Tuesday, June 22, 2010

14 Days!,

¡Catorce Dias!

News for today:
Pip is flying down with us after all (at least as of today). Talked to a very nice gentleman at Continental who was very helpful! Thanks Patrick! On that note, for those of you flying internationally with a pet or maybe even within the continental United States, I have a few suggestions:
  1. Call the "pet desk" or cargo desk for your airline first. Book your pet's flight first - then call in for your reservation (you'll save yourself re-booking fees).
  2. Never take the first answer you get as gospel. If you don't get the answer you're looking for and it is proving more difficult than you think it should be - keep calling back and explain your situation. Eventually you will get in contact with a wise old man who has been helping people in your situation for years.
  3. Confirm, and re-confirm everything you hear. Be sure to note the people you are talking to so if you need to call in again - you can ask for that same person, or make sure the person you are talking to understands that you are not just making rules up and you actually did talk to one of the airline's reps.
I really do recommend Continental for this stuff even though our experience seems to be less than consistent.

Recommendation for the airlines (as if some CEO is reading our blog): Airline reservation/ticketing customer service reps should be knowledgeable about the pet/cargo standards, etc. And, if they can't answer your question - they should be able to transfer you to someone who can and then when the pet/cargo concerns are taken care of you should be able to get back with the reservation people to make sure all needs of the customer have been fulfilled in 1 transaction. Unfortunately, this experience of shipping Pip has been disconnected and, like I said - not very consistent.

More to come...

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's getting close...

Wow, it has been a long time since I have posted...I intend to remedy that very soon. I was at a networking event a few weeks ago talking to a woman who actually telecommutes for Qwest down in Kansas City. I asked her if she had any insights she could share as my adventure down in Honduras would soon begin. She mentioned the best thing you can do is end your day (at work) with the same activity EVERYDAY.....and after that activity is complete - STOP WORKING ON WORK! I intend to take her advice and blog, at least 5 sentences every (working) day (that's a full paragraph for those of you from Oskaloosa High School). That said, this daily blogging will begin approximately August 1st since that's when I will technically be working for PFG again.

Since I haven't posted in such a long time, I will apologize up front since this will (again) probably be a ramble of the various activities, feelings and random thoughts in my head leading up to this change.

Lots of people are asking Kristen and I if we are excited. And, I can't speak for Kristen - but the obvious answer for me is "of course". But, my feelings don't just stop at excited, and unfortunately I have had a difficult time articulating what I am feeling. I thought about this for awhile tonight, and I think the best way to sum up what I'm thinking/feeling is to say that I am "intensely emotional". This intense emotion is not necessarily physical, its not like I'm crying every night or anything like that, I'm not sick, or shaking from nervousness or anything - but I just have SO many different thoughts and wide range of feelings going on that I don't think you can sum it up.....except to say that I am "intensely emotional". I am happy, sad, nervous, scared, excited, tired, anxious, curious, hopeful, and a host of other things ALL AT ONCE.

The other question we keep getting, or maybe I've just been thinking about is "what are we looking forward to the most" and/or "what are we the most scared/nervous about". And my answer to that - oddly enough (or maybe not odd at all if you know me) is exactly the same for both of those questions. The answer (for me) is: "I am both looking forward to, and am nervous and scared about how we will react to and be influenced by the cultural/social experiences we have on this adventure." I just don't know what I don't know - I can't tell the future. What will I be like in 3 months, 6 months, 2 years - how will I change, how will we change as people, as a married couple, how will our perspectives on the world change? I'm very excited to see how our lives will be changed by this experience - in ways that I can't even comprehend right now.

Back to reality - and out of my head, Kristen just got off done Skyping with Christiana (woman helping us get everything setup down South). And after hearing the conversation and getting to ask more questions, wow - I'm pumped for this, I'm ready to go! 15 days (more like 14 now)....let the countdown begin!

By the way, I need to come up with a good ending, closing line for my blog posts. Something like, until next time, or signing off from Honduras, or I don't know, maybe just Adios! If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments and I'll start using one of the suggestions. If no one comments....I guess that means we don't really have any readers :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Kristen says...

