Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life continues...

ok, so much for being on top of the blogging, i've been slacking off again i know. though really, i am pretty sure carrie is the only one still reading it at this point (shout out!). i did my first triathlon last sunday - very very hot and long and wow did i feel like crap when it was done - in fact it was soooo much fun i am planning to do a couple next year! i am starting grad school on monday - stats which is a prereq - ugh! i am truly not sure what possessed me to go back to school but we'll see how the semester goes - it's only one class so it can't be too hard, right? life is generally pretty hectic right now but i think that's just going to be the norm - at least for a while. between my school, prepping for a half marathon in november and a full marathon in january, and arlington co. public schools starting in a couple weeks i'm not sure where my time is going. the good news is this afternoon i am taking full advantage of having the first weekend in a LONG time where we have no huge things schedules so i am vegetating and facebooking and generally being lazy - gotta love it! alright, well i don't have too much else exciting to report so for now i am signing off...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

weeklong birthday celebrations!

i'm trying to be more regular in my blogging again so here's the latest update. as my (ugh!) 30th birthday approaches on wednesday i have decided to celebrate all out for the milestone. to start carrie and i went skydiving yesterday (pics to come!) and it was AWESOME! we have more or less been talking about this for a few years and decided it would be a great way to celebrate turning 30. it was definitely nerveracking when we hit around 11,000 feet in the plane and more so when i was at the door with the sky in my face and my instructor telling me to jump. i screamed insanely for an instant then realized just how totally amazing it was to be free-falling. we fell for about 50 seconds then he opened the canopy (parachute) and we took about 5 or so minutes to get to the ground. i even got to steer a bit. a very very cool experience and something i just may be crazy enough to do again! wednesday kory, me, my mom and carrie are going to dinner and there's celebrating to do when meg is up next weekend (though it's a surprise for now so i don'[t know what's in store!). oh, and in 2 weekends i celebrate again by doing the it's a great start to a new decade!

p.s. here's a link to the pics!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

sorry about the delay!

ok, ok i know, it's been close to 4 months since i posted anything and you're all dying to hear the latest in my super exciting life! so here's the cliff notes version:
i ran a 1/2 marathon in april in nashville when i went down to cheer meg on while she was running her first full marathon - belated congrats for finishing and still walking the next day!
i ran another 1/2 marathon in may and was only off my PR by a couple minutes - this one was in fredricksburg and it was raining (pouring) for most of the race...but i was pretty happy with my time.
in may i started my new job as a public health nurse for arlington county (one of the neighboring counties closer to DC). my primary assignment is as a school nurse - i have an elementary school and a middle school. it's very different but not nearly as stressful as my last job and i like the people and the job. so far so good :)
in june i ran a leg of a triathlon relay with kory's dad and sister. his mom (who finished 2nd in her age group) and kory (who finished 3rd in his age group) each did the whole race. his grandmother was also here from CA so it was lots of bonding - and yes, my mom met his parents...
my mom, kory, and kory's dad all had their bdays at the beginning of the month so it was lots of presents and parties! kory and i also just got back from KS last weekend for a mini-reunion with some of my mom's family, it was a nice surprise to have the weather be 10 degrees cooler there than it was here in reston. tonight carrie kory and i are heading to the brad paisley concert at nissan so i'm looking forward to that. next weekend carrie and i are celebrating turning 30 by going skydiving! then the following week (august 5) i turn 30 (yay!) and we are going out to celebrate the weekend after. i am also doing a rock climbing class that weekend. in the middle of august i am doing my first (sprint distance) triathlon, in luray, va. then the next 2 big things on the race calendar are a 1/2 marathon in november (outer banks) and the full marathon (gulp!) in january in disney world. ok, enough about my crazy busy life and i know i left out a ton but i really will make an effort to do better about regular postings :) happy weekend!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

the real world

kory and i got in friday night after pretty uneventful flights. we have about a 2 hour layover in paris which turned into not very much time by the time we got off our first plane, went through passport control, went to the other terminal, went through security and got in line to board our flight home. murphy's law of course came into effect - as we were rushing and scrambling to get to our gate we then stood in line for close to 30 minutes waiting to board because there were issues with cleaning the plane or something - go figure! but we were able to sit together and have the personal TVs in the backs of the sets complete with games and a wide array of movies, plus 2 meal services so it wasn't too bad - though i would have been quite OK with getting bumped up to business or first class!
soooo - everyone's burning question is - what are your plans now that you're back? well today i am planning on getting dressed, walking the dog, checking the mail, going for a run and working on the pictures from our trip. oh wait, i think everyone wants to know life plans :) well, i got into mizzou grad school and am waiting to hear from umass - i may do a stats class in the fall and start actual master's courses in the spring or i may do a true MK and decide not to go after all! i met with a recruiter yesterday who has some interesting opportunties for work for me and i am also going to do some of my own searching - my bank account says the sooner i get a job the better! i am also still running, i have a half marathon in may, a triathlon relay in june, and a marathon next january. so that should keep me pretty busy for now - more updates on my life and i figure them out!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

