Sunday, February 20, 2011

Redirect for Florida trip

For our trip to Florida our blog will be moving to the Travelpod site:

Click HERE to see our latest updates.  We won't post more to this site while we are on the road.

We will also be logging into Google Latitude occasionally so if you want to be added to the contact list just send an invitation or let us know you are interested.

John and Tracy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spending the day with Rowan

So the last couple of nights have been spend staying with our parents and enjoying family time.

At Tracy's folks we learned a new card game - Royal Rummy, Michigan Rummy, or Tripoley (I think the name changes but the game stays the same). And they had a honey baked ham that we literally destroyed. Yummy stuff!

The evening with my parents was fun also. We got to attend uncle Jimmy's birthday party and see all the new children running about. We played a long game of Tripoley with them as well and my dad actually played the mock round (for teaching/ remembering game play). Quite a pleasant surprise. Aunt Kelly also had an extra mat we will be taking on the road to play it some more! Dad had to work a little bit the next morning, but stuck around for most of it. Tracy had an optometrist appointment so we left in the afternoon.

After dropping a small fortune on a new pair of glasses, Tracy and I went to pick up Rowan from school for a final afternoon. I had no inkling that prescription glasses cost that much but Tracy advised me that it was SOP.

We went to feed the ducks behind Papa Johns headquarters. Or get attacked by geese is more like it. Tracy and Ro even pretended like they were an invasion force and threw "bread bombs" at them. After the barrage of fowl, we grabbed a bite to eat and went to a park in the east end with old war items around - a tank, helicopter, and a torpedo. We threw some sticks in the stream and a good time was had by all.

Ducks I
Ducks II
A walk in the woods
Part of our stick in the river program
Tracy advised me that I look scared in this one
Me looking much more happy

Friday, February 18, 2011

Peace Corps - Legal

We just passed the legal qualification!!!  Only placement is left.  It's amazing how quick everything is rolling now.

John & I are also done volunteering for the time being (at least until we get back from our first trip and are in Louisville for a few days).  I got to teach on Thursday as well and had a great experience.  Initially I was not in a good mental place for teaching and it's amazing how much you have to put aside anything going on in your personal life when standing up in front of people.  I finally got into the swing of things after a little while.  Teaching is hard because you can never be sure if everyone is following what you are talking about and so many people are on different levels in these classes based on their history.  There is a huge risk of not challenging half the class while the other half might not even be following what you are trying to get across.  Communication is huge and I know I am going to be on the other side of it soon.

I told the class about our plans, that it was my last day, and how we are likely to be going to Africa.  They were very excited and I got several hugs on the way out.  I am sad not to be seeing them as much.  :-(

Tomorrow we are leaving town for our first trip down to FL. Onward to warm weather and visits with family/friends!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Peace Corps - Medical

We just got medically qualified!!!!!! All that's left is legal and placement. I also taught me first ESL class today and it went well. I have amazing students!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Moving on

We are out of the apartment and officially transients. It amazes me we still have so much stuff, but it was fun seeing the place so empty. Next up is living on the road!
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Empty House Party and Packing

So Sat night we threw ourselves a going away party and had a great time. This is the first party that's had a great mix of family, friends, kids and adults. Amy and others made a wonderful spread of food. My favorite was the stuffed peppers. Brian also brought a cooler full of jello shots left over from turkey bowling which were a big hit.

An epic nerf fight ensued which eventually resulted in John becoming Awsemmo 5000 the robo fighting machine with the help of a modified UHaul box. Thanks everyone for coming out and helping us celebrate!

Tomorrow is our last day here and the apt is looking a bit sparce. The funny thing is that we got rid of all our dishes, silverware, furniture and a lot of our clothes yet we were unable to get rid of this box. We actually talked ourselves into donating it and then made the mistake of opening it.
People think you can't but much for a dollar, but they have no imagination. Nothing is more fun than a high bouncy ball, except maybe a miniature monkey.

Back to packing for me now and tomorrow begins the adventure of homelessness and travel.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Packing & guests

Emptying out the apartment has had some advantages.  The other night John and I played our first round of indoor football.  I learned several things:
  1. If there is a door frame then I'm going to hit it.  
  2. John has the ability to injure his foot while standing still.
  3. Partially inflated footballs still hurt.
  4. If you have no objects you care about, it doesn't matter if you break anything.
Recently Amber, a friend from Boulder who is moving to Louisville, and her dad have been staying with us while she has been apartment hunting.  It has been nice to have company here and take our mind off all the packing, sorting, etc.  She is doing almost the opposite of what we are doing.  She packed up all her stuff in a U-Haul and drove to Louisville in search of a place to live while we are getting rid of everything and leaving Louisville with no desire for a place to live.  I am kind of bummed about the timing though because we are only overlapping time here for about 1.5 weeks and I would have really enjoyed hanging out more and showing her around.  I guess I'll just have to visit.  :-)

I am finally coming to my final day at work today as Chelsea is back and everything seems okay with her and the baby.  That's a relief!  It's going to be odd packing up my desk.  The reality of everything is likely to finally hit me.  Changes are here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trip Ideas

John and I are sitting at the BBC planning the second leg of our trip which brings us out west.  Did you know that the largest ball of string is broken into categories of balls of string, twine, and yarn?  I would have thought they were all the same category.  Go figure.

Here is our tentative itinerary for our first trip:
  1. Birmingham, AL
  2. Live Oak, FL (Patti/Kenny/)
  3. Down the west coast to the Keys
  4. Boca Raton (Paul/Yen/Doug/Annette)
  5. Daytona Beach (Cathy/Bill)
  6. Jacksonville (Margie/Marc)
  7. Savannah, SC (Mom/Dad/Brian/Lu)
  8. Charleston, SC 
  9. Asheville, NC
  10. Knoxville, TN (Kate/Michael)
We are currently working on our trip itinerary for trip 2:
  1. New Orleans
  2. Austin, TX (meeting Shawn/Amanda/Rob/Cassie)
  3. San Antonio, NM to see the Alamo...and have a nerf gun fight
  4. Roswell, NM to find aliens...flying monkey is looking for his family
  5. Gila National Forest (near Silver City, NM)
  6. Douglas, AZ (Shane & Crissy)
  7. Superstition Mtns near Scottsdale, AZ 
  8. Tijuana, Mexico
  9. San Diego, CA (Brian)
  10. Porterville, CA (Jim)
  11. San Francisco (Leah)
  12. Porterville, CA (Jim)
  13. Death Valley, CA
  14. Winslow, AZ to see the meteor crater and hopefully hang out with our friend we met on the last trip at the hotel bar
At some point we plan on going through Colorado and hope to get back to Louisville.  We are taking suggestions.
Things are starting to wind down for me at work a bit.  Jan 31 was supposed to be my last day but one of the people in my department was put on bed rest by the doctor so I ended up doing a bit of part time work which will probably extend a bit into next week.  Between that and all the additional volunteering I haven't had any additional time to work on the house stuff...sorry John.  He's been a good sport and has been furiously getting things ready, figuring out what to keep, get rid of, selling stuff, making appointments, etc.

I've really gotten into the swing of our additional ESL classes.  I am spending 3 days a week in the morning class and it really makes a difference with understanding each individual's needs and getting to know them on a personal level.  Everyone works so hard and many of them have jobs, families and busier schedules than I could imagine given the amount of time they spend on class and homework.  Everyone is also extremely friendly and welcoming.  No matter what happens I really hope to remain working with ESL students in the future.  

We also got our final round of med tests back and everything looks great.  Now let's just hope the Office of Medical Services agrees with us.