>..yep. That’s the Army for ya. Aaron will be delayed from when we thought he was coming home. At first I was super ticked off because 1) Korea is the biggest Army fail, ever, and 2) I have way too many expectations of things that are not in my control… Hmm. I wonder why I keep having opportunities to learn this lesson. Annnnnd I’m pretty sure I jinxed it…

After I got everything out, and maybe some choice words escaped my mouth, I realized that this actually will work out better. We will have less time at home before we leave, but we have a lot to do so we won’t be pulled in five million directions and driving all over central Illinois to see people. This is not a vacation; this is preparing for a cross-country move. Now that it’s getting closer, I’m starting to realize that I need to take it more seriously. At some point we will be living under the same roof, in the same country, and even, are you ready for this? in the same time zone.

Today I worked out our budget in case we didn’t get an advance on our moving money. I went ahead and budgeted in money for spending in case we could go to Highland Games, which is now the weekend before the arrival date. Now, we can use that money to spend a couple nights at our favorite hotel to have some alone time before everything breaks loose and to also celebrate our anniversary.

Last year we celebrated early, and the year before we celebrated it late in a nasty Econolodge in Pit-of-Hell, Missouri, after Basic Training graduation. (The town was actually called St. Robert; I added my own colorful moniker. Sorry if there was any confusion.) It’s seriously been a year since we’ve had even one whole day to ourselves.

I really try to not complain about the Army and its shenanigans. I know that we knowingly chose this lifestyle and all that comes with it. Living this way does afford many things that are a huge blessing, like housing that’s paid for, great health insurance, and guaranteed paychecks (unless of course, certain people don’t feel like paying our military….). Aaron has had great training that will benefit him long beyond his military service.

I’m ready to get this show on the road.

>Week in review; revisiting the diet plan

>Hello friends. Sorry about the uncreative title.. it’s been one of those weeks. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

I feel so bloated and just… flabby. I know that’s ridiculous, considering I’m only up 2.7 pounds from my ideal, and I’m still trying to learn how to not to eat like a glutton after months of marathon training. Ha! I’ve been especially bad with the sweets since Easter. I’m the girl who can’t just eat two or three Oreos… or four or five. Yeaaahhh. That’s why I don’t keep those in the house. I think it’s back to 40-calorie sugar-free fudge pops for this chick. (And hubby is coming home soon so I have a goal!)

I’m going to be more diligent about strength training… girly pushups, crunches, Pilates, and yoga, along with the weight machines at the gym. I want to run about twice a week, and cross-train the rest of the time. I don’t have to technically begin training for the December half marathon until about September. That will be perfect; we should be all settled in Texas by then.

As for my eating, well, I really hate to start tracking again. I did it for so long with success that I can probably guess how many calories I eat every day just based on how I feel. I’m going to cut out the lemonade or root beer (you know, the only viable options at fast food which I shouldn’t be eating anyway…) and instead drink water. I have been loving instant decaf Nestea. The aftertaste reminds me of summer days at my grandparents’ farm.

I am done with work in just a few days and then I will be able to focus on getting the apartment ready. The town my bestie lives in is having a town-wide garage sale this weekend, so I am trying to sell all the extra stuff we don’t need.

Sighhh. I’m thankful for yet another week down, and this was an especially busy one. Bring on the summer!

>This Spanish major will be happy! and thoughts on immigration and language


There is so much culture in El Paso that as a Spanish major, I am ecstatic to explore! There is a museum of art, history, and archaeology. Good thing my husband likes museums, too. In fact, one of our first dates was to the Lakeview Museum. This site has some really awesome pictures of downtown El Paso, including one of an Aztec Calendar. I’ve never seen one of these in person. Heck, I’ve never been to Mexico. A shame, huh? Because of the dangers there and being a military family member, I may not get to go for some time. Bummer.

