I’m Back (Home and in JA)!
Ok… So it’s been a while since my last post. Reason being…my keyboard does not properly work; I think I mentioned that in my last post, nuh true? Since then, I have found this “On Screen” keyboard, that I can use to click letters that don’t work. Since I have TOO much to update on, I’ll make it easy with less details. Otherwise this could be one LONG post.
Okay, so immediately after I got back from Laura’s wedding in August, I had tons of work to do. Our Computer Lab launch was on August 31. My opinion, it was too dang long! I think it was supposed to be 2hrs, and it was bout 4 or 5hrs..classic Jamaica, ha. Overall, it was a great event, though. :-) Prior to the opening, I had to create a volunteer application for people to fill out to work at the lab, be available to help people fill out said application, help with the interview process, hiring, and training of new volunteers. 4 people applied (paperless application…all on the computers) and 2 got the job. Thus far the computer lab is functioning, people are using it, people are learning from it, and parents have a new way to keep their kids busy for an hour or 2. Successful for the time being, with adult literacy classes to hopefully begin at the beginning of next year.
September 4, I went home to Chicago/Sandwich!! The main reason for going home was to see my cousin Sarah get married! :-) Yay! What a b-e-a-ootful wedding!! Ok.. Sooo…
Upon coming off the plane, I was welcomed by my 2 besties, Kim and Rachel!! I’m sure people thought we were crazy or something with our screaming and laughter. :-) My trip began with a dance party on the rooftop of the parking garage, b/c I guess that was the only place to park? Ha.. In any case, t’was the best way to start my trip!
That first weekend I participated in a 12mile Tough Mudder Challenge with a bunch of awesome friends up in Wisconsin! Holy goodness, did I ever get my butt kicked so hard, but it was ssssoooo much fun!! :-) I can’t wait to do it again! Of course I couldn’t go to Wisco and NOT visit the Dolan Family!! :-) Yay!!! Wonderful people, they are! <3
Few days later, MJ (Marshalee) joined me on my excursion. It was sooo cool to tour her around MY HOME, you know? She’s had the opportunity for touring volunteers around Jamaica, ergo it was nice to flip sides and be able to show her around. :-) She joined me the rest of the trip, beginning with a night of cake party at Rachel’s!!!!
Umm.. next big event.. I went HOME HOME HOME…TO MY HOMETOWN, S-TOWN, SANDWICH, IL! lol This was nice.. I haven’t been home in so long, so it was great to see people. We got to spend good amount of time with my dad, mom, and my friends. :-) Mom surprised me at the train station with Grandma and Grandpa Duffy (who also had donuts for us)!! :-D After touring the home of the upcoming Superman movie, we went back and had lunch at Mom’s. Did I mention that we toured my middle AND high school?? Too weird! But great to see old faces! :-)
That weekend, Dad drove us down to visit his side of the family. :-) I think MJ and my grandma got along really good. Grandma Aeppli wanted to send us all back, but keep MJ. :-) Oh the Aeppli family. Good times. That Saturday was my cousin’s wedding! :-) Great wedding, lovely reception. It was hardly less than perfect! :-) I miss my all my family, and it was great to see EVERYONE in one weekend. Not mention to be able to share it with MJ, as she was exposed to some American Culture that she’d never seen before. :-D *Note all the smiley faces*
OH A HIGHLIGHT OF MJ BEING IN SANDWICH!! We watched my dad bowl one night, and after the league was finished, they were nice enough to allow us to bowl! Bowling, in JA, only exists if you’re talking about a Cricket Bowler (err the pitcher..person who throws the ball to the batter). MJ has only ever seen/heard of bowling through TV. It was just too cool to see her experience this for the first time! :-) With my dad’s help, I think she ended up bowling in the 80’s or 90’s, maybe even hit 100! :-D Me, I think I got like a 160-something? Ha.. Not bad for not bowling in a few years. :-P Everyone was intrigued by MJ’s mad bowling skillz, as they were enjoying themselves see someone of a different culture experience bowling for the first time. :-)
Somewhere in this plan, we also visited Valpo! :-) It was too awesome to see my Valpo friends!! My little freshman are now SENIORS!! EEEE!!! Cray Cray!!! I also visited my favorite Professor, Barb CN!! :-) Oh the great talk we had!! <3 The reason for going to Valpo was to do a talk on Peace Corps. MJ came to that with me as I talked about the program to potential applicants. MJ chimed in as a great addition to what it’s like to be a host country native hosting a volunteer. :-)
My sister’s birthday falls in our visit as well. Dad held a nice party for her at the Brickhouse. :-) Good times!
