Travel

Wining & Dining in Niagara

Good morning folks! I hope your weekend was as fun-filled as mine was. A get-away with the hubby is always welcome & appreciated. Lets take a second and remember that weather last Friday, Pittsburgh had a high of 76 degrees. While that is unusually warm for this time of year, I wasn’t complaining, taking full advantage of it during a lunch-time walk and an after-work stroll with Zach.

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Instead of taking the bus all the way home like I usually do, I met this guy in Southside (borough of Pittsburgh) to accompany him on his walk home. We may or may not have stopped at The Milkshake Factory to grab a chocolate malt milkshake to split, it was baby sized and a great treat for the nice weather. I had planned on getting in a workout after work on Friday (story of my life the entire weekend) but soaking in some time with Zach before he leaves felt like the better option. Also, with the lunch-time walking and the uphill walk home (Pittsburgh is quite hilly), my step counter told me I got 40 minutes of activity and walked 2 miles. Not too shabby:)

Later that eve I played around with Zach’s camera and experimented with taking pictures of my dinner. I also experimented with dinner – Tuna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. I enjoyed the meal but thought that I could have made a sauce to pour over the mixture. I’ll keep playing around with that recipe before I post and recommend it to you. Pinterest-worthy recipes do not happen overnight folks. A good reminder for me as I try to become better at concocting my own recipes.

Later I threw together a batch of cookies for some guests that were stopping by later that night. Nothing beats traditional chocolate chip cookies!

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Saturday morning we packed some clothing, our passports, and headed for Canada! We made a stop for pizza near the casino, easily finishing the pizza ourselves in 10 minutes. We then found our way to our hotel and as soon as we checked into our room we headed back out for wine tasting.

I have officially made the switch from white wine to a rose or red wine variety. It took me a few years, but white wine seems a little sweet for my taste these days – I like the richness of red, but I know that I still do not care for a really dry red.

Later that night we got dinner at the hotel, which was amazing! Sunday morning we ate again at the hotel for breakfast (buffet-style, Zach was in heaven). Both of us were then ready to head to the falls for pictures.

Zach has always been my photographer and I never mind getting in front of a camera.

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Thanks to the Irish family for taking our picture!

It was absolutely beautiful! And cold! I am glad that we went. Its only a 3 1/2 hour drive from Pittsburgh to the Canada side of the falls – perfect for a weekend get away.

After about an hour at the falls I was chilled to the bone and ready for some warmth. We headed home a little early and spent the rest of the night packing and prepping for Zach’s departure. It was a fast weekend, but I really appreciated Zach taking the time to take me away before he leaves. I think this weekend also made me very excited for travelling to beautiful places in other countries. I can’t wait to share those future pictures with you all!

Have a happy Monday all!

~Meghan

Travel

We’re Moving to Lebanon!

Good morning everyone!

I have some very exciting news to share with you all! Zach and I have taken positions to work in Beirut, Lebanon for two years. We are going to be working with a development organization called Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Zach’s parents currently work with MCC in India (they are there another 2 years), Zach’s brother and sister-in-law did a 2-year term in Laos, and Zach’s sister did a 3-year term in Laos and also a 2-year term in Guatemala. All that to say, we are rather familiar with the organization and are very excited to begin our positions.

Because I am a Registered Dietitian, the organization kindly put together a position for me called Health and Refugee Program Assistant. For three days a week I will be working at a place called Our Lady Dispensary, which is a clinic and health education center in Beirut. This clinic serves refugees from Syria, vulnerable Lebanese, other at-risk families in the Beirut area. I will be using my skills to assist the Public Health Officer and Social Worker that are also at the clinic. While I do not know yet what my day-to-day activities will be, I believe I will be working with issues of food insecurity, nutrition education, and trauma support. To prepare me to work with these populations I will be starting my term with a 4-5 week language study course on Arabic. I have heard that this is a hard language to pick up but I hope that daily use will help me learn better.

The other two days a week I will be working with the Middle East Council of Churches and their efforts to bring assistance to Lebanon and Syria during the Syrian crisis. I will be assisting with grant and project proposal writing for current and new community health initiatives and Emergency Resource Shipments into Syria.

Zach will be in a role of his own, called a Projects Coordinator. Currently there are several (and the possibility of more) local projects aimed at helping Lebanon and Syria during the Syria crisis. Zach will be helping with the planning and evaluation of these projects. He will report on their progress and provide support for expansion and improvements as needed.

If you would like to read more about that crisis, there is more information at this link. There is a lot of work to be done in both countries currently with the crisis in Syria sending many refugees fleeing into Lebanon. Currently 1 in 4 persons in Lebanon is a refugee. As you can expect, Lebanon is struggling to provide enough resources for this influx and as a result also needs help. We are not currently allowed to travel into Syria but will be conducting work with local partners there via email. Our place in Beirut will be safe.

This is something that we have been talking about since we were dating – serving with MCC for a period of time. We believe this is really important work to do and we are so happy that we have this opportunity. Zach leaves in less than two weeks. I will be coming beginning of April. We have some of the details of our departure sorted out but please continue to think and pray for us – there is still much to be done on my end.

And to round out this long post I just wanted to let you know that I will continue to post on the blog. My posts will remain similar but be adapted to include information about our work in Lebanon so that friends and family can feel connected with us. There will be a good amount of travelling allowed for work and vacation as well, so stay tuned for some awesome pictures, Mediterranean food ideas, and workout suggestions!

Stay Healthy,

Meghan

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