Bein’ One Wit Dem People!

By , August 27, 2017 10:17 am

Hi everyone!!! Well, we made it through staging in Miami, pre-service training 1 and model school in Saint Lucia, pre-service training 2 and our lovely swearing in ceremony in Dominica.

We’re officially Peace Corps Volunteers!!

At times, it felt like years, and other times it felt like the time simply whizzed by. The entire experience was positive and exciting. I am convinced that is because of the amazing people who are in our group (including the trainers, Assistant Peace Core Directors, the Country Director, and the other volunteers). One thing we talked about early on in our training was to “bein’ one with dem people” and with that, it will be the theme of today’s post. We’ll share other weeks in other posts.

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Hello Malaysia!!!!

By , August 13, 2014 8:28 am

KuchingWell, cannot believe another week has gone by.  Where does the time go?  At the moment I am on a plane headed to Hanoi.  I have just spent a week and a half in Malaysia.  The time went by in a flash.  Let me tell you all about it.
So, a few months ago I was talking to my friend from Uni, Constance, and she decided to coordinate her trip home to Borneo for the same time that I would be graduating from my TESOL program.  This could not have been more perfect.  I went from my newly made friends in HCMC to my old friend and her family.  It started with two nights in Kuala Lumpur.  Constance and her in laws picked me up and we headed out to the sweetest town called Melaka.  It took a couple of hours to get there but it was completely worth it.  Since Connie and her family are Chinese Malaysians, we visited Chinese temples, ate the most amazing rice balls lunch, and walked around.  The town is a must if you are visiting K.L.  There are cute shops, cute guesthouses, museums, a huge cathedral and the the most amazing guys riding around on the funniest bikes decorated in all kinds of colors and designs.  You have to see it to believe it.  It was a lovely day that ended with a lovely Chinese dinner and a trip to the health clinic.

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Good Morning Vietnam (again)

By , July 20, 2014 7:31 am

14505420997_38fe7f7f93_oWell, I have been here for a week and what a week it has been. Fantastic!!! 10 steps above Cambodia. Don’t get me wrong, Cambodia is good but Vietnam is really good. I think it also matters where you are staying and we are staying in the best area of the city. It’s so beautiful with tree lined streets and not much much trash really. We are only a couple blocks from the school, Language Corps, which is also nice. I like walking to school in the morning. We also have tons of restaurants and stores all around us. We didn’t have that in Phenom Pehn. Plus, we were so far from everything that a tuk tuk ride was $4 to get anywhere. Here, we can pretty much walk everywhere. We also have an amazing park only a couple of blocks away. I love the park because 1. It is beautiful and 2. It is alive with people. People playing badminton, exercising, jogging, zumba, working out on the permanent equipment, playing Chinese Chess, walking around, and just hanging out.

Our hotel is lovely too. I have a bathtub, a balcony, actual decorations, cable tv and wifi in my room. They even do free laundry service and clean my room when I give them the key. They don’t really know English but it’s amazingly easy to communicate when you really want to. It’s a lot like charades. They are very nice and always smile when we come in.

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Teaching English in Asia

By , July 19, 2014 7:37 am

Photo of view from my window in Cambodia

Holy smokes!! I’m on a bus heading OUT of Cambodia! How did this happen considering it feels like I just arrived? My intention was to write many posts and update Facebook frequently. In reality… I’m still getting used to writing on a tablet, having unreliable internet, and being in classes all day. This has been challenging at times, especially for a gal that hasn’t been in school for 14 years. So, with that, let me tell you the story of Cambodia as I lived it.

 

Well, it took two days to get here. I stayed in a lovely hotel in Taiwan on the way. Once in Cambodia, I was greeted by a guy (I call him Bob Marley because he was wearing a B.M. t-shirt and didn’t speak English). The first thing he did was walk me through the airport parking lot and across the street to his tuk-tuk. The street was very busy so we weaved through and the vehicles went around us like a school of fish. Welcome to Cambodia! We hopped into the tuk-tuk and were ourselves weaving around the crowded streets to make our way to my new home, the Marady Hotel. For those of you who do not know, I am taking an intensive TESOL course that starts in Phnom Penh and ends in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our hotel was a bit far out and honestly did not look too inviting to explore the streets. I did not see any tourist shops, restaurants or even a mall. I kept thinking, ‘what did I get myself into?’ I was also feeling quite lost without my better half, Paul a/k/a Patty.

