Monday, June 28, 2010

Hello First World!

We are home. Its 5am and while Danny is sleeping soundly in our extremely comfortable bed, I am wide awake, slightly annoyed that everyone else in the neighborhood is unavailable. We made it home on Friday night and have been in and out of sleep since then.

I am sort of at a loss as of what to write. Whenever I get home from an experience so dense and everyone I love asks, "How was it?" about a hundred pictures, moral conflicts, hilarious stories, strange people, and long and boring stories run past my eyes and all I can answer is, "Good!" Perhaps you have had the same experience.

So, the quick run down is:

I couldn't get a child through customs but if I could have there were about 50 top candidates for
the spot

Danny and I were ultimate tourists for a bit, although unfortunately did not invest in safari hats before our trip

Also found time for some futbol fun amid all the animal watching

Hiked a lot

Of the inspiring people we met, most were staff members of Byana Mary Hill

Taught a lot of classes

Saw heart breaking conditions and wondered how so many people could be so happy.... had a different view on my itty bitty apartment when I got home

Watched Danny learn to navigate business in the developing world (A+ job by the way)

The list goes on and on, if you've got ten hours to spare, come over and I'll show you the rest!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hakuna Matata

Today I am a mother of 3. My sis and her hubby took a much needed vacation to Maui and so Danny and I have become mom and dad. If they were going for convincing us to never have children then it is working! Chase is still crying (and has been for the last 3 hours) because I told him he can't play X-Box because he chucked his soccer ball at Bryce's face (bad aim, just hit him in the stomach) from about 5 ft away.

Anyway, wanted to post a couple of updates.

1. I've been married a year, yay us! I am trying to convince Danny to get serious about this marriage and combine blogs with me but I'm not being persuasive enough it seems. Seriously, we are averaging like 1 post every 6 months each.

2. School is out which means my paycheck has stopped and its time for me and Danny to live like college kids again, anyone want to invite us over for dinner?

3. In exactly 10 days we will be popping Loritabs in our mouths and enduring a 27 hr journey to Uganda!

Everything came together about a week ago and now our bank account balance is considerably lower as we are trying to get everything ready to go. While we played with the idea of bagging Uganda and saving our money to go backpack Europe or something I just couldn't do it. Danny was making fun of me that visiting a third world country (excuse me, developing country) is my dream vacation. Not sure why but there is something inside of me that pulls me to places where life is so tangible.

Now it is the hippy inside me's turn to talk. You know what has been bugging me lately? How removed I feel I am becoming and we as a culture are becoming. Perfect example, yesterday I told my nephews to go outside and play soccer and about 10 minutes later they were downstairs playing soccer on the X-Box. Another example, I just facebooked a friend to tell her Happy Birthday. Why didn't I call her or send her a card? Too hard. I have another friend who moved away from me that I miss big time but we haven't talked in months, just text, what up with that (you know who you are Stevey). I never shop in stores any more, granted shopping in Logan sucks, but I sit on the computer and search for what I want and it comes in the mail. I don't deal with people or even have to talk to them. I was trying to sew something and wasn't understanding the directions so I youtube'd it and watched someone else do it instead of reading it until I got it. If I have to wait for anything I am SO annoyed. I think I'm getting dumber.

Ya I know, boo capitalism and development and yay for getting in touch with our inner-selves, its obnoxious, forgive me. I'm just tired of being so climatized all the time. I want to feel sweaty and dirty. I want my schedule to get messed up. I want to be surprised by something that moves me. I want someone to question me and make me uncomfortable by forcing me to think about what I believe or what has always been my perspective on normal. That is why I have loved my experiences in third world countries, they have turned my reality upside down. I am so confused there that it takes me hours to complete something simple like buying shoes or figuring out how to call someone.

Maybe that is why there was a part of me that wanted to stay in Africa the last time I went. It felt simple. I talked to people, I wore whatever, I climbed mango trees and didn't wear shoes. It also helped that everyone thought I was awesome and wanted to talk to me and someone asked me if I was Brittaney Spears (I could see why he would get us mixed up).

However, the downer of my last trip to Africa was that, no matter how exciting and bizarre it was, there was no one there to laugh about it with me. It took me a really long time and a lot of effort and money to get there. I dreamed about it for, literally, years and so when I finally got there all I wanted to do was soak up every minute.

During the first week some of the other people in my organization and I took a van up to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro do go on a hike. My group was slow and so I took off by myself. The hike was actually down hill and we were going to a waterfall. I ran the trail, overgrown with the fat wet leaves of banana trees, and finally spotted a clearing ahead. I slowed down and walked through the clearing. In front of me was one of the most spectacular sights of my life. A waterfall that I couldn't see the top of was tumbling down the side of Mt. Kilimanjaro, falling into a few pools before finally reaching the pool that was at my feet. The pool was full of large boulders. The sides of the mountain were green green, rich. As I stood there I felt like I lost my breath. I didn't know what to do. I turned around hoping someone else was coming to be in awe with me but I was all alone.

I took out my camera but the falls looked so bland through my lens that I put it back in my bag. Before I knew it my shoes were off and I was climbing up the rocks framing the waterfall, letting it splash onto my face. It was so grand that there was nothing to do but put my hands, feet, face, mouth, everything on it. It was the strangest feeling to be witnessing something extraordinary, amazing, beautiful to the millionth degree, and to have no one experiencing it with me. My group eventually caught up and joined me on my climb and a couple of us fell off the rocks into the pool and screamed and swam and that was great but the solitary feeling I had there left an imprint on me.

I am glad to have a big white guy joining me this time around. I am glad that whatever waterfall we find, be it a mountain gorilla or some amazing person or just a sight I've never seen before, that I can turn and smile and be understood by the person I love most in the world. Not that my life here does not provide me with any wonderment because when I slow down it does, I just know it and it makes sense.

Stay tuned for some pics if we can find any internet out there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

can you wash a down jacket?

Seems lately that rather than writing anything down I have just been enjoying seeing and feeling but today I feel like writing.

I've been talking to my sister a lot. I guess I'm always talking to her a lot. My favorite time to talk is when I am out of class and walking home and I have no time limit. The downside is that my preferred path off campus has been closed off due to the snow, and the parking garage I'm supposed to go through doesn't get service. You see the dilemma?

Not willing to wait and call my sister until after I've passed through the parking garage I always choose to step over the wire fence and take slow steps down the ice. The first week of real bad snow I went down the ice covered stairs with my cell phone to my ear, laughing about something, and slipped. One leg up in the air, body becoming horizontal, head hit squarely on the corner of a stair. It hurt. Took me a second to find my phone in the snow, guided by the screaming voice, BETSY? BETSY? BEEEEEEETSY?

Today was no different. Out of class early, time to catch up on all of the thoughts of the last 24 hrs. The snow is melting. I don't take the stairs any more. I walk next to them, snow covered mud usually goes over better. But the snow is wet today, almost gone, and the mud is slippy. I knew I was going down. "I'm gonna slip, I'm gonna slip!" and bam, one leg up, butt slide down the hill, the mud caked up my leg, inside my jacket, in every crack of my bag, but the phone stayed put on my ear. I got up, wrist aching a little,
Did you slip?
You've got to find a different route
I know

On a different note, there are lots of things to be grateful for these days. I have a new nephew. Danny is now only one year younger than me. I actually surprised him with a bday present, no small feat. Its getting warmer. I made some curtains. I am 77% sure that Danny and I will be exploring African jungles in June. And, I'm eating at Maddox tonight which is supposed to change my life.

I don't have pictures of anything new so I am posting this one. One of my favorites. Bryce at the Taj Mahal singing, Flyyyyy through the sky through the sky through the sky

PS How do I make the picture in the title of my blog fit right?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

on enjoying the journey

There is snow covering the pretty yellow leaves that have not even had a chance to fall completely to the ground yet. Why the hurry? Why do we have to run to the destination called winter or next week or next year or grad school or marriage or career or house or children? Today I wish the snow would have a little patience and let the leaves dry up and fall down before it takes its place on the branches. Today I would like to give the leaves their moment.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Bus Cont...

