Monthly Archives: July 2012

Mexican Crafts to Make at Home

Although I am actually in Mexico right now, it is super easy to explore Mexico from home too. For all you crafters, I’ve found some fun projects to recreate Mexican crafts. Check out these bloggers’ how-tos:

Sugar Skull Heat n Bond Applique by Diary of a Mad Crafter

DIY Festive Mexican Paper Flowers by 100 Layer Cake

Luchador Mask Necklace by Den of a Thoughtful Rabbit

Mexican Blanket Jacket from Sprinkles in Springs

Mexican Hot Chocolate from Prairiesummers

DIY Mexican Talavera Pottery from Juan of Words

Mini Piñatas by Oh Happy Day

Have fun crafting Mexican style!

Taking Recommendations: Latin American Reading List

Rather than research and make my reading list for Latin America, I thought I would just ask for recommendations. What have you read set in Central or South America that you would read again? Post your recommendation and I’ll add it to the list.

I haven’t read many books set in Latin America, but here is what I’ve read or I’m currently reading:

  • Leaving Tabasco by Carmen Boullosa (currently reading while in Mexico)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriela Garcia Marquez
  • Love in the Time of Colera by Gabriela Garcia Marquez

I’m excited to read about:

Natural Talent

Hubby and I had an interesting conversation last night about professions and why some get paid more than others. For example a professional basketball player probably works less hours than many factory workers, but his salary is exponentially larger. In the end we decided that he can do something that the majority of the population cannot do. Because of his unique talents, we as a society compensate him financially. While hard work is certainly part of his success, part of it is also natural talent. The same goes for pop singers, actors, brilliant business people, etc.

I am a study abroad advisor. Perhaps anyone could do my job. Anyone could learn the programs and visa requirements. Anyone could encourage others to travel. I think the difference between anyone and me is that I really love college students. I light up when they come in the office and bribe them with food to come visit me. I can’t wait to hear about their planning, their challenges, and their adventures. When one called me yesterday to tell me she got a job, I felt so proud. Each of those students make me want to go to work every day. Though my profession may not be financially rewarded, I feel paid in full by the relationships I have with them. That is my natural talent.

Friday was my last day at my university. Originally I was going to write that it was my last day as a study abroad advisor, but that is not true. I think I will always be a study abroad advisor. It’s something I am truly passionate about. So whether I’m paid or not, I think in order to be truly happy, I have to be doing something in this capacity. So as Hubby and I move to Oklahoma and I continue to be global from home, I will also be seeking as many opportunities to help college students experience the world around us. In this way, I hope to use my natural talent.

What are you really good at? Are you pursuing it?

It’s All Greek to Me Friday Lunch

For this week’s Friday no-kitchen lunch, we went Greek. Our menu included grilled eggplant, a Greek salad, humus and pita, and grapes. Simple but delicious.

For an easy eggplant recipe, here’s what I did:

  • Cut eggplant in long slices
  • Dip each piece in olive oil and sprinkle with season salt and ground pepper
  • Place on griddle heated to 350 degrees or in a frying pan on medium high heat
  • Heat approximately 4 minutes on each side or until color darkens and eggplant becomes soft

Eggplant cooking on the griddle

Yummy Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, and olives

My Greek Plate

In addition to great food, we had a fantastic group of students on Friday. These students have either returned from abroad or are headed out to one of the following: Spain, Italy, Hungary, England, New Zealand, Japan, Panama, or Costa Rica. Quite the international group and I think they are all pretty wonderful.

Our rising sophomores

Yep…Friday is still Hawaiian shirt day in the Chemistry department

A couple of our great study abroad alums

Friday’s Olympian to Watch: Yun Ok-Hee

Ever since I read the Hunger Games, I’ve become mildly obsessed with archery. I even bought a Groupon to take classes (I still haven’t used it yet!). So this week’s Olympian to watch is a straight shooting lady who everyone is trying to beat. Yun Ok-Hee (Yun is her surname) hails from South Korea where she began her career in archery at the young age of 11. In an interview she said it was watching the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta that really inspired her. She won two medals (gold and bronze) in Beijing and according to all of the archery world, she has a strong chance of sweeping this year’s games.

