LIFE ON THE ROAD

We left NYC on May 31 to spend our summer with family and friends before departing for Romania. We knew it would be busy, but I don't think we could have ever imagined how crazy it was going to be! For 3 months, we lived on the road. We were in a different place, if not multiple places, every single week. We connected with friends and family, partners, and potential supporters. We traveled to Texas, Georgia, New York, and Michigan. We were exhausted by the time the end of July came, but there was still work to be done. We flew to India and spent time with our partner organization. We then went to back to Europe to have some vacation time before settling in to Romania.

We knew that rest was important and needed after the chaos of the summer, but unfortunately, life had different plans. We were initially going to visit Stockholm and Copenhagen, but logistics got complicated and it was no longer financially feasible so we ditched that plan. There were so many other stresses going on that I won't mention, but needless to say, we ended up living a logistical nightmare. Our vacation, while having some fun and relaxing moments, wasn't the rest we were looking for or necessarily needed, but what are you going to do? We ended up spending time in Amsterdam, Munich, and Innsbruck. It was our first time in Germany and Austria so we really enjoyed getting to see new places and experience new cultures!

We've now been in Romania for a month and are settling in quite nicely. The first couple weeks were challenging as we navigated this new culture with a language that we do not speak. We have managed to get the necessities for our apartment though, which makes it feel much more like home. We still have a few things to do or to purchase, but I'd say we're about 90% there!

In the midst of this, we officially launched our first "Flourish Group" for Radiant Hope. I have 7 little ladies coming to my apartment every week to talk about identity, value, worth, and the hard things of life. We'll also be adding in more activities as the weeks pass so that we can begin to build relationships with more kids and expand our program in 2018. 

It's crazy that this God-sized dream is happening and is getting better with each passing day. Every conversation with the girls or a look out the window reminds me of God's faithfulness. Romania wasn't part of the initial picture when we were strategizing how to develop Radiant Hope, but over time, He revealed to us that this is where we needed to be right now. We get to be here with the girls that I have grown to love and invest in them during these critical years. 

Now that we're more settled, I'm hoping to have the space to blog more and keep you in the loop. Ricky and I want to share this with you - our friends and family - because you are a big part of the reason we've made it this far. We want to share the highs and lows, joys and triumphs, disappointments and sorrows. All of these things keep life interesting and allow us to be refined so that we can grow into the people we were created to be. 

I appreciate you following along as we continue to walk this path that God is so graciously laying before us.  

EATING (GF/DF) IN AMSTERDAM

Ricky and I just spent a few days in Amsterdam before attending a wedding in Norway and fell in love with it! It was a quaint little city with lots of character. And a huge plus for me was the fact that it was really easy to eat gluten free! I wanted to share the restaurants we ate at so if you or someone you know is going soon, you can use this as a guide!

PIQNIQ

PIQNIQ is located in the Jordaan neighborhood and serves lunch picnic style. You get to choose 2-4 items and create your own personalized plate. The menu includes sandwiches, soups, and daily specials as well as coffee, tea, fresh juices and smoothies. Their breakfeast menu also provided great gluten and dairy free options and they even gave me a GF/DF treat to go with my coffee. To top it off, it was very affordable with menu items starting at about 6 euros. 

piqniq_revivelifestyleblog

We ate here twice - once for breakfast and once for lunch. It was around the corner from our apartment and the food was really good! I'd like to point out the quality of the bread for just a second.. No offense USA, but you should really learn a thing or two about taking care of your customers. I was so impressed at the quality of the bread on these sandwiches (it was the same at every restaurant). In the US when you order gluten free bread, you get charged extra for average bread that came from the freezer section of the grocery store. Definitely not the case here! End of rant. :)

SLA

SLA is also located in the Jordaan and was recommended by our Airbnb host. This salad and juice bar was superb! Again, it was very affordable, the ingredients were fresh, and staff was knowledgable about food allergies. I built my own salad and Ricky got a smoothie. The interior is light and airy, filled with plants, and very relaxing. All-in-all, it was a great experience. I would highly recommend eating here if you're in the mood for fresh, healthy food. And good news, they have several locations around the city!

Spinach salad w/ roasted carrots & cauliflower, radishes, chicken, hemp seeds, and more - and they do not skimp on the portions, this salad was huge!

Spinach salad w/ roasted carrots & cauliflower, radishes, chicken, hemp seeds, and more - and they do not skimp on the portions, this salad was huge!

PANCAKES! AMSTERDAM

We decided to grab Dutch pancakes one day for lunch and this Pancakes did not disappoint. You had the option to build your own or to choose from one of their combinations. While they serve several styles of pancakes, we opted for Dutch style which is thin and large, almost like a crepe. Their gluten free pancakes come dairy free as well so it was an easy, no fuss situation. I opted for the bacon/banana/chili pepper combo. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a great balance of savory & sweet. This is a place where everyone can find something to enjoy!

Photo via 10best.com

Photo via 10best.com

BELGISCH RESTAURANT LIEVE

We went to Belgisch Restaurant Lieve for our anniversary dinner. Within this restaurant, there are three different dining ambiances you can choose from. Moms Kitchentable provides a warm atmosphere with family style dining that includes 3 courses. Belgian Baroque is a tapas-style, shared dining experience that also includes 3 courses. Lastly, and the option we chose, is Mrs. Bubbles. It is a 4 course meal located in a sophisticated dining room. They had separate gluten and dairy free menus which allowed us to dine with ease and enjoy a wonderful anniversary dinner together. The food and service was great as well! 

Image via restaurantlieve.nl 

Image via restaurantlieve.nl 

I hope this is helpful to my fellow gluten and dairy free travelers! I should add that many of these restaurants also served organic, fair trade items as well. It was obvious that people in Amsterdam were well-informed about food allergies and ethical issues surrounding different industries which made our trip even better. I would highly recommend visiting this city if you get the chance!