Saturday, October 03, 2015

What's happened so far in 2015...

Dear reader,

It's been too long, but let's get back to it! No excuses, sincere apologies, and now let's jump into Adventures in California!!

But first, it's been a busy year so far and worth mentioning a few things that happened...

January 10 (Saturday) - was supposed to go on a missions trip to Haiti, but ended up staying home and being a prayer partner, due to a weird white infection in my throat. Which disappeared later!
Late January - took a weekend roadtrip to Tennesee with Kendra for Grandmay's funeral
February 6 (Friday) - flew out to California to spend a week with Vijo
February 14 (Saturday) - Vijo and I were engaged!!
Late February, March: ...Begin the wedding preparations to continue all spring and summer, including renewing passport...
March 20-21 (Friday, Saturday) - went to our church's overnight Ladies' Retreat
March 26 (Thursday) - Vijo arrived on my birthday for a week's visit :D
March 28 (Saturday) - big birthday double bash with Elisabeth and lots of friends!
month of April - sadly missed going to Germany for Mareike's wedding and meeting up with a friend visiting from Switzerland
May 1 (Friday) - Matt's and Lyndsay's wedding!
May 8 (Friday) - fly to Texas for Melinda's graduation!
May 22 (Friday) - Vijo comes for Memorial Day weekend visit! Late-night pickup in Chicago
May 23 (Saturday) - Kathryn's and Andrew's wedding!
May 26 (Tuesday) - super early drop-off for Vijo in Chicago
June 12 (Friday) - fly to California! to look for apartments
June 19-21 (Friday-Sunday) - attend the Landmark Forum
June 22 (Monday) - fly back and teach ESL that night
June 26 (Friday) - drive to Ohio!
June 27 (Saturday) - drive to PA for Esther's wedding!
June 28 (Sunday) - drive back to Indiana with Derek
July 2 (Thursday) - drive to Iowa for Jason's wedding!
July 3 (Friday) - Jason's wedding!
July 6 (Monday) - off work for special reasons
July 11 (Friday) - fly to New Jersey/ New York for confirmation in the Church of South India plus a quick weekend visit with Ben & Franci & Co. Incidentally, we bought the tickets one week before, and were originally thinking of trying to catch the confirmation happening in Toronto on July 5.
July 13 (Monday) - fly back to Indiana early in the morning, get to work just in time for a bridal shower thrown by colleagues
July 19 (Sunday) - bridal shower at church
July 21 (Tuesday) - some routine heart checks which took the afternoon
July 22 (Wednesday) - finish packing stuff in the car and leave for Des Moines! pick up Kendra and stay with friend Alina
July 23 (Thursday) - drive from Des Moines to Colorado Springs and stay with cousin Erica
July 24 (Friday) - drive to Salt Lake City and stay with friend Rebekah
July 25 (Saturday) - drive to San Jose!
July 27 (Monday) - fly home after a day of rest and loading stuff in apartment
July 30 (Thursday) - pack up everything at work and leave the Warsaw building for the last time
July 31 (Friday) - Michael drives Stacey and me to Chicago with our stuff! Meet parents and Vijo and fly to India!!
August 2 (Sunday) - arrive in India early on Sunday morning
August 3 (Monday) - wedding sari shopping!
August 6 and 7 (Thursday and Friday) - Vijo does his CSI marriage counseling
August 8 (Saturday) - Our India wedding :)
August 11 (Tuesday) - fly back to U.S.
August 12 - 14 (Wednesday - Friday) - Lots and lots of prep!!!
August 15 (Saturday) - Our U.S. wedding :)  Got to church at 9am, left after 7pm... Went back to house to finish packing and order things as much as possible... waited for our friends to get back with the car... fell asleep and ate dinner... finally left after 10pm and stopped by our pastor's house to sign the marriage license... drove to our stop for the night in Merrillville and got there after midnight, barely awake.
August 16 (Sunday) - went to join St. Marks' CSI church which was on a retreat there from their usual Chicago location. Then drove to Fennville Michigan for a couple days to ourselves!
August 18 (Tuesday) - got up early to drive to the Chicago airport and caught our flight to San Jose! Finally back in our apartment. :)
August 20 (Thursday) - I started back to work
August 28 - 29 (Friday - Saturday) - I attended the ladies' retreat at C3SV
September 5 (Saturday) - left for a honeymoon in Belize. Got to meet up with Jon and Ranae in Atlanta that night.
September 11 - returned to San Jose

And since then it has been a little calmer, though with other types of excitement that I can share about later.

