el centro 》san diego

la jolla sea caves

Wee. Most days, Morgan and I look around and are like what are we even doing and how do we make decisions and why is time flying so fast? We never have an answer so we just ask ourselves the same question the next day. So our life goes on and meanwhile we’ve been married 3.5 years and its been a wonderful decision, albeit the decision making hasn’t got easier.

The 12th Morgan and I drove to LA for a job just outside of Compton. I doodled on my iPad and read “Stories of an African Vet” while Morgan cruised around surveying. The job didn’t take long, and after the it was done we grabbed lunch and drove out east to a little town close to the Mexico border called El Centro where Morgan had another job to do Saturday. We even drove through a little bit of snow over the pass between San Diego and El Centro which was a bonus to our trip. I hung out at the hotel part of the morning, and spent lunch eating tacos and the afternoon with Morgan. We didn’t realize before we got there, but the Blue Angels winter at an Air Force Base in El Centro and it happened to be their last day there, so they were putting on a little air show in the afternoon. Because of covid, they did the airshow just over the city so people were parked off the roads and around and we got to watch it too!

Last Sunday lunch we were privileged to eat Nigerian food at Gary&Rachel’s. Mom made us blue head coverings like the missionaries there wear so we could feel at one with them. This week we had Drew&Nicole over since they are out visiting and some other fine people joined us for supper too. We young couple girls had a get-together one morning which was delightful, and Morgan&I went to Dan’s one evening for suchhh good SmashBurgers. Mom flew out to Michigan on Tuesday, and Dillon&Renae and baby Max flew home Wednesday morning! I am so happy Mom is out spending some quality time with her first grandchild, but we are jealous! We are hoping to see them in not too long.

la jolla cove

This Thursday morning at 5 we left for San Diego where Morgan and the hired guy have another job, and it’s one I definitely wanted to go along! Its actually in La Jolla, about 20 minutes from Little Italy in San Diego.We got here around ten a.m. and I did some exploring around the area for a couple hours, beginning with the Parakeet Cafe which is the cutest place where I got sourdough toast with this vinaigrette and beet rings and avocado and chunked tomato on top. I also got a latte that was maybe a 6/10 and then ate ym food in front of this gorgeous Wall. I’m such a fan of neon branding so this place checked lots of boxes for me.

parakeet cafe

It started raining later on in the afternoon so I was at the hotel until supper. We drove into Little Italy and grabbed a couple tacos at Not Not Tacos for an appy and then shared a Pizza at an Italian place. Little Italy is a square close to the waterfront with lots of delicious food options and cool lights hanging all over and really tall palm trees. We watched planes fly in and listened to the conversations of people around us and discussed super important adult things.

Yesterday I cruised around on a scooter most of the day taking in the town. It was sunny and warm luckily, so I spent awhile at low tide sitting on rocks by the tide pools and watching the world’s of sea life in them which is on my top 10 list of things that bring my life joy. I tried another coffee shop in the afternoon called Brick and Bell where i had a good talk with the owner and had the best vanilla chai latte with oat milk that I’ve had ever. I went back into old Town san diego and walked the marina for awhile and watched the world go by until later in the afternoon when I Ubered back to the hotel. Morgan and I went for a burger and a pulled pork sandwich at this little foodie joint called The Promiscuous Fork and so ended the day.

Today the guys finished up job #1 and we drove to a little dinky town inland called Winchester where they are finishing job #2 currently. Then we have a six-hour drive home to my favorite little bus house. Sometimes it doesn’t quite feel like home yet after four months, but then we leave for a couple days and I start missing falling asleep with the moon shining through the skylight and then I realize it IS home and that’s h a p p y to me. I hope you all have a good weekend♡

Moatize, Mozambique

maputo

Jan 9. The power went out while I was combing my hairs this morning. I was elated that it had waited until we were leaving to go out. We packed up the Hilux and left codi’s around 5. It’s a 7 ish hour drive to Dillon’s from Dondo, so we had another part of a day riding along and watching the world. In early afternoon we arrived to Moatize, the town where Dillon’s live, close to Tete. Moatize is a busy place and the street by Dillon’s house always has lots of people walking by. It’s a good size town with coal mines around and coal dust ever present. We can’t really tell since we’re here in wet season so there isn’t any dust at all currently. Dillon’s always have a guard on duty who opens the gate when we arrive or leave. Chico, the day guard/gardener always takes off his hat and bows when we sees us. He works tirelessly all day doing anything and everything to stay busy. They also have two dogs and a monkey. The monkey, Rambo, eats peanuts and green beans while he holds onto my finger. These days all blend together in a blur of fun. I will hit some of the highlights of our time in Moatize since we were too busy going for me to write:)

• we spent several evenings dining at CSI with Andrew&Bridgett and Gerald. One evening Curt&Lareasa and teacher Trish were down from Zobue and Andrew made picanha and lamb and chicken for supper. The ladies made beans and rice and pico to complete the Brazilian meal and honestly, it was so.delicious. Another couple evenings we dined there with Codi&Coralee who are in the city for a few days. It has been beyond neat getting to know these people we hear about from Dillon’s and we like all of them and are excited to run into them back in the States.

