Friday, October 29, 2010

our destination

image from wikipedia
I'm sure all of you guys are wondering where were we are going. Well we have decided where we are going! we are going to... CHILE! also known as CHI...CHI...CHI...LE...LE...LE. We are very excited and hope you are too!
love Grace and Theo.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Giving up something...

One of the first lessons of this family journey that we've talked about with the kids is the idea that you can't gain an amazing, new adventure without also giving up some of the things you most love. For the kids that means they will leave classrooms they are thoroughly enjoying, they will say goodbye to family and friends for a year, and won't do some the activities that are traditions in our family; cross country ski league, the 4th of July Parade at Ottertail Lake, our summer trip to the Boundary Waters. For me, it means giving up a job I love.

Tomorrow, Joyce Preschool is hosting a goodbye celebration in my honor. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have worked with such a dedicated group of staff, board members, parents, and community supporters. Together we've made a huge impact in the lives of hundreds of children. There is nothing as important as helping children realize their full educational potential and early education is the key to it all.

Thanks to all the amazing people who comprise the Joyce community. (hoping not to cry throughout the WHOLE evening tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Geeky Stuff: Snail Mail

I know what all of you in reader-land are thinking:  Yes, yes, meat empanadas and penguins and exotic animal habitats are interesting, but what about all the cool geeky stuff you get to do to prepare for living abroad?

Well, I'm glad you asked.  Here is the first entry in my certain-to-be-a-classic Geeky Stuff series.

A couple years ago all of the bills we get (water, gas, electric, phone, medical, etc., etc.) started arriving each month with a big banner on the back of the envelope that said something to the tune of: 

Be Green!  Save the Earth!  Save us (your friendly gas company) a bunch of money!  Sign up for e-Statements!

This seemed intriguing to me (I'm always looking for ways to save my gas company money) but I had my tried-and-true methods of record-keeping, and it seemed like a pain.  Then we started hatching this hair-brained scheme to spend a year on the other side of the planet, and I thought, this might be a good idea.

So I started signing up for all of those e-statements.  And I kept doing it, for about the past year, and now I can say truthfully that all of our snail mail is now junk.  Other than the occasional real letter from you, our family and friends, the signal-to-noise ratio in the Bud Ice box into which our mail slot empties is very near zero.  And e-statements really do live up to they hype - they're convenient, they're green, they don't break your back if you have to carry them from the basement to the attic.

I know, you alert readers are thinking,
  • How on earth do you remember all those passwords for all those e-statement accounts?  Isn't it insecure?
  • What if you do get some real mail while you're abroad?
Stay tuned...

Theo's Criteria...somewhere where...

1. it does not go above 80 degrees F.
2. there is meat empanadas
3. there are different habitats and animals


Friday, October 22, 2010

grace's criteria.

hi,my name is grace and, here is my criteria,

1. I would like to see penguins on our trip
2. somewhere where they grow beets
3. somewhere where there are not to many people from the u.s.a.
4. somewhere where they have good desserts

thank you for reading my blog
from, grace h.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FAQs part III…

“What are the criteria for selecting your destination?” is another great question. It’s really interesting how different our criteria are now that we have kids as opposed to when we were young and single and traveling around Latin America. All of a sudden, access to good health care and political stability are much higher on the list.

It’s also a mixed blessing that we have so few constraints on selecting a place or the fact that one of us isn’t being transferred. There are countless wonderful communities all over Latin America, and any number of them would be a great destination for us! So where to begin? We knew we had to narrow it down, so here are our criteria (so far):

1) Latin America; same time zone for Dan’s work and Spanish for the kids

2) Reliable high speed internet for Dan’s work (that eliminates a lot of regions and countries where rolling blackouts are quite common)

3) A second, third, or fourth city in a country. A manageable size, less pollution, and more of a chance to get to know a community than in a capital city. At the same time, probably not a rural town which might have limited resources in terms of schools and healthcare.

4) Politically stable

5) Not touristy. Not too many gringos.

6) Coastal. I’ve finally decided if I’m to leave land-locked Minnesota for a year, I’d like to be able to view the ocean on a regular basis (sorry Bolivia).

That’s our short criteria list – which of course is ever-evolving.

FAQs continued...

Another big questions is “What will you be doing?”. Dan will continue to design and write software remotely with his current company Integral 7. We hope to enroll the kids in a local (Spanish-speaking) school. And I hope to do some volunteer work in our community in addition to helping the kids negotiate another school, language and culture, and in general manage our transition. We hope to travel some but mostly we want to be part of another community for the year. We want to make friends, understand what it is like to live in that country. We want to learn about the people and the cultural traditions. And in the process of learning about others, we hope to learn more about ourselves and what’s important in our lives.



Most common question….”Where are you going?”

My friend Annie and I joked today that everyone’s interest in our destination is reminiscent of when Dan and I were waiting for our kids to be born and both were 2 plus weeks past their due dates. Friends and family tried not to harangue us with, “Is the baby here yet?”, but really that’s all anyone wanted to know. Similarly, folks would love to know where we’re heading in 3 months – as would we. We’re working on it... stay tuned.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A perfect day in Minneapolis

This morning was absolutely gorgeous as I ran by Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. Fall colors, balmy weather, sun shining off the lakes. I stopped by the rose garden to literally smell the roses and slowed to walk through the Peace Garden. I wound my way to the soccer fields to meet up with Dan and the kids. There I greeted all sorts of friends from our communities of Lyndale Neighborhood, Barton School and Joyce Preschool. Later we met up with our neighborhood camping crew at Minnehaha Falls for some bbq and frisbee and finally ended with dinner with our brother-in-law and a sleepover with the nephews.

A perfect day and one that makes me realize how fortunate we are to live where we live and share in some incredible communities. Even as the excitement is starting to build about our upcoming journey and even as I'm secure in the knowledge of all the opportunities in front of us, its still hard to not feel some sadness in regards to relinquishing all this - even if just for a year. Lojo