Archive for August, 2008

Now that the dust has settled over the last 48 hours, we thought we’d give you a few more details on Bern.

We will be leaving Bogota in October 2009, be taking about a month and a half of home leave (mandatory vacation), going to D.C. where we’ll study German, and then arriving in Bern in June 2010. It’s strange that we still won’t be leaving for 11 months, and we won’t arrive at our next post for 21 months. We’re definitely excited about where we’re going, but we keep reminding ourselves that we won’t be going anywhere for a while. There is a lot of life to occur before we breath the fresh air of Switzerland.

My job at the embassy will be another consular tour. It will be similar to what I’m doing now, except for it will be on a much, much smaller scale. Currently I work at one of the world’s largest non-immigrant visa (NIV) posts (tourist visas, student visas, work visas, etc) with about 18-20 officers. In Bern, I’ll be the only NIV officer. Meaning, I’ll be a chief of 1. I’ll also be back-up to all the other consular operations, including immigrant visas (green card holders) and American Citizen Services (American deaths, births, passports, etc). I’ll also be reporting directly to the Consul General. I’m guessing I’ll also have a small staff of Swiss employees who will be working for me.

Kristen’s looking forward to the chocolate factory and being able to get out and about easier. (Currently, Bogota has increased its restrictions on our mobility because of security reasons.) We’re both looking forward to the fresh air and beautiful scenery (although Bogota and the areas outside of the city we’ve been to have been amazing as well). And I think we’re both looking forward to living in a small town. Bern only has about 120,000 people. We are excited that we will be able to hop on a train and get almost anywhere in Europe. Kristen has requested that we spend our 5th Anniversary in Paris. We will see about that. 🙂 We will have to start saving now for all of the traveling we are hoping to do.

We realized recently that during our “Where in the Word” game, Bern was actually the first clue we posted. Kristen said it was because she just felt like that would be where we ended up. (She says it’s kind of like how people say the first wedding dress a girl tries on is typically the one she gets).

So, to all who guessed on that clue (Aunt Susie, Mom/Dad, Jonathan, Paul, and David/Judy by phone), go ahead and send us your travel dates and we’ll pencil you in! You get first dibs! Everyone else of course is welcome too! 🙂

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Drum Roll Please…….

We’ve got the Golden Ticket. No we will not be going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, in fact we will be going to the Bern Chocolate Factory.

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My new friends

Most of you that are family know that I have been helping a prisoner here in Bogota. She is a US citizen and just gave birth this week on Tuesday night. She is returning to prison so for the next week while he remains in the hospital I will be going to visit him.  His mommy is so excited to have him! I originally thought she might not care but now that he is here she is thrilled and she is soaking up information like a sponge to learn to take care of him. When I saw him without her this morning he was sleeping peacefully. When he heard her voice he started stretching and putting his hands in his mouth.  He was so excited to hear her come!

He was about 5 lbs 5oz at 6 weeks early so he is doing well! He will be in the hospital to have some oxygen as well as to be sure that he is feeding well. It is a neat opportunity to use my NICU experience. He is such a cutie! Here are a few photos from my visit today.

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So there’s this song called Anticipation by Carly Simon that I think summarizes how we feel as we wait to find out where we’re going.  (BTW, neither of us are necessarily fans of Carly Simon, but the lyrics are appropriate.)  It’s mostly about this guy she likes, but there are few lines that are quite applicable.

“We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay…
Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin'”

It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to wait for an email that will determine your “destiny” for the next 2+ years. It’s similar to a job hunt and waiting for the employer to call you back. But in this case, we know we’ll get the job, but which of the 20 will it be, when will we be leaving our current job, how much training will we get, and in which country/continent will we end up.

And all we’ve been told is we will find out by “late August.” There are only a few more days left in August, so hopefully by Friday. But as Kristen wrote in the previous post, one of the persons making the assignments emailed this morning to say it could take up to two more weeks.

Anticipating it all…it’s keepin’ us waitin’.

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5 steps

Jackson took 5 steps this morning. He has been so frustrated this week teething and trying to walk! I am hoping he has a big breakthrough soon so he isn’t so frustrated with life.  He is getting more and more stable.

We however are getting less and less stable as the anticipation about where we are moving builds. Pray that they tell us today!!!  And pray that we feel peaceful about the place they assign!

Amended: Seth just recieved an email that said it could take a few more weeks to find out….we had previously been told by the last week in August, which is this week. The guy might be pulling our leg by telling us all to be patient because we know they are meeting until tomorrow. Anyhow, Jackson and I might take a boycott vacation if results aren’t forthcoming quickly.

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Un dia en la finca

Today we went on a road trip with Seth’s co-workers to his boss’s boyfriend’s ranch outside of Bogota. It rained which was a bummer, but we still had a good time! Here are a few pictures from the day.

On the way to the finca we encountered a truck coming towards us on a road that was big enough for only one car at a time (unless we maneuvered carefully!). We had to talk them into letting our 6 cars by. They thought they might just sit there and stare at how stuck they were.

