Abu Dhabi…Say What

My Journey to the Middle East

 

One evening as I was sitting on the couch my husband casually said. hey would you like to go to Abu Dhabi in a couple weeks. Ahhh really? Umm Sure. I mean he has spent the past 4 years on projects in the UAE and so of course I want to see this country I have heard so much about.
Flying over Baghdad
Flying over Baghdad

I really wasn’t sure what to expect and I will say as we were flying over Baghdad I was a little concerned about this trip we were on. Once we landed and walked through customs, had this fancy camera that takes picture or screen your eyeball, we were both welcomed. But before we could exit we had to go through one more screening of all our luggage.  Once we exited and grabbed a taxi to our hotel, it was about 10-15 minute drive. We pulled up and our doors were open for us, all our luggage was carried, doors held open for us. I felt like royalty and this how we were treated on a daily basis.

 

I never knew I wanted to walk through a Mosque until I was moments away…Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

mosque
mosque

 

 Middle East has never been on my Bucket List but I am so blessed to have experienced this beautiful country. Not at all what I had pictured it would be like. As a American when we hear Middle East it’s not exactly a vacation destination. BUT it is that and more!! I felt like I was in a big city such as Los Angeles. Only difference is here in Abu Dhabi we were treated amazing by everyone we encountered! So much respect is shown here. It’s their vibe and it’s an awesome experience.

Finally I get to ride a camel!!

I did always want to ride a camel and this experience was awesome! Dune Bashing through the Arabic desert!! Yes Please! I’d do that over and over! Such a ride! Dune Surfing…I tried and had a blast doing it! Check out this Company Those in this company were so kind! What a great experience!

Camel RIde with my Amore
Camel RIde with my Amore
Dune Surfing
Dune Surfing

Paddle Boarding on the Persian Gulf… Never had I thought I’d have these chances and great experiences! And look at the skyscraper in my view!

Aldar headquarters building
Aldar headquarters building

It was an awesome learning experience, visiting a Muslim country and having a peek into their world will be unforgettable. It was a Grand place, a Grand experience and the people there were out of this world!! We were treated like royalty every where we went.

The hotel staff was amazing and would bring us vases of flowers and they would on a daily basis leave fresh lilies on our bed and in the bathroom. They would bring small plates of sweets and they knew we were water drinkers and would line our cabinet with water! We would have fun animals made of towels on our bed upon our return!

You can check out Al Raha Beach Hotel here.

Our towel friendsIMG_1456


The modesty that this country lives was a nice setting to be in. I had no issues covering my shoulders and not wearing shorts in public areas. It was really nice not having lunch in restaurants and having someones crack right in front of you. No saggy pants…conservative dressing is not all bad.


I enjoyed hearing the prayers throughout the day. I didn’t understand it but someone translated what the prayers were about.Just as we pray… Be good, do good and spread good. I loved that when we flew Etihad to Abu Dhabi that they have a prayer prior to take off. That was awesome!! Who doesn’t want a prayer prior to flying.

The cuisine is from all parts of this world!

My husband and I love great food and we had no shortage of that! The cuisine here is amazing. So many different cultures are here and so we enjoyed German, Italian, Arabic, Lebanese and more!

Arabic Dessert IMG_2976This dessert was out of this world…full of flavors of cinnamon, cardamom. Served hot and yes I had seconds!!

There is a small glimpse into our time in Abu Dhabi!!

 

Life in Switzerland

Swiss Life… 30 Things I WISH I had known…What a great find!!

 

As an expat living in Switzerland off and on for the past 13 years, I wish I had this book in the beginning! It explained so much and helped me to understand my feelings, even 13 years later.  At the time I just dove right in to this new culture!
My first visit here
My first visit here

I Loved reading this book! As someone blessed to have lived abroad in Switzerland this book was eye opening and at times I was sure it was me who wrote it!

I completely understood where the author was coming from because I have lived it. I even connected with her on Facebook!

It also helped me to understand my actions and words after coming back to the US after being in Switzerland for an extended period! You really become so critical after living the Swiss life and then you return to the US and everywhere you look you see something just out of place! I had some good laughs reading this and I definitely recommend it.

People never having been to Switzerland really don’t understand!! The Swiss really life live so differently from us… you really have to experience it to understand it. They have great respect for all that surrounds them!

I'll be looking back at great memories made!
I’ll be looking back at great memories made!
This is so well written and so dang true!! Anyone who is planning to live in Switzerland as an American or any expat  needs to read this book!

I have traveled more than the average American and can say no where have I ever been to that I have seen such organized trash detail and this is all of Switzerland and not just a village! Seriously you open up a trash container and the all gray bags are neatly aligned!  They seriously all work as a team to keep their country pristine!  You could use the metal trash bin as a mirror!!

I feel blessed to have had dual citizenship and the amazing benefits Switzerland gave me! As of this month I have given my Swiss visa back and look forward to exploring a entirely different country with my husband… Off to new Adventures and this time I will blog along the way… Who knows…Maybe I’ll write a new book!!! My adventures in ___________!!!!

I've walked many paths and look forward to many more
I’ve walked many paths and look forward to many more
Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I'd Known by [Panozzo, Chantal]
This is not a Book Review… Just a plug for a great read!!

