Monday, March 29, 2010

It Wouldn't Be Interesting If It Was Easy

So, we've been planning this go to Thailand thing for a while now. And by planning, I mean not planning. But we've had plane tickets and we have known we were going. According to the State Department's travel web site or the Thai Embassy web site (I cannot remember which one now) we didn't need to worry about Thai visas because Americans can be tourists in Thailand for 30 days with out a visa. We figured we would stay in Thailand less than 30 days and then go to Cambodia and Vietnam before coming back to Thailand to stay for less than 30 days. No problem.

Oh wait, problem.

So just for shits and giggles, Cale decided to call the Thai Consulate in Chicago just to double check on that...last week...two weeks before our departure. Surprise, surprise. For the no-need -for-a-visa-thing to work, you have to have proof of departure within the 30 days. We did not. Our fight home is in July and we don't have any further travel on tickets to Cambodia yet. Hmmm..

So the Thai Consulate suggests that we need to get two 60-day tourists visas that allow for two entries into the country. To get said visas, we need to give them our passports. Just what we need, less than two weeks before departure and we need to send our passports away to Chicago. They told Cale that if we mail it it takes 5 days, if we come in person it takes two days. But Cale was given the impression that the five days had to do with the mailing process and that it could be sped up if we overnighted it there and back. So we did. They got our passports and applications at noon on Thursday. We included a paid for overnight return with a tracking number. We were hoping to see them send it back to us on Monday at the latest. When the tracking number didn't go active today, Cale gave the consulate a call.

Oh wait, problem.

So it appears that it takes five days to process if we do it through the mail, regardless of whether or not we overnighted it. The guy on the phone seemed to think they would send it back to us on Thursday. If they remember to use the overnight envelop we sent with the application our passports should come back on Friday. Our flight is Monday morning at 8am.

We like to cut things close.

— Sara

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What, Exactly, Is Their Plan?



Have you seen this Outback commercial? Did you notice there are two people in the car and only one bike and one kayak on the roof of the car? What exactly was their plan? Does one of them ride the bike while the other one kayaks? Do they race each other? Obviously this is not real and Subaru is just trying to illustrate all the rugged outdoorsy things you can attach to the top of your Outback, however, I am just a little disturbed by the situations.

— Sara

OMG George!

OMG George

Guess who we ran into. It's George! And his fiance Jenny. We hung out and played Scrabble. It was awesome. We hadn't seen George since our wedding. That's seven years!

So how's the last decade been?

— Sara

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Boils Watch 2010

Soooo..... I obviously was overly optimistic when I thought I had left the boils in Samoa.

You may remember my November and December 2007.
There were boils. Then again in January 2008. Oh, and December 2008. The December 2008 boil spilled over into January of 2009. However, I was able to make it through all of 2009 without forming any new boils. We were worried about November (the month we left Samoa) since it was the month of the boils in 2007, but I managed to get through the entire month with out a boil.

When we got back to America, I wasn't really worried about boils anymore, but I did breath a sigh of relief when December and January came and went and I had no boils. So why is it March in America and I have a boil on my ass (in the exact same location as the first boils, a location where the scars were finally starting to fade)? There is no reason for this boil. The water here is clean. I shower in this clean hot water with soap like every day. The weather is not hot, nor humid. I am not sitting in said hot, humid weather all day irritating my poor butt with hot, humid cloth. I have not recently gotten a traditional tattoo and then shaved my armpit with a less than new razor leading to an armpit boil my busy immune system couldn't handle.

What is going on? Where did this boil come from? Can I look forward to erupting in boils for the rest of my life? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

— Sara

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashbacks

The power went out at work today. It was brief. All the computers shutdown. The power came back and everything rebooted. It was a brief glitch. The only way it could have been more reminiscent of Samoa was if I was in the middle of teaching a computer class to a room of 15 students and the power had stayed off for two days. Strangely enough, the UPS in America are just as ineffective as the ones in Samoa. I asked the boss, "Hey, isn't this what your ups are supposed to keep from happening?" his reply? "In theory."

— Sara

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Conversation with a 16 Year Old

Jackie: Are you married?

Sara: Yes

J: I wanna see a picture of your husband.

S: I don't have any on me.

J: Don't you have any in your phone?

S: I don't have a phone. My husband and I share a phone and it doesn't take pictures anyway.

J: You don't have a cell phone?

S: No.

J: How do you text people?

S: I don't.

J: Are you some kind of hippy?

S: Not that I know of.

Later that night.

Jackie: So what do you do in these countries?

Sara: When I was in Samoa, I was in the Peace Corps.

J: So you are some kind of hippy!

S: I taught computer studies.

J: Oh, then you're not a hippy. Hippies hate computers.

