A year in roundup part I

5:47 AM at 5:47 AM

So this year has been really busy. For anyone following this blog, however, it looks like we've done like 6 things all year. But that is not the case! We have some good stuff that happened this year and I'm hoping to be able share some of it here, if for no other reason than to remember what has happened while we go forward onto new adventures.

So in light of that, here are a couple of pictures from Katie's graduation party way back in May. It was a fun celebration and Kona and I are all still pretty darned proud of her, though Kona frequently has a funny way of showing it.





A job well done

9:04 PM at 9:04 PM

We just finished decorating our tree and now we are taking a well deserved opportunity to enjoy it.



View from the couch.

- Posted from my iPhone

Secondary costumes

12:45 AM at 12:45 AM

We were tired of wearing our main costumes (after 4 times, pictures to follow) so we dug through our costume collection to come up with some impromptu costumes. We looked pretty darned good, if I do say so myself.





1 sexy devil and 1 less than sexy little red riding hood, made to order.
-- Posted from my iPhone

;-(

7:28 PM at 7:28 PM





Birthday sunrise

8:27 AM at 8:27 AM




-- Posted from my iPhone

Whitney's birthday outing

2:50 PM at 2:50 PM

The Kennecot Copper Mine is the worlds largest man made excavation. Haven't been here since fourth grade, but it hasn't gotten any smaller.



Big tire.



-- Posted from my iPhone

Happy birthday Katie

1:35 PM at 1:35 PM

So this is late and I don't have any pictures from the brunch fir her birthday (12 bottles of champagne and 10 lbs of brown sugar bacon though, so you know it was awesome) but here are Katie's birthday presents from me.




Shiney!





They are both practical AND awesome.

CANstruction 2009

8:24 AM at 8:24 AM

On Monday our office built out 2009 entry to the CANstruction competition. If anyone is unaware, CANstruction is an event where architects and contractors get together and build sculptures out of cans that will eventually be donated to the local food bank.

This year, our entry was titled "1 in 8" which represented the statistic that 1 out of every 8 people in our country go without enough food every day. That works out to about 36 million people suffer from food insecurity. See if you can tell which entry was ours!




This is a good view of the whole field, so you can see what every one did. One is a pair of curving planes of cans (that fell down 3 times during construction), the state of Utah, the Cat in the Hat's hat, and 1 in 8.


Our entry. Last year we won 4 of the 5 awards that were given. We are hoping to win a couple this year. If you're in Salt Lake, swing by and check them out...and vote for ours for people's choice.

Preview for tommorrow

7:32 PM at 7:32 PM

There are 5 more pans just like this in my fridge, just waiting for brown sugar.






Yum.

-- Posted from my iPhone

So domestic...

10:00 PM at 10:00 PM

Who knew I married such a lady.

Last night I slept with a pharmacist

7:09 AM at 7:09 AM

Congratulations! Katie is done with testing and nailed them all. I married a smart lady.

Woo Katie

8:12 AM at 8:12 AM

Katie is 1/2 of a pharmacist as of yesterday. One more to go. Good luck baby.

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Carbon Leaf

7:57 AM at 7:57 AM

Katie, Mary and I went to the Carbon Leaf show at the Urban Lounge last night. It was a really good show, a good 2 hour set from one of our favorite bands. The turnout was about 10 times what it was the last time they came to Salt Lake (there were about 6 people in the audience with Katie and I being two of them), so it's cool to see them gaining an audience. Check out their website and new album if you like good music.


Terry rocks out, what a head of hair on that one.

Terry, Barry and Carter doing an unplugged song which was really, really good. They mostly just look sleepy though.


Yes, my wife is touching Barry.
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Awesome wedding

8:01 AM at 8:01 AM

We went to this really great wedding for some friends over the weekend up Millcreek canyon. Everything was incredibly green because of the monsoon we have been having. It was an outdoor wedding and it kept raining off and on, but there were tents and an indoor part so all was good. Unfortunately the rain kept knocking out the power...so much so that everyone there had to hum "here comes the bride," or at least as much as anyone knew. All in all though, quite the beautiful wedding.