Well, we made it! Danny gave the full low down, lots of pics, and his experience on his blog -

What he didnt tell you was how he practically had to drag me down the trail at some points, it was quite a physical push for me. The bear and the river were no big thing to him but seriously, waist deep swift moving water, Andrew falling back on me, Danny pushing me forward, me squeezed between the two while trying to keep up with Andrews big steps and trying not to fall and be buried under the Teklanika, I thought we were goners.

And the bear? Andrew hears the bear and what does Danny do? Take out his bear spray and walks forward to check it out. He sees the bear sit up and as I am crappying my pants he slowly backs up, calmly shouting at the bear and yelling to me that it would be fine. At the risk of sounding cliche and a bit extreme I felt like I was watching him make the spiritual quest he had been looking forward to for so long and I got to ride on his coattails and enjoy the spice of the adventure!

10 blisters later on my feet and hands (word to the wise: if a rock has just been pulled out of the fire, it is not a good idea to try and pick it up) I feel like I can add my name to the crowd of hippies and vagabonds who have made their way down the loooooooooong trail to the bus.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In the Land of the Midnight Sun

I have all but given up on our internet and momentarily find myself with a friends computer and seem to have a good enough connection to make a blogtastic post. Hi! I miss you! Thanks for coming and seeing how we are doing. I am going to put up lots of pictures (hopefully) mostly for the benefit of dannys and my moms because they have to care but viewing is optional for anyone who does not fall into that category.

Time is passing quickly and things are happening fast and we find ourselves spending many many hours driving buses or waiting to drive buses and watching the scenery out the window but we have found some time to have some good adventures.

Quick run down:
* My dad came to visit and we had four straight days of ATVing, Dinner Theatre, hiking, riding on buses into the park, making fun of tourists, more hiking, watching my dad beat every guy in our housing at ping pong (and de-throning danny), more making fun of tourists, a little more hiking, walking on beaver dams, listening to dad yell cat calls at the caribou we spotted, etc. It was good times. Now we are awaiting the arrival of Danny's parents in a few weeks.
* We have just passed the longest day of the year where the sun did not, in fact, set at all
* 2 months have officially passed of real bus driving and marriage and neither of us have hit anything or each other (knock on wood)
* For Steven: I ate at..... wait for it ..... the northern most Dennys IN THE WORLD! It took forever for them to take our order, food was sub-par, and it smelled like old bacon and smoke, keepin it real up here in Alaska!
* Danny has honed his Ansel Adams skills and taken some awesome pics of the wildlife/nature we have seen
* I smashed my camera on one of our hikes
* Danny is currently winning the race to more tips because he is really good at telling bad jokes
* We packed up our neat-o new packs and hiked a couple miles out, set up camp, slept in our tent, spent the next day climing a peak watching caribou and an eagle swoop around over our heads, and felt quite hardcore

On an entirely different note, about a month ago I started reading the novel, Reading Lolita in the Tehran, by Azar Nafisi and it has not only reminded me how much I love literature and how important it is but it raised my interest and awareness to life in Iran during the revolution of the late 70's early 80's. Interestingly enough all of the current happenings in Iran are a direct consequence of the change of regime that happened then and this author that was so insightful to me was on CNN a few nights ago talking about the current situation in Iran. She was articulate and gracious as she tried to explain to an audience of people so habituated to individualism, self proported creativity and openness how quickly a society can choose to give up choice , often in the name of God. I don't claim to understand or get exactly whats going on but my heart has been going out to the people there, especially the women protesting for the freedom of basic human rights. If you get a chance, give this book a look. I've been trying to remember to be grateful for the choices I have, to live where is choose, dress in a way that is comfortable to me, read, watch, and say what I please, marry or not marry whomever I want, etc. You've heard it all before and it is so far away but this is where my thoughts have been as of late.