it's been awhile

I have been bad about blogging lately. I was sick for about 4 days, so that's a good excuse. I'll use that one.

(btw, we didn't get to go to the amusement park. :( I was too sick. Not from the shots, but from whatever I had already. It was a pretty boring day for me, and I'm sure for my husband)

Today we've been learning some really heavy stuff. We're in a trainer class to train others how to grow the company. It's been fantastic so far. One of the biggest things they teach newcomers is to think of everyone they know that's never heard of our boss, and then narrow it down to five people. They are then supposed to go tell those 5 people before the next training session. But before they told us about the 5 people, the trainer just told us how the hardest people to talk to is your family. These past 3 weeks, I've really been struggling with the fact that I have family members I should have talked to before leaving home, and they've been on my mind daily. And guess how many have been on my mind - exactly 5! And then the trainer told us that we can actually talk to them here - by email or letters or phone calls. I know I'm being told to tell these people. I know that I know. So I'm going to write them letters, and hope that we can talk for the week that I'm home.

We also had to bring our life stories down to 2 minutes. 2 minutes for such a personal story. We had to come into our session today prepared with a 2 minute story. Then, the trainer made us all stand up and at once tell him our stories - except, we had to condense it to one minute! Oh it was hard, I was talking a mile a minute. But it was incredible practice to stop being afraid and distracted, and just do it! He told us if he had more time, we would have out loud shared ten times. But he only had time for us to share twice, and then share with a partner.

We had a special meal today. It was our third one to try out. The first time, we tried Middle Eastern food (meatballs and this cucumber pico de gallo stuff...oh I know, there is not Middle Eastern pico de gallo, but what else should I call it?), the second time, it was Caribbean food (tortillas, shredded pork, black beans and rice, and salsa), and today's was Pacific Islands food (rice and curried beef topped with bananas, coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, and mandarin oranges). They were all pretty darn good, and the Middle Eastern one was especially fun because we were only allowed to eat with our hands, but today's was delicious. I could definitely have had seconds and thirds.

Training is about to start again. If it's as good as this morning was, I don't want to miss any of it.



We have to get fifteen shots in the next five weeks. Five of them are today. I read up on all the side effects, from headaches to fever to rash to seizures (!)...I wish I hadn't read them. Now I'm going to think I have them all. I kept telling my husband last night, "If there's a 1 and 6 chance we'll get a side effect from each shot, and we're getting 5 shots, we will most likely get a side effect!" I took statistics in college, and made a C, so I'm not claiming to be very good, so I probably just made the head roll of anyone who knows anything about stats. I don't really think that's true (something like each is a separate case independent of each other, blah blah blah) but in my head it makes sense. So today, in my head, I have five 1 and 6 chances of having a fever or headache or rash or all of the above.

I don't even care about the shots - I just don't wanna be kept from going to ride roller coasters tomorrow! Yeah, this is where it all stems from, by the way. I wouldn't care if I got sick if tomorrow was a normal day. But we're going with our other couple friend to a nearby amusement park tomorrow, and if I get a fever (and out of the 4 of us, it would be me), then I've spoiled everyone's day. Hypochondriac? No, not really, although my husband would probably disagree. It's more of a super panicker. And yes, all you super smart stats and science people, that's my technical word for it.

I am looking forward tonight to babysitting a one month old baby for 2 hours. I miss my niece and nephew so much, so this will kinda be like getting to hold them. I don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl, but I don't care. I can hold O. or B. vicariously through this one.

Well it's time for lunch. Gotta go - the stomach calls.


puzzle people

This morning, we had a session on being a good team member and team dynamics. It was so much fun - the best session we've done so far, in my opinion. I'll see if I can explain what we did. Most people were sitting at numbered tables and were the Team. They had a puzzle to put together. Some people, like us, were Volunteers. We were assigned 3 tables to go "help" every six minutes.

Sounds normal so far, right? It was, except that we were also assigned attitudes. My husband's attitude was "my other team did this better", and my attitude was "life's a party!" Oh man it was fun. We walked over to our first table, and my husband immediately announced, "You're doing this wrong. Where I come from, they do it this way." On and on it went. I would try to entice people to leave; I'd tell them they did enough for the day, "so why don't we just leave the rest for tomorrow and go to the beach?" When that wasn't working at all, I decided to grab unused puzzle pieces and throw them in the air and shout "woo-hoo!" Then I took almost all of the not yet used pieces to another table to use, so that my group "could go have fun." It was funny to see these people get so frustrated at such a silly game! It was a great way to illustrate how long term people can get so focused on their job, they will isolate volunteers, or how volunteers come with the idea to sightsee, or be negative, etc. It was a ton of fun.

