Thursday, February 2, 2012

First trip of 2012!

I find it sad that my first out-of-state traveling endeavor wasn't until the last week in January. But with all the New Years resolutions and life returning back to normal after the holidays, The past month was extremely busy. So I was really excited, when I realized I would be "off of work" for the last week of January and decided to take a mini-vacation to see my sister in Chattanooga,TN. I bought the ticket and planned to fly out Thursday, January 26.
Wednesday, January 25th, I wake up to a phone call from Orbitz informing me that my plane was going to have an hour delay. "Well, thats really do they know that my plane, that leaves tomorrow, is going to have a delay?" In my sleepy stupor, I decided to just double check my itinerary. As it turns out, I, in fact, purchased my ticket for the wrong day. It was 9 plane leaves at 12pm and the airport is 2 hours away....**Initiate Panic Mode** 
I jump out of bed and begin throwing clothes into a suitcase while calling people, who I had arrangements with that day, to inform them of my last minute cancellation. "Sorry, I can't babysit your son today I'm flying out of town!" "Sorry, I'll have to come visit some other time I'm going to miss my flight!" Boy, did I feel like a Schmuck! 
After the fastest (and surprisingly well organized) packing job and putting on clothes I started my drive down to Milwaukee. Luckily my Dad volunteered to drive me, because otherwise I probably would have broken EVERY traffic law during my race against time. As I arrived tore into the airport like a crazy woman, I saw on the departure screens that my flight was already boarding....C'est la vie! However, the man at the gate was really nice. In fact, I didn't even have to work up a good cry! (Which, sadly, I have done 3 times....)

Ticket Agent: Where you headed?
Me: I'm suppose to be on the plane to Philadelphia.
TA: Oh, thats boarding now. You'll never make it in time. I'll re-route you. Was Philly your final destination?
M: No, Atlanta.
TA: Oh, we have a non-stop Atlanta flight leaving in 40 min. It'll get you there 6 hours sooner that you expected!
This is me. No shower, No make-up, but a plane ticket....I say that evens out alright! :)
Which was nice...except for the fact that my sister was picking me up and didn't get off work until 7. But it all worked out in the end. I landed in Atlanta at 4:30, then took a 5pm shuttle to Chattanooga and arrived a 7pm, right when Sam got off of work. Seriously, things could not have worked out more perfectly! Praise God! And now that the chaotic day was over, I now get to look at the bright side and see "Hey, Now I have an extra day in Chattanooga!"
If you've never been to Chattanooga, I won't say you're missing out. Because really the only thing that makes me love it are the friends and amazing sister that I have there. But its not exactly a "boring" place to be either. The whole city is pretty much a valley, so you're surrounded by mountains EVERY where you go, its gorgeous! And the downtown area is so artsy and fun! So there's always something to do, and also its a good 30 degrees warmer than Wisconsin, so, to me, it was perfect! bed.
Yes, we're one of THOSE families :)
Our appetites were very Asian during my stay, during the course of 5 days, I had Thai food, Chinese food, Indian food, Sushi, Mongolian grill, and then one night we cooked Falafel's, Hummus, and Curry. I guess we just got a taste of something we, jk.

Another highlight of my weekend, was the engagement of a friend. I was very exited to be able to be apart of that! After that, her new fiance, rented a double decker bus for all of us to ride around Downtown Chattanooga. I've never been on a Double Decker bus it was pretty fricken awesome!
My 5 day vacation was much needed and SOOO much fun. But really, anywhere with my sister is a nonstop, hilarious adventure. But sadly, my stay came to an end, as most great travels do. I made sure to triple check my return date to make sure I didn't have another chaotic day. And after a quick drive down to Atlanta.....and of course, a quick stop at Ikea and Starbucks :) I said goodbye to my sister and made the trek home. 
One of the many things I like about flights back to Wisconsin, is being in Camaraderie with fellow Wisconsinites again. For example, during the flight the pilot mentioned over the intercom that the current temperature in Milwaukee was 45 degrees. And you didn't hear a single expression of disgust, only "Wow!"'s and "Nice!"'s Lol, oh the Great White North!
Since we ate out almost EVERY day, I'm very excited to be home and to be on a strict Budget/Diet/Exercise plan again. So thats what I'll be up to for the next week or so. Hopefully it won't be too long until my next traveling adventure....but I seriously can't wait to pack my bags and head out again.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

** Cashing in the MILES **

Wow, I cannot believe this year is over! I just got use to writing 2011 on important documents! 
This year has been a lot of fun in my traveling endeavors, at times it seemed I spent more time in the air than on the ground. This year I used almost every form of transportation to get to my different locations. **Though I do a lot of distance traveling EVERYDAY, I will only be counting out-of-state/out-of-providence traveling in my miles. :)**

January started off busy. Sam and I were still in Palawan as missionaries. But during the month, we traveled by boat, through the crocodile infested waters, to Balabac where we did Medical Mission for the people there. Right when we returned from Balabac I accompanied 4 cleft-palate patients to Puerto Princesa where they received LIFE-CHANGING surgery.
Month Miles: 0                                   Year-to-date Miles: 0

