Sunday, September 6, 2015

A wrap up of our summer - June and July 2015

Welcome back to Arriaga's Adventures! I have taken some time off from posting as we got settled here in our new home. We arrived in Bogota at the end of July and things have been busy as we have all been getting used to our new city and home.

So a quick wrap up about our summer, in between leaving DC and arriving in Bogota. We left DC in mid-June and made our way towards Mississippi. We made a stop off in Chattanooga, TN to see some of the sites that Al and Sofia had been asking to see for several years. We spent the night in a Pullman Sleeper Car at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel. It was certainly an interesting experience! We visited Ruby Falls and Rock City and had a great time. Even Grover enjoyed his vacation in Chattanooga.
Inside the Pullman Car at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Inside the Pullman Car at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Ruby Falls

Rock City

Looks like Grover is enjoying a drink!

After leaving Chattanooga, we headed to Louisiana to visit some great friends that we made while in Cameroon. Dwayne and Kim Bailey and their four kids. We enjoyed a couple of days relaxing and hanging out with these amazing people.

We also got to swing by Gulfport, MS to see a whole flock of amazing people. Mark and Felica and the whole gang came out to say hello and wish us well on our next big adventure. Sofia also got to see her friends that she made while we were living in South Mississippi. Carmen and Madison are always willing to spend time with Sofia whenever we can make the time to get down to the Gulf Coast.

We finally made it to Philadelphia and got to see the family. Everyone made us feel at home and we enjoyed some quality time with my family. I don't have many pictures of our time in Philadelphia, but it was very relaxing and we enjoyed seeing everyone. After 10 days in Philadelphia, Alberto, Sofia and Grover travelled to Mexico to visit with his family.  

Sofia and sweet Henry Logan

I stayed behind in Mississippi to surprise Mom with a Girl Scout Reunion. Those of us who finished up our scouting days with Virginia as our troop leader planned a surprise reunion for her and we also celebrated her birthday. It was a great day and I am so glad that we got together to remember the amazing times we had as Girl Scouts and to thank our amazing leader.

I travelled to Mexico to reconnect with my family and we got to spend 2 weeks in San Luis Potosi. We spent some time at the Arriaga family swimming compound and a good time was had by all. 

We travelled to Rio Verde to see the Media Luna. It is a spring fed "pool" that is shaped like a half moon. The water is crystal clear but it is super cold. We also got to go to Tamasopo. Tamasopo is an amazing set of waterfalls and pools that you can swim in and enjoy nature at its finest. The water here was cold as well but we all had a great time. The 

Finally, after being on the road and on "vacation" for 6 weeks, it was time for us to travel to Bogota. We were looking forward to our new adventure and our new home and we were all ready to go. 

Well maybe after a nap!

Stay tuned for the next post where I will share some thoughts and photos from our first few weeks in Bogota!

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January in Virginia

More snow, more snow here in Virginia. It is certainly not the major snow event here that the northeast is getting but it is cold and it is white. Here are a few snow pictures to make you glad that you are not here experiencing it. We have a forecast for more snow later in the week and let me tell you, it makes me more ready than ever to head closer to the equator. Stay warm and cozy wherever you are. We are trying to do the same.

Cars covered in snow

My bike on the balcony covered in snow.

The cemetery behind our apartment blanketed in snow.

Snow falling, so pretty, but so cold

And of course, you know that this wouldn't be an Arriaga blog post without at least one picture of Sofia. She is carrying on the family tradition and beating the streets to sell Girl Scout cookies. 

That's all for now, until next time...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grover (not the muppet) and some pretty amazing Pico de Gallo

While we were in Cameroon, I often commented that the best Mexican food in all of Africa could be found at la casa de Arriaga. Most people got it, that means at my house. Well, here we are in DC (Virginia, actually) and I might still make the claim that the best Mexican food that we can find is right here at home.

Alberto makes an excellent pico de gallo. For those of you who took high school Spanish, you may realize that the translation of this is actually "Rooster beak". However, there is nothing fowl about this dish. It is the most amazing combination of tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and other stuff that you will ever taste. Alberto said that I could post the recipe as long as I included a copyright. I am not sure if you can copyright recipes that you randomly post on the internet, so instead, here's a picture. If you want the recipe, you can email me and I will share.

