Today has been very difficult for me. Larry and Theo both went to their new homes and although I know they will both be spoiled, I already miss them. I'll be honest, I have had several cry sessions today. In fact I cried most of the way home from Blaine which is where we dropped Theo off at. We have had Larry for almost 5 years and Theo for 1. I'm going to miss them both, although it will be nice not to be woken up by Theo at 6am like I normally am! Having them gone makes our house seem way more empty and makes the fact that we leave in 14 more days a little more realistic!
I made Nick promise that the next time we get a pet we will keep it and not give them away!
The last two days have been very busy for Nick and I, but before I get into this, let me give a little back ground on how this all got started. After we came back from Haiti last time, I gave a short presentation to my class about my experiences there. My class decided that they were going to help sponsor us and our orphanage through a few fundraisers. The first was the car wash. Our second, and final fund raiser we decided should be at Ski to Sea since there are literally thousands of people that come to this event. (for more detail you can look at the posting I did just before this). After discussing it we decided to get a booth and have a bake sale.
This proved to be a little more challenging than we thought as all the non-profit booths filled up within the first two days. Non-profit booths were $20 where as other booths were $500. We were very fortunate though because they decided to extend the area of non-profits and we could set up there. Nick and I had mixed feelings about the event. We knew that the event had a lot of potential with so many people in attendance, but yet it was still a bake sale and we didn't know how many people would want to by baked goods when there were all sorts of restaurants, ice cream cones, elephant ears, kettle corn, and so many other treats.
Any ways, back to how busy we have been this weekend. Saturday we woke up at 5:45 thanks to Theo, our cat who was ready to play. We spent the first few hours packing, and then got busy on baking items for the fundraiser. Between baking, doing dishes, individually wrapping each items, making signs, and running to the store for extra supplies, we went non-stop until 11 pm. This morning we set our alarm for 6 and finished up last minute stuff for the days events.
We left our apartment at 7:45 to begin setting up for ski to sea. We were manning the booth for 11 hours, standing basically the whole time. We were supposed to be there for 2 more hours, but it was raining and almost everyone was gone so we took off a bit early.
A bunch of people from my class came and helped out for 2 hour shifts. They kept asking how we were doing and we always said we didn't know. We had a pretty big wad of cash, but it was mostly one's, so it appeared bigger than it really was. Plus, when money is coming in a dollar at a time it's hard to keep track of. As Nick and I were driving home, we decided we probably had somewhere between 300-400 dollars. A decent amount, but after you subtract the nearly $100 we paid for water, pop, muffins, and other supplies, it made it seem like a lot of work for the money.
We got home, cleaned out the coolers, washed a few dishes that were still left over from yesterday, and counted the money. The total amount, $707.63!! Double what we thought we had earned!! We consider this an amazing success and never expected to earn this much!
To my core class, thank you so much for everything you have done for us and COTP. We really appreciate everyones work setting up both of the events and all the time and energy that was put into working at both and baking supplies! This money will be put to great use and help the children at COTP! One bit of good news for you all is that we still have a lot of left over treats which I will be bringing to the end of the year party on Wednesday!
Thanks everyone at Ski to Sea who bought our baked goods and helped support us! We are so grateful of all the help we have received from our friends, family, and community.
Every year there is a huge festival in Bellingham called Ski to Sea. I don't know all of the details, but I believe teams get together and ski, run (maybe it's bike, not sure), and kayak from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. There are over 400 teams registered this year and people come from all over to participate, watch, and volunteer.
My core class and I are going to be manning a booth in Fairhaven during this to help raise funds for COTP. We were very fortunate to even get a table because there were so many groups that wanted one. We get there to set up at 8:30 am and wont finish tearing down until 9:30 pm. Nick and I are going to TRY and be there the whole time (13 hours) so that we can answer as many questions about COTP as possible. It's definitely going to be a LONG day.
We will be selling water, pop, and other baked goods, as well as Haiti Bracelets that we had made. The bracelets say "Hope for Haiti" on one side and "Espwa pou Ayiti" on the other. If you are in the Bellingham area you should definitely come see us. Pray for decent weather so that we won't be out in the rain!! We also are hoping for a large turnout!
As of about an hour and a half ago I am finished. Wednesday was the last time I had to go to class, and my last group presentation. I turned in my last 2 papers on Thursday. And last but not least, today was my last day of work which feels good! Nick is down to 3 days of work left. In addition, today is our last full Friday in Bellingham. We have less than a week here before we move down to Ridgefield where we will be staying with our family for 11 days.
