Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm a little less stressed than the last update, however a lot has been going on!
I've finished up the fall semester - projects completed, tests finished, and TA position ended. I'm still trying to figure out the best classes to take for the spring semester which starts back up in January. Along with that I'm trying to decide whether or not to accept another TA position along with a heavier class load and my full time job???
There is a good chance that I'll be taking a medical Spanish class which I'm super excited about!
I'm enjoying my Emergency Room job - it's fun to be working with children again!!! I haven't decided yet whether I think that I'm a good fit for the ER, but I've been learning a ton!
Thankfully some things with the identity theft problems have been worked out and money credited back to my account, although there are still some loose ends to figure out.
I'm also officially moved into my own apartment - thanks to help from my grandpa, mom, brother and sister-in-law, and a few friends on a very cold December weekend!!! Still have some unpacking, organizing, and decorating to do, but it's quite livable and even has some Christmas decorations up - and lots of room for visitors!!!
I'm also very thankful for having some time off around Christmas - it helps to be on orientation during this time of year because I'm not obligated to work anytime holiday pay is offered!!!
I'll try to get some photos posted soon!
May your Christmas be focused on our amazing Lord and Savior . . .
And may your New Years be one of seeking God's will for each new day!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lessons to be learned

Things continue to be crazy - bank account is still a mess, car is back in the shop, homework is endless, and starting a new job is never easy. However, I'm really just constantly amazed at God in the midst of it all!!!
I can tell you though, I've learned some very practical things through all this. For example, the feeling of only having a certain amount of available cash and no other access to money . . .and still needing to get groceries and figure out how to go to the store to pay a bill because checks are not an option. I have a student bus pass that allows me to ride all bus lines for free, but I can tell you how thankful I am for this pass - because even though it's a small price to ride the bus, I would be stressed to have to use that amount of cash daily. It really has given me a new perspective on some peoples lives . . . certain conveniences that I take for granted!
And I've been quite ashamed when I begin to grumble about having to ride the bus and yet there are some people in wheelchairs or who are blind that regularly ride the bus and have to deal with more difficulites and inconveniences that I could ever even begin to imagine!!!

I've also been reminded to be thankful . . . because no matter what is happening there is still always more to be thankful for!

Back a couple weekends I did get to take a fun little break and Maranatha and I drove over to Stacie's baby shower. Unfortunately it was on the same day that I had my sunday class until 1pm in Indianapolis and the baby shower started at something like 2pm in Dayton, OH. We thought we would make it before the shower ended, but with my class running over by about 15 min. for the first time and a few wrong turns we missed the whole shower. Not so bad though because that just meant that Maranatha and I had a couple hours to spend just with Stacie =) It was a fun, quick evening and I'm glad that we had a chance to get over and see her (and "little nugget")!!!
How thankful I am for these dear friends!!!!!!!!

Praying for a safe delivery Stacie!!!!!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recent craziness!

For some reason life has recently become very overwhelming and difficult to figure out. However, amongst the difficulties I've seen God do the most amazing things! It took me forever and ever to find an apartment that I liked, but after much waiting I've found a great one and will move in sometime in Dec.!!! Over a week ago I found out that my identity was stolen and they were able to gain access to my bank accounts, they stole thousands before I realized it and was able to freeze the accounts. The bank is in the midst of an investigation, so currently everything in my accounts is still frozen. After the investigation I'll know whether or not all the money will be refunded. The bigger problem however is the lack of security that I feel. So much is at risk when somebody has your identity, so I've been trying to sort through how to deal with that and put up safeguards so that more things don't happen. I've also started working at Riley Children's Hospital in the Emergency Department. I've mostly had orientation classes and one day in the hospital. Classes at the University continue to go well, although I've recently been having trouble keeping up with all of the assignments. My TA position at the University has been great and I just found out last week that I actually have health insurance because of working there. Thankfully they refunded me for the student health insurance I signed up for at the begining of the semester because of the insurance they provided me with. Add to all this the car problems I mentioned in the previous post and I've been a little (a lot) stressed. Trying not to be, but I have been! Right now it's just a matter of trying to take things one day at a time and praying that I can honor God through each and every day!

