Crossing Austin

Hey there, Howdy and Hi!

Welcome to my adventure log of “Crossing Austin”, which is a fun way to keep you connected to what I’m doing while Im doing it!

For those of you who don’t know, I have started an internship at Castle Media Group in Austin. I just got an apartment, which I found a few days after I got back from London. I tried using Blogger’s site at the time; but things change. Since my job entails me using WordPress, I thought it appropriate to start chronicling my adventures of WordPressing through, well, WordPressing!

Here’s the punny transition I’ve had to make. I went from the big city of london to the other big city (in my book) of Austin, Texas. Over there it was crowded, but in a different way. I literally had culture shock when I went to HEB today and had to use a large basket to wheel through the large aisles….In London we did not have to carry much. We used hand baskets mainly. Over there people never looked at you. Here almost everyone greets you in a friendly manner. I have got to say, I had confused myself whenever I said “Howdy” to someone at the gas station, corrected myself and said “Cheers”, and then again apologized because I was getting everything muddled up in my head! Such a small difference in culture can sometimes become a source of minor irritation…

I moved in today without a hitch. I met all three of my roommates at different parts of the day. Their personalities are all unique and yet I feel we all share a geeky bond. We all like anime and Japanese culture. I was so stoked to see anime posters, Harry Potter adornments, and other J-Culture paraphernalia posted across the apartment. It is crazy, though, living with four people total. They do a good job keeping everything orderly, but when people do not adhere to it, things get messy. And I mean sorta gross-kind-of-messy because I had to clean the sink area and bathroom and I noticed right away that the kitchen floor and carpet could use a little bit of TLC. Or a deep-clean. Either way, this is the start of something new. For better or for worse, I will be spending my next 3 months here, and I will make the most of it.

I have found out that this period in my life will be a big trial. With the lure of an amazing internship and the liberal atmosphere of Austin, I will be asking God to reveal to me the mettle of my prayer life and the willingness to persevere to His standards and mighty will. I am on my own now, it seems, living in the city. I know now I will be praying for myself and for my roommates and that God would direct my vision to be His own as I enter the other vastly complex world of graphic design.

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Recipe: London Baked

I had been missing home for, what, EVER? Yes. So I decided to make Sopapilla Cheesecake. I mean, I had all the ingredients already bought a week earlier, so why not now? Did it have anything to do with the fact it was one of our lat nights at the Pickwick? Maybe. Last time before the coach tour, anyways.

Also you may be wondering why I chose to make THIS of all things to remind me of home. Maybe its acause I made it in Texas a lot, and maybe its because its slightly Mexican-flavored (thus, the Sopapilla part), which also is a prevalent flavor in Texas. Im not being racist, Im saying I love Tex-Mex food lol. So please don’t be offended!

Here’s the scoop:

The usual ingredients call for pie dough (but I like to use Pillsburry Dough Croissant roll sheets because they flake easily) but they had this sort-of-pie dough that was actually very wise to use for this recipe.

As Pioneer Woman would say, “here’s the cast of characters”:

1/2 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Cinnamon
2 Sheets of Pie Dough
2 packs of creme cheese
1 Tsp. Vanilla
an Oven
loads of love

So you want to mix the 2 packs of creme cheese with 1 cup of sugar; mix it in real well, and thats where the “loads of love” first comes in. I didn’t have a beater/mixer so I just whisked away with a fork until they seemed to blend in a bit. Don’t forget the vanilla! I should have added more sugar in retrospect… I didn’t have a measuring cup. But then again, its hard to eat something that’s TOO sweet. Even I have my limits (says the girl who delights in eating sugar cubes).

You take the pie dough sheet and put it flat on a pan. If it was the Pillsburry stuff, you’d pinch together the dotted lines so it doesn’t ooze out when baking.

Pour the creme-cheesecake on the dough and smoothen til you can bear it no longer. Egads–er, Golly!
*I found out “Egads” is kind of like Medeival slang for the literal version of OMG. So don’t say it 😉

Put the other sheet on top and pinch down, sealing the sides with a fork. So its like a large tart almost. Then you melt the butter and drizzle it all along the edges and the center, spreading the wealth. More love to come:

THIS is love. Sugar and Cinnamon. You must very well have guts for this part, as it takes a lot of restraint to not pour it all over it, but you take the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cinnamon, mix it, and put it all over the dough. Its heavenly.

