Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I think you can tell it's a panda, but I wouldn't say that the cupcake looks very professional though. I think we would have had to spend a lot more time being careful when we did the faces for them to look nicer.
The third one we made were the owls. You might remember these cutie pies from Terryn's first birthday party. They are fun to make also and usually turn out really good too. Besides that the chocolate frosting and the chocolate cupcake taste great. We had a lot of fun making these. It made me start thinking of Easter and if I should be ambitious and do Easter cupcakes. I guess we'll wait and see.
I thought he looked a lot like someone else we all know when they were little. I haven't seen Terryn do this at all since he's been binky-free though. I think it was just because he was sick.
So after about a week of being sick, Terryn is getting a little better. He still has a cough, but it's not as nasty as it was before. The only thing is now I'm sick. Great. Hopefully Sean won't get sick while he's on his trip.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Life is certainly an interesting thing. I feel like I have experienced a lifetime of emotions and experiences over the last few months. I have witnessed miracles taking place and seen tragedies hit the world and families I love.
I've felt utter sadness at the hearing of friends’ struggling with cancer, kidney failure and financial distress. I've felt grief at the passing of my grandfather. I’ve been shocked and saddened by the suffering of the people in the world hit by natural disasters, calamities and war. I've felt loneliness from the ocean that separates me from much of my family and friends.
But I've also felt gratitude and joy at the sudden recovery of my mother from mental illness. I’ve felt relief and happiness at feeling the little baby inside me kicking away at my insides. I feel excited hearing about my soon-to-be nephew and the prospect of being able to meet him in October. Terryn gives me joy and comfort with his snuggles, kisses and sweetness when I’m feeling sad or lonely. Phone conversations with friends and family make me grateful of the relationships I have that oceans cannot break.
Overall, I just feel gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for. Yes, sad and terrible things happen sometimes, but life isn't fair. The troubling times make us stronger in the end and I know that life doesn't end when we die. I’m thankful for family and friends that love me. I’m grateful for the baby that will join our family and for my nephew that will be born. (I’m excited for Terryn to have a cousin!) I’m also thankful that I will be able to spend some time back in Washington in a few months and that I will be able to have my baby with my family there to support me and help welcome him into the world.
To those that are going through hard times now, be patient. Pain doesn’t last forever. Turn to those you love and rally your strength. My heart goes out to you though I may be an ocean away.
So again I just want to say, thank you life. Thank you God. Thank you for being unexpected and giving me opportunities to grow and make choices. Life will continue to be interesting and I look forward to seeing what you have in store for me.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
On the way to dinner one night, as we were walking down the stairs of our hotel, we had a chance encounter with a toad. Sean kept wanting me to get closer to it, but I was like, "Nope." I didn't want it jumping on my head. Hahahaha... that would have been pretty funny though.
The last stop of our tour was something called "The Crazy House." I kept thinking to myself... hmmm... I really don't want to visit an insane asylum in a 3rd world country on my vacation. Luckily that is not at all what it was.
The 2nd President of Vietnam's daughter went to architecture school in Russia and decided to build this really... well.... crazy-looking house.
The premises is huge. There are rooms and pathways everywhere. Not all of them are very safe either. The bridge that Sean is crossing barely has hand rails and is pretty narrow. You could totally fall about two-stories.
The house was pretty interesting. Everyone has to pay an entrance fee to see it and that money goes to continue building the house. It's like a never-ending construction project. It almost reminds me of something you might see in Disneyland... except for the safety concerns. Hahahaha.
I think anyone who had a severe fear of height would have a problem with the trail down to the falls. There were narrow make-shift stairs, but nothing really to hold on to. You had to have good balance to make it.
Again, we have no idea why they call it Elephant Falls. Maybe someone put these statues here and that's where the name came from. We decided to pose in front... or in Sean's case... on the decrepit elephants.
They showed us where the bean grows on the plant, but it's a little too early right now to see them ripe on the tree.
We did get to see the remnants of last year's crop. It was interesting to see how the shell that covers the beans. The beans are really wet and almost white before they are roasted. They do not acquire the "coffee" smell until they are roasted either.
On our way to the next farm, I managed to snap a picture of Sean on the motorbike. We each had our own guide and rode on different bikes.
Our next destination was the silk farm. It was a smallish building, but inside they do everything with silk. They begin with the cocoons and go all the way to finished dyed fabric. The cocoons are what contain the silk. The larvae or worm wraps itself up in a silk blanket... so to speak. When it emerges, it becomes a white moth.
Most of the worms never get to this point. Many are taken before they emerge and the cocoon is taken to make the silk thread. The ones not taken are left to mate and make more silk worms.
The cocoons taken for silk are brought over and boiled. The worker finds a thread and loops it into the machine that gathers and makes the thicker thread. About 20 cocoons go into making a strand of the thicker silk thread. What's interesting is that the boiled worms are taken to market and sold for eating. Our guide told us they were good. I'll just take his word for it.
After the silk thread is gathered on a spool, it is threaded on another spool on a machine that pumps in hot air. This dries the thread. The thread is then taken to a machine where it is woven into cloth. This machine was pretty awesome. It has some sort of punch guide up top that creates the pattern in the cloth. Very cool. The cloth is then dyed and sold.
We didn't really spend much time at this pagoda. We've been to a LOT of pagodas and unless there is something really impressive, we tend to get a little bored with them.
When we were done looking around at the pagoda and met back up with our guides, they showed us the view from the hill. Dalat has a lot of farm land. I took a picture of the view from the hill where the pagoda was and you can see many, many greenhouses. Dalat, in fact, grows most of the produce for Ho Chi Minh City. Our fruits and veggies either come from Dalat or the Mekong Delta.
In the background is lady mountain. The locals believe it looks like a lady lying down. It's hard to tell because the top of the mountain is covered over. We joked around saying she has clothes on now.
Our next stop was 6 mountain. It was a little strange. We just stopped in the middle of nowhere and our guides said to follow the trail up the hill. It was slow going for me because I am WAY out of shape... on top of being pregnant.