November 29, 2009

Solo Movie Date

After returning from the weekend vacation (more details SOON!) I decided I needed to see New Moon, the latest movie in the Twilight saga, as soon as possible. For lack of finding anyone to go with and for lack of patience in waiting any longer I decided to take myself on my very first solo movie date. Although odd to stand in line alone, buy my ticket alone, and sit alone, overall not a bad experience. In fact, kind of a personal victory to know that I am okay being alone with myself - I think that's kind of important in the long run. So I won't go on forever about the movie, because I know not everyone loves Twilight, BUT I will make these comments:
  • LOVED it. :)
  • How completely GORGEOUS was Jacob in this movie??? Kind of makes a girl want to switch to Team Jacob?
  • Wolf & vampire fighting scenes = amazing! I am so excited for Eclipse!
  • Thank you directors/writers for avoiding awkward lines such as "Climb on spider monkey"
  • WOW - another fantastic soundtrack!! Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, The Killers, etc. - I need to get some of these songs asap.
  • The Volturi were so well cast! And Aro creeps the hell out of me. Seriously.
In closing...I can't wait for the next movie -LOVED this one, but seeing the next one with fellow obsessed fan and friend Liz is the best it can get - the next one will be in celebration of her 23rd birthday and you can bet we will be there at midnight!

Books: Julie & Julia

Over the weekend I finished reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. This book chronicles the author as she spends a year cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or MtAoFC as Julie calls it in the book. Julie is a hilarious writer, and while some of the cooking details got a bit long, I would recommend this book -definitely a good read! I am excited to see the movie! Here are some of my favorite passages from the book...she just cracks me up as a writer :)

"I felt like a Jane Austen heroine all of a sudden (except, of course, that Jane Austen heroines never cook), confusedly looking on at all the people she loves, their myriad unpredictable couplings and uncouplings. There would be no marriages at the end of this Jane Austen novel, though, no happy endings, no endings at all. Just jokes and friendships and romances and delicious declarations of independence. And I realized that, for this night at least, I didn't much care if anyone was the marrying kind of not - not even me. Who could tell? We none of us knew for sure what kind we were, exactly, but as long as we were the kind that could sit around eating together and having a lovely time, that was enough."

"You cannot imagine how it eases the suffering of serving a mind-numbing public, when you can snidely judge said public via IM at the same time." (Discussing her job as a secretary after a co-worker introduces her to IM)

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

***Scheduled Post***
I love Thanksgiving - a holiday dedicated to delicious food and being thankful for the many fabulous things in our lives without the fuss of figuring out presents, elaborate activities or the morning mass schedule. Truly, Thanksgiving is a day to relax and enjoy the company of great friends and family.

For the past four years, Thanksgiving meant a break from college, cold weather, time off school, and a chance to see family and friends from back home. It meant a gathering of my kindergarten-til-now best friends for a mother-daughter brunch. It meant waking up super early to deliver Meals on Wheels around the Twin Cities with my mom and any brothers, uncles, or cousins we could get out of bed. It meant at least 4 pumpkin spice least 2 of which my father could be encouraged to purchase for me.

This year, Thanksgiving means a break from my 100 ever-so-lovely 8th graders and a Caribbean Island. Stay tuned from which one I prefer. ;) (Just kidding Mom!!)