By the way, this is just from my perspective, and of course doesn't include the ridiculous amounts of prep, late nights, communications, etc. And it doesn't cover all that Vijo was doing... or that my family and friends were doing, particularly in the days and weeks before the U.S. wedding. We're so grateful to so many wonderful people who helped make things happen!

Ok, next up will be some live updates from San Jose!


Monday, May 12, 2014

summary of the latest adventures including pink flowers, lanterns, cucumbers, girly movies, and FIRE!!!

Dear readers,

Well it seems like it is high time for an update isn't it?!  By the way, winter is over. almost 5 months later. In case you wanted to know.

It has been a busy life. Let me see what I can remember...

The 1st week in March I went to England with my beloved mom. More stories and pictures to come!

The 1st Friday night in April I went to see Captain America 2 with friends. At an IMAX 3D theater! Except I was just now told that it was not a true IMAX... the real ones have huge wrap-around screens that you have to lean back to take in. Apparently. Well I was still pretty wowed by my "faux" IMAX experience, especially by the countdown numbers that zoomed up through my skull. Oww it hurt! I had to close my eyes. And the movie was great too!

That same weekend and following week we wrapped up an intense project at work, which meant the end of 10-hour days and working 2-3 hours 2 nights a week.  What relief and I am still thanking God!

The 3rd weekend in April was Easter weekend, I believe. With Good Friday off, I headed down to Tennessee on Thursday to spend the weekend with my cousin of cousins Hannah Holder. We had such a good time... relaxing, exploring Knoxville, walking to our supper, watching most of Wives and Daughters (still one hour left to go! how have I ever been able to keep living in the interim??) and driving down dogwood-decorated streets, actually they were laden with redbud and azaleas too. Knoxville is quite the pink place. Very pretty!

The 1st weekend in May I flew down to Texas to join in the graduation festivities for brother Derek! Enjoyed chauffeuring my mom all over and giggling over stuff with her. Ask her about my makeup driving advisories. Heh heh :)  and of course a great chance to hang out with sisters Melinda and Carolyn! We five had some of the best times ever just hanging around talking and reminiscing... and singing a little concert in the campus chapel (and Derek and Carolyn are quite the pianists too!) and having a crazy cookout with Derek's buddies and their families, great conversation topics like how to burp and how to get a job if you car breaks down back in the day. And which of one family's kids was the sweetest. And how you can see all the stars in both hemispheres by standing on the equator. It's amazing the knowledge that springs like a fount as the campfire dies and the stars wheel overhead and you become less and less able to not laugh! hahaha :)

So that brings up to the first week in May, when one of my good friends (Lis) has been in town, plus another good friend (Anila) graduating, so we have been up to all kinds of shenanigans...

Wednesday night was game night with my Bible study group, and I finally had a chance to try out the riddle I learned in N.Z. WITHOUT using the answer as the first line. Lis then proceeded to recount how she imagined I had told it with the punchline first... it was so dead on that I almost fell to the floor laughing. Then Anila showed me how to rub cucumber slices on one's face for refreshment. So I started doing that and apparently I was getting into it enough that THEY almost fell to the floor laughing. And then we did play some actual games too.

Thursday night we girls went down to the lake to set off some of those floating lanterns in honor of Anila's graduation. The first two went off splendidly! once we stood in the shelter of a house to get out of the wedding. We were so excited. Then there was mine... I did not hold the top up enough, so the side got singed as the fire was building to lift-off... then I got nervous and let go too soon... it wobbled its way up... seemed to be coming down... wafted back up... down... went along... finally we saw it pretty definitely going down, way far along. By this time we were picturing Warsaw in flames. However we were unable to find the lantern or a fire for that matter, and since that was not the headline in the next day's news I think we may have very fortunately and blessedly escaped going to jail for unintentional pyromania.

Friday night three of us (Stacey, Lis and myself) decided we should have a sleepover! so we did, in a big living room with 2 full couches and an air mattress. We found Tangled on TV. and then we put in Bride & Prejudice (best movie EVER!!). When that finished, we started giggling our way to sleep around 3:00am... and were popping up around 8:30 or 9:00am to go our ways seeing friends, attending graduation, etc. What fun, you NEVER get too old for sleepovers! At least I pray I never do.

