miss him, but I don't really think about him being gone. For those of you might have to be around me, here are the phases of my deployment emotions/moods. You're welcome.

Phase I (Month 1-2): When he very first leaves I go half crazy without him around. I wear all his clothes, eat all his favorite foods, (that I don't even like) and send him sappy emails four times a day. I'm whiny, negative, and generally supportive of gushy romantic movies and books. At night I obsessively watch home-videos on Youtube of soldiers being reunited with their families. 

Phase II (Month 3-6): I seem heartless. I go into full blown, emotionless deployment mode. I always, always miss him when he isn't here, but there is a part of me that just goes on with life, without being sad that he isn't here. I'll have little moments - like last night at dinner - where I saw peanut crusted tuna with a spicy Cajun sauce that I immediately knew he would love, and inevitably order if he was here; but other than that I don't think about him too much unless I'm sitting down to write him an email or chatting with him on Skype.

Phase III (Month 6-8): I get mad. It comes when I've mowed the lawn for the 12th time in the blazing heat, or can't open a stupid jar to make dinner. When I've have to go around at night and make sure the doors are locked, yet still wake up in the middle of the night positive that someone is in my house (While Scout doesn't even wake up to protect me!). If Evan would be home, I would be (Inside in the glorious A/C) staring outside at my nicely mowed lawn , making dinner in 10 minutes, and sleeping like a log! I get mad at the Army, I get mad I Evan. I desperately just want to put the blame on someone for why he is away. 

Phase IV (Month 8-10): Finally the restlessness sets in. I get excited, giddy, and down right stir-crazy with waiting for him to get home. Sometimes I'll let out a random scream, run around, and pretend like I don't notice the butterflies pounding through my stomach. I fill the cupboards with all his favorite things. The house sparkles its so clean. All his "civilian" clothes are neatly folded and ready to wear. I'll wrack my brain over what outfit to wear. Should I look sexy? Slutty? Domestic?What will it be like when I first see him?! I wonder if he will think I'm hott?! I wonder if it will be the same?! Should I make a poster to hold up? Hell no. Will he want to talk? Not talk? Make-out? Oh god, did I forget to buy gum? Out of all the crazy questions and feelings, I know I'll always feel one thing when hes home: relief wrapped into indescribable happiness. That one moment is the thing that makes this whole Military thing totally, and completely worth every minute. The moment where that guy, my guy, comes home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bears inside of Sam's Club!!!!

Sometimes I hang out with my Mom in Sam's Club instead of blogging...

 Sometimes we get laughed at by old ladies for making too much noise...and laugh louder anyway.

Sometimes we get really tired and take a nap from too much fun.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

Contrary to popular belief, Krysti and I did more than eat lots of delicious food and act like paparazzi towards our dogs. OK, so our Instagrams were embarrassingly plastered with dog pictures, but that is beside the point. (To be fair, we forewarned every follower involved) We gladly made some time to hunt for some things to get a jump-start on Krysti's apartment. She is starting from scratch, so we were looking for anything and everything. 

 Krysti found this gem stuffed under a table. She is planning on using the inside as storage for cute blankets and trinkets, slapping a piece of glass on top, and using it for a coffee table in her new place. The picture doesn't do it justice! Its nicked, worn wood, smoothed over with years of love. This old chest has personality! It's going to look like something out of the pages of pottery barn, expect for a fraction of the price. We almost couldn't believe that it was only $30!

This cute rustic milk-can has such an amazing texture about it. (Again my crappy iPhone doesn't do it justice...reminder to self: stop being lazy and use my real camera) You could set it by the front door to hold umbrellas, put a round piece of worn wood on top to use as an end table, or simply fill it with tall, wispy florals as a decoration. Krysti snagged it for a mere $15!

She also ended up with an awesome shelf for next-to-nothing, a lamp, and some old medicine bottles! Basically, her new future apartment is going to be the cutest place in town.

I found these small, rounded flower pictures for my bathroom for $6. I have to admit I have zero things for our master bathroom since I used all of my "cool" bathroom stuff in the main hallway bathroom. That way, when people visit, it looks like my house is totally put together...haha oh the deceitful web of interior design lies that I weave!

By the end of the day, we had so many things, that we ended parked in a tow zone (oops) with our thirfty finds littered around us on the sidewalk. The shelf and the chest were not fitting. We stood there rearranging things for a solid 25 minutes in the sweating hot heat. For a brief 10 minutes, we thought it wasn't all going home with us. Thinking back, we probably looked like wild, crazy hoarders at that point. Finally, the shelf magically fit in the back of the car after trying 2,438 different ways. Success! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


A few weeks ago I visited my sister-in-law in South Carolina. I can easily see why people rave about this place. The mature vine-wrapped, moss-covered trees line the roads and shade horse pulled buggy's that rattle and creek down the old brick streets. The clops of the horses feet bounce down dozens of narrow ally ways all at once. They disappear into delicate wrought iron gates, that guard spindling vines, blooming flower boxes, and secret doorways. The charm. Good lord, the houses! 

