Monday, January 25, 2010

Weather differences

Chris says:

1/25/2010
Des Moines Iowa - High of 25, feels like 19, low of 10 and oh by the way....we have a severe weather alert - there's a big blizzard.

1/25/2010
Tegucigalpa, Honduras - High of 84, currently 73, low of 62.....its partly cloudy......

I think this winter is even worse for me right now knowing that in another 6 months or so.....there won't be snow for at least 2 more years. That is very weird to think about.....and for the first time in my life I'll probably wear sun block/protection on a daily basis.......really weird......

That's all I got - nothing too exciting tonight.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Origins--the Kristen POV

1/19/10
Kristen says:

I second everything Chris said! :)

Speaking for myself, I can't think of too many places (in the US) I'd rather live than Iowa. Even with the ice and snow of winter, (it was beautiful this morning, by the way. If I'd had my camera with me when I went to school I'd post a picture on here) Iowa is a great place to be and be from. We may be seen as a bit backward by some more "cosmopolitan" societies, but I think the rural aspect of our state holds a lot of our charm.

Yet, I personally jumped at the chance to live and work outside the States. For one, I have wanted to visit South/Central America ever since I had a Paraguayan (well, actually, she was Chinese but going to school in Paraguay) pen pal when I was in 4th grade. Plus the Galapagos Islands are SO CLOSE to Honduras (or at least, closer to Honduras than to Iowa), I'm sure I'll get to visit there while we're there.

Travel aside, I am very excited to TEACH outside the US. This is a new facet to an overseas experience for me: before student teaching it had never occurred to me that I could find a job that I would actually want overseas. I always figured I'd be Chris' carry-on for overseas living, not the other way around. I feel tremendous responsibility for this designation: I want to make sure Chris has a positive experience, since he is doing this to fulfill my dream. (Although he doesn't seem too upset about it, does he?! :)

Obviously as a first year teacher I don't have a ton of experience teaching here en los Estados Unidos (thank you RS), but the semester I spent in London aside, all of my education has been in America (in Iowa, for that matter). I'm excited to work and collaborate with teachers from other countries and states, and to teach students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Discovery School seems like an awesome place to begin.

All that aside, and totally changing the subject, we had Indian food tonight for dinner. First of all, yum, and second of all, will there be Indian restaurants in Honduras? Chris and I were discussing (OK, Chris was reminding me) that I can't bring all 1,000+ books in my library to Honduras. I wonder if any of the cookbooks will make the trip? And will all the ingredients we're used to be readily available? So many questions that will be answered in less than 6 months!! :)

KF

Monday, January 18, 2010

Origins

Chris says:

The story of how the Finks decided to go to Honduras...(part 1?)

Both Kristen and I have been abroad and loved the experience! Kristen has spent time traveling with her family in addition to spending an entire semester in London during her undergraduate studies. I have travelled with my family outside the country as well (though not as much as Kristen) and I spent a couple awesome weeks in France during high school.

I can't speak for Kristen, but from my perspective (specifically with France) - it wasn't just a vacation. It was really a great cultural experience. I loved getting out of Paris and heading east towards Germany to our family stay location (Besancon). Don't get me wrong, I completely enjoyed being in Paris with all the history, architecture and food - but it was a little too much like any other big city in the States. So, heading east and having a week or so family stay with a terrific family was very, very cool. Like I said, it wasn't just a vacation - but a real (although brief) glimpse into the French.....and what makes them tick......it was a chance to see how we (as humans) are the same and different all at the same time.

Enough of that rant - I guess what I'm getting to is that I think both Kristen and I enjoy learning about and immersing ourselves in a different culture than that of Southeast/Central Iowa. It's not that we don't like Iowa - in fact I think it's the complete opposite. We love (?) Iowa.....maybe not all parts (long cold winters?), but there is definitely some fondness for "home". And that's how it should be. For me, this interest in living/working someplace else is all about - Experiencing Life. That means lots of things to me, and may (and probably will) be an entirely different post.

So, I guess that's the mindset from my perspective when we got married. As Kristen worked through her Master's program we had a number of talks about what the next few years would look like. Knowing that we were leasing an apartment, and our only real responsibility was our dog - it seemed that there wasn't a whole lot to tie us down to the Des Moines area when Kristen graduated (family not withstanding of course). I work for a global company (Principal, you're awesome!) that has a history of being a great place to work and before Kristen's graduate studies, I had actually interviewed for a couple of positions abroad.