So we sat on the brides side, which was arbitrary since we are friends with both parties, but I realized that the brides side should actually be on the opposite side, since all I could see was the bride's back the whole wedding.





The only picture of Katie and I from the wedding wasn't actually from the wedding but another friend's graduation party. Note: I had been wearing a suit but had to dress it down for this after party.

3

9:49 PM at 9:49 PM

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GREAT Chebeague.

7:31 AM at 7:31 AM

We went with a bunch of friends to Maine over Memorial Day to celebrate Katie's graduation. It was a really great time. We stayed on the island that my Mom grew up on and that I've been going to since I was born. It was a lot of fun to share that place with all these great friends that we have. It was also a very different experience than going with my family. No more or less fun, but just different.

There are a few things to note about this picture. First, Chebeague Island seceded from Cumberland to become their own town in 2007. It was a big deal for the island and everyone is still pretty excited about it. So yay Chebeague. The second to note is that Chebeague is spelled wrong on the ring. Way to go guys.

This was our lunch while waiting for the water taxis that would take us over to the island.

I have 30 pictures of Dan with his mouth open...strange.

Casco Bay Lines that go back and forth between Portland and Chebeague (and some other less important islands as well)

Awwwesome.

Awww.

Some lovely ladies enjoying the summer night.

Thumbs high, Paul. Thumbs high.

There was a lot of relaxing that took place, which was good since that was the point.

This is the view from the back porch. Pretty sweet.

I know, I know

7:31 AM at 7:31 AM

Blah, blah, blah, not enough posts, blah, blah, we've been busy, blah, blah.

Let's not do the whole apology things. Let's just pretend I'm better at putting stuff here and you care.

Katie is graduating! Finally. The other night was the graduation banquet for the graduating class, a nice little affair. We are both really excited that she will be finished. If anyone feels that their days are not filled with enough pomp AND/OR circumstance, we'll be doing the actual graduation on Friday, so come on down!



I'm not sure of a good name that this group should have. Historically there have been Dynamic Duos, Three Musketeers, and Four....I don't know? Four Horsemen is what comes to mind, but that would be a little dark. Any suggestions?


Hooray!

They took this photo twice, the first time Ghazal kicked Katie and the second time she punched her in the chest.

Hello from Chang Mai!

9:26 AM at 9:26 AM

(Forword, sorry this was late!)