Here is a photos of downtown Indianapolis . . .

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modes of transportation

A couple weeks ago my car began leaking anti-freeze . . . not good! I took it to the shop and it's a costly repair, so I decided to wait to get it fixed to see if I could find a better used car. In the mean time I've had to depend on other forms of transportation - mostly the city bus. Thankfully I have a student bus pass, so all my rides on the city bus have been free. Other ways I've found to get around - walking, bike, train, taxi, and begging for rides with my brother or sister-in-law . . .or any combination of them! I can't complain too much because i'm so thankful that I had other ways to get around without my car . . . but if you miss a bus there usually isn't another one coming for a long time and you usually can't catch up to the bus by running after it (i've tried!) =( , and some bus stops are not so great to wait at, especially in the dark! I finally decided that being carless just wasn't for me and will be getting my car fixed this week! However, I hope to continue to use city transportation if possible to cut down on so much wear and tear on my car and gas money!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

more fun fall festivals

There were a few other festivals here in Indianapolis that I got to enjoy. Fiesta Indianapolis celebrated the hispanic culture. I only saw one sign of Guatemala which was somebody wearing a soccer jersey from Guatemala. We had some good food and listened to some music - it was a good time!

The other one was the Irish Fest. Chicago hosts the Celtic Fest which is a free event, here in Indy it costs $13 to go to the Irish Fest. Not so sure it's worth the cost, plus I had my weekend course during the weekend of the festival which means I only had a couple hours here and there anyway. So, I waited until Sunday afternoon close to time for the festival to close up and got to go in for free. Some stuff was closing up, but there was still some booths and music. So, I was satisfied just to get in for free =)

Not sure if there are any other fall festivals coming up, but if you know of any and want to go let me know!!! Or, any fall hikes or drives to see the changing leaves would be great as well!

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Fiest of the Hunters Moon

Fiest of the Hunter's Moon is a festival in Lafayette, IN that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime!!! Way back when it became a annual tradition for my family to go with another family - at the time our parents would volunteer and we would get dressed up in costume and camp out for the weekend. Since then it's become a time for my mom's friend to sell some of her crafts and so my mom continues to go with them to help.
Here is mom:

I've missed quite a few years since going off to college, but in the last couple years I've been able to go here and there. This was one of those years since I'm living only about 1 hour from there. The smell of woodburning fires are everywhere, people in costume, music drifting through the air, soldiers marching around, men in kilts, and so much more!
Here is a morning flag raising ceremony:
And one of the bands:

I arrived Sat. evening as it was closing up for the tourists. Since my mom's friends have a booth they are considered to be part of what we will call "fiesters". These are people that are registered to do something for the weekend - sell things like crafts or food, or do some kind of performance or things like that. Some of the "fiesters" are on site and everything they have must be time period appropriate. Some people really get into character and stay in it for the entire weekend (maybe their entire lives???)! But my mom and her friends are not that dedicated - so they have the motor home and set up camp in the parking lot! So, as the visitors are leaving the "fiesters" are closing up their booths and begin to cook their dinner.
Here is the fire we cooked our dinner over. We had cheeseburgers, sausages, cheesy potatoes and lots of other snack and munchies - most of the food credit goes to Ginger and Curtis!

Then as the sun goes down the music begins and there is a dance for all the "fiesters". I'm not sure what it's called - but it would be from the 1700's i'm assuming! Something like square-dancing, but different. Not everybody stays in costume, but lots of people do, so it's very fun and feels like you've stepped back in time! I took a video clip of the dancing and music on my camera, but it was taking to long to load onto the blog!

So, let me know if you are ever interested in going, it will happen again next year!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

decisions . . .

