Saturday, November 1

Not kicked out yet!

I'm clicking away on my laptop, nestled all cozy in my bed in BUDAPEST. Some days when I wake up I simply cannot believe it, that I'm here (or that they haven't kicked me out yet). Life has been great, busy, fun, exciting, tiresome (at times), sad (when I've gotten homesick), nonstop.. that last word kinda sums it all up... but it's a life I couldn't imagine trading. Really.

Teaching... I loved it the four years I taught in the states and when I stopped, there was an ache to do it again. And somehow, the plan leads me to the other side of the world, working alongside some of the most precious people that I have ever met.

Before I continue I have to tell you about my bulges. Before I left things were a bit nutso and I kinda put WW on the backburner. Everyone told me that when I went to Hungary I would lose weight just from all the walking. I didn't think it would happen to me but without changing my diet (except that I eat lots of Hungarian food), since my arrival August 10th, I've lost 11 pounds!! I'm thinking that after Thanksgiving I may start WW or eating less sugar/carbs... but we'll see. I'm happy with my body even though there are stick figures walking around everywhere. Somehow I keep my head together. :)

Seven fun facts:
  • The Hungarian gov't gave me a two year visa! And it looks like I will return for the 2009-2010 school year!!
  • I have 7 fifth graders... one who started as a beginner EAL (English as an Additional Language) learner. It's amazing to see her pick up English just by immersion.
  • I've been able to visit Poland (Auschwitz), Ukraine and Austria...
  • Rome may get a visit from me in December. Wanna come?
  • Turned 30 in a foreign country!
  • I have a Hungarian roommate - who speaks great English (and I beg her sometimes to speak more Hungarian).
  • Polly is not too keen on the city but loves visits to Margit Island (there is a huge park area for her to run)
I try not to have too much fun.

Excited to be in the Ukraine.
Should not have been this excited to lay on the ground. Oh well.
My visit to the Vienna Church. Amazing people.
The girls that were at my 30th!
So.. in a nutshell I'm doing well. Thank you for the prayers that sent me here.. and thank you for the ones that keep me here. I love you all and pray that you are all happy and healthy in your lives.. God bless you and I hope to post more pictures soon (lord knows I've taken about 1,000 since I've been here).

Tuesday, July 1

Missions Minded - HUGE news

*Warning - the contents of this particular post may send some into shock.
Viewer discretion is advised.*

So, we, you and me, go back... over a year... Hundreds of posts. We've spent time together and I've given you a peek into my life.. my thoughts, my sad times, my joys, my desires. You've gotten to know me... my rants about PMS, my times of sadness when loved ones passed (3 this year!!), my incoherent posts because my girls that I host keep me up waay to late. And if you've been with me a while, you've been jealous when in March, I would leave for a week to spend my time in Budapest with the church, my friends, touring the city, basically having a blast-o-la.

One week ago tomorrow, I made the decision to go. Go? Yes, go. To Budapest... for a year (well, 10 months). I'm not going as a tourist this time. I'm going as a missionary, to be a part of the team, to serve in the church, do outreach throughout the city, minister to the poor and needy (most of Hungary is poor and needy), work with the youth. I've been asked "what will I do there? I will do there what I do here... be very involved and more than likely will be found ministering to the kids (ahem, teens). To help rent an apartment, I will teach Math probably to the junior high in their English speaking international school. I'm told that half of my monthly salary will cover a month's rent. I did the calculations and that means I'm pulling in about a grand a month. Trust me, this is not a career move. I have a nice home, great car, good paying job.. but I feel that Hungary is where I should be in a month's time. I'd call it a call and maybe it's crazy and I know how insane it all sounds because I have so much to do before I leave but to simply put it.. I walk and live by faith.

I asked one of my blogging friends if she thought it was okay that I post about this. I never did quite get an answer from her but because I've posted about everything from colon cleanses to co-workers who don't wipe the seat, I figured I could post this here also.

