Monday, May 31, 2010

Scarlett, Billy, and Nacho's trip to Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius was really, really nice. The weather was beautiful, the people were super nice to us, the food was more palatable, and the old section of town was really interesting. Why did we go to Lithuania? Basically, out of all the places we researched in mainland Europe, flying to Lithuania was the cheapest. Our friend Tony had served his mission there and loved it, but other than that, it was just, to me, the 3rd of the northern Soviet bloc countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Lithuania has a long history of just being shit on. It seems that it has always been occupied by the Germans or the Russians. During WWII, the Lithuanians were sent to concentration camps like others in Poland and Germany. During the Soviet occupation, they had to accommodate Russian language, culture, and morals and were subjected to KGB activities, like being spied on and tried for false crimes. The Russians occupied Lithuania from 1944 until 1992, so anti-Russian sentiment still runs pretty high for its citizens.

Anyhow, the language and culture are pretty unique and we really enjoyed being there. We stayed in an efficiency apartment owned by an American poet. The location was really nice, as it was only a 5 minute walk form the "Old Town." We actually stayed in an apartment that was part of the Jewish ghetto. We arrived in Vilnius at about 10 pm, so when we pulled up to the apartment, it was dark and all we could see was this run-down building with a scary alleyway leading to the stairs. The stairs themselves looked all crumbly and the place smelled of cat pee and cigarettes. I was NOT happy. I almost cried.

But, the efficiency was clean, nice, and cozy. We were very happy with it.

Drinking chocolate milk at the airport in Copenhagen. Notice the nice wooden floorboards.

Dinner on the sidewalk in Vilnius. I had borsch that night.

Ok, so I never drink coffee partly because I'd rather not drink lots of caffeine as a pregnant lady. Also, I think it's from the many years of smelling it in the morning when I was little (my mom can't function without it). I generally can't stand the smell and if I drink a cup, it'll make my heart beat faster, make my armpits sweat, and makes me have to go poop within an hour of drinking it. But, how could I not want a sip of that? I put some sugar in it and drank almost the whole thing. I am happy to report that the caffeine buzz did give me a lot of energy with only a little bit of the anticipated side effects. Oh, and look at the apple dumpling beauty!
Old Town

God, it looks like I have buck teeth. At the town square.

At the main park in Old Town.

St. Anne's church (I think).

At the local Russian mafia restaurant.

View of downtown Vilnius.

Old Castle/Fort where whoever occupied Lithuania put up their flag. Right now, the Lithuanian flag is posted.

View of "Old Town" from the Castle

Aciu ("Ah-chee-you", thank you in Lithuania)!

Scarlett, Billy, and Nacho's trip to Copenhagen

Ok, so we were really bad tourists.  I mean, we SUCKED.  We probably went on touristing activities for 2 days out of the whole time we were there.  Part of it (a large part, really) was the weather.  It was impossible for us to go out and sightsee when it was pouring outside (this is partly the reason why we have watched 3.5 seasons of 24).  But, if I was totally honest, we weren't much keen to go out and explore.  The luster of Copenhagen was lost to us after the first dreary week living there.  However, we did go out one really nice day into the city and saw a lot of the typical Copenhagen sights. 

On our way to Copenhagen.

One of our little trips that was to a really interesting part of Copenhagen called Christiania.  It's a little sector of the city where people started "squatting" and living a very hippie lifestyle: paying no rent, everything is shared by everyone, drugs flow freely, etc.  We ventured over there to eat at a little place that sold organic vegetarian food.  

It's hard to see, but the sign says "Pusher Street."  This is one of the main streets in Christiania and, true to its name, had tons of people in little hand-built shacks selling hash, pot, and god knows what else!

Little skate park in Christiania

Art in Christiania: Cool shell covered in glass

God, I look like I'm 45 here.  Check out the skies behind us; this would be considered a "decent" day.

Every day I would have a Nutella on bread.  I feel like this picture looks like it's from the 70s.

On the porch in our apartment in Copenhagen (which we found on, a must-see site if you're traveling anywhere and want to stay at a home/apartment and not at a hotel)

2nd sunny day in Copenhagen.

At the Danish Design Center.  Was probably one of the most interesting things I've seen in Denmark.

The Carlsberg Brewery.  Carlsberg is Denmark's National Beer.  Their slogan is "Probably the best beer in town".

Entrance to the Carlsberg Brewery Museum.

Carlsberg Brewery Museum's collection of beers from around the world: every frat boy's dream.

The price of admission included 2 tickets per each person for beer.  I used one for a Fanta and Billy had 3 beers.  

Great little street we walked down next to the Brewery.  I was jumping for joy for the sun.  That's me on the way down from the jump.

The typical Copenhagen postcard shot (Nyhavn).

How we wish we felt :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My fetus is a seasoned traveler...

He's (it's) been to West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New Castle (PA), Bogota (Colombia), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Copenhagen (Denmark) in his 30 week lifespan.  Before he's born, he's going to add Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle on his little list.  Some of our friends (Jordan and Rachele, I'm talking to you), have amazing flying benefits (Rachele works for Delta) and get to go anywhere for practically nothing.   Their son Beckham, who just turned 1 year old (and, by the way, who was walking at like 10 months), has probably logged lots of skymiles in his little life. 

