Welcome to my blog!

I was thinking about starting a blog for quite a while but could not decide what to write about. My husband and I travel quite often because of his job. We always loved it even before we met. We actually met because my husband decided to take a job overseas and came to a place where I was, about 7 thousand miles away from him. His decision changed our lives for the very best!

I also like to cook but I don't think that I need a blog to document every meal I make. Only occasionally, maybe. We also decided to eat healthier so the blog will help me to keep track of our meals and weight.
That's how I eventually signed up for a blog and named it Veronika's Travel and Living.

Hopefully, I'll like blogging. We'll see.. ;)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I have Followers! Hello, my November Girls :))

Thank you so much for spending your time reading this. I responded to your posts as usually late because of the time difference. Usually I read the board the next day (my morning) when all discussions are over. Sometimes, though, I try to check it out in my evening, your morning, and say something whenever I have something to say. So welcome, to my blog, girls!

So this week was pretty busy for me which is not my typical week. For the first time for the last year I did a freelance translation. I was busy for 5 days but it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. It felt good to accomplish something and start appreciating my free time again. I have lots of free time as I don't work and sometimes, let's face it, I get bored. So it's good to be busy to start appreciating your life again. I like my job, always did. What's interesting about being an interpreter/translator is that it's always a challenge. You cannot know everything. You have to learn something new every time you start a new translation, project. This time the text was actually the Personal data protection act (UK). I spent a lot of time researching correct names for judges, courts, differences between UK judges and Scottish judges and courts.
I know it may sound boring, but I really enjoy doing what I'm doing. I think it's great! Here is a picture of me (with long blond hair and braces) with my colleagues and Pavel Palazhshchenko who used to be our first President's interpreter (Mikhail Gorbachev) and is currently his assistant. We were lucky to have him for our training for a week in 2008. It was a very interesting experience we'll never forget.

Another achievement this week was that C. and I lost some weight as the result of healthy eating and exercising more often. It was funny too cause with that freelance work I was late with dinners a couple of times, so C. joked that he'll secretly call my friend and offer her some money not to give me any translations in the future :))) And when I finished my work, he said that finally we would be able to afford some good dinners with the money I earned :)
Anyway, back to healthy eating. It seems that it started working. We stuck to our eating/cooking plan for the last three weeks. I'll keep doing it, though it's hard sometimes to come up with new ideas.

We joined a new gym two weeks ago. It's better than our old gym as far as equipment and location. The walk is definitely nicer or safer compared to the old gym. It drove me crazy to cross at least two roads trying to run as fast as you could or just wait till there are no cars and then cross. Insane! So I've been to a pilates class, power training class and a belly dance class this week. Liked all of them. I went to belly dance classes two years ago. I really enjoyed it! I even took private classes and learned a dance that was part of my birthday gift to Chris in 2006.
I remember that I also took him out to dinner and could not relax 100% as I was constantly thinking about the dance I have to perform after we get to my place :)) He says that it was the coolest gift ever. Going this week after two years break made me realize that it's still fun and I like it. Now I'm thinking joining a belly dance class in a dance school (nearby) at least for a month and see how that goes. It's something to do and fun! This is a picture of me on C's birthday thinking about the dance I have to perform after the restaurant :)

One of the disappointments of the week was that I did not get pregnant this month. it was not unexpected either cause I did not have any pg. signs. I'm kind of mad at my body for messing around with us. There is Flameless Friday on the board I like to read. I almost never say anything as I'm always late to posts and sometimes I just don't feel like sharing. This week I want to tell my body, as crazy as it sounds: "Enough of this game! Grow up and take responsibility. We want kids. We need to move on in life. So please, work the magic and get pregnant next month!

The good event of the week was my Mom's birthday and going to a concert. The concert was by American violinist Sarah Chang. She was amazing! So talented and so young! Chris and I really enjoyed the evening and the music, of course. Before the concert the US Ambassador in Russia welcomed the violinist and said how proud America is to have such a talented musician and that America will also host Russian musicians this year and this concert is just the beginning of the new cultural program between our two countries. I think that it's a great concept. In addition to the concert, C. had a chance to practice his Russian with some of our former colleagues. They were impressed with his progress and how well he speaks. He takes private classes twice a week but has nobody to practice it with except me. And we know how it goes, right? We speak English at home, and if I start speaking Russian to him, everything will take twice as much time not to mention effort and eventually, C. will lose his patience :))

We had a good day today: worked out and had our treat meal of the week in our favorite restaurant Goodman.
We had AWESOME burgers for lunch!!! They were delicious!!!
Us in Goodman's with my parents in January:

That's the summary of my week.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Remembering London and planning again

Blogging is being kind of fun. I wish I wrote more posts. I complained that I did not have work, so this week and next week I'm doing freelance translation and I'm very excited to be busy at least for a few days again. And I'm still good at what I'm doing, so I'm happy.

I finally filled out my UK visa application. 106 questions!? Crazy, right? The most uncomfortable questions are about finance: How much do you spend on living each month? Do you receive money from your family including yours spouse? If yes, how much and how often. I understand why they need it but sometimes it's just too much. Even US Immigration did not ask me such questions :)

Oh, well..not a big deal. Our next trip is in March. We will add a new country to our list and go back to the country we've been to in Feb 2007. The new is Netherlands-Amsterdam, old - UK London. C. has bought the tickets already. Woohoo! We have hotels already picked out, no reservation yet. In London we'll stay in the same hotel as in 2007. The hotel is all right, pretty typical. We mostly liked the area, Kensington I believe is the name. We have great memories about London. The good thing is that we did most of the touristy stuff last time, this time we'll do a little more and just walk around and pretend as if we live there.

