Friday, April 29, 2011

For all the Jude fans out there (aka his grandmas)

Jude is seven months old! He is a delightful baby, which mostly makes up for the first five months or so of crying and no sleeping.

He plays on this blanket when he's awake--we have hardwood floor and tile, so this is his only soft place.

His other play area is his awesome walker from turkey. They tried to tell me purple was an appropriate color for a walker for a, no. This orange even seemed borderline to me. But maybe I'm just hyper sensitive?

He doesn't like to sit up on the ground and is still not very good at it, but he can crawl!!!

In case you are wondering what is up with jude's tiny diaper: I brought some size 2 diapers over to use for when we are out...which I end up using when the power is out and i cant do laundry so we are out of clean cloth diapers (ok, I could wash by hand. But i am not going to do that unless i absolutely have to). Jude was 16? 17? pounds when we left...he is so so not a size 2 now. Gotta be at least 20. They barely fit around him due to his enormous thighs. But it's what I have. And power is what i often don't have. We make do.

And sometimes we just do without.

Isn't he yummy?

Look at those delightful dimpled hands.

Yummy yummy thumb. He has wanted to suck his thumb since he was born. He is so happy that he has enough control to stick that little thumb in and suck away.

He loves to eat paper and if you don't watch your stuff, he will do this to it:

His current favorite toy is an adorable soviet-era toy I got at the antique market. It's called a Vanka-stanka, and its like those weebles toys that stand back up when you tip them over. I liked them so much I got 3.

Paul thinks I'm crazy but theres something about the simple design that I just love. And jude loves them too. He'll crawl halfway across the room to get one.

He's teething like crazy, a little drool factory, so we are hoping to see a tooth or two soon. He's allergic to rice, rice cereal, oatmeal, wheat, and bananas so far. Plus the obvious milk and nuts that I will not even try to give him for a long, long time. But, we have 2 winners: apples and potatoes! No rash or puking with those. Hallelujah. I'm going to give everything else a rest for a month and let his little system recover and mature before we try anything else. Here is his "high chair":

I wheel it around to wherever i need him, and its actually quite convenient.

He sleeps in a pack n play, in our room, with a sheet over it to block the light a bit. he is so good about going to sleep now that he hardly even protests when i put him in. Quite the change from Arizona where he had to be in the swing half the day or else he wouldn't let you put him down.

Well, that is all i can think of to tell you about baby juju and his life here in Georgia. One last pic to remind you of all that is great and good in the world. How can you not squeeze that happiness???

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Our house

I have been waiting for a sunny day to take pictures of our house and show it to you in all its glory...the rain is apparently not going away for a while still, so I had to settle. Buckle your seat belts for house tour 2011, the Perrin villa.

We start our tour on a huge hill with terrible potholes in the road. Our house it at the dead end of a tiny street, so there is no traffic at all. From the street you go up several steps, then enter our yard through a lovely mauve painted metal gate. Up ,ore steps and you are in garden heaven. We spend any sunny days out in the gorgeous yard and garden. It was bare when we arrived and is greener by the day, with new things popping up all the time.

Here is where i hang all the clothes out. Jude chills in his stroller, chewing on things, while I hang clothes and the big brothers have numberless ninja/knight/robber/police adventures in the garden.

It's terraced with raised beds, a fish pond, fountains and secret places for the boys to discover and hide treasure.

I really need it to stop raining so they can go out again. Recess was the best part of our homeschool.

There is a door that goes straight to the downstairs level, handy for when i am hauling 70 lbs of groceries in, but it's not the front door. From the garden you walk up another flight of stairs to get to the front door. This is the room you see when you come in.

This is our main living room/tv room. It's on the upper level with all the bedrooms and the dining room. You enter this room from the right. To the left is a hall with our bedroom and bathroom. The door you see in the picture leads to another bathroom and the 2 other bedrooms. The boys share a room (except when they're naughty) off to the right and the guest room is off to the left. Behind you is the dining room, or as I call it, the ballroom.

Thats luke over there entertaining jude, just to give you an idea of scale. It is a large large room. We use it for school. Back to the main room and off to the right are the stairs down to the kitchen and laundry room. They're steep.

There's a sitting area at the bottom of the stairs. The fireplace has made a cple of gloomy evenings bright.

And past that is the boys' lego table and then the kitchen.

Off to the right is the laundry room, complete with sauna the we dont know how to use...