While I am away enjoying all the sun, sand and surf that San Andres Island has to offer, here are a few things (serious and not-so-serious) I am thankful for this year:
  • My parents & how they raised me. There is nothing like teaching 100 children on a daily basis to help you understand the terrors of adolescence. With all the changes a kid goes through growing up, and me being the first child and all, I am pretty impressed my parents managed to do so well.
  • My grandparents. Probably the number one reason my parents didn't screw it up - cause their parents rocked too. :)
  • Newly discovering my love for the Big Bang Theory and all its hilarious math jokes. :)
  • Joe Mauer = MVP.
  • Faith in the common good. In a world where it isn't always easy to give people the benefit of the doubt, and it's often easy to shut down than open up and trust someone, I really do still believe that people are truly good at heart. Despite my frequent sarcasm to the contrary, the human race is full of amazing people with stories to tell - you just have to listen.
  • Rain. Rain doesn't happen very often in Colombia, but when it does I find it absolutely stunning. Usually when it rains, it pours, and the thunderstorms here are stunning. They cool the temperature down immensely and make the sky turn some crazy cool colors. I love sitting on my balcony watching the rain fall in big drops to the ground.
  • Cinnamon Oat Squares cereal. I don't care if they are $11,000 pesos ($5.50) a box. They make me delightfully happy each and every morning.
  • Music with lyrics that mean something. I think I could Google search lyrics all day long. Is there a job where you get paid for that??? :) Those artists who can so meticulously describe emotions, thoughts and feels in well-crafted phrases full of life and creativity leave me stunned. I love those songs that make you think someone else, at some point, felt exactly like you do right now. See John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Gavin DeGraw (below), Landon Pigg, Matt Nathanson and the Jayhawks for lyrical inspiration.
  • In exactly 32 days Allison will arrive in Colombia for a 15 day adventure that will probably end with me wanting to kidnap her and keep her here forever.
  • My wonderful-crazy-quirky-thoughtful-inspiring-magnificent friends who love me, support me, keep me going and tell me how much they miss me. Everytime someone tells me "I wish I could call you or text you right away when _______ happened," I am reminded of the amazing support system I have.
  • My new roommates who so graciously offered to have me live with them for second semester. There are so generous!!
  • New friends in general. Teachers are amazing people and they make fabulous friends - and you can always count on them for Friday (or the ocassional Monday...) Happy Hour.
  • Barack Obama is our president. Living abroad, I am not always proud to call myself an American, however, his election, with all political opinion aside, was a historical moment that made me proud to call the US home.
  • My straight-out-of-college full-time job. Newsflash: When I graduated 6 short months ago, the economy....kind of....sucked. I'm just happy to have a job doing something I love.

November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Celebrations

While it's not exactly the "Thanksgiving" weather that I am used to, we have been busy celebrating Thanksgiving here in Colombia.
Tuesday night the school hosted the entire staff for a staff Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone brought a dish from an assigned category (potatoes, hot veggies, dessert, etc) to share while the school provided turkey and wine. Our school cafeteria was decorated with gourds, corn kernels (which we may or may not have started immaturely throwing around the cafeteria...the Colombian teachers started it...), cornucopias and more for the special event. It was gorgeous! What a fun night to celebrate with friends and give thanks for all our blessings!
Today we had our all school (yes that's night...the entire school K-12) assembly in the gym. Starting with the seniors parading in wearing their letter jackets while each holding the hand of a student from kinder-4 (4 year-old kindergarteners....the school also has a kinder-5 class), the assembly was a great celebration of the students. The choir sang "We Are The World" by Michael Jackson, our director spoke about all that we have to be thankful for, primary kids presented a skit about the first Thanksgiving, the school band played, the middle school and high school student councils presented and best of all....the pre-primary students (kinder-4, kinder-5 and first grade) sang "Attitude, Gratitude" which went something like this: "Attitude, gratitude, what are you thankful for?" Then random kids would step up to the microphone and say things they were thankful for. You couldn't understand a word of it because they are new to speaking in English and they don't talk loud enough...but it was A-DOR-ABLE anyway. :)
I finished out the day with my students by working on an in class project that I sent them home to complete. They have to graph coordinates and then connect the points with lines, and finally write a story that explains why the slope might be negative, positive, or zero. I read them an example story that followed a season of the Minnesota Twins, telling about how the line went down if they lost, went up if they won, etc. Haha...they tell me daily that my Twins obsession is out of control...I'm over it.
As one of my groups was leaving today they said, "Ms. R - now we have homework over break, this is terrible. We have homework and you don't have any!"
My response: "Yes, children. And that's cause I'm the teacher. I went to school for 17 years to not have homework over the next four days. In the end: Life's tough. Get a helmet."

November 24, 2009

(extra)Ordinary Joe


It happened.

27 of 28 votes (Keizo Konishi is clearly incompetent in his voting abilities) go to Mr. Joseph Patrick Mauer for the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player.

I. Could. Not. Be. Happier.

Check out his amazingly humble and adorable press conference in Minnesota yesterday by clicking on the picture. :)

November 23, 2009

Hi, My Name is Kristin and I am a TV on DVD Addict.

Just completed my first wire transfer from pesos back to dollars in my US bank account and what do I find waiting in my email upon my return?

That's right. The Best Buy after Thanksgiving day sale flyer. Yessssssssssssssssss.