Oh I forgot to mention that we actually had puzzle pieces with us that they were missing. One table we approached, my husband actually had about 8 pieces they needed, but they refused to take them because they were so annoyed with us! haha

So that's the lesson I learned today - be patient with our teammates. We also had a session on culture shock. I'm really bracing myself for some hard core adjustment challenges. I just hope my tourist stage will last at least a few months.

We need to head out. gotta go



We started last week every day reading through the 5th New book our boss wrote. Every day we read a bit of it to study it. Today during it, I was reading in the 8th chapter, starting on the 26th page, there's a certain story that's amazing to learn from. When you begin on page 26, keep reading, and on page 30 there's a phrase that really catches my spirit - "...ran up to..." Not walked, not sauntered, ran. How eager he was to do his work! That's how I want to be. An assignment came up, and he didn't wait one more second...he ran! What an example.

Today we attended a conference on staying in love while overseas. It was done by a really funny couple who used to live in east asia, and their stories. We have some great ideas on keeping the romance, guarding ourselves from attacks, making moral decisions, etc. They had some disturbing stories of families who had fallen away from each other, and we make a commitment to working so hard so that doesn't happen to us. We have to remind ourselves to keep our guard up, and not think "that could never happen to me." Because that's when it does. Anything that's happened to anyone else can very well happen to us, so we have to be very careful to clothe ourselves in armor.

Tonight I think we're going to help our friends babysit. This is a different family, but we played frisbee with their girls a few times, so we know them a little. We'll have fun. Gotta go!


another week

Well I was pretty bad about blogging this past weekend. From going out with our friends on Friday night (we had Coldstone ice cream for the first time...yum-my!), having our friends who live in the state come visit us on Saturday, and having to watch a language movie that was due before tomorrow (that ended up being an hour and a half long!)...we were busy.

Looks like I am caught up for the weekend, though. So today's Monday. It was pretty good. We had anthropology classes today, which were pretty interesting. Then after dinner, we met with a couple who will be there for mental help in our country. They talked with us about the job we were offered, and we came to the conclusion that the reason we aren't sold on the job is because that's not the city our boss is really wanting for us. For many reasons that I don't even have the energy to go into, they pointed us to how we had been hired into this job in the first place, and that when our boss really wants a certain job for us, he'll make it clear to both of us, and we won't be left in confusion. After that realization, a heavy burden was lifted from my shoulders. Ahhh, peace.

So now we're back to square one, but now we know who we can email for more job openings. That's what I'm doing next. We have kinda an interest in one, in a city that sounds a bit more practical, considering my health needs, so I can't wait to ask this coworker about it and others.

Also, one of our closest coworkers is looking for a short term (2-3 year) teacher to move with them to the same country we're going to to teach their kids. Their 5 adorable children that we fell in love with instantly. I will spare no money in helping them find a teacher.

I need to email and check the weather and all that. Today was so cold, the high was 76. That's not summer. My hometown would put this town to shame for what they call a summer. I sure hope it's not this cold tomorrow!


Today was pretty uneventful. Mainly because I was so tired, I slept through a lot of the morning conference. My husband kept having to poke me to wake me up. I did learn one lesson, which was that I need to praise my boss no matter what the situation. There were a lot of stories that the president told today regarding those who went through tragedy overseas. It was a little tearjerking.

Well see I told you it was uneventful. I'm going to do pilates in a bit...for an hour. Are there even enough moves in pilates for an hour's worth? I don't know, since I'm a rookie at it. Lots of girls are going, though, so it should be fun.

Gotta go!


good riddance

Today was so busy! The president was back again for a morning conference, and he went over, so we had to rush lunch with our regional office. We had 2 hours with our regional office after lunch, though, which I had been looking forward to all day. It's good to actually get some direction. We found out our region is actually pretty safe. We were pretty relieved, although I was never really nervous. Maybe it was a sympathetic relief for my mother; I know she'll be happy to hear that.

