Saturday, August 22, 2009

Joint Marital Blog!

The time has come my friends, for the solo Adventures of Pam to come to an end, and the joint adventures of SchnakeKolbas to take flight.

That is to say, this blog will no longer be in use due to the recent birth of our new JOINT MARITAL BLOG, please make the move with me and join us there!

P.S. don't forget to add us to your google reader ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Recetas Latinas Saludables

A couple weeks ago Michael brought home a little goodie bag that the "foodies" (health and urban agriculture department) at his organization were giving out for free. In this goodie bag was a treasure so wonderful that I must share it with my blog reading friends: A small little cookbook called Recetas Latinas Saludables, or Healthy Latin Recipes Made with Love. It is a collection of recipes published by Champions for Change gathered from Latina women in California which are healthy versions of typical dishes . Though my usual cooking method relies more on reading several internet recepies until I can come up with some combination that uses the ingredients I have on hand than on cookbooks, I have been cooking almost exclusively from this cookbook for the last couple of weeks and am loving it. (as is Michael) The ingredients are mostly inexpensive (especially living this close to the border), the recipes are all very healthy, and the food is DELICIOUS. Our favorites so far were the Sopa de Abondigas (to which I reccomend adding a healthy dose of cilantro) and Mango Black Bean Burritos.

This past week at the farmer's market I came across a second edition from the same group called Soulful Recipes - equally delicious and healthy looking soul food recipes. I can't wait to try it out!

Cooking these recipes not only provides me with delicious and nutritios meals, it was also a fun way to connect with the ethnic groups directly around our home. Now if only they would publish verions for Somali and Vietnamese food I'd be set!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

East City Heights

It is cool and overcast in City Heights this morning. Growing up in Oregon I never fully appreciated the wonder of an overcast morning. The cool misty fog spreads a layer of calm over the otherwise baking and busy street that we live on.

As I get up and prepare our ritual oatmeal and coffee this morning, the language I hear spoken outside my windows is Spanish. About every 30 minutes a car drives by blasting some form of Mexican music. Michael and I love this.

If you turn down the block however, you realize this is not merely another Latino neighborhood in San Diego, but something much more strange and interesting. Just around the corner a Vietnamese husband and wife sell an odd assortment of vacuum cleaners, DVD players, and other garage sale items (incidentally this is where I purchased my vacuum and DVD player 2 weeks ago for $20 each, the former of which works great and the later... not so much). Walk another block down and you come upon Buddhist monks in their bright orange robes preparing to serve the daily bread line at their brightly painted temple. Across the street from the temple Somali women draped in richly textured cloths from head to toe carry their groceries on their heads. Or maybe they are coming from the hair salon around the corner which advertises private rooms for Muslim women.

If I were to walk down my street in the other direction I would be greeted by friendly African-American women sitting in plastic chairs in front of their appartments. A young white couple walking down the street would look rather out of place on these blocks. How strange we must have seemed two nights ago playing croquet in our front yard with five of our friends. And yet "strange" takes on a different meaning on Altadena Ave. Everyone seems to take it in stride.

Houses in my neighborhood vary in size and maitenence, though most tend on the smaller side. Some are falling apart with dirt lawns, others have gardens more meticulously maintained than I've seen in the ritziest suburbs (albiet with more practical and productive vegitation). The cars are similarly diverse, from the souped up racers to the ancient camper vans blaring tinny music and plastered with ice-cream labels.

Just three blocks from our house is a large park where Thai women get their morning exercise under the protective shade of an umbrella or large hat, Mexican women burn off calories in swishy pants and long sleeved shirts. I'm probably the only person "working on my tan" in the whole neighborhood.

In this same park we gathered a week ago with our Asain, Latin, and African neighbors for our local National Night Out event. We ate hot-dogs, painted tiles, listened to brief speaches from localrepresentatives and politicians, watched the Asian youth preform impressive breakdancing stunts on the grass, and finally marched around the park chanting "No more violence!" We paused on the edge of this park at the small memorial cross of a young Mexican youth who was gunned down here two years ago. The fervor of our chanting increases as we brandish our candles in his memory and chant "No more violence! No more violence!"

Michael and I LOVE this.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Blogging bug is back

Since beginning my new life in San Diego I have suddenly rediscovered the urge to blog. There are so many new sights and thoughts and things to share about. On the downside, we don't have internet at our house (except for the ocassional 5 minute spurt of catching the one very weak unprotected signal here and there). We are looking at sharing internet with our neighbors however, and if this should happen I believe a new blog may emerge - a joint authorship between my husband and myself. For the time being, and in the spirit of taking advantage of free library internet, I thought an update might be in order.

A lot has happened in the last 2 months (wait, no, 3 months, has it really been 3 months since we graduated?!). So many life changes rolled up into one. Graduating and getting married have already been covered with their own brief picture posts so I will begin the update where the last post left off.

After a fantastic wedding Michael and I spent the night in Portland and then headed to Kauai for a week long honeymoon in his parent's time share on the island. I so wish I had pictures of this beautiful week to share with you all, but alas our camera was caught by a sneaker wave and killed and we haven't been able to acess the pictures from it yet.