I don't know if I should be admitting this when I am less than 3 weeks from entering Honduras, but ... I don't like soccer. (Or, as I suppose I will have to start calling it, fútbol.)

To me, football is that lovely United Statesian game played with the ovular ball every fall night of my childhood. And fútbol, well, that is the spring sport that takes good runners away from track.

I admit, I am biased--I grew up in Iowa, a place that (I think) takes football even more seriously than Texas does, and my dad was one of the coaches for my high school team, and both my brothers played (below). Some of my first memories are of football games, pizza after the games (win or loss), and of course, the football boys coming over to my house to watch tapes with my dad. Heck, I married a football player!

So, needless to say during this FIFA-thing, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I heard a interesting "debate" on NPR called A World Cup Lover, Hater Face Off (search for June 15, 2010) where a fan and a non-fan talked about why they do and do not like soccer. I thought, 'hey, I am moving to a country where fútbol is important, I should try to appreciate it,' so I listened to this debate with interest.

They both made some valid points, which I have scored below, using the FIFA scoring system:
•I recognize fútbol is the most popular sport in the world, but [besides the bias described above] my number-one dislike for soccer -- it's boring! Maybe not to play (I suppose it can't be boring to play if it's the world's most popular sport) but to just sit there and watch...ick! (To be fair, I am an equal-opportunity sports disliker. I see hockey, basketball, and soccer as pretty much the same sport, just with different balls and rules on how to get points. Back and forth, up and down, pass and block...your neck gets stiff from all the turning you have to do.) (draw--1 point each)

•The guy who was arguing for soccer said that the US likes to win "world championship titles" in sports that only we play (football, baseball, basketball), which was both true and cutting. (3 points to the pro-soccer movement. A win at FIFA is definitely a world championship.)

•The very first thing pro-fútbol debater said, "The World Cup only happens once every four years, it brings together 32 countries that have made it . . . out of the 200 or so who have tried..." Now, if you have been reading past posts on this blog, you might have noticed I have a slight (huge) love for the Olympics. Chris, bless him, was in the car with me when this debate came on and we both at the same time said, "Um, the Olympics?" By this reasoning, the World Cup really is very limiting--you see, only soccer is played at the World Cup. So really, only the countries who have a history of soccer can succeed here. Whereas at the Olympics, anyone can shine. Is your country hot and steamy? Give the Summer Olympics a go. Does ice clog your rivers nine of 12 months a year? Why, you'll do great at the Winter Olympics! And it's not just 32 countries who can participate, athletes from 82 countries participated in the 2010 Olympics! 204 countries were represented at the 2008 summer Olympics...oh, and soccer? Definitely an Olympic sport. (3 points to the non-soccer guy. The Olympics are better because there are over 45 other sports to watch, something for everyone, not just soccer, soccer, soccer).

•The pro-soccer guy then tried to placate those of us in the US who don't like soccer by saying that the US will be winning the thing within 12 years, because we're so big, all the little 8-9 year olds are wasting their weekends on it, etc. From my point of view, I don't want us to win. Not because I'm not patriotic, but because that means that other sports like American Football, track, tennis, etc (will suffer). Then, (with the exception of Football, of course), where would we be at the Olympics? (3 points to the non-fútbol guy, just because I want him to win :)

OK so my bias shows through...but I really did try to find something good about fútbol. And I do support Honduras in their bid...from what I can tell from the online reports I read they did a fine job against Chile this morning, and only lost 1-0. They're still in it, I guess, so if I can find a television, and they're not playing while I'm asleep, maybe I will watch their next match. (I'd say if I can stay away through the boredom, although I hear those Vuvuzelas are so annoying that you can't fall asleep... ;)

Soccer lovers, change my mind. Why should I like soccer?

Go Honduras!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Books - Any suggestions?

Kristen says...

Well, the final tallys are in. After DAYS of sorting, shuffling, cataloging, packing, unpacking, repacking, second thoughts, sales, donations (but thankfully no tears), I am done with phase 1 of operation "Kristen, You are Moving to Honduras and You Can't Take All of Your Books".

I have gone from (probably) about 1,000 books to a grand total of: 483.
I am proud of myself! I truly did not think I would be able to do it. Are there more books I could get rid of? Probably. Will I? Nope! I said I'd get below 500, and I did. So, I'm done.