• us and Dillon’s drove up to the cross which is an overlook thing in the middle of town. We could look at a 360° view high in the middle of Moatize and hear children voices floating up to us and see the huge dump trucks driving out of the coal mines in the distance. Afterwards we drove out to the mines and watched the activity there for abit.

• one day we drove up to Zobue to see Curt&Lareasa and Trish. It’s a bit of a drive over there through hills and green bush. There are several spots where white concrete cones mark the Malawi border so we went into Malawi for abit. The town of Zobue is close to the foot of Zobue Mountain and its quite a bit cooler there than Moatize. In the afternoon we walked down the road to the wood carvers shop. He has his hot wired tools set up under a tarp and everything is held together with a prayer, it looks like. We watched him carve the ‘Big Five into a tray – elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, cape buffalo. It took him maybe 10 minutes to carve them with no pattern whatsoever and they looked completely amazing. Trish made gumbo for supper and we were happy to be at the Zobue house.

• the same day we went to Zobue, we had Dillon’s interpreter, Zach, with us. He is just the nicest man and we enjoyed visiting with him and asking questions. He rode up to Zobue with us since that’s where he lives. We met his wife and their two children, and his wife made xima and beans and peanut couve for us. We sat on the mat in the little round thatched-roof hut and ate with him and its something we won’t ever forget. It was very special.

• we drove out to the Mponzu church one day which is one Dillon’s go to every few weeks. Or they did until covid hit in March, anyways. It’s a ways out of Moatize, a very bumpy ride where you leave the highway and meander on a dirt trail through the trees for 25 km. We drove up to a tiny mud building with a straw roof and a dusty door and a snake skin swinging from a rafter outside. It looked so lonely and it was hard to imagine it full of these happy people.

out by Mponzu

• another thing we got to do was visit a member here, Albeno. We met him and his wife and the most darling grandma and got to have a little visit with them through Zach. The women here all love little Max and take turns holding him and they are so excited that they can be his “grandmas” while Dillon’s are here. We walked out behind Albeno’s house through more huts until we came to the Chingdozi church where Dillon’s go. It is full of dust inside and locked up and it’s quite sad for Dillon’s and the people here that church has been canceled since March with no hope of opening up again currently. We sang “What a Friend we have in Jesus” in the church while Albeno and Zach listened and we felt Jesus come into that little church that day.

• Saturday we met CSI at an orphanage they go to in Tete. We sang, or rather tried to sing, Portuguese songs with around 30 happy children. Then a Bible story was read with more enthused singing. After Andrew introduced us the kids wanted to dance for us so they sang and clapped and it was the cutest thing. When we left they patted our arms and patted Max and said “tchau tchau Maxey!”

• we went through all kinds of markets, drove bumpy roads, passed tracts through windows, had good conversations and debates, played games, watched thunderstorms every afternoon, reminisced, sang, made plans for the future, and enjoyed every single second of being with our Dillon&Renae&Max. They were such good Mozambique guides.

Now its Saturday night, and we three are on the airplane to Maputo. We are supposed to fly out of Maputo on Monday morning. Unfortunately our covid tests can’t process on Sunday so we may or may not have to change our tickets if they require them. On the other hand, a CSI boy left a few weeks ago and got through to the USA with no test at all so we will see when we leave I guess. Tomorrow we are going to the basket market and another central market to kill some time. We have a hotel booked for a couple nights that supposedly has sushi so we might spend some time there too in that case. I am sad to leave this place and my favorite Dillon’s. I think it’s so much harder to leave them here knowing that Covid has left them more lonesome and with not much to do. We are thankful we were able to make the trip safely, and with no sickness. (the sandwich we were given on this flight may change that) Do you remember the dangerous road we drove in faith? We found out that the day after we drove through on that road, a truck was shot and the driver killed. Your prayers go with each of the missionaries while they drive and live here and only now that I’ve been here do I really see how much the prayers must mean to them. What a thing to have the prayers of the Church and the protection of God.♡

bus+Mozambique+Idaho

Ok so there’s just been so many things happening and some are exciting and some are frustrating but basically that means I don’t get around to writing on here like I want to.

