A Month’s Worth of Life in a Page

It’s been a full month since I wrote last!  Mark got sad, then I got sad. I got sick, then Mark got sick. Two car trips in a row, and a full week of meetings for me. Mark turned 23.

Mark was doing pretty well until we hit the snag with his transcripts.  Then he was afraid he’d never get back to school, never graduate, and never get a ‘real job’ helping people.  I watch him help people everyday, but it’s not the same.  The more sad he got, the less he got done and the worse he felt. It’s not a fun cycle. Then I got sad that I couldn’t fix things and that nothing I was doing was helping. I baked a festive orange birthday cake the week before his birthday, but then I came down with a stuffy nose/cold. Two days later and Mark’s running a 102 temp and taking days off work. Fortunately, one of my church ladies is a nurse practitioner who could write him a doctor’s note.  On another note, we lost the thermometer. Mark took his temp wile I was at work, thought he put the thermometer back where it goes, and we haven’t seen it since. I’ve looked, cleaned the cabinet, checked anywhere I can think of, but it’s gone.

Dad to the rescue! I emailed him about the whole transcript fiasco and he solved it in one afternoon. Dad’s fix everything. (Now I just need mom to visit so she can find our missing thermometer, since moms find things.)

Last weekend we went home and had Mark’s birthday with his family. Both sets of grandparents were there for his little sister’s confirmation.  He had to work Saturday morning, so we drove over after and my parents met us for dinner at his house. We got to test out the RV on Saturday since both sets of grandparents were in the spare beds.  And Sunday we all got up and watched Christine get confirmed. We got to church around 10am and left at 1pm! We then took Christine to the store to grab last minute things for her party and went back to the house. Quite a few people came including the pastor’s family. The best part was the end when the pianist showed up and started a sing-along around the piano to Sound of Music songs. How many small children do you think know any of the words to the yodeling song? (Hint: Not many.)

The following week, all of the field staff for my department came to Chicago for meetings. That added an extra 10 or so people for a week. We had lunch ordered every day, learned more about college relations, did some research on other programs, and made a lot of noise! I managed to stay on top of my regular calls & emails, but it was a tough week doing a full days work in a few scattered hours each day between meetings.   Thursday we had a team dinner at Portillo’s and then a few of us went to Streeter’s after.  Dinner took about 3 hours, so it was 8:30-9 by the time the last of us left. My newest coworker and I got a bit mixed up with my GPS (It doesn’t tell you which direction to start) and ended up with more time to talk about Cru, Tolkien, Lewis, and the Inklings. When we finally got to Streeter’s, there were still about 8-9 of us there. Some were playing beer-pong and I was nominated to play next. I think playing sober gives an advantage, but I’ll accept my two back-to-back wins anyway!

I was matched with a former IES employee who has now spent 7 years at a university through the International Educators of Illinois mentor program. We both missed the orientation, but can’t wait to meet each other. Hopefully I can learn what I need to for a university job.

I met Mark when he got off work and we made it home on the train. Apparently wearing the same heels for two straight days in a row plus going out doesn’t go over well on my poor feet. Friday was the last day of my meetings and I was going a bit crazy from all the people time. After work, Mark picked me up in the pouring rain where we proceeded to make it our of Chicago after two hours. Six hours later, we made it to the camp in Michigan where his family used to go for summer camp. How did it rain in literally every other zip code but camp? I’d really like to know.

We came back on Sunday afternoon and made it through Chicago traffic with no problems and minimal rain.  Monday we slept in, attempted a trip to Costco, but discovered that they aren’t open on Memorial day. I went to check that several times before we left, but I kept getting side tracked. So instead we went to Home Depot, parked, and got pizza and donuts. Today after work, we officially became Costco members!  My parents got Mark a membership for his birthday, so we signed up and finally had a hassle-free trip through the check-out. Even if you’re an authorized family member, they don’t like you using a card from another state.

Thanks to Reddit, I found a swimsuit on sale that will actually fit me for our late honeymoon/early anniversary trip to Cancun! In August, we’re taking 4 days to go lay on the beach, relax, snorkel and have fun.  I can’t wait, but first I had to renew my passport because when my name changed, I figured I’d get around to it eventually. Well, eventually got a bit sooner, so I’ve now sent in my app and am waiting on the new passport. Fortunately, my coworkers assured me that I’ll get the old one back, but with a hole through it. I have too many fun stamps in there to give it up for good!

Friday, I’m taking off after lunch to go see Sarah at the airport! She’s coming home after months of fun in Wales and Europe. I know she doesn’t want to leave her friends, the beach, and the lovely CU and church family she’s made, but we miss her and mom could use a break from worrying about her in the middle of all these world events going on. Our exchange sister is in the Philippines in the general area that was attacked and put under martial law, but she says everything is normal in her town, just a bit more security than usual. I’m glad she’s safe, and I hope things quiet down and can be solved without blowing up anything else.

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Lent & Learning

This year’s Lent season has gone much better for me than usual.  The weather is usually dark, cold, and just generally miserable and the effects of well-intended sermons each Sunday & Wednesday usually feel the same.  Why do we tell people how miserable they are just to expect them 40 days later to celebrate? The psychology just doesn’t work for me on this.  This year, even with some miserable weather, it’s been decent enough to go outside some weekends and Mark & I are at the tail-end of a Happiness bible study with our Wednesday night group.  We also had a mini-staycation with two family visits, and our house is cleaner because of it!

Thursday of last week, I posted on my way to a conference.  The IEI, International Educators of Illinois, met at Kendall College to talk about a variety of subjects. I was in Study Abroad 101 for the full day with two of our other newer advisors.  Speaking with some of the more seasoned professionals, I was reminded that experience isn’t always measured in years & that I should never apologize for my newness.  I met several people who I was able to continue talking to at the networking hour afterward.  I joined another international ed. group, and signed up to be mentored.  Here’s hoping I can build more skills this year!

Saturday was the last kickboxing class for a few weeks.  After that, the lady who leads the class and I went upstairs to meet the newly recruited accompanist for Sunday.  Our usual music people were in Iowa, so we spent roughly 2 hours figuring out the timing together with a piano instead of the usual guitar.  I’m still adjusting to Mark working all day, so afterwards I took a field trip to Lakeview to see him at his store.  I successfully came home with no new plants, even though the variety was great and they had small plants on sale.  Someday I will have the space for a garden…  I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time after leaving Mark’s store and found the best Indian food!  $2 for the same food that would cost me $14 in a restaurant.  Sunday we made it to the 8:30am service and met several people I’d never seen in our neighborhood.  They have cake & coffee between services with a Bible study, so I stayed for a bit before the 11am service started.

I walked around the Lakeview neighborhood for a long while on Saturday, and walked Jefferson Park on Sunday waiting for my parents train to arrive.  I joined them at the airport to see them off for 3 weeks in the UK with my sister. We have half a plan figured out for the day they come home, since the train schedule doesn’t work very well and my dad works the day after.  It looks like I’ll be driving them out of Chicago to meet my uncle who will take them the rest of the way back.