Thursday, July 12, 2012

Catch Up Time

Working a 9-5 job makes life pass by way to fast. I don't even know where to start in terms of updating everyone with whats been happening in the Escobar house.

To start, David received his green card back in March! It only took a few weeks after our interview to receive the actual card in the mail. It was such an exciting time! But meanwhile during this whole process David had been taking ESL classes at Seattle Central Community College. Right after he had finished the Winter quarter during his two week break, he got a job! He still was planning on taking ESL in the Spring quarter but changed his schedule to be at night 6-8pm. That way he would work during the day and go to school at night. After a few weeks of working 7am-5pm and going to school 6pm-8pm, he had to make the choice to stop taking ESL class. He is speaking English at work and is learning a lot there! You would all be so surprised with how well his English has gotten! I'm so proud of him. Now 4 months later he is still working at Al Van Equip and loving it more and more. He gets to work with metal, weld, bend, punch and measure (in inches). It's a super small company and his boss and co-worker (boss's brother) are super supportive and understanding so we couldn't be any happier with how this all turned out. Oh and I almost forgot the most important news...He got his Drivers License!!! That means I ride the bus :( haha oh well.

I have been doing the same ol' same ol' at my work. I've been super busy with loans, we've had a surge of applications in the past month. It seems that around this area the economy may be picking up or people are feeling more comfortable in their financial situations because they are applying for car loans like crazy. Also I've been working really hard for a Kiva Partnership. A part of my "job description" was to help get the small business lending underway. We've gotten the policy written and are starting to feel out small business lending. We've done a few, we've had a lot of inquiries and applications and slowly but surely are getting further along in our lending. Small business lending is hard in a regulated institution such a Credit Union and its hard trying something almost completely blind. I am really happy with my work. I'll be teaching a loan readiness class at the end of July to a class that is full of future small business owners. The people taking this class are all in the earliest stages to starting a business and all have or had had credit issues and are trying to get back on their feet. I'm excited to do my first "charla" since the Peace Corps.

Summer has finally arrived to Seattle. It kindly graced our presence on the 4th of July! Since then we have been on the go. David plays in a soccer league every Tuesday evening, we bought a bike rack and are able to take our bikes out for long rides, we started a beach volleyball league every Monday night, we also bought fishing licenses and all the gear so we've been out fishing a few times already and  got a gym membership where we take yoga classes every Saturday and are planning on doing zumba there as well! So I guess the theme of our activities is, get fit, have fun and enjoy the sun! This Saturday we are going Whale watching at Deception pass. David is super excited to see the Orca's up close!

We are very excited for some camping adventures that we have planned as well. Camping with the family at the Olympic peninsula in late July and also camping at the Ellensburg Rodeo in September!


Life is good.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mt. Rainier & Weekend with my parents

My parents came up to Seattle for a few days during my mom's spring break. We had a weekend full of fun, food and wine, just another typical Tippy Family outing!
This is at a Korean BBQ. WE ate our weight in meat, kimchi and more yummy foods!
Off the the Boeing Factory we went. The largest building in the world by volume! It was impressive.
Theo Chocolate is AMAZING. My favorite was the Chai Tea Chocolate bar although the Cayenne pepper bar was delicious too!
While mom graded papers Dad, Patrick, David and I went snowshoeing up Mt. Rainier. We didn't quite make it too the top ;).
The Cherry Blossoms are in season. Beautiful!

Patrick...What a stud!

Friday, March 23, 2012

St. Patrick's Day / National Corn Dog Day

Corned Beef and Cabbage that I made in the crock pot.
It just so happened that this year National Corn Dog Day fell on St. Patrick's Day. Patrick's friend Peter is a member of the National Corn Dog Association and throws a party every year. The Association sends posters, tshirts, corn dog coupons and tattoos. Everything you need to throw an awesome party. There was a score board that was hanging on the wall where each person would put a tally for every corn dog, a tally for every 10 tator tots and a tally for every Guinness drank.
Patrick and Clay decided instead of a Corn dog eat off they would do a Corned beef and cabbage eat off, plus the tator tots and Guinness. I will leave that image for you to imagine.
It wasn't just David's first St. Patrick's day, actually celebrated, but it was his first corn dog and he's addicted. Although he decide to drink corona instead of Guinness. He said, " I'm not Irish, I drink yellow beer."
After the corn dog party we went home to rest and then met Paulette and Mateo ( both ex-Paraguay Peace Corps Volunteers) and headed to a concert in West Seattle. The concert was amazing, we danced our pants off and had an amazing time!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Soccer in the COLD!

