Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sports and travel.

I am not enjoying the fact that I am not currently playing any sports. I havent done any physical exercise since I left NZ. Not good!! But I last week I got satellite TV and bought the Satenta Sports channel which has rugby and soccer 24/7! All the Super 14, Tri Nations, World Cup, Air NZ cup, 6 Nations, and all the english, irish, and south african rugby. It also has aussie rules and rugby league! And on the soccer front it has English premiership and all European championship games and all internationals! So its pretty sweet! I still hope to find some soccer or volleyball even if I am coaching!
Last week I spent 2 days in Muncie which is where our YMCA head office is. Its 2 hours south of here east of Indianapolis. I was making a movie with my director for an important meeting. I also managed to get the technology to all come together for the meeting and it went flawlessly! It was a bit of a challenge as had to change laptops at the last minute and incorporate another slideshow of financial graphs and charts etc! but I like that challenge and pressure!
This last weekend Mark and I left at 6am Saturday morning and drove to Chicago again. This time we were at another big convention centre beside a hotel on the south side of Chicago. This expo we took a mini motorbike and a horse saddle and a wakeboard with a short piece of pvc pipe to put under the wakeboard so it was like a low see saw thing. We got kids to stand on the board and try to balance the board on the pvc pipe. We had a ski rope they could hold onto to help themselves. Well we had no idea it would be a hit! We had kids lined up from 9am till 4pm! The show closed at 5pm. At times I counted 16-20 kids crowded round our little booth with their parents! Their was a camp across from us with no one at their stall—they had 1 guy who looked disinterested and they had nothing really much as a display. We have a big colourful display board we put on the table at the back of our booth. Sat night we stayed in the hotel next door to the centre which was real nice. I spent ages in the indoor heated pool after dinner in the restaurant. I have been in hotels a lot lately! Sunday was just as crazy. We had lines again all day. We gave out about 800 brochures in the 2 days!

Yesterday I spent most of the day working on computers! We have a new one so I had to set that up and then for the summer I will be working with the multimedia stuff which includes making movies of each camp and getting photos on the internet each week and getting kids to write journalistic stories of camp.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Little things and a BIG wedding!

Sometimes its the little things that make the difference. Both positively and negatively! This week I've noticed a few. This week I met the cook (Renae) and her husband (Mike) who is head of maintenance. Renae is a Settlers of Katan player so on Wednesday nite I found myself invited to Richards house to play settlers and I got fed some great dessert! I lost Settlers to Renae by one turn but now I know how she plays a little and I can't wait for many more games! Other little things were finding I can buy an extra sports channel for only $15 a month which has all rugby competitions in all countries including the World Cup live and all English and European soccer--awesome!! But on the flip side the Cricket world cup is $200 for all games live--i just want to see NZs games and cant afford that! But again on the flip side of that I found Radio Sport streaming online and I live in the same time zone as the West Indies! So I can listen to Brian Waddle! Thursday nite all the staff went to Steves house for dinner and had a great feed and then played this cool game called Apples to Apples. (I think Renae is a big game lover so I'm happy about that!) Then there is the "little" issue of waiting for my first pay cheque--I understood it would be this week but now have been told April 2! And as already mentioned lack of internet and phone line and lack of my own transport are more little things. So some positive and some negative, the little things make the difference. You notice these things more when you are trying to live over the other side of the world. I am conscious that this trip is different to past trips in that I am planning to be here a lot longer and want to be able to function without always feeling like the alien! In my country I know how everything works but over here I know nothing!
Well Bekis wedding was a huge highlight for me. I had always planned to be over here for it and today was the day. Being St Patricks Day and as Beki lives in Dublin, Ohio you will see in the pics below she wore green on her dress and the bridesmaids dresses were also green. The ceremony was simple and elegant--flowed nicely and had live string instruments. Beki looked stunning of course and had her 3 sisters as bridesmaids. I hadnt met Kevin before but Beki tells me I'll like him and he seems nice! I met Beki back in 1999 when her college roommate Heather picked me up from Columbus, Ohio to take me to Kamp Kanakuk in Missouri. We stayed at Beki's house in Indianapolis on the was thru and Beki and I have been great friends ever since. Really like a sister to me, Beki has always been there for me and I for her over the past 8 years. There have been many emails and phone calls and 4 visits by me. We have and still do encourage and challenge and pray for the other one in our life journeys. Thank you Beki for your friendship--its unparalleled! God bless you and Kevin! Was great to see Charity again and also Heather and the Shepler family.

