Monday, November 29, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

How much cuter would this card be with
 me and David's faces? :)
Although Skype, e-mail and googletalk have all been invaluable in helping us to stay in touch with friends and family while we've been hopping around the world, there is nothing quite like getting a real card in the mail. Even when we were just down the road from our friends and family, Christmas was always a time I looked forward to because of the sheer abundance of snail mail. In fact, I'm pretty sure I like getting Christmas cards more than presents. 

Since we'll be leaving for South Africa before Christmas, we are working hard to get our cards out early this year (and you should send them early to us too...hint, hint), which is great because Shutterfly is giving away 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers! Shutterfly has a huge selection of photo Christmas cards (my favorite!) and we have a ton of great pictures from all our travels this year so this is going to be a major decision! If you're not into photo Christmas cards, they also have a huge selection of holiday invitations and even fun gifts, like photo calendars or photo coffee mugs.

If you are looking for a great way to share your cute mug on a mug and support a worthy cause, pair up a Shutterfly photo coffee mug with a bag of Veronica's Cup Coffee. The coffee is a certified Fair-Trade Peruvian blend and proceeds go to support Veronica's House, an immediate safehouse in Peru that provides shelter, food, clothing, counseling and healthcare referrals for women and children at risk of being forced into sex or drug trafficking.

If you are on top of things and already have your Christmas cards done for the year, check out Shutterfly's fun selection of photo birthday cards. I think this one is adorable (probably not with this random kid's face though) and would be cute with any of the great products from the Not For Sale store, like this fun bracelet (which I have and love) handmade by women in Ugandan refugee camps. 

So go order your Christmas cards and send them to us soon! Or save them and celebrate in the United States with us when we have our very own Christmas in March!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

This was Friday but we're up to a solid 7 inches today and it's still coming down!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks a Lot!

Although we're spending the day in a country where people don't celebrate Thanksgiving, we're still going to celebrate today! There are so many things in our lives we are thankful for, but here are just a few:
 Technology: Thank you to Skype, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, etc. Because of technology, we're able to keep in touch with our friends and family back home and keep up with exciting things that are happening.
Health: We take this for granted way too often. Neither of us have ever had any major medical issues and we continue to be blessed with good health.
Alps: We live in Switzerland and have some of the most amazing views in the world. It's impossible to describe the beauty of standing on top of a hill and looking out over Lake Geneva at the foot of the French Alps.
Nicole: I realize what a blessing she is more and more each day. She's my best friend and I'm so thankful I'm able to share my life with her.
Knowledge: We're so thankful we come from families where education and knowledge are important and we have always been given opportunities to learn and experience things. 
Supporters: We could not be where we are right now without our supporters. Whether it's been through financial or prayer support - you make it possible for us to be here. Your encouragement and partnership means so much to us and we can't thank you enough.
Georgia: It's always on our mind and in many ways, it's home. It's where we met each other, where we graduated, where we got married, and where Nicole's family lives. Go Dawgs!
Improvement: We can't help but laugh at how different we are now than we were two years ago. We have grown in so many areas and learned so much about the world, and we've learned there is so much we don't know. We're thankful for the areas where we've improved and excited about the ways we can still grow.
Virginia: When the leaves are changing colors in the Fall, that's enough to be thankful for the beauty of Virginia. I'm also thankful for many great friends and family that live in Virginia.
Indoor Plumbing: When you go to a place where this isn't available, you really learn how thankful you are for it. There are so many blessings we have in our life that we take for granted all the time and most of the world would consider it an enormous luxury. 
Nations: There are so many wonderful and exciting things about the world and people from around the world. We have had the opportunity to get to know people from many different nations over the past two months, and it's been incredible to hear their stories and perspectives about how they view the world. See the world and hang out with people from other cultures.
God: He's our creator, our provider, and so much more. He formed us. He brought us together. He brought us here. And he has a plan for our future. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I see London, I see France...

One of the many things we wanted to try to do while in Europe was travel and Annecy, France came highly recommended to us by a few people before we even got to Switzerland. Lucky for us, it is just over the French border and is known for having one of the best street markets in France, so we took a little Sunday trip to check it out. We got up and took the train from Gland to Geneva where we found out (surprise!) that we had to take the bus to Annecy - oops. It was only a 90 minute trip (through the gorgeous Alps) and well worth it for the incredible day we had. If we can squeeze in another day before we head to Africa, we'll definitely be back!

Our first European train ride. Big day!

The market

This taffy stuff was incredible and they had every single flavor you could ever image. I think I ate my weight in free samples...

Olives and tapenade. I love you, Europe.

Some man offered me a free oyster. I watched him open it and kill it. And then I ate it.

Donkey sausage - of course we had to try it...

Affordable sushi! ....because we needed a mid-morning snack...?

GIANT meringues in a billion flavors

I got chocolate :) 

David went with the baguette

Hello Alps

Pizza for lunch

The couple next to us left and didn't eat all of their I took it, and David took a picture. It was delicious and he thanked me later.

The old prison

Lac d'Annecy

Pont des Amours

We obviously hadn't eaten enough at this point, so we had to try real "chestnuts roasted on an open fire." So Christmasy!

The city from the other side of the lake

And we finished off the evening with a "gaufre" (French for giant, amazing, delicious waffle covered in powdered sugar) and hot, fresh crepes - we had one Nutella and Grand Marnier crepe. And then went back for another Nutella.

Sunday really may have been the best day I've had since we've been here. Our weeks are full of class, deep discussions and lots of community time, so it was great to be able to get away and relax by ourselves for the day. And France uses the Euro, so everything is so much cheaper than in Switzerland! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

You've Got Mail

We are feeling the love! This week we got not one, but two packages full of goodies! It is seriously amazing to get stuff in the mail and remember that there are other people in the universe thinking about us, even when we feel so isolated halfway around the world.

The first package we got was from my friend, Nikki. We met when we worked at Disney during our Summer Project in 2006 and have bonded recently over being expats in random countries. She took a huge leap of faith and moved to Korea alone to teach English - you can (and should) follow her inspirational and hilarious blog here.

She sent us a bunch of random Korean foods, which is awesome! I haven't tried anything yet but I am pretty excited about the mushroom-shaped chocolate, the Beatles-themed skittles, and the "Smile Nuts," which say "Always Flesh" on the back. The socks have already gotten a lot of wear though, they are warm and fuzzy and perfect for Switzerland!

The other package came from my parents and, of course, Colby. Thanksgiving isn't celebrated here but they wanted us to celebrate the American way. I'm excited about decorating our room and sharing the American Thanksgiving love with everyone here. They also sent two of my most favorite things - Splenda and more warm socks! These socks have little rubber nubs on the bottom, so I can bum around the base in them and not worry about cracking my head open on the tile floors.

Thanks to everyone who has sent us packages, letters, postcards, blog comments, or facebook messages!