Boise: Week One

 It has been a long, fun, and productive week and the calendar just keeps filling up. With just three weeks left here, I hope we can fit everything in.

One day I am sitting on the beach, the next I am freezing my butt off in Boise, Idaho.

Josh and I are both from Idaho, so although we have not been enjoying the cold, we have been enjoying the idea of coming home. It hasn’t been our home for nearly 15 years, but that doesn’t change the fact that our hearts will always be in our Idahome.

We are staying with Josh’s mom, Tammy who is a busy business woman and socialite. Her social schedule along with all of the family and old friends we have in town has made for a busy calendar.

Friday, 12/1 – We flew in to Boise, Idaho at 10:30PM.

Saturday 12/2 – Boise has a surprisingly awesome night life and lively downtown. So, when I heard about The 12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl, I couldn’t resist. There had to be over 100 people dressed in costume wandering the downtown area and filling every bar with holiday cheer.


Immediately following our last drink of the crawl, we were ushered to Tammy’s company party. I’m not sure I have ever been to a company Christmas party before, so I guess it would be safe to say that this one was the best one I’ve ever been to! It was casino themed with an open bar, ongoing game show, and plenty of food. I didn’t win any prizes, but I pretty much ran the Texas Hold’em table and earned back my money ten fold… unfortunately, the chips didn’t actually pay out.


Sunday 12/3 – My dad lives only 20 minutes away from Tammy. We joined him, my step-mom, step-sister, and nieces for their regular Sunday dinner. It was delicious, as always: chicken cutlets with mushroom sauce. The kids are learning how to play card games, so we had a fun time kicking their little butts in Speed.

Monday 12/4 – After a busy weekend, it was nice to take a day to just focus on our various projects. We also took some time to thank our host by building her table and cooking dinner.


Tuesday 12/5 – After a productive day at home on Monday, we were looking forward to a little adventure. I spent the morning surfing the Boise travel guides. The research led us to the Boise Fry Company for lunch. We had fries and a burger. It wasn’t the best food we’ve ever eaten and the atmosphere wasn’t the best ever, but the concept was really cute.

The majority of the menu was customizable. We selected from six different types of potatoes for our fries (yams), then the cut of the fries (thick), the seasoning (garlic and rosemary salt), and the sauce (we got a flight of several). Then we selected our burger from several protein options (just beef). It was a lot of fun and I was pretty happy with the food. While there, we noticed they have happy hour from 4pm-6pm each day where there is BOGO on fries and beer. I’m looking forward to trying a few other fry combinations.


For the evening, Tammy took us to a free line dancing lesson at The Buffalo Club (free every Tuesday). We learned two new dances and had some good drinks. I don’t want to brag, but Josh and I did pretty great.


Wednesday 12/6 – Josh had to do some work, so I spent the day setting up the Christmas decorations.

Thursday 12/7 – We went to Dad’s house to help set up some of their Christmas decorations and for dinner. We had fried clams and baked potatoes.

Friday 12/8 – I unpacked and organized Tammy’s pantry in preparation to help her host Josh’s cousin for dinner. We had tacos and cobbler, then sat and talked late into the evening.

It has been a long, fun, and productive week and the calendar just keeps filling up. With just three weeks left here, I hope we can fit everything in.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2017

We heard some great stories, improved our chess game, ate delicious food, made connections, and bonded with friends and family. 

Oh my. Where do I even begin?

The day before Thanksgiving, we made the “quick” drive down to Miami, Florida. After being told not to use our GPS, we were treated to the longest 1.5 hour drive of my life (the GPS later confirmed my suspicions that it was, in fact, a four hour drive). We did eventually make it and spent the next two nights with friends of the family and 19 other dinner guests.

I had the pleasure of witnessing all of the pre-dinner fun. I ate my first Cuban meal, watched my first turkey deep-fry, played with the cutest puppies in Miami, and helped Josh to invent a new cocktail (Crystal Light, pineapple juice, coconut rum, and spiced rum).



Dinner was amazing with all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, including two deep-fried turkeys, home-made cranberry sauce, and whole artichokes. I particularly enjoyed my host’s rendition of stuffing which included mushrooms and nuts.

After a few days in Miami, we traveled back up north to Boynton Beach, Florida to stay with another family friend. She has a beautiful home on the river, a slew of delightful friends, charming birds, and dogs I fell deeply in love with.


I was particularly fond of her large, secret garden-like back yard, which had a quiet dock on a slow-moving river. It was the perfect place to spend each morning drinking coffee and watching the wildlife. I spotted two new ducks, a bald eagle, and several large iguanas.

Although the town offers plenty of entertainment, Josh and I opted for quieter mini-adventures, like a short hike through what I can only assume was a spider sanctuary, and a 2-stop pub crawl. Back at the house, we were provided with delicious meals, great conversation, and games of chess filled with advice for both the game and for life.


We met so many interesting new people over the holiday weekend. Being introverts, this was a little stressful for us, but it was a nice reminder of why we are out here. We heard some great stories, improved our chess game, ate delicious food, made connections, and bonded with friends and family.

