Easy transitions

It’s been so nice to be back in the States even though I don’t know anyone here (in Albuquerque) other than my dad and his girlfriend… it really doesn’t matter. Lately I’ve been worried about the transition from Moldova to “home” and how it would be and I thought it would be hard but in all honesty, it’s really easy. In fact, it’s probably too easy. I have to keep reminding myself that I have a school year to finish… and then I’m officially “home”.

This photo is from an area near downtown, not too far from the University here. While it doesn’t show the beauty of Albuquerque that is just a couple streets away, I just love it. The sparse clouds in the blue sky. The man walking with the briefcase. The person standing under the sign. I love my job (err… passion?)!

Friendly people

I am currently sitting in a coffee shop in Albuquerque enjoying the unlimited refills of house coffee, a deliciously healthy blueberry muffin, and free magazines. My body is quickly becoming sore from me taking advantage of my jet lag. Coming from a temperature below freezing in Moldova, trust me when I say 50 degrees feels amazing.. Especially after an intense hot yoga session. As I went to get a refill if my coffee, an old man smiled at me and asked, “aren’t you cold?” in reference to me in my cotton shorts and tank top. With a smile I replied that no, I’m not cold.

In my morning yoga class, a kid stopped me after class to ask if I was an alum of a private school here because of my water bottle.

I love how people can be so friendly here.

Jet lag

Jet lag sucks. I forget about it every time I travel long distances… thinking it’s not going to be that bad but as soon as I get to the destination I remember just how much it sucks.

Let’s think about the positive thoughts regarding jet lag.

  • I can go to bed early. No, no. That’s not good because “early” means 6pm. That won’t work
  • I’m a zombie in the afternoon. No, no. That’s not good, either, because zombies aren’t any fun
  • I can do sunrise yoga. Oh, wait. YES! Sunrise yoga!

This morning I woke up at 4:30 (30 minutes later than yesterday… I’m on a roll here) and decided to get my butt moving and head to a hot yoga class that began at 5:30am. After yesterday’s attempt at a spinning class, this is definitely worth it! I feel so stretched out and much better. However, I think it’s about time for a nap.

In regards to my dad’s recovery… yesterday was a MUCH better day! He was feeling so good, in fact, that he went down the stairs and played some poker while watching the red carpet intro to the Emmy Awards with Connie (I was sleeping). He didn’t make it too much past dinner (or even to the start of the show) but it’s still great progress! If he keeps up like this, maybe he’ll be joining me in my sunrise yoga classes before I leave. Ok, just kidding. But still, this is great news!

27 hour day

I made it safe and sound to Albuquerque. It was a 27-hour day if I count the time I left the hotel in Chisinau until the time I arrived at the house in New Mexico. The flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta was 10 1/2 hours and I was so thankful to have my own TV set so I could choose which movies to watch- and movie watching I did! The food was probably the best food I can remember having on an airplane and I feel like we were fed more than enough (or at least I was).

It is so weird to be back. When I arrived, it was around 9pm so it was dark outside. I haven’t been to Albuquerque since I was 12, and quite frankly, I don’t remember it and it has probably changed a lot since then. But I must say, damn, it feels great to be back in the United States. I just couldn’t stop looking out the window on the way to the house and I kept thinking how great it is that I know most of these stores and I know where to get things that I need, and there’s a coffeeshop I should check out and there’s another one, and OH! Starbucks! Target! Mini dealership! Oh man… it just feels good to be back.

In terms of my dad, he is recovering well from his knee-replacement surgery. It’s going to be a long and grueling recovery but so far, so good. In just the hour or so I was with him before going to bed last night I could see why it is so important to be here to help him recover. He really cannot do anything for himself, including go up and down the stairs to get ice packs or food. I’m very thankful I can be here to help.

Valentine’s Love

Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Day. When an adult and single, this particular day is awfully overrated (and this post is belated.. ha, I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it).

This year, Valentine’s Day was just another Tuesday. I received a couple of Valentine’s from my students but other than that it was pretty ordinary. However, I told my dad’s girlfriend how much I used to love it when my dad gave us heart-shaped boxes of chocolates every year. He also used to buy them for his co-workers which I think is a gesture that shows just how big his heart is… he never wanted anyone to feel left out on this much overrated Hallmark holiday. Well, before going to sleep last night, he told me I needed to look in a box and there I would find my Valentine’s day present. Guess what I found:

Yup, that’s right. A box of Russell Stover chocolates (excuse the expression… it’s not even 6:30am and I’m still un-showered after travelling all day yesterday). When I was little I used to use my teeth (or a knife) to create a small crack in the chocolates that told me what they were filled with but this time, since I’m a grown-up, I decide I should just go for it and take a bite because that is part of the excitement of chocolates, right? Not knowing what’s on the inside? Well, my first one was caramel. Heeeeaven!

Snow baba

Yesterday I made a snowman, so today my host mom made a snowbaba (baba = old woman)

She’s so funny!