Saturday
On our last day in Bangkok, we began the morning with a boat ride in a long tail boat about 30 minutes until we arrived at a floating market, where you can take a boat through...or walk, which we did. Pretty touristy but the boat ride there was fantastic and I made some fun purchases-including totally delicious spring rolls, cooked on the back of a boat.
We then went to a wat that's a women's monastery, and met the first female Buddhist monk in this particular practice of Buddhism. Her talk, just on issues of Buddhism and life in general, was really good, and taught me a lot about Buddhism I didn't know. It was unfortunate that it was our hottest day so far, and we were all a little too hot to chat for long.
Then, we went to the airport yo leave for Chang Mai. Or at least, we tried to. We were flying a budget carrier (think Southwest) from the older Bangkok airport...until we got there and they had canceled our flight, causing us to go FLYING (literally, I was really glad I couldn't see out the window) in an airline van across town (18 people plus tons of luggage in our group, plus others bumped from this flight) to the new airport to catch a flight on a different airline. When we arrived, said airline had not hear we were coming. It seemed like it might be a disaster, but we all boarded on time and all luggage arrived on time (after I paid for my 5 kgs of overage)
Our hotel in Chang Mai turned out to be a huge improvement from Bangkok, which is a pleasent change.
Sunday
Shopping. Literally thats all we did. Visited various factories (silk, silver, laquer) and a large jewelery store and have many purchases to prove it.
So, until I show off my (and your!) stuff, thats all I have.
Monday
Monday, we started a nomadic adventure, checking out of our hotel in Chang Mai and headed in Lampang province. But on the way we stopped at an elephant hospital and training center....and I rode an elephant!!!!! So cool, I loved it. We also watched an elephant show (playing instruments, painting, stacking logs and bowing) and visited baby elephants. I couldn't resist the 6 month old one...but so hairy. It was really fun.
We then visited a rehabilitation center that focuses on healing body and mind in mostly post stroke patients that seemed like a very nice place to recover, and a lot of their concepts for healing were really interesting.
Then, we hit our hotel, which wasn't too bad either. A bunch of girls, including me, decided to go get our hair washed and blown out, which was well worth the 80 baht+ tip (so, like, $4) to have nice straight bangs for once. This is a very small town, but we still managed to find a nice little place in a fancy resort for dinner.
Tuesday
In the morning, we visited a wat where they provide health outreach to the senior citizens of the community. They were so welcoming and hospitable, and the services they provides, in terms of health screening, are really important.
We visited Lampang Hospital, which has the most progressive pharmacy practices we've seen this far, and it was interesting to hear about their experiences in clinical pharmacy, but I won't bore you with that.
We then took our bags again, and headed to the north some more, to Chang Dao, a very small town about 40 K from the Burmese border. We went with the group to another restaurant at a pretty resort, which seemed amazing in the very small town, and what was even more amazing was the Karaoke bar we took over as a group (read: we were the only people in there) and sang karaoke, group style, for hours. We even got my father in law up there.
Wednesday
And here we are at today. Again, we checked out of our hotel, and headed to the local hospital. They have the country's most successful HIV/AIDS outreach program, in terms of reducing rates of spread, and so we spent time learning about their program. The outreach is entirely supported through sales of mushrooms, which the grow, and donations, so it was cool to hear about.
Then, we went to a nearby national park with a beautiful small waterfall and spent a little time exploring around and climbing the waterfall, which was shockingly not slippery, and I got all the way up, which I'm sure those of you who know my fear of heights will be amazed by.
And then, we returned to Chang Mai, back to the nice hotel, dropped off loads of dirty laundry, ate Indian food for dinner (I needed a change for a night!!) and now am here. We're in Chang Mai until Friday, when we make our final trip north to Chang Rai (and a brief jaunt into Burma, to reset our 30 day tourist visas.)

Miss you and love you all.

Two Weeks in Bangkok (and the world's your oyster)

7:18 AM at 7:18 AM

It's officially been two weeks since I was last on US soil. I'm still having a great time-so many new experiences and things to see!

I realized there have been a couple of random things I haven't shared, so here we go, along with updates.
There are malls EVERYWHERE. It's unreal how many there are. There are definitely bargains to be had-and would be even more if I were more Thai sized, like, a zero.However, I have picked up some fun stuff.
Speaking of being Thai sized, they feed us ALL the time, which I don't think helps. We have breakfast included in our room rate-although I've learned to mostly just eat fruit (the other options are white bread, very very greasy fried eggs, or Chinese style breakfast, which I'm not wild about.) Then, wherever we have class feeds us a snack in the morning and coffee or tea, lunch, and an afternoon snack. It's unbelievable. Luckily (or unluckily?) I am not real crazy about snacks that involve mystery hot dogs, so I'm not actually eating 5 times a day. Not that I'm ungrateful, it's just a lot. Lunches are generally very good, albeit somewhat mild Thai food. I don't think they think us farang can handle the heat. I've definitely been full enough to skip dinner on several occasions though.

