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Beaut Beirut

I have to start this post by sincerely apologizing for my leave of absence. I know that I broke one of the biggest rules of blogging, “Be consistent” when I disappeared for over 4 weeks, or has it been 5? But let me just say that I had quite a bit on my mind and I gave myself a BIG, healthy break starting when my mom came to visit me in Pittsburgh and help me pack up the house and continuing through my transition to moving overseas. I have missed blogging, however I did not at one point during the last 5 weeks feel the urge to blog. Quality over quantity, right? I can say that I feel more like myself these days, albeit lacking a bit of my usual routine (working/cooking/working-out balance all a little bit in flux at this point).  Kinda feels like vacation to be here right now and I am going to let myself enjoy that feeling.

This vacation feeling is due to a couple of reasons, one is that my work week is currently a bit more flexible with some extra pockets of free time. The biggest reason that I feel like I am “on holiday” is because every time I step out of my door to go for a run, walk 10 minutes for dinner groceries, or walk a couple blocks to the friendly produce man to get the BEST PRODUCE I have ever had, I get all excited and giddy. I hope to never get over this feeling.

I think that an important piece of information to share with you all is that security is a bit higher here than in the States. For many reasons, but mostly to protect myself and the people that I will be working with, I will not be able to share much, if anything about the work that I am doing here via blog posts. In fact all of my blog posts will be read by my bosses, just to ensure that I am not accidentally including sensitive information that could harm myself or others.  I will however be writing a newsletter of sorts for interested friends and family. I hope to include more about the work that Zach and I are doing in that, but again, I may need to be rather vague at times.

What I will continue to write about is my faith, good food, sound nutrition advice, my fitness and exercise endeavors, and of course, the beautiful country that I live in and the others that I have the chance to visit while I am here. I look forward to sharing these future posts with you all.

So what have I been up to during my first three-ish weeks here? Mostly getting accustomed to my new environment, making our apartment feel like our home, and spending lots of quality time with Zach while we discover all of the beautiful places and great food that Beirut has to offer. Since we got married we have never spent more than 1 night apart from each other (crazy, I know). We were ready to see each other after 5 weeks apartSmile Yes, we were both pathetically crying when we finally got to see each other at the airport. Yes, Zach was waiting all dressed nice and holding flowers..it was perfect!

reunion

One of my favorite places so far to visit is the Corniche. Its this stone boardwalk that runs along the Mediterranean sea. Its gets really full on the weekends with people fishing, swimming, running, roller-blading, flying kites, etc. Apparently I am not the only one who loves the Corniche.

 

Corniche 1Corniche 2Corniche 3

suks 2

Close by the Corniche are a group of very high-end designer stores. It’s a little odd, because these stores are so expensive that literally no middle-class person can afford anything from them and therefore the beautiful area that they are located in, called the Suks, is mostly empty. However, it is still a lot of fun to walk around, look at the French-inspired architecture and go to the close by farmers market and flower stand.

One of my first priorities here was to buy flowers for my balcony. After seeing the flower stand I literally could not rest until we returned for a little selection of petunias and daisies. They are doing quite well in the boxes and pots on my balconySmile Thompson Falls, Montana friends – check out the bag, I use it all the time!

flowers

Currently I am studying Arabic and I hope to be able to make some use of this language while I am here, but we will see, it is certainly harder than my college Spanish classes. It is beautiful to write and if that is all I had to do it would be easier, but there are two parts to a language and you must know how to actually pronounce the words (and know what they mean!). Zach is studying it with me and I truly enjoy making fun of his attempts to pronounce some of the harder Arabic letters and words. Recently the class has been getting very hard and I wonder if we will ever figure out how to put a sentence together with all the correct conjugations and such.

Arabic

I don’t want to get too wordy on you and there is no possible way I can fill you in from my last post, so how about a few pictures to end things for the day?

crazy cat

One of my favorite cat pictures ever! Look at the eyes! I have seen this guy a few times during my journeys around Beirut. There are quite a few stray cats which we love!

nescafe

Instant coffee (Beirut doesn’t have much else to offer unless you want to pay BIG BUCKS$$) – I thought you would be absolutely disgusting but somehow I don’t mind you at all. But for real, does instant coffee have any caffeine?

good coffee shop_LI

But I do still get excited when we get American coffee, Zach does too!

homemade crepesmanoushe

Homemade crepes with strawberries and nutella (left) and Manoushe (cheesy bread with veggies). Home and out, we are certainly eating amazing foodSmile

Please bear with me while I figure out how often I want to blog. I know it will not be a daily occurrence like I was doing in Pittsburgh but I want to find a good balance that allows me time for all my new life has to offer. It was nice to chat with you all again. I will be back soon with more good food and fitness finds. Have a great weekend all!

~The Optimist

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