I hope that gives you an idea of some of the adventures lately. And I promise to post here again much sooner! Since I know this blog is the main source of inspiration, hope and joy to all 2 or 3 of you. heehee :)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

snow day in the "country"

Dear readers,

Today was Sunday, so of course I got up at a decent hour, and was just about ready to hop in the shower when Stacey came out and told me church had been canceled. I was kind of surprised. We had had church a couple weeks ago when the blizzard had begun to set in with nice thick heavy snow. But OK. Snow day! The first thing to do was try to get a little more sleep. But as Anna from Frozen would say (maybe she is rubbing off on me after seeing her in the theater for the 3rd time, heh heh), "The sky's awake, so I'm awake!" So I got up and set my pinto beans to soak and made myself pumpkin custard oatmeal, and had a relaxing time reading the Bible for a while, and then got my financial matters all straightened up and my desk cleaned off and the trash and recycling ready to go out... really quite productive! 

I was going to have lunch with Stacey's family so I took the trash out on the way. I lifted up the one trash bin lid, that one was almost full, so I just put one bag in there. Then I lifted the lid of the other to pop in the 2nd bag... I stared at what looked like the leg of the goat. No, 2 legs. No my goodness, there was a horn and the whole body in fact... Was it dead? Or had it crawled in there to escape the cold for some reason? Well even if it had, it was pretty stiff. How disturbing to touch something that used to be romping and living. Ok well I could fit both trash bags in the other bin after all.

I have to admit I was just a little sad to discover they had plowed our driveway already. I was expecting to get some good fun out of escaping the drive. Once inside town I passed 3 state troopers in a row. Was not sure what they would be doing all together unless there was a drug bust, wouldn't it be better to split up and spread out to help people if necessary in this interesting weather. Not that I would tell law enforcement what to do of course!

Later when I got home I went out to the little neighborhood loop across the way for a little walk. There are like 3 houses on it. It was not that well plowed, so I guess I should not have been surprised when a plow truck came along, when I was on my second lap. I figured one or two times around and he would be done and I could finish my walk in peace... but he just kept going around and around and around! I know I should not get upset at a snowplow but seriously. :)

Well let's see how bad the windchills get and how wildly the snow blocks up the roads tomorrow. Would love to be stuck at home!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

winter wonderland

Dear readers,

I promised snow pictures and here are some! All except the first picture were taken on that magical Sunday before the blizzard hit.

I would love to add captions... maybe later....


Saturday, January 18, 2014

returning any moment!

Dear readers,

As one of you kindly informed me, I have not updated this blog for way too long. I promise I am going to do it soon. I would like to share some pictures of the big dump of snow we had, and our blizzard, it was quite the adventure!

Apart from that, life continues as normal. Work and friends... seeing movies with friends, visiting friends, making new friends... in fact I am off to meet a 2-year-old and then off to check up on a slightly laid-up friend, hence the reason I will have to post the snow pictures a bit later.

I hope you are all having a splendid Saturday!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

running off to Chicago for an evening

Dear readers,

Today I would like to tell you a little tale of Chicago...

My brother Derek was in Chicago this week (to give a presentation and attend a convention I believe... I am so bad with the details) and when he first told me, I immediately made the plan to go see him. After all Chicago is only about 2, 2.5 hours away. My first brilliant plan was to drive out Sunday since I would have all afternoon and evening.

Sunday morning I got up and saw the radar for the day. High winds and tornado outbreak across the Midwest ESPECIALLY from Illinois to Indiana. I was tempted to say, Tornadoes, psshh, we never really get anything. But I knew some people would not be at all happy with me. So in the afternoon I waited to see what happened. Around 4pm we had to run over to our neighbor's basement. And... nothing really happened. The storm passed. But there had been a severe tornado in Illinois, there were still high winds and I was tired... I decided that getting to Chicago on Sunday was not necessarily wise.

Derek and I attempted to find another evening when I could drive out after work, but it didn't look likely.

Then on Tuesday night he called me up to say that Wednesday evening if I wanted to come out, we could have dinner with some mutual friends who also happened to be in Chicago that night! A friend of his from school and a friend of friends of mine.

Well that was exciting, I agreed to it. Even though I had a meeting till 5:30 on Wednesday. Which said meeting ended up leaving me so stressed out and feeling like a failure that for the first 20 minutes of my drive to Chicago I could hardly pull my heart up from the depths.

But then I finally got distracted by the interest of trying to get to Chicago, especially without a proper GPS. I had Google maps but it didn't seem to be giving me directions, just showing where I was... Well that's ok, I thought, I did print off Google directions before I left. Not easy to read them in the dark but HEY, I had my nifty little new flashlight!

