July 30, 2009

Oh hey Colombia, I'm here!!!!!!!

Hi everyone!  I have officially arrived safe & sound in Cali, Colombia!  We made it to our hotel, the Radisson Royal of Cali, where we will be staying for the next several days until we find apartments within the city.  The plane ride from Miami was relatively uneventful but I will post more info later...right now I am off to a quick shower & bed to dream of the continental breakfast in the morning.

Tomorrow we will get our blood tests to register our visas, tour the school, and have photos taken for our cedulas (Colombian ID cards).

Quick note: They showed an episode of The Office on the plane. (The one where Dwight & Angela get married and everyone else debates new chairs vs. copiers)  I could not have been happier.  Also, located an iced chai from Starbucks minutes before departing the Miami airport...such a great choice.  More to follow, thanks for all your comments, I love and appreciate them so so so much!!

Tons of love from Colombia!

Last day in the U S of A!

Perhaps it is indicative of my excitement level that my blog title for the day rhymes?? :)  Today is officially my last day in the United States, and now that I am finally on my way and have met more of the new teachers I could not be more ready!  

My stay in Miami has been good, although I could never ever live here.  It literally could not be more humid outside; I feel like I could drink the air.  Then, to make up for the obscene humidity they overuse air conditioning in all cars, buildings and hotels.  Ridiculous.  The resort however is super nice and we have been eating lots of delicious meals out.  Yesterday we had a meeting together with the director, Joe, and the 14 new teachers (13 girls and 1 guy...but the guy is married to one of the girls so maybe he doesn't feel so singled out?? :)).  The meeting was very informative and we just generally discussed some of the basics of Cali.  Then we spent the rest of the day having some lunch, relaxing by the beach and finishing up last minute odds and ends.

I am LOVING talking to all these new teachers because everyone has such an interesting story to tell about where he or she has been in the past, where he or she is from, etc.  Listening to everyone talk about their hometowns makes me realize how little of the US I have seen, and now I am leaving to go to South America.  Just in talking with everyone I am realizing how many trips I still have left to take.  (And it doesn't help that I got an email from cheapflights.com yesterday about $129 airfare from Minneapolis to Boston....jealous!)  I know I will definitely need to make it to New York, Boston, and California soon!

So today we take off from the hotel for the airport at noon, then our flight leaves around 4:30....we have to get there early to check our bags in and get organized with such a large group.  Also, some of us may need to rearrange things in our bags to not go over the weight limit.  I hope I do not have the same issues as I did in Minnesota...where I had to re-pack all of my luggage to make it less than 50 lbs....in the middle of the airport at 5:45 am. Ridiculous.

Prior to leaving the hotel I will be abandoning my cell phone and mailing it back to Minnesota in a lovely bubble mailer courtesy of my mother.  I think I am already having detachment issues from texting. :/

Okay, that's all for now!  Not sure when I will blog next in these next few days because I'm not sure if the Radisson of Cali has free internet or not...

Sleeping in Colombia tonight!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 28, 2009

Travel to Miami

Well, here it is...6 months after being hired I am finally in Miami on my way to Colombia Thursday night!  After many, many difficult goodbyes, I am happy to be here and looking forward to a short bit of relaxing before having to search for an apt and move in Colombia.

Despite a two hour delay out of Minneapolis this morning, everything went smoothly with my flight and two people from my school picked me up at the airport this afternoon.  After enjoying a turkey sandwich straight out of a middle school cafeteria I enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the beach with some of the other new teachers.  In about an hour we are off to dinner to meet everyone (all 14 new teachers!), so it should be an interesting night.

Quick note on my travel experience...so I am in the Minneapolis airport...trying to go through security as quickly as possible, because for some reason I ALWAYS feel extremely rushed in those situations.  I have my shoes off, etc. and I make it though the walking thing before some guy tells me says "Whose bag is this?" Dear Sir, how many people do you see walking around here with matching patterned purple luggage? Of course that's mine.  So he tells me he needs to search it.  Fine.  He opens it up and asks me if there is anything sharp in there.  I tell him I have packed and re-packed my bags so many times that I have no idea what's really in there.  Then he goes to open up the pocket of a backpack within my suitcase and I recall....that is where I packed my pencils, pens, post-its and scissors!  Crap...scissors.  So I tell him right away I have scissors in there, and I'm sorry, he can take them.  He says, "No problem miss, I just need to measure them, they should be fine."  He measures them and puts them back in my bag, and says I'm good to go!  WHAT?!?!?!?!  These are actual scissors, adult scissors, not the ones you hand a first grader that don't actually cut anything, ever.  

