Saturday, March 10, 2012

One year later

There are just so many documentaries and pictures that I continue to read that break my heart and make me joyous at the same time. So many lost lives, so many broken families, and so much heartbreak.  Yet, there's such quick rebuilding and such hope that continues to emanate from the the tsunami survivors.  I encourage anyone who might still be reading this blog to take a moment and appreciate our lives and the stability and security we are experiencing each day.  It was just one year ago that so many of my friend's lives changed forever.

For those with more time on their hands, please take the time to watch some documentaries and see that Japan is trying their hardest to rebuild the destructed part of their nation.

Children of the tsunami by BBC (featuring my former Japanese colleague, Naomi):

Bringing it close to you: a map showing what a Fukushima nuclear destruction would have looked like in the USA:

Japan's battered coast: then and now:

Thank you from Japan:

A great big thank you from me, as well because my friends are still living in emergency housing and still rebuilding their lives.

If you're looking for a worthwhile donation, I encourage you to donate to the Japan Society.  Below is a detailed message from them demonstrating that 100% of their donations go to organizations that need them in the destructed areas:

"We are pleased to announce eight additional grants totaling $1.6 million from the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. This brings total allocations from the Fund to $7.2 million, distributed to 19 organizations representing 25 projects that directly serve people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.

The latest round of allocations supports six new grantees and two previous grantees. Projects range from orphan care, evacuee services and healthcare for people still living in temporary housing, to education workshops throughout Tohoku, promoting creative arts from the region, building a community center, and summer camps for children in Fukushima, which continues to cope with its nuclear crisis. The organizations receiving grants are Ashinaga, Association for the Corporate Support for the Arts, Japan Civil Network for Disaster Relief in East Japan, NPO Jibunmirai Club, Studio for Cultural Exchange, Tumugiya, the Japan Primary Care Association and Supporting Union for the Practical Use of Educational Resources.

The Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, launched on March 12, 2011, has received over $12.5 million as of March 5, 2012 from over 22,000 individuals, companies and foundations. Contributions have been received from all 50 states, and nearly 60 countries around the world. One hundred percent of the fund goes directly to support people affected by the disasters.

For a complete summary of organizations and projects supported by the Relief Fund to date, visit:"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Please donate to Japan

If you read and followed my blog for the two years that I lived in Japan, you might realize that the affected areas was exactly where I lived.  The days following the earthquake and tsunami have been heartwrenching for me.  It took many days of worrying sick until some information started floating through the internet that some of my friends are okay.  I am only now starting to receive first hand emails from my friends.  But, what do you say to someone who tells you that both of their parents died, or their entire home that their family has owned for hundreds of years was washed away, or that many of their friends died?  What do you say back?

I am asking you to please consider donating.  At this time, I can only make referrals to donate to larger organizations.  However, if you'd like to wait, I'm trying to determine how I can donate directly to Ishinomaki.

Text "redcross" to
90999 for US
30333 For Canada
 For UK
 Send cheques or call 08450 53 53 53. Donate online through the link above.

Global Giving - I gave 100 to this organization, they in turn work with the other organizations.
or text "Japan" to 50555 (US only I assume)

Japan Society
Recommended by the US Japanese Consulate, they also work with other organizations, like Redcross.

Can donate in 18 currencies
Provides shelter boxes.  Each box supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.  

Save the Children:

Doctors Without Borders:

Salvation Army
text "Japan" to 80888 (US only I assume) 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New cooking blog!

Hey folks -

I've decided I like to cook so much that I want you to read my cooking blog:

This blog (vagabond Sara) will be used for my travel stories.  In my daily routine of cooking, please check out my yummy recipes!!!!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Chinese language lessons

I started taking a Chinese class at the end of January. I'm not learning very fast, but that's my own fault. I'm not practicing much out of class. We have a main instructor and a sort of TA. I call her the teacher in training because she'll be doing it next semester. Our instructor is Fred, who happens to be one of my favorite international students of all time. He'll be at my wedding, so everyone will have the opportunity to meet this amazing young man. Fred is the first international student I met when I started my job here. If I could adopt a Chinese adult, it would be Fred. Once you meet him, you'll see why.

Anyways, I'm not progressing very fast, but I know I will. The class is an interested group of people. All from students to professors to grad students and local people from the community. Chinese is grammatically easier than Japanese. The grammar is very similar to English. However, pronunciation and memorizing words has been difficult for me. There are four different tones which changes the word meaning. It also seems that the word 'shi' is used constantly.

So, until mid- May, you can expect me to be learning Chinese :)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I love to cook

I came back from Japan and over the course of the last 16 months I have grown a love for cooking.

I make mostly "ethnic" foods. With some good old American classics. I love it because I'm vegetarian. A lot of people go on and on about how can I be a vegetarian. Well, if you tasted my amazing recipes, you wouldn't need your meat. I love soups. They are by far my favorite things to make.

Tonight, I made Indian food.

The top bowls are mulligatawny soup. The first time I made it, it was horrible. Tonight, it's pretty great. I will let Jon finalize that opinion. The bottom bowls are butter tofu curry. It's made from the same recipe as butter chicken curry. Naturally, I substituted the chicken for tofu.

Some others of my favorites:
These dishes above and below this text is a Korean dish called bibimbap. It usually includes beef, but of course, I leave it out. It's sooooo good!


Lentil Soup
So good that the first time Jon and I made it
we ate a whole pot. We've never accomplished that since.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm back folks!

I think I'm going to start blogging again. I miss it. I don't know if anyone actually will look at this anymore. But, it's worth a shot.

I started this blog when I was 22. Now, I'm 26. That's pretty crazy. For my 26th birthday, Jon took me to Point Au Roche lodge which is about 10 miles north of Plattsburgh. It's across from our favorite state park called Point Au Roche. This is where we have gone for many hikes and of course, this is where Jon proposed to me.

Jon had the room decorated so that it came with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and candles. It was a rainy day, so we definitely took advantage of being inside the lodge more than being in the park.

I feel so fortunate to live in such a gorgeous part of the United States.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back in the Adirondack's

One of the reasons I love Plattsburgh so much is because it's so close to the Adirondack State Park. This is 6 million acres of nearly undisturbed land, mostly mountainous. There are 46 peaks over 4,000 feet (1,219 m) and those that summit all 46 are called 46ers. Jon and I have decided to try to become one of those elite hikers.

The first hike we did this fall was to Indian Head. This one isn't a high peak, but offers spectacular views of the Lower Ausable Lake. It's an easy, short nice hike. We spent hours at the top to ourselves. We couldn't believe that we didn't run into a single other person.

The second hike I did was Noonmark with my friend Julie. This one was much more strenuous with the summit at 2175 feet.

The third hike I did this season was with my colleague/friend Cody. We drove a short distance to do another simple hike that leaves you with spectacular views. This hike is called "Silver Lake" since you get to see the lake that is called that.