Jackson in our new backpack…

Taking refuge from the rain

The pretty house and grill area

Literally 2 mins after we pulled out from the finca Jackson was out! He missed his afternoon nap because of the festivities! He was so well-behaved despite the changes in schedule.

Rainbow on the way home. You can barely see it in the picture but the color lines were so thick.

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This is just a random update, since the grandmas are so far away we feel like we need to try to keep up on even the stuff that is boring to the rest of the world!

Jackson has been busy this week practicing his words. He has been saying “Hola” and a few other words consistently, and a few others less consistently, but this week he started signing “Thank you” and now says “nana” for banana. It is amazing that once he decides to say something it is so easy for him. If we push him however, he won’t say a thing. When he rides in his stroller now he says “Hola” to people walking by. Last week a couple of ladies in front of him didn’t respond and I realized with each “hola” he was intensifying until he was finally yelling at them. Nothing like commanding attention!

Yesterday Jackson took his first 2 steps!! He waited until Seth came home so that was fun. He seems to be able to do it he just isn’t so motivated.  Seth has made it his personal mission to get him walking. He gets to relax with mommy because I am already chasing him! Boot camp starts when daddy is home from work.

We braved pasta with sauce last night. Jackson was a mess!! Then since it was bathtime we asked him where his head was….yep, Seth had to scrub crusty tomato sauce off his head.

Since Jackson had a cold he has perfected the art of whining. I hear from others that he will have many years to perfect it but he has gotten pretty good! He primarily whines with “Mommmmm, Mommmm, Momm”. I try to teach him to whine with daddy’s name but so far he prefers “mommmmmmmmmmmmm”

Other than Jackson learning to talk and walk we are all just anxiously awaiting word on where we are moving! We could know as soon as tomorrow or as late as next Friday. Seth and I aren’t sleeping well. I don’t know if we will sleep better once we know but we think we will be relieved. You never know until the news hits! At least this time we won’t find out with a big announcement in front of classmates. We can cry in the privacy of our own home!

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Standing Firm

Jackson has been close to walking since we were in Houston. He walks holding on but has only taken about a half step alone. He stands for long periods of time but plops down to get places quickly.

Standing up to watch an Elmo music video…jeans rolled up to prevent tripping when he decides to launch into walking!

Jackson went straight from a bad cold into teething! He is back to the drool and hand in the mouth.

This is Jackson standing on the edge of our fireplace and trying to use the table to climb in…at the moment he was turning to watch something behind him. He usually has one foot dangling off. Seth has decided that he is forbidden to watch the Olympics with us. When he has watched little bits while playing he sits and has a huge grin like he knew it was possible but it was hist first time to see another person try his tricks. He now tucks his head under to attempt somersaults-we did not teach him this!

PS- grandma’s- these pictures don’t do his thicker haur justice! We have had numerous comments from friends that his hair is getting thick even though it’s almost white blonde!

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Our final list…

We have spent many hours researching the zillion posts we were offered. This Wed we will turn in our final bid list. Here it is.

1 Bern – High
2 Bern – High
3 Nicosia – High
4Brasilia – High
5 Brasilia – High
6 Monterrey – High
7 The Hague – Medium
8 Amsterdam – Medium
9 Montreal – Medium
10 Canberra – Medium
11 Auckland – Medium
12 Asuncion – Medium
13 Toronto – Low
14 Berlin – Low
15 Milan – Low
16 Vienna – Low
17 Vancouver – Low
18 Mexico City – Low
19 Guatemala – Low
20 Kingston – Low

The decisions were made on a variety of factors like we said. Some of these we wouldn’t be thrilled to go to but we had to have 20 and the list was quite limited when it came down to the end. We should find out no later than the last week of August so we will keep you posted. We are SO ready for the process to be done with!!

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Oh, Colombia

We went out for dinner tonight at a casual hamburger place. Kind of like a Chili’s. It has some nicer food but nothing fancy. We were in pretty casual clothes, jeans and sweatshirt type-stuff.  I think we have mentioned before how Colombians tend to dress up. A couple came in all fancy-smancy. He was wearing jeans but with a sportscoat and she was all dolled up. This was nothing too unusual but I was quite the contrast wearing my “Dora the Explorer” Diego band-aid on my thumb and my casual sweater.

We got our dinner and started to eat. (Jackson had his first chicken finger by the way!) I glanced over and the couple was drinking martini’s. Colombians are also quite affectionate. So, although it seemed awkward enough to be a first date they were enjoying each other at close proximity. A few minutes later I saw the waitress bring them this big plate of fried appetizers. At a second glance, I noticed the guy grabbing a plastic glove from the table. She held back and watched him eat for a minute and then put her glove on.  Girls, you probably all remember the first few dates when you said ” oh no, I don’t need fries, I might just have one of yours.” You wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible. It wasn’t really about the eating, you wanted to play it cool. Can you imagine having to put a giant plastic glove on??? I have never in my life seen any restaurants bring out a glove so your fingers don’t get dirty. Is it a plan to help people eat less because it is so socially awkward or is it so you don’t get your fancy pants greasy? I’m not sure but we continued popping fries in with our bare fingers! How uncivilized of us!

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