In summary I am not incredibly creeped out at the thought of just anyone having a scissors on a plane.  What kind of world is this where I cannot bring more than 3 fluid ounces but by all means, scissors are allowed?!?! Ridiculous.

Traveling is always interesting, so more stories will follow, I am sure.  In the meantime, I am starving! 

Picture of me @ 5:45 am in Minneapolis airport, after repacking my bags...holding my travel version of Joe Mauer thanks to Kirsten Ann :)

July 27, 2009

Things I Will Miss & Things I Can't Wait to Experience

Since I officially leave for Colombia tomorrow I have been giving a lot of thought to things I will miss here in Minnesota/the States (and it doesn't help that I can't sleep due to nerves...weird that I'm not using this time to pack...whoops) I have also been thinking a lot about my upcoming experience and all of the great things it will lead me to...here are both lists!

Things I Will Miss 
  1. Each and every one of my wonderful friends & family members
  2. Watching my brothers become these amazing young men who look less & less like the little boys I grew up with
  3. Fall leaves turning colors
  4. Caribbean Passion smoothies @ Jamba Juice
  5. Oktoberfest festivities in La Crosse
  6. Singing/dancing at assorted 3rd Street establishments in La Crosse with the Main/Vine girls
  7. Texting (slightly embarrassing but I will seriously miss texting!)
  8. TV shows! I am so weirdly addicted to a ridiculous number of shows...One Tree Hill, How I Met Your Mother, Private Practice, Grey's, Gossip Girl, The Office, Entourage, Brothers & Sisters...
  9. Annual Dorle family North Shore trip
  10. Watching Love Actually every week in December with Kirsten
  11. Cities 97 Acoustic Sunrise & Sunset radio program (I hope this will stream online...to South America)
  12. Opening Day @ the MN Twins new ballpark
Things I Can't Wait to Experience
  1. Meeting my students because as cheesy as it sounds, I became a teacher because I love helping kids learn.  Helping students learn is literally what motivates me to get up before the hour of 9 am on most days :)
  2. Meeting all the other new teachers!
  3. Finding my way around my my new neighborhood when I locate an apartment.  I really want to become a solid regular at a good coffee cafe, I sincerely hope this works out.
  4. Hearing Spanish spoken all around me!
  5. Cafe con leche
  6. Traveling around the country of Colombia
  7. Having my very own classroom for the first time ever...where I don't have to move around between class periods and I know where everything is!
  8. According to my guidebook...somewhere in the Amazons there are pink dolphins. I plan to find them and take pictures. I really hope this isn't some myth crafted by the writers @ Lonely Planet.
  9. That feeling I will get about a month in when I feel like I really belong in Cali and all my old nervousness will seem silly.
  10. Salsa dancing. Perhaps in two years in Colombia I will learn to dance, or at least enough rhythm to fake it? We shall see, but either way I'm going to give it my very best shot!

Going Away Parties

In the last 24 hours I have attended 2 going away parties for me.  They were both wonderfully planned by fabulous people, and I couldn't have asked for a better turn out from family and friends.  While I know there are so many wonderful things that lie ahead in Colombia, having all of your friends and family turn out to support you certainly makes it harder to leave.  Transitioning from college to adulthood-ness already seems like a pretty terrible idea, and I will be doing so on a different continent.  I cannot wait to get to Miami and then Colombia and start meeting friends, cause right now things are feeling a bit terrifying...

Anyway, to discuss happier things, Friday night I had a lovely going away party hosted by my friends Maria and Anna.  Maria, always the party planner, went so far as to theme the party with appropriate Hispanic touches such as labeling items with Spanish vocabulary words (i.e. sign on the bathroom door that read "el bano"), playing Hispanic music, and having taquitos, guacamole and margaritas.  The party was perfect and I loved spending time with all the fabulous people I love.