I know this really doesn't count since Nacho's just a little fetus.  It's like saying that you have been to Chicago when all you did is eat some Chik-Fil-A at the airport on your layover to Cleveland.  But I like to hope that this will instill a love of traveling in him.  One of the things on my list to do once Nacho is born is to get that kid a passport.  Annie, will you please send me that picture of you holding Iris for her passport?  Please? 

If any of you are considering getting a passport for your baby, here are some guidelines for taking infant passport photos.

I wonder how easy it is to get the baby to look straight at the camera.  Also, make sure to choose a white background and then change your baby's clothes to something a bit darker so that it doesn't look like the baby has a floating head.

Obtain the DS-11 form from your local library or any post office that does passport stuff.  Do not sign it until you're at the passport agency.  Both parents have to be present and both parents have to have identification that proves that they are the legal guardians of the baby (usually original copy of the birth certificate or court order establishing guardianship) as well as their own identification.  

First baby trip planned post-partum: Visiting Grandpa and extended family in Bogota in December.  Nacho will be around 4 months old :)  I'm going to need all of the travel advice I could get then.  If you're traveling with an infant anytime soon, read this post about traveling with kids:

32-week-old Nacho in our apartment in Copenhagen. 

Because we act like we're 11 years old...

Here are a few pictures of the funny words we've seen on our travels (travails). 

"i fart" means "in motion" in Danish.  We were told that the Queen of England herself chuckles about this, too.  

Cheesy Poofs Danish Style.

No clue what this is.

The O with the dash through it - ΓΈ - is pronounced like eeeuuw.

Thankfully, not where we stayed.

To understand, check out:

Billy's idea to snap this one.

My idea to snap this one.  This is from a restaurant in Vilnius, Lithuania.

5th line down.

What we hope Nacho isn't.

This is a stop on our train.  Wouldn't you love to live on Peter Bangs Street?

Again, to understand, please visit:

I guess an "en" at the end of the word makes it a noun or something like that.

I hope this brought a greater appreciation and understanding for different cultures and languages. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pick a nombre, hombre!

After reading that if Nacho were to be born right now, he'd probably survive, I've been thinking more and more about finalizing baby names.  We had our names set as late as a few weeks ago, but now we're thinking about changing them.  This is for 2 reasons:

  1. We're LOST junkies and came to the realization that we actually do really like the name Desmond for a boy
 I can totally see my genetic offspring looking like this as a grownup :)
  1. My brother John told me that he's "over it" (the name Isabela) because it's the number one name for little girls in the United States (thanks, Twilight).  The luster of the name has, unfortunately, diminshed.
Boy names are notoriously difficult to come up with and to agree on.   So, we need your help and suggestions.  We'd love to know what kinds of names you all have a particular fondness for.  We have pretty tough skins about this type of stuff, so if you don't like the names we choose, that's totally ok just as long as you're ok if we don't like the names you like :) 

For example, my mother isn't a big fan of the name "Desmond" because she says it sounds too "evil" ("Take out the S in Desmond and doesn't it sound evil?")  So, she offered other, predictably Catholic, choices such as Raphael, Gabriel, John Paul and one other one.  Asdrubal.  Yes, Asdrubal. 

I laughed so hard.  Apparently, when my mom was pregnant with me, she was teaching English at a small school in the town I was born.  In her class, there was the sweetest, cutest little kid.  His name was Asdrubal.  She said that had I been a boy, that's what my name would have been.  With a father with the name of Argemiro, I wouldn't have put it past them to do something that atrocious to me.

In case you were wondering, Asdrubal is derived from Hasdrubal, brother of Hannibal and a Carthaginian general.

Does not evoke feelings of motherly love.

So, what names do you like for boys and girls?  And if you're expecting or are thinking about getting pregnant soon and have a few favorite names for your kids, don't tell us!  We've had several friends whose friendships have been strained because one couple used the favorite name of another.  

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I love adorable, bald, round-headed babies

I was born with a lot of hair.  I mean a lot.  My mom says that she could pull it down over my eyes shortly after I was born.  Of course, it all ended up falling out shortly thereafter and I had this look going on for months:

I'm sure my mom was petrified to leave the house with me looking like that. 

I've always been fascinated with blond babies.  All of my little brothers had hair and their scalps were not visible.  There's just something about a bald, round baby head that makes you want to touch it and kiss it and snuggle up to it.  It's like those really short, bald, old men who have the liver spots.  I always have the urge to tap their heads.

The cutest baby head I've ever seen belongs to Quinn, one of my professor's baby.  He is probably the most easygoing, sweetest baby ever and I absolutely adore holding him when I babysit for her. 

This is Christy.  She's an epidemiologist at the University of Utah and has been such a great source of advice (and maternity clothes!)  She is one of the leaders of La Leche League (check the blog out: ) and just one of the smartest women...people, really...I know.

I mean, c'mon.  Look at his perfectly-rounded head!

Quinn and I at Pat's Philly Cheesesteak place in Philly.  

Quinn in a breastmilk coma in Philly.  Again, look at his perfectly-shaped head.  

Billy was a baldy, too.  I've never, ever in all my life of considering my future babies, thought that I would ever have a blond, blue-eyed baby (partly because I've never been around blond, blue-eyed babies much and partly because if I had one, I'd look like its nanny and not its mom).  But I'm kinda excited to see if the baby would come out sporting dark locks like I did or if he would come out as bald as Patrick Stewart (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation).