Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Well if the pages of the internet could be old, crinkly, and yellowed, my blog would be. It's time for a new post, and what better to post than a link to a crazy fun, festive, happy activity?
Oh Pepsi- you've got the best eyes.
PS- You know you want to vote... look to your right, up a little bit. Aha yes, there it is:)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
November is National Novel writing month.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Just wow. Go watch it.
Because I know some of you won't (shame on you), there is new-ish research showing that the influence caused by environmental factors can be passed down genetically. For example, if your grandmother was exposed to high levels of a toxin, you may possibly exhibit the same ill effects although you never sniffed that toxin in your life! Or if you experienced a traumatic, stressful event that left you with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, your grandchildren could exhibit the same symptoms although never experiencing the event you did. These environmental factors occur and get locked into the jumble of genetics that makes you "you".
They explain it SO much better in the documentary (probably because they actually GET it).
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Shantal- pooped from a day at school, Pablito (little Pablo)- look at those cheeks!!, Astrid- beautiful inside and out- I miss them!
I'm done reminiscing about our Peruvian travels for now...
So more recently when I was babysitting once the kids were told they could watch just one TV program. So that one program came and went and then we decided to play Cinderella. This was Elie's (4) choice. Her little brother got roped into being the horse for the first part, then the doorman for the rest. He soon up and left the ball to resume some colouring and rummaging through the bathroom drawer. But what I really wanted to share with you was this conversation:
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
A week ago, had you asked about my past and future life story, I would have told you this:
I was born in Surrey, BC,
Grew up in a house on a hill,
Graduated from high school,
Moved out and spent a fun year working,
Moved back home and finished two years of Nursing school,
Traveled with my sister to distant lands,
Came home and... back to the books... with two more years to go.
BUT. Try replacing the last line with:
Came home and signed up for nothing more than one psychology class, started handing out resumes left and right, sold $105 worth of textbooks, and couldn't wait to pursue a career in something that I really love.
That one's much better in my opinion:)
PS. I tried dried cherries for the first time today- they are fantastic! A little pricey at Thrifty's, but tasty nonetheless.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Birthdays- this girl loves her ice cream cake, and we love her.
B-B-Q's: See that bag of cherries? Looks big, doesn't it? We can down that in record time.
We've had some company this August which was absolutely wonderful. Cortney came and we talked a mile a minute, sat by the ocean and ate sweets- ah bliss!
Jon and Ronan were passing through and we played a fun, yet rather unpolished version of John Denver's "Take me home, country roads". Try it! All you need is a piano, violin, mandolin, and guitar and a desire to sing in double-or triple time.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I have never been so excited to call Sidney, BC my hometown as I have been recently. Why? Well it all started a week ago when I opened our little Peninsula Review newspaper (which I used to deliver back in the day) and the headline reported that the one and only Jessie Farrell (amazing country singer) has opened up a juice shop on Beacon Ave! So I head on in for a delicious local, organic, and tasty smoothie served by Jessie herself... crazy eh?
I have never met anyone even remotely famous before so this is a new thing for me.
Next, I find out that she's performing at the Butchart gardens for only a fraction of the price that I would have to pay to see her in a big city somewhere. To top it off, she sounds even BETTER in real life than on the radio.
Google it: "Heart of gold" or "Fell right into you"
I kindof liked Sidney before... but now I'm REALLY proud of it:)
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Now is the fun part. I get to sift through my photos and try to remember all the cool things we saw.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Sunday morning at 4:00AM we gathered our packs and headed to a plaza in Cusco where we would meet the rest of our group and our guide and porters to bus up to KM 82, the place we would start our trek from. We stopped in Ollantaytambo (an tiny agricultural town known for keepíng traditional Inca traditions such as plowing by foot) for breakfast and to stock up on water and chocolate. Here we were introduced to the type of bathroom facilities that are found on the trail and in the poorer areas of Peru (hugely unsanitary, yet probably cost effective, holes).
The first day was supposed to be an easy day because we were only hiking 14km and the route was quite flat. Day two was a bit more of a challenge. We hiked 16km total over two passes, the highest of which was at 4200m! I could definitely feel the thinner air. The third day we entered into the cloud forest and saw three different Inca ruins. The Inca Trail was used for messangers to run through bringing messages from town to town and for people travelling to Machu Pichu where they would worship the sun, moon, and earth. The Inca people had no written language so the messages were all verbal. Some of the ruins are fortresses which were used to spot invaders from the Amazon or the Spaniards, some are purifying stations or rest stops prior to going to Machu Pichu, and some are full of terraces where food was grown and new crops identified. The most amazing thing to me about the trail is that people RAN on it. We had a group of 14 amazing porters who carried our tents, food, etc. for us. They were a group of Quechua farmers aged 16 to 47 who work as porters in peak tourist season to support their families. They sped through the trail with nothing but sandals on their feet and heavy packs taller than they were on their backs. About 5 years ago, archeologists wanted to find out how fast the Inca people could bring messages across the trail so all the porters had a race. The record was 3 hours and 40 minutes!