Once you bake it for like 10 minutes or so (until golden brown. Depending on the overn, you may need longer or shorter, but we used a British oven that worked on Celcius. So 212 C is like 350 F.).

Golden, glorious, fluffy love. Mmmmm~ And the crust is just amazing. Its a Puff Pastry pie dough, so that really WAS a good call.

Needless to say, everyone wanted to be my best friend. Laughing at this, I give everyone in the vicinity a nice slice and save one for Patrick and Jane, who are utterly delighted! Faith and I take the rest to Girl’s Group and decide to run back after eating like 4 of them. Each. Heh– there are some things in life that are too good to resist, after all!

Pip Pip, Cheerio!
Yours,
Diana

I’ll Follow You Into the Park

Here’s the scoop:

Faith and I decided we were so brilliant, we should do a cover version of “Ill follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie. It had pretty much been our theme song for this trip (we sang it together huddled under a blanket when our bus broke down!). So, here’s our clever remake, London style! Ok, its funny cause it sounds stalker-ish, but we totally imagined our Music Appreciation teacher, Robert Tucker, as acting it out in our imaginary music video. So, that’s that: here’s the lyrics!

Love of mine, you can try to hide, but I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the park;
No place to evade, no tunnels to get away
You’ll learn to love some day
Love this soul that falls for you.

(CHORUS)
If Holborn and Russel Square become so crowded I can’t ride,
And the only thing I can do is follow from behind
If there’s no way to reach you when the tube departs,
Then Ill follow you into the park!

 
My dear, don’t lie, you know how you feel inside,
All that you try to hide:
You know that you love me too.
One day you’ll see Im really not that creepy,
I just follow you around, I follow you into the park.
 
(CHORUS)
 
I’ve traced your steps and found your used serviettes,
And shadowed you faithfully, and my love for you grows…
Through parking lots, and frequently your bus stops,
There’s no place to run from me…
Cause I’ll be in your room,
And we’ll get married sooooooon~
 
(CHORUS)
 
Haha that’s it! If you have trouble imagining, here’s the original song. I’ll post our cover soon if we get a chance to do it! (Ok, well I did do one but my computer recorded it in such a way that it play back warbled and I sound auto-tuned. So its Death Cab meets Owl City…)
 
 
Cheers, my dears!
Diana

The Funny Pages

For those of you who need a pick-me-up or just something to smile about, look no further! I decided to post a blog about funny quotes and fun pictures to make you smile, like this 😀

Today I read an MLIA post that said
        “Today I read the post “Today I saw an MLIA saying “Today, I actually called Hogwarts ( 1-267-436-5109 ) and a siren went off it said “Muggle Alert Muggle Alert, we have determined you a muggle, we must obliviate your mind.” Then it went beep beep beep, like a busy signal. MLIA!” so of course I tried the number. I got, a British woman saying “Welcome to Hogwarts school of Witch Craft and Wizardry, Hogwarts is an excellent boarding school for young witches and wizards ages 11 to 18 and then gave me a list of options to press. I guess I’m a wizard!!!!!!! MLIA” Hate to burst your bubble but first it tells you about Hogwarts and then it determines if you’re in fact a muggle. I know. It crushed my dreams too. MLIA.”
Naturally, I was curious and tried the number. The lady who answered didn’t have a British accent, but an Indian one. I guess Hogwarts is outsourcing too. MLIA

Today I saw a bumper sticker that said “my zombie kid ate your honor student’s brain.” it really made my day. MLIA.   

Today, my friend asked me, “If people from Utah are called Utahns, what are people from Tampa called?” I laughed. MLIA.

OK! Now onto the cute, funny, and just plain awesome pictures section! If these fail to make you smile, I don’t know what will! Enjoy~

 That’s All for now, folks! Please continue to have a blessed day! Alas, I would have put a YouTube song about happiness on here, but YouTube is outlawed in the part of Paris we are in. Au revoir!