When Kristen student taught, one of her teachers had actually taught with her husband in Africa. Through this student teaching experience, we learned about the University of Northern Iowa's abroad fair. I guess its a pretty big deal for international schools. Each year, hundreds of schools post open positions for this fair. Interested teachers can register for this fair (for a fee of course), post their resumes and begin the interview process. Kristen did this for the 2010 fair. She was able to apply to a number of positions in many different countries including India, Taiwan, Egypt, Mexico, Argentina, Honduras, and the U.A.E. After about a week or so of applying, she received a call from the director of the Discovery School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This kind of surprised the heck out of us - we weren't actually anticipating a whole lot until we were actually physically present at the UNI fair. In any case, this phone call turned out to be a phone interview of sorts. A few weeks later after a number of emails back and forth, the position was offered to Kristen.

Then the real work began.....

I had breached the subject of this international experience thing with my team lead and we were working on figuring out what the heck that would mean to my position, etc. Kristen and I had 10 days to figure out if we wanted to accept this position in Honduras or take a chance that something else might come along at the fair. Keep in mind PFG hadn't officially given me the 'OK' that they would be good with me working remotely. In the end though, Kristen and I did a lot of talking....and I did a lot of work with my team leader and others at Principal.....and it really came down to #1) there is no reason why PFG/Chris can't make this work and #2) Why the heck not - we're 26 now....and its an opportunity to do something that not too many people get the opportunity to do.

Alright, enough for now. Happy MLK Day everyone......I like days off!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Slacker!

Chris says:

I've been a slacker! No new postings from me in quite some time...

Everyone at PFG (Principal Financial Group for those of you who might not be family) officially knows or can know if they want to what our plans are come July/August. And, I guess Kristen officially told Saydel about what our plans are as well - so spread the word if you wish....all can know now...

Status of learning Spanish: Not good - but I have scheduled myself to go to the public library every Mon/Wed/Fri, I'm going to try to treat the work like a college class. Getting stuff done is all about priority....and I just need to make it a priority, or else I'll be hurting this summer

Status of Countdown to Honduras: Not good - we haven't decided when exactly we're going to be leaving....which from my point of view needs to be one of the first steps if we're going to schedule ourselves for the next 6 months or so about what needs to happen so we don't end up in a ditch somewhere in Honduras without any apartment or communication mechanisms.

Enough for tonight - we got new hard drives and finally put them in - so I'm re-installing Rosetta Stone in preparation for my work tomorrow night.

Stay warm everyone!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Day

1/7/10
Kristen says:

Home again, for the third day this school year--and it looks like tomorrow could be the fourth. Sigh. How I am looking forward to next year when I am in Honduras where there is no snow (although, I have a feeling I will be complaining about how I miss snow days...go figure.)

I am using this un-expected day off to brush up on my Rosetta Stone. I've been very bad about it since the week after Christmas--like working out, this is going to be something I have to make myself do. Spanish, like a slim waistline, won't come on its own.

After an hour of hard work today I'm on Level 1, Unit 2, Lesson 4 right now, and it is getting harder and a little more frustrating each day. You see, I had two years of Spanish in high school, so I know that mesa means table and falda means skirt. But that's not the point of Rosetta Stone. They want you to learn by immersion, not translation. I'm not supposed to think "I am a teacher" when they are saying "Soy maestra". But I do! Also, they say words like leyendo (reading)--see! I did it again--and the first time I don't understand what they mean, so I look at the picture and think about what the picture is of, but I think about it in English, not Spanish like I'm supposed to. (By the way, I'm living under the impression that words that end in -endo are -ing words in English--hopefully that's correct).

I WANT to translate, because I want to know what I am saying, but that's not the RS way. It's driving me crazy because I feel like I'm just supposed to be parroting, rather than actually learning. (Except that I am kind of learning, I think).

Obviously the RS people have been making a lot of money for a lot of years, and all those people on the RS infomercials talking about how good the software is can't be lying, can they? (Especially not Michael Phelps--he said it helped him get ready for the Olympics). So maybe I need to give it more time--maybe I need to hurry up and get beyond my limited Spanish knowledge to the harder stuff, where I have no prior knowledge to mess with my brain or make translations without my permission. It's just that I want to speak Spanish correctly, with all the correct verb tenses, and it is bothering me that I don't know what they are. I don't want to be an ignoramus gringa if I can help it...

Time to clean up the apartment, then maybe do some more RS...make up for my slacking the past week or so.

KF

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

1/4/10
Kristen says:

OK, so I know Christmas is over and everything, but the song was just too appropo...the car thermometer said it was -3 on the way home. NEGATIVE THREE!!! Holy cow it's cold! The Des Moines Register (local newspaper) says we are in a wind chill advisory until tomorrow morning, but it's been sub zero temps since late last week.

Tegus, on the other hand, is 65 degrees, at 9:21 at night. Ahhhhhh! That is more like it!

Chris and my new inside joke (that you are now in on) has been to say "72 degrees" every time someone mentions how cold it is, or if we're walking outside in this muck. Oh, hooray! I can't wait to relocate to a warm climate!

Started back to school today--that means 1 week + 1 semester left before summer, moving day, and our Honduran adventure! :)

KF