We also had a chef on board who whipped up restaurant quality food in the mountains.
Through the Sun Gate we were able to take the postcard picture of Machu Pichu. It was really busy with tourists, so I possibly enjoyed the other Inca sites better! Machu Pichu was never found by the Spaniards when they came and invaded most of the other sites, and it is probably because they had deserted the place and taken everything of value. There were no riches of any sort found in Machu Pichu when it was discovered in 1911.
My time is up. More pictures soon, I hope! We are off to Nicaragua tomorrow, and hanging out again in Lima tonight.
Hope all is fantastic wherever you are.
Shanna and Monica
Friday, July 16, 2010
The bus trip was quite the adventure. We booked it a long time ago so managed to snag the front seats up top (prime viewing location)!! We had reclining chairs and foot rests, as well as 2 meals, and a game of Bingo. Somehow, I won the Bingo game! I had to go to the back of the bus and, using the microphone, and say something. So I told everyone my name and said thankyou... :) The prize was a free bus trip from Cusco to Lima, but it has to be used between Aug. 9 and Sept. 9.
Once in Cusco we found our hostel and had a warm shower!!! First one in weeks:)
We ventured out for lunch and were served soup with chicken parts (feet). Blech. We tried to eat them but they were really tough.
We came across a museum like place with exhibits of artwork that children in the areas have produced. Volunteers go out to see children living in the surrounding Quechua tribes and bring art supplies. Because there are so few external influences on their imagination (like TV, books, radio) their artwork is a completely pure representation of how they view their everyday surroundings.
Today we are running errands and looking around the main Plaza.
Book hostel for nicaragua- done!
Buy medicine for Monicas cough- done!
Update blog- done!
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
But I'll back up.
Our days have been really busy (kids are exhausting), and most of the time we arrive back to the house and have a siesta before almuerzo/lunch at 3 ish and our spanish lesson. The lessons are really helpful simply because we get a chance to talk to someone who is fluent in both spanish and english and can tell us exactly how to say what we intend to! There have been a few mishaps in that department as you can probably imagine...
From our house it is about a 15 minute walk to the main street where there are shopping centres, internet cafe's, and restaurants. One of the things I think is so neat here are the mototaxis. They don't drive long distances but we can take one for one sol (equivalent to about 33 cents) to the main street. They are smaller than smart cars and have three wheels like a tricycle. They just barely fit four people on the bench seat in the back:) One thing I won't miss about Lima is the smell. It is really smoggy and there's lots of exhaust everywhere.
This week I've had three cups of arroz con leche (rice pudding with a Peruvian purple corn sauce- Chicha morada). You can buy them from people on the side of the road, also for 1 sol.
This past weekend we were all sick but did manage to get out and about a bit. We went to Central Lima which is the "downtown Victoria" of Victoria, of Lima... if that makes sense. We took a tour of The Cathedral San Francisco which was absolutely STUNNING! It is a catholic cathedral and convent dating back to the 1600's, although much has been restored. I managed to grab a few pictures from the cathedral before mass started, but we weren't allowed to take any other pictures:( Underneath are cattacoombs where the poor people burried their dead so that they would be closer to reaching heaven (the richer people had designated graves under the church, not communal holes).
We watched the FIFA games in the Plaza de Armas and cheered along with many other people when Spain won. Football (soccer) is huge here, in all the neighborhood parks men and boys (no girls I've noticed) are playing. We wanted to take the taxi down there to get the last half of the game and realized why there didn't seem to be any around... all the taxi drivers were watching it too!
Today we made our family pancakes with some syrup that we brought. They liked them (or so they said)!
So tomorrow we take a bus from here to Cusco- 21 hours! It's an overnight bus. We will have to remember to pack kleenex... we're going to drive our neighbours nuts because we're still a little sick. It feels like we have just settled in here and now we're moving on... but we're excited to see Machu Pichu, South America's national pride!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This is Larcomar, a new-ish shopping centre built along the sea side. This photo was taken by an overly excited waiter who was trying to convince us to eat at his restaurant by explaining all the menu items. It worked for about 5 minutes but by the time 20 rolled around I had decided to move on:)
A day hike (the one with cows and dogs and a waterfall). Pretty, yeah?
