Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I know it's been a VERY long time since I have posted.  I have huge news though.  Big time stuff here.

I am moving.  To Germany.  In 4 days to be exact :-D

I was offered a job there last weekend doing nannying/a bit of English tutoring at the same time, and I accepted it.  Sooooo I am off!!

It was an incredibly hard choice.  On the one hand, I enjoy Prague.  It's a fun city.  The biggest difficulty in making my decision came down to the business I have built up totally on my own.  Within just three weeks time (after having completed my TEFL course), I have 10 private lesson clients (with more requests pending me scheduling them)!  That is more than anyone else I know.  That took a lot of hard work, online advertising and time to build up myself.  I was fairly proud of this accomplishment and liked where it seemed to be heading.

However, I have high hopes that if I did that once, I can do it again in Germany.

Another deter was the friends I am beginning to make here in Prague.  Granted, I barely know them at all and I am just scratching the friendship surface with them at this point, so it is not a huge loss.  But still, there were people I was really coming to like and feel comfortable with.  I could feel the potential beginnings of good friendships with a few people.  And now, having to start that all over again from scratch is also a slight bummer.

However, on the positive side (and there are many):
  • I have a job beginning over there.  And I will be making decent money for the actual work I am doing and the hours I am working
  • I am resourceful and VERY motivated.  I am really, really hoping I can make the same things happen over in Germany that I did here in Prague with the private English lessons!
  • I like the feeling and visual look of Germany WAY better than Prague, which actually surprised me since I have never been super interested in Germany before.  But the two times I have been there, I have felt as though I am driving along the New England countryside.  Rolling hills, countryside like a patchwork quilt, now there are exploding fall foliage colors, etc.  It feels much more...homey, romantic and comfortable to me, as opposed to Prague.
  • Salaries are higher in Germany.  Especially for something like teaching

A smattering of the quotes that inspired me when making this choice:

"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

"It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult."

"Nothing would ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome." -- Samuel Johnson

"The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety."

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

"Leap and the net will appear."

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

So there you have it!  I am here in Europe now, my heart has been telling me yes when I have given this choice thought more then once (in no sense do I feel it is a bad choice, aside from the slight bummers of giving up what I built up for business, starting over socially, and visas are harder to obtain in Germany which worries me slightly, but those are normal fears for a choice like this), so I am going to jump and do it.  Why not?

Here is where I will be living:

No, I will not be living with these Oxen ;-) I will be living in the town behind them called Reinheim.

The town of Reinheim is behind this little shack/group of trees (where I will live).

Reinheim, Germany.

Views around Reinheim...(yes, that is a castle on the far right, way up on the top of that hill in the distance).
In other fun news, tonight I had a cooking evening with my TEFL buddy/pastry partner in crime, Greg.  We cooked black bean enchiladas, one of the recipes I used to LOVE making back in Boston.  There is no enchilada sauce to be found in Prague we improvised and used green salsa and red salsa, a mixture of both.  When I sampled the green salsa, the heat took my breath away!!  However the enchiladas came out delicious, super comparable to how they taste when I make them at home, almost the same actually.  Delicious!!

And then after dinner, we walked to a nearby pastry shop and split a slice of CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE!!!  Heaven.

Otherwise, my days have been VERY busy leading up to my impending departure this weekend (so fast!).  And even before I was planning to leave I have just been incredibly busy in general. A sample schedule tomorrow:

8:10am: Wake up
9:30am-11:00am: Private English lesson
11:00am-12:00pm: Private English lesson
12:30pm-1:30pm: Private English lesson
2:00pm-3:00pm: Private English lesson
3:00pm-6:00pm: Break.  I will likely go home, eat, apply for more jobs in Germany (as I am also looking for a teaching job in addition to the babysitting job I have landed).
6:30pm-?: Babysitting for one of the families whom I also tutor English

This day is slightly busier than usual, but its a fairly typical day at least 3 days of the week.

At night, I often want to read and relax, but I end up applying for jobs, editing my teaching websites, lesson planning and returning emails much of the evening.  I always promise myself I will be in bed by 12am...and then 1am...but usually 1:30am or 2am rolls around before I am asleep.  I have so much to do, and time just slips away.  So as a result, I have been quite tired lately.

I am hoping once I get more established in Germany, maybe things will slow down a little bit :-) but likely not for a few weeks yet, as I still have to hustle big time when I first get there to: applying for more jobs, apply for a visa (that's a BIG thing), figure out the public transportation, start trying to learn German, etc.  LOTS is coming up for me.  Very, very thrilling for sure.

