Hello loyal readers. I wanted to take this opportunity to blog since I don't have class for ten more days. I got a few emails from some friends asking me when I will be writing my next post. One of them in particular was super thoughtful (and you know who you are! <3)Thank you so much for the kind emails I have been getting, it makes me happy to know that people like reading about our lives. Brandon has also been asking me when is the last time I blogged, and said I really should upload some pictures of our past few trips we have taken. He is so right. I have a lot to say actually since it has been so long.
My first quarter at school has been so so so challenging. I have had anxiety and trouble sleeping at night because of the stress. Brandon said the other night I actually started screaming (like horror movie screaming) in my sleep and I wouldn't stop. How creepy, huh? Yes, this was during finals week. Can't say that has ever happened before. The funniest part is that I do not recall this happening in the slightest. But yeah, this is University life for you. I made a bunch of super nice friends, despite any stress experienced. Really cool people that I have been able to connect with. I have also had some super annoying experiences that have affected my final grade in one of my classes but let's not even go there. It's over and I am FREE! Free for ten days.
What do I want to do for those ten days? Well the original plan was to find old games from the 90's and play them on my computer to revisit my childhood. Such games include Rodent's Revenge, Monkey Island, Chips Challenge, Tetris, Mahjong, Freecell, Klotski, Skifree, Bow and Arrow, The Playroom, Number Munchers, and Oregon Trail. Am I too old for that? Maybe. Do I care? Not in the slightest. Time for some mindlessness.... Bwahaha!!! Actually that plan didn't work out because it turns out that those games don't even exist anymore without downloading a bunch of viruses on your computer, which I am not willing to do. But I do have Chips Challenge. :-)
And now, for my photo dump! I have gone on a few trips since we spoke last. Those who are friends with me on Facebook might have already seen a couple of these photos already but that's ok!
So our first trip we took was to Utah (of course) to see my sister Sarah, since she just got back from her LDS mission to New Jersey a while ago. This is me and Brandon on the plane. We bought those neck pillows from the airport since we have been wanting them for a while. Mine is soooo my favorite. Polka dots are the best. Well, for some reason I don't have any of my Utah pictures uploaded on my computer besides this one. But just to give you a quick summary of what we did (oh my gosh, I sound like I am writing a book report LOL! Too much school!!!!) Ok anyway.... basically all we did was hang out with our family. I had so much fun seeing my Aunt and Uncle and little cousins from South Africa for the first time in 7 years - We even went on a little hike with them. I had loads of fun with my sister Kaelyn's cute babies. We even made some time to see my friends, DeeDee, Lara and Mary, and their husbands David and James. I seriously love them to death. Wish they all lived next door to me in Washington. Why must Utah be so far away!!!??? T.T
Ok so this next one I already posted on Facebook, but Brandon "surprised" me with a road trip to Vancouver. It was funny, because he wanted it to be a surprise but about a week before the trip came up he was on autopilot and we had the following conversation:
Brandon: So, are you excited to go to Vancouver?
Me (also on autopilot for a minute): Yes. Wait.... what???? We are going to Vancouver?
Brandon: Oh wait!!! DANG IT!!! That was supposed to be a surprise for Valentines day. DANGIT!!
Me: *laughing my head off*
Anyway, we are in love with Vancouver, and have been there several times. If you want to know what to do when you go there, just trust me when I say that there is all the Japanese food your heart could possibly desire there. But actually our food experiences were not the best this trip. Think of burned food and stingy portions. YYYYeah... that happened. But there was lots of other great stuff that we did enjoy.
One place that never disappoints us is Nando's. It is actually South African food and they totally don't have it in Washington so we go to Vancouver especially to eat this. Also, no trip to Canada would be complete without having junk food that you can't get too easily in the U.S. which you can find at any store in Canada. Ketchup chips.... I know I have mentioned them before, but seriously these things are addictive. And it has to be Old Dutch brand, no other brand is the same. Wine gums and Smarties are mainly nostalgic for me. Brandon doesn't care to eat candy (he is a little more health conscious than me at times) so I just eat candy that reminds me of being a kid.