The director of the school (my new boss) said that it would be a good idea to raise some financial support before I go. Basically, you would be helping fly me (and Polly) over there and back (in a year). I HATE asking for money but I thought it couldn't hurt to put this out there. I put a Donate button at the top right of my page, if you want to donate.. if you can donate... the funds will go straight into my PayPal account. And of course, donations are tax-deductible. To be honest, I'm not sure what I need total but as a start, I think it would be awesome to raise 2 grand...

I know whenever I donate to cause, I want to know what it's going toward... Well, see below...

------> My airfare to and from Hungary
------> Polly's fare as excessive baggage
------> Starter items for apartment (I can't pack this stuff)
------> Whatever survival means living ten months in a foreign country
------> Occasional weekend missions trips to Berlin, Romania, Czech, etc.
------> Electricity in my apartment

Please go check out the school's and church's websites. And check out of my own church and take a look at the missions section. It's amazing that we're going into all the world!

If you can't support financially, maybe you can pray for me because that is just as important! I will post my list of needs and details in the right side also.. Maybe you will see something that you can help with? In advance.. thank you, thank you, thank you!!

ps. I made my 10 lbs lost mark!!

Friday, June 13

He called me the "s" word...

What?! Who!? Tell me!! Woah Nelly... not that "s" word..

The conversation went a little like this:

Random guy: Heeeeeeeeeeeeey, pretty lady. My name's Michael. What's your name?

Me: Tina.

RG: I'm from South Carolina. Where you from?

Me: Here.

RG: Ooooh, can you tell me some fun places that I should go, seeing how you're a native?

Me: (think to myself that I could already smell all of those "fun places" and smile politely)

RG: Don't you wanna hang out with me? Mmm, you're so fiiiiiiiiiine and so SCRUMPTIOUS. MMMMMMMMMM.

Me: No thanks. I have plans.

RG: No thanks?, he said amazed that he was being turned down. Oh, I see. You have a girls night out. You married, engaged? (all to which I shake my head). C'mooooooooooooooon. Man, you are sooo beautiful. I can't HANDLE it... Mmm, mmm, mmm... SCRUMPtious.

Me: Ok girls, time to go.

Toll to downtown Baltimore with my girls - $4
Eating an awesome dinner at the Cheesecake Factory - $79
Being called scrumptious twice in 5 minutes - Priceless

Tuesday, June 10

Life Update

I don't even know how to begin this.. I feel like I can't find the right words to say what I want to say.. . But I've been wanting to update you on my life so here goes...

There is a man that maybe if it weren't for the life he lived, the message he preached, the things he taught... I would be living a much different life. It was not an accident that I heard him speak one day. His words were very eloquent, he was well read. I felt sometimes that I needed always have a dictionary on hand. But he challenged me to think higher, live better, love beyond.. He had the kindest eyes. You knew he understood, he cared. This man was there for me during one of my darkest trials... he was my friend. He taught me how to be trust, how to forgive. With his life, he showed me that love really can conquer all. He was my Pastor for 10 years. And he passed from time into eternity Tuesday, June 3rd in the evening. He didn't just impact my life but thousands of others. I am sad but yet rejoice.. Because I believe what he preached about.. That this life is not the end.. and that his life continues. There will be a memorial to celebrate his life on Saturday.. It's been said that anywhere between 3500 and 5000 people will be there. If you are interested in reading about him, click this link.

We have death and then we have life.. I also have four exchanges students living with me. They just moved in last week and already they are a blast... full of energy. This time they are all from Russian and wee are having a good time together. I hope that this summer will be an amazing one. I am already getting less sleep. :) Ps. I am finally starting to notice a change in my body.. less pudgy around the stomach.

My weight has changed... for the better.. I broke out of the 178's and today saw the 177's.. 177.2 to be exact. One more pound until my "10 pounds lost" mark! Last week I gained..I think I was up to 182 or some crazy number like that but I think it was TOM weight because it fell off this week. Also, the temps for the last few days have been in the 100's so I am sweating my @$$ off... and am not very hungry except for salads and water. I've been moving more lately too! I started running last week, swam three time last week, and played volleyball for 2 hours yesterday. I'm a moving machine! :)

I'm sorry for having been quiet recently.. sometimes when life throws stuff at you, the capacity for other things gets smaller. Heck, I hadn't even checked my email in a week! If you really, really, really want to find me (like all my tried and true stalkers).. I'm on Facebook. Send me an email with your name/email address and I'll add you.


