It’s March already?

My last blog post was your typical apology for not blogging more often.  And I followed that up with a three month silence.  Oh well.

2010 has had no small share of excitement, for lack of a better term.  December was very busy at work with the typical end-of-the-year rush as everyone attempted to get their slates clean for the Christmas break.  Then we had Christmas in Columbia, followed by New Year’s in Chicago.

Sadly, while we were in Chicago, my grandmother passed away.  It wasn’t a huge shock, as when we saw her on Christmas Eve it was obvious she wasn’t doing very well.  But it was still very sad, and we’ll miss her greatly.  Emily lost her last surviving grandparent in 2006, and now I’ve lost mine.

The next week, the earthquake in Haiti struck.  While natural disasters have always meant “all hands on deck” at my job, this one was particularly exhausting.  There were UMC executives caught in the quake, and this marked the first “big” event since a staff restructuring that was supposed to facilitate faster and more numerous updates to our website (but with fewer staff members to share the load).  It was stressful to say the least.

Colleen is doing great – just growing and learning every day.  She’s sitting up on her own, her first tooth is coming through, and she’s starting to talk – in a manner of speaking… she’ll say “dada” without much prompting, but she doesn’t associate it with me  – yet!  Her personality is really coming through, and every day is a new adventure with her.  She’s now seven months old – hard to believe she’s closer to being a year old than she is to her birth date.  Where does the time go?

Slavitastic

I think this is the first blog entry I’ve ever done outside of the U.S. – I’m currently in Bulgaria waiting for my site updates to upload. Reminds me of my first internet dial-up connection way back in college; though not quite as flaky, thankfully. Just SLOOOOOOWWWWW.

It’s pretty interesting being in a country where no one speaks English natively. Most of the people can speak enough English to understand me, but simply ordering “Chicken McNuggets and a Coca-Cola” at McDonalds (yes, they’re here as well) took a bit of time. But eventually I got my food, and they didn’t rip me off with the change. 🙂

Strangely enough, McDonalds has probably been the healthiest thing I’ve eaten so far… most of the native food is very heavy and greasy, and pretty bland as well. I did have a meal at the cafe next to the hotel that had some broccoli and peas in it; I though I was ordering fried shrimp and mashed potatoes, but neither were in the dish they brought me. The menu was printed in English, but the translation left something to be desired.

In general, things are less expensive here – their currency (the Leva) is worth approximately $.63, and gas here, for example, is 1,89 leva a gallon (A little over $1 US). I don’t think it would be worth the 8,000 mile drive to fill up though.

Anyway, I have some pictures, but no time to upload them at the moment…

Pet Peeves

Today at work my phone call was answered on the other end by someone on a speakerphone. Not once, but twice. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that to be in very poor taste. For one, I consider my phone conversations personal – they’re not for the entire world to hear. Also, it’s difficult to hear when the other person is several feet away from the phone, and the sound keeps cutting in and out. Not to mention that it’s simply rude – you’re basically telling the other person that their call isn’t important enough for you to go through the laborious task of actually paying attention to what they’re saying, rather than continuing whatever you’re doing that’s so much more important. The speakerphone is for conference calls, not so that lazy people don’t have to bother with picking up the receiver.

workworkworkwork

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same.”

–Bryan Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola