Exciting News!

You know all those times people told me I should write a book about our international adventures? Well, last week I indie published my very first book. Here it is:

Paradise Interrupted: Romantic Adventures Backpacking Across the Philippines, Baby in Tow by Sarah Bringhurst

It’s available on Amazon for Kindle here. Check it out!

Cooking in the Tropics

Last year while I was waiting for our Tunisian landlord to get air conditioning installed in our apartment, I did a couple of posts on cooking for hot weather. When we are not having hurricanes and tornados here in Florida, the weather here is also very hot. And unlike Tunisia, where the sweltering wind off the Sahara desert kept things pretty dry even by the coast, Florida is more of a tropical place. In fact, I’m convinced that if we let our lawn go for, say, six months, we’d probably end up with not a knee-high grassy field, but a full-out jungle. Seriously. You can almost see the grass growing.

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An Evening in the Philippines

Last night we had the good fortune to be invited to dinner by Estela, a friend of ours who is Filipina. There was a Filipino restaurant we used to eat at occasionally in Utah, but it’s been a long time since we had real Filipino food. Estela is an amazing cook, and she prepared several classic Filipino dishes for us. We started out with two kinds of lumpia, or egg rolls. The first ones were “fresh” (i.e. unfried) lumpia, which are like a very thin, light crepe wrapped around julienne carrots, palm hearts, and curly lettuce.

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Waiting for the Rainbow

So, do houses not need lightning rods anymore?

I have been wondering this for a few weeks, ever since thunderstorm season (I don’t use the word “hurricane,” because I think it’s bad luck) began in earnest. I distinctly remember that in Ray Bradbury’s creepy masterpiece, Something Wicked This Way Comes, it was of utmost importance to get a lightning rod installed on one’s house before the big storm arrived. And then when the lightning hit the rod, I think that was when the army of spiders started to invade the house. Or was that just some bad dream I had after reading it? Was Ray Bradbury living in Florida when he wrote the book?

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Welcome Home, Part 2: The Dining Room

Well, I finally got around to taking pictures of another room in our house. And I do have another decorating problem to share with you. But first, a few photos.

Here’s our dining room:

Isn’t our bar-height table fun? I feel like a little kid sitting at it with my feet dangling. We got it when Axa was a toddler, partly because we loved the fact that she couldn’t reach onto the table and pull the dishes off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good photo of the picture behind it, which is one of my favorite pictures ever. In fact, I tried to convince Tony that we should recreate it for our engagement picture. I still don’t know why he wouldn’t agree. Don’t you think it’s just about the most romantic photo you’ve ever seen? It pretty much encapsulates my philosophy of life.

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Get Me to the Church on Time

When Tony and I lived on BYU campus as newlyweds, we pretty much walked straight out our front door into the Mormon chapel, which was also on campus. Forgot an extra diaper? No problem (please tell me I’m not the only mother who’s ever done this). There was no hassle if one of us needed to be at Church early. And home/visiting teaching was a piece of cake. Tony still loves to tell about his Elder’s Quorum President, who stood up in opening exercises one morning to recount a conversation in which his father (also Elder’s Quorum President in his own ward) begged to know his secret for achieving 100% home teaching. Our Elder’s Quorum President (in all seriousness) launched into an exposition of his plan, which included things like accountability, positive motivation, and setting a good example. I had to laugh. Um, how about the fact that everyone lives next door to each other, and if they go inactive they’ll get kicked out of school, and hence out of the ward?

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Philippines, Part 11: Nuts to the Huts (Bohol)

How to Eat in a Foreign Country Without Going Crazy

I love kneading bread. There is nothing like the magic of pounding that sticky, lumpy mass of flour and water into a silky, smooth, obedient ball of dough. If only all of life’s sticky problems could be so quickly transformed into valuable assets. Luckily (for me), moving often, especially internationally, does expand (if sometimes painfully) one’s toolbox for solving problems. And nowhere is this more apparent than in our food choices. Different foods are just easier to find in some places than others. And if you don’t want to spend a fortune shopping at an international grocery store for foods imported from much too far away, it behooves you to learn to eat like the locals. Or at least make something you like out of the local ingredients.

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