February was a special month for us because our little sister was flying out to be with us for a couple weeks. This was the first time we had seen her in about 5 months, so we were pretty excited! Our original plan was to meet her in China, but we didn't realize that we needed to purchase $200 visas in order to get into China. Luckily there was a huge snowstorm in Chicago that cancelled all flight coming in and going out, so Katie was rerouted through Manila instead of China.
(Praise God!) So we flew to Manila to meet her (Puerto to Manila 397mi) After meeting in Manila, the remainder of our traveling adventure began. We took her to the Taal Volcano and to AIIAS. Then we brought her back to Palawan (Manila to Puerto 397mi) to meet our mission family and show her the life of a missionary.
After spending 5 days in Brookes, we flew back to Manila to catch our flight to Singapore (Puerto to Manila 397mi, Manila to Singapore 1,485mi) After touring around Singapore for a day and staying in a hostel, we headed to Indonesia (Singapore to Indonesia 559mi). We stayed with the family of a close friend and they took us all over. We stayed on the campus of UNAI (the Adventist University of Indonesia). After 2 days in Indonesia, we headed back to Singapore (Indonesia to Singapore 559mi) where we stayed with an Adventist Pastor.
Then next day we headed back to Manila (Singapore to Manila 1,485mi) so Katie could catch her flight to the States and we could meet up with Wendy to catch our flight to Mindanao for Michel and Andrew's Wedding (Manila to Cagayan De Oro 489mi). Sam was Michel's Maid of Honor and I took pictures of the festive occasion. After spending 4 days celebrating with the happy couple, we finally headed back to Palawan (Cagayan De Oro to Manila 489mi, Manila to Puerto 397mi). After a crazy traveling month in February, we were excited to be back in least for a little while...
Month Miles: 6,534mi                         Year-to-date Miles: 6,534mi
Upon returning to Palawan we started an evangelistic series and village medical missions. Needless to say the next couple weeks were crazy busy! At the end of the 2 weeks, I headed back to Manila to catch a flight to Iloilo, (Puerto to Manila 367mi, Manila to Iloilo 289mi) where I would work with the volunteers at HCBN (He's Coming Broadcasting Network) to teach them editing and production work.
Month Miles: 656mi                                  Year-to-date Miles: 7,190mi
The first week of April, I spent at HCBN continuing to help and/or teach the volunteers. My last day there they brought me to Guimaras island, an island that is well known for its agricultural crops, particularly mangoes. These islands are said to produce the sweetest mangoes in the world; mangos that are served in the White House and Buckingham Palace. After Iloilo I headed back to Manila (Iloilo to Manila 289mi) and then took at 10 hour bus ride up to Santiago to visit Wendy at their new project in Northern Luzon.
After a couple days, traveled the 10 hours back to Manila and caught a flight to Palawan (Manila to Puerto 367mi) where I reunited with my sister after 3 weeks of separation...which was the longest we had been separated in a long time. When I returned to Brookes we had exactly 1 week until we returned to the States. So we took a quick trip down to Bancalaan, where we met some amazing people. I, also, took a quick trip over to Balabac to visit my cleft palate patients.
Then we spent our last 3 days in Brookes Point visiting all the people and places that we wanted to see before saying our goodbyes :(
After leaving Palawan (Puerto to Manila 367mi), we headed to AIIAS to spend our last weekend in the Philippines. Then finally on April 17th, we headed back to the States (Manila to Seoul 1,624mi, Seoul to Chicago 6,546mi.). After 9 months of living in the Philippines as missionaries, we were finally home. 
Month Miles: 9,193mi.                                   Year-to-Date Miles: 16,383mi.
May was filled with seeing some favorite faces! I went down to Milwaukee to see my girls, Mariel and Lisa Mae. We had an awesome couple days just touring around and hanging out in Milwaukee. From there I caught a flight to Orlando (Milwaukee to Orlando 1,060mi) so
that I could attend a friends wedding and see my sister and some of her close friends! Then I headed back to Green Bay (Orlando to Green Bay 1,161) where I bummed around for the remainder of May. 
I made a trip down to Gurnee Mills, IL. with my friend, Sara, for a day of thrill rides at Six Flags: Great America (Green Bay to Gurnee Mills 168mi) and for Memorial Day weekend, I headed down to Milwaukee to visit Mariel again. But other than that, May was a rather chill month.
Month Miles: 2,557mi                                   Year-to-Date Miles: 18,940mi
The 2nd week of June, I took a trip out to L.A., where I met my sister, to see a friend graduate with her B.S. in Nursing. It was an awesome couple of days and I enjoy every minute of the California sun. Believe it or not, this was my first time to the West Coast. I hadn't been able to put my feet in any other ocean, besides the Atlantic till this trip. It was a great time. When I returned to Green Bay, Strawberry season had begun. And so went the rest of my summer...
Month Miles: 1,745mi                                  Year-to-Date Miles: 20,685mi
With the last couple weeks of June, went my summer vacation. I worked at Sunny Hill Farm, picking and selling strawberries, which meant 12 hour days, 6 days a week. Lucky for me, however, my best friends Lisa Mae and LeAnne came to work with me for the summer. At the end of July we all squeezed in a trip to Six Flags: Great America, (Green Bay to Gurnee Mills, IL 168mi) for my 2nd time this year.
Though I didn't do much traveling in the month on July, I did manage to have alot of fun. I saw Josh Groban in concert, celebrated the 4th, watched my little sister get baptized and ate WAY too many chocolate covered strawberries; all while in the company of some awesome friends.
Month Miles: 236mi                                  Year-to-Date Miles: 20,921mi
August put an end to Strawberry season and started Corn Season. Lisa headed back to school, but LeAnne decided to stay and work with me throughout the rest of the farming season. Though August is my birthday month and I turned the big 2-1, I didn't go anywhere. But it still managed to be alot of fun.
Month Miles: 0mi                                 Year-to-Date Miles: 20,921mi
September still kept me busy with work, and didn't involve a whole lot of traveling. We did have fun going to the NFL Kick-off Party...right here in Green Bay. We then, saw the Packers become the 1st 1-0 team for the Season. LeAnne and I then spent every weekend at a different church around Wisconsin raising money for our mission trip. But that was the extent of my exciting/traveling adventures for September. I did fly though! lol....I don't know if Para-sailing counts as flying but that was the closest I got to it this month :)
Month Miles: 0mi                                   Year-to-Date: 20,921mi
October was pretty busy. The first weekend I road tripped to Andrews University in Michigan to visit my friends (Green Bay to Michigan 310mi) for some MUCH needed girl time. The next weekend my family, Lisa, and LeAnne (who were pretty much family by this
time!) headed down to Atlanta (Green Bay to Atlanta 931mi) to see Wicked and to see my Green Bay Packers kill some Falcons! After an amazing weekend, we headed to Chicago (Atlanta to Chicago 714mi) so LeAnne and I could fly out to the Philippines!(Chicago to 

