Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Think I'll Go To Boston...Part II of How We Avoided January

Well, I found an internship today here in Boston. It's actually in Concord, the location of my favorite Walden Pond (yes, Thoreau is a favorite of mine). I will be working for an Internist for the next six weeks. Sadly I cannot get paid (some school rule or something), but I am excited for everything I will be learning.

Anyway, back to how we got out here to good ol' Northboro (or to the Westerners, Boston, since no one that's not from here would have ever heard of Northboro).

After we got home from El Salvador, we had about three days of living at our empty home. Thanks to wonderful and loving neighbors, we didn't have to fast the entire time we were there. Anyway, we basically packed everything up, said our goodbyes (*tears), and headed South. Yes South. We were moving to Boston, but for the first several hundred miles, we only drove South. And West.

Our first stop was to say goodbye to Oma and Opa. We only got to spend a couple of hours with them, but are grateful for the times we got to spend with them over the past couple of years. We miss them already! After Oma and Opa's, we went down to Kent's Grandmother and Grandad's for lunch and some oh-so-intense games. We then spent the rest of the day and the night with Raelene and Mark and their six amazing kids! We miss them too! The next morning we said our goodbyes to BYU and a few of our friends down there at our old stompin' grounds...ah the good ol' days.

From P-Town, we drove down through Kent's mission. We got to see/ hike Bryce Canyon and Zion's Nat'l Park...fun, amazing, and BEAUTIFUL!!! We got to visit the Wilcox family, one of Kent's close friends from his mission. They were amazing and had us for dinner and stocked us up with some awesome treats (Ephra and Jaysha, we SOOO need that recipe by the way!). After a couple days in southern Utah, we went on over to Las Vegas, because, hey, why not right? I need to mention that Raelene is Incredible (in sooooo many ways) She and Mark hooked us up big time and let us use their timeshares for discounted rates all the way across the country. We got to stay in these amazing, gorgeous hotels for dirt cheap! Thanks Raelene!!! We stayed in Vegas for a couple nights, and did the whole strip thing...good times. I showed Kent mine, Joey's, and Carley's infamous Pirate ship (good times Skrosk!) We went to the Stratosphere Tower, and, somehow survived!!! We went on these three rides, Big Shot, Insanity, and ExScream. Big Shot shoots you straight up the needle on top of the tower, then you free fall back down. Insanity is this crazy arm thing that picks you up, puts you out over the edge of the Stratosphere, and then spins you around and around until you are facing the ground, 1100 feet in the air! And ExScream....they called it a Teeter Totter. If it's a Teeter Totter, it's the Teeter Totter of Death! It's this 30 foor long roller coaster track, and Kent and I got to sit in the FRONT car. Once you're all strapped in with this wimpy lap bar, and you're wondering what could possibly be so scary about this short track of roller coaster, the whole track drops down, and you don't only coast, but you are FORCED forward, toward the edge of the track! They don't have any kind of restraining rails or anything at the edge of the track! In fact, once we reached the edge of the track, the front car actually hangs off of the track! So we were there, freaking out of course, facing the floor of Vegas 1100 feet below us, and then the track started to raise up and we coasted back to the beginning. Then, just when we were getting our breath back, Boom, We were zipped back down at incredible rates, towards our impending doom. After the second one, we knew what to expect, when all of a sudden the whole track dropped about ten feet! We thought it broke and we were going to fall to our deaths! What a crazy night that was! To top it off, we met Marie Osmond up there with her kids! We had fun chatting for a few minutes.
From Vegas, we drove the next morning over to the Hoover Dam. Talk about breathtaking. We did a tour of the dam and saw the huge bridge they are building across the thing. It was amazing! After that we headed to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Yes, there IS a West Rim. It was only about 50 miles out of our way, so we THOUGHT, 'hey, no biggie.' Little did we know that 20 of those 50 miles were gravel, dirt, and altogether horrible conditions!!! We thought our poor weighed down car was going to die! Once we made it over those treachorous roads, we found out that the West Rim is NOT considered a National Park; it is owned by an Indian Reservation. Well we came that whole way and wanted to see the Grand Canyon, so they charged us up the nose and we saw the Grand Canyon. We got to go on the Sky Bridge, but couldn't bring our cameras! It was cool, but so not worth the drive or the money for future reference! Anyway, I stole a pic or two with my phone while on the sky bridge anyway.

We spent that night down in Mesa with my cousin Quinten and Kate and their three kids. We only wish we could have stayed longer! The next day, we made the drive to Maricopa, and took Elder Nauman and his companion to Breakfast! (it was more like lunch really) We found out there weren't really any breakfast places there, so we went to Ki's favorite burrito shop in town and had burritos for breakfast. It was so fun seeing Ki down there! He's doing great and working hard! After 'breakfast' we drove and drove and drove (there's not a lot other than Joshua tree forests between Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. We did go through Benson, the town where Opa grew up...we got ice cream there! We also stopped off the freeway in the literal middle of nowhere to see The THING!!! I cannot tell you much more than that it is there, and we saw it.

Our next stop on this adventure was Carlsbad Caverns...one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen! We hiked for hours and had so much fun there!

Next, we made our way to Natalie and Josh's house for a fun-filled weekend with them and their girls. We stayed busy and had a great time with them and are excited to go back!

After Natalie's, we went to New Orleans for a night. It's a pretty scary place to get lost at night, but we had a blast there! We went to this amazing Cheesecake Bistro for an incredible dinner/ dessert!!!

After New Orleans...FLORIDA!!!! Oh my amazing! We had perfect weather and got to go to DisneyWorld! Kent told them it was my birthday, so I got to wear a pin and EVERYONE there wished me a happy birthday. We were able to go to Magic Kingdom AND Epcot in a day! Only one line was a 15 minute wait; everything else was 5 minutes or less!! It was literally a dream come true day! That night, Kent took me to La Neuba-- a Cirque du Soleil performance. Words could never do that show justice! It was one of the most incredible performances I've ever seen, and an amazing birthday present! Our resort there was breathtaking as well!

After feeding seagulls at Daytona Beach, we drove up to Myrtle Beach. What a beautiful, fun place! We got to go to a local breakfast restaurant where Kent and I had our first grits experience! Mmmm They were delicious! We also went to Alligator Adventure--an exhibit of over 1500 gators and crocs, and tons of other reptiles and awesome animals! We even saw albino alligators, and got to hold a constrictor and a baby gator!

From Myrtle Beach we went to Williamsburg, SC. Our resort was a fun colonial style place that was about the same square footage as our home in Idaho! We got our oil changed there, since we'd gone pretty far since Idaho. After that we drove through Washington, D.C. We had a great time seeing the sights there. From there we drove to Aunt Katrina and Uncle Tamar's house in PA. We had a fun visit with them and went to Church with them on Sunday. We left after Sacrament Meeting, and made the home stretch drive up to Northboro, arriving literally three minutes before kick-off for the Super Bowl! Talk about timing!

So, after 16 days on the road, we made it safe and sound at our new home.

Total mileage: 5,300 miles!!!! Not having to live out of a suitcase anymore, priceless.

Let the next chapter of our lives--BEGIN!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How We Managed To Completely Skip the Month of January

Well it's been quite awhile since I last wrote, but for a good reason. After Christmas in Washington with my family, we headed home for a few short days to finish packing up our home. We left for El Salvador on the 1st of January. What a trip! Before we actually left the country we got to get rerouted, after many hours in the airport, to Seattle of all places so Kent could renew his passport. It didn't expire until April, but Apparently El Salvador has a rule that your passport must be good for six months upon arrival. Nowhere in our travel itinerary was that mentioned (Orbitz), so we had a hard time getting started, but had fun hanging out in Seattle for a day. Delta rescheduled everything for us free of charge, and we sure learned a lot!

Once we got to El Salvador, we got to see where Kent lived when he worked for HELP International, and we even got to return to the ward he attended while there. On our way to Church, we took a wrong bus somewhere and ended up in El Parque Libertad, one of the most dangerous parts of El Salvador! We saw a cool cathedral while there, but it was a little scary, so we didn't stay long. We found our way to Church and got to see several people Kent knew when he lived there. We also met this Awesome couple, Erin and Jay, that are from the US and are living down there right now. Jay actually worked for HELP a few years before Kent, and now he works for the Embassy down there. Anyway, they were so kind and helpful to us down there, they took us to there beautiful home for Sunday dinner, and then back to our hotel.

Monday morning around 5am we took a bus to Guatemala. We went to Antigua, this beautiful old town that used to be Guatemala's capital. While there we decided to splurge and we stayed a night in a top 500 and the #1 hotel in Central America and Mexico, El Santo Domingo. It's an old monestary that is just incredible! We had dinner there and felt like royalty all night. Early the next morning we took a bus to el Volcan Pacaya, a very active volcano. We climbed to the top of the volcano and actually got to see the lava and poke sticks in it! It was so hot up there, and we ended up walking on 7 day old lava crust that actually had flowing lava beneath it. Not the smartest thing we could have done, but hey, it was HOT!!! From Pacaya we took a bus to Lake Atitlan, a beautiful crater lake nested between several immense volcanoes. Now at this point I should mention the road systems in Central America--it's insanity on wheels down there! The 'chicken buses' and microbuses we took down there are essentially retired American school buses that have been suped up and gutted out to make room for more seats. The roads down there are ridiculous! Our trip to Atitlan was like a massive roller coaster ride with now brakes! Ahhh! But we made it and had so much fun touring the pueblos around the lake.

After Atitlan we took an eight hour, overnight bus to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. The seats in the bus were like glorified first class seats in an airplane. It was quite the experience to say the least. We spent several hours hiking through the forests of Tikal and saw some amazing things. We got to climb the temple ruins and saw some spider monkeys, and, my favorite howler monkeys fighting! They were right above our heads yelling at each other and it was great! We went to Flores, this fun little island town for dinner. We also paid a lady a couple bucks to use her ghetto shower that was really a pipe sticking out of a wall that shot cold water at you. But after two consecutive overnight buses, even that felt refreshing and clean! There was a carnival going on there, which consisted of old American fair rides that were no longer considered safe and were sent to El Salvador to 'die.' We went on this rickety old ferris wheel that was going so fast you lost your stomach every time around! Fortunately, we survived--somehow.

After that we took another overnight bus back down to El Salvador, where we met up with Jay and Erin and there adorable daughters again. They took us up to Juayua, an awesome festival town where there were rows and rows of food and fun things for sale. We had lunch there, and then the two of us hiked down to these beautiful waterfalls. We swam around there for a bit and just enjoyed our time, and went back up to town. While up there, we somehow managed to run into a family Kent taught English to with HELP! They were so awesome and offered to take us back to San Salvador so we wouldn't have to take a bus! Before taking us to Jay and Erin's, they took us to this great mountain where we hiked up and had this amazing view of the capital, the ocean, surrounding volcanoes, and the sunset! It was amazing! Then they took us to dinner, yummylicious papusas! We had an amazing time! The next morning, Jay took us to a beach and fish market where we got to see (and smell) how many people make a living down there. We then flew home and got back into the states on January 11th. What an amazing trip we had! We have so many fun memories, pictures, and even plans of what we want to do next time we go down! Thus, the first half of January had passed without us.

The rest of our January Adventures is soon to come...