Next, we got Thai massages. I am happy to recommend this place Smile Thai Wellness to anyone in this world. Go to Vancouver, and book the 90 minute massage. It is SOOOO worth it. Afterwards we were so flexible that we could both touch our toes without bending our knees. This is BRANDON we are talking about. He could never do that before. So anyway, please, just do yourself a favor and go there. The atmosphere is really nice too, and the workers are very professional. And you get to wear fisherman's pants and a nice flowy top while you get your massage. I was going to post a picture of me and Brandon wearing them, but I really just don't like how my facial expression was in the picture LOL. So maybe next time.
Next, we went to Granville Island. I am telling you, this place is worth a visit. We didn't end up going to Stanley Park, although we wish we did, since time was short for the trip. But Granville Island had the BEST market. I would say it is better than Pike's Place Market (just my personal opinion). I had fresh squeezed grapefruit juice there and yummy smoked salmon to snack on. Oh my gosh it was so good. There was just good food everywhere, plus it is really family friendly there. They even have a whole market for kids and a pond where kids can feed ducks and everything. We enjoyed it immensely and are DEFINITELY going to make this a regular stop whenever we visit Vancouver. Oh, you see that heart-shaped tart in the picture? Brandon got me that from Whole Foods on the way back home. It was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!
Our next little adventure was that Brandon's cousin Jennifer came to see us and we went to Seattle to have dinner at a Tom Douglas restaurant called Etta's. Oh baby!!! It was really tasty. The fries in the picture were super thin and hand-cut and had lime drizzled on them (My mouth is watering just thinking about it). By the way, Jennifer has the BEST taste when it comes to food, so I always trust any restaurant she wants to go to. What I ordered at Etta's was crab cakes. My only complaint is that it is so expensive for the portion size argh. Nowadays that seems to bug me a lot. I have an appetite okay? So when I go get a fancy dinner I don't like to leave slightly hungry. So the food was good there but my favorite Tom Douglas restaurant is still Palace Kitchen.
A couple weeks later, Brandon and I went to Nevada and met up with Jennifer again and our other cousin Benjamin. I wish I could say I spent time with everyone but the truth is I was studying the whole time for finals week. See? This is me documenting the trip. Notice all the textbooks and notebooks lying on the bed behind me. So I was just cooped up in there for most of the trip but Brandon rescued me several times and took me out to eat and to hang out with our cousins. We usually stay at Silverton whenever we go to Vegas. It is definitely not high end but it is never crowded and their food is pretty darn incredible. I love getting Gelato and Mexican Food and also eating at their cafe (which has both amazing waffles, fresh fruit, and sandwiches). Does anyone else think my arm looks disturbing in this picture? haha!! We also went out to eat with Brandon's dad and grandma and a few other family members. And we went to Lotus of Siam with Benjamin and Jennifer too, where I got the best crispy duck with mint and chili flakes seasoning it, OH MY GOSH but again, small portions.
When I was feeling particularly sick of studying, Brandon decided to take me on a little mini date to Excalibur, to the arcade! And we played some games and tried to win some giant stuffed animals. There is the game where you throw rings around a bottle (much harder than it looks) and a game where you throw balls that have to land on colored cups. Brandon won the size Large prize!!! But we didn't like the options as much so we asked for a size medium, because they had Domo and Hello Kitty in a lot of different colors (much cuter than Despicable Me characters that we already have tons of and the creepy looking stuffed squirrel). We picked Domo because I have tons of Hello Kitty at home already.
Just as we were walking away from the arcade triumphantly, I saw these stuffed "lucky cats" and really wanted them. To win these, you have to throw a ball into a basket, which is really hard to do. But the girl gave us a tip (if you hit the rim of the basket, the ball will land in the basket). So Brandon won it for me! YAY! Best husband ever!!!!
The best part about the stuffed cat is it didn't fit in our suitcase, unlike Domo. So anyway we had to take it on the plane with us. I thought this picture was so funny of how the cat was totally crowding into Brandon's personal space. That was a really full flight. I was so happy to have this cat to use as a pillow on the way home from Vegas.
And now.... no Panda and Lion post is complete without a few pictures of Nabi the cat!!! Actually, apparently it is spelled like Nabee, according to Brandon's mom, so I will just spell his name like that from now on. ^_^
Nabee was trying to rest, and I kept disturbing him. LOL! Look how upset he looks!!!
And I saved the best for last.... Brandon always falls asleep when Nabee wants to cuddle. And sometimes Nabee is ridiculous and doesn't care if he is lying down on your neck like a scarf, HAHA!!! I could not resist capturing this picture.
~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son