Bekis wedding

Cutting the cake

Kevin and Beki (centre) with Charity and me

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Camp Crosley on Little Tippecanoe Lake!

What a huge change in seasons! Today was a beautiful warm sunny day! Daylight Savings began on Sunday meaning a longer evening and I’m sitting here in my lounge with the windows open—the air is warm! I’ve been at camp for 10 days now and all of last week was cold with snow everywhere. I finally left LA after waiting around in the airport for ages cause of delays at Chicago. Landed at Chicago in snow and my onward flight to Southbend was cancelled. So i had to get a hotel for the night-it was snowing and cold! The next morning I went back to the airport and got a bus to Southbend. It was a 2 hour trip and the further we went the heavier the snow got. At Southbend my camp director met me and I went to ask about my bags. Of course they were still in Chicago so they delivered them to me 24 hours later. At Camp Crosley I have a little cabin/house about 40 metres from the lake edge and fairly close to the main camp buildings. It has 2 bedrooms and a lounge/kitchen area and bathroom. It has heating and air con and washer/dryer so I have pretty much everything I need. I managed to get satellite TV as my director has it in his house so I can get it for $5 /month! 250 channels! I don’t have a phone line or internet tho which is a pain. Cell phone plans are expensive and pre paid hardly exists and they make you pay for incoming calls so don’t think I will be getting a phone. I have internet at the office and hope to get mobile internet on my laptop. So far work has been in the office on the computer. I have my own office space and desk and computer/phone etc. I have been going through all the files stored on the network server and sorting them into logical folders. Quite a big task!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Early morning at Camp Crosley

I disturbed the birds--this is the only part of the lake not frozen over so the birds are all here!

Monday, March 05, 2007

my cabin/house

pics at Camp Crosley

View from my house to the frozen lake!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Stuck in Chicago

View from my hotel window in Chicago!

Huntington Beach

Tracy & Katie Lindquist training. I had a game with Dave Lindquist (Tracy's Dad) and some other guys)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Los Angeles

Yep I'm in LA--Huntington Beach to be exact. 11pm March 1st I left Auckland on a new Boeing 777-200. I had a bunch of trouble with my hand luggage weighing 14kgs and only allowed 7kgs. My check in bags were 4kgs underweight so I had to go back to check in and take 4kgs of stuff out of my hand luggage bag and put in a big plastic bag to be checked in. The empty hand luggage bag weighed 4kg!! Then all the way upstairs to the viewing deck to find Mum and Dad who had said goodbye and were waiting to see me go thru to the gates. Gave them a bunch of books to cut my weight down more and then my bag weighed 8.5kgs and they were happy with that. Also had my laptop bag which weighed 6.5kgs. So I got to LA about 1:40pm local time after a rather bumpy ride at times. One bump got a considerable reaction from the passengers as we dropped a bit of altitude! Customs was pretty quick and easy with no questions asked whatsoever. Homeland security is sure secure! But then I guess I have a visa from a recognised government agency so that probably helps me. Jessica met me and took me straight to Huntington Beach where I found Tracy Lindquist playing beach with her sister. Her Dad was playing with some other guys so I joined in with them for a game. It was sunny but only about 15 deg and a cold wind. Home to Jess's place for a shower and relax until dinner. We went to Taco Surf--a cool mexican restaurant by the beach. Of course I had Dr Pepper! Then a drive to Signal Hill which is a bump near Long Beach and from the lookout up top you get awesome views of LA city in all directions. So many lights! (And so much smog!) Got some icecream on the way home and now it's bed time as tomorrow I fly off to Chicago and then South Bend Indiana where it is cold and snowing. Tomorrows high will be about 3 degrees I think! Will post some pics soon.