Last Wednesday morning, Mom, Morgan, and I left for Mackay to go visit Madison. We got to drive through snow part of the way which was the only exciting thing that happened the whole way there. We went to Uncle Mike’s for supper Wednesday evening when we got there and then to the tiny house Madison and her co-teacher live in. It’s very cute and small and perfect except for the little demon kitten that terrorizes the inside of the cabin. The weather was beautiful with lows around 5* and the mountains were full of snow and so pretty. We saw all kinds of places to park our bus on future trips and that’s exciting to think about. Thanksgiving Day lunch was spent at a young couples, Krystan and Lesleigh Stoll’s house. Whoever was around Mackay came for lunch there and we had a really neat time being with friends and making new ones. In the afternoon we hiked up to “the swing” as the locals call it. Its a short hike up through the trees and snow to a clearing where there’s a huge tree with a swing you grab onto. Then you run and jump holding onto the swing bar and fly around the tree. Unfortunately while we were at the swing, Madison’s dog Shasta wouldn’t come when we called and she’d chased away after an animal somewhere on the mountain so we spent a stressed half hour searching and calling while it got dark. We had a special prayer then and ten minutes later she came running up the trail, full of ice and scared and cold. It was an answered prayer for sure, and the late tomato soup supper definitely hit the spot. On Black Friday we stopped at Pickle’s Place in Arco for delicious breakfast and then drove to Idaho Falls and did some Christmas shopping. Pickle’s Place is this local spot where everyone goes and they have amazing food and you usually see pretty crusty locals there. It’s fun. Overall it was a delightful time and we were sad to leave Madison and the mountains. Madison is actually coming out this weekend for a wedding so it’s just five days apart but stillllll.

On that note, we were HOPING to get in our bus this week, and it’s still a possibility but I guess we’ll see. We still have a list of things to do and Morgan’s been working really late nights there with Levi and Abe. I told them we’re going to have to feed them suppers for a year since they’ve been so dedicated to helping Morgan! Our bar stools were delivered this week, Morgan got our composting toilet ready, the bathroom wallpaper is up, the flooring is in, the tile is in the bathroom, and we have the cutest woodstove of all time going every night. Of course with all that gets done there are things that don’t work out either. Like our oven/stove has a propane issue, and our door guy didn’t work out so we are left trying to figure out Plan B, and we can’t find all the plumbing parts. And I knicked the counter with the file when I was working the other night so that made me cranky. Anyways, we are so excited about getting into the bus that we are trying not to let ourselves just move in unfinished and then we don’t get baseboard on for the next 6 months. We all know how this goes, right?

This week is also possibly the worst for trying to move. Madison and my Uncle Jeff’s arrive this Friday so obviously we don’t want to be busy the entire weekend they’re here. And we of course have friends coming for the wedding from Michigan and everywhere else so we want to be in it and be able to have our people over for fire’s and stuff. So yes. Busy busy.

Other good things are: 1. Dillon and Renae had their little baby boy, Max Anthony. The best name and he has dark hair and that’s about what we know! We also know that Madison and I are proud to be aunties and Mom is overjoyed to be a Nonna. Dad would also be very proud of Dillons and little Max, and that’s hard on me that he’s not here. 2. Morgan and I bought tickets to go see them leaving December 29. If you’ve made it this far, please pray that our tests are negative and we can get into Mozambique! Our plan is to fly into the capital, Maputo, where Dillon’s are currently, and drive back up to their house in Tete while helping with the baby and stuff. We already feel we’ve had prayers answered. Dillon had taken our papers into the Embassy and been told they didn’t know when he’d get them back since it’s all backed up and people still haven’t got papers from a couple months ago. Anyways he called back two days later and said we’d got our letter of visa approval in 1.5 days and he was shocked! We are so thankful we have that on our side! So I’m working on getting a yellow fever shot also, which is limited supply so I have to drive a couple hours to get it. 3. I got to substitute teach yesterday and it was f u n to be back at school again. 4. My Christmas shopping is on point this year. Like I have come up with ideas that are exactly what that person could use. We are doing stocking stuffers this year for gifts so it will be a fun, simple Christmas here at Mom’s. 5. I finished my few Christmas cards and sent them away.

I hope all of you have a safe week♡

b.c.

Seattle is rainy and cold and organic. The raindrops chase each other down coffee shop windows and brick walls and people’s cheeks. The sun does not shine but I am filled with happiness as I browse through shampoo bars and vegan chocolate and essential oils. Seattle is interesting, there’s no question. I’d live here if I could.

