Tuesday, October 22, 2013


So, we've had a little drama around here this morning. It went a little something like this...

<< Email arrives inbox>>

 Email: Hey! Here is a picture of a really cute kitten that needs a home. We found it and if it doesn't get a home, the humane society will stick it in a bag and drown it. (ok, I "may" be paraphrasing here)

Me <<sends email to Eric.>>: Hey, know anyone who wants a cat?
(the below is copy/pasted directly from email)

E: Us?

Me: I wasn’t thinking about us, but do you want a kitty? It IS pretty cute, but I know NOTHING about caring for cats. Can I keep it in a box until you get home?

(second email) How young is too young to declaw a kitten? And, if I use the brush attachment, can I vacuum the dander and hair directly off of it?
E: You're funny.  

E: Can we be the last hope for kitty?

Me: You mean, we’ll take him/her if no one else does?
E: Maybe??
Me: OK. I emailed J (Thinking, no way there is a chance that this cat is coming to our house, so this is safe, right?) 
Me, to J: Let me know if no one else takes this tiny troublemaker. I’ve never had a pet, but cats are supposed to be more independent than dogs, and my husband really wants a pet. If no one else takes him, I will learn to be a pet mommy. But, this really has to be last resort - like, if its a choice between the needle and home, we'll take him, but if ANYONE else wants him, they get him.

<<Approximately .6 seconds later>>
J, to our entire 100 person department:  The kitty has found a home!  As long as he’s still available, you can congratulate Megan on the new addition to her family. J

Me, to J: J! Seriously! Last resort!

Panic ensues. And by ensues, I mean, I am panicking, thinking that I am going to have to pick up this cat tonight, and take it home. I am planning on having rice and beans for dinner. Do kittens eat rice and beans? What is it going to do while I sleep? Will it be ok? What if it needs something and I'm sleeping? Is it going to pee on the carpet? I'm going to get this thing home, and I'm going to look at it, and it's going to look at me, and I'm going ask it what it wants, and its just going to stare at me because CATS DON'T TALK! Crap, what have I done? Why did I even let this become a possibility. This was stupid, this may be the stupidest thing I have ever done. Oh, my, GOD I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF AN ANIMAL! AND ERIC IS IN CHICAGO AND THIS THING IS GOING TO BE IN MY HOUSE!

By this point, I am pretty much in tears, having a full on anxiety moment about this cat, and what in the holy !#%#@ I have done here.

Long story short, we aren't  getting a cat. We found a family for it who is MUCH better prepared for this kind of thing than I am, obviously.

Remind me not to do this again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall in Colorado

It is most assuredly fall in Colorado. We took the Thursday after I got back from Bolivia off and did a color drive through the front range.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

You ate what?

So, I've had the opportunity now to travel to a number of different places, and most recently, some more far flung corners of the earth. Lots of people ask (and by lots of people, I mean mostly my parents) ask "what is the food like there?"

Food is so closely tied to culture, to family, to tradition, that it isn't surprising that lots of people ask about the food. To answer the questions, here are some snippets of emails I sent my parents about the food during my travels. Bon appetit.


Day 5: Food is pretty good - they don't use salt in breads, which is interesting (read, bland). Sunday morning there were chicken gizzards covered by tomato slices and cilantro as part of breakfast. I didn't realize it was gizzard until I bit in... I've also had chicken (maybe pigeon? - very small) drummettes for breakfast, and goat several times for lunch or dinner. I like goat - its like lamb, but tougher (thank goodness for floss!) They also make something called uglai, which is basically mamaliga without the salt, or other flavoring. Add salt or use it to eat food, and its good.  Intestines are doing fine and the water purifier is working like a charm - the hotel also provides bottled water however.

Day 7: I meant that the bread products didn't have salt - or at the very least, not enough of it! I believe they use salt in other types of food. I had "lamb" for dinner tonight, which I think was mostly spiced with pepper, and I'm pretty sure was an old goat. I looked like a cow chewing cud trying to eat those little cuts of meat somehow referred to as "chops" at the hotel restaurant...

