American Expectations, Argentinian Delivery

hammock on horse ranch

Mr. HalfFull relaxing in a hammock @ Estancia Los Dos Hermanos.

Part of the fun and adventure of travel is experiencing another culture. It certainly broadens our horizons. But sometimes it makes us appreciate what we take for granted at home.

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The Kindness of Strangers

Walking on Av Pres Figueroa Alcorta

Ms. HalfEmpty walking in Buenos Aires.

Living in foreign countries where we didn’t speak the language even close to fluently and weren’t aware of all the customs led to some interesting experiences on our South American Adventure. Fortunately, strangers stepped in to save the day!

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5 Things I Missed in South America

Sometimes you get used to things — things that seem commonplace and make your daily life easier. But some of those things were missing on our South American Adventure.

This is merely based on my experience of eight weeks in three South American countries — Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. I can’t speak for all of South America or even the totality of the countries I visited. But these are the five things I missed most during my travels…

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Coffee Woes

Birkin coffee

Ms. HalfEmpty at Birkin, her favorite coffee shop in Buenos Aires.

Those of you who know me know that I love coffee. Even this blog was inspired by a coffee mug! In 2011, I embarked on a Quest for Passion and discovered that my passions are coffee and napping. Undoubtedly, coffee is an important part of my life.

Mr. HalfFull and I received the Keurig B70 Platinum Brewing System as a wedding gift six years ago.  The Keurig made coffee quick and easy. I never had to measure water, and Mr. HalfFull could have his weak brew, while I enjoyed my concentrated java.

I know there are a lot of people who poo-poo the Keurig and are infuriated by the amount of waste caused by K-Cups. But I rarely used K-Cups. Instead, I ground whole beans and packed my own reusable pod. The Keurig machine was merely an automated way to quickly get hot water in the correct quantity.

Death of the Keurig

On a recent morning when I turned to my trusty Keurig for my morning coffee, it was dead. The LCD display was blank; not even the time greeted me. I tried other outlets to no avail. The Keurig was a goner.

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The Language Barrier

With only a semester of Spanish in college, I served as the language expert between me and Mr. HalfFull on our South American Adventure. We are decidedly not fluent speakers. So over two months in Spanish-speaking countries, frustration, ridiculousness, and perhaps even some learning ensued.

HalfEmpty vs. HalfFull

Chocolate Grandmother

In typical halfFull fashion, Mr. HalfFull poses with his Chocolate Grandmother.

The language barrier further highlighted our halfFull and halfEmpty tendencies. I wanted to understand everything and communicate with ease, whereas Mr. HalfFull didn’t take himself too seriously and had fun making up his own words.

I cringed each time I made a Spanish error and tried to replay what I should have said in my head. But somehow Mr. HalfFull was able to laugh and didn’t stress much.

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Why is Travel so Stressful?

Invariably, Mr. HalfFull and I will end up in a fight before trip. This is our pattern, and we know it.

napping in the park

Mr. HalfFull is an expert chillaxilizer wherever he goes.

HalfFull vs. HalfEmpty Prep

I think this unfortunate routine stems from our HalfFull and HalfEmpty tendencies. I am a planner, who likes to optimize for all contingencies. On the other hand, Mr. HalfFull likes to relax and figure it out as he goes (or not…no biggie).

For me, it’s stressful to think of and strategize for all possibilities. It’s even more taxing when I feel like I am the only responsible party with the entire burden.

I think Mr. HalfFull’s lack of stress makes me doubly stressed. Even though I know it’s not his modus operandi, I try to spur him into action. This exercise in futility further irritates me. Rinse, repeat.

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Do You Belong?

Sometimes we feel out of place, like we just don’t belong. Even introverts like me need to be part of group. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, belonging is right in the middle. Acceptance into a group (or many groups) helps us become fully actualized humans.

But who decides if we belong? Is it based on our own judgement or the reaction of others?

Four Seasons living room

Mr. HalfFull reads a magazine in our suite at the Four Seasons.

Living the High Life

As a result of a live auction fundraiser and my dad’s generosity, Mr. HalfFull and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the Four Seasons in DC.  I felt a bit strange about staying there.  Under normal circumstances, I would never book a room at the Four Seasons; it’s for rich people!

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I’m Back!

Ms. HalfEmpty is jumping back into blogging!

Ms. HalfEmpty is jumping back into blogging!

Hello? Is anyone there?

I’m the blogger who posted here almost a year ago (although I did edit the most recent post earlier this year). Yes, it’s been too long, but I’m back!

International Travel

I’m excited to announce that Mr. HalfFull and I are going on another epic adventure this summer!

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Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full: Gazpacho

In this third (and long-awaited) installment of my “Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full” series, I present you with an easy recipe for gazpacho inspired by a lovely woman from Valladolid, Spain. I met Señora ‘Spacho during our 30/40 World Tour back in 2011 at VaughanTown.

Mr. HalfFull & Señora 'Spacho shopping for fruit in El Barco de Ávila

Mr. HalfFull & Señora ‘Spacho shopping for fruit in El Barco de Ávila

Señora ‘Spacho was extremely passionate about gazpacho, urging me to delve into the history of this Andalusian liquid salad. She explained how Spaniards have been eating variations of bread and olive oil soup for centuries before tomatoes were introduced to Spain! She raved about a deliciously creamy gazpacho recipe (without bread) she makes for her family to enjoy daily all summer long.

Señora 'Spacho and Ms. HalfEmpty during a One-on-One Session @ VaughanTown.  Como se dice "teach my husband how to make this delicious soup?"

Señora ‘Spacho and Ms. HalfEmpty during a One-on-One Session @ VaughanTown. Como se dice, “Teach my husband how to make this delicious soup?”

I made time to sit down and capture her personal recipe. Let me preface this recipe by saying that she strongly urged me to use both Spanish EVOO and Spanish cucumbers whenever possible!

Señora ‘Spacho also stressed that easily making gazpacho requires an extremely expensive Thermomix blender because it’s so powerful that you don’t have to sieve out any vegetable skin or seeds. Sadly, I didn’t even attempt to make her recipe until we bought an expensive (yet more reasonably pricedVitamix blender three years later. We hemmed and hawed about the price of this appliance before finally buying it, but it’s a game changer!

Ms. HalfEmpty loves my version of Señora ‘Spacho’s gazpacho. She even tried to make it herself once…

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Late to the Party

Recently, Mr. HalfFull and I attended a party where we met a med student from Philly. She started telling us about her psych rotation and how she and her classmates were instructed to offer angry people food as a first resort. The reasoning was that sometimes people are just angry because they’re hungry. In other words, they’re hangry.

hangry girl

When I pulled up this photo, Mr. HalfFull said, “That looks just like you!” (meganjo/flickr.com)

Hangry? I’d never heard this word before, but it’s a perfect mashup of hungry and angry.

Later as we drove away, Mr. HalfFull remarked that hangry is one of my common states. He’s come to realize that sometimes my irritable moods mean that my blood sugar is low, and I need to eat. So he feeds me before resuming the conversation. Clever man!

After hearing the word hangry from the med student, I thought it was a cool new word used in psych wards. But I didn’t realize it’s just part of the normal vernacular until I started hearing it everywhere. Perhaps I previously thought that people were just pronouncing hungry in an odd way. Boy was I late to this party!

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