20 October 2009

What I've been up to lately

As I mentioned in a previous post, I left Colombia to come back to the US. When I left, I had no concrete options in place, so the plan was to live with mom and dad until I could find something.

It's now October 20th and I'm still looking. Man, the economy sucks these days! Or at least that's what I keep telling myself so that I don't feel quite so un-hireable. I've got my application in at the schools here in order to substitute teach, but I've only been called for one job, which, unfortunately, I had to call in sick for. Dang swine flu!

So what's next? Not sure. I've been applying for different jobs (not here in Kemmerer--I love mom and dad, but I've got to get out of here!), most of them connected to education in some manner: administration type positions at the college level, community college math teaching, that kind of stuff. Haven't heard anything yet, which is kind of a bummer and definitely makes me doubt my skills (whatever they are). I know I need to be patient and trust that God will provide, but I'm certainly getting impatient. And frustrated. And broke.

In the meantime, I've been 'the best helper ever' to my parents at home. I've been having fun cooking dinner, even making dad try some new things. I thoroughly enjoy laundry day. I washed the walls in the living room and halls for mom when she and dad were on vacation. I've organized her pantry and a cupboard (only about 20 left to do). I helped her can fresh peaches and pears. I helped dad cut down and haul away 2 huge willow trees from the yard. I'm awesome like that. And it helps me feel slightly less guilty about living here rent-free. I am completely grateful that they are willing and able to help me out right now.

Aside from 'working,' I've watched a lot of TV, saw a good friend get married, gone to 2 WYO football games, and been able to watch my cousins Kaylee and Jaden play volleyball and 6-man jr. high football, respectively. It's actually been a rewarding autumn, despite the lack of job opportunities.


The fruit always looks so pretty in the jars like this!


Dad trying to start the chainsaw.

Limb 1 down.

Halfway there.



Jaden is the cutest little center there ever was. It's a good thing he's mean!

Kaylee is voted the 2nd attendant at Homecoming after her volleyball match.

Check out the steam coming off the field.

Josee and me at the UW game.


I'm finally getting around to uploading some newer pictures. The link to the pictures is here. Below is a description of what you'll find in each album. I've tried to organize them chronologically and by location (within the album), but my patience is about gone. I think they are grouped pretty well.

Christmas 08
  • Jungle paradise and the most amazing waterfalls I've ever seen at Iguazu Falls, on the border between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. So phenomenal and fully worth the 16-hour one-way overnight bus trip!! Check out the crazy butterflies, too!
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina. Great city!! Lots of pictures of old buildings, Recoleta Cemetery (where you'll see the tomb of Evita), the Obelisk, the functioning metal 'flower,' and the Caminito district where the houses are painted bright colors and people dance the tango on the street. Other notables are the pics of Jenna and me at our Christmas Eve Indian dinner and any funny street signs along the way.
  • Bariloche, Argentina in the lakes district of the country on the northern end of Patagonia. We didn't spend nearly enough time in this beautiful area. It's this great little ski town, kind of sleepy in the summer but totally catering to tourists. The geography really reminded me of home. We rented a car and took a day tour around some of the many lakes, which was the highlight. This is also where we learned that the phrase 'artisan fair' is code for 'trolls and drug paraphernalia.' Look out for any pipes with trolls.
  • Bus trip over the mountains from Bariloche to Puerto Montt, Chile, and then up the coast to Santiago. Beautiful! And crazy customs at the border...
  • Santiago, Chile. What a great place to spend New Year's Eve! I was most excited that it was warm enough for me to wear my tube top. We had a blast at the downtown celebration, complete with fireworks and pineapple wine. We toured around the city, checking out the old buildings and riding both the cable car and funicular (fancy train-type apparatus that goes up the side of a hill) up to Cerro San Cristobal. We enjoyed a beautiful view and great beer at the top. We took a tour to the Concha y Toro winery and saw the actual Casillero del Diablo. We also took a private day tour to the coastal cities Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. We ended our stay in Santiago with way too much beer with our new friend Josue from the hotel. Ah, flying hungover.
Mom and Dad's Colombian Adventure
  • Title pretty much says it all. Mom and dad visited the week before Easter. We had a lot of fun and they got to see the city as I did.
My Tatoo
  • Again, pretty self-explanatory. This is the documentation of the process and the end result.
Last Days in Colombia
  • All the stuff that happened in the last couple months I was in Colombia, including a live salsa show Jenna, Tina and I went to, the live reggae music our friends played at a cool little cafe, and random shots of friends. So many things that I miss...

09 June 2009

New Tattoo

I got a tattoo last night to commemorate my time here in Colombia. I had been thinking about doing it, and the fact that my friend Jen finally got hers done convinced me I was ready. I had heard a lot about the studio from my students, one in particular who scouted out the English speaking ability of the staff.

I had actually had a much smaller design in mind, but when I saw what the artist was thinking, I decided that if it was smaller it would lose detail.

The whole process took about 4 hours. Jenna waited the whole time with me and even went on a rum-and-coke run. The first one hit the spot, and awhile later I had to ask for another. It was just enough to calm me down, but not enough for any numbing action. It honestly was the worst pain I've ever experienced. I tried to be strong and all, but did yell out 'ow!' at one point. I also remember asking Jenna if I could stop, and she replied something along the lines of 'if you want to have less than 1/2 of a tattoo on your back for the rest of your life.' She had to keep reminding me that it would be worth it. And it is! I love it!