Something huge I learned today was that I need to get rid of my sense of entitlement. This whole time I have been thinking about what I should have overseas, what city I should live in, what type of people I should work with, etc. Today, my boss told me that I need to lose that. He was so close to me when he told me that, that he stepped all over my toes. Anyway, I've been saying so far that I want to work with educated people so that it will be easiest for me to meet and bond with people. I've pretty much told myself to expect that. And today, I learned that maybe my work will strictly be serving my husband as he works with the people, and I need to be okay with that. I have to get rid of my sense of entitlement to be effective and mold-able. I just made up a word. Anyway, so if I don't like the city I end up in, so what. How can I justify not doing my job to the fullest just because I don't have hot water? Think of the ramifications of that.

I need to go work out. Last night, one of my friends and I did pilates, and then my husband and I walked for 30 minutes. We had to make goals, and one of ours was to spend at least 30 minutes together before 9:30 daily, and to spend money together before leaving our apartment every morning. I think our friends who live pretty close will be coming in this weekend (yea!), so I won't have much time for working out. So I need to get it in now. Tomorrow night, there's a pilates class I'll be going to. Fun stuff.

Gotta run! (well...walk)


heavy head

I've got what I'm calling a heavy head right now. My heart's not heavy, because nothing's weighing on my heart; it's my head because I'm thinking so much. Yesterday, I got our mail, and in our box was a card from my friend Ashley (yea! I loved it and the pictures), a letter from the country we're going to! (our friends out there are so nice), and...a job request. There's a department, run by two people, who are in desparate need of more employees. So, they emailed our supervisor, who then printed out the email and mailed it to us, in which the people said they read our resumes and are requesting us to work in their department. So we've been mulling it over for the past 24 hours now, and still not near an answer. I've asked if that's pretty common, or if depts usually don't ask specifically for workers, and I was told it's the latter. So, you can imagine that my head's spinning. Right now, we need money to help us decide.

Also, this morning, we attended a conference where the president of the organization spoke to us. He'll be back the next two days. His topic was incredible; much like this present darkness. Fascinating stuff. Although, last night we had so much fun bonding with our neighbors that we didn't go to bed til later and so of course I had get in quite a bit of caffeine (again) to keep from dozing. Tonight's bedtime is sticking!

Today I learned that I need to guard myself from succombing to my weaknesses. My enemies know my weaknesses, and I don't want them to get the best of me, especially when I'm in a new environment. We need to send plenty of money there now to prepare the place for when we arrive. Otherwise, there will be even more work to be done once we get there. And that will take away from our real desire, to tour the country. We have committed to putting aside money together every morning before even leaving our apartment so that our day is prepared. Also, there are 6 lessons I'm committing to memory, 2 on being a woman or wife, 4 on meeting new family, and 1 on lifting up my boss. He's been so good to us that it wouldn't be right to leave him out of the memorization.

It's almost time for dinner, and then I need to get some exercise. Last night, my husband played Ultimate Frisbee, while I sat around and did mani-pedis on the 4 girls in my apartment building. They were so precious; they call us Aunt and Uncle. Anyway, one is 3, two are 5, and one is 7. The good thing about the job offer is that we would be relatively close to our neighbors. They will be living just north of us.

Gotta go.


quiet time

Today, we were given 3+ hours of quiet time. It was incredible. When was the last time I sat down for reflective time for several hours? Never! It was an experience I hope to repeat again and again. I had plenty to time to read, meditate, sing, and listen, all to my heart's desire. I had plenty to admit, and once that happened, it was all freedom. The reading spoke volumes, and then my boss came by and sat with me for the remainder of the time. He showed me many things, mainly about south asia and the time we'll be there. Especially in the 19th book that he wrote, towards the end on page 127, the last three lines meant so much to me, especially knowing about all the gardening and planting we will be involved in, and the hope and joy of the harvest. There was much more he told me, but I'll get into that later. One thing I do need to touch on is that I have had 3 specific things brought to my attention that I need to get rid of, and so I've been thinking about that today. I had to admit to my boss today these things, and he's so kind, he's already wiped the slate clean. I'm going to really work harder to please him and be the employee I know he expects of me.

That's the lesson I learned and how I'm applying it to my life.

Last night, we were invited to our company's mapping ceremony, so we could tell some people where we are going, and put our picture on a map. Many other people there were about to move overseas, too, and they put their picture on the map as well. It was overwhelming by the end to see all the people who were leaving the country. All the regions were represented, even countries where you'd think no one would want to go; you know, wars and former war areas. Asia was by far the main choice of travel. Business is really booming there.

I need to go; we have to come up with some goals by tomorrow, when my husband and I have a meeting with one of our supervisors. Since he's about to move with us to the same country, they decided he and his wife would be good for us to talk with. I'm excited about the goals I'm feeling drawn towards; memorization, more meaningful quiet moments; obviously, they are more measurable than this. I just didn't want to write them all out. Gotta go get started.