Day 16: After eating here for over two weeks, I can now definitely tell you that ostrich is better as a meat ball than a roast loin, however, goat is better as a roast loin than chunked into a stew. Crocodile can be overcooked and dry, but still tastes mostly like chicken with a vague fish finish. You can tell the difference between lamb and goat. A whole turkey on a pike will give you pause when it arrives on your plate. Ox balls (editor's note: yes, that IS what you just read) are reminiscent of tripe although not as strong but certainly something I can check off the list and not worry about having to eat again. Spinach really should not be consumed more than 7 or 8 times a week because after that it gets boring, especially creamed at breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, chicken gizzards are not an ideal breakfast meat, and bacon also comes in beef and not just pork. Lastly, the thing that is purple and white and cut like a baked potato is actually beef liver.


Got to Ethiopia, and so far, no need for Cipro (knock on wood). I have no idea most of time what I'm eating, but it's tasting pretty good (although I passed on the whole fried fish with scales, fins, and eyes at lunch today). (editor's note: I never did figure out what the heck I ate, other than injira, just about the whole time I was there, but man is Ethiopian food tasty!)


Day One: Got to Bolivia just fine. Flight landed at 3:30 and got to bed about 5am, but today was a nothing day on the schedule, so we were able to recover. Had fried duck for lunch, which is a specialty around here. (editor's note: not kidding, the restaurant was named Cua-Cua, just like the sound a duck makes.)

Day Three: Cheese and pastries for breakfast, along with coffee that was so thick I could have painted walls with it. (editor's note: turned out, we were supposed to cut the coffee with either water or milk. Opps.)

Poverty Sucks

I recently returned from Bolivia, where I spent the week. In case you are going, "wait, what? You just moved to Colorado?!?" Yea, so I'm behind in this whole blogging thing. I told you I might not be good at it. This is actually not my first work trip. I was in Kenya for three weeks last October and then in Ethiopia in June. I'll catch up on that some time, but not now. Back to the subject at hand. Bolivia. The trip was a fast one - in on Monday, out on Friday, interview a million people in between.

The reality is that Bolivia is not the poorest country in the world. I spent the week doing a lot of mental comparisons - "well, these houses have actual tiles on them and not corrugated metal." "This courtyard at this church is bigger." I had to do a couple of mental checks. Yep, the roof is more solid and the courtyard is bigger, but I still wouldn't want that to be my life. Bolivia may not be the absolutely poorest country, but it doesn't have to be. Poverty exists. And Poverty sucks.

Poverty sucks life and it sucks hope. It makes people believe that this is all there is, and that life will never get better. People stop living and start existing.

I hate what poverty does to people. I hate what it does to me. I got home and went to church the next day, and in the middle of worship, lost my stuff. Let's be honest, I'm not exactly the most stoic of people out there. However, this was borderline ugly-cry, and you know what I'm talking about. I felt hopeless. The images of kids I had seen during the week flowed through my head. We sang about being together with Jesus, and I absolutely couldn't wait for him to return, because I in that moment, I was convinced that poverty would never get better until he came back. I was defeated.

If I get defeated after being NEAR it for a week, can you imagine living in that situation?

I can't let it defeat me. I also should get WAY more sleep before going to church after a cross-continent trip, but that's another story...

I have to choose to fight this. I have to realize that poverty is the enemy, and that I cannot let it win. I can't let it drag me down. I have to remember the kindness I saw in the children and the difference the churches were making in their lives. That we CAN and we WILL beat this thing back.

I watched kids rescue a tiny puppy that someone had thrown out, wrapped in plastic in a dumpster. They were nursing it and caring for it  - these little six, seven and eight year olds while I was interviewing their instructors.
(Photo of children examining puppy, while littler ones look on)

These kids have hearts and souls.

They love to play.
They laugh at me for trying to tell them I like how they brush their teeth after lunch.

They invite me to jump rope. These are the things I must always remember, the against the grain, darkness dispersing moments that remind me that this is a fight worth fighting. (Yes, that is me playing "lega-lega," which looked a lot like the "Chinese jump rope" I played as a kid. Yes, I'm jumping knee high rope in a skirt. The kids thought it was hilarious!)