Today my parents (aka my mother) hosted a family going away party for me at our house.  Most of my family was able to attend and it was so nice to see everyone together.  There were some notable absences... Papa & Paula, Aunt Susie, Mike & Bobbie & Co. and my gorgeous Goddaughter Stefanie, but I did get a chance to say goodbye to all of them at some point!  

I will leave you with some pictures from the events...

My Wonderful Party Hosts! Anna & Maria

Mathletes representing :) Darren & me 

Kindergarten Best Friends! Kate, Ilse, Liz & me

Guilders. :) Allison (aka #153) & Bridget (#134)

More Mathletes! Maren & me

July 25, 2009

Happy 22nd year of life!

Well my days left in the States are certainly numbered and I have been doing my best to see as many people as possible before leaving!  My college roommate, Kirsten, came into town last weekend to visit, and it was fun to see her before leaving.  We celebrated my birthday Friday night, then Saturday spent the day just hanging out by the lakes. (Add the Minneapolis lakes to the list of things I will miss TERRIBLY about Minnesota!  Good thing I'll come back to visit next summer!)  Anyway, Kirsten and I rented a kayak on Lake Calhoun and paddled around to Lake of the Isles, which was gorgeous.  Afterwards we had some delicious snacks at the Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun....a perfect day!

Here are some pictures from my birthday, taken at the Shouthouse (a fabulous place!). Enjoy!

Kirsten & me

Kate & me

Lindsey, Alex & me

Anna, Maria & me

July 22, 2009

Hooray! Boxes arrive in Miami!

According to UPS.com the four boxes I have shipped to US International Freight in Miami have arrived safely. HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!! From here they are inspected (along with the detailed inventory I had to provide for each box), then hopefully they are on their way to meet me in Colombia.

These boxes contain essential items including but not limited to: picture frames, MN Twins backpack, 3 (yes, three!) MN Twins bobbleheads (including the AL Batting Champ Joe Mauer version I waited in line for 5 hours to obtain), teaching resources, SHOES!, my pillows, clothes, and more... They better make it to Colombia!

Here's what they looked like before I had my brother assist me in carting them to UPS:

Overall, not a bad system and the shipping $$ is reimbursed by my school when I get to Colombia. Score!

p.s. Not yet writing from new Mac Book :( ... updating my music, pictures, etc. on my back up drive in hopes of getting things together for the Mac Book tomorrow??

July 21, 2009


A helpful hint for friends and family, straight from my Lonely Planet Colombia guidebook: "Number of u's in country name: zero" That's C-O-L-O-M-B-I-A for everyone keeping track :)

Hope everyone is having a lovely start to the week...I had en eventful weekend of turning 22 and saying goodbye to friends/places...pictures to follow soon! Hopefully next time I post it will be from my NEW Mac Book!

July 9, 2009

River crossings here I come...

I figure my outdoorsy side will be more frequently used in Colombia than my sit around with girlfriends and drink wine in heels like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City side...alas my newest purchase from REI. :) I love them, and have been walking around in my house in them since arriving home. Basically I hope they lead me on lots of adventures in some amount of style and lots of comfort!

July 6, 2009

22 days and counting...

I received an email today from director's assistant at my school about my travel information, and I am starting to get very excited to meet all my fellow teachers! I have already met 4 other girls because they were hired at the same fair as I was, however, there are 14 new teachers in total!

When I arrive in Miami on July 28th I will meet the school director, his wife, and his assistant at the airport, then we will travel to hotel/resort where we will stay for two days with all the teachers. We hang out there and have some orientation meetings, then all fly to Colombia on July 30th. The resort looks pretty sweet (http://www.newportbeachsideresort.com/), so I am excited for that too! We are all randomly assigned roommates for the stay in Miami...who knows, maybe I will like mine enough to want to live with her in Colombia???

Here are some pictures of the hotel/resort in Miami...

Additionally, bought new luggage this weekend, because my family only has one set...and it's boring...and they will need it to come visit me! Therefore I picked up these lovely pieces at Kohls...I loved them instantly!

apt. 9 Geometric Luggage Collection

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