From Helen’s Camera…

I forgot my camera, but thankfully Helen didn’t. Here’s where we traveled!

We climbed some pretty steep steps…

…and, of course, took the ubiquitous jumping photo.

Really the main thing in this picture of the Bird’s Nest is the smog. The truly crazy thing? The sun was visible this day, an orange globe hidden behind, not clouds, but a layer of brown soot. Sometimes I feel like we are living in Industrial Age London.

And our last night together, at a cool riverfront area with live music and, unbelievably, a yogurt bar. I would never have guessed they would make it to Asia!

Porch Love

If you live in CQ or have ever visited my apartment, you know I’m obsessed with our porch. It’s nothing fancy but goodness is it ever happy! We’ve loved the porch this year and have had lots of fun nights around the fire pit  or just enjoying the view. Since we all live in apartments here and I’ve never seen anyone who lives in a house or anywhere with an actual yard, porches become our only option for hosting outdoors. And although it’s scorching these days and I’m afraid our porch time is over for the summer, I’d say we’ve taken full advantage.


-Helen has come and gone. She left the country yesterday after spending a few days in the capital. Thankfully, I was able to travel with her and we had so much fun seeing the sights and buying (lots!) of stuff. Family and friends, get excited for Christmas.

I took almost no photos during Helen’s time here, probably because most of our time together happened in the lazy, hanging-out moments of life: cooking dinner, watching a movie, lounging on the couch. And then, during our travels, I forgot my camera at home. Oh, well.

I am so grateful Helen was able to come and spend a month and a half here this summer. It has been so fun for both Michael and me to hang out with her and to experience Asia with her, almost as if for the first time. This summer was the first time since I started college about 10 years ago (!!!!) that we’ve had more than a few weeks in the same place. She is amazing and I am so thankful for our extended time together!

These two pics, sadly blurry, are from Helen’s birthday dinner at our house. So much fun!

-Lost and found: engagement ring. Twice.

Although Michael is currently doubtful of my true feelings toward this piece of jewelry, I love my engagement ring. Despite that, after more than three mishap-free years, the month of June was a real disaster, jewelry-wise.

The first incident happened on my birthday in early June. I was on our back porch, transplanting our basil plant into a larger pot, and didn’t want my rings to get grimy. So I took it off. Unfortunately I’m afflicted with clumsy fingers  and my ring bounced onto the porch…

….over the railing

…..and down into this.


Thankfully the ring landed in this patio area and not in the general craziness that is the rest of the  neighborhood. It’s difficult to tell in these photos but outside of this patio there is a steep slope, lots of chickens, and assorted rubbish. If the ring had bounced just a bit it would have landed in the woods and heaven only knows what would have happened.

I started shaking and freaking out immediately, which is when Michael came to the rescue. Our downstairs neighbors weren’t home at the time, so he had to crawl through the woods and over the wall into the patio. He made it though and found my ring, safe and sound, on the concrete floor. A huge sigh of relief and promises to never remove my ring, ever again, followed.

Until about two weeks later.

Although round one was resolved in a matter of 30 minutes, round two, while less dramatic, dragged on for days. I took my ring off for bed one night and couldn’t find it the next morning. Or the next. We tore our house apart and couldn’t find it. We moved all the furniture in our bedroom and it was nowhere to be seen. Until, half a week later while looking behind a shelf in the bathroom for a dropped earring–there it was! Not sure how that happened since we had previously searched behind the aforementioned shelf, but whatever, I’ll take it.

And now I promise I really will never take my ring off again. Or at least I’ll be really careful with where I place it.

-And, finally, more good-byes. After an incredible year, this week we said farewell to this amazing group of friends.

I can’t handle dealing with it right now so I’m not going to write much except to say: you will all be missed!