Subscribe below to have blog posts automatically sent to your email.
As the Fourth of July approaches, some of you Americans out there living overseas might already be a little bummed to be missing the annual family backyard BBQ or that epic weekend at the beach with your best girlfriends. For other Americans living abroad, it might not hit you until you are scrolling through Instagram on July 4th. Well, you aren’t the only one missing home. Unfortunately, it is our holiday routine that we are trying to change. Here are 7 Ideas to Celebrate without Fireworks on the Taking Route Blog.
The first time I spent 2 months in Ethiopia by myself, I returned to America and announced to my parents that I wouldn’t go overseas for an extended period of time until I was married because it was just too isolating. But life has a way of making me do things that I vowed to never to do. I graduated from college and got my first real job as an executive assistant. Before long, my boss was asking me to move to Malawi. Those 3 years living in Malawi, single, were some of the most complicated years of my life. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Read my 8 lessons learned the hard way on the A Life Overseas Blog.
In my current pregnant state it is easy to rattle off 10 things I miss about America. What is much harder right now is to remember why we came here and remind myself why I chose to stay in this place. I am not forced to be here. My husband did not drag me here. God did not twist my arm. This was my decision and my husband and I continue to make that decision with each passing month. Check out the Top 10 Things I Miss as well as the Top 10 Reasons We Keep Making This Place Home on the Velvet Ashes Blog.
I have just visited my new favorite European city for the first time. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know it existed until three months ago when we starting looking at cities to visit along the Dalmatian Coast. The moment we rounded the bend along the coastal road from Montenegro, it was clear why Game of Thrones had picked Dubrovnik as King’s Landing. The city juts into the sea surrounded by ancient walls dating back to the 7th century. Read the rest of my post on the We Are Travel Girls Blog.
Sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get in the kitchen after a long day. Here are the cookbooks and guides inspiring me to find my way to the kitchen every day, multiple times a day, to create and spread my table with sweet and savory goodness. Check out these five cookbooks on the Upper Barn Blog.
Since I was small, I sat in my Grandma Walt’s library and gazed at photos of my grandmother in an elegant wedding dress and dreamed that one day I would wear that same dress. But the dress was forgotten and many of my childhood dreams buried in reality. Read more about why I will never regret wearing her grandmother's wedding dress as well as her great-grandmother's veil on the Upper Barn Blog.
I was born and breed in Ethiopia, but my birth parents are an American Viszla and an American Pitbull that immigrated to Ethiopia to find a better life for themselves. Let’s face it, the food in Ethiopia for dogs is so much better than America. In America, they feed dogs these hard round balls of corn. Here in Ethiopia I get fresh meat, eggs and bones every day. My mom tries to sneak some veggies and rice in there too, but that’s okay. Read more about me on the Paw Tribe Diaries.
Thank you for supporting me a few weeks ago when I accidentally killed one of my mom’s chickens. I was grieved to report the situation has got far worse and the chickens are taking over my life. Literally.
Did you ever wonder where the idea of serving chicken noodle soup when someone is sick came from? It’s not just because it is easy on stomach and warm. Chicken soup started as home remedy because of the nutritional value of chicken stock (broth) to repair and calm the lining of the small intestines, bringing healing to the body. Read more about the how and why of chicken broth on the Upper Barn Blog.
I hesitate to write this article, because I am worried that I will unveil one of the best kept secrets in East Africa: the Ancient Rock-Hewn churches of Northern Ethiopia. To get to most of these churches you have to hike up into the mountains, where you will find hidden 1600 year-old churches that have been preserved by the monks and priests of modern and of old. Most of the churches were carved deep into the rock to protect them, as well as their history, from invaders. Read the rest of the blog on the We Are Travel Girls Blog.
Quitting my job last summer made me face my real life, or should I say lack of a real life here in Mekelle.Greg had started a business, he had employees and friends and was getting a hang of the language. It had been tons of work for him, but it was paying off. He was blossoming and I was sinking in to the shadows.
I was inspired by a friend's resolutions to give away 30 things for her 30th birthday. I am looking for ways to live more generously this year without necessarily giving away more money. Check out my 8 Ideas on the Upper Barn Blog.
Looking for inspiration on how you can do more with less in your home? When I was young, I was embarrassed when my mother went to thrift stores and bought things second hand. Then I had a house of my own and I stood wide-eyed, mouth gaping at the price of new hand-towels, much less a set of plates. My mom’s shopping habits suddenly made more sense. My mom’s whole home is from thrifting, repurposing what she already has to make a space and create peace. Isn’t that the point of a home anyway? For more inspiration for thrift store decorating visit my mom’s Etsy page called the Refurbished Farmhouse. Originally posted on Upper Barn Blog.
For Easter I had my hair done in the traditional Ethiopian style. My friend owns a local hair salon. I went at 11am and was finished at 3pm. #4hourslater I will have to be honest that it was hard to sleep the first few nights, but by the fourth night I slept like a baby.
I will have to admit that thinking about my breakfast routine at my house in Mekelle, on a cold morning, brings me tons of peace while sitting in a hotel in the middle of nowhere Ethiopia. I can almost feel the fur in the bottom of my slippers as I shuffle around the kitchen in my bathrobe. I yawn as I pour oil on a hot pan and watch it sizzle. I breathe in through my nose to smell the freshly roasted coffee beans as I pour them into the grinder. I watch the blender hum with frozen bananas, canned coconut milk, peanut butter, dates, and almonds. Its more like a breakfast milkshake than a smoothie, but before you get too excited you will need frozen bananas for all these recipes.
There are very few of us that can live off of our passion or our craft. Most of us work to pay the bills or we stay at home to keep the kids and then by the light of a candle or in minutes stolen from an early morning we do what we are passionate about. Maybe it is because it is in stolen-time that we dream, craft, and create that keeps the passion aflame. My stolen time on the elliptical at the gym; no husband, no cooking, no housework, just me and my music and words. Luisa Ellis, my friend of 27 years, is a candle light creator. She calls herself the paper piper. Photo contributions by Elisa Bricker & myself. Originally posted on the Upper Barn Blog.