back to civilization...sort of :)

kory and i have been busy sightseeing, eating and sampling local beverages (mint tea ad fresh OJ in morocco, wine and sangria in spain). we took the ferry from tangier, morocco over to algeciras, spain - very cool! it was really neat to be on the water looking at the 2 continents. it's nice being in spain now as things are much more western and more like home - there's still a language barrier but kory's spanish from back in the day is coming in quite handy and i am picking up phrases here and there. on friday we took a bus from algeciras to la linea, spain and from there walked across the border to gibraltar. we took the cable car to the top of the rock, saw the apes and several historical sites and did LOTS of walking! it was a very surreal experience - the culture there is part british and part spanish and you can definitely tell it's a tourist destination! we ate fish and chips for lunch at my request and enjoyed speaking english and using british money...then in the evening we went back to spain. i was thoroughly disappointed though that i didn't get another stamp in my passport - the border guards barely even looked at it! yesterday we arrived in seville and have been exploring the city. we went to the cathedral this afternoon (third largest in europe) and walked to the top of the tower to get a bird's eye view of the city. tonight we are off to see a flamenco show (flamenco dancing is native to this area of spain) and then tomorrow we head to madrid. on tuesday night we're taking an overnight train to lisbon then we head home and back to reality on friday! it's been a fantastic trip and we have lots of stories and pictures to share when we get back to the states. have a great rest of the weekend!

Monday, March 23, 2009

more travels from africa

after a very long traveling day i met up with kory in the casablanca airport. our planes actually parked right next to each other and i found him sitting down and filling out his customs form - i actually had to stand there for a second before he looked up and saw me :) customs in morocco was a bit confusing - more so for the customs official than me. he could not understand why i'd written on my form that i had come from ghana - after a few fruitless minutes of me trying to explain he frustratingly crossed out ghana and wrote in rome (where i had connected through). we navigated our way successfully into the city and found a hotel. the next morning we did a LOT of walking and saw the sights of casablanca - including lunch at rick's cafe (from the movie) and a tour of the mosque. on thursday we headed to marrakesh - though first we had a slight misadventure. we got to the train station in plenty of time for our 10:50 train and boarded the train on the correct platform when it pulled in about 20 minutes early. however, we got a bit concerned when it left about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and we quickly realized we were somehow on a train headed for the airport. luckily, and oddly enough, we rode the same train back to the casablanca train station where we found a cafe and hung out till the 12:50 train. marrakesh was a pleasant change from casablanca - much more tourist friendly and easier to navigate (especially if you don't speak french or arabic). we got pulled in by a snake 'charmer' (though the snakes never really moved) and got our pictures taken holding snakes and with snakes around our necks. we wandered through the medina and at dinner on a terrace overlooking the square. the next day we took a tour to the base of the atlas mountains where we saw the largest waterfall in morocco. it was nice to see the countryside and get out of the city for a bit. now we are in rabat staying with some friends and will head to tangier on wednesday. hope you are all doing well, more to come on my (our) continued adventures!

here is a link to my web album with some more of my pics from ghana...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

so long, farewell...

being in ghana has been an assault on my senses, for better and for worse. the sights, smells, sounds, tastes - everything is so different from home and from anything i've experienced before. here's some things i will/will not miss when i leave:
i will miss:
- playing with the children at daycare and the local kids and hearing them laugh and seeing their smiles
- working at the orphanage and knowing i was making the childrens' lives better - especially since i got to see the first group move in
- having lazy afternoons after a hard morning of work
- cheap travel and a cheap lifestyle - i could actually go for days spending little/no money
- bonding sessions with the family and volunteers over card games by candlelight
- being tan and blonder without much effort
- lots of free time to read and think
- the silence that comes from a lifestyle without electricity, running water or modern day conveniences
- fan ice (ice cream)
- the yummy bananas, pineapple and oranges
- the availability of random things when you are in the bus/on the roadside - snacks, toothpaste, shirts, coffins, furniture
- walking home by moonlight without a flashlight
i will not miss:
- waking up in the middle of the night wrestling my way out of my bug net trying to find my flashlight so i can go to the bathroom/outhouse
- finding large crickets, lizards, spiders and cockroaches in the toilet in the middle of the night
- roosters crowing at ALL hours
- being crammed in tros (mini buses) with a bunch of sweaty strangers on a hot afternoon
- a general lack of personal space
- bucket showers and never feeling truly clean
- a lumpy mattress
- being called obruni and hissed at on the street by random locals
- lukewarm drinks
- rarely getting a good night's sleep and sleeping through the night only once or twice in 10 weeks
- seeing trash everywhere without garbage cans, throwing trash on the ground, and the stench of open sewers

i leave tomorrow evening for the airport and head to morocco. i hope you all have enjoyed my insights into ghana and i will try to post more as my travels continue (i get back to reston on april 3rd). have a great rest of the weekend!

ps - sorry that i haven't posted any more pics - either it's the camera or the computer (i think it's the computer) but i'm too lazy to spend the time to figure it out :)