Tuesday, May 27

The 178's are taunting me...

Ok, I'm not complaining.. but how much longer can I be in the 178s? I did lose again though.. a small loss.. 0.4 lbs! I have to be honest, I was scared because at some point, I forget which day, I weighed back in the 180s!!

This weekend was pretty busy but fun and relaxing! And you know that I'm the resident photog wherever I go, so on to my pics...

Friday - Friday night I ended up going to my church's annual Grace Hour banquet which is a fundraiser for our radio program. I didn't think I was gonna go because 1. I didn't get asked and 2. I didn't really have the extra cash for fork out for it. But much to my surprise, I got a call that my friend bought a table and they had an extra seat! So I did get to go after all....

My other dad
My sister and bff
Our feet.. Don't mind my cankles.

Saturday - I worked in the morning and then went to hang out with Mel and her 4 yr old. I promised him that we were gonna hang out soon, just the three of us and Saturday turned out perfectly! We went mini-golfing!

The three of us
A hole in ONE!
Sunday - I was a big bum.

Monday - Memorial Day was spent by the pool ALL DAY LONG. What a fun day though! Swimming, cookouting, hot tubbing, tanning (and burning my nose).. perfection.

Polly is still exhausted from yesterday. Mommy like.
Collin - one of the twins
Debbie, one of Mel's sisters.
She apparently only takes "normal" pics if they are candid or if she has sunglasses on.Sorry for the pic overload but I know some of you love it and I had to get you caught up somehow!! It's semi-quiet here (at work) so I'll be making my blog rounds. Hope you guys had a great weekend and are having a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 22

The Order

We, as woman (or men), love losing weight... if we're trying that is. My mom is from a completely different species. She attempts (and fails) at gaining weight. But I'm not writing this to get in a pissy mood... so I will move on.

I love that the scale is cooperating lately.. 7.6 pounds so far since April 28th. I can't believe I'm probably only a couple of weeks away from the 10 pound mark. SO EXCITING. But I got to thinking (and this isn't really a complaint, more fact stating than anything) about the places that my body loses first. It usually has always happened in this order. Trust me, years of diets and body abuse and I've pretty much memorized the pattern.

1. Face
2. Right under my knee cap (seriously)
3. Boobs (grrr)
4. Waist
5. Hips
6. Legs

Tonight I was looking at pictures from the same date that I "began AGAIN" and compared them to pics taken from just last week. Do you see anything? I looked and think maybe but I'm not sure... Maybe a hint less of my second chin??

Just for fun, I started the comparison with a pic from March of last year...


Body shots (no, not those kind) to come in about a month...

Tuesday, May 20

Half Pound

In honor of my 0.6 loss, I did a little photo research.

Great, now I'm hungry.

Monday, May 19

Ok, I'm back

Wow, what a whirlwind this week has been. If you've been tuning in, I "stopped by" real quick a few days ago and let the world know why I was MIA. Nothing like being sick in the summer (ok, spring) time. Actually, even though I've been 1. wicked busy 2. stupidly sick 3. overly tired, I've managed to stay on track. I weigh myself tomorrow to see how I really am doing but I think that the scale will be on my side.. or at least stay the same.

I'm starting to feel like a human being again but forgive me if I go a few days without posting. I'm the only one in the office and at times, it's been pretty busy and by the time I get home, I just want to go to bed. Even though I've never had a kid, I think the feeling may be slightly comparable to being a new mom.

Ooooh, yeah... I didn't want to publish comments yet until I've read each one and responded. So if you're wondering where your comment is... never you fear, it's still there! I just wanna make sure I get back to you and if I publish.. I tend to forget.