And our shower is off the laundry room too. The boys refuse to shower so they cram into that blue tub.

Here's happy in his walker. Just thought he should be in here too. Isn't he awesome? I'll post more on him later.

And that concludes our tour today folks. Any questions?

Location:In the middle of the street

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Georgian Easter

The dominant religion in Georgia is Orthodox Christianity. They are heavy on ritual and icons and prayer. Our house even has a small shrine area. Behold:

I read somewhere that in Georgia, Easter is an even bigger holiday than Christmas.
Though skeptical at first, after experiencing it myself, I would probably agree. The orthodox church here requires them to give up meat and dairy for Lent, and the stores and markets have been full of eggs, the red roots they use to dye them, and the special easter cake called Paskha.

Last Sunday was palm Sunday, and just about everyone we saw was carrying some branches...apparently the orthodox priests bless the branches every year, and people take them home and keep them for an entire year somewhere in the house, then replace them with new ones the next Palm Sunday. I went home, looked at our shrine, and sure enough, we have some tucked in the corner.

This week, people were given not only Good Friday off from work but the thursday before...Good Friday Eve? And they have Monday off too. Try pulling that in the states. We went to the market on Thursday, since Paul was off work, and it was totally crazy, full of people getting ready for the big weekend. On Good Friday, the streets were empty. On saturday I went out to a big market outside the city, and probably only 1/4 of the vendors were there. I found some great deals nonetheless, some of which you will see in later posts.

Today at church, everyone greeted each other by saying, Christos voskres! Which is, Christ is risen! People gave the boys red eggs with religious scenes on them. I loved this! and much prefer it to random bunnies and chicks that, although cute, really have nothing to do with Christ.

We had a special little social afterward with the paskha bread, red eggs, and other treats. Another tradition is everyone gets an egg, and you take your egg and hit someone else's egg. If your egg cracks, you lose and have to give your egg to the winner. So eventually one kid with the best egg ends up with all the eggs. Guess who won...

That is the king of all the eggs right there! Luke was so excited that his egg was awesome. We also organized a little egg hunt for the kids inside the church building and hid tons of eggs and candy in the upstairs rooms (our church had like 4 levels) while they were down below. They had so much fun doing it. It was the first sort of "ward activity" that we've had here, and it really felt like a cohesive group of people for the first time.

Then, after church, we had the other americans in our branch over for dinner: Marisa, our closest church member neighbor and my weekend shopping buddy, and the Day family. They just got here, and this was their first Sunday at church in Georgia. They have 3 kids ages 12, 11, and 8. Our kids had so much fun playing with the first friends they've had in over a month! I am sure you will here more about them in future posts.

Somehow the planets aligned and i was able to pull off a dinner for 10 people. We may have been eating off mismatched china with a few plastic forks and cups thrown in, but the fish was so yummy, the rolls rose, and i didn't burn anything in my crazy unpredictable oven. The kids all even ate their fish. And liked it. Want the recipe??? It's Rachel's tarragon tilapia: white fish, butter, garlic, tarragon, salt. Bake in foil. The end. Fabulous. We get fresh tarragon here, and it is seriously amazing.

Marisa brought chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting that were seriously the best thing I have tasted in a while...Duncan Hines stuff she brought with her from America. Soooooo good!!!

We had such a pleasant evening. The boys of course had way too much sugar--here is Liam demonstrating the proper way to eat a butterfinger.

Mmmm hmmmm. He ate all the chocolate off first. Silly boy.

The kids were a disaster at bedtime, in fact they are still popping out of bed at 11 pm and i am about to duct tape them in...but all in all it was a great day. And honestly it was the most Christ-centered Easter week I have ever had. Thank you, Georgia, for showing us your faith.

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Location:Tbilisi, Georgia

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When I have grown a foot or two,

While the annual general conference of our church was held the first weekend in
April, it takes a little while to get things over here. Although we could watch it over the Internet, not everyone has Internet at home, so for the next few weeks, they are showing it at church, one session at a time.

Last week we told the kids we were going to church to listen to general conference. After the branch president began the meeting as usual, and after having the sacrament, the elders put on a dvd of conference with Russian audio. The kids then went to play in the nursery room.