Florida Adventures

A diary-style blog of last week’s adventures in Florida, USA.

How is it that we only moved out a week ago and I’m already behind on my blogging? I feel like that shouldn’t be a thing yet. Here’s a quick rundown of last week on the East coast of Florida:

Erna Nixon Park

We have been walking nearly every day, either to the store (which is a little over a mile away) or along the beach, but on Friday we decided to mix it up and get out into nature. Erna Nixon Park was a little bit of a drive, but offered a nice walk on a raised path through a natural Florida forest. It was short, so we did a couple laps. The internets promised me plenty of flora, fauna, and at least 12 species of birds. We counted: bees, black ants, red ants, dragonflies, black spiders, yellow spiders, and an armadillo. I was disappointed that we didn’t see any birds, but we did see some wild coffee plants. That was kind of cool.

Full Moon Drum Circle

We’re at Mom’s house, so we do what Mom wants, and what Mom wanted was an evening at the drum circle.

Thankfully, spending nearly ten years in a city ranked as the number one hippy town in America had me pretty well prepared for this adventure. We headed out to the main beach in town just after sunset, set up some chairs, pulled out our drums, and waited for the fun to begin. It was way more popular than I had expected. There were at least 30 people in attendance, a fire pit, and a beautiful view of the full moon over the ocean. Not a horrible way to spend an evening, I guess.

Above: Documented proof of the ever elusive “Drummer face”

Sunday Church

Josh and Jen, the conservative, secular scientists, spent the evening at a drum circle. Why not also spend half a day at church?

Mom took us to her favorite church in town. She was raised Catholic, but has been enjoying the local Unitarian church that her neighbor attends. Although atheists, Josh and I enjoy the occasional opportunity to speak with spiritual people. The church was comfortable, music was delightful, and the service didn’t immediately put me to sleep. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves and would even consider attending again… but no, we did not change our minds.

So we survived a morning of church, why not more church?! Without any warning, Mom drove us directly from one church to the next. Our second (and thankfully, final) stop was a Thai Buddhist Temple. It was tucked away on a large plot of land and was decorated beautifully with lots of color. At first it felt like we were crashing a potluck, but eventually we found the area where they were selling Thai food to non-Thai people, and felt a little better about being there. It was a cute little covered area with picnic benches, a courtyard, and Thai karaoke. There were also a number of outdoor food stalls selling desserts next to a Buddhist monk preaching over a small PA system. It was certainly strange, but the food was great and good way to wrap up an afternoon of attempted spirituality.


Much of the rest of the week was spent walking along the beach, cooking and eating, watching “The Good Place,” and doing small chores around the house. We didn’t have a ton of luck sticking to our routines, but I’m hoping this week will be an improvement. I have a feeling that this will be a long and challenging learning curve.

Interested in the day-to-day? Follow me @Jenistheman on Snapchat or @ThePlacesWeLive on Twitter for daily (sometimes hourly) updates.

Week One Review

Each day I have felt more and more confident in our decision. I am having so much fun and feel more alive than I have in a long time. We are moving out of the apartment in less than a week and I can’t wait!

I just wrapped up my first week of quitting my job and working “location independent.” One of the things that stands out the most to me is how long the days have lasted. I can’t believe it has only been a week. I feel like I do “The Jerk” routine almost daily with Josh:

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Goals: Since it was my first week off, I decided to keep things simple and set myself only one major goal: Get completely ready for the day by being fed, showered, brushed, and completely dressed by 10AM. Seems like a pretty easy job, but taking the time to actually do my hair, accessorize, and set my desired shoes next to the door seemed like a daunting task knowing that I would be far more comfy in my house clothes. But, by the end of the week, I accomplished my goal six of the seven days (everyone needs at least one day off).

Productivity: The sound of that daunting goal might give you the wrong idea about my week. I actually accomplished a ton of stuff this week. Some of the things I’m most proud of include doing yoga every-other day, completing over 8 hours of language study, selling over $1000 worth of our stuff online, planning mini-adventures for us each day, and being social at least half of the days. Again, these may sound silly, but my days off of work usually include a lot more sleeping. I’ve been more productive in the last week than I have been in the last month (which I considered a very productive month).

Money: Josh spent the week cooking most of our meals. We ate very well and wanted for nothing (except maybe more soda and beer). I’ll be posting a more detailed budget blog at the end of the month but, for week one in general, I would say that we totally nailed it! We stayed within our budget and achieved our goal income.

Fun: For the most part, this was a relax week. I wanted to spend some time just catching up on sleep and quieting my mind. Every morning I scheduled an optional activity for us. We didn’t actually do many of the activities, but enjoyed knowing we had the option. The highlights of the week included Pub Science (a neuroscience lecture at our favorite pub), our Asian burrito food invention (fried rice and sweet pork wrapped in a burrito), our theatrical trip to Walgreens for a year’s worth of medications, and a night of drinks and laughs with friends.

Each day I have felt more and more confident in our decision. I am having so much fun and feel more alive than I have in a long time. We are moving out of the apartment in less than a week and I can’t wait!