Alrighty then, I am heading off to bed for now.  I will post again VERY soon, I promise ;-)

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Grand Day!

Today was a grand day!

I taught my regular Wednesday private English lesson today from 8am-9am in a little cafe just a few steps away from my apartment, which was great.  I like this student of mine very much!  She is someone I could see myself being friends with.  We did a fun writing activity during which I began by writing a sentence or two of a story, then she continued it adding her own couple sentences to the story, then it went back to me to add onto and so on.  We shared some giggles over this together when I had her read the final product out loud!

Then my friend/ex-TEFL classmate came over at 9:30am and we did a workout video together which was loads of fun!!  We did this in my living room while also chatting and simultaneously laughing as we struggled through the workout (and both remarked in shock at how unfit we both had become in such a short time!).  We also connected as we chatted about some of the stress and loneliness we were both experiencing right now.  And we chatted about  and shared some of our past relationship experiences and tendencies as friends and just things about our general personalities.  I really enjoyed this.  I like her a lot, she is someone I could see myself becoming good friends with.  So this was a great time and a wonderful start to my day.

Gorgeous park during autumn in Prague.

Then I showered and she and I walked to the metro together before parting ways.  At 11:45am, I met up with another friend/ex-TEFL classmate who I also really like.  She and I met up for salads, tea and split a brownie at the conclusion of our meal.  This was another really satisfying and fun social outing.  We also delved a bit beyond the surface for the first time today, both sharing thoughts and our own personal philosophy's on relationships, the nature of different types of connections one has with people, funny recent job hunting stories and such.  We also talked some about our past relationships.  I really enjoyed this socially too.  I felt as though she and I connected and really enjoyed one another's company.

After our lovely lunch together, I headed out for an interview at 3pm.  The one I had never found my way to last week.  Well, I found it this time around!!  And I LOVED it.  The school is gorgeous, located in a little foliage-splashed park on the top of a hill overlooking Prague.  The pay is also EXCELLENT for a preschool and the hours are only 9am-1pm, so even better, I could still likely keep all my one on one clients and would be making quite good money if I got this job!!  Needless to say, I really want it!!

The interview seemed to go really well.  The headmaster, Irena told me she will email me about coming in some day next week to meet with the kids as she would like to see me in action with them.  Cross your fingers for me!!

And finally, I met up with a friend at 4:30pm who I met online actually, while posting ads for lessons.  He messaged me asking if I might like to send along my CV to his school where there was a job opening.  I said absolutely, of course.  And then I asked if he might like to meet up for tea.  We did and we really hit it off!!  He reminds me so much of a very close male friend of mine from a few years ago, Mike.  He is very smart so we have really interesting and engaging conversations, he is witty and fun.  I could see he and I becoming good buddies.

Tonight I was invited to join the man whose flat I am renting a room within for dinner with his friends.  I was a bit hesitant at first, but it turned out to be a blast!  I LOVED this.  I sat down at the table with him and his three friends.  One of whom was a sleek, incredibly classy older woman (maybe in her mid 60's to early 70's).  She was one of the most attractive women I have seen at that age ever, with shoulder length white hair with wavy loose curls on the ends of her hair, dressed all in black and accessorized with chunky silver jewelry, a sly, inviting, warm smile on her face.  The other two were middle aged men, one was French, dressed to the nines in a full suit, with a stern look on his face, salt and pepper hair and a prominent hooked nose, with a fun sense of humor and interesting comments to the conversation.  And the other was a Canadian man who just moved to Prague two years ago with a booming laugh and gravely voice, really witty and funny, and a warm and joyful presence.  I had so much fun chatting with all of them, learning about their lives and being asked interested questions about myself in return.  For dinner, Vlad had cooked goulash.  I was hesitant about this, as I rarely eat beef, but figured I had to try it, it being a traditional Czech dish and all.  Whoa.  It was DELICIOUS.  The meat was so tender, the spices in the sauce were perfect, just wow.  And for dessert, we had the richest melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.  This was a fantastic dinner all around, regarding the food itself and the people.

And finally, I ended this grand day by Skyping with two of my closest friends from home.  Awesome.