Later in the week I was talking to Liam, and i asked him if he had a favorite missionary. He said his favorite was General Conference. I asked him to clarify...he said, the general, the one with brown skin. :-) :-) We have an Elder Johnson here who has olive skin who had been standing at the front of the room putting on the dvd of of course when we said, ok kids, it's time to listen to general conference, Liam naturally assumed the person up there was...General Conference!

I forget sometimes that a four year old has only been alive for four short years. Kids really do such an amazing job of understanding the world around them. So fun to have a peek inside Liam's little mind to see those wheels spinning furiously to make sense of the world!

One of the things that is different about church here as opposed to in the US is that because the branch is small, the missionaries generally have a much more active role in teaching sunday school lessons, passing the sacrament, playing the piano, etc., rather than just teaching investigators. So my boys have seen the missionaries more in the past month here than they have in their entire lives at home. Which has entered into their consciousness and their play.

This morning I heard the following:

"Liam, pretend you're 19 years old. You have to go on your mission. I'll see you when you're 21." ...pause..."don't forget your companion!"

Love my little future missionaries!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birthday season!

You may or may not know that springtime is birthday season at the Perrin household. Within 6 weeks we all have our birthdays (half birthday for Jude), as well as our anniversary...unfortunately for me we are all partied out by mother's day :) luckily for Luke, I am usually full of ideas for his big day.

This year is a Wacky Wednesday party (one of his fave dr. Suess books). We are having jokes and silliness all day. For example: behold the spaghetti and meatballs cupcakes--idea courtesy of our best bites. Please excuse the picture quality; it was 3 am. Don't ask.

It's also the birthday of one of the missionaries serving here, and tomorrow is the birthday of the only other kid at our church (a girl named tamara who is also turning 7!) so we are throwing a party for everyone tonight! Tune in later for pictures after the event.

And I can't post without a tribute to my special boy. So...

Seven years ago:

Six years ago:

Five years ago:

Four years ago (he's the big one...):

Three years ago:

Two years ago:

Last year:

And today:

I'll keep the emotional effusions to a minimum, but I just have to say, I love love love being Luke's mom. What a great ride the last seven years have been. Thanks, Luke, for coming to our family and showing us the world through your eyes. Happy birthday, pal. You're the best.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

And now, dear friends, a guest-blog post from Mr. Crazy Happy Success (aka Paul, or, if you must, "that one guy that always seems to be hanging around Stephanie"). Before we begin, a caveat to you all: I am less crazy, less happy, and less successful than the Missus. Expect a far more watery/bland version of the usual fare. Consider yourself forewarned, and read on if you must.

Speaking of which, if you are reading this, then you are using the internet. Allow me to welcome you aboard this giant sea of knowledge.

You see, my habits have evolved as the internet has become more powerful. Now, I read my news on the internet (Google reader, which aggregates all my favorite news sources into one place); I watch movies (Netflix and Zediva) and television (Hulu) over the internet; I listen to music on the internet (Pandora); I shop over the internet (too many to list); I do my research over the internet (Pubmed, Google Scholar, Evernote, and Mendeley); and I have even transferred my phone to the internet (Google Voice and Talkatone/Whistle, and occasionally, skype). And now, with the iPad, the internet is always with me, for better or for worse. I embrace the internet as something that has become essential to my way of doing things and has improved my life in many ways.

My recent trip to Haiti reminded me of this. My hotel advertised wireless internet, if by that you mean pre-1995 speeds, being off more often than not, a signal too weak to reach to the rooms, and the impossibility of using skype. And so, I actually found myself disconnected for pretty much the whole time. For the first one or two days, it was liberating. For the remaining two weeks, it was excruciating. I felt isolated from loved ones, hampered in my ability to get work done, and maddened by how long it took to load even the simplest thing, if at all.

With my memory of this fresh in my mind, I made having a stable, fast internet connection one of my requirements for any home we would live in here in Tbilisi. If we could meet this requirement, it would mean that even though we would be halfway across the world, we could still be connected to our life back home. To be sure, there were other deal-breakers, but this was a major one for me. Fortunately, there are many internet service providers here, and in many instances, you can get better and faster connections than you can in the states (I'm looking at you, dad, with your measly 1.0 Mbps "high-speed broadband" connection that is the fastest you can get in your area). I got the fastest package available, and was pleased to see that it would be ample for our needs. When I wasn't getting the speeds I was to be paying for (or even close thereunto), I called the landlord, and in my limited Russian, explained the problem. He called the ISP, who then called me. In my limited Russian, I again explained the problem. A technician came. In limited Russian (incidentally, as a younger Georgian, his Russian was as limited as mine was, but a shared love for the WWW knows no linguistic barriers), I explained the problem (sensing a theme, here)? He tested the line, found that it was faulty, replaced it, and voila: broadband speeds aplenty. Moral of the story: Necessity makes one speak Russian.

