Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fado, Sausage, and Sardines

A crowded bar, my back is the backrest of the man at the table behind me. An older gentleman sits one table over and seems to know everyone. The ceilings are low and the walls are covered with hoosits and whatsits. The crowd greats each other with two kisses and talks loudly over carafes of wine and traditional Portuguese soup of the green variety. My word that soup is the best we have ever tasted, and it should be, they have been making it for a 100 years! A simple medley of potato broth, kale, and sausage seeps into your taste buds and flows straight into your heart. The lights go soft and the room falls silent. A women who is leaning casually against a pilar begins to sing and my attention is tunneled only to her. How is it that a language I don't understand can cause me to feel so much. This place, this culture, makes me jealous. I want to experience this place that causes such vulnerability in it's people. The older gentleman claps just before the end of every song, it is obvious he is there every night, a part of a larger family that is Lisboa. 

This is just a snippet of our spontaneous Christmastime in Portugal. 

Merry Christmas form us and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Not for the faint of heart

You hear travel stories that have airport woes all the time. You hope it doesnt happen to you and then.... you wake up the day of your trip to a voice mail from the airline. This is what it said,
"Hello, this is American Airlines, your flight has been canceled, sorry for the inconvienience."
Without even an expaination we were then calling airlines all morning and only talking to robots, helpful. We were eventually booked with a new flight going through London, which we were ecstatic due to British Airways treated us like royalty. It wasn't untill our 1 1/2 hour flight transfer in London that we found ourself in our second, almost catastrophe, moment of the day.
Now, one would think when the airline rebooks your flight for you there would have enough time to switched planes. Alas, although we were flying out of the same terminal we were required to exit and enter through security again. Oh no.
At DIA we could have made it, however we were not in the US anymore. We all know that at home things move quickly. We wouldn't normally have been annoyed by a slower pace, exept in airline security. It took an average of 3 minutes per person, 3....minutes.... by the time we were waiting in the third line after being ushered forward twice there was 20 minutes till the gate closed. We watched time tick down and were grabbing out bags and shoes from the belt at 3 minutes too late and sprinting through the airport and..... the flight was delayed by an hour.
Thank God

After that saga we have found ourselves in madrid happily with Ryan and Tracy exporing the area and learning to order food in spanish. Now we get to see how two small town moutain folk do in the big city. stay tuned.....

Monday, December 1, 2014

A case for simplicity: or at least an attempt

Perusing the travel blogs you find yourself reading the same thing over and over again, simplicity is key. Everyone says you should pack half of what you think you should and throw everything else away. I'm sure that when the trip is over i'll be a a new women living off of  cliff bars and love but who am I kidding... I have a long way to go.
Picking just the essentials for travel is hard for me. I find myself struggling with an internal battle of whether any of this is a good idea.
Lets be honest, at first glance I am the last person who should live out of a back pack in foreign countries. I have a fear of sickness, am paranoid about food quality, and like my bed... a lot. I find myself laying in bed thinking about why on earth i would want to not sleep in my bed for a year. I didn't like sleepovers when I was little, and I've always been happy to over pack for weekend gateways. 
But something happens when you marry a man who came here from Hawaii with just two small back packs of stuff. You move into a tiny apartment and realize you five or six times the amount of stuff he does. So you decide to do an epic trip and pack up everything, selling all your furniture in the process, (don't worry, he let me keep the bed!). You start to pack up only the essentials and still find yourself at Target buying a new cardigan, and journals.... and new headbands. BUT here's where we make a pledge, that I will live with only what I need, i guess there is no other choice. 
Cheers to new beginnings. 

also I cut off my long mane of hair..... simplicity right?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Secret to life is.... lessons from a little Jenna

            This morning I’m reminded of my “secret of life”. The “secrets,” for lack of a better word, were given to my brother and me as kids from our oh so loving parents. Ryan, whose secret of life was knowing when to stop, would yell, “The secret of life mom is to STOP saying the secret of life!” he would then continue to pull my hair. When mom would mention mine I could feel my blood boil and have to fight the urge to jump up and kick things. I’ve never been good at being told I’m doing something wrong.
            Looking back I am willing to say my parents were spot on with me. Little Jenna would go from coloring book, to trampoline, to rollerblades all within two minutes and while forgetting to do chores. Adult sized Jenna goes from bed to TV to work to cleaning to making dinner to friends to bed. Have you figured it out? “Jenna,” my mom would sigh, “The secret to life is slowing down.”
            I’ve always felt the need to be unconventional. When people do things one way I want to do it the other way. I despise routine and laugh under my breath at those who have one. I’ve always thought to myself why would you get up SO early to have that extra time in the morning to read or go for a walk? Ok, so it’s your alone time, I have that…. Right? I’ve recently realized my alone time has been cursed with screens. That this so called “solitude” is so foreign to me I have lost the meaning all together. I’ve been cursed with a mind constantly wandering toward what is next. Queue Simon and Garfunkel… “Slow down, you move too fast…”
            Tomorrow is my birthday. This marks not only the beginning of my 24th year but a year since Jake and I were engaged. Let me tell you a little about Jake, his secret to life is defiantly not slowing down. He has that one in that bag. Jake is the king of simplicity and moment treasuring; he never takes things to seriously. So naturally this morning when we both woke with the sun I asked, “what am I going to do before work at 11?” As per usual I pictured myself in my pajamas watching a movie. But he said,
            “Well if it was me, I would bundle up in warm clothes, walk, and watch the light hit the mountains.” So that is what I did, and this is what I saw.
            Ducks were plunging into the water with their butts dancing in the air. Fish were kissing the surface, sending pulses out the water. Squirrels were cackling in the trees, playing tag with one another. Then there was me, just getting the privilege to be a part of their morning routine.
            How playful creation is when we slow down.  How captivating the mountains are when the light bounces off them causing you to swoon. It is through creation we can get to know who Jesus is, and unlock his personality. John Eldridge in Beautiful Outlaw says “we can learn a lot about an artist by the work they leave behind.”  We must have a pretty cool God.”

            “…Feeling Groovy.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Growing Out

Growing up I always bounced between these thoughts; that I was going to be alone forever, or a single independent women traveling the world. Typical me, I tend to overcompensate for every emotional thought. However both thoughts were thrashed when I met the perfect man for me. I've been told since I was engaged how young I am to be making such a decision or that I'm all grown up.

I say to this. Is getting Married what has made us "grown up?"

Similar things were asked when I graduated college and entered the so called "real world." I feel like the past two years of my life have been berated with expectations from society. We as young people are constantly being asked what are you going to do, or where are you going to go? My peers are constantly cowering in the fear of being in the "real world."

To all of these people I say... Where were you if not the real world before?

We live in a society that is always in a hurry to grow up. I am lucky enough to have found myself in a small town that is a catch all for young people that are not willing to settle, rather they dream of bigger. I'm happy to say that none of these people including Jake and myself are not in the "real world." Instead we continue to experience this world and are unwilling to settle in a place/ job/ situation that makes us unhappy.

I'm lucky I married a man with such good perspective on such things. I am happy to be young and in love. What a privilege to continue to grow our love outward, together. Jake and I have chosen rather than to be "tied down" and "stuck" (both words are think are tragic when talking about marriage) we are going to be more open together than we ever were on our own. In December of 2014 we are quitting our Jobs and traveling the world for 6 months.

Tickets are bought, money is being saved, and home stays and WWOOFING (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is arranged.

Spain, Greece, Nepal, Thailand, New Zealand here we come