That is my big news as of now.  Today was an excellent day.  I felt socially and emotionally fulfilled today.  Which was a great change from a couple days ago, when I actually felt quite lonely.  When my friend from Germany left, I felt a crushing loneliness walking away from him in the bus terminal.  I thought, he has all his close friends, his family and such to go back to in Germany.  So he has no reason to feel sad or loneliness right now.  But I have no one here (not literally no one.  Just no one I am super close to yet.  Not like my support system back home.  That takes time to build up).  So I just felt very, very sad.  It made me miss my close friends from home deeply and yearn for their presence.  So today was a really nice upturn for me and made me feel very good.  I felt fulfilled and happy.  It also made me feel very lucky and comforted by the friends I know I have back home <3

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” 

PS. I am reading an absolutely riveting and gripping book right now which I highly recommend.  It's called The Long Walk by Stephen King.  Here is what it's about, from

Ray Garraty--along with 99 other teen boys--has entered the Long Walk, a grueling march at four miles per hour that continues until only one person is standing. The losers receive bullets to the head. As the march progresses, the numbers dwindle, the challenges of continued marching increase, and the senselessness wears on the participants' state of mind. King (writing as his alter ego, Richard Bachman) delivers another psychologically dark tale with commentary on society, teenage life, and cultural entertainment that is still poignant decades after its original publication.

PPS.  Just made another loaf of homemade German bread tonight, from scratch, with yeast!!!  Came out GREAT!

Ciao for now, folks!

Monday, October 21, 2013


PS. I got to Skype with one of my best, best friends from home tonight.  It was GREAT to see her and talk to her :-D it made my whole day.

Photo expose: Prague during Autumn

Hi All,

I realize it's been a bit of a hiatus since I have written a blog entry.  I had an interview today at 2pm.  During my interview, I had to teach my first demo lesson ever.  This was very nerve racking!  I taught the grammar point regarding when one would use "at" "in" and "on" in relation to talking about time.  My interviewer said the lesson was great, that she really liked both the lesson and me.  She will be getting back to me as of Thursday this week.  So that went really well!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I also have an additional interview this week on Wednesday at a preschool.  I believe I mentioned this preschool in my last blog entry.  Having sent along my CV to them but I had assumed I would not hear anything back from them.  This preschool is a really nice one, in a gorgeous part of Prague.  And with a very small staff, plus they were not advertising about hiring at all, I was sure I wouldn't hear back from them but I applied just for the heck of it, just in case.  I was shocked when I got a response offering me an interview!

This interview was supposed to take place last week.  This is where the story gets embarrassing.  My friend came along with me.  I had written down the directions from  Google projected the total trip would take us about 25 minutes.  My interview was scheduled for 3pm.  We left at 2pm allotting one hour to get there, just to be extra safe.  We were still walking around searching for it at 3:45pm!!!  This was TERRIBLE.  I was beside myself with how upset and disappointed I felt.  We had stopped people on the street and asked them (to no avail), even borrowed a kind passerby's phone and re googled it.  Nothing.

The second I got home, I emailed the school something to the effect of telling them what had happened, mentioned how interested in their school I was, apologizing deeply and asking for another chance.  I called the next day and spoke to the headmaster on the phone, basically telling her the same thing.  To my surprise and relief, she was incredibly kind and understanding.  She said absolutely.  So I am going back for an interview this Wend!  And I will be scoping it out way ahead of time.  That will NOT be happening again ha ha.

In other news, my one-on-one business is going well.  I am continuing to meet with my 7 clients with an 8th potential who I am meeting with this week.  I enjoy it very much.  The creativity of being able to choose fun topics, the slight improvisation of it, the more social feel of a one on one as opposed to a classroom, and the higher pay of course.  Ideally I would like to combine this with a part time regular job!

We will see what happens with my interviews this week!!!

Tonight I am heading over to my cooking buddy's new apartment where we will cook dinner together.  This week the dish is macaroni and cheese (which is AMAZING since that is literally my favorite dinner food on the face of the earth).

And now for my Autumn photo expose of Prague:

"Go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is." -- Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Great weekend...but now to-do list kicks in!

Hi All,

I know it's been a few days since I have written.  My second week out of TEFL has been equally as productive as my first week!  Woo hoo!

As of now, I have 7 one-on-one English lesson clients!! All of whom vary widely in age and level.  I have a 30 year old Italian woman who speaks English quite well, she is reserved and sweet.  Three Czech children within one lesson, ages 11, 9 and 6, who are rambunctious and adorable.  A young Russian girl who is attending university here in Prague and wants to learn English not only for future career and education goals but also because she has an American boyfriend.  A 5 year old boy who speaks almost no English (though he understands more then he lets on), who is quite shy and nervous.  One business English class that I will be teaching within a company called Dream Jobs Inc.  And finally, a young Asian man attending school here in Prague who is incredibly polite and soft spoken.

