Checking In: Update On What We’ve Been Up To

Hi Friends! We hope you are all staying safe & healthy during this pandemic. Since we have not been able to travel, we wanted to update you on what we have been doing to keep our minds off how much we miss it! We have been making the most of our time in the Long Island area by trying to keep busy and not staying in the house too much. What cool interesting things have you been doing back in your hometowns?

Beachin’ It

Every weekend this summer we went to the beach! Long Island has an amazing beach culture. We have hundreds of beaches (we’re an island, after all), and each one is very unique. The beach that is our favorite is called Gilgo and it has a 4×4 section where you can drive your car on (be careful, you must have a 4×4 to do this or you will get stuck … we have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and it’s been perfect every time we’ve gone). What we love about this beach is it’s not super wide but it’s very long, so people sit next to eachother, not in front of you, so it’s always uninterrupted access to the water and its views. Most people here either fish or surf. Sam bought a new surfboard and has been trying to perfect his stance. I mostly just hang out and chill. The awesome thing here is you can grill. We have a small Weber portable grill that we can grill up burgers and sausages and it’s a fun day just hanging out, eating and drinking.

All The Eats

Another thing we have been doing is eating delicious food. Indoor dining is open in New York State, but we like to sit outside if it’s nice out. Now that it is getting colder, we’re going to need to go to places that have inside dining. The state is allowing it, but not all places are properly ready or set up for it. One of the places in our area that we love is a place called Ramen 8, in Rockville Centre. Before we found this spot, we were going into the city, but our place in the city closed and we needed to find another place. The replacement place (still in the city) was ok but not as good as the old place, so we hadn’t gone too much … that is, until Ramen 8 came along! It’s only one town over and it’s absolutely delicious and the decor is so cute inside and changes depending on time of year. Ramen 8 has 12 different kinds of ramen to try as well as other entrees that are not ramen and various sides and sodas from Japan. All the food is awesome.

Another food place that we like near our house is called Basil Leaf Grille, which is a Thai restaurant. It’s pretty new, delicious and has been a great addition to the neighborhood.

Last night we also tried Hotpot for the first time. We talked about going for a while now, but never made it to go because we thought they were only in Queens. We were supposed to go with some other family members who had gone before, but they ended up not being able to join us. We decided that we still did want to go but were not so excited about driving or taking the train to Queens and sitting outside in 50 degree temps, since NYC does not open inside dining until September 30th. Worried we might have to scrap the idea entirely, a quick Google search led us to Potasia in Hicksville. Much closer and seemed pretty legit. The food was delicious, organic and fresh. They had a nice selection of Bubble Teas as well. Basically how it works is each person gets their own pot. You pick your broth, items to put in it and dipping sauce. The pot boils in front of you, toss the ingredients in, cook & eat. We really enjoyed the experience.

Working Out

With gyms finally open across the state, I am happy to be back into my routine. The gyms are doing things very differently these days to adhere to state guidelines, but it’s been a positive experience and I’ve enjoyed going. The gym is also streaming the classes online so it allows me to attend classes at the other facilities remotely, which I would not have been allowed to do otherwise. (My membership is just for my specific gym, not the other locations in the chain).

Making That Cash

We have both been extremely lucky to have had our jobs throughout this entire pandemic and now. It’s been a rough time for so many businesses and we are beyond grateful we have weathered the storm. Sam has been going into the office everyday and I am currently working at home. Working at home has its plusses and minuses but I really miss my friends from the office. The flexibility, though, has been nice. More time in the day now to get done what I need to and no more getting home at 8pm. I am tentatively scheduled to go back to the city sometime in February.

Cooking New & Interesting Meals

Prior to COVID, Sam did most of the cooking (what a good husband!), but with the fact that I’ve been at home now, it makes more sense for me to do it. I have never been a good cook nor did I like it, but it has since grown on me and I have gotten much better at it. I try to make some new meals and learn different and new techniques.

One of the items I cooked was Mexican Pozole, the red kind. Sam loves it and it is hard to find in restaurants here so one night I surprised him and made it. It was actually quite simple and I used the crockpot. It came out really delicious and he is, of course, begging me to make it again! 😉

Here is the recipe I used, for all you adventurous chefs out there. I was able to find hominy at a specialty food store near my house but if you can’t find it, corn can be used as a substitute. If you end up making it, it is truly quite delicious – let us know how it comes out for you!

Other than that, not too much else going on. Most students around here are doing a hybrid model within their schools so some of the learning is done remote at home and the rest of the learning is done in the classroom, usually 2 or 3 times a week.

As far as our next round of travel, Sam may be going to Korea for a work trip next month. We are planning to still do our trip in December but we have to tweak it based on what countries will allow us to enter and what the entry requirements are. As of now, Americans can enter Egypt. We may end up just doing Egypt and unfortunately scrapping Jordan and Israel for a later time, but we’re watching the alerts closely and will change our trip accordingly once we know more. We’ll be sure to keep you all abreast of our plans as we know them.

If you’ve been doing anything interesting during this time of severely limited travel, let us know what you’ve been up to!

We look forward to hopefully being back in the air again soon. Stay ‘Saif’ … until we travel again!

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