Oh-and what it means. I got the orchid (the purple one) because the national flower of Colombia is the orchid and I wanted to have something to remember the 2 years I've lived here. The reason I chose the hibiscus is that not only are they everywhere here (the bushes grow like sagebrush grows back home), but every time I see one here I think of my mom and the hibiscus I gave her umpteen years ago. They've always reminded me of home.

Here it is this afternoon. It's going to take a little while to heal, and I'm really excited to show it off!

07 June 2009

New Specs

I finally got myself some new glasses awhile back. My prescription hadn't changed much, but my frames were all wonky and crooked. These are the new ones. Unfortunately, the shape is so much like my old ones, no one has noticed they're new, even though they are BLUE. Oh well. And I always end up looking goofy in self-portraits.

I had to post this picture of mom, too. This is at a restaurant here in Medellin, Hatoviejo, where we ate on their last day here. Mom had ordered a grilled shrimp platter that they bring out on the sizzling hot cast-iron griddle. I guess they're concerned that your clothes will get dirty without the bib.

And one final picture for today. Our school celebrated teachers' day with a barbecue complete with beer for all of the staff. At the school. (I'm certainly going to miss that about Colombia...drinking at school with my coworkers.) Earlier that morning, I was voted the 'Most Positive Attitude' of all the 9th grade teachers. I've been wearing the button at school every day since.

25 May 2009

Mama, I'm Coming Home

And what an apt day to make the announcement...today is my mom's birthday. Feliz Cumpleanos, Mami! This picture was taken when mom and dad visited me in Colombia for spring break. We were paying our respects to Pablo Escobar.

This past school year has been pretty crazy, and I decided to move on. Since nothing panned out on the international front, I'm coming back to the US. I'm still looking for jobs and haven't decided where I'll land yet, so if you know of anything for me, let me know. I'll be looking for a place to live, a car to drive, oh, and a way to make some money. That one should probably be on top of the list, I guess.

A quick recap of what's happened since my last post (waaaaaay too long ago). There was the mental breakdown in October. An orphan's Thanksgiving at our friend Carolina's house. 3 week trip over Christmas break to Argentina and Chile with Jenna (including 4 overnight bus trips, an attempted mugging, a bona fide rip-off from a very rude cab driver, and my very first Christmas and birthday spent away from family-one of these days I'll actually sit down to write up the full synopsis). 3-day weekend trip to Cali, which was spent mostly in the hotel recuperating from normal life. 1 job interview and major letdown. A million job applications without interviews or consideration. 3 or 4 puente weekends in celebration of some saint or holy day I'm not familiar with. Lost my nose ring. Got new glasses. Pretty sure I'm going to get a tatoo. 1 bashed-in car hood (my fault, caused by some yahoos in a delivery truck who thought it would be acceptable to stop in the middle of the street). Repaired car-hood and new brakes. And, the icing on the cake--last night the car got towed. Fantastic! Now we have to figure out when and how we're going to get down to the Transito office in order to get it back.

That's basically it. I'm looking forward to coming home (June 28). I'm planning a trip to California to see my friend Sarah, a trip to Seattle to see Lindsay, Jeff and Becca, and of course some time in Denver and with family in Wyoming. And hopefully by then I'll know where I'm going to be moving. Feel free to pray for me.

19 October 2008

Vacation by the Numbers

20: # of hours traveling on a bus
9: # of bottles of wine drunk during the week
1.5: # of liters of rum drunk during the week
733: # of kids who invaded the pool at Rio Claro like ‘Night of the Living Dead’
1527: # of bug bites (now scars) on my legs
3: # of poor schmoes who got to sit on the bucket in the aisle of the bus because there were no more seats
1: # of kids who puked while sitting on the bucket seat
2.5+/-: # of hours in taxis
12: # of Stations of the Cross carved out of salt
8: # of extra people who had to stand in the aisle because there weren’t enough seats on the bus
2: # of unwanted dogs in my lap due to the extra people
40: # of minutes for the flight home from Bogota
18,000: # of pesos to needed for an adventure!
1: # of times I sprained the rubber ankle, taking a digger and tearing my knee to shreds in the gravel

In a nutshell, that was my week off. It was a ton of fun, very relaxing, and a little bit stressful at times (have you ever tried to flag down a bus on the side of a major highway?). We had some amazing food in Bogota (as always) and, surprisingly, in Villa de Leyva. We stayed at an awesome resort in Villa de Leyva, where we were able to pamper ourselves at the spa with massages and nails, not to mention the steam room and sauna (which I’ve never before enjoyed-must have been the fresh pineapple and eucalyptus). We also went on a horseback tour of the area around the town, which was super fun, aside from the fact that I can’t get on a horse to save my life!

I’ll get some pictures up here soon. In the meantime, check out my friend Jen’s blog for a more detailed account of the trip.

04 October 2008


All I ever wanted. Vacation have to get away. Vacation, la la la la la la la lah.

Leaving tomorrow for Rio Claro. Then on to Bogota and Villa de Leyva. Should be a relaxing week. And if not relaxing, I'll see a lot of the country through the bus window.