Monday, October 27, 2008

Take Comfort

Hazel passed away on October 17th at 6:08 pm. My aunt said that there was peace throughout the house when it happened. Logically, I agree with that. I am happy she is released from her suffering. But, being a simple human, I am sad for everything we have lost because she isn't with us anymore. When I stand outside of the whole thing, I think I am lucky to learn something about comfort right now. I'm seeking it for myself, and finding that it looks different than I have always imagined. I found comfort in sleeping at Hazel's house, in her bed, imagining that I was a child curled up beside her. I woke up, and she wasn't there. I found comfort in recalling her memory with family, but it led to guilt about all the missed opportunities. I found comfort in sharing her home and a meal with family, only to realize that I was experiencing the last gathering we would have like that. I find comfort in faith that God has set life in motion and His hand in our life is intentional, loving, careful, steady...though no offense to God, I find His plan too slow for my taste quite a bit of the time. On Monday morning I found comfort in a chocolate cupcake. Honestly, it lasted. I think it is because I sought it out in despair (sounds dramatic, I was a rough Monday morning, okay?), and the goodness of the cupcake did offer something. Other than that, nothing anyone says or does, no experience I give to myself has provided lasting comfort. What I learned this week was that even if no singular thought or action does provide lasting comfort, efforts at comfort do seem to gain something in collective form. I often hesitate to write sympathy cards, because I feel it is egotistical -- what could I say to make someone feel better about real, definite loss? Now I understand. It is impossible to take away loss, but being reminded of the goodness of life -- being reminded of friendship, of the unwavering love that is family -- being reminded of the goodness in this world is a wonderful distraction.

Friday, October 10, 2008

India Outsources Visa Process to Travisa

Our Indian Visa applications are now in the mail. I hope we have as good of luck getting those back as we did with the China Visas. What I found humorous about this process is that India has outsourced their visa process. It is now impossible to go to a consulate and just apply in person. Everyone must submit their application to Travisa and pay the $13 processing charge. To their credit, Travisa had a pretty slick and straightforward website.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What will they think of next?

The bad news: Our 94 Sentra suffered a terrible fate. It died about two weeks ago, and the doctor bill was said to range from $1000-$2000. Too much for people focused on saving money for a trip around the we had to let her go.

The good news: We put our sad little Sentra on the local equivalent of Craigslist, and someone called wanting to give our Sentra a second life as an "ELECTRIC CAR". If cars were religious...and Hindu...I think this would be Nirvana for our little Sentra....(or, I guess somewhere slightly below Nirvana since the Sentra will still be alive, just reincarnated into something so exciting and futuristic.)

I googled "convert your car to an electric car", and discovered that for about $7000-$10000, you can fully convert any light-bodied car into an electric car that will run forever, for the cost of plugging it in every night and replacing a battery every 3-4 years. Supposedly they go 50-90 mph, and can go on trips of about 50-80 miles at a time.

We love you lil' Sentra...I hope they treat you well.

More about converting a car:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Commute Cost Calculator

Ever wonder how much it costs to go to work every day? Thought this was kind of fun!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Random Travel Updates

Hey - since some folks might be interested in learning about the travel planning aspect of this adventure, here are some updates:

-We got our visas back from China Travel Service quite promptly. This was a bargain, and great service too. If you are sending in passports for a famiy, do ask about negotiating the return shipping fee. We saved $75.

-I finally got the warranty money on our carseat/stroller combo. This turned out to be quite a bargain, as the stroller broke recently. We got to keep the carseat, so it was kind of like getting a brand new carseat for the $17 cost of the warranty. Now we are shopping for a baby backpack to replace the stroller. We got full use of the carseat stroller while Lily was super-small, and now she can ride in an umbrella stroller. The refund will cover the cost of the backpack which should be more travel-friendly. (We're looking at Ergo and Deuter Kangakid right now...anyone with other suggestions? Lightweight, durable, comfortable, and multipurpose are our criteria!)

-We've been researching travel opportunities for children/family friendly activities. Cadiz looks easy, because it is so close to the beach and a very walkable city it seems. Turkey looks like it might be a challenge, but we at least identified a few places with playgrounds for burning off energy. In Thailand, we are going to opt for Pattaya over Bangkok due to the kiddos. There is an orphanage there, and I look forward to Abi having the opportunity to play with other children. Shanghai sports an Ocean Aquarium and an interactive History Museum for reasonable rates. We aren't sure how much time we will spend in Kobe, Japan but it was a very friendly city for children, so we hope to spend a considerable amount of time there. In many places, we expect the entertainment will be the food, the culture, and the people we meet. So, we don't want to overbook ourselves. But we are trying to generate a list of ideas to begin with so that we atleast know which neighborhoods to head toward.

Google Girl

We just watched a movie from 1987. It was about a rich psychologist, and I had to laugh becuase her "fancy" office didn't have a computer. Ha! How did people even exist before Google? I am neurotic to begin with, and just thinking about our move throws me into hours of intense meditation on which size of bubble wrap will best protect our photo frames. Do you realize we are leaving Pullman in a mere 80 days? I should have packed the Christmas tree months ago!

Luckily, Google is there to give me all of the answers I need. What I like most about Google is that I never have to say crazy things out-loud, like "How to get rust off of grill bolts". What I like even better, is that when I Google things like that, someone else has written an entire article on the subject, with multiple methods of dealing with rust on grill bolts. That means that some of you are just as crazy as I am.

The danger in all of this Googling is it actually allows me to spend my time thinking about...grill bolts? With 80 days remaining in Pullman, my time might be better spent with the people here instead of bubble wrap and boxes.