Soriano Nel Cimino, Italy

IMG_1668Our Favorite Destination

Soriano Nel Cimino, Italy

As my husband and I  were minutes away from our destination. A quaint village Soriano Nel Cimino,Italy. A place we have been twice before in a span of 6 years and although it wasn’t often… It felt as though we were coming home!

We have no residence here,in Sorinao Nel Cimino and we stay in a time share ‘resort’ it’s not your usual resort with a pool and all the amenities next to the big beautiful sea. But up on a hill a very steep hill sits a historical building, once a Palace said to house a son of a Pope!  But back to my point!! It’s not the resort or the location that gave us this warm feeling! It’s memories of the prior years of our days spent at the Piazza mingling with the locals who are the friendliest people we have ever met on our journeys. They greet you in the morning the afternoon and evening! They chatter…they smile and look in to your eyes!

Here we are tourists invading their amazing quaint and full of so much life village and they love it! They live there and just don’t go through the actions… They live life to the fullest!!!

You hear so many different conversations going on… Laughter and many hand movements… They are Italian! They meet and greet each other on benches next to the road and at the Cafe Bar. The people of this village don’t sit in their homes all day! But spend most of it outside! I love how you can hear Soriano Nel Cimino slowly wake up in the morning and then vibrantly till after lunch and then it’s as though All of Soriano Nel Cimino is in a Siesta mode and once again around 5ish you hear the life of this village! And you just can’t wait to get out and live among the locals!!

IMG_1677


I was in a conversation with a new friend and he was shocked to hear that America has no Piazza! He asked where you visit with your neighbors and sadly I said we don’t come together and therefore not everyone even knows their neighbor! Shocking for him. He couldn’t believe it.  In a moment I was sadden cause what living we are missing out on! The locals take such an importance on remaining social and being outdoors. Enjoying a coffee or a beer. Most noteworthy is how the elderly gentleman group together… Together being the main thought here!! How wonderful that they are not growing old alone but together!!

The elderly walk up the very steep mountain hills with no problem where I’ve seen younger visitors struggle. I just love seeing this kind of community! The locals of Soriano Nel Cimino are one big family.

If you want to really see Italy!! This is the place. It is so close to Rome, Tuscany and Florence. We visit these very touristy cities in Italy but are always so happy to return to Soriano. It is relaxing. You will experience real Italian cuisine at Rottezzia. Voted #1 by Trip Advisor.  Read about them here.

This is a family run restaurant in a cave! Mama  cooks, and it is amazing!! Egisto, the father, meets and greets the guests and you’ll find him joining guests for meals. Speaks great english and has become our friend. Emanuel, the son, runs the bar and Giada, is your hostess along with some other family members. It is our favorite place in Italy to eat!! Aside from Mama’s house!

IMG_0093 IMG_0418Our Favorite Table out on the balcony.

 

Silicone muffin Pan

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The first weekend I had this I made several different items. First I wanted to make some single portions of jello. And this worked fine, only thing I would do different is next time I will run a small amount of coconut oil on the inside of the Silicone cups. After a couple hours in the fridge I popped them out and washed it and moved on to baking some pecan muffins. Once again this worked great. I did use coconut oil on each Silicone cup and I had no sticking at all. They baked at the time recommended in the recipe. No problems. I also used this Silicone tray to make some individual egg or omelette muffins. This time I sprayed some cooking oil in each one to prevent sticking. Baked according to instructions and had no issues getting these out of the pan. As you can see in the attached pictures. The only thing you need to always remember is to use a baking sheet. You must put this Silicone Tray on a baking sheet prior to filling up the individual cups. Otherwise you will have an interesting trip trying to carry this.
This is heat resistant for this Silicone muffin and cupcake tray is  up to 450 degress Fahrenheit. It is dishwasher and freezer safe. I did have it in the dishwasher with no problems. This would be a great Silicone tray for freezing portion sized meals too. Haven’t used it for that yet.

You can check out some pictures here. https://www.facebook.com/diane.hofermontano/posts/10154558847218482?pnref=story
#keliwamuffinpan https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NP8M67Y/

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ChiroDoc review

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Here is a great tool for a type of acupuncture and massage The ChiroDoc.  With this ChiroDoc  you can reach all the spots that need extra attention. I will have to admit I haven’t been able to use it as much as I’d like. The manual was missing and I have been waiting at least 2 weeks for one to arrive. I was excited for this massage tool to arrive and when I opened the box I was surprised that no booklet came with this ChiroDoc.  I was told it must have been forgotten and one would be mailed to me. My husband has used while abroad and enjoyed the feeling and the results and so I know we have a great product here, I just need more time to research it. Products such as this would benefit me if it came with a booklet. I don’t always have time to sit and do my own research, I will have to now to get full benefits of this massage tool. I did receive a few pictures emailed to me. You can just kind of play around and use it on various areas of your body. But be-careful, too much pressure applied can be painful.
It’s very sturdy. Quality made for sure.  #Chirodoc #Massage #Accupressure

http://www.amztk.com/massage-tool

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Food. Fitness. Fun & (F) the Rest!