I had to take the 80/90 toll road and I was considerably surprised to find we would have to go through automated machines... and for the line I was in, every car was taking a minimum of 3-5 minutes. It was incredible. When it was my turn, I had come to the conclusion that cards were not working well for my predecessors in the line, so I pulled out my $20 for the 60-cent toll... and for a minute I wondered if that had overloaded Toll Machine's brain. Then hundreds of quarters came clattering down. Ok maybe not technically hundreds, but that is what it seemed like.

As I was getting into Chicago and heading up the Skyway, I began to get a little concerned about how exactly I would find Derek... he said the McCormick Place center was huge and he would be waiting out north of it. As it turned out I missed the Place almost right away... turned around at the University of Chicago and got on the phone with Derek. I was slightly concerned to find out he was waiting for me outside, his phone was about to die, and I was not seeing any of the roads he tried to direct me to... Oh whew! There it was. And there he was. Well that was exciting.

Now that I had Derek safely with me I was much more excited about bopping around Chicago. We set out to find the restaurant - Gino's East. There were several Gino's in Chicago as we found on Google maps, but we found an Original Gino's East and Derek confirmed he knew it was this one. Derek had somehow figured out how to make my Google Maps act like a GPS, which I was ticked off but ultimately delighted to have happen. As we were headed down Michigan Avenue and getting close... we suddenly started hitting a surge of emergency vehicles. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars... Most of them headed the wrong way down streets. Cars pulled over as best they could. Derek and I found that the majority of them seemed to be headed exactly to where our restaurant awaited us... so we ended up heading ahead several blocks as best we could. There was not always someone directing traffic, and when we did come to an intersection with a policeman in the middle, he started waving our lane of cars on only to have the oncoming traffic start going... so we stopped. Then suddenly a fire truck appeared out of nowhere trying to get past us. I pulled way over into the cars against the curb and it was still not quite enough... it had stopped but was trying to inch past me. I inched over more, as much as I dared. It pulled past me and shot on. It had passed literally within one inch of my car. Derek was somewhat concerned for my car and amazed at the close quarters, but that did not bother me particularly, after all this was city driving.

When we finally found Gino's, we searched around for a bit for a free or cheap parking spot. But ended up pulling into a privately-controlled parking area which was $8 for about 2 or 3 hours. That didn't seem too bad to me, I paid up and we went inside to find our friends. Except we couldn't find them. Even after walking around the restaurant twice and peering at everybody, which was kind of fun actually. Finally I made Derek get in touch with them and yes indeed, we were at the wrong Gino's. There are several. Gino's East was different than Original Gino's East. However, it was only a 6-minute drive away. And apparently the deep-dish pizza that they had already ordered for all of us would not be ready for a while yet.  So we went back to my car and piled in. I did not even  bother trying to get a partial refund, I did not care. Money psshh!

When we found the RIGHT Gino's we attempted looking for parking again, failed since it was right near a hospital and it seemed hardly any parking was allowed, and ended up using the valet service, which was not bad... $14. Right inside the door one of our friends was waiting for us, that was a welcome sight!

When we parted from our friends after the meal, I took Derek back to his hotel, which was really only a 5-minute drive away. This time we DID successfully find a spot to park on the street. I paid for an hour. Derek showed off his super-posh hotel and snazzy room to me... quite fun. That hour went WAY too fast, suddenly it was time to leave. But just as well since both Derek and I needed sleep.

For the trip home I made Google Maps work like a GPS and I had a very easy time getting out of the city, getting through the tolls - except the pay-toll that kept trying to spit out my ticket - and all the way home. It did get hard to keep my eyes open for the last half. For a while I fought off drowsiness by popping in my barbershop CD and singing along, but I finally had to stop and get some nice cold water and snacks to wake my head up a little more... That did the trick and I arrived safely home at the reasonable hour of 2:40am. Hey, if you get in before 3:00am, it's not too late!

Well that was our evening, we enjoyed it quite a bit and I must say it almost entirely distracted me from the stresses of work, which did ease up slightly the following couple days. So I thank God for the gift of Wednesday night! Even if my friends did laugh at me and call me crazy for driving to Chicago after work. They probably don't realize the awesome experiences you can miss by not doing crazy things.


P.S. I wrote this in 2 sittings and did not proofread so I hope it flows reasonably well.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

understanding modern English

Yesterday Stacey and I went to the big city to get running shoes, among other things. Well, while we were at the shoe store, we got to chatting with the guys helping us try on shoes. The one guy is apparently an ultra runner who had not too long ago done a 100-mile race... but he hadn't quite been able to finish. He said however that he was glad that had happened, because then he did some real damage in the next race he ran.

He said this twice and both times I struggled mentally with his enjoyment of damaging his body by running too hard... only to realize he meant he had done well in the race.