In other countries that I have worked, one of the most maddening aspects of using the internet is the fact that it will cut in and out, seemingly at random. I have come to call this phenomenon "low internet pressure", because, like the water systems in these same areas, it seems as though sometime there is just not enough internet in the pipes to push it through to my computer. Our home internet pressure was thankfully in the healthy range. I can't say the same thing for the office at our local collaborator's office (the Institute for Policy Studies, IPS), nor at the hotel that my Johns Hopkins colleagues (among whom was my PhD advisor, Dr. Courtland Robinson) were staying at on their recent work visit.

After a very productive week and a half, we were wrapping up our work with these colleagues at the IPS offices and preparing to send off the fruits of our labors to the powers that be in order to keep this study train moving, when, to our dismay, we noted that the office internet was down. This is not an unusual fact of working in that office, so we agreed to call it a day and go to our respective [and presumably, more wired] lodgings to finish up (the aforementioned hotel and in my case, the Perrin Villa Tbilisi). I was almost smug in my assertions that we could work out of my house on the morrow, because we wouldn't have that problem given my great internet situation. Well, I got home, had dinner, and as I was putting the boys to bed, I got a phone call from Dr. Robinson. He informed me that the internet was down at his hotel, too, and so he would be unable to send the piece that he had promised. Fear not, Dr. Robinson, I shall rescue us all. My insistence for connectivity would bear immediate fruit. I shall save the day.

I logged on. And logged on again. And again.

No dice. No connectivity. Ego bruised. Pride humbled.

I called another Hopkins colleague, placed at a fourth location in the city. No internet there, either. In public health terms (I am, after all supposedly a public health professional), two outages is a coincidence, three, an alarming trend, and four, well that is a full-on epidemic. I've experienced power outages, and have even experienced internet outages. But a city-wide internet outage? New to me.

In the days following, my internet pressure was much lower than usual. The usual symptoms began to appear, and interrupted our attempt to view LDS general conference live via internet. Was this simply my fate when traveling. Gradually, though, the internet returned to normal.

And then, straight from the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up archives, the cause of the blackout was brought to light: a 75-year old village lady wielding a shovel. International news media reported that the pensioner was out seeking scrap metal, when she came across the fiber-optic cable, severing it with the intent to sell. This begs the question: where does one go to sell severed cable chunks? My guess is at the Dry Bridge market in Tbilisi, which is like a giant post-soviet rummage sale (including rusty scalpels, stuffed badgers, Lenin heads, used dishes, and sheep horns). Now, just waiting for the story that explains the recent spate of power outages (sample headline: ROGUE COW TRIPS OVER CORD WHILE GRAZING, SEVERING THE CAUCASUS' MAIN POWER LINE IN PROCESS)

Apparently, if you are seeking to cut any one cable in order to disrupt a maximum number of people, this might just be the one. The Wall Street Journal notes:

"The company that owns the fibre-optic cable, Georgian Railway Telecom, said that the damage was serious, causing 90 percent of private and corporate Internet users in neighbouring Armenia to lose access for nearly 12 hours while also hitting Georgian Internet service providers.

But although Georgian Railway Telecom insists that the 600-kilometre (380-mile) cable has 'robust protection", this was not the first time that it has been damaged."

Robust protection? Excuse me? She downed the internet in two countries! Apparently, robust protection means that it is only rated to withstand shovel strikes octogenerian or older. Anything younger than that, and the protection mechanisms break down. The best part about the WSJ story, though, was the picture, in which the accused wields not a shovel, but a saw.

Perhaps she learned that shovels aren't the best cutting utensils after all?

Now, my initial reaction to this story was to laugh out loud, which I did with great gusto. However, when you--for lack of a better term--dig deeper, this story is actually pretty tragic. This 75 year-old lady was forced by circumstances to search for scrap metal to sell so she can survive. Imagine, if you can, your grandparents in her place.

