Our apartment in Redlands

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We moved to Redlands, California last May, and I didn’t expect to find myself falling in love with this charming little city. We’re far enough away from LA/Orange County that the traffic is bearable, but close enough that we can still take day trips to the beach, to downtown LA for visits to the LACMA, or to our favorite pho place in El Monte. We live within biking distance to downtown Redlands, where you’ll find the post office, the most wonderful library, and an outdoor amphitheater where they hold musical concerts in the summertime. Dean’s commute to work is under fifteen minutes. There’s a fantastic night market/farmer’s market every Thursday. I’m volunteering at a wonderful local ministry where I work with underprivileged children in the area, and I love that it is just five minutes away from my home.

Sadly, we’ll be packing up again soon and moving on to another year of transitions. We’ll be living out of suitcases and relying on the kindness of friends and family for the next several months as we make our way over to New Jersey/New York/Washington D.C for Dean’s next set of rotations on this crazy journey of becoming a doctor. But we’re adventurers at heart, and so the prospect of exploring a new city for the next several months is something that we’re quite looking forward to!

Before we packed up our place, I wanted to capture some photos and memories of our apartment here. It’s been a good home to us, and I hope someday we can share these photos with our kids and tell them about this time in our lives when we lived in a little city called Redlands.

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A lot of the furniture in our home was bought second-hand, from thrift stores or Craigslist. We painstakingly refinished a lot of them, including this beautiful solid-wood mid-century table that I scored on Craigslist for $25. It even came with two inserts that can extend the table to seat ten! It was in pretty poor condition when we bought it, but after spending a couple days sanding, staining, and finishing, it was as good as new. We joke that it’s our first family heirloom we’ll be saving for our kids.

Some of the other refinished items in our home include: the teal lounge chair that I took apart and reupholstered in a bright linen, the coffee table, the blue velvet stool, and the side table. The side dresser is another project that I’d like to tackle someday. It has some great lines, but it’s covered in this strange off-white paint right now. We’ll see if that dresser makes the cut for our next apartment. :)

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Adventures to come

Three years ago today, I said these words to Dean:

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” – Ruth 1:16

I never knew then they’d lead me to a tropical island. :) I’d follow him to the moon if I had to.

Each day is an adventure with you! Here’s to many more to come.

Catching Up

It’s a been a whirlwind of traveling for us as we’ve been trying to make the most of our time back in the US. In the last 5 weeks, we’ve been through 6 states (and DC!) and have spent more than 50 hours just in travel time alone. Crazy! It’s been an exhausting few weeks, but it has been so nice seeing all of our loved ones and getting to spend even just a little bit of time with each of them. Here are some of the highlights.

We flew into NYC from Grenada at 2 in the morning and were graciously greeted by my friends Hoi and Nick, who hung out with us in the city until it was time for us to hop on a bus to D.C. On our way back, we got to stop by Grand Central Station to check out the new Apple store.

We spent a few short days in D.C. to see my sister and my baby nephew, Elijah. :) This little guy has stolen my heart. No time with him is ever enough!

We made it back to Jersey a few days later to hang out with our friends Bryan and Karina. They knew we’d been missing out on a lot of good food in Grenada, so they spoiled us and fed us so well! Homemade Korean soondubu, cheese fondue, seafood/sushi buffet and plenty of Dance Central action going on here. Luckily, nobody got any pics of that.

On our flight back to LA from New York, we got bumped to first class because of a flight scheduling mix-up. We didn’t realize we’d be served dinner on the flight (food by Michael Chiarello!), so ate beforehand, but still tried to scarf down as much of the yummy food as we could. Maybe too much.

Ahh, glorious Los Angeles. I have to explain that when I say Los Angeles, I’m really talking about the entire southern California area. We technically live in Chino Hills (San Bernardino County) and spend a lot of time in Orange County cities like Irvine and Costa Mesa. But it’s usually too hard to differentiate between all the places for non-Angelinos, so for the sake of clarity, I just say Los Angeles. I rarely venture out to the “real” Los Angeles areas like Hollywood or Santa Monica or downtown LA. You’ll usually find me in Alhambra, Rowland Heights, or Garden Grove chowing down on some yummy Asian food.

We spent a day up in Big Bear by the lake with Dean’s family. We’d never been up there before, so it was nice to visit when it wasn’t overly crowded by skiers and snowboarders.

Our next stop was in Flagstaff, Arizona where I got to see my girls (and their girls)! I’ve known these lovely ladies since junior high, and I’m so grateful that we’ve gone through so many stages of life together. Love staying up late chatting girl-talk with them. Thanks, Gracie, for hosting us!

And let me introduce you to the new Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Hoi Mau! You’ve probably heard me brag about them before, but just in case you haven’t, these two are awesome. :) I had the distinct pleasure of being in their wedding in Phoenix, so I got to spend lots of quality time with the bride before and during her big day! They are off enjoying their honeymoon now, so hopefully, they’re having a blast.

The pic on the right is a shot of Esther and I enjoying our morning coffee/juice on the hotel balcony, after spending the night together at the hotel without our husbands. Scandalous, right? ;)

And now we find ourselves in the beautiful, quirky city of Portland. Every time we visit, we find something new that we love about this city. I love that it’s super charming and full of character. I love that it’s a foodie town and that DIY is an everyday thing here. I love that it’s not just cool or trendy to be eco-friendly; it’s woven seamlessly into the daily routines of the city. I love that you can find a thrift store on every street corner. And on random buses floating around town too.

We’ll be leaving Portland soon and will be headed to San Francisco to meet up with Dean’s family for a mini vacation before heading back to LA for a few days. After that, you’ll find us in DC for the remainder of the summer. See you on the flip side. :)

Twenty-Seven

I turn twenty-seven today! We celebrated this past weekend with a cookout on the beach with some friends, complete with bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dogs, snorkeling, and good ol’ Monopoly Deal. On Monday, I spent the day celebrating with Dean. We went kayaking at SGU’s University Club and then spent the afternoon cooking up a lobsterfest for dinner. We’re going to have lobster bisque for dinner tonight. Thanks for all your birthday wishes! I am the luckiest girl. :)

Find recipes for the butter-poached lobster with roe sauce and for lobster tomalley garlic bread here.

*Cookout photo by Yunah. Snorkeling photo by Yuan-Hui.

Snapshots

I realized I haven’t shared too many pictures of our day-to-day lives here, so I wanted to start posting some weekly snapshots. Hopefully, this will give you a glimpse into our lives here on the island.

1. John 3:16 // 2. eggplant + tomato pizza // 3. bougainvillea flowers outside our apartment // 4. fish friday vendors in the city of Gouyave // 5. crab curry // 6. wing night Wednesday // 7. snorkeling at Magazine Beach // 8. fresh tamarind // 9. tamarind tree

Packed and ready to go

It’s 2 in the morning, and we’ve just about finished packing our final things for Grenada. It’s finally starting to sink in that in less than 48 hours, we’ll be living on a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

We decided not to ship anything, so here is everything that we’re able to take with us – 2 large suitcases, 2 boxes, 2 carry-on suitcases, 2 backpacks, and 1 extra bag (that we’re hoping we can sneak by….) filled with enough Shin Ramyun and rice paper/noodles to last us 4 months.

We’re both excited and a bit apprehensive for this new stage of our lives. We know that it’ll be a quite a big adjustment for the both of us, but we are grateful to be embarking on this crazy new adventure together.

See you on the other side!

 

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