For the past three years my friend Allison and I have woken ourselves up at the obscene hour of 3:30 am in order to arrive at Kohls by 4 am then trek over to Best Buy for their 5 am opening. No part of this is driven by my need to Christmas shop, although I do love buying presents. No, no. If I am awake and dealing with customer service people in the middle night you can rest assured it's 100% for me. :) We typically find lots of great work clothes at Kohls, and then head over to Best Buy for our yearly dose of DVDs.

Last year I bought this:
That's right. Seven seasons of the best comedy and applicable life quotations by Sarah Jessica Parker that $99 (On sale!!) can buy you. I have been enjoying it all year long! :)

So this brother will be sent in my place to Best Buy at 5 am...and I am struggling with what to have him purchase? All the seasons of Friends are on sale, so are Entourage seasons, and the Office...but he already owns all the Office, so I could just watch his? Ah I don't know...

And of course...Gilmore Girls...all seven seasons for $149. I feel like I need to own this. I love Rory and Lorelai! (My college roommates are cringing as they read this as they despise GG with a passion, but I LOVED it)

Thoughts anyone?? :)

Happy Monday!

November 22, 2009

Long Public Transportation Adventures, Great Company, and the Single Girl Life

For what seems like the first time in a long while, I spent a whole weekend here in Cali - continuing to explore this city I plan to call home for at least another year and a half. Exploring the city is important to me because when I know the place where I live I feel more comfortable and more adjusted. Less like I am just living here to pass the time, and more like this is my home. Speaking of living...Maggie and Mark officially moved into their new place, about 10 minutes from this apartment, so here I am living in my bachelorette pad for a month until I also move!

So this weekend...Friday night I went out to dinner in Granada, this really cool restaurant/shopping area of Cali. For Minnesota people, think of my neighborhood as the suburbs and Granada as Grand Avenue. Needless to say, I love any chance to go there and explore. Added bonus: Granada is super close to my new apartment! Friday night I went to dinner with Steph, Hana, (my new roommates) and Kelsi. We took the Mio there, however we missed the stop for Granada on the bus, so we ended up riding that particular bus in an entire loop that took about an hour. Essentially we have now seen all of Northern Cali via public transportation and ended up at the restaurant an hour and a half later than necessary. Whoops! Once we finally arrived at Platillos Voladores (Flying Saucers), we had delicious food, drinks and reminisced about forgotten things from our childhood. For example, who remembers 2gether??? Fake boy band with a television show on MTV meant to spoof other boy bands of the time...aka 'NSync, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, etc.

We were laughing to the point of tears discussing 2gether and their original, made for MTV movie. Those who don't remember, please enjoy this music video courtesy of You Tube. :) "I know my calculus, it says you plus me equals us." Hahahaha.

Needless to say I woke up Saturday morning and Kelsi had already posted links to other 2gether songs on my Facebook. Love it. Saturday the two of us headed up to Centro, the city center, to do some discount shopping on sunglasses, shoes and more. We took the Mio again, right to the city center, which was crazy. Saturday is definitely the day to be out and about in Cali, so the streets were streaming with vendors for everything you could imagine. Of course, since we are white Americans, we look completely out of place, so people were literally screaming at us in Spanish to buy their stuff. Ridiculous. I loved the experience of going there, but it was certainly intense. We ducked into shops on more than one occasion to take some deep breaths before hitting the streets again. The part of Centro we went to is called San Andresito, which basically means "Little San Andres". The Colombian owned Caribbean island, San Andres, is a big place for import stuff, so pretty much every big city in Colombia has an area called "Little San Andres" that is essentially a black market location for everything imaginable.

After making our purchases we jumped back on the most crowded bus of my life! Cali is still developing the Mio system and one thing they need ASAP is more buses! For public transportation to work well, it must be readily available...which they are working on, I hope. We rode on the crowded bus for about 10 minutes until we arrived at Steph & Hana's. We strolled over to visit them and check out my soon to be apartment, because I haven't seen it since they moved in! They have a huge living space and they overlook a park, so I think I am going to love living there. We relaxed a bit there before heading home to make dinner and go out. Later that night Kelsi and I met up with some friends at Route 66, an American type bar in Cali, located on 66th Street. :)

I must say originally I felt a bit nervous about having my closest friends here also be my colleagues. Normally, one would try not to associate too much with colleagues outside of work. However, I have been so amazed here by the wonderful people I work with. They are so much fun and we all seem to be able to find the appropriate lines between work life and social life. Whenever we get together in groups I leave feeling so happy about the amazing people I am surrounded by. Since we all chose to do something a little bit out of the ordinary we usually have some common personality traits, or common ideas or values, which has served as a great basis for building relationships.