And even better, I have more potential clients coming in!  I average about 1 new client request every couple of days.  Then it just takes a bit of time to respond, find out their level and goals for the language and finally, to set up a date and time for our first lesson!

Also, exciting interview pending.  I sent out around 30 job applications within Prague, a number of which went out to various preschools.  One preschool I REALLY liked from what I saw.  It's an absolutely gorgeous preschool on the outskirts of Prague, only about 4 teachers work there so its close knit.  I just was super interested in this school.  I assumed I would not hear anything back since they had a small staff as it was and they did not seem to be advertising for anyone new.  However, I have an interview there TODAY!!!!  I am really thrilled about this.  Wish me luck!

In other news, I have been baking a number of breads lately!  So yummy.  As you all know if you have been following my blog, I baked a pumpkin bread from scratch with a classmate of mine a couple weeks ago, I baked an authentic German bread from scratch last week, even using yeast!  And finally, this morning I have a fresh, made-from-scratch banana bread in the oven which I plan to top with special vanilla sugar crystals when it comes out of the oven.  SO excited for that with a large class of milk.

Right now, I am sitting at my kitchen table and lesson planning for tomorrow as I wait for the delectable banana bread to rise in the oven.

In other news, this past weekend my friend from Germany came to visit me and has been here for the past few days as he is on school vacation this week (he works in a school with Autistic children).  We have had a great time together!  We went to burger fest in Prague.  Our mouths watered as we scanned all the different burger choices, but our hearts were crushed when we realized that a line for any burger took at least an hour and a half, so we went elsewhere for food in the end.  Bummer.

Tea and Sacher torte cake-yum!

I realize this is a short entry, but I do not have a ton to report right now BUT I will post again VERY soon, with potentially some exciting news :-D

Ciao for now!

“A lifetime isn't forever, so take the first chance, don't wait for the second one! Because sometimes, there aren't second chances! And if it turns out to be a mistake? So what! This is life! A whole bunch of mistakes! But if you never get a second chance at something you didn't take a first chance at? That's true failure.” 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First week in Prague, without being buried in TEFL!

Hi all!

My first week in Prague after the whirlwind of TEFL has been surprisingly productive and overall, very good!

As I mentioned in my last post I believe, I spent hours last weekend marketing myself online for private English lessons.  I put ads up on a number of websites, posted flyer's around the city, contacted people I already knew, created my own website, etc.

Delicious dinner at home, along with some excellent reading material ;-)

Well thus far, that has all paid off majorly!!!  Within about 4 days of having done all that, I received an influx of responses.  Today alone, I had four meetings, back to back.  It was exhausting!  For lessons, one needs to be "on" all the time.  Energetic, paying close attention to what the student is saying, bringing out lots of interactive activities, being engaging and energetic, etc.  And between each lesson, I was running around, walking quickly down back streets of Prague, consulting my map, hopping on the metro or the tram, etc.  It was a very hurried and draining day.

However as a result...drum roll....I have 5 confirmed one-on-one lessons now!!!  And that is not including: the one I am meeting with for the first time tomorrow (assuming he wants to work with me too), and two other people who contacted me today!!  So I have at least 5, which are confirmed, and as of early next week, potentially even 8!

The people I have mentioned this to have been stunned as to how I made this happen so quickly.  That has been pretty neat.  I do feel really good about it.  And the answer as to how: I HUSTLED, big time.  Put in hours and hours on the Internet and walking around in Prague.

In other news, I have an interview next Wednesday for a teaching job!  Unfortunately not at a preschool (which is what I really want as the hours are regular and thus, the pay is consistent), it would be for a teaching job where I am sent out around Prague to teach different classes, but it is a company recommended to me by someone I know, so I suspect it is a decent place to work.  I am excited about that!

And finally, I signed up for an Au Pair/Babysitting website.  It cost me a small chunk of change, but I thought about it very carefully, and sometimes one  has to spend a bit of money to make money.  I have not bought a SINGLE thing for myself at all, period.  No clothes, no magazines, not even eating out, nada.  So I figured this was a fairly smart thing to buy for myself, if there was one.  I have spent about 4 hours now on that website, sending out many messages to potential babysitting jobs.  I would love to have something like that as well, part time on the side.