You guys are the best! I hope you're having a great week in all of our lives. I'm thinking about each one of you. Will try to get back to everyone this week. But for your entertainment.. here are pictures from our teen bible study/cookout/pool party this past Saturday...

Before the study started, a little R & R...

One of the twins.. He agreed to be my "lovey". I'm soooo keeping him.

Our awesome teens on a Saturday night...

Don't think Polly missed out in the fun.

She was there all day and got SO MUCH attention. SPOILED.

(this pic is for you Steph)

Hot Tubbin' with the teens...

Friday, May 16

Sick = MIA excuse

OMG!! I just checked my email and before I headed out, I wanted to make a quick post because a certain someone *coughStephcough* was looking for me.

I've been sick. Sunday night I started feeling a little something coming on.. Monday I ignored it.. Tuesday it began to rear its' ugly head.. and well for the rest of the week, I've been down... Coughing, sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head.. take lots of stuff to make me sleepy so I can rest..

Aaah... but I think it's starting to get better. And I'll be back to normal.. probably this weekend!

Top that off with I'm the only person on staff in the office (because we had some massive layoffs) so I have to go in.. and because of the rain, I've been busy.. I really wished I could have been in bed but I'm outta sick/vacation time anyway.

Thanks for missing me! I miss you too.. I've just been sleeping in my spare time. I know you guys understand, right?

Monday, May 12

Compliment much?

Most of us in our bloggy community are women. I don't think I have any men on my friend's list but if I do, you may appreciate this too.

We like compliments. To be told we look pretty. You smell good. Those are nice shoes. Wow, you look skinny (this is my personal favorite). Great outfit. You get my point. If you didn't know what a compliment was, now you do.

Today this happened.

MALE Co-worker (stops in his tracks, stares at me): Did you do something different with your hair?

Me: Um, no. I just blew it dry like whenever I'm not being lazy usual.

Co-worker: Are you sure? It looks different. It looks REALLY dark.

Me: Well, that tends to happen when you have black hair.

Co-worker: No, no... something is different. *He thinks for a minute.* Oh, I know.. you WASHED it.

Me: *I just force a mini smile and look back at my computer with some very non-Christian vocabulary words swirling around in my brain.*

And this is how the conversation should have gone.

FEMALE Co-worker (stops in her tracks, stares at me): OMG! Your hair!! It looks so good!! How did you get it to do that?? Did you just get it cut?

Me: Nope, no cut. Just decided to stop being lazy and actually DO my hair for once. Just a blow dry and flat iron. You like?

Co-worker: Yeah, it looks REALLY good! Did you color it? It's really shiny...

Me: No, no color.. just good hair moisturizer!

Co-worker: Wow, I love it like that.

Me: Awww, thanks! *I go back to looking at the computer with a smile on my face, feeling pretty darn good*.

ps. I made my first goal of five pounds.. Can I get a woo-woo!?!

Saturday, May 10

Four Wheelin'

Those are my leggos, after about 2 hours of skating.

You know you love it when you think you know what my post is gonna be about and then I change it all up on you. I'm snappy like that.

Last night I earned some serious activity points and it all started when I decided to spend some time with a couple of my church's teens last night.

Exhibit 1 - Rollerskates

Exhibit B - Tina on said rollerskates
Exhibit 3 - Probably not one of my best calls as far as judgement goes. We were totally whizzing around as I tried to capture this.Exhibit 4 - Evidence of joy from racing around and around in a circle for hours on end.

I got in last night close to midnight, I think. But man, it was well worth it. I love teenagers.. feisty, adventures, honest (well, sometimes) and when they love you, they really love you. This time was for them but I came away feeling like a million bucks (and a little sore too). And you know what else I took away from this, I love exercise that doesn't really seem like exercise i.e. FUN. Give me some other "fun" ideas that you do so maybe it'll encourage me to get moving and burn, burn, burn!

I hope you all are having the best weekend!