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Welcome to Asia

By , June 28, 2014 4:58 pm
Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

I haven’t even made it to my final destination, Phnom Penh, and so much has happened.  I don’t mean just travel-wise but also Christine-wise.  First, there was saying “goodbye” to my sweet baby.  I know, I’m the one who planned this little getaway but man, I sure didn’t think it would be so hard.  I kind of think at the time of the ticket purchase, I was under the influence of hormones and thank goodness I can’t just cancel everything because I think I might have now that the ol hormones are under control.  Anyways, all that to say, I have an amazing husband who is the biggest supporter of this adventure.  I wish he was by my side experiencing all this with me.  At any rate, I’m trying to tap into that adventurous solo traveller Christine that I knew 10 years ago.

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I’m Leaving! Well, almost.

By , June 15, 2014 2:48 pm
Bertie and her little backpack

Bertie and her little backpack

I’m happy to report that our website Bert and Patty is coming alive with some travel action.  That’s right but most of the travel action is going to be solo–Bert only.  Sad but true.  I will be leaving my sweetie for two months for SE Asia.  Honestly, I’ve had some serious mixed emotions about this but in the end, I’m ‘just doing it’ like our friends at Nike would say.  Dusting off the ol solo travel skills and taking the plunge.  Sure beats a summer in Seattle trying to find stuff to do all day until Paul gets home.  That’s the beauty of working for the public school system.  I think Paul aka Patty will be just fine without me.  He will be busy at work by day and studying by night.  He, will, however come to Beverly Hills with me for 4 amazing days to stay in a posh hotel to include luxurious spa treatments on my birthday (thank you Ellen Degeneres!) before heading to Ontario to visit his family.  Still pinching ourselves about that one.

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Merry Christmas from Bert and Patty!

By , December 10, 2010 11:15 am

Gosh, how time flies. It’s Christmas again, can you believe it!? I hope each and every one who is reading this post is happy and healthy and enjoying this holiday season.

And, now that I got that out of the way, I’m not sure where to start so I will start by saying that every year we’ve written a Christmas letter, but this year, we are doing this post instead.

Let’s see, where to start, where to start??!! I think I will summarize the year and what an amazing year indeed. Last year at this time we were heading down the East Coast of Australia: “A Dingo Ate My Baby”, enjoying some fun in the sun, meeting other travelers and getting ready to spend the holidays with our friends Sonya, Aaron and their families/friends: “Our Time In Melbourne”. Aussie holidays are amazing as they are filled with much food (especially meat—can you imagine one meal consisting of roast beef, ham, seafood, sausages, turkey and steak?) and equal amounts of alcohol. These people know how to celebrate life and friendships and do so at the drop of a hat. We really like that and felt so privileged to have gotten to be a part of it.

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Same Same . . . But Different

By , October 21, 2010 6:07 am

So, we have been here in Edinburgh for seven lovely weeks now and so many times I would find myself scratching my head and referring to a saying we heard while traveling through Asia – “Same same, but different”. That’s the only way I can describe this place.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

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Santorini & Anafi, Greece

By , July 16, 2010 8:00 pm

Ahhh . . . Santorini – can you say “amazing”. I’ve seen the photos for years and let me tell you, it is ten times prettier in real life. But, it’s funny because when we arrived in Santorini on our ferry, we were expecting to be greeted by the famous white buildings with the blue domes and we were met with a dingy port and people trying to get to us stay in their accommodations. Are we on the right island? where are the buildings in the photos? Well, as it turned out, it took a a day or two until we actually saw them as we were staying on the other side of the island in a cool beach area called Perissa.

Perissa Beach, as it turns out, was a pretty happening place–the sand is pitch black and very fine which means it gets scorching hot during the day. It is also lined with tavernas and cafes on one side of the street and beach with chairs and umbrellas on the other. So, if you eat or drink at one of the establishments, you are most likely able to strike up a deal with a free chair and umbrella.

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My Big Fat Greek Birthday ! !

By , July 12, 2010 2:45 am

PINCH ME!! I still can’t believe we are actually in Greece, let alone Mykonos. What a perfect place to celebrate my birthday – in the land of my ancestors. We are staying at Mykonos Camping and yes, there are tents here but hey, how else can we travel for so long, right. Our ‘private double’ was more like a shed you would have in your back yard but instead of it being 100% metal, it had a metal frame and was covered with canvas. Inside was a nice double bed cot and a light but what more do you need, we are in Mykonos for God sakes! The surprising part of it all was the grounds – these are not the campgrounds I know and love, these were amazing; a pool that overlooked the ocean, a bar, a DJ, a grocery store, a restaurant and a self service cafeteria. The infinity pool was surrounded by relaxing lounge chairs and trendy wicker chairs. There was a second level that had beanbag chairs and tables to sit and sip a cocktail while overlooking the gorgeous sea. So, we may be sleeping in a shed but the grounds were like a 5 star hotel.

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