Where we last met-Monday evening
After writing my last email, I headed out with a group of friends to an area called Khao San Road. It's a hugely touristy/backpackery area, but it was fun to see. I had some awesome mango sticky rice for 30 baht (less than a dollar) and shared several bucket-with multiple straws- of drinks with friends. A very fun, non-schooly evening.
Tuesday
We spent the morning learning about the theories of Thai traditional medicine, which is slightly different than Chinese traditional medicine, and then put our knowledge to work in the afternoon by having a 90 minute Thai massage. It was about 8 dollars, with tip, and was super relaxing.
We then headed to a wholesale mall, where you can get good deals if you buy multiple items. I picked up a shirt...and a gift for one of you :) There was SO SO SO much to look at though, it almost made my head explode. I'm pretty sure all the pieces at these places end up in Forever 21 and the like in the US, marked up 200%.
My father in law, who is here on the trip as our leader, generously invited me to join him and friends for dinner. We first had drinks on a very swanky rooftop bar, called Moon Bar, watching the sunset over Bangkok from the 59th floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel. These drinks were not the bargain I've been getting-but the view and atmosphere was very much worth it. We went to a modern Thai restaurant in the same building for dinner, where one of the people who was with us (who is Thai) ordered-and everything was just fantastic. The view from the restaurant was also amazing, as we were in a corner of the building in tables set into the floor-and there happened to be fireworks in the distance that night! Very cool
Wednesday
We spent the day at the dermatology hospital, learning mostly things about leprosy. It's still a problem in southeast Asia, although it's really treatable in most cases. It was pretty mind blowing to hear about, since I tend to think of it as mostly a biblical type disease.
We then headed back down to Royal City Avenue, the club district we went to during the first week, and again, it was a great time. The clubs here are so nice-and we had a great seating area for our crew.
Thursday
We took a long drive out to an area called Lopburi to visit an AIDS hospice. We watched our pirated copy of Slumdog Millionare, which I had already seen, but this one had the most ridiculous English subtitles you've ever seen. It was illogical strings of words and provided and extra level of entertainment. The AIDS hospice was incredibly moving-there's a huge stigma associated with HIV and AIDS here, and these people at the hospice are in the end stage of disease. Especially sad, but interesting, was the piles of bags of cremated ashes. There's a misconception that you can contract the disease via contact, so many families won't accept ashes back after their loved ones die at this place. It was worth it to see this place.
We then went to the main part of town, which people called Monkey City as it's literally overrun with Monkeys. There's signs warning you to hold on to your purse and glasses, and monkeys running on the tops of buildings. It's also the city of an ancient city, so we took a quick spin through the ruins. We were all so hot though-so didn't last too long.
All the sweating I did in the sun at the hospice and then in town also made my entire formerly sunburnt back decide to peel off-it was pretty sweet.
Friday
Today we spent the day at the National Chest Disease Institute, learning about TB, SARS, and the threat of a global influenza pandemic. The lecturer was the most engaging we've had the whole time, so it made for a great lecture and discussion. We visited the wards (with masks on-hopefully I won't have a positive TB test in May when I'm due for my next one) and I was again impressed by how little privacy these patients seem to have. These public hospitals also have no air conditioning in the wards, which is unbelievable to me.
We're all pretty exhausted, so tonight we had a fun dinner at a Korean BBQ place, were hoping to see a movie, but all the good ones in English aren't playing anymore, and are now here in the internet cafe. We've gotta pack tonight, because tomorrow, we head to Chang Mai! I'm ready for the change of pace for sure, although could probably still find things I haven't seen in Bangkok.
Before we head out though, we're due to go to a floating market (you go though the market on boats) and have a discussion with a female Buddhist monk.
Hope all is well with all of you! Keep your updates coming!
Katie

More Updates from Katie!

7:08 AM at 7:08 AM

Hi all!

Here's another for your reading (if you desire) pleasure! It was great to hear all your updates too.

Where we left off...Friday

Again, Friday was a very interesting day at lecture. We spent the morning discussing the efforts to develop an HIV vaccine in Thailand, and then Thailand's experience with the Avian Flu. They served us lunch, as always and it was a delicious Tom Yum Gai (soup.) As a side note, we're being served at least lunch and two snacks daily. Our hosts at every site are incredibly hospitable, and lunch is usually something Thai, and then coffee (instant! which I'm getting used to) and a snack. Some of the snacks are a little foreign, but the effort is appreciated. However,lunch's deliciousness was slightly dampened by the parasite lecture that followed...which was GROSS. You do NOT want intestinal parasites.
Let's just say it made everyone a little paranoid abut some of the street foods we've been sampling. I know some people have been interesting in hearing about the food, and it's all been fabulous.One of the PA students here with us, from the University of Colorado, was actually raised in Thailand and speaks Thai, so has been helping navigate food choices. It's very helpful. Serving sizes are actually a reasonable size here, and I've had things ranging from the VERY VERY spicy to pretty tame.