Friday, May 9


Swizzle and I kid with each other that we are each other's stalker. We really are. She comes on over to my place it seem just when I need a good kick in the butt ie. I've been in hiding. Well, this story has nothing to do with her but I thought it was funny, creepy worth telling because it's sorta kinda an NSV.

The other day as I was walking into work, my cell phone rang. It was a girl that used to work with me and would like to still be working with me but doesn't. It's usually busy as soon as I walk in, so I didn't answer. A few minutes later I got a text.... from that same girl. It read, Did you get skinny? Because I just drove by and you look really skinny.

Thank the heavens for good outfits.. because I'm NOT skinny.. but in that 5 second drive by... I looked it.

Creepy or otherwise, I'll take it!

Thursday, May 8

What's in your crystal (light ) ball?

Right now I'm listening to the birds chirp and Polly walk around the office. It's so quiet in here. Sometimes I utterly hate that, to be alone, but today it's okay. I am starting to get caught up on my reading (your blogs of course) and it's funny how life just sort of moves on, even when your own may be at a standstill. Amanda's had her baby, Steph has a baby brewing.. life just sort of continues.. I love that though. When I'm ready to "come out of hiding" everyone is still waiting there.... I'm sort of drifting off in thought here..

I am thinking about some very big changes in my life in the upcoming... months?? maybe, the next year?? A move, to another country, to serve, to build up others, to teach... I spent four years of my life teaching and while it was hard work, it was the best times of my life. Kids put a fire in ya, keep you on your toes, keep you thinking "outside the box". They challenge us to be real. Kids hate superficiality, don't they? And the way they love.. wow! Each morning is new with them.. love to wake up in the morning and hate to go to bed. Man! I wanna be like that.. excited about life that I can't wait until my feet touch the floor.

I wonder where we will all be in a year. What do you want to do? What do you think you'll be doing?

Tuesday, May 6


Someone call 9-1-1 because I've fallen off the blog universe and I can't get up.

Wow, what a freakin' two weeks this has been, huh?

I am doing... much better than I ever could have thought. Death is hard time (for me) and I just am not a fan of people I love leaving this earth. Who is, right?

I was able to go home to Mass.. be with mom and dad, my grandma, my aunts, uncle and gazillion cousins. Though they were sad times, it was really priceless to see and hug everyone. Then after that I returned to work for one day and then headed off to Camp Canadensis with our church's teens. Man are they awesome! It was what I needed as a distraction for sure.

When I finish this post, I'm putting some pictures of our time there.. And just so you know, I'm getting back on track (I started again today). Oh and I lost two pounds from last week.. I decided to cut sugar and wheat from my diet for a while. I feel like I have an allergy or something because my butt gets bigger every time I eat the stuff.

I'm ready to be back with you guys. Sorry for the major withdrawal. And thanks for loving me (and missing me).

Totally am daddy's girl.
This is "downtown" Taunton. This place is called the Taunton Green.
Look it up. It's pretty historic. And my mom is totally being bossy.
Generations of hot Portuguese blood.
Another "Green" picture.

Can't you just smell the fresh air?
Can't have camp without a big ol' campfire!
Good form. My team won! Man, I got some exercise that day!
Swizzle I will be using that toward the challenge thank you very much.
It was foggy and cold in the mountains.
Am I a future leader?
If I hear one more joke about someone getting their rifle when they see this pic, I just may scream.
A pic I actually like of me.
Man, now I have to spend the next few catching up on everyone. Wondering if Amanda has had that baby yet?!? Love you guys!

Tuesday, April 29

MA bound

Sorry for being MIA.. just dealing with the family stuff, my emotions...and really letting God deal with me and be my "very present help in time of need". I haven't fallen too far off the wagon but it hasn't been my focus either. Just wanted to let you guys know I'm doing okay, sad sometimes.. but God is faithful.

I'm heading up north to be with the family tonight, spending one day (because I can't afford to be off longer than that) and then driving back thru the night Wednesday, after the memorial.

I have some sentences I want to share, many things on my heart.. more to come soon.

I love you guys, thanks for the support and being there for me in this tough time.

Here are some flowers for you all!