Operation Repatriation Has Begun

Foreign Service LifeMinnesota
June 11, 2011

I know I’ve been MIA for too long by the large number of emails and FB messages I’ve been getting about why I’m not posting.  Thank you all for being such devoted readers who appreciate my blogging (and hold me accountable for doing it!)

It’s been a wonderful/stressful first 10 days in country.  There were so many task-y things to do and only a finite amount of pregnant-woman energy to get them done.  Hence, some things had to wait (like blogging).  The first 10 days can best be summed up by these 5 words:

  1. Doctors
  2. Car Sh0pping
  3. Food
  4. Cabin Time
  5. Garage Sales

I’m not sure if you all remember, but last time I visited home, I overdid it and found myself sick halfway through.  I was determined not to make the same mistake, so I just layed low for the first week or so taking care of tasks first before reaching out to my people (because after the initial reach-out my calendar immediately gets jam-packed with appointments).  Thank you all for your patience, I have not forgotten you!  It’s just that I have 10 weeks in MN this time instead of 4, so there isn’t the same amount of pressure to cram everything in on the front end.

I was also taking it slow because I wasn’t sure how repatriation would go for me after 2 years of being away.  Suffice to say, there’s a LOT that was unlearned during my pampered time in Manila.

Getting My Hand Dirty

Yes, I was spoiled in Manila and I loved every minute of being lovingly cared for by Rudy and Norma.  It was truly a blessing that I never took for granted.  The thing is, when you don’t cook or do laundry for 2 years, it’s inevitable that those skills will need some polishing.  For me, it was more of a MAJOR regression than a little one.  I literally feel like I’m back in college learning how to cook and clean for myself for the first time.

The solution I came up with was to start a mentorship program at our house.  Hence, I am the official assistant cook on all meals.  My Mom also did a tutorial on laundry with me so I didn’t shrink or discolor my stuff.  I have to admire the patience of my family who gently remind me to put my dish in the dishwasher instead of setting it on the counter (so many bad habits to unlearn!)  I’ll definitely get there, but I’m glad I have a whole summer of ‘practice home-making’ before I have to manage it in DC.

Cars, Cars and More Cars

That has been where the majority of my time got sucked up these last 10 days.  I plan to write more about this in detail in my next post so I won’t say much other than that it’s been a nightmare.  The used car market is pathetically low on inventory and absurdly overpriced and yet used cars are still flying out the door.  It reminds of that insane period where houses went up on the market and were sold within hours.  I can’t tell you how many times I found an online posting and showed up at the dealership only to find it had been sold that morning.  GRRRRR.

I’m happy to report that I did find a car last night which significantly reduced my stress level.  That is, until I was driving it home and noticed a problem.  Again, more to come on this (and probably a lot of venting because I’m just so worked up over how miserable it’s been).  I’m praying that it will all be resolved soon and I can just go on with my life.

Food Glorious Food

In addition to my Target shopping trip, family time and Cabin visit (which always prove to be a good time), the shining bright spot in my first 10 days has definitely been the food.  I’ve given myself full permission to indulge for these first few weeks and boy have I been going at it.  Baby and I have been eating our way through the Twin Cities metro (which has an AMAZING foodie community, by the way).  I’ve been starting with a lot of the faster food options first and will be moving toward my favorite sit-down restaurants as I begin my friend visits next week.

Here’s what I’ve enjoyed thus far:

6 Milk Chocolate Caribou Mochas with melted Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips in them, Punch Pizza, 2 Chipotle Burrito Bowls, 2 Izzy’s Ice Cream Cones, Panera, Noodles ‘n Company, Dairy Queen, and Ballpark Nachos at the Twins Game.

And here is the list of places I’m still planning to visit:

Victor’s 1959 Cafe, Black Sheep Pizza, Brasa, Wilde Roaste Cafe, French Meadow Bakery, Cafe Latte, 4 Seasons, Khyber Pass, Christos, Broders Pasta Bar, Hell’s Kitchen, The Loring Pasta Bar, Muffaletta, The Egg & I, The Sinclair Broiler and the Chatterbox Pub.

Granted, a lot of these are old favorites of mine, so feel free to leave suggestions about exciting new restaurants that have opened in the last 2 years that I need to add to my list!

That’s all I’ve got time to write today.  I’m off to help my sister put together her wedding programs.  Have a fantastic weekend all and thanks for your patience with me!

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  1. Bethany says:

    Hi Sarah! So glad to hear you’re doing great and the transition back “home” hasn’t been too bumpy! Enjoy every moment of having that little body and kicking legs inside of you, and eat to your hearts content!
    xoxo Bethany

  2. Sarah Novak says:

    Haven’t felt anything yet but am eagerly waiting for it… am indulging in food in the meantime!

  3. Bethany says:

    When I first felt Seth it felt like a little butterfly in my tummy….started really light and then the little butterfly got bigger. Fast forward a few months when he would move across my belly and it looked like I had an alien inside me! My friends loved to watch him move around because of how crazy it looked and how fun it felt :-)

  4. Sarah Novak says:

    Our baby has been really active during the scans but I’m pretty sure I haven’t felt anything yet (otherwise I’m clueless as to what I’m looking for). I’m 21 weeks now, so I’m hoping it’ll be soon!

  5. naomi says:

    Love the list of food you’ve enjoyed!!!

  6. Sarah Novak says:

    Me too – it’s been delightful!

  7. Meighan B says:

    I lurk on your blog occasionally and am glad to hear you are back in the metro, safe and sound.
    There have been so many good places that have opened up in the last two years! I have been to all of these and can vouch for their excellence.
    For pizza: http://www.pizzerialola.com/
    Asian: http://www.wokintheparkrestaurant.com/
    Fish and Chips: http://theanchorfishandchips.com/ (It’s the real deal. Best fish and chips I’ve ever, ever had. No contest)
    Japanese bistro: http://www.obento-ya.com/
    (They have more here than sushi. They have a nice list of robata skewers as well)
    South American: http://www.chimborazorestaurant.com/ (It’s actually food from Ecuador and the Andean highlands)
    New Italian: http://www.barlagrassa.com/Menu.htm (This guy just won a James Beard Award!)
    Gastropub: http://www.victory-44.com/ (Don’t be scared that it’s in North. It’s really innovative and the chefs themselves act as the servers)

    These are all good and well worth the trips all over the Metro!
    Happy eating!

  8. Sarah Novak says:

    Hi Meighan – These are fantastic suggestions. I’m very excited to check them out… thanks for taking the time to comment! Hope to hear from you more…


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