After lecture, we headed to Hua Hin, a beach town about 200 km away from Bangkok for the weekend. This was a nice hotel, much improved from the Bangkok hotel, and was a nice change of pace. After arrival, we did a quick change and had dinner-which seemed expensive but still was very reasonable :) I had Paenang curry, which I know many of you know I'm obsessed with-and it was better than I could've hoped for.

We hit the town, but it's pretty mellow, with many many many many older German tourists, so we were some of the only people dancing at the bar we went to. We strolled around town, again, with many many German tourists, and then took a walk on the beach and crashed, pretty late

Saturday, or "The day Katie learns just how close we are to the equator"

Saturday was just what I had been needing...a free beach day! After a breakfast at our hotel, I and several of the other girls took the 20 foot stroll to the beach, paid for some chairs, and immediately began just chilling.

Or, baking, as it turned out. Let's just say the sun is intense here and my back can prove that to you.
I had a pedicure on the beach that maybe wasn't the most sterile thing ever, and I have beautiful toes and hope I don't live to regret it. I refused scraping, don't worry :)
Mango and a beer in the sun for lunch...a great day all around.

Then, as a large group, our Thai hostess, Noi, arranged for dinner at a beach restaurant. I wasn't prepared for just how beautiful it would be, but it was phenomenal, and the food was VERY fresh and delicious seafood and Thai specialities.

We headed back to the hotel for a swim in the ocean to see phosphorescence, algae that glows when you disrupt the water and make it seem as if you were swimming in fairy dust.

Sunday

Sunday we spent a couple of hours on the beach (erm...mostly in the shade this time for me) and then headed to Brandon, the aforementioned PA student's grandmother's house, which is in the same town. It was absolutely beautiful, she was a wonderful hostess, and we had a great day just swimming around in their pool before heading back to Bangkok for the week. The ride was quite uneventful in our lovely vans we're carted around in-they have surround sound and DVD players, so it made the 4ish hour drive pass quickly.

Monday...today!

We visited a Chinese traditional medicine hospital and learned about the theories before traditional eastern medicine practices, and saw some people getting acupuncture and cupping, which was very cool to see.

In the afternoon, we visited the biggest slum in Bangkok, called the Khlong Toei Slum, that's home to almost 200,000 people. We visited the foundation that works as advocates for the impoverished of Bangkok, and also is involved in efforts to help those effected by the 2004 tsunami. We walked through the streets of the slum, which was somewhat shocking in ways-although not necessarily as bad as you might think. However, it did make us feel bad about complaining about our hotel.

Then, about half of us took a very speedy elevator to the 83rd floor of the tallest building in Thailand, a hotel called Baiyoke Sky Tower. We had a cocktail (included with elevator price) and took in the view

You could see the whole city from the top, and it was a neat experience.

This is our last real week in Bangkok; we head to the north on Saturday.

Hope all is well! Photos to come soon I swear-for those of you on facebook, there may be some tagged of me you can check out that others have put up.

Love you

Katie

Katie is having technical difficulties

10:16 AM at 10:16 AM

So Katie was going to blog for the first (maybe second) time ever about her trip to Thailand. Unfortunately, given that what she was trying to do was all in Thai, she couldn't get blogger to work and sent her update out as an email instead. I'm not exactly sure if anyone who may read this wasn't on that list...but if so, enjoy!