Phase 2 of this operation (I'm calling it -Bye Bye, Books- for short) will consist of packing them into boxes so that we can move them to their new home, which is my bedroom at my parents' house in Oskaloosa. It is a VERY rainy day in Des Moines, and thus my desire to go out and do some of the errands I was planning to do is very low.

Therefore, Phase 2 will commence very shortly.

This whole packing thing brings me to a major conundrum...since I will not have all my books with me in Teguc, nor will I have as ready access to bookstores, Amazon.com, or a public library, I really need to choose wisely on what I bring with me. I don't want to bring any duds. :)

Of those 483, I have read 205, or 42% (which, I will be honest, is slightly more than I thought it would be...I tend to collect books for reading later, and sometimes later ends up being never).

I see this as an excellent opportunity to read the 278 books on my shelves that I haven't gotten to yet...although it does hurt my heart to leave my old faves (yes, I'm talking about you, Harry Potter) behind. I do plan to get an iPad, either before we go or after we come home for Christmas, so that might solve some of the problem, but until then I want to dedicate myself to the books I haven't read.

Believe it (or not), of those 483 books, NONE are about Honduras! I have checked out a few books from the library and read them through, but I'm wondering, do any of you blog followers out there have any suggestions on books I should read about Honduras before (or even after) I get there?


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Day (week) Memories

Kristen says...

I think this week is my favorite week of this year so far! Not only is Memorial Day my FAVORITE holiday, but my brother came home from Spain (he'd been there since January: visit his blog at: http://timfoster63.blogspot.com/) Plus, today is my 4-year wedding anniversary AND today was the last day with kids at Saydel. Tomorrow is the last day of the school year, and then it is off to Dubuque for anniversary weekend fun!

A few pics from this bestest of weeks:
Saturday: Golfing, and s'mores with the Bocks

Sunday: In Oskaloosa with the family! Graduation parties, cousins, and my sister (+ Baby Bock) and Mom! Monday: Memorial Day:
First we went on an early-morning drive. I'll post some beautiful rural-Iowa pictures in another post.

Then, we got word that my brother Timothy had gotten an early plane back to Des Moines, so we all popped into the cars and drove to the airport. I have a great video, but blogger isn't letting me upload it...so we'll have to settle for a screen shot instead. I love how excited Mom is here!Anyway, we always go to decorate my mom's side of the family on Memorial Day. Here's my family in Osceola:
My grandpa is a funny guy! He came along with us, so here are some classic shots:

Notice Grandpa's hat: that is my siblings and me about 17 years ago...Grandpa says he wears this hat because it makes him look younger, or something... :)

We had a beautiful day, filled with lots of fun family times. I think Timothy was VERY glad to be home, and I know Mom was happy to have him home!

Tuesday-Thursday: Last days of school for the 2009-2010 school year! One day of review + 2 days of finals=lovely!

Today, as I mentioned, is my anniversary. I kind of thought Chris was going to ignore it today, since he's busy and we're celebrating this weekend, but look what showed up around 2:30 today:

A close-up of the card:

So, do you think I paid attention?

Haha...no! :)

Here are the flowers in our (very messy) apartment.

OK, so lots of pictures in this post. What does this rambling have to do with Honduras?

Well, it was a good family weekend, and something I will miss when we're gone...while I do sometimes get frustrated with my family, I (mostly) love hanging out with them. I keep trying to convince myself that, whether we're in Des Moines or Teguc, if I'm not coming home that day it's all the same thing...but really, I will miss my family.

Also, I will miss out on all the fun things we routinely do together. The Iowa State Fair, decorating graves on Memorial Day, and lots of other things will be Kristen-less for the next two years...I think I just need to enjoy them while I can.

One of the things I'm excited about with this whole moving thing is that Chris and I will be able to start our own family traditions, and hopefully they will include some of the holidays and festivals of Honduras. My greatest hope is that we start doing things in Honduras that we continue to follow for the rest of our lives. I love culture!

I will leave you with one last picture, perhaps my favorite from this weekend:

What a funny dog! :)

Adios, until next time! :)