Here are just a few pictures of beautiful Charleston, SC. 

I would be so happy, just to walk through that gate everyday.

Amazing details on all of the houses!

Isn't this the cutest, tiniest house ever?

Yes, I would love to come in...Please?

Now that is a porch!

How couldn't you be swept up in this historic place? More on my trip later!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Meredith Currently...

Obsessing over...Teen Mom. I can't help but indulge my trashy MTV side! Come on...I know you watch it too.

Wishing for...a boat. That's totally realistic right?
Saturday my family was invited by close friends to go hang out on their new boat. I didn't think I was usually a boating kind of girl, but I've found a new-found love of everything that has to do with water, sun, and a strong breeze. It was heavenly! I tried tubing, water skiing, and swinging off a rope swing. I was kind of terrified, but I was more proud of myself for trying it all despite the fact I felt like I was going to have a heart attack the majority of the time. After, we spent time just cruising down the Allegheny River enjoying the absolutely perfect day. I didn't have a single thing to complain about.

Thinking about...Shoes. They are my weakness if you don't already know.

Anticipating...getting down to Lexington to visit my friends, and then eventually making my way back home to TN. It feels like I've been in Pennsylvania with my parents for a month, when in reality its only been a week. In my mind the sooner I get home, that means the sooner I start back at work, which means the sooner Evan comes home from Afghanistan. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Things That Drive Me Crazy

In no particular order...

1. People who are on their phone when I'm talking to them.
2. Angry lights. Aka bright overhead lights, table lamps and soft glow bulbs were invented for a reason.
3. Wash cloths
4. People who wear too much perfume.
5. Cigarette smoke.
6. People who leave their Christmas lights up past February 1st.
7. Children singing.
8. Leggings. They are not pants.
9. People who don't use their turn signal.
10. Sleeping without a fan/air machine. It's basically impossible.
11. The sound of someone filing their nails.
12. When towels aren't folded a certain way.
13. Blowing my nose.
14. People who think they don't need to blow their nose.
15. Nosy people.
16. Any movie/book having anything to do with Nicholas Sparks.
17. Feet.
18. When people get a dog only to make it live tide up outside.
19. Those who don't use doggy bags...would you be upset if I pooped in your yard and left it there?
20. People who don't flush after using the bathroom.
21. Flossing (especially when you have braces).
22. People who chew with their mouth open.
23. Kirby men.
24. The word soda, its pop.
25. Slow walkers.
26. Sitting forever at the doctors office.
27. Not remembering my password.
28. Mumbling.
29. Line skippers.
30. Taylor Swift haters.
31. Fitted sheets that don't fit properly.
32. People always have pet fur on their clothes. Two words: Lint Roller.
33. People who bite their fork/spoon when they eat. (Wonder where I learned this one Krysti Leonard)
34. When a vending machine eats my quarters.
35. People who push their tongue against their front teeth when they smile.
36. Judgement. People are so quick to judge!
37. Disrespectful children.
38. Stubbing my toes on the same piece of furniture repeatedly.
39. People telling me how to do my job a "better" way, which is usually the harder/longer way.
40. Cheap tippers.
41. People who won't make eye contact when they talk to me.
42. Hotels that don't give you enough towels.
43. Tom and Jerry. They are always ruining a perfectly clean house!
44. Techno music.
45. People who aren't conscious of what looks good/bad on their body type.
46. The American food system.
47. Unfair teachers.
48. Multiple traffic lights in a row that aren't coordinated.
49. Styrofoam.
50. Loud me crazy but some pillows crinkle too loud when your head is on them

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pizza Pie

So I'm finally back from my beach vacation! Somehow I'm still pale...sigh...I guess I need a whole month at the beach to do myself any good. Right now I'm busy planning my 5 year class reunion that is this Sunday, and celebrating my little brother's 20th Birthday today! (Why did I ever think this summer was going to be sluggishly slow?!) I feel like making apologies for disappearing for a little bit, but I'm not. I'm picking right back up where I left off with Krysti's visit...I'll catch you up from there, how about that?

If I do say so myself, Krysti (My friend from college who came for a visit) and I are quite the talented cooks. One of my favorite things to make when I have people over is pizza. I know I've done a post for pizza before, but guys, its just so good! I can't help myself. Everyone loves pizza, there are about a million different combinations and toppings to chose from, so everyone can pick exactly what they like! Its a little messy, but totally worth every ounce of flour spilled on the floor! We turned up some music and got to work on our classic cheese pizza. 

I've noticed a common theme with Krysti and I. Every time we do something together we blast music. We're kind of professional road-trippers, late night food eaters, and dance party junkies. All of these memories have a song to go with them. Sometimes its dance-your-heart-out music, sometimes its so chill we have a hard time staying awake, and sometimes its sad music. What I love about our music craze, is every time I hear a certain song on the radio or my ipod, it takes me right back to what we were doing. Standing in my kitchen making pizza together will always come to my mind when I hear this song!