Saturday, March 10, 2012

Back to the Ocean...On a new Shore!

As I was a year and roughly seven months ago, I'm sitting here in my living room, contemplating the pile of tape-secured boxes that are rapidly piling up in the hall and in the extra room, masking tape and packing tape rolls scattered around, wondering what's left that still needs to be carefully wrapped in bubble tape and what books I'm going to put in my suitcase so I'll have something to read when we get to our new destination.  We are switching continents again, coming back to our home country, but to a brand new state for both of us, and a brand new coastline!  Life throws us choices and we have to make decisions and while we've LOVED living in Lugano, traveling to various places in Switzerland and Europe while we can, meeting new people and making new friends, we're off to do it all over again.  And since we were dreaming of the Caribbean before coming here, Miami will be all the closer to make plans for our future adventures.  Kris needed to make a job change and a company in Miami offered him that change. He's scheduled to start on the 26th so we leave here on the 23rd, get into town, and I get to apartment-hunt!  We've got friends coming by today to "shop" for furniture/appliances that we can't take back with us (different voltages...but we're keeping the Nespresso machine and getting a converter plug...everything else can go to a new home!)  I'm mentally sorting work clothes and warm-weather clothes from all the other stuff that's going to be packed into boxes.  We've alerted our electric company, cable company, our health insurance, the county office that we're leaving.  Kris is on his way back from Ikea with packing boxes as I'm writing this (it is absolutely impossible to find them anywhere but here...people here apparently just don't move enough to need more than one moving supply store that's two towns away.)  
There's so much I'm going to miss here, all our friends, the wonderful food and atmosphere, the snow in the winter, but I have to say that I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to 24-hour grocery stores, easily accessible baking soda and baking powder that comes in quantities of more than 1 tablespoon per packet, not reading labels in German or French and trying to figure out if I'm actually buying sour cream or some entirely different dairy product.  I'm looking forward to re-learning my grasp of Spanish, and sampling the local cuisine.  I'm getting hungry just thinking of fish tacos, fresh tortilla chips, guacamole and Cadillac margaritas!  And while we are someday going to come back to Europe and do a proper tour across it, it's going to be so much nice to be so many hours closer to home and friends and less expensive plane rides to get there.  And ranch dressing. And milk.  I sorely MISS two percent milk!  The stuff here is decent once you get used to it, but after a year and a half, I'm still not quite sure that I'm used to it.  And Costco.  If they have Costco or something similar in Miami, I will be ecstatic.  
Off to more packing!  US, we will see you soon.
Happy Life Changes!

Allie H.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A full day of Italian and First Aid

We're certified!  (And possibly certifiable...but we'll ignore that for now!)  We spent 8 hours this last Saturday plus a couple hours Friday night taking a course in First Aid, in Italian, in conjunction with our Sailing course.  It was a LONG day and a piece!  Chloe spent her Saturday with Anna, Colin and the kids (Friday night we knew she was going to be too bored for the next 8-hour segment and as First Aid training is interactive, it wouldn't have worked out too well-she'd distract everyone else but not staying on her designated chair whenever we got up to observe/participate.)  So she got to spent the day with friends.  She wasn't too happy about it (she's still shaky being away from us after her broken foot) but she was well cared for!  We learned how to bandage wounds, slow blood flow, assess causes of medical problems, administer CPR, apply splints, etc, etc...It was a ton of information!  We got an hour break in the middle of the day and since the class was in Agno we got to eat at the pizza place next to the little airport where Kris had met the chef there during his interview for CSCS and who we got to say hi to before we headed back to class.  

We were a bit dismayed that most of the instructions included calling an ambulance...when you're out at sea going somewhere other than back to your own mooring for a day or two, you're lucky if you can get to shore within 2 hours, so a bit more in-depth training would have been nice.  The instructors only glossed over heatstroke, sunburns, hypothermia, more about which I'd learned in 4-H as a teen, which, being given in conjunction with a sailing course, one would think they'd have tailored it a bit more to the entire subject matter.  But the fact that they have the course at all is cool...They give it as a requirement for everyone getting their Driver's License (everyone born in the region) so they have some idea how to stabilize themselves or someone else should they get in a car wreck, etc.  I think it's something the US should adopt in association with the Red Cross.  

As a result, we're looking into possibly taking first response emergency tech training someday, so we have more hands-on, more detailed training that we can certainly put to use on a boat, and I've been searching for first aid kits similar to the one the teachers had in the classroom-the US Coast Guard sells incredible ones, by the way-they rate each kit by size of crew and how many hours away from shore.  Handy piece of information!  

If you haven't had First Aid training, I recommend going out and taking a course or two.  The Red Cross offers courses and follow up online training, on-site presentation training for your office/family/youth group, etc.  And they also have kits for different types of situations for sale.  Get certified, know how to possibly save someone's life.  Of course, whenever we end up back in the US, we'll get Red Cross certified as well (I'd love to take a whole course in a language that I completely understand!)
Happy Education!

Allie H.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I love hummus.  It's delicious, full of flavor ad kick, depending on how spicy you choose to make it, it's totally healthy, and did I mention how delicious it is?  I've made it once before and I love it when I get healthy food cravings because I usually look for something like this, instead of a bag full of potato chips covered in grease.  (I still give in to those cravings, of course!)  But I went back to my once-tried and true recipe from this site full of cheap recipes,  They've got everything from honey mustard sauce to desserts.  At any rate, here's their recipe.

Homemade Hummus
1 (14 oz) can chick peas or garbanzo beans
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste) or natural peanut butter, stirred well
2 1/2 TBSP lemon juice, preferably fresh (no plastic container!)
2 TBSP olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, peeled (I went ahead and minced with my handy garlic press)
1/2 tsp salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Drain and rinse the beans/peas, reserve 1/3 cup of the liquid to use in the recipe.  The recipe said to place all ingredients in the blender bowl, save for the beans/peas and process until well blended, but I just tossed everything in and turned on the blender until I got my desired consistency, stopping halfway as the recipe suggested to add a bit more salt and cayenne as desired.  Cover with plastic and let sit for at least 30 minute (I just left mine uncovered for 45 minutes or so before digging in today.)  Traditionally, you drizzle it with extra olive oil once it's in the serving platter you chose to use, but I don't think it needs it if you're going to just munch it right out of the bowl (like me!)  

It's a better choice than the traditional packet on onion soup powder and a container of sour cream, or the tub of salsa fresca from the deli (not that these two options aren't good, but hummus is just different!)  Feel free to steal the recipe-it couldn't be easier, there's tons of variations like red-pepper hummus or zucchini hummus, and you can serve it with chips crackers, veggies, warm pita triangles, whatever!  Enough kitchen pretty talk...I'm going to head into the kitchen for another helping.
Happy Snacking,

Allie H.