As soon as I found out I was able to fly back to New Mexico to be with my dad as he recovers from his knee replacement surgery, I knew there was one thing I had to buy: a computer. This computer is not for me, though. It’s for my host family. For the first time ever via a video chat on Skype, I connected them to their daughter and her children who permanently live in Cambodia (then later connected 5 generations). They spoke on the phone every once in awhile, but never over video. Now both my host parents and their daughter ask to Skype all the time. I don’t blame them. It’s a wonderful tool to see loved ones who are far away (trust me… I use it all the time!). We should be getting fast internet installed in the village soon (yes, we were promised it would be installed last October, but, you know… it’s a lot of work) so the connection should be much better… and so I figured this would be a great way to say thank you for everything they’ve done for me over these past (almost) 2 years. However, my host dad isn’t big on receiving gifts so I wasn’t sure how to go about telling them I was getting them a computer and they couldn’t say no… except for by the element of surprise. But just my luck, my host mom mentioned that my host dad was going to buy a computer! This is good news because I know they’ll appreciate it, but bad news because I didn’t want to bring one back and find out they already bought one (and overpaid, at that, because electronics are ridiculously expensive here!!). I decided I had to tell them… but now. I tried to convince their daughter to bring it up first, but she didn’t want it to sound like she had asked me to buy it for them (which she didn’t). So then I tried to tell my host mom, hoping she would say OK! and then, while I was gone, try to convince my host dad to wait until he buys one… and then I show up with it. But… she said, “No. Absolutely not.” Well, shit. Now what? No clue. It was then time for their Skype session with their daughter and my host dad brought up the computer purchase topic to her just as the battery was about to die on my laptop and I was nervous so I ended up not saying anything. Then as we closed the session, somehow the topic continued and I tried to beat around the bush saying “what if I got you one” while half joking with him and him half being serious and half joking back so I had no idea what the final decision was! But then, about a minute later into our conversation, the problem was solved: they’ll let me bring them back a laptop.

Now, you see, my host dad knows a little bit about computers. He was somehow assigned to be the computer teacher a few years ago and he had absolutely not idea how to use a computer (and obviously didn’t have one at home) so he learned how to use the computer as he taught the kids. So he knows a little bit. But my host mom is absolutely clueless because until I came around, she’d never had a reason to see or even use a computer. But now she’s ready to learn- and just in time if you ask me! So this evening she came into my room and picked up my iPod touch and asked me how to turn it on. And then how to take a picture. And then how to look through the pictures. She’s learning!

Here is her first self portrait:

I am so thankful I have been able to connect my host family with their daughter and her family abroad… and now that I’ll be able to help them continue the visual communication (with her and hopefully me, too!) even after I leave.

Snow men

Over the last couple of weeks we have had an incredible amount of snow. Had it fallen in the mountains, I’m sure it would have been perfect for skiing because it was very powdery. That’s cool and all, but in all honesty I’ve been waiting for it to become wetter because I wanted to build a snowman! Finally today I got my chance! And some kiddos stopped to help me… it was a lot of fun but I will say this: it’s not a fun surprise when coming upon yellow snow. Snowmen are supposed to be WHITE- not yellow. ew. At least I had waterproof gloves on! When I got home I told my host mom I found “my man”… she thought it was funny 🙂

Then, when heading home, I noticed how the leaves had landed on the snow and sunk down an inch… leaving a beautiful imprint!

… and when the kids saw these icicles hanging off of the house, they couldn’t resist but to stop and get one!

… and I couldn’t say no for a photo, either.

Some people we met on the way home…

Something I love seeing is people pulling their little ones on sleds everywhere. It makes so much sense… sometimes the snow is too high for the kids to walk through, and they take forever… so it makes the trip much faster!

I must say, I’m quite impressed with these iPod photos! They’re not print quality by any means, but they work!

Taking risks

The last few days have been rather mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. When I was younger, I used to explode when I got angry at someone whether it was a friend, my parents, or a significant other, because I would let the little things build and build and build until I couldn’t take it anymore. Fortunately for me (and them!) I have learned how to communicate better and I’ve realized that yelling really doesn’t solve problems. However, I think this is what happened with my thoughts. I have no idea where they all came from but all of a sudden they were all there and unstoppable and accounted for a near sleepless night causing a ridiculously irritating day after. The thoughts included just about everything in regards to my ideal future schools project (locations, contacts, funding, equipment, shots, thank you’s) and the in-between (where, funding, exhibits, work), what to do after the project, what to do if the project isn’t successful or even if I should do it at all, how I’ve changed since coming to Moldova, relationships, and the possibility of grad school (online or on campus? why or why not?). Oh my gosh. Just typing it seems like a lot… imagine having these thoughts for HOURS upon HOURS. #headache.

While all of these thoughts are still there, I can officially say that thanks to a couple of friends letting me spill it and writing it all out, I feel much better about everything.

And then I saw a Facebook status update of one of my college psychology professors:

Dear students, grad school isn’t the only path to success. In fact, its a weak and tortuous path. Be creative, examine your options. That is all.

22 comments later she said this:

i was thinking about the millionaire who owns the *two* houses next to us on Flathead Lake, in addition to his ranch in Whitefish (for hobby only) who made his money in the fruit/vegetable transport business. Business BA + open mind + risk = WIN that will last several generations.

Although I could be wrong, I think she was mainly referring to psychology students in the original post although it can be applicable to multiple outlets (obviously or it wouldn’t have struck home to me). While grad school is still a possibility and not a definitive option, I’m not speaking just about that. What I am focusing on is the RISK. All of these thoughts of mine are really centering around the risk I’d be taking. The risk of failing. But I also run the risk of succeeding in ways I never even dreamed imaginable and that is a risk worth going after at least just to see what would happen… and that thought makes me feel a whole lot better about everything.

Now if money just grew on trees…


It sure is pretty… but man-oh-man I’m tired of this snow. We had about another 6 inches after I took this photo and we have more in the forecast for the next few days.

Is it summer yet?