My dissertation is actually focusing on the impact of displacement in Georgia on those aged 60 and older, and I can tell you that the situation for the elderly in Georgia is pretty grim. They feel neglected and depressed. They have minuscule pensions (about $20 a month) from which they have to try and survive. Some are abandoned by families.

Hopefully, by cutting us all off from our modern conveniences for a few hours, the 21st-century Georgian equivalent of hacking the local cable station to broadcast a grievance, there will be more discussion about how to better assist the elderly in this region. Hopefully, our study can do the same thing, minus the shovels, of course.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April showers

I'm tired of rain and wind and clouds and gray and cold. It's April, people, and I'm from Arizona. If I don't see sun, I think its time to be in my jammies, watch movies, and knit. How much (little) homeschool can a girl get away with before putting in movies???

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City adventures

Wednesday's tasks:
-get to the cell phone store and get 1) a sim card 2) minutes added to Paul's phone 3) more 3G gig for the iPad;
-get lunch for everyone from McDonald's.

Which one do you think was the most daunting?

Walking to the cell phone store takes paul 20-25 minutes. Walking with Jude in the baby bjorn apparently takes me almost an hour. Granted, I had cute shoes on rather than tennis shoes, but still. blech.

Once at the cell phone store you have to take a number. It's like the DMV. a million people, only two people working at the windows, and several miscellaneous other employees busy doing things other than getting the line moving. Luckily I had A seat next to some nice female students who entertained Jude and taught me some Georgian words during the hour long wait.

Getting the sim card etc. turned out to be a breeze. The system is this: you pay $.80 for the sim card, then load it with whatever amount of money you want. Then whatever calls you make come out of your balance. It costs about $.12 a minute for local calls. Not cheap. I could call the US for only $.70 a minute...thanks but I think I'll stick to my free google voice number. I just had to give them Paul's number and they added minutes to it for me. The iPad sim works a little different, you buy 1 G or 5 G or whatever you think you'll use in one month. The data "pack" as they call it expires if you don't use it, tho, so that's kind of annoying. But it was just as easy to renew as the phones. You do have to go to a separate window to pay, but they all spoke at least basic english. Done and done.

On to Macdo. It is raining and windy and cold--my least favorite weather. I make my way to the bright haven of American cultural colonialism.

The menu has no prices posted, and there does not seem to be a dollar menu, and people do not wait in orderly lines but kind of mob the counter and elbow their way in when a cashier opens. No matter. Big Mac is big Mac, yes?

I order my food. The best was 2 "heppi meeli" for which i got to choose which toys I wanted--currently it's clone wars, and they have mini light sabers that actually light up!!! In color!!! Seriously. I would pay the price of a happy meal just for the toys. That's how cool they are. How come the happy meal toys in America are total garbage? But I digress.

So I pay my money, get my food, and wait for my change. And wait. And wait. The girl looks at me, I explain that I gave her 50 lari and it only cost 37. She checks the cash register receipt thing, then calls someone over. They discuss. I wait. I eat a few fries. I explain again: "I give 50, you give change." she looks at me and discusses with friend some more. I eat some more fries. She asks, "did you need something?" seriously???? Yes! My change!!! She goes to get someone, presumably the manager. I explain once again. The manager says, "yes, the thing is, she already gave you the change." I say, "no, she did not." she nods that she did, tells me to check my receipt (because that proves....???) which I do, then we all just look at each other.

At this point I'm out of ideas. It may be McDonald's but America it ain't. I have been carrying jude in the bjorn for almost 3 hours, and, more importantly, my fries are getting cold.

I say, "whatever. Okay." I think, "have a nice $8 tip for your ineptitude. Call me when you balance out your drawer and it's 13 lari over."

I take a taxi home for a little over $2. He makes me sit in the front (Jude in baby bjorn...) and the seat belt doesn't work. He waves it off, no matter. I'm too tired to get out and get another taxi. Again, my fries...

Finally I get home and we all enjoy a little taste of American fatty goodness. Only thing missing was the cheese, but I'm used to that. Even if the customer service is lacking, the food is the real deal. Big Mac is Big Mac is Big Mac. And thank goodness for that.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011


We brought with us a little stash of what the boys call "home treats"--fruit snacks, blow pops, granola bars and such-- for times when the little folk need extra encouragement and/or something familiar. I have been pretty stingy with them, trying to make them last as long as possible, but we're getting to the bottom of the bag. Lucky for me, my kids have discovered:

Score for me--one roll of happiness only costs me one lari, and I will never run out of kiosks and stores selling these gems. We never buy candy at the grocery store at home, and it is truly amazing how motivating this candy is for these kids! Mentos are my new best friends.