I can't believe that I already graduated from college (minus the ceremony which is in 2 weeks). My three years at Western have flown by. In these 3 years, we have made some awesome friends and had some amazing experiences. I was asked today if I think I will ever come back to Bellingham, and honestly, I don't know if we will. It's kind of sad to be leaving this all behind, Bellingham has definitely become home. If it weren't for us being so excited about moving to Haiti, I think this transition would have been way harder.
We are at the point where we can't put anything off because we don't have the time. We have to do it now or it won't get done. This weekend is going to be another busy one full of packing, cleaning, and putting on the fund raiser at ski to sea.
Nick and I are often asked why Haiti is so poor with all the billions of dollars it is getting in aid money. We struggle with this question because honestly we don't know the answer. We don't work with these agencies or the Haitian government which would give us insight into where the money is going. But one thing we do know from our time abroad in many countries, is that it is often difficult to accomplish a simple task. Something that would take and hour in the US could take days or months in Haiti. It's hard to fully understand this with out having traveled to other countries, but there was a good podcast done by "This American Life" recently that helps to explain this. The podcast is about an hour and tells 3 separate stories. They are all good, but if you don't have time to listen to them all, at least listen to the first one.
Originally, we had planned on keeping Nicks car so that we have something to drive when we come back to the States, however a few days ago we decided we should probably sell it. The last thing we want is to have mice living in it while we are gone. We hadn't even had the time to put it on Craigslist before we found a buyer. It just happened that my brothers girl friend was wanting to buy a new car and really liked ours! Luckily it was within her price range and it worked out great for all involved!
Nick and I have been blown away by how well everything has worked out. We haven't had to stress about anything because everything keeps falling into place. We found someone to sublease our apartment within a week of having on Craigslist, sold both of our cars, and had so many other hurdles easily cleared. There were several things that we imagined would be obstacles, but they have completely taken care of themselves. Which each passing day we feel more and more confident that we are following the path God has laid in front of us. This makes our departure so much easier! The only thing I am worried about now is how I will handle driving my cats to their new owners next week and saying goodbye. I'm sure there will be some sad post on that day about it!!
Hey all, I turned in my portfolio yesterday and thought I would post a link to it here for those of you interested in seeing the website I made. It's nothing super exciting, but I did spend several months working on it all! The most interesting part is my culminating project which is attached. For this project I made a video of my time in Kenya and Haiti, it's pretty cool! Feels great to have it turned in!!
This weekend was very busy but very productive. Saturday morning we drove around Ridgefield and picked up a lot of blankets, dresses, and dolls that people have made for us to take with us to COTP. Thank you Blanche and Marion for all of these! We would also like to thank the group in Lynden who has made a lot of blankets for us to take down as well. All of these things will be put to great use!!
Today we spoke at the Ridgefield Nazarene Church about our upcoming move to Haiti. We would like to thank the Missionary Board for allowing us to speak as well as everyone who came and supported us! We really appreciate it!
After our presentation, we went to Southridge Community Church where a group was putting together baskets for our upcoming dinner/auction. Nick and I were blown away by all the items that have been donated thus far! There were massages, golf packages, margarita mixer, a cord of wood, nursery stock, a ton of gift certificates, and SOO many more items! We have over 100 items donated which is awesome!! Thanks to everyone who has donated and to the dedicated people who are helping put this auction together. You have no idea how much we both appreciate all of the support we are getting. We were not expecting any of this!
If anyone would like to donate an item to sell at the auction we would really appreciate it. You can contact us for detail on how to do so. Also there are a few seats still available for the event. If anyone is interested please let us know so that we can reserve you a spot! The auction is June 5th at the Ridgefield Community Center!
We only have 25 more days until we move to Haiti, which means 12 more days in Bellingham. In other words, we only have to cook dinner 12 more times before we move. For the past week or two we have been really rationing out our food supply. Normally I don't plan meals until about five minutes before we begin to make it, however, last week I did an inventory on our meat selection to figure out exactly what meals we will be eating. We are trying to finish up everything in our fridge and pantry with out having to buy any extra supplies. This means there are somethings that we are trying to use a lot of, such as bisquick, can foods, boxes of cake mix, chocolate chips, various condiments, spaghetti noodles, etc, while making foods such as flour, sugar, potatoes, chicken, tuna fish, etc. stretch as long as possible.