There are certain times in life when decisions are made without much thought, the answers are obvious. Then there are other times when a decision is much more complicated and hard to figure out . . . and right now is one of those times for me!
I've been so blessed to have some time to settle into life here in Indianapolis without having to make spur of the moment decisions. But there comes a point when eventually I have to decide where I will work and where I will live and how long I will study for. All of these decisions seems like they will have such long lasting consequences that it seems to paralyze me and I just can't make any decisions at all. For example, apartments - what kind to get? where to live? high-rise or house? how much to pay? etc. . . .yikes, i don't know!
so, i just keep looking and looking and not wanting to pay any of the prices =(
i do interview with a couple hospitals this week, so then i will need to make some decisions about the job . . . to take one of them or hold out for more interviews?
then I talked with a professor who mentioned that maybe I should study a whole different master's program altogether . . . what??? (and it's one that isn't offered at IUPUI).
just trying to figure out how to make these decisions while waiting and trusting in the Lord's perfect timing. I know that it will all fall into place . . . just not sure how or when =)
guess it doesn't help that my mind and heart often wander to Guatemala . . . or I compare everything to Chicago because I miss the city and my friends!
i think that there is a cleansing factor in giving up the comfortable and the familiar . . . but it's a process of adjustment that isn't always fun or easy. just means that life takes on a new perspective and ultimately the decision is mine on how I will deal with the changes and what i choose to do with everything God has given to me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Lowell Labor Day Parade

The town of Lowell, where my mom lives and where I grew up, celebrates Labor day with Fireworks and a Parade. My mom lives only 2 houses down from the main Parade route, so we had coffee and snacks for those who wanted them before, during, and/or after the parade!
Chairs started being put out along the street days before the parade - however our section is kinda reserved because it's in front of the neighbor's house, so we didn't need to put our chairs out until the night before =)
The parade starts out with the firetrucks . . .

Followed by the men and women who serve(d) our country:

And no Lowell Labor Day Parade would be complete with out the guys in these little cars:

Or the Mi Ranchito contribution of beautifully dressed Mexicans, dancing horses, and a man standing on the horse while doing tricks with his lasso

And can't forget the tractor . . .

Fun times in Lowell =) If you want to experience this tradition next year let me know - there's always plenty of room!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I guess it would help if I gave you a better idea of what I'm doing! So, here's what's going on. Right now all of my stuff is in boxes at my mom's house in Lowell, IN. But, I'm taking classes in Indianapolis, Indiana and the plan is to find a job and apartment there in Indy while taking classes.
So far no apartment, thankfully my brother and sister-in-law are letting me live with them when I need to. And as far as the job, well, I haven't been so diligent with that because I'm still trying to decide between working at a hospital or clinic.
My master's program is in Community Health Nursing with a focus in Primary Care. In the back of my mind I'm wondering about just finishing my Family Nurse Practitioner while I'm at it because I'll be pretty close. In my current program I"ll graduate in Dec. 2009 - so just another year and a half to go!!!
The class structure for this program is a little different than normal and we only meet for one very intense weekend once a month, and then there is lots of homework to do in between classes. I'm also taking a online Pharmacology class which requires weekly assignments, reading, and quizzes. I did take a job as a Teaching Assistant for an undergrad Research Class taught by the Dean of Nursing at IUPUI. I will have to be on campus every Tues. afternoon to help out with that class - but it only ends up being about 4 hours a week.
So, for example this past week I went to Indy on Thurs. and stayed there until Wed. and then came back to Lowell and will be here for a couple days, and then will be back in Indy on Tues. I guess instead of paying rent I'll be paying that in gas for my car =(
So, some fun things about Indy:
-campus is only blocks away from Downtown
-there is a beautiful canal running between Downtown and the campus
-there are at least 3 large hospitals across the street from campus
-there is lots of green space, trees, and parks
-no Chicago traffic
-I have family and some good friends from college that live there
-cost of living is cheaper than Chicago
I'm looking forward to learning more about the city and starting to get settled there!
Once I have a place to live you are invited to come visit me =)

Here is a photo from a section of the canal looking toward Downtown:

and a pretty fountain on the canal:

Where am I???

So, I've lived in Chicago for the past 7 years, right. When I would talk about going to my mom's house I would say that "I'm going to Indiana". Well, now I'm in the process of moving to Indianapolis (Indy), Indiana. The other day while talking to a friend in Indy I said that the next day I was going back to Indiana. "What?" she asked. Oh, ya, I'm in Indiana, just going to a different part of Indiana =) And the other day while searching for something in Indy I automatically typed in Chicago, IL and couldn't figure out why it wasn't bringing up things from Indy =) . . . oops, might take awhile to make the switch!
I do miss Chicago . . . but Indy is nice . . . just not sure it's sunk in yet that I'm actually making the move!