The majority of people who do TEFL and graduate from my course teach maybe 25 hours per week.  I am looking to work/teach around 35-40, a weekly work schedule like back in the US for a of couple reasons.  First, why not?  And secondly, my main goal of being here is to travel.  The best way to do that: money.  And working keeps me busy, productive and feeling good!  I also do not want to feel like I am scraping by.  Because I very much feel like that now, and I can tell you, it is a truly terrible feeling.  Deeply stressful, anxiety provoking and just generally pretty awful.  So I would like to work more so that I do not have to feel like that at all again.

Now onto exciting and fun stuff!

Tonight, I made my very first homemade bread from scratch, using yeast!!!  I made a loaf of Schwabischer Hefezopf, the recipe I provided in my blog entry from Oktoberfest (the amazing German bread that Doro served the entire time we stayed at her house, which she had made herself).  Oh my gosh, I was nervous about how it might come out.  Especially because the dough was ULTRA gooey.  But it came out wonderfully.  It is DELICIOUS.  Ever-so-slightly cakey but very moist, with the dense, slightly sweet and egg-y taste to it.  I sprinkled vanilla sugar crystals on top.  BOO YEAH!  Take a look at my finished product:


In other fun news, tomorrow evening (Friday night), I am going out for burgers with a few of my friends (now ex-TEFLers ha ha).  We are going to a restaurant called The Tavern.  When I Googled where I could find the best burgers in all of Prague, this is the place that was ranked top notch.  You can take a looksie here if you are interested:

I am thinking of all of you, all my close friends and family.  I miss each of you very often.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

First one-on-one English lesson(s)!!!

Dobry den, Everyone!  (That means "hello" in Czech).

As all of you know, I have officially finished my TEFL course.  That ended as of last Friday at 4pm to be exact.  I had a stellar weekend with my close friend who was visiting from Germany, and then reality set in and my week began with absolutely no TEFL, no school 10 hours every day, no more lessons scheduled to teach and thus, plan.  This was a strange and rather unsettling feeling.  In some ways, a huge sigh of relief.  A break, finally!  But in other ways, I felt rather useless, unproductive and uneasy not having a job or a list of things I was required to do each day.  (I would highly recommend the course by the way.  Intensive, in depth and good value for one's money.  Here is a link to the program:

However, I put my oodles of free time to great use.  I spent HOURS online marketing myself.  Putting up profiles advertising my services on various websites, sending out emails to former students who I had taught during my TEFL course (asking them to pass my name along), creating my very own website advertising my teaching services and even pounding the pavement for a few hours one morning throughout Prague hanging up these babies:

Well, thus far, my efforts have paid off (though of course, time will tell for sure).  I have already received around 8 messages inquiring about my services!!!  Four of which have led to official appointments being booked on my schedule within the next 3-4 days.  This is SUPER exciting for me.  Private lessons pay more than lessons you are assigned when working with a school.  The typical pay when working for a school is around 200 czk per hour.  I am charging 300 czk per lesson.

And as a matter of fact, I actually just had my first one to one lesson this morning with a young woman who moved to Prague 5 weeks ago.  She is a native German speaker, she speaks English as well but is looking to improve her English as she works for a big University within Prague and needs English for the work she does.

We met at a little coffee shop.  I brought her a piece of homemade pumpkin bread which seemed to delight her.  Then we had our lesson.  I introduced new vocabulary to her (in relation to personality traits), as well as some other vocabulary related to coffee shops (but also applicable to everyday life), words like to blend, to chat vs. a chat (the verb vs. the noun), a hangout vs. to hangout( the noun vs. the verb), trendy, etc.  Out of all the vocabulary I chose, she did not have prior knowledge of around 80% of the words, so I was pleased with myself, having chosen language at a challenging level for her!  She was into it, laughing and interacting with me.  She seemed to be enjoying trying to use the words in sentences or to answer my questions when I concept checked that she understood each term.  Then finally, we went over some grammar (will vs. going to, and then idioms), we did a reading comprehension exercise and that was it for the morning.  She told me that she really enjoyed the lesson and would love to meet again next week.  YAY!!!!  So I am slowly but surely trying to build a business of private lessons, which seems to be off to a great start.

I have two more meetings tomorrow.  One with a mother of two boys.  She would like to meet with me for coffee first, prior to deciding about having me as a teacher to her sons.  Then I have a private lesson with a 7 year old boy tomorrow evening from 4pm-5pm at his home.  And finally, I have a potential lesson on Friday with a business man.  Things are looking good.