My strategic planning keeps getting bumps thrown in it as people keep asking us to go out to dinner for birthdays or going away parties, plus we have a few gift certificates from Christmas that we need to use up! Don't get me wrong, we definitely like to go out to eat, but we are trying to get rid of as much of our supplies as possible. Our fridge, freezer, and pantry are emptier than they have been in the two years that we have lived here. We will often open the pantry door, and just stare for a few seconds before we realize that we don't have any snack foods left and then go back to what we were doing previously.
Whatever we don't eat or use between now and then will be inherited by our parents! I'm sure they will both love getting half used jars of ranch, ketchup, jhonny's, syrup, etc! Oh the joys of moving!!
On another note, I only have to go to class two more times for a total of 10 hours and then I'll be done with college! 2 more presentations and 2 more papers until I am done!! So ready!!!
For those of you who missed our first one, Nick and I are speaking this weekend at the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene (747 Pioneer Street, Ridgefield WA) following the Eleven o'clock service. I believe it will be in the hospitality room. We will be showing pictures from when we were in Haiti in January as well as talking about our upcoming move and our responsibilities once there. We are really excited to have the opportunity to share this with as many people as possible! Everyone is invited, even if you don't attend this church! I heard a rumor that there will be sandwiches provided!!
Following our speaking engagement, Nick and I will be making our way over to Southridge Community of Christ to help put together baskets for our benefit dinner/auction. If anyone has basket making supplies, items to donate, or would like to help put these together, feel free to contact us for details! firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-921-1086!
Today an article was posted in the reflector about our upcoming move to Haiti. Nicks Mom just read it too us (we don't have it up here but are excited to see it when we go down this weekend). We were really impressed with the article and think that over all it was very well written. There are a few things that we would like to clarify though. First, I have not been to Africa 4 times and Nick 3. That was supposed to say that we have been to Mexico on mission trips 4 and 3 times. I did go to Kenya last summer for a month. I wish I could say that I have been there 4 times, but I have not! At some point I should be able to say that hopefully!!
Next, our email is email@example.com, not @email.com! As the article mentions, if anyone has any questions or would like to donate feel free to contact us either through email or at 360-921-1086. The dinner/auction is June 5th at the Ridgefield Community Center.
With my final days of government employment becoming much nearer, Nikki and I decided that tonight was the night to purchase our new health insurance. I was given this daunting task and have been working on it little by little for months. Since most of the companies I had to deal with were based out of the East Coast they were closed by the time I came home from work, so... I drove to work 30 mins early many mornings to make phone calls to ask specific questions, and confirm information which I had read on their websites. Thankfully we have both been blessed with good health so far and are still pretty young! Finally after countless hours of research we finally bought our health insurance today.
Perhaps the most agonizing fact of all of this is that we will hopefully never need it. So literally I wasted many evenings, many early mornings and the equivalent of the average yearly salary of a Haitian on something that we don't want to use. For minor things, including even a broken arm we will simply go to the local hospital in Milot. We can pay for services there for just a few dollars, literally - Just a few dollars! For instance kidney stone removal is $15, giving birth $5 and a prescription is around 35 cents. The hospital and the orphanage we are going to have a great working relationship. Since there buildings were unhurt by the earthquake they became a major hospital during this time. Coastguard, UN, and other Military helicopter flew in and out of a soccer field for weeks following the earthquake bringing in patients. It is also a very popular Hospital for US Doctors to volunteer and train Haitian Doctors. Anyways, back on track, the only time that we will use our insurance is in absolute emergencies where we have to receive care outside of Haiti.
I also began updating our address on all of our accounts. This is no big deal, but is just another sign of our few weeks left. Most things in life have happened pretty quick, although we only have 28 more quick days they seem to be going by quite slowly. We are both just emotionally 'done' with where we are at, and are just longing to begin our next adventure in Haiti.
I found a movie which actually has video of the quake. There were security cameras in the National Palace which caught it collapsing and people trying to flee. You can hear how the quake roared loudly. Makes this seem more real.
Our car wash today brought in $561.35! We washed cars non-stop for 5 hours. We had one guy line up before we even had the water turned on, and cars coming as we were packing up! We probably only had about 15 minutes of down time during this. There were a few times when we had 5 cars in line. We didn't count how many cars we washed, but it was easily 50 cars if not more. We had perfect weather. The weather report said that it was supposed to rain, but it didn't. Nick and are pretty tired now and a bit sun burnt!.
Thanks to everyone who donated to us and to everyone from my class that helped put on today's event. We would also like to thank Tony for helping. He drove by and saw our sign and decided to stop and see if we needed help! It was nice to met you. Nick and I really appreciate all the help.