This is our family with a volunteer who left the day we came. To get to the house we need to walk up five flights of stairs- it was hard on the legs at first! Wait, I lie- it still is. School seems to be optional for the kids- we have not figured out why some days they go and some days they stay home. Little Pablo is so adorable and the kids all adore him. The father (Pablo also) works at a Casino somewhere in town.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
We are spending half our time at the school in Pachacutek, and the rest of it in an orphanage for children with special needs- that’s where we were today! It’s hard to believe that all these kids really don’t belong to anybody. One of my favourites is Lorena. She is three or four and stays in her crib all day because she does not have the strength to walk or sit up. She loves her bottle and being held and cuddled, like most of the kids there.
Here’s a good bus story: Last weekend we had a LOT of bus time. People often jump onto the bus to try to sell their wares (sandwiches con carne- meat, peaches, oranges, bamboo), and jump off again a few minutes later. A little boy who was probably 12 years old was singing and asking for money on the bus and so we gave him a few extra bananas. Judging by his shocked, disgusted, priceless expression he was not at all interested in the food, so started trying to sell the bananas to other passengers!
This weekend was full of exciting things! On Saturday we and seven other volunteers were lead by the very competent Pablo on a hiking adventure! We rode the bus for approximately four hours and then hiked for about two hours to see a waterfall. It was gorgeous! Lima is all smog so it was refreshing to see actual blue sky and clouds again. There were donkeys and cows (Shanna has a bruise where a cow “nudged” her with his horn) and many stray dogs along the trail. In Lima, all the dogs that are kept as pets seem to be wearing coats to differentiate them from the wild ones.
Sunday we woke up late and then four of us volunteers took a taxi to Miraflores. We have not heard back from Melinda so missed the meeting that would be going on this morning. Instead, we took a tour of the Lima ruins Huaca Pucllana. A few key facts about the Limas:
- Their main gods were the Sea and the Moon
- They sacrificed girls of short stature aged 12 – 25 because the Sea and the Moon were both female gods (we don’t stand much chance)
- At the same time of the sacrificing they had a banquet and ate shark
- They built their pyramids and walls out of bricks, which were hand formed and then sun dried. They layers the bricks and put mud in between the layers but not in between the bricks so that they could sway and not break during an earthquake
After the tour we went to La Mar for lunch. It is a well known ceviche restaurant (ceviche is raw fish in various juices- it’s a Peruvian delicacy).We had the sample platter, with five different types of ceviche. We also had some very flavorful rice with all types of seafood and vegetables. And my (Monica’s) particular favorite was a skillet of corn, mashed potatoes, squid and octopus with spices. That’s right mom, I loved the octopus! We finished lunch at around 4 and then saw La Iglesia de la Virgin Miragrosa (Church of the miraculous virgin), El Parque de Amor (Park of Love ) and then headed home.
Today (Monday), we went back to the Special Needs Orphanage. We feed the kids and play with them and keep them from running away. We are going to have Spanish lessons this afternoon.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
We arrived Tuesday morning at 5 am, breezed through customs, and headed to our host family's house. We stayed awake just long enough to learn that the Peruvian plumbing cannot tolerate toilet paper. Right now there are 2 bunkbeds and 4 girls at this house. Monica and I, and two girls from the U.S.
We are staying with a young family who work with the volunteer organization. They have four children younger than 14. They are super cute but hard to understand! (As is everyone around here unfortunately- I'm getting used to being in a constant state of confusion). The parents speak no english and so we play an ongoing game of guessing and a bit of charades mixed in too:)
They feed us our weight in food at every meal. Here the main meal is lunch and it is served anywhere from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. Carolina (our host mom) is a wonderful cook and she dishes out our food for us. It is Peruvian courtesy to eat everything you are served. Yesterday Monica impressed me big time. She ate half an avocado and a banana in one meal (she has refrained from eating both these foods for YEARS).
This morning we took a taxi to our orientation. I don't know why there are seat belts in the taxis unless it's just for decoration! There were six of us so I ended up sitting on Monica's lap. I was concerned that I was blocking the driver's view but I don't think he looked out of the rear view mirror once. The streets sound a little like a band. Drivers honk whenever they want and maybe for no reason at all. There's also lots of yelling and shouting. All the taxis and bus drivers want to attract business to their vehicle.
At the orientation we met about 20 other volunteers from all over the world.
We then paid 1 sol cincuenta centimos for a bus to Pachucutek which is where the schools and baby houses are that we will be helping out in. Keep posted for pictures. We're going back tomorrow. It's beautiful there, but really poor. The buildings and houses are built on tall hills overlooking the sea.
Good days to you!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
To celebrate Sherlock's addition to the family, and maybe more importantly to celebrate Monica's standard driving skills, Sterling, Monica, and I headed up to Lake Cowichan for a night and two blissful days.
It felt so nice to leave all the electronics behind(besides the IPOD... but that's different), and become unconnected for a while.