Monday, August 25, 2008

More about my family

My host family was wonderful and so hospitable! It was a pleasure to live with them for the entire 4 weeks of my stay there! There are already quite a few photos of them in previous posts , especially with all of the birthday celebrations for their daughter Lucy. But, here are some more and some of their house:

The whole family

Lucy sleeping on her chair
My roommate, Mary, and JuanPa playing

JuanPa's school play in which he was a lion!

A photo with YaYa after she gave me this delicate little crocheted vase that she made for me during my time there

The street/neighborhood around the house

The little grassy courtyard - one of those widows is my bedroom!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good question . . .

I mentioned in an e-mail that lots of people are asking me this question, "When are you going back to Guatemala?". I too have thought about that question, but the honest answer is that I have no idea, none at all. Last year coming back to the states after living in Antigua and studying at language school I was very upset by the fact that I didn't know when I'd be going back to Guatemala. This year however I feel differently. I suppose a lot of it is because God taught me so much in my time there. I'm learning about being content with each and every moment and opportunity that God gives me along the way. I tend to look ahead at what is around the next corner and if there is something there to look forward to I'm doing ok, but if there is nothing there and life just goes on as normal I tend to get a little anxious. I need to find the balance between being content in today and yet figuring out how to plan for the future. But God tells us "don't worry about tomorrow" or to make plans to "go to this city or that city.
So, for now I just need to rest in the fact that God has a plan and He will show me what to do one step at a time. And along the way I want to be content and happy with the journey and not just seeking out a destination.
So, maybe I'll be back in 6 months . . . a year . . . 2 years . . . maybe never?
In the meantime I'm realizing that I have a lot to learn. I was challenged a lot about what it looks like to be involved in missions and what it means to do medical missions . . . and what is my role in all of that??? Not to mention the personal weaknesses that need to be worked on!
My heart is still in Guatemala - I'm not sure why? Why there, why those people? I still wonder if I'll ever live there and if I do how I will do that or who I will work with and where I would live. But those are the questions that I can't answer now and don't need to. There is a gap between where I am now and actually moving to Guatemala. So, if God desires for me to return, he will begin to fill that gap. And if not, then I will never regret every moment that I spent in that country and every person that I interacted with and every friend that I got to know! The best thing that I can do right now is leave it all in God's hands and let Him lead me step by step!

America Latina School and Clinic

Here are some photos of the America Latina school campus in Guatemala City - they actually have 2 other locations, in Palencia and Chimaltenango - which is where we held some clinics, and there are some general photos of our time there in another post.

This is the street outside of the school and the wall of red/cream is the wall of the school and main entrance:

Here is the clinic and there is an entrance to the side that goes to the dental office, business offices and the pharmacy/storeroom - those are the areas that I spent a lot of time!
and this is inside the clinic

Here is the courtyard, gym, administrative building and some classrooms at the school:

This photos was taken from the campus water tower thing towards some of the downtown buildings

Clinics and other ministries

Here is a look at some of what was happening around the clinics. There was more than just medical stuff going on - there were ministries for children, youth and adults as well as painting. When we were running medical clinics we had 2-3 doctors seeing patients, 3 dentists, help finding the correct prescription eyeglasses, and a pharmacy to hand out medications. In the clinic the first week I was able to check patients in by getting their main complaints. The second week I worked more in the pharmacy.

This first set of photos is from the clinic in Palencia - about 45 min. drive from the city where I was living.

This very colorful wall was painted by the team

The kids in a "VBS" type program

Craft time with the women - they loved it!!!

"Doctor's offices" and pharmacy

This next set of photos from Chimaltenango during my second week- about another 45 min. drive from the city in a different direction as the other clinic!

The is my friend Chris who is a missionary in Chimaltenango, so I spent some time with her . . . and tried some natural healing techniques for her finger - well as natural as duct tape can be =)



Team members and building used for clinics


Hope this gives you a glimpse of what was happening during my time in Guatemala!