There is a very nice Indian restaurant not far from the hotel, they serve GREAT food! We just cannot wait to go there again. In 2007 we went to the Trafalgar Square, British museum, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Kensington Palace, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, parks, bridges, saw Big Ben, Mamma Mia show, rode on a double-decker bus (yes!), took a flight on the London Eye, took a boat tour, were in the London Dungeon, walked a LOT and went to bunch of pubs!!! Of course, I had a picture taken with the British telephone booth! It's a must, right? :))

Actually, now when I wrote all these, I'm shocked by how much we did. Because we are definitely not crazy tourists who constantly walk and run around trying to see as much old churches and buildings as possible. We like to do one or two activities and enjoy the rest of the day. Sometimes we joke about it saying that we have to earn it :).

What I liked the most on our first London trip? I liked the area we lived in, British museum was very interesting and surprisingly free to visit. I loved the Kensington Palace where Princess Diana lived, they display a few of her dresses she used to wear. It was very interesting. Tower Bridge is very impressing and beautiful during the day and at night. We took a tour inside it. St. Paul's Cathedral was worth seeing. We could not resist and do the usual stupid thing of climbing up to its top. I know that bird's eye view is supposed to be amazing, but in real life it's OK :)) But we still occasionally do it for the sake of exercise and to confirm that it sucks. It's all fun, of course! What else did I like? London Eye was pretty cool! It's just better to buy tickets online to avoid huge lines and waste of time. My favorite part of the trip was a surprise from C.: tickets to Mamma Mia show. It was the best live show I've ever seen!!!!!!!!!! I'm still in love with Abba songs and I still remember the performance, who did what when they sang this song or that. Honestly, it was difficult for me to accept the Mamma Mia movie with all those actors. You know what I mean? For me, the real characters are those I saw in London in the Mamma Mia show. My favorite were the Mom and the architect was very cute ;)

There was not anything that I disliked about London. I'd rather call it a little disappointed in the Tower of London. There was not that much to see there and the presentation is all right. Big Ben was not as Big and huge as I thought it is. Still it was great to see it!

SO BIG question is what are we going to do this time? I haven't made my list yet, but I have a few things in mind. I wanna go to the National Gallery, Hyde Park, see another show or two, try cucumber tea sandwiches :) C. is very excited about the Pub Crawl :)) I'm sure I'll add a few more things to the list but they will all be fun.

So I guess, that's it about our past and future London trip. It was fun to remember all we did and now I'm even more excited about going there again!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our Living

As I decided I'll be alternating between posts about our travels and living, today's post is an introduction to our living. Chris and I met in June 2005, got engaged in November 2007 and got married on November 1, 2008! We are still newlyweds, I guess. Time flies by so fast that it's hard to believe that C. has already lived in Russia for 4.5 years when he came only for one :), it has been already 1 year and 2 months since we got married and our first trip together was in March 2006. It's amazing.

I'm a translator (Russian/English), my husband is an engineer. I'm working part-time at the time, mostly not working as the work project is coming to an end and there is not that much work for translators. Occasionally, though, I'm asked to come and help full-time translators in the office. All of a sudden I have lots of time, mostly of which is consumed by taking care of the household. :)

So now about where we stand at the moment and our plans. Well, we are trying to have a baby and we really want to hope that it will happen some time soon this year. Unfortunately, this plan did not go all the way through last year. But we are very optimistic and full of hopes for 2010. So please, 2010, be cooperative!

Another goal we have for this year is to eat healthier and exercise more. We've been working out at least two times a week pretty regularly but would get really lazy after coming back from our trips. Sometimes it takes us about three weeks to go back to our work-out schedule. We'll try to avoid it this year.

Healthy food. We've been eating relatively healthy for one week and 2 days already. I came up with the plan to alternate between chicken and turkey fillets served with steamed veggies, have soup once a week, have seafood meal once a week, have fully vegetable meal once a week and have a treat meal once a week (Sat or Sun). So far it went pretty well. And it's also challenging for me. I'm pretty excited to find new recipes and cook healthy.

Another second important goal after having a baby is to save/invest money. Currently we are saving for a house and putting money away for retirement. I'm so lucky that my husband is interested in finances/financing and saving. He does all this stuff for us and explains it to me in a simple way. We are really excited at the thought that in about 4 years we will buy our first house.

So far our plan is to stay overseas and save as much money as we can and move back to the states in about 4 years and finally settle down. Hopefully with kids or at least one kid! :)

Since the post is about living, I'm posting some of our Christmas and New Year's pictures as it was the latest holiday we had.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My first post!

I really like my idea to post about our travels and about my/our living. I guess I will just alternate between these two subjects. In this case it won't be boring for me.

So the first post will be about Travel. I always wanted to travel and see the world and I liked learning foreign languages. There was always something magic about other languages. Whenever I heard it on TV or saw in a magazine I tried to guess what it meant, what the song was about. Needless to say that when we started learning English at school I fell in love with it. My first teacher of English was amazing! Thanks to her I'm here now: professional interpreter, married to the best person I've ever met! And he is an American! Such a stereotype!

Anyway, we are planning our next trip for March to Amsterdam and London. As I'm not a US citizen yet, I have to apply for visas for pretty much every country we go to. I became pretty good at preparing all the documents you need to get visas, especially after getting a Fiancee's Visa for the US and a Green Card!

Yesterday I was filling out an application for the UK visa and one of the items asked to list all the countries you've been to for the last 10 years. I'm happy to say that for the last 10 years I've been to 11 countries, some countries 3 or 4 times! It's amazing and incredible! If that little girl from a small town in the middle of Russia knew that she would be that lucky she still would not believe it. But it's true :))

Oh well, I don't want my first post be very long and boring, so I made a photo collage of most places we've been to.

Congrats to me on my first post! As we say in Russia: Ура! [ura] which means Hooray!