We flew away to Seattle a few days ago and rented a car which we drove to our favorite Tony&Tara at Othello. We had a grand time catching up and spent a night there before driving up to Osoyoos BC for Andrew Thiessen’s wedding that was held on Saturday. I was so happy to see more friends from Westlock and Edberg and Crooked Creek I hadn’t seen for way too long. We had Indian food with Matt&Tiff one evening and spent another with some of Morgans cousins and it was just fun and relaxing. We left early Sunday morning and took the beautiful Hwy 3 drive over to Abbotsford and then down towards Seattle. We found this really cool Airbnb near Seattle and stayed there. It is called the Hygge Tiny House with hygge being a Danish word for contentment and coziness. It was perfectly minimal and tiny. We went to a grocery store and bought things to make gourmet spaghetti which is normal spaghetti with parsley and parmesan. But it was delicious food and we slept listening to the rain on the roof right above our heads in the loft. 10 of 10 would recommend to anyone passing. You can look at it here. This morning we drove into Seattle and checked out a couple of ski gear places and different little shops before we flew out at 4. It was a spectacular trip.

This week I’m going to go crazy and finish sorting stuff for my upcoming garage sale. Madison comes in about a week for her Thanksgiving break and the guest room is in need of CDR cleanup. Plus we are so excited to work on the bus. I’ve been taking out screws here and there but finally there’s only so much I can do without accidentally cutting a wire or some other catastrophic mishap.

Tonight I am trying to sell some stuff for Dad on eBay and Morgan is working on the dishwasher. It’s cool outside and I’m happy fall is a season that comes to California. I’m also happy to have Morgan as a husband. Sometimes I’d just like to brag about him on here but I realize that’s not necessarily what you feel like reading. Stay tuned for a travel interview coming soon if you’re interested!

venice.

2 letters today grade 5!

When I was little I used to look at the pictures of venice and imagine the people who lived there and the water being out your front door and what they did for jobs. Lots of years later, we are here and I cant believe it. Our overnight train from Rome arrived this morning at 730. We stepped off the train and directly into a KFC where I forced the guys to buy a donut so I could use the bathroom. Once outside, I lost my heart. Some of you know that my family loves Frankfort, Michigan. Part of the reason i love it is the low thrum you hear from the boats making their way out to the lake. Well. It’s like that here all the time except its Italy.

There are canals running everywhere with more canals branching out from them. There are big intersections with all sizes and shapes of boats idling through. We counted at least 20 at one point. They drive on the opposite side though, even though the cars here in Italy drove on the right side like we do. They all go very slowly, with the ambulances and police having their own boats too. Morgan and Levi saw a cop with a radar checking the boats speeds off the dock. The water is green and beautiful although I think it’s part sewer even tho it doesnt smell. Every canal we saw was the green color with little bridges everywhere and houses whose basements are the sea.

We dropped our bags at The Silk Road hostel where instead of bunk beds we were given basically a privat(E) apartment that was nice and clean. Then we started walking. We first went down some of the market streets where there are lots of blown glass and mask shops. The masks are a huge thing here because of the Carnival of Venice. They are from years ago when people would wear elaborate masks to hide their identity so they could act more freely apart from their social status. There are lots of these stores here and even design your own mask shops.

There are no streets or cars here, only a maze of cobblestone alleys to find your way through. Very few street signs to help us out but usually we end up at another canal and figure out where we are. The Italians aren’t a very friendly people as far as smiling at you or greeting you on the streets. We got lunch to go at this place I’d seen online called Del Moro. We had fresh pasta in a couple minutes that we ate outside by the canal. We were sitting there eating and a middle aged couple from England asked if we’d like to split a gondola ride so we talked with them while we ate and found out they were from Devon and were celebrating their 20th anniversary. They were super nice and wanted a picture of us all when we split ways and we got their name and number so we can keep in touch. The gondola ride was amazing.

It’s very peaceful in Venice anyways with no cars and quiet canals but on a gondola…even better. I’d heard the gondoliers dont sing like they used to but we got a nice one who sang to us in Italian and whistled while he rowed us around through the water and it made for an awesome experience. The gondoliers all wear a striped shirt with a (F)lat straw hat and a red kerchief with dark pants. After the gondola ride we got tickets and rode around on a boat on the Grand Canal for awhile. The Grand Canal is huge and full of boats and yachts and little dinghies. We made friends with another couple from Ireland who were hilarious and an older couple from the UK.

We ate supper in St. Mark’s Square at a pasta place before heading back down the alleys to our hostel for the night. This old, story-filled city is definitely one of my favorite places.