David had his first soccer game last night. He's playing in a men's league with my brother, Patrick, and the Ballard boys. Last night, the coldest night ever, just happened to be the first game of many. On the drive over the the field it started snowing and I thought David was going to die.
Their team had 12 players while the other team had about a million. The other team was constantly subbing and getting breaks while David's team was good for the first half and their legs were dead the second.
Patrick scored the first and only goal for their team while the other team scored about 5 goals. That's ok though, it was David and Patrick's teams first game, while the other team practices year round. The Ballard boys plus David and few are just warming up and will surely kick ass later in the season!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Staying in touch

I love Seattle, my new job, being married and the new friends I've made. But I feel like something is missing. When I was in Paraguay I missed my "old" friends A LOT. I was constantly thinking about our memories together and excited to see them once I returned. My wedding was so much fun... not only because I was marrying the love of my life but I was able to reunite with all my old friends.
I never thought it would be so hard to keep in touch. Life is busy. I think about them all the time but honestly I don't make time to call them and I know I need to. We are getting older, starting new lives, jobs, families etc. I should have known this was going to happen but I guess I just wasn't prepared. Being so far away from everyone is also very hard. It would be a whole lot easier if I could just stop by and say hey but I can't.
Ladies and gents, you know who you are. I love you and miss you. I am proposing that we plan a get together, or trip, either every year or every two years. We can pick a different place everytime and that way we will have a date that we know we'll see eachother and something to look forward to!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cross Country Skiing

I've been itching to go snowboarding ever since I've gotten back from Paraguay. I also want David to learn to love the snow and maybe even love to ski or snowboard. But before I take him up the mountain and up the chairlift I thought that he should get comfortable on skis. So we went cross country skiing. It was SOO much fun! He really did great and enjoyed himself. I too really enjoyed cross country skiing and now feel that we need to invest in some so we can get up and go whenever we want!!
video

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is me NOT sticking to one of my New Year Resolutions

The bangs are back.Did you know one nostril is more dominant than the other?
I made a few New Year Resolutions; stick to a budget, make new friends and the oh so typical eat healthier/loose weight.
I've been amazing at making a budget and sticking to it. I now know we can survive off of just my income and be completely happy, so now when David gets a job it will all be gravy, or savings to buy a house. We've been good about making an effort to meet new people and I feel we have been pretty successful! My down fall....food...it's soo good with that creamy sauce or deep fried.
So while still really trying to change a lifestyle I've been used to for my whole life, I've also eaten some delicious not so healthy food. And why not take pictures of it because food's not only yummy but pretty.
Enjoy!
Sushi night with Paulette
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Beer Tastings
Talapia with a curry coconut sauce at Safari Restaurant
Crepes- Gorgonzola, pear, walnuts and honey!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our first Valentine's Day- Married

Valentine's day in the past really had no significance in Paraguay. Now a days its becoming more and more popular because of the growing American culture influence on Paraguayan adolescents due to the Internet becoming more accessible.
The past two Valentine's days David and I didn't do anything. Its not just that they don't celebrate it in Paraguay its also because I believe its a holiday designed for people to spend money. I know that David loves me and I love him and we don't need to prove it by spending crazy amounts of money. Every day we tell each other how much we love each other therefore Valentine's day is just like any other day.
So now I guess I sound like a hypocrite when I say I was excited for Valentine's Day this year. Maybe it's because we're married, in the states and all of the propaganda got to me and made me want a special night with my husband, who knows. But I was super excited when I came home to this...
And I made this delicious "postre" for us to share!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bomb Falafel فلافل ‎

Last night Patrick came over for dinner and we enjoyed a delicious meal cooked by, me!
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flat bread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze. Generally accepted to have first been made in Egypt, falafel has become a dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The copts of Egypt claim to have first made the dish as a replacement for meat during Lent. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food. (wikipedia)
Falafel is DELICIOUS. In Barcelona there is a chain called Maoz Vegitarian, a little tiny whole in the wall shop on Las Ramblas that had yummy Falafel and Hummus. The selling point for me was there was a self service salad bar where you would stuff your pita full of veggies from broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes and many many more and then you had your choice of sauces. We would stand there and eat our Maoz when we would run out of veggies you could just fill it up again! It was the most amazing lunch spot ever! See the veggi bar below!
So last night I was craving falafel and decided to make my own. And I don't want to brag but...It was pretty darn good.
The Recipe
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 whole onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Handful of chopped parsley
- 1 Tbs of olive oil
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- cumin
- coriander
- cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of baking powder
I blended all the ingredients together in the blender but a food processor would have worked MUCH better. Then I made a yogurt sauce.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- dill weed
- lemon juice
- 1/2 cucumber (seeded and finely chopped)
-salt and peeper
Then we stuffed pita with the falafel, sauce, lettuce and tomato and paired it with a nice cold Red Chair Deschutes Brewery Beer!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Paraguayan Food

Without almidon making chipa may be difficult.
Or if you are lazy and live in Seattle and want an empanada

Green Card Interview

5 Months!

It's been 5 months since David and I made our journey to the United States. 5 months of new experiences, good times and changes.