Last night, we had dinner with a couple who had just returned from South Asia. They were not too upbeat about their experience; in fact, while they were talking, I kept thinking about how discouraged they seemed. And when we left, my husband remarked to me the very same thing, so I know that I wasn't overreacting. We realized that we need to lower our expectations a lot. Granted, there were valid reasons this couple had such a negative experience (no supervisors at all, they were also the first ones to participate in our team, which meant no direction; also, no coworkers in their city to bond or interact with), and because it's been a couple years since they went, things will go somewhat smoother for us, we still realize it's good that we met them so we can go with our eyes wide open.

Then, our boss, in his infinite wisdom, sent to us another couple this afternoon, who have just returned from our country. They were so positive and upbeat, and told us great things we need to know and were very encouraging. The wife even told me that since I'm most excited about exploring the city I live in, then things are going to go great. She gave me tips on finding an apartment, decorating, furniture, meeting people...it all sounds so wonderfully exciting and adventurous. Obviously, there are bad sides; she said that I will step in cow poop. However, she never saw one rat while she was there, not one spider, and only one roach. That's my kind of country.

This afternoon, we met with a small group of coworkers. We decided that every Sunday morning we will meet for discussions, money talks, and have bread. There are 9 adults (3 couples, 3 singles) and five kids. I'm really excited about getting to know these friends. Our boss will be there as well, as he seems to always be, and I'm really excited about getting to know him better as well. I'm sure he'll begin to teach me things that I really need to know before leaving. Tomorrow, my husband will be able to play his guitar for us all.

We are meeting more and more people with great backgrounds and stories. This morning at breakfast, I met a family that are back from Paris for a few weeks. It was so good to talk with them and hear what all has been going on there since I left. We're going to be seeing a lot of each other, so hopefully my French will go from fair to middlin'. (I heard that phrase from an older country man yesterday, and I love it) I think I'm going to go back to my apartment now and watch Mickey Blue Eyes with my husband before we get ready for our morning tomorrow.



We found out today we have to journal daily. I decided to make this my journal, since I'm a faster typer than writer. Plus, I have all these journals that I've started, and then found a prettier one halfway through, so this is just a little more James and EPA-friendly. You know, less money, less paper. Everyone's happy.

Anyway our daily logs have to answer two questions: what has my boss taught me during these sessions, and what will I do with this information? I've already learned something today, so I'm off on the right track. Or maybe the wrong track, since I'm having to be taught lessons before I even make it to lunch.

I have been stressing (imagine that) because we have been inadequately informed through this traveling process. So yesterday, I complained a lot (again, shocker) about management, and worried that we weren't going to finish everything or turn in everything or fill in the blank. This morning, my boss sat me down and said, I've been taking care of you this long, I'll take care of this too. There's nothing to worry about. So...Lesson #1.) No worrying Lesson #2.) No complaining and Lesson #3.) He's responsible, it'll get taken care of. I'm going to apply this. Really, I am.

We met a couple today who just returned from the country we're going to. They're meeting us for dinner so they can tell us all about it. I'm so excited! See, already, the Lessons are paying off.


nine weeks away!

South Asia is only nine weeks away! We arrived yesterday, and from the beginning we've been working hard. We had classes and medical interviews and everything, and it's only our first full day. I can definitely tell we're going to grow a lot this summer.

I love our apartment. It's really small, and pretty bare, but it's kinda fun. Who cares, really, when there's no cooking and very little cleaning to do?

Next door to us is a family with 5 kids. Yes, 5. They actually have one of our bedrooms in our apartment because they needed more space. But it's cool - their kids are adorable, especially the two little girls, and so sweet. I want a little girl like theirs. Not anytime soon, or as the younger one said, "There's no baby in my tummy, only food."

I love it because we are forced to work out at least 4 times a week. We actually have to turn in an exercise log. It's like fat camp, but better! Plus, since I know everyone's real big on eating healthy, I feel like I have to eat real well during the meals since everyone can see me. So I'm doing good...that is, until I hang out with my friend and eat Frito's and bean dip after working out. Hey, at least we only cancelled out the calories we burned, instead of adding on extra, right? We're still at a zero balance here.

James just said I'm a typer. Like I didn't know that. But this is pretty long. I feel like such a dork for having a blog. I'm a 12 year old. Maybe my name should have been "carebears05" or something. So I'll take off.