Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Well... school is out for another year! I have just completed my sixth year of teaching and it was a good year - full of new challenges and growth.

A fun initiative that Angela (the elementary librarian) and I did this year was Book Face. It began with just one or two and then we kept going. It was a lot of fun... and even more fun to see teachers and students stop to look at them in the library.

Book Faces displayed in the library:

bike ride to cute Locate

Locate is a small, historic town just south of Opera (like Opera, it is actually a 'commune' of Milan).

When my mom was here last September, she loved riding my bicycle the 15-20 minutes to Locate in the morning and getting a brioche con crema and cappuccino at one of the cafes. I decided to do just that a few weekends ago and really enjoyed it!

The Locate train station has some really fabulous street art throughout it!

bugs out

I put up screens on one of my windows this past fall. It is a wide window that is the height of a door. I love the natural lighting throughout my apartment but I DON'T love the bugs that want to live with me in my apartment.

The photos below make me proud in a small sense...

The underbelly of a stink bug

And then I can fully enjoy these views:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

traveling in Uzbekistan

The last set of pictures to post from my trip to Uzbekistan...

THIS, shown below, is the STACK of Uzbek som.

Donna helped get som for Jaime and I. The bills shown above paid for the travel agency (hotels and trains), as well as our spending money for the week.

Jaime's response to Donna's email with this photo: "...I totally can't bring the purse I thought I could bring."

We spoke in terms of how many 'bricks' we were going to bring with us for spending money each day. 

Jaime and I really enjoyed these HEY! juices throughout the week.
Mmmmmmm the peach juice mmmmmmmm. 

My biggest purchase while in Uzbekistan -- a large, hand-embroidered suzani.
A suzani can be used as a tablecloth, a wall hanging, or a bed cover... I have been using this one as a blanket on my bed. I love the colors and it is so beautifully made.

Donna helped me to purchase this lovely bowl in Tashkent. There were a row of sellers, mostly of paintings, in a park that we walked through and this caught my eye.

My goodies from the trip. I love having reminders of my travels and various cultures and lands from around the world as part of my apartment.

I had a long layover in Istanbul on the way back to Milan.
This little girl was so cute -- I love a good reader!

During the long layover, I was very happy to sit, people-watch, and sip an iced chai latte  : )

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bukhara's style

My friend Donna told me that I would love shopping in Bukhara and she was right! I love the style and the history to the goods that were found throughout this impressive, beautiful city.

It IS difficult to get more cash while in Uzbekistan though. It is also difficult to use a credit or debit card. The ATM machines are few and far between... and when you DO find one, it is most likely out of cash. I was warned of this before going and planned to bring more cash than I thought I would need... but then was charged DOUBLE the amount I was expecting to pay for the tourist visa (not sure if I had been mistaken or if I got ripped off by the guy at the airport) - but I did end up wishing I had brought even more cash with me. -- Live and learn! I was still able to enjoy myself and now have a number of items that will remind me of Bukhara and this trip  : )

I love these! I saw them hanging across doorways in many shops and restaurants:

Walking through the main entrance of one of the monuments we found what is shown below... (there are 4 walls like this, forming an enclosed square). There is a restaurant within and shopping stalls along the entire perimeter - each displaying goods in the entrance and, if interested, you can stoop through the small doorway to go into a small room and see more. 

Click on the photo below to make it bigger:

I took a panoramic photo of the shop shown above because it is so beautiful! I should have done a 360 photo so that you are able to see the entire ceiling. Many shops are in historic buildings like this. The building is massive and gorgeous. The multiple domes are just incredible... and I loved walking through a doorway into a shop in THIS! Lovely.

The sign for the madrasah shown above with the shop inside:
Kokaldosh, built in 1568 through 1569

A bazaar of carpets:

Mosques, Madrasahs, and more in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

The sights to see in Bukhara!! Wow. Wow. Wow.

Kalan Mosque - in the center of Bukhara:

The historic center of Bukhara:

The tower structure shown above is the Great Minaret - Kalyan Minor - and was built in 1123.
Reading about this minaret (click the link on the name above), it is also called Tower of Death because criminals would be thrown to their death from the top. Ghengis Khan even ordered the tower to be spared when all surroundings were destroyed - apparently because he was so impressed by the tower. Wow!

I think this is the Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah within the Lyab-i Hauz area:

Arabic calligraphy and beautifully detailed tiling:

Sudoku break!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Farkhad and Maya Guesthouse and Food in Bukhara

The alley that the lovely guesthouse was at the end of -- where we stayed in Bukhara:

Our entire room was covered in three of these carpets. I want them!!

Mmmmm free coffee while shopping  : )

We went to the same rooftop restaurant both nights -- this was the view!!

Mmmmm somsas. A stuffed pastry - with meat and veggies:

Traditional loaves of bread:
(This is the type of break Goula was feeling us on the train.)