So...that brings us to Sunday. I think I am going to get to work on writing that Algebra final today...cause let's be honest...I'm not bringing anything related to students or school to that all-inclusive Thanksgiving beach vacation I have planned. ;)

Happy Sunday friends!

November 20, 2009

John Mayer - I love this man :)

No one buys CDs anymore. I get that. I know we all love to get our music online, and I love my itunes just as much as the next fresh-out-of-college-20-somethingl. HOWEVER, there are some artists who are just that good. I want to buy their CDs because sometimes that's all I want to listen to. None of this put my ipod on shuffle business - sometimes I just want one artist. You know those CDs you can put in on the road and listen to from start to finish? LOVE them. Some of my favorites to listen to from cover to cover are Gavin DeGraw, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, Jack Johnson, and lately, Green River Ordinance (Definitely one of my new favorites!). But, let's be honest, every girl has an all time favorite and mine is most definitely John Mayer. With 94 amazing songs on my ipod he is my go to artist for whatever mood I am in. From the first time I saw him scrunch up his face and play his acoustic guitar I have been in love with his music.

His lyrics just always make me think, which is something I love about music. And the lyrics...ahhhh so good! For example...

Searching all my days just to find you
I'm not sure who I'm looking for
I'll know it
When I see you

Until then, I'll hide in my bedroom

Staying up all night just to write

A love song for no one.
[Love Song For No One]

And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got

Cause when they own the information, oh

They can bend it all they want

That's why we're waiting

Waiting on the world to change.

[Waiting On The World To Change]

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken

Even as the eyes are closing

Do it with a heart wide open
Say what you need to say.

Friends, lovers, or nothing
There can only be one

Friends, lovers, or nothing

We'll never be the in between.

[Friends, Lovers, or Nothing - NEW!]

Belief is a beautiful armor

But makes for the heaviest sword

Like punching under water

You never can hit who you're trying for.

Annnnnnd just for good measure one of my favorite things he has every said on stage :)

Well this week his latest CD, Battle Studies, came out and until someone (thanks Mom!!) ships it to Colombia, I am settling for listening to tidbits from his website and his amazing performance on Letterman last night! If nothing else, listen to the first song - Heartbreak Warfare. LOVE.

Enjoy & happy Friday!

November 18, 2009

Bogota Otra Vez

Annnnnd I'm back from my second trip to Bogota in 3 months! This time we went because Maggie and my friend Catie were participating in a yoga workshop during the day on Saturday and Sunday, so Scott and I tagged along to play tourists. :) After this trip I am even more in love with the city! The cool climate, amazing restaurants and delicious pubs are just fantastic. Also, the city is so cultural yet so friendly. LOVE. Here are some memories from the documented by my camera. :) Enjoy!

Vive Colombia photos from campaign in the park to inspire national pride.
Gold much gold in one place.
Looking out from the museum to the main plaza...look at me being artsy with the photo through the letter O. What up.
Gold masks in the museum.
Giant floor map! I love maps so this was cause for great excitement! Please note Scott and I were documenting our current location :)
Fernando Botero Museum...this guy was crazy! All he painted & sculpted were chubby figures! Haha :)
His (chubby) version of the Mona Lisa.
Main plaza in Bogota getting set up for Christmas!
Main plaza and me!
Mmm...Irish Pub :) Mozzarella sticks, homemade fries, club wrap & more...
View of Bogota at sunset from a pedestrian bridge of the Transmilenio (the mass transit system)
We tried to find the Park of Simon Bolivar...and ended up in the Park of the Newlyweds.
More artsy photos of the park.
Whoops! :)
Beer sampler of the four main beers by the Bogota Brewing Company. I have now been to 4 out of the 9 locations. :) In order from darkest to lightest, Chapinero Porter, Montserrate Roja, Cajica Miel, and Candaleria Clasica.
$3000 pesos later and we are at the top of the Colpatria Tower, the tallest building in Colombia, for stunning views of Bogota.
Carrera 7 (7th Street) in Bogota. Monday was a holiday so if you look closely you can see that one side of the street is completely shut down for Ciclovia, when bikers/rollerbladers/walkers/joggers take over.
On top of the world of Bogota!