After the wedding, came more time in Chicago with my friends! We had a girl’s night out on the town in Chicago! :-) Turned out to be a lil more expensive than we’d hoped for, but all-in-all, still a great night, with wonderful girliefriends! The only thing left to do, was give MJ a proper tour of Downtown Chicago! :-) Our first stop, thanks to the sponsorship of Cope, was the Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower). We went up 103 floors, saw the AMAZING view of the City, and took our pics. :-) After that, I took her to the Buckingham fountain, Millenium Park, Grant Park, the Garden, the Bean, and Navy Pier. :-) Perfect weather all day long!
Oh gosh… THANK YOU TO ALL MY FRIENDS/FAMILY WHO HOUSED/ENTERTAINED ME AND MJ (ESPECIALLY KIMMY AND RAGE)!! I LOVE YOU ALL AND CAN’T WAIT TO COME BACK TO YOU! :-D
BACK IN JA
So I’m back… hahaha… Here are my highlights:
Football Festival 2012 – Went better/smoother than last year, but not without a few misunderstandings, first…and no I’m not going to get into it.
Blue Mountain Trip 2012 – MJ’s (and now my friend) friend, Sanna, is part of a 7th Day Adventist Fellowship group that goes on a hike up to Blue Mountain every year. This year, she invited MJ, who then invited me. The price to go up was super cheap for the trip, so there was NO WAY I was going to pass it up (despite some disagreements I had with some PC Rules). Blue Mountain Peak is the highest point in Jamaica at 7,402ft. We started the hike Friday evening, bus leaving at 7pm…errr..Jamaica time 9pm to take us up to the starting point of the hike. I think we began hiking around 9:45pm. There were a few designated rest stops along the way, which gave us all time to reflect on the hike in God’s eyes. Starting in the dead back of the line, it didn’t take long til MJ and I busted forward. We made lots of new friends along the way, including our friends Roan and Lloyd who became a part of our lil group. Near the end, Lloyd stayed back with Sanna and other, leaving us three to find the front of the pack, and along with 2 other guys, reached the barracks first (minutes to 4am). MJ and I decided we needed to shower, and good Laawd God Almighty!! I don’t think I’ve ever taken such a cold shower in my life!! Fresh water, straight from the Spring, at 4am. It would have been no different to rub ice all over my body! Needless to say, that was the ONLY shower we took from Friday-Sunday. Saturday we woke around 9am for Fellowship. Chilled all day long (literally and figuratively), until we woke at 2am Sunday morning to hike to the top of the peak! The trip, on a whole, was a great teamwork experience. The tricky part…going DOWN! I would have never thought that going down the mountain woulda been harder than going up! Recognizing the fact that we couldn’t hike that mountain alone. We were constantly using physical, verbal, mental, and emotional help from out fellow peers. In the same way, we need God. God is the PERFECT team mate to have on your side. If you call out to Him, he’ll help you in your struggles. Just as your friend will pull you up over the steep step, God will hold your hand through times in need.
MJ finished her degree in May, and graduated Saturday, November 3!!! Yay! Oh..not only did she just graduate, but homegirl graduated with FIRST CLASS HONORS!!!! :-D Big up girl!! I attended graduation, which was super cool. A nice short 2hr ceremony (as opposed to the 3hr ceremony for my 20 grade 6 students earlier in July) that both started AND ended ON TIME! <– First I ever experienced that in JA. Great weekend to be had, b/c the next night, we went to her friend (and again now mine, teehee) Felicia’s competition for Miss Preston (her dorm/hall that she stays in at UWI). Event began around 5pm and ended around 10pm! Good golly! In the end, Felicia was the winner! She beat out 5 other contestants! Yay! :-)
ST. ELIZABETH HERITAGE QUIZ COMPETITION 2012
Last year, for the first time, Queensbury entered the JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Comission) St. Bess Heritage Quiz competition and won! This year, we are defending our title. With only 2 of the same members from last year, we have the Championship match TONIGHT AT 4PM! Oh did I mention that I’m on the team this year? Yup… And I’m pretty sure that now, I know more about Jamaican Heritage than most Jamaicans! Perhaps I know more specifics on J’can heritage than I do American, lol (although there IS a lot LESS information to know). In any case, probably I should go study for that, now.
RRREAALLLY QUICK!! Ummm.. Although a very small Island, Jamaica definitely has an intensely different weather pattern across all parishes. My side of the Rock hardly got hit by Sandy (as in the next day was a regular day as if nothing happened); however, parishes such as St. Thomas, Portland, and St. Mary got SMASH. Even communities in Kingston/St. Andrew are still waiting to get electricity back. I think most people have water and electricity now, but some communities are still cleaning up the damage. :-/ Please pray for them.
Here are some pics from some of the events!