As Luke put it this morning: "Mom, I have a secret. Mentos taste like home treats!"

I think we're gonna make it, folks.

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Monday, April 4, 2011


In the last week:

We had no Internet on Monday. It was slow on Tuesday. Good for a few days, then completely out again Saturday night and most of Sunday, just when we needed it for conference.

Our gas got shut off. We called the landlord who called the gas company. According to them, they turned it off because we didn't pay our bill. Now, Paul moved into this place on march 12. They turned it off on march 30. We did not get a bill. Normally they stick it in your door, so we figured it must have blown away?Further investigation by the landlord reveals that the gas company left the bill at the neighbor's, so if we just pay the current bill it will be okay. I am wondering how leaving it at the neighbor's house makes sense, and how our bill was so overdue they shut it off after living here for only a few weeks???

Power has gone out 3 times. first time--a couple hours in the afternoon. Second time--from dinner time (just as we were sitting down to eat; thank goodness I'd finished cooking) until about 10:30 pm. Ate by candlelight and flashlight. So glad we brought our awesome solar charging flashlights. Third time was last night in the middle of the night until about 11 this morning. By far the most annoying: boys woke up cold (radiators are gas but the thermostat is electric) and wanted in bed with us. No showers (hot water is gas powered but electrically controlled) or laundry. No light in the kitchen; commence worrying about how long before food in fridge spoils. SO GLAD to have power back on. I'm seriously behind on laundry because it's been raining all weekend. Still raining but we are out of clothes so I'm washing while we at least have electricity. I only had time to do 3 loads since we only have so many radiators to dry stuff on...

Up until this point, I was really impressed with how well everything here seemed to work compared with our previous experiences in Russia and Armenia. This past week, tho, everything has sort of fallen apart, and 'm reminded how much of a struggle everything is here. It feels like they are fighting a losing battle.I don't know why it is so hard. Or why it's so much easier in the US. But I'm so grateful to know that it does work at home.

I am truly grateful for our great infrastructure.


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Friday, April 1, 2011

Field trip Friday

We're doing a unit on architecture at Luke's request, so today we went to the Ethnographic Museum, a collection of traditional Georgian houses from all the different regions of the country.

First we went to Turtle Lake, a nice little lake at the top of a mountain overlooking the city.

I was not expecting to see so many people out and "exercising", which seemed to consist of wearing jogging suits, stretching, and walking around the lake. In Liam's words, "mom! A girl with orange hair! And pink clothes!" I wish I'd caught her closer up. Even her shoes are pink.

The boys had fun at a slightly not up to code playground.

Close up of the swing "mechanism":

From the lake we headed up to the very top of the outdoor museum--a huge, square stone tower typical of the Svaneti region. This area is cut off from the rest of the country 7-8 months of the year due to mountain snow and impassable roads. Aren't they cool? We hope to visit in May or June.

We chose a beautiful day for our outing; the sour plum trees are all in bloom. It reminded me of the cherry blossom festival in d.c.

Then we walked down the mountain to see these awesome wooden houses. I wish I knew which regions they were from but there were no signs at all. I'll have to do some research. Here's one on stilts:

I love the pattern of the wood on this facade:

Liam carried those two rocks up and down the whole mountain.

We had a nice little rest on this porch. We couldn't go inside but could peek thru the square hole you can see in the picture below

And this is what was inside: stunning railings, arches, everything was gorgeous.

The carving was so amazing. Sorry the pics are blurry. I was holding a wiggly Jude and taking pics through that tiny hole in low light...

We ended our adventure--and perfectly avoided the rain--with a nice lunch at a restaurant about halfway down the mountain, in one of the old wooden buildings too. Mmmm freshly baked bread.

And lobio: bean stew in a traditional clay pot. You can't tell but it is boiling in there. Steaming hot deliciousness. YUM.

You probably can't read it but our glasses say "made in the USSR." awesome.

And the waitress came up after we had all our food and took Jude back and showed him to all the other people working there. He was a little uncertain at first but when we were done eating and she gave him back to me, he cried. So i guess he didn't mind being a celebrity.

A perfect end to a great day out!

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