And in the meantime, I applied to 8 more jobs at local preschools yesterday evening, along with the 18 I have already applied to since this past Friday.  So I am really hoping to start hearing back from some of them within the next few days!

In other news, I did have an interview yesterday at a school on the outskirts of Prague!  THAT was an experience in itself.  Google maps told me the travel time was 30 minutes.  I allotted myself one hour, just to be safe.  My interview was scheduled for 10:30am.  I walked in at 10:50am, horribly embarrassed and disheveled.  I had actually broken down and cried for 5 brief but terribly stress-filled minutes just beforehand.  I had walked all over the outskirts of Prague looking for this street!  I was using directions I had written to no avail.  I went into at least 3 different shops to ask if they knew where it might be.  Nothing.  However at the last minute, literally upon deciding to give up, I finally stumbled across my destination.  I almost didn't go in as I figured I was so horribly late, I had already lost my chances.  But then I figured, eh, why not.  At this point, I have nothing to lose and I am here, so I am going in.

I got offered the job on the spot.

However I do not think I am going to take it.  As desperate as I am (I want a regular teaching job badly.  I am loving the potential one-on-one private lesson business but I also want a semi-regular salary as well), the job doesn't seem like the best.  The salary offered is 200 czk per hour, which is standard.  However they only start you off at around 5 hours per week.  I want to be starting off with more than that.  Though again, not the worst (as I could do other things for money, like my private lessons, within the rest of my free time).  However they provide a 3-day training course (outside of Prague) which employees are required to attend.  The cost is 180 euro (which is like $220+ USD).  They pay 1/2 and the employee pays 1/2.  If you work there for one year, they will reimburse you for the 1/2 fee of the training that you paid.  However if you leave before the one year is up, you have to pay it.  I don't feel like that is worth it.  I have not heard something like that being common practice, in terms of teaching jobs here in Prague, so I feel like holding out a bit more for a different job (more hours, and ideally more regular hours at that) without being semi-tied into it financial is probably better.  I will decide regarding this job by the end of this week.  I am just going to think about it carefully and follow my gut instinct on it.

In other news, last night I had a grand time baking with my pastry buddy/previous TEFL classmate, Greg.  He came over to my place and we spent about 3 hours mixing and measuring in my expansive kitchen.  So much fun!  We decided to make Pumpkin bread to quench our thirst for all things pumpkin and because it's reminiscent of autumn back home for us.  It came out so yummy.  Moist, cake-like and of course, pumpkin-y with little bits of chocolate mixed in.  

Delectable homemade pumpkin bread with chocolate chips and real pumpkin!!!  Eating it made me think of New England <3

The only measuring device we had available to us was a large glass cylindrical cup which is used to measure milliliters.  We had to fire up Google to convert all the recipe measurements into milliliters!  This induced some laughter, and some minor math skills.

Then we listening to music, chatted and baked.  Greg had brought over a pumpkin which he had roasted himself and had scooped all the inside out of an actual pumpkin and put it into containers.  He also shaved little chunks off a chocolate bar which we used for chocolate chips.  We anxiously awaited the final result, as with baking, obviously eyeballing measurements is not ideal and can result in disaster.  However it was a great success!!!

Look at all that Pumpkin bread!!!  We made 7 batches!!

Idea for next weeks cooking session: macaroni and cheese!

Here is the recipe we used for our Pumpkin bread (courtesy of Food Network, my favorite!):


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
Chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.

And finally, last night after mine and Greg's baking frenzy, I had a wonderful conversation with one of my very best friends from back home in Boston.  So that was really great <3 I miss her a lot.  I miss her great sense of humor, which often veered into crude territory, just my type of humor haha.  I miss talking with her about all sorts of things.  She is an engaging and interesting conversationalist, while also being an excellent listener.  She is warm hearted, thoughtful and so generous.  She is a friend I am very lucky to have.  It made me happy to be caught up on the details of her life, and we shared some gut-busting laughs as well.  Lots of fun!

Alrighty then, all.  I am over and out for now!  Stay tuned for more job updates within the next few days.  Fingers crossed for more interviews!!!

“Be believing, be happy, don't get discouraged. Things will work out.” 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Other favorite destination contenders within Europe (that is, until I go elsewhere!)

Gorgeous streets of Paris

View from Notre Dame

Paris streets

Saint Chapelle

Jardin de Luxemborg

Notre Dame

Tuscany, Italy

Cinque Terre (Italy)

Venice, Italy

Photos taken by myself :-D