A few chips and a Mexican cerveza and you are in heaven

We had some other food with this, as well, but the pico was the star of our table. We will probably continue to try out Mexican places around DC and will continue to lament their lack of true Mexican-ness. Oh well, on to the super cute pictures that I have to share today.

We have a new member of the Arriaga family. Some of you follow me on Facebook and will have already seen these pictures. Grover is our new puppy and he is the cutest little guy that I have ever seen. He is a Morkie (Maltese Yorkie) and has wrapped us all around his little puppy paws. At only 3 1/2 pounds now, we only expect him to grow to around 8 pounds when he is full grown, so he is the perfect size for a traveling family. He can fit under the seat in front of us on the plane, which takes a lot of the stress out of traveling. Okay, enough details, here are the super cute pictures of our super cute puppy.

Sofia loves our new puppy and as you can probably see, Alberto is enamored with this little ball of fluff. 

School is going well for both Sofia and I. The weather is starting to get cooler and fall is just around the corner. We are looking forward to a real autumn for the first time in several years. We are not quite as excited for the winter. 

Until next time...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Home Leave and Oakwood, again

Hello everyone! We have returned from Africa and spent a fabulous month on home leave with our family and friends. We made our way to Falls Church and are firmly ensconced in Oakwood once more.

Let's get started on an update. Alberto and Sofia left Cameroon at the beginning of July to spend a month in Mexico with Alberto's family. By all accounts, it was a fun trip. Alberto did not take a lot of pictures, but here are a few that I did get.

Puente de dios, Tamasopo

Sofia with her cousins in Mexico

While Sofia and Al were living it up in Mexico, I finished up my tour in Cameroon. It was mostly business as usual, however, I had some great friends to keep me busy so that I didn't miss my family too much. Can you tell we were having a good time?

Nancy was an excellent hostess.

I nicknamed this party Winefest 2014

Doni, Karen, Nancy, Vilma and I are doing our best Rockette kick line. 
It wasn't very good but we had a ton of fun.

After a month apart, we came back together again in Philadelphia to spend time with my family and some of our friends. We had a great pool party with our amazing friends, Richie and Brandy Rea and their kids, Spencer and Meagan. Since most of the pictures include me in a bathing suit, I will spare you the agony, but some of these pictures are too good not to share.

Spencer and Sofia having a great time.

Hours of fun with a huge beach ball!

Alberto thinks that he is in the Olympic diving competition!

We went to Navarre Beach, Florida during our home leave. My dad and Deb were able to spend time with us while we were there. We didn't actually take a lot of pictures since we were enjoying the water most of the time, however, we rented a boat one day and I got some great shots of that.

Captain Al

Sofia and Buela

My beautiful girl

This may be our first "selfie"

Me and my girl

One of the best parts of our home leave was visiting with my family and spending time with my mom, my brother and his family. I have lots of great pictures of the kids but I will just put a few here so as not to bore everyone to tears.

Sofia with Annie

Smiles all around

Fun in the sprinkler and bubble maker

And when it starts raining, we play in the rain with pool noodles

New nephew, Henry Logan

I always love a little guitar music from my brother, Wes

Sofia is having fun!

Henry is having fun!

After a few short weeks of home leave, we had to begin our trek to Falls Church, VA so that Sofia could start 4th grade and I could start training at the Foreign Service Institute. We meandered our way to Virginia, taking back roads and stopping on the way in Gatlinburg, TN. I got to share the Pancack Pantry with Al and Sofia and we went to the Aquarium of the Smokies. And what would a driving vacation be without some Fantasy Golf? We made sure to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while just to get the full experience. Here are some shots that I took along the way.
Glad to be in Tennessee

Looks pretty good!

Sofia and her fishy friends posing for a pic

The drive was interesting and very beautiful. We were very glad to have gotten off the beaten path and meandered through the mountains. 

We have now been in Virginia for about a week. Sofia started school and I have started my training. We have gotten mostly settled in our new home and are glad to be here. This blog is intended to chronicle interesting things that we do on our adventure, so I will post again when something more than just everyday life happens. I leave you with some school shots of Sofia.

Until next time...

First day, a little nervous
Second day, much happier