Because of my career choice (as a teacher, I obviously have an educated and extensively researched commentary on every major problem that plagues this great nation), many people have asked me what I think about illegal immigration, and many students have asked me, “Why do we even have to learn Spanish?” to which I wanted to reply, “If you don’t like it, then why are you in here?!”

This is what I think about illegal immigration from Mexico, or anywhere: it’s illegal. Therefore it’s wrong. I know many people who have come to this country and built their lives here by going through the correct channels. People who come here illegally mar the process of immigration for everyone else. Sure, all our ancestors were immigrants unless you’re Native American, but times have changed… laws have changed.

Why is it important to learn Spanish? Well, besides “needing” it for admission to college (not true; there are many other things that merit admission to college), why not learn another language? When you learn another language, you inevitably learn another culture. Even if you merely study vocabulary of British English, you will learn about Britain’s culture. It enhances one’s outlook on the world and helps in other areas of learning as well.

Suffice it to say that our children will be fluent in at least my two languages. After piano at age 7, Spanish was my second love and I long to pass that on to our children. Besides, if they start young their pronunciation will be lovely and much more native-like than mine. My accent is definitively American + Bolivian + Honduran + Enrique Iglesias (haha, I kid about Enrique).

As far as children go, they are our future. I know that sounds really typical for a teacher to say. We shouldn’t punish the children of illegal immigrants. They had no control over their parents’ actions, and by law if they are born on U.S. soil, they are U.S. citizens. It’s said and done and there’s nothing that we can do about it. There are people of every race, ethnicity and class who take advantage of services provided by our government.

The truth is that El Paso used to be part of Mexico. Boundaries, laws or prejudice cannot remove the Mexican influence, just as generations cannot take away the history passed down to me from my grandpa about my family who came here from, you guessed it, England, to be farmers. Yes, farmers. In Illinois. You can stop chuckling now. No wonder this gringa loves traveling so much…

I’m not going to lie and say I know how to solve any problems facing education today, as they are many. I really did not plan on writing about it in this entry, but I know that all children should have a right to education and to succeed in this country if they so choose (and are legal). It’s sometimes hard for us to see, but the opportunities here despite the current economy are unfathomable.

In conclusion, living in El Paso will be like living in a foreign country to me. The cool thing is, it used to be. According to statistics, El Paso is 80% Hispanic (shocker, right?)… this blonde-hair-blue-eyed-girl-from-the-Midwest-who-really-loves-Spanish-but-is-just-so-white-that-even-the-Europeans[Spaniards]-saw-right-through-me will learn a lot!

>Clear-minded goals

>So, before the marathon, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep training and racing marathons, or just have this be a one-time thing and become a more casual runner.

Let’s just say that the thought of never running another marathon again is just craziness! Like I said, all throughout the race I never thought, Oh, I’m never doing this again. My recovery is going very well. I got a massage last night and besides a little soreness, I feel almost 100% today!

Now, post-race and during recovery, I’m already planning new goals and races. When we move, we will be less than 20 miles from New Mexico. Our location will have amazing new opportunities for hiking and seeing the country. The Southwest has to be my favorite region thus far.

We (my husband and I) are looking at a half marathon in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in December of this year. That’s 13.1 miles at 4,000 ft elevation. I have to learn to run at that altitude. I think my goal will be a sub-2:00 race, which will make my pace 9:09. Right now I can run 3 miles with a pace of 9:00, and 8 with a 9:37 pace. Maybe this new goal is slightly ambitious, but it will keep me committed to my training.

I bought a swim cap with a gift certificate from BondiBand, so hopefully that will encourage me to start swimming on a regular basis. I can swim, but I can’t guarantee that I have the correct form. Hmm.. maybe I should take lessons..?

On a slightly different note, we leave for Texas in approximately two months. I cannot believe the time is almost here! In less time than that, Aaron will be back stateside. This has been such a long journey, but I believe that everything happens for a reason and that there is a divine opportunity in all life changes.

I am continuing to pray for opportunities for friendship and ministry and peace of mind about moving so far away. This is an exciting time and I don’t want to take anything for granted.