My Students Are Killing Me Slowly

You know when you have those days where staying in bed probably would have been the best choice? Those days when you don't really like your job? Well, as a teacher...this results in also not really liking your students. Now, overall they are fine and about 90% of the time I love them. I don't know if it's because I went away for the long weekend, so it was hard to come back. Or if it's because we are doing hard stuff in math, and they are struggling to understand. Or because Christmas & Thanksgiving break are so close...but they are difficult. Seriously difficult. Crabby. Whiny. Rude. Annoying.

To top it off, I read this article today in Colombia Reports about how 1 million Colombian children aren't even in school. Mine are and they complain the whole time.

I seriously need something to pull me out of this disaster zone with my students. Something like seeing New Moon on opening night. Or listening to the new John Mayer CD on repeat. Or enjoying a night of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice with my favorite La Crosse ladies. Or waiting in line for the release of the Cities 97 Sampler Volume 21.

Oh wait. I live in Colombia. None of that will be happening.

Now what?

November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Katie K!

At the end of sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse I remember thinking I could not be more different from this girl. She ate Spagettios & Franks (little chunks of hot dog already in the can with the Spagettios), Little Caeser's Hot & Ready pizzas, listened to music I had never even heard of, not only approved of but actually liked boys in skinny jeans with the whole skater thing going on, and practiced Guitar Hero on a regular basis.
All this and we both liked the same guy. Probably should have resulted in disaster.
Well here we are three years later - we have ditched said guy and turned into real friends. (She also ditched the Spagettios & Franks, which I think has greatly enhanced our bond...) I don't know if anyone makes me laugh as much as Katie does - her infectious giggle permeates every conversation we have and her stories are the best. She's changed a lot in the time I have known her, and I have too in many ways - in some sense I think we pushed each other to change. We pushed each other to demand more from our lives.
She taught me to find the joy in so many little things in life - like singing to music in the car at the loudest possible volume with the windows down even if it is the middle of January in the midwest. Wherever Katie is, fun and laughter follow - and you might think she is always laughing (cause she usually is), but then you can have these amazing conversations over coffee where she helps you learn things about yourself that you never would have thought about otherwise. She's pretty amazing like that. ;)
Happy birthday Katelyn Rose --- enjoy your weekend of celebrating! I cannot wait to hear all the details...

November 12, 2009

Another Three Day Weekend - Another Plane Ride

Officially we have one full week of school in the month of November...and it already happened. The next few weeks are going to be a rush to fit everything into the semester - I need to get to work writing that Algebra 1 first semester final at some point... :/
With all these three day weekends I have been certainly maximizing my time, with my travel to NYC and all. :) This weekend I off to Bogota with the same crew from Semana de Receso minus Kelsi. My roommate, Maggie, and our friend Catie are attending a weekend long yoga workshop in Bogota. I do not feel like I have been practicing yoga long enough to attend, so instead Scott and I are going to play tourists for the weekend.
When we were in Bogota last time we didn't get a lot of time to explore the city or go to some of the cool museums, thus I am pretty excited for the trip! We are leaving right after school on Friday afternoon and will not be back until Monday night, so I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! :)
p.s. ONLY 14 days until I am on a plane to that beautiful, all-inclusive Thanksgiving vacation in the Caribbean. Life is good. :)

A teeny tiny bit of food for thought...

The days are long, but the years are short.
(Credit thanks to this blog)

Dia Sin Carro

Happy Thursday!

Today is Dia Sin Carro (Day without Car) here in Cali. From 7am to 7pm all privately owned vehicles are prohibited from driving on the streets. Since we take the school bus to work every morning this didn't really change our morning routine too much, but since others could not drive, there were lots of new faces on our bus!

Although there are many exceptions to Dia Sin Carro, like government, military, school vehicles, taxis, etc. I do think this day is an awesome way to promote to use of public transportation and sharing rides. After being in NYC two weeks ago, and living in a big city here, I am totally in love with public transportation at the moment. When it works well and efficiently mass public transit really is a thing of beauty - not to mention being fabulous for the environment.

One of the most interesting things about Dia Sin Carro here in Cali is that everyone participates. Since this is a law, and enforced, people generally obey and do not use their cars. Which only leaves me to wonder - how would this work in the United States? If there was a mass Dia Sin Carro in your city would you figure out a way to get to work, school, etc. or would you just stay home and claim you had no options??
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