Archive | March, 2009

saltines and peanut butter

21 Mar

That is what I am eating as I type this post. Trying not to get PB on my hubby’s mac. Oh would I be in such trouble!

I am laying in bed with a nasty cold and it sucks! I hate being sick. I seriously feel like I’ve been hit my a truck. I know it’s been awhile since I posted. Really hasn’t been too much going on in these parts. The main thing is just making sure I keep my job. I am sure everyone is feeling this way. The last post was my toastmaster’s speech. It went really well. I was pleased. Next month, I am taking on the role as an evaluator. This is when you provide an evaluation of another member’s speech.  You have to go up to the front of the room and share your thoughts. You are also being evaluated on how you evaluated. I am pleased at my progress with this club. I see it more from the inside then really my speaking abilities. I have more confidence. It feels good not to beat myself up anymore. Makes me wonder about my twenties and if I didn’t beat myself up so much where would I be career wise.

Our trip to Chile was fantastic. I am so happy we took advantage and went. Non-reving worked out great. We ended up in first class on the way down to Santiago. This was my first long, international flight. The reason why we decided to go to Chile is this. Eli  lived there in 2001-2002. He traveled all over south america and learned spanish fluently. The family he stayed with became his chilean family. He still keeps in touch with them. We even invited them to our wedding but it was too cost prohibitive for them to come. Since the airline Eli flies for has a direct flight to santiago from dallas, we said hell ya, let’s do this! 

We packed in  a ton of sight seeing in the 5 days we were there. We did a day trip to Santiago, Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar. I’ve posted the pics on FB because I still have not figured out how to feed flicker into this blog. If anyone can help me that would be great.  Speaking Spanish was rough. It was easier in C*uba but I think it was because I was drinking the whole time we were there. Chile weather wise is very similar to California. It was a wonderful Mediterranean climate. It was warm during the day and cool at night. The first night we were there, there was a horrible, horrible wind storm that came off the Andes Mountains. It knocked down many trees at the Chilean family’s home. These pine trees that cracked were huge and 30 years old. The grandma counted the rings in the trunk! Power was knocked out until Saturday. It was an experience.

Going home we had no issues with getting on flights. We arrived back home on Tuesday afternoon and proceeded to sleep the rest of the day. Going back to work that week was a challenge. 

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I think it is time for me to take a nap or watch an episode of Friday night lights. Does anyone else watch this show? It seriously makes me want to move to Texas and have eli coach football and I will become a teacher–which is my dream anyway. 

and coach taylor is HOT.

Toastmaster’s Speech #2: 90/45

12 Mar

 

 

When I say the word C*u*ba, what comes to mind?

-Fi*del Ca*stro               -Embargo                   

-Tropicana                   -Communism               -Vintage American Cars

-Rum                           -3rd world Country      -Good music

-Cigars                         -Celia Cruz                  -Revolution

-Al Capone                  -Tobacco                    -Human Right’s Issues           

 

We all have our own perceptions of what we think C*u*ba is like. As we shared some of the images that came to mind, some were negative and some were positive. My husband and I shared some of these perceptions, however, we wanted to discover first hand if these perceptions were reality. This is why the two of us and our two closest friends decided to take a chance and visit Ca*stro’s c*u*ba ourselves.

 

We spent the majority of our trip exploring downtown Hav*ana. Downtown Hav*ana can be split into three main areas. Havana Vieja (historical), Centro Hav*ana (see what real C*ub*an life is like) and Vedado-which was the once mafia-run district. This is where we stayed. Ha*v*ana is like any other major city. It is noisy and congested.

 

How ever how similar it may be the differences are more apparent. 

·         It is true in what is said about C*u*ba being stuck in a time warp. Everywhere you turn, you see vintage American cars driving around like it is 1958.

·         You also start to notice the Russian influence on the country in the form of the other cars& trucks on the road. The tanks displayed at the Museum of the Revolution to the front door handle at our Casa Particular (bed and breakfast)

·         Consumerism is no where in sight. There are no McDonalds, the latest Gap or a billboard advertising the next movie release. There is however, numerous murals quoting C*a*stro and the revolution.

·         More noticeably is the crumbling architecture throughout Ha*v*ana, some of these buildings seemed unfit for habitation and you had to be careful where you walked because it is very common to have uncovered manholes or huge cracks in the sidewalk that could cause terrible twisted ankles.  

·         However in true C*a*stro fashion, anything to do with tourists the buildings was beautiful, clean and rehabbed.  It was like being in a Spanish or European city.

·         C*u*ban night life started 10pm.  It is common to see people gathered around either a cup of coffee or passing around a bottle of Hav*ana Club Rum, lining up to go in discos and hear Cu*ban music playing on every corner.

 

Prior to my trip to C*u*ba, when I would hear the phrase Cu*ban Cuisine

·         Think of plantains, beans and rice and the taste and smell of delicious spices

·         I quickly learned that as a result of 4 decades of food rations and the two hurricanes that hit C*u*ba in 2008, made it quite common to walk into a restaurant, the waiter to hand you a menu, telling you they only had ham and cheese sandwiches or fried chicken. Both I found to be quite good.

·         Our diet also consisted of many C*u*ba Libres and of course C*u*ban cigars

 

The C*u*bans that we met during our trip were very friendly, gracious, animated and very happy that we were there visiting their country.

  • Fielded many questions about our thoughts on Obama.
  • Hearing stories about their day to day lives you can see Cu*bans are resiliant.  
  • Everyone helps everyone to make a bit of cash (taxi driver to bed at their house). In the same breathe that the are offering up a friend’s services they are asking for the shirt off your back
  • Very proud of their country and it’s history—one woman who I met who was in her  60’s, I asked her if she could live in any country what would it be, she simply replied, c*u*ba.

 

C*u*ba is a country that is filled with contradictions. I learned quickly that in order to take in the complexity of this country, you have to leave judgment at the door. Visually you can see the economic hardship the country is in and yet the people are hugely optimistic about it’s future. The US and C*u*ba are 90 miles away and as the phrase goes 90 miles or 45 minutes away,  that is where you can have everything as a c*u*ban points north to the US.

90/45

Hello Friends

10 Mar

We are back! Chile was awesome and I plan to post about it soon.  It was a quick trip but I am really thankful we took advantage and we went. Now, I am just trying to get back into the swing of things at work.  Pictures of Chile are posted on my facebook page. Please feel free to check them out. I am starting to get caught up with all of you and can’t wait to hear what’s been going on!