In her spare time Yun enjoys reading and listening to music, but also is an advocate for promoting the  historical legacy of Korean archery and has helped several Korean filmmakers accurately portray the sport. She gives a great deal of credit to her heritage for her success. In an interview with New Korean Cinema, she said, “Our sensitive fingertips handed down from our ancestors and our spiritual strength and willingness to fight to the very end are our secrets.” This in combination with her training (which includes bungee jumping and platform diving) have definitely made her an Olympian to watch in 2012.

Olympic Sport: Archery

Hometown: Seongnam, South Korea

Birthdate: March 1, 1985 (age 27)

Height: 5’3″ (this gives me hope that I can still become a master archer; she’s only 4 inches taller than me)

Weight: 139 lbs

It was tough to find a lot of detail about Yun Ok-Hee, but check these out if you would like to learn more.

Travel Buddy Compatibility

As Hubby and I prepare for our first international trip together, I’ve been contemplating the desirable qualities of a travel buddy. How important is travel companion compatibility? Do you need one to be the leader and the other the follower? One a planner and the other spontaneous? Or do both need to take the same approach for a successful trip?

According to the Myers-Briggs there are 16 personality types that are determined by the following four different preferences.

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

Your Personality Type: When you decide on your preference in each category, you have your own personality type, which can be expressed as a code with four letters.

I am an ENFJ – extraversion, intuition, feeling, judging. While Hubby has never taken the MBTI, I’m pretty sure he is an ESTP…almost my exact opposite.  You know the saying! In general, I would say this adds spice and depth to our marriage. We each see things from different angles and help each other make the best decision. But other than our honeymoon to Puerto Rico and weekend trips here in the States, we just don’t have much travel experience together.

In all my previous international adventures, I’ve noticed that I tend to pick travel buddies who are like me: organized, planned, and decisive. My friend who I visited in Argentina is a super planner. When I went to Paris with a sorority sister, we had the entire trip mapped out and saw every hot spot in the city in 4 short days. When I traveled with study abroad programs in Japan and Peru, we were extremely planned out. This will be my first time traveling abroad with someone who is not a decisive planner like me.

Fortunately, I’m pretty crazy about Hubby so in the end, just spending time with him will be wonderful. But I’m curious to hear from anyone who has gone overseas with their travel opposite. Please share your tips for a successful vacation!

Abroad Blog(s) of the Week: Ones to Watch

This week I thought I would do something a bit different and highlight a few blogs that I’ve been following. What each of these bloggers have in common is that they are preparing to study abroad. They come from various places and each is headed some place different, but all of them are taking a great deal of time and effort to prepare for their journey, which I hope leads to a great abroad blog. Here are some new ones to add to your reader:

Mary in Haifa

Like me, Mary is a study abroad professional. She travels the country helping students study abroad affordably in really interesting locations. Mary is taking a year leave from work to study abroad again (jealous), but this time, she’s doing her Master’s degree in Haifa, Israel in Holocaust Studies. Mary’s blog has so much depth already because she knows what she is getting herself into. She is prepared and has even reached out to the local roller derby team in Haifa to meet friends. This is definitely one to add to your blog roll for this fall.

FREEdom Abroad

I happen to have the privilege of being the advisor to the lovely blogger of FREEdom Abroad. Katie is first headed to London at the end of July for a semester abroad with our university, then will be traveling through Asia independently, and she’ll finish out the year with a semester in Budapest, Hungary. As a journalism major, Katie’s writing is interesting and inquisitive. She is constantly wanting to try something new and she is highly adventurous (sometimes to the dismay of her study abroad advisor!).

Turkish Musings

This blog is written by Hayley, a senior at Grand Valley State University headed to Turkey for the semester. Hayley’s prep has been extensive. She posts regularly and goes into detail into everything from learning the Turkish alphabet, saying goodbye to friends, and the visa and financial aid process. I’ve allow noticed that Hayley is pretty active in the blogosphere and is reading a lot of abroad blogs to prepare. I’m pretty eager for Hayley to go abroad to read her personal Turkish musings. One more fun fact about Hayley – she’s a regional official for the US Figure Skating Association.

Adelaide for a Year

I’ve only been following Anthony of Adelaide for a Year for a about a week but I’ve enjoyed going back through this prep posts. From Essex, UK, Anthony just arrived in Australia to spend a year studying at Flinders University in Adelaide. There are so few men that study abroad and blog about it that I was excited to find Anthony’s site. His new camera seems to be serving him well and I really appreciated his first post about leaving home. Now that he’s just arrive in Adelaide, I’m sure he’ll have some great pictures up soon.