My Core class is putting on a car wash on Sunday May 16th to help raise money for Children of the Promise, the orphanage that Nick and I are moving to. It will be at the Market (used to be Food Pavillion) just off the freeway in Fairhaven from 10-3. (3125 Old Fairhaven Parkway Bellingham, WA). Come get your car washed and help children in Haiti at the same time!!
Nick and I just had a 30 min conversation with Ken from the Reflector! He is going to write an article to help us raise awareness of our upcoming move to Haiti. With any luck it'll be published next week! Anyone living in the Vancouver area should watch out for it! We are really excited to spread awareness of the efforts in Haiti and hope that this will help!
Maria, the field director at COTP just emailed us a video of Christine (little girl who stayed in our room last time) who started to crawl yesterday!! It was very cute and I can't wait to get back there to see her! She is such a little princess!
My husband invented a new game that he likes to play every night. He shuts all the lights in the house of and says "the generator just went off.... what do you do?" I normally ignore him and just crawl in bed, but then he grabs his flash light (that he ALWAYS keeps on his nightstand) and shines it in my face. "You need to practice, what are you going to do when the lights go out in Haiti?"
Yup, thats what I go through every night before bed!!
Recently Nick and I have been on the every other weekend schedule. Our time is divided between being in Bellingham (packing, scanning pictures, working, and doing homework) and Ridgefield, (organizing things in the barn, spending time with family, collecting donations from people, and getting paperwork notarized). Spending 8 hours in the car every other weekend is starting to get a bit obnoxious, especially on drives like this weekend where we had a lot of traffic and it took an extra 45 mins each direction.
Each time we see a plane, we point to it and say 35 more days, or what ever that days current number is. As the time gets closer, Nick and I are getting more and more excited. It's hard to explain how we are feeling right now. We aren't nervous, scared, or anxious, just really ready to be there. I've been counting down the days until we leave since we booked our tickets. This weekend I was asked how long until I graduate, and I was unaware of the answer. Nick and I had a good laugh about this later, because most people my age would be counting down the days until they graduate from college or turn 21, but I don't care about either of these as much as I do my upcoming move. The answer though is 19, 32, 35, and 41... 19 days until my last day of class (or at least the last one I'm going to, I'm skipping my very last one cause I don't want to drive for 8 hours for a 3 hour class), 32 days til I walk at graduation, 35 days til I board a flight for Haiti, and 41 days until I turn 21! Plus in that time we have 3 fundraisers that we are preparing for, one speaking engagement, and a whole lot more!
For Mothers day my Mom wanted Nick and I to go on a hike with her. This was a good idea in theory, but added a little hurdle we didn't think of at first. Nick and I have packed our hiking/tennis shoes already. Nick had to borrow a pair from his dad and I had to borrow a pair from my Mom.
Only 3 more times driving between Bellingham and Ridgefield in the next 35 days! Really ready to quit making this trip, but at least our apartment is getting more and more empty each time. Homework is somewhat starting to come to a close. I have finished my culminating project, which is a huge relief, but I still have a decent amount of work to do on my portfolio as well as a few papers and presentations, plus all my weekly readings and posts. Only 3 more weeks though and I'll be all done with it!!
I just gave my two weeks notice at work, not that it really mattered because my supervisor knew I was leaving before I even started there. My official last day at the YMCA is May 27th! That will leave my last week in Bellingham open for final packing and a whole lot of cleaning! June 15th keeps getting closer and closer which is a great thing!!
Today I needed a break from homework and decided I would start to pack all of our board games which totaled three boxes worth. After that I was on a role and decided to take down all the picture frames in our bedroom and office. Then Nick came home and decided that if we were going to be taking picture frames home this weekend we might as well take ALL our picture frames home. I don't know that I was prepared for this, and began regretting my decision to take these down early. Anyone who has been to our house knows that all of our wall decorations are of our photography. As we were putting them all in boxes I became really emotional seeing all the pictures of Kiara since she was a baby, our engagement pictures, wedding pictures, and our scenic pictures. Our walls are nearly empty now and it's kind of depressing. I really want to ship them all to Haiti so that I can decorate our place there, but unfortunately it's way to expensive plus the glass would probably break! Oh well!
(P.S. 42 more days! Thought I would throw that out there for Heather and all our other Tech Suckers!!)
We both grew up in Washington State and have been married since August of 2008. Nick has a degree from WSU in Business and Nikki from WWU in Human Services. We are the field directors of an infant care center called Children of the Promise in Cap Haitien, Haiti. We have lived here since June 2010. We are adopting a little boy named Eventz and are blessed to be his parents!