Friday, July 30, 2010

a post not really about jet lag

I should be sleeping - after all, I do have jet lag, you know - and my husband is sleeping and occasionally talking in the next room. Or maybe, if sleep doesn't cut it, I should be packing or finishing up the laundry, the third (and only unfinished) item on my to-do list today. But I am not all that sleepy even though I'm convinced that I should be and not all the motivated, which is fine because, after all, I do have jet lag, you know. I am happy, which does fall under different categories then sleepy and motivated but it will do better than either of those. 

799. coming home
800. our neighbor boy who saw us as we turned the corner onto our street and booked his way to our house on his bike
801. our dog when he sighs on his bed in the corner of our room
802. finding out that I do indeed have enough old scrubs for my new job, because, of course, we can't wear solid navy blue.
803. having a not-so-secret chocolate stash
804. neighbors who keep and eye on our house and water my tomato plant and the new grass and put out our trash and recycling  when we were gone
805. my friend who adeptly coordinates things for our all-girls trip to the Boundary Waters. lover her
806. expected items in the mail ... things to check off the list that needed to be attended to before we move
807. friends who call and then stop by
808. the incredible feeling of peace I have when thinking about the next few weeks.

That's it as I am both happy and sleepy. Hoping the motivation will come tomorrow ...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Being thankful in Beijing ...

I have not forgotten to be thankful but instead, in fact, have been far too busy having fun to write my blessings down here for the whole world (a bit dramatic perhaps?) to see.

773. Before we left for China we spent a long weekend up at Crooked Lake with my family
774. an eagle perched on the tall tree next to our dock
775. we ate hotdogs and s'mores cooked in the fire pit near the shore
776. i had some good talks with my brother
777. and enjoyed listening to his songs
778. we played Indian, my favorite family game, which I'm sure has a more culturally appropriate name
779. and i got two long car rides and good conversations with my love.

780. Our flights here were uneventful
781. Friends of Gina and Erik whose apartment we are staying in and whose car we are using while they are in the states
782 & 783. Gina and Erik, our chauffeurs, travel guides, problem solvers, restaurant order-ers and interpreters
784 & 785. Ethan and Megan, our entertainers and snugglers, depending on how they are feeling
786. time to be bonafide tourists
787. time to read books, take naps and watch movies ... oh and play mario cart
788. children giggles
789. adult laughter

790. playing pandemic with Christopher over and over and over again til we finally won - twice
791. picking up gifts that our friends and family will hopefully like
792. remembering what it is like to barter
793. sanitizing hand gel
794. seeing where the Butz family live (and where they are going to live), play and work.
795. going to sleep and waking up with my husband - at the same time - every day - for the last few weeks
796. air conditioning. i am thankful for that back home too but the heat here takes it to a whole new level
797. celebrating birthday's with people who weren't family last year
798. my in-law's generosity that allowed me to go on this trip in the first place

Friday, July 23, 2010

guitar hero and mario cart

Two summers ago I spent a weekend at a friend's sister's cabin in central Minnesota and we played guitar hero and Nertz and went swimming in the cold night time waters. Then I sat on the dock until I couldn't feel my feet anymore watching the stars with the man that I would marry. And my love for guitar hero and Christopher Brenna began.

Two weeks ago I left America with my husbands family bound for Beijing where I have been climbing stairs up to the Summer Palace in Beijing and descending the Great Wall on a steel luge-like slide and spending my free time being a silly Aunt (omg, i am an aunt) while trying to master Mario Cart.

A lot can change in two years. =)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

first impressions of Beijing

We traveled about a day, had smooth flights, skipped over a morning and arrived in Beijing around midnight last Thursday.

My first postage-size impression of Beijing the morning after we arrived was that it looked like Bucharest (Romania, where I spent a summer after college) but that was only because of the haziness and tall apartment buildings from both vantage points of the apartment we are staying in. That is really the only way Beijing resembles Bucharest - both have the tall apartments for different reasons - but that was my first thought on the first morning.

We went to a market the next day which reminded me of the markets in Tema and Accra (in Ghana) except that the vendors were much less aggressive and there were no marriage proposals. I did nod at the other obviously American tourists and we did barter with calculators and try not to melt in the heat.

