Monday, May 23, 2005

Best Coffee in Austin

We're incorrigible Oregon coffee snobs. You might never know it since we're both so darn agreeable, but it's true. During our one-year sabbatical in Austin, we have made a couple of observations. Austin is a town blessed with an abundance of cute coffee shops. Unfortunately most are bad. Here is a list we've compiled. If a coffee shop isn't listed, it is because we haven't yet visited … if we haven't yet visited, it is because we're tired of wasting our money on bad coffee. As soon as Frommers gives us money, we'll visit the rest.

Peets Coffee & Tea, Guadalupe St
Whole Foods Market, Lamar St
Central Market, both locations
Andersons Coffee, Jefferson St (just for the beans)

Almost Good
Spider House Café, Fruth St
Copacabana Coffeehouse, S. Congress St
Halcyon Coffeehouse, W 4th St.

Not so good:
Mozarts Coffee Roasters & Bakery, Lake Austin Blvd.
Bouldin Creek Coffee House & Café, S. 1st St.
Green Muse Café, W. Oltorf St.
Little City Espresso, Congress
Metro Espresso Bar, Guadalupe St
Jo’s Coffee, S. Congress
Ruta Maya Coffee Co., S. Congress

Here's how to judge a good coffee house: Order an iced mocha. This will tell you volumes about their dedication to espresso-based beverages in general. Iced drinks save the flavor of an espresso shot much better than scorched milk. Most coffeehouses can't handle the delicate balance of an iced mocha. It's very sad.

PS - the best coffeehouse in the world is Coffee Cottage in Newberg, Oregon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Brief Bios

Rachel and Rob come from enormous families: Rachel has 6 siblings (7 children total - all bio. You go mom!). Rob has 9 siblings (10 children total - 4 bio, 5 adopted, 1 honorary)

Rachel was home schooled until she went to Eagle Point High School, Eagle Point, OR. Wouldn’t you know it, she graduated salutatorian. Rob moved around quite a bit as a kid, number of moves totals more than 30. Fortunately he stayed in one place long enough to attend Friendswood High School, Friendswood, TX for all 4 years.

Rachel and Rob met at George Fox University. They were two of only five international business majors in their class, so they got to know each other pretty well. Oddly, they never thought of each other as more than study buddies. This all changed in summer of 1999 when they traveled to Europe for 3 weeks as part of university-sponsored trip. Romance ensued. Serendipitously, Rachel and Rob had signed up for the “semester in China” trip the following fall (1999). Unbeknownst to each other, their lives would forever be bound.

After graduating from George Fox, their next step was to build a successful and meaningful future for themselves. They wanted to continue down the path of international business / politics / relations / whatever… They came across a wonderful organization called the US Peace Corps which allowed them to travel to a foreign country to live, grow, and work for two years. Rob and Rachel were Peace Corps Volunteers stationed in the lovely Saxon village of Sebes, in Transylvania (Ardeal) Romania. They did feel a bit sheepish about their comfortable lifestyle, but they still found many hillareous cultural difficulties and misunderstandings that will serve them well when reminiscing about their past to their grandchildren.

After serving their full two-year commitment in the Peace Corps, Rob and Rachel traveled back to the USA to begin their next big task: graduate school! Rachel was accepted to the renowned Master in Professional Accounting program at the University of Texas at Austin. As this is written (May 2005) Rachel only has a couple of months left in her program. She already has a position waiting for her in the audit & assurance department of Deloitte & Touche in Houston.

Robert currently works with a wonderful international adoption agency called International Family Services ( He is the China Program Director, responsible for anything and everything China-related. After Rachel graduates from School, Rob will attend the MBA program at Rice University. He is extremely excited to begin his studies at such a prestigious university - though he is enjoying his last bit of “freedom” before August classes begin.

Rachel and Rob - it seems - have a very interesting life. And to think they are only 26 and 27 years old!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Life After the Peace Corps

Life is a constant mesh of paths, choices, and consequences. For several years we have been trying to plot a course that would lead towards careers in international finance / business / relations, etc. As our paths trudge on, we realize that life is so unpredictable and so much fun. You never know where you will be taken. It would have been impossible for us to imagine that we would be living in Austin and getting ready to move to Houston. Over three years ago - about 2 days after arriving in Romania for two years in the Peace Corps - we were already planning for our return to America. While we were in Romania, we took a couple of classes by correspondence so we would qualify for graduate school. We made the decision for Rachel to go to grad school first, because her program was only one year, and for Rob to go to grad school second… this made even more sense since Rob didn't yet have access to his official undergrad transcripts. (Make sure you pay your school bills!)

We both continue to be amazed by God's grace. This isn't cliché! When you listen to what the Lord is trying to say, and are obedient to his "suggestions" for your life, you can be a world changer! We don't have a lot of money, but by living life like Ps. 3:5-6 and Jer. 29:11, we know that there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Our new SUV!

We just arrived home with our little boy - isn't he cute! A petite little 4-cylinder CR-V. We don't really feel bad about buying an import. GM and Ford are just now realizing they have a problem - American tastes have been changing since... oh... the 1970s. Detroit hasn't done much to respond - they're still rolling out the Mercurys and Buicks, Navigators and Hummers. We could have gotten a V8 Chevy Suburban, but we will stand by our decision for our cute little guy.