The Flight
The flight was...long. Thanks to the pharmaceutical powers of Ambien though, I got about 6.5 hours of sleep on the 14 hour flight from San Fransisco to Taipei. It's odd waking up on a flight and being like, wow, I slept forever...8 more hours to go. Thanks to Gary though, I was in business class, so I don't have a ton to complain about. China Air was pretty nice and the flight was totally uneventful. Read, watched movies, ate semi-good food, drank champagne (but of course!!)
We arrived around noon, did a little bit of exploring around our hotel, which in basically a Bangkok suburb called Nonthanburi (about a 40 minute cab ride in traffic to downtown Bangkok.) Speaking of cabs, the experience feels life threatening every time I get in one, but I haven't even seen a single traffic accident. Cabbies (and everyone) just race aroun d here, and we get where we're going. Cabs are SO CHEAP. A 45 minutes ride has been around 150 baht, or 3 dollars, for 5 people.
The hotel is like, maybe 2 stars at best, but it's clean and will do the trick for awhile. It's weird getting used to a twin bed and no fluffy comforter though.
Day 1 aka "It's SO HOT HERE"
Although it's technically between the "cold season" and "hot season" the difference in temperature between here and Utah February was a bit of a shock to the system.
Most of the group had arrived at 2 in the morning, but thanks to the time change, everyone was up and ready to go by about 8. We took a river boat into town-it's basically like a bus system here-and went to two more tourist attractions. We visited two Wats, or Buddhist temples. The first was The temple of the emerald buddha, at the Grand Palace, which is a historical residence of the royal family. Very impressive and beautiful, but also VERY crowed since it was a Sunday. The second was the temple of the reclining buddha, which has a LARGE Buddha, and was also amzing. There will be pictures to substantiate this.
We then poked around, had what seemed like the best popsicle ever, and went back to the hotel for a quick nap before dinner at our Thai host's home, which was the most delicious homemade thai food you can imagine, and was a huge feast. She also had Thai dancers to entertain us.
Day 2-class begins
Monday began with being awoken very early to the sound of loud Thai pop music outside the hotel, which turned out to be a aerobics type class. Not cool. Ghazal, my roommate, has lent me some ear plugs now.
We then had a half day lecture on the structure of the Thai government's health programs, which provide universal care, and focus on health promotion. It's an interesting system.
Then, with all our free time, we headed to downtown Bangkok. We visited some malls, bought some DVDs (lets just say they don't seem entirely legal) and then headed back, so that we could get ready to hit the club.
We went to a fun cocktail bar and then a club in a club district called RCA. All the clubs are in RCA, and we went to one called Slim, which was running a promotion for 2 bottle of johnny walker black label for 2000 baht-and that included full table service. The Thais LOVE whiskey. I think we can thank the Vietnam War for that from what I understand. Very fun-and cheap. I spent 500 baht, about 15 dollars, for the evening-at a very nice club. It's affordable here, to say the least
Day 3-Class for real
We spent all day visiting a women's hospital and then having a lecture at the department of public health on basically women's services. Very interesting, and the public hospitals seem somewhat primitive to me as an American. BU they clearly provide good service.
We had a pretty mellow night since some people, not me (for real!), had consumed a bit too much the night before. Ghazal whacked her head pretty hard in the pool and had a serious goose egg-makes a good story :) So we played some Uno (the longest game ever, in fact) and hit the hay
Day 4
The morning started with a great lecture at the children's hospital on dengue fever, and included a tour. They certainly have no patient privacy laws here. We then had a lecture at the Thai FDA that was nearly impossible to understand. However, their English is clearly better than my thai (I have 2 phrases!)
Most of us went bowling at the alleys in the mall across from our hotel-very nice mall, nice alleys, which was real fun. They played Brittney Spears and Backstreet Boys ALL NIGHT which made me laugh.
Day 5
Can you tell I'm running out of energy on this email? I bet you are too.
We visited a Dengure Fever research lab today, and MAN those mosquitoes they test are HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE. I wore an insect shield shirt and was very glad I did.
And more lectures on malaria and dengue, and now here I am, getting ready for the evening.
I hope all is well with everyone. Please email me or feel free to call me.
I'm having a great time so far and seem adjusted to the time change as of now.

Miss you and love you all!
Katie

Paul is really, REALLY old.

5:02 PM at 5:02 PM

These are pictures from Paul's 30th birthday. His birthday was last weekend. I have been really bad about posting anything, and I will try to be better. No promises though. I don't owe you anything.

We went to PFChangs for dinner and then to Poplar Street Pub for drinks. I quite enjoyed Poplar Street and would like to spend more time there.

Unfortunately I was never able to get the picture that Paul requested for his birthday. It was of a rather large guy (with a mullet if memory serves) in a sweatshirt that had "the C word" on it (the actual word...yeah, the bad one) in 12" high letters. I got too scared to ask to take his picture.



This is the only picture I have where Paul is smiling and/or not making a face at the camera. I was really excited about this one.