It seems the experience of spending time in other countries makes it less overwhelming to be here -- the sheer number of people, the chaos that everyone else seems to understand on the roads and not knowing a lick of the language seems familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

And so, on it's own accord, Beijing is huge and tall. There are sky scrapers and apartment buildings and people and cars everywhere we go, although I think so far we have mainly been driving through the city as there are several major roads that ring around the center of Beijing. Running this morning was like running in a sauna, the humidity (or smog or fog or something) literally hangs in the air.

Oh, and possibly the best part -- there two little people here who giggle sweet giggles and who get excited when I place better than 12th place in mario cart and who turn my husband into an orangutan at random moments.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Here's to ...

748. A fantastic date night last week ... even though things didn't go exactly as planned ... now we get to have another date (go downtown, get a new game @ Games by James and a visit to the library)
749. an afternoon spent in the yard, pulling weeds and watering sweltering plants.
750. my patient cupping my face with his hand and mouthing (since he couldn't speak) that I should stop by and visit him on rehab in a few days when I was finished transferring him down there.
751. the small stack of books that I intend to take to China ... IN 10 DAYS
752. getting rides to and from work from Chris and Loki =)
753. a random road trip south with my in-laws ... even though things didn't go exactly as planned
754. a productive day off
755. finding cool gifts
756. cool summer evenings when air conditioning is not required
757. getting lost in a good story

758. finding comfort in the Psalms
759. watching 24 (guns, explosions, etc) while Chris was baking an AMAZING cake  ... take that traditional gender roles!
760. A traditional cook out with friends for the 4th of July
761. Sleepy, rainy afternoons (status post night shifts sleep) spent on the couch with Loki
762. eating dinner in our gazebo
763. learning more about trust
764. going to a movie on Friday night ... using a gift card
765. buying makeup that blends in well (for girls, this is a big deal)
766. really enjoying the things I wanted to do here before we leave
767. seeing a certain friend several days in a row

768. watching Chris get all excited about cooking
769. magnificent sun sets
770. running water
771. pancakes for breakfast ... and then lunch ... basically whenever i can get my hands on them.

772. New thoughts about moving:
- Does the "security" I have here cause me to be less dependent on God ... on the security he offers? If so, moving probably isn't the answer, more like an object lesson.
- Acknowledging that I am sad about leaving my friends (and my job, but that is lesser) here and trying to prepare myself for that change coming up and then stopping since worrying about sadness about the change that hasn't happened yet is well ... just worrying.
- Thinking about what my role will look like with Chris in school
- Realizing that we will make any place we live our home; leaving the house that I love is not synonymous with leaving our home.
- Thinking though my expectations ... about a new city (I enjoy getting lost and finding my way around), forming new relationships (I know there will be a time when i realize that I have some acquaintances but no phone numbers and I just want to pack up and head to Rochester where i am known), a new job (I know it takes me a year to be mostly comfortable at a new job), going to student functions with Chris (where they may as well be speaking a different language) and living in an apartment once again (I am excited to "set up house" ... possibly still newlywedded bliss ... and they allow their residents to garden in the area around their patio, which makes me SO happy!)

Kind of a long tangent.  =)
I'm done now, Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


It is now July. We have talked about this time for months. Our plans have fallen into place. Now, it is time to DO them.

I have 3 shifts left at Mayo; I'm done after Monday night.  (wow!)
Then we are going to Crooked Lake for 4 days with my family (July 8 - 12)
And then to China for 14 days with Chris' family (July 14 - 28)

And then we'll be back in Rochester for about a week - we are planning to pack, hang out with friends and catch up with Ben, who is coming home from a stint with Mercy Ships in Togo at the very end of July.

Then I am going to the Boundary Waters with a group of girls for an extended weekend (Aug 4 - 8th). Chris prefers a bed and running water and a reliable food source and the general response from other guys was similar to our friend Ray's "I will be a pack mule that on that trip!" So, it will be a girls trip, which may be interesting an adventure since only one of us have been camping up there ... I think. But it's Jill, so it's all good, as if there is only one person who knows what's going on, Jill is a good person to have.

So, basically, I have a super fun vacation before we move. =)

We are then going to pack up a Uhaul and move on Aug 11th. Our friends have asked if it would be too much if they lines the street waving goodbye as we left - I said "yes!" (They are allowed, however, to help us pack and have pizza with us the night before we go ... and venture to Milwaukee with us to help on the other end)

so those are our plans if you are wondering. =) Pictures and stories and fun things will follow!

(there are entirely too many parenthesis in this post!)