We painted, had tickle wars, dropped our flashlights in the fire, sang, read our books, took turns with the Shamen stick, swam, taught Sterling how to be a man (it involves not borrowing his sister's flip flops when his bare feet hurt), roasted marshmellows, pepperettes, carrots, chocolate, reese's peanut butter cups, pretzels, tomatoes...
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Yes, she does.
-Attend my last ever school-related "thing" for this year (!)
-Drive through downtown Victoria and marvel at the number of uniformed Navy personnel (8000 to be exact).
-Thursday night Sidney Market with a hot chocolate in hand
However, I still can't find a background I like.
Here's a shot from a little while ago (back when it was sweater weather). I wonder who was selling their laundry! Seeing as they chose to discard their sign, it must not have been a booming business.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Here's a little list of the things I am counting...
3 days of practicum left
5 days until school is completely done for the summer
21 days until we get to attend a wedding. (Mr. Sun, please come too.)
22 days until the Hanks and Beck clans collide for a momentous family reunion (or "starwatch"). At the first starwatches way back in the day, everyone would bring their sleeping bags and watch the stars:)
24 days until Monica and I leave the country and become suspended in the air for a little while.
25 days until we arrive in Lima, Peru and meet our host family!
27 days until I start teaching english. Oh dear! Any teaching tips?
44 days until we begin our ascent up towards Machu Pichu
50 days until we arrive in Nicaragua! This country sounds so beautiful! I can't wait.
But who's counting?
And just for a side-note... it's a matter of minutes until I will be resuming a Pirates of the Caribbean Marathon, and that's pretty exiting too. (Captain Jack Sparrow= AMAZING)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The above picture captures the true emotion of terror if you look close enough.
What better way to spend a sunny May day than up in the trees where the sky is clear and the ground is... gulp... far below? There were spinning rubber balls to walk over (almost like Wipe-out!), rope swings, ladders, zip lines, skateboards, logs suspended in mid-air seperated by distances longer than myself, and monkey bars. Normally heights don't bother me at all, but there were a few instances here where I had to do some hard-core convincing to make myself go. It's weird how fear works... it is such a safety net for us. Our intelligent bodies KNOW that we shouldn't be stepping off platforms 60 feet above ground. But do we listen?? No... that's no fun at all.
Leslie was good enough to stay for the excitement, rooting for us from the trail and taking pictures!
Afterwards, Monica and I travelled downtown where we sauntered through Robinson's Outdoor Store, Value Village and a few other ones whose names I can't remember.
Hope everyone's long weekend was wonderful.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Nurses are amazing people. Working with them, and attempting to become one has given me a lot of respect for men and women who work in this profession.
They have wicked time management skills.
They are on their feet for 12 hour shifts and then come in again the next morning to start at 7:00am, and do it all over again.
They are expected to know everything, or so it seems.
They survive the politics.
They can hear call bells from the other end of the halls, even in the midst of hundreds of other beeping noises from IV poles, med carts, bed alarms. You name it, it beeps.
They watch family members cry over their loved ones and try to be strong for them.
They can go home to their families and leave work behind them.
But the best nurses... are the ones who remember what it’s like to be a student.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
So what have I gone and done now? You betcha- I sent a cheery, hopeful letter to my old place of work (again- this may be the third time I have returned after leaving) and they told me that they do indeed require my clothes-selling skills. Yahoo!
I was thinking that if I'm ever a boss of sorts, I would really hope that I could be like my bosses at Marks (not only because they hired me again). I agree with this quote:
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
And this one tickles my funny bone:
Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women.
Not much changes at the store from year to year, so it's never too much of an adjustment to go back. Thankfully.
Come on in to the Sidney by the sea location and say 'hi'! (And buy some jeans. We have LOTS).
Monday, May 3, 2010
Anyhow, here's some pictures from a superb long weekend we spent in Washington and Oregon. Why there? Washington contains some wonderful friends and family, and as for Oregon, well duh, it has no tax! Not to mention some wonderful outlet malls. Now I am fully outfitted for hopefully a LoNg time, and remain in a good mood because we snagged some amazing deals. For example, one store practically gave away 4 tops and a bag to me for $33! I almost feel bad for the store owners.
Baskin Robbins had a special sale on, ONE NIGHT ONLY! 31 cent scoops, so naturally Uncle Larry persuaded us to stop after meeting on Wed. night. Didn't take much persuading however.
I just like this picture. We didn't buy the dresses though.
Cacao: Portland's source for drinkable chocolate. Mmm. Andrea knows all the hot spots. Powell's books, Papa Haydn's, and an Italian grocery store, just to name a few.
Snoqualmie Falls. They are roaring, meandering, swirling... etc.