Next came a week long stay at my parents house where my sister, adorable nephew, brother, and brother-in-law were all present. It was again, a terrific week, beautiful to spend this time with my nearest and dearest. I treasured every moment with my nephew and sister. It was sad to leave.

But leave we did, our little green echo packed to the gills, ready to start our new Californian life. Despite a certain aversion to California that I think all Oregonians might be genetically endowed with, I knew the Lord was calling us to San Diego, and it was exciting to see what this new chapter held. We drove through the incredible Redwoods, along the coast, and finally though the desolate Central Valley before landing in Temecula, at Michael's parent's house.

We arrived in So Cal just 2 days before Michael's new job began. This time held a bit of anxiety as it involved: frantically looking for a job, Michael commuting into San Diego most days (though it's only an hour, not too bad) and us spending the night at our friend's Chaz and Rebeccas 1 or 2 nights a week. We never knew from one week to the next where we would be living or what I would be doing. It was like someone pressed the pause button right at the most suspenseful part of the movie...

...And then they hit play and everything whirred back into lightning speed. The commuting lasted about three weeks before we had an opportunity to house sit just South of the city. On the same day that the house sitting option became available I was called in for an interview. The next day I was hired. The job is not exactly what I had in mind, but I hear that finding exactly what one had in mind is quite rare. The funny part is that this job is the exact same job that Michael has - volunteer coordinating for a refugee resettlement organization through Americorps funding. (Only I'm a Vista and he's a State and National VIP, which means nothing to anyone unless they've done americorps).
My job has not started yet. I was origionally told it would start mid August, but due to annoying funding issues I won't start until the end of August.

The day I was hired for this job I switched my Craigslist search from job postings to appartment postings. There sitting in the ads was our ideal home at our ideal rental price. We went out to look at it the next day and signed the contract on the spot.
It is the most adorable little one bedroom duplex with a real life yard all to ourselves! I was hoping to post pictures here today, but I grabbed the wrong cord on the way out the door, so they are trapped inside my camera. The yard and cuteness of our home are only icing on the cake, however, in comparison to the incredible neighborhood we are in and the proximity of the house to both of our jobs (well, one of Michael's anyway, as he splits his time between two).
The nieghborhood is called City Heights, it is the neighborhood where most refugees who come into the city resettle and also has a very high Latino population. We have heard that it is supposed to be one of the more run down and "dangerous" neighborhoods in the city, however, so far I've found nothing but love for this incredibly diverse and beautiful community. I have so much more to say about it, that will have to be a post of it's own.

So that's where we are now, and life is rolling by. I suppose it feels a little like someone hit pause again as I wait for my job to start, but it's more of an intermission. Time to refocus and come back to earth before launching off again. Michael is enjoying his job. I'm getting the house all in order. We're involved with a great little Christian "intentional community" a couple neighborhoods away, and slowly but surely we're getting to know our neighbors.

And that is enough detail for one library session.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Get Married: Check

More photos to follow soon.
P.S. I almost forgot, the rest of the photos can be viewed here:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Graduate College. Check.

Sorry guys. I would give captions, but blogger is is being too difficult. Maybe later...

(The bridge where he proposed)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yep. Still alive.

For those of you who depend entirely on my blog to know if or if not I am alive, I have finally given in and will now attempt a post. Something about constant Internet communication as my main means of expressing myself as well as frequent and required introspection for the entire duration of my time abroad made it seem necessary for a bit of a blogger hiatus. So here's what's happened over the last couple months:

-Dec. 3 I came home from Nicaragua to meet a beaming Michael waiting for me in the airport (and my lovely mother as well).
-We spent 11 days at my house spending time with my family, cuddling, wedding planning, watching movies, and decorating for Christmas.
- We set out in less than ideal driving conditions for the two day drive South to Temecula - spending our hours reading 1984 outloud to each other, visiting our dear friend (and my current roommate) who did HNGR in the Phillipines, and outrunning winter-storms (we stayed about 2 hours ahead of the worst of it for almost our entire drive).
-I spent 9 days with Michael's family which included continued cuddling and reading outloud but also included indoor skydiving (in a big wind-tunnle that makes you fly) my favorite sushi, a trip to San Diego with Chaz and Rebecca to assess the option of moving there, and getting engagement photos done. (the plan was to show a sampling here but the photo app. doesn't seem to be working at the moment...)
-After a bit of an arduous journey I made it home just in time for Christmas Eve morning. I had a lovely Christmas with my family (and Michael with his) and spent the next 10 days, seeing a delightfully long list of old and dear friends (Rachel, Nicci, Jenny, Hannah, Meagan and Tone). I spent many hours cooking and my mom and I worked out wedding details, lists, etc. (enough so that I haven't had to even think about it since I've been back at school).
-Jan. 5 I flew to chilly Illinois.
-Jan. 6-11 I travelled to beautiful Northern Wisconsin with the other 28 HNGR students for a lovely retreat which included laughter and tears, cross country skiing and sledding, several cups of hot chocolate a day, and a private moon-lit sley ride for Michael and I arranged by my very sweet roommate.
-Since then I've been back at Wheaton settling in to my rather crowded but love filled house off campus, pretending like I still care about school, cooking meals with Michael, and catching up with a few dear friends.

How's that for an update?
P.S. and in case you've really lost track of me: I graduate in May and will be married in June. ;)