S. Yes, and shoes and deodorant.

J: Why do they hate deodorant?

S: I was making a joke.

J: Oh.

— Sara

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lindsey Knows What's Up

Lindsey in Indy

We met Lindsey in Samoa. She had requested to surf our couch through couchsurfing and also happened to be from Carmel, Indiana. Lindsey arrived the morning after the tsunami that killed close to 200 people (with a photographer from the Czech Republic she had met on the plane) and immediately joined us with the Red Cross on the south side.

Lindsey's ticket had her staying in Samoa for two weeks. Eight weeks later she finally caught a flight to Tonga, the next leg of her journey. If she had stayed another week, she would have still been in Samoa when we left. While we were back in the States suffering through winter, Lindsey was in Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Fiji and back in Tonga.

Well now she's back in America and living just a city north of us. So for the first time since Meghan's Half-Way House, we have hung out with someone we know from Samoa. You know what? She knows what's up.

She knows that it is a bajillion degrees below zero outside and only marginally better inside. She knows that you gotta wear coats indoors. She knows that the pina coladas in Samoa were a bajillion times better than the once we made Saturday night. She knows that we are gonna drink them anyway. She knows (more than we do) why
this show she introduced us to is so awesome. She knows you should be watching it too.

It was nice to hang out with someone telling stories like our stories and totally understanding why that is funny or unusual or just so ka'a. Yay for shared experiences!

— Sara

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The First Frisbee of Spring

First Frisbee of Spring

Finally, a sign of hope in the air. Briefly last week the temperatures rose (to even 70 on one day...the day I worked indoors for 11 hours). There was one day though that Cale and I got outside, went to the park and threw the frisbee around. I was still wearing a long-sleeved shirt, but my feet got so warm that I took my shoes and socks off! For a brief moment the weather was bearable.

— Sara

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cale Hit the Motherlode

Seriously, I promise that one day I will stop writing blog entries that talk about when we were in the Peace Corps. That is like so four months ago.

However...

When Cale and I were getting ready to leave for Samoa we got rid of just about everything we owned. We kept a box of papers that everyone claims are important and you should keep (like old taxes), a box of art, our picture albums, our quilts and some other things. When we returned to Indiana in December I thought I had located all those things in the separate closets around my parents' house and gathered them together. Granted there were still a couple of things we could think of that seemed to be missing. Cale's afghan, Trivial Pursuit. But we just figured those were at Cale's mom's house somewhere.

Monday Cale cleaned out the closet and pulled out all our stuff to locate the few articles of clothing we had brought back from Samoa with us so we could prepare to pack them for SE Asia. When he picked me up from work he used vague and confusing references to get me to look at his outfit. When I finally figured out what he wanted, I still couldn't figure out what was so interesting about his t-shirt and pants, so he finally had to just come out and say it.

"I hit the motherlode!"

In the closet he had found a box we had not noticed before and discovered that we had kept some clothes. I thought we had taken all the clothes we still owned to Samoa with us and had completely forgotten that we had kept some in a box for our return. Like surprise Christmas, Cale was wearing his old DARE t-shirt and a pair of pants he hadn't seen in over two years. He had also found several other t-shirts, his favorite boy scout socks and the answer to the question, "why doesn't Cale have any underwear?" Unfortunately for me, Cale is a much better saver of things than I am. I appear to have kept a pair of capri pants, a sundress and a tank top that I only ever wore under another tank top (but I didn't keep the top one).

In addition to surprise clothes he also found the missing afghan and Trivial Pursuit. Hooray!

— Sara

Monday, March 8, 2010

Attention to Detail



Indiana is one of those states where driving without car insurance is illegal. Every where I turn I see billboards and TV commercials for insurance. Safe Auto is pretty ubiquitous. And their logo is driving me nuts!

I know this isn't the largest or highest resolution version of the logo, but I think you can still make out the detail that makes me want to rip my eyes out. See there at the top, where the S and the A merge? See how it dips down just a bit, just a small divot? WTF?

What could the designer possibly been thinking? That had to be purposeful. It would be so easy to create a smooth transition from S to A and a nice straight, smooth line there across the top.

I am sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Every time I see the Safe Auto logo I cringe. There is something about that dip there that is like a poke in the eye.

— Sara

Friday, March 5, 2010

Let the Countdown Begin

Exactly one month from today (I am not adjusting for time zones, deal) Cale and I will be in Bangkok. Lets get excited people.

For those of you who have doggedly stayed followers of this blog despite the recent dearth of posts and their less than interesting topics when they do arrive, I give you a glimmer of hope. Soon Cale and Sara will be traveling around Southeast Asia and have stories to share. Stick around, it should be fun.

— Sara