Sheffield, the Lovely

We. Are. In. SHEFFIELD! Sheffield, England, that is!

Whenever I first knew I would be going to study abroad in London, I immediately thought of my friends, John and Ira Book, who were living in Sheffield, England and knew I had to see them!
Lindsay and I bought tickets to go see them, since we both came from Antioch back home. Carson later wanted to tag along to see what Antioch was like.

The train ride was epic: so, so green and hilly! I could almost taste the brilliant sunshine.
We got to the train station and were flabbergasted. The infrastructure was grand: it was a museum built into the train station, and we visited this awesome aquarium-themed room where anyone could crochet something to hang on the wall like coral reef! This is when I first saw Nadia, their 4-year-old daughter.

Oh. Em. Grapes! How presh! Last time I saw her she was not even one years old and I could not even touch her! She has grown so much, and she is so polite: my favorite part was that she not only spoke in an adorable British accent, but she always said, “Excuse me,” to start off every sentance! John took us around and showed us Sheffield. The first thing he asked us was if we were hungry, and if we missed Mexican food. Uh, YES!!! So we got these awesome chicken burritos! Sorry, Chipotle, but I WILL be importing these burritos, because they are made in heaven! Anyways, Nadia wanted ice cream, and she got it. Or it got her? We caved in as well…haha!

We just crashed at their place, after that, and got to know Joshie, their one-year-old who’s favorite thing to do (besides drool) was to look cute and be loved. Lindsay fell IN LOVE with these kiddos! You could not get her off of them! And the same way around as well. She is so good with kids, I just loved watching her, haha (but not in a creepy way!). Later that evening we helped Ira with getting stuff for this Kurdish-Arabic party at the church that night. We took the Tram, which is not at all like the nice, friendly Tube we know. It opens and closes within 5 seconds, and they dont stop for those cute little old ladies, even, who are inches away! So rude!

Kurdish night was interesting. So much hummus! And dancing, and ornate costumes, and equally ornate and confusing dances. I felt okay about getting up to dance with them, it did not seem hard! Just jump! And move your interlocked-by-the-pinky hands in a circular motion. Feel free to post a video of yourself attempting this. So yes, it was crazy acause we were expecting 20 people, not 50. Talk about friends bringing friends and their neighbors and their dogs! Pretty much the whole neighborhood came. We were surrounded by people from Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Somalia, and Eritrea, and a lot of people spoke Arabic. So sweet. Lindsay was happy to try the food, but when it came to dancing, she held the babies pretty conveniently so they couldn’t make her go!

Next morning was glorious. We slept in and were woken up by Nadia (we shared her room), who said, “Excuse me, do you think I can switch on the lights?” How can you say no to that?! So presh, so presh. We got up and got ready to go to the PEAKS! Before you freak out too much, its the site of where Pride and Prejudice, and also The Princess Bride were filmed! It was so expansive: there were brownish-purple hills, and we learned just how dangerous drivers are in Sheffield. 60 mph speed limits down a narrow two-way crevice on a mountain. 10 dollars a gallon for petrol/gas. And we found out its called, “tyube” not “tube”, so we are total hicks if we don’t enunciate the “y” sound!

At the end of that journey we went to a 920 year old church that John Wesley preached at! It was alive and kicking. We stopped there to play hide-and-seek with Nadia in the open graveyard. Then we went inside because the service just ended and a flood of old people greeted us. It was Mum’s day! They gave me a pot of gorgeous purple flowers, forever emblazoned in my mind. But they deserved to go to Ira, the real hero. Nadia promptly gave them to her when we returned.

The Antioch Sheffield service started around 4, and there was supposed to be a baptism service! So cool, another girl was added as well. She said she saw the tub and knew today was the day she was going to be baptized, so that made it 13 people! So cool, because young and old, male and female, Chinese, British, American, and any-other-ans all went in, all united in Christ. I caught their splashy debuts on film, so I’ll see if I can upload a video of that for Sheffield, if you want to take a look. How beautiful.

Alas, like all things good and chocolately, must come to an end. Now I regret not getting that Twinkie I saw in the American Store. But John took us back, we hugged our goodbyes, and left Sheffield, refreshed and encouraged.