Seoul 6,546mi, Seoul to Manila 1,624mi, Manila to Puerto 367mi) After 96 hours of nonstop traveling, it felt good to stay in one place for once. Upon arriving in the Philippines, we started an evagelistic series in Mainit that resulted in 36 baptisms. It felt good to be back in the mission field again!
Month Miles: 10,802mi                                   Year-to-Date Miles: 31,723mi
For the month of November we headed up by Wendy in Northern Luzon (Puerto to Manila 367mi) to help out with some L.I.G.H.T. (Layman's Institute of Global Health Training) classes she was helping to host. We also did visitations EVERY day which included little medical missions and
check-ups. We hit a little bump in our busy month when LeAnne caught Malaria. She was in bed, feeling AWFUL, for a week. Poor thing, but she finished out the month strong and even helped us to prepare our Thanksgiving Dinner...Filipino style ;) We "graduated" from the L.I.G.H.T program and then we headed back to Palawan (Manila to Puerto 367mi) for our last couple weeks in the Philippines.
Month Miles: 743mi                                        Year-to-Date Miles: 32,466mi
After arriving back in Palawan we had 10 days to see all we needed to see. So our first day back we visited the project for a PAMAS team meeting and said our goodbyes to Wendy :(. Then we took a 2-day trip to the island of Bancalaan, to see some old friends. Then we headed back to enjoy our last
couple of days in Brookes Point. On our last day, our baby twins, Samantha and Allison, showed up. They were really sick and malnourished. So we spent our last couple hours trying to break their fevers, buying milk for them because their family couldn't afford it, packing, and saying goodbye to
missionaries. It was especially hard for me, because as much as I love the mission field, I didn't have a return date....atleast for now :( We spent a day in the Puerto so that we could see one of the Seven Nature Wonders of the World, The Underground River. Then we headed to Manila (Puerto to Manila 
367mi), where we spent the weekend at AIIAS. Then we headed back to the States (Manila to Seoul 1,161mi, Seoul to Chicago 6,546) to enjoy the holiday season with our families.

Then after Christmas, My family and I took at last minute trip to Chicago (Green Bay to Chicago 205mi) putting my final mile count for the year at
41,208 Miles
Month Miles: 8,742mi                                   Year-to-Date Miles: 41,208mi

To say this year has been incredible, would be an Understatement. To say I've changed alot this year, would ALSO be an Understatement. This year was quite the adventure, month-to-month I had NO idea where I was headed or where I was going to end up, but it was always So much fun! I Praise God DAILY for the traveling mercies he has provided me with this last year and the new year to come.
Like everyone else, I make New Year's Resolutions. This year I made 12 (12 for 2012! Yeah, I'm a dork) Some personal, some career, some social, and some TRAVEL goals. For example, I want to beat the number of miles traveled last year....and with 41,208 miles, I'd say I have quite the challenge ahead of me. Another goal is to complete 3 half-marathons, which will help me take a big step towards my Bucket List goal: Run a marathon, half-marathon, or Tri-athlon in EVERY state. Since Wisconsin has already been crossed off that means some cross-country traveling. :)
So as hard as it is to say goodbye to such an amazing year, I'm excited to see what adventures this New Year has to bring! So here's to 2012!

Happy 2012, Everybody!!