About 30 days after we were married David and I filed the applications for the I-485 (application for permanent residence (green card)) and the I-765 (application for work authorization). The I-765 is filed because the green card usually takes awhile so if you file for the I-765 you can legally work in the meantime.

A month after filing we received an appointment notice for the biometrics interview. So we went to the Department of Homeland Security office in Seattle and David had his picture and finger prints taken and then we were sent home. Not really knowing what was going to happen next. I assumed that the EAD (employment authorization document) would arrive shortly and David could start looking for work...

We then received our notice ( a month after the biometrics interview) for David's permanent residence (green card) interview that would be on February 1, 2012. At this point we still hadn't received the EAD card. Then a week before the interview David received his EAD card!!! Yay! I was excited that he was officially allowed to work but at the same time a little bitter. The application for this work authorization card cost about $100. And it came a week before the interview for permanent residence. I was thinking "what a waste of $100". I was thinking the EAD card was useless because we'd go to the interview, in a week, and the green card would be approved then he'd be a permanent resident and allowed to work and wouldn't need the EAD card.

Well we went to the interview yesterday, February 1st 2012. We took a translator with us because it would have been a conflict of interest if I, the wife, translated for David. The interview was SOO weird.

I had researched about these interviews and we were totally ready for tons of personal questions about each others families and about our marriage. My cousin and her husband also just did the green card interview and they told us to be ready to answer biographical questions about each other and other personal questions. Well the interviewer asked David how we met. He answered in English. She asked me where I worked. She asked us how the wedding was. We then showed her pictures. She asked ME to identify my family members. She asked how many people attended. She asked if we had a ceremony in Paraguay, we showed pictures of our going away party with his family and she asked DAVID to identify his family members. She then asked for proof of shared finances and that we live in the same place and that I've changed my name. I gave her all of our bank statements, lease agreement, health insurance etc. Then she asked the generic questions like if David's been involved in terrorist actives, if he's been involved in prostitution etc.

Then it was over. She asked NO personal questions. She said she didn't think they'd be needing any more documents from us. And that we'd be getting a letter in the mail with the answer. I asked how long and she said "as soon as possible".

Why didn't she ask any personal questions? I guess we should be happy that it went so quickly and was super easy. But its nerve racking that your future is in someone elses hands. What if they are having a bad day and say "no"? Was it so obvious that we are happily married that she didn't need to ask any questions? I had my dad call my aunt to see if my cousin and her husband got an answer the same day as their interview. They didn't. Their interviewer told them it could be 2 weeks to 3 months to get the letter in the mail!!!

So now I don't think the EAD card was a waste of money. Because if it takes 3 months to get the green card David wouldn't be able to start looking for work until then. He's English is improving rapidly and he is anxious to get out of the house. We've started working on his resume and hopefully within the next few days he can start applying for jobs!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Randomness


It's been a cold and wet
winter here in Seattle. That means lots of time spent indoors and lots of time
spent playing on the Internet, watching movies, eating etc. Last week David
didn't have school all week (snow days) and I was off work on Monday (MLK day) and then Wednesday and Thursday my
work was closed due to SNOW!

Thursday we managed to
leave the house after watching 4 movies on Wednesday and drinking a half a
bottle of whiskey! We went to get Pho with
Patrick in the International District and it was delicious. After that we
didn't want to go back home and sit some more. So we downtown and walked around
in the snow. It started to snow even more so we stopped for some coffee and
people watching. Our bus, the #7, got stuck in the snow going up Jackson Street
on the way home. So we walked up Jackson to Rainier and waiting for another bus
to pass by.

By Friday I was a little
tired of being home. It's not that I don't love spending time with David its that
we usually go out and do stuff, explore, but we were basically trapped at home.
David's snow pants were at Patrick's
house so we couldn't go sledding or partake in traditional snow activities. And
there was NO way I was taking my car out on the roads, people in Seattle do not
know how to drive in the snow. So yeah, Friday, I was ready to work. I would
have walked there if I had to!

David's English is Rocking! Yay!
February 1st we have his green card interview! I'm a little nervous. I have no
reason to be nervous but I am. I think it's the fact that Immigrations still
has the opportunity to say no. Although we have all of our documents in order
and are a REAL couple it's a little stressful! After he gets his green card
he'll be able to work.

It will be so nice once he starts working. We've been on a tight
budget with just one income so a lot of stress will be relieved once there is a
little more wiggle room with our finances.

In the end we are ok! We are
fat, happy and in love!


David

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Random pictures from around Oregon and Seattle

Hurrican Ridge - Olympic National Forest
Gasworks Park- Seattle
Mussles for dinner!
Bike Ride in Seward Park- Seattle
Oregon Coast
Yerba!!
Bottle House Wine Bar- Seattle
Sounders Futbol game- Seattle



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Urban Camping


David really wants to go camping but it’s cold and rainy here in the Northwest so we set the tent up inside. We had a great night watching movies and giggling on our camping trip.