Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To Romania and Beyond....

Hello All! I realize that I haven't updated my blog with pictures from my recent travels to Romania, across Wyoming, and beyond. Let me begin by apologizing to those of you that were waiting on pins and needles for pictures. To the other 100% of you that completely forgot I even said I'd share pictures, here you go.

While driving through Wyoming...we saw this incredible site.
Little did we know this would be one of the last houses we'd see for four hours.

On our way to Montana, we drove through Grand Teton National Park.
Here's a small glimpse of what we were able to see before the sun went down.

The first look at Yellowstone. Simply breathtaking.


What's a trip to Yellowstone without seeing Old Faithful?

The changing face of Yellowstone

There are a zillion other photos I could post of this incredible park, but you can view them just as easily by visiting my facebook page. I would like to leave you with one last slide show. Just a few pics of the youth I've come to love in Romania...along with a few of my friends from back home. Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hollywood, Strip Malls, and Asbestos...

Oh, my! I found out something very interesting about Libby, MT this weekend (the town where I'm living,) well okay...maybe four things:

One: When you live in an area without a Wal-Mart or any kind of "shopping" at all, it becomes very exciting to visit a city that does have those things. Hence, the excitement regarding my trip to Kalispell this past weekend. I went to Target, Wal-Mart, Ross, and TJ Max! What's a girl to do!

Two: Libby, Montana has the highest rate of Asbestos poisoning in the world. Apparently, President Obama gave 6 billion dollars to Libby residents affected with asbestosis back in the spring...and this place became a media frenzy. However, it has negatively affected the town because now that all those residents have money, they don't work. The economy is really depressed here. If you want to read about it yourself, you can google "asbestos" and "Libby, Montana." I was amazed at all the information that popped up!

Three: The movie, "Always" was filmed at Libby airport (think tiny...only little planes fly out of here). I love that movie and now feel proud to be temporarily located here. Another film called, "Devil's Pond" starring Tara Reed, was filmed at local lake here as well. The starring actress's name should give a clue to how great of a movie this was.

Four: Libby has more casinos per square mile radius than in Las Vegas. Seriously, I've seen the statistics.

Who woulda thunk it?

Side note: I know some of you have been asking for pictures of my recent trip to Romania, Yellowstone, etc. I just got my new computer and will be downloading them in a slideshow shortly!

Also, for those of you that have been wanting an updated mailing address...check my facebook page or email me directly. I'm not one to put a physical address on cyberspace to see!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods...

You might think the next line is, "to grandmother's house we go." Well after the river and the woods, I didn't exactly end up at grandmother's house. Instead, after 72 + hours of traveling, I ended up in Libby, Montana...not exactly what you would call a "bustling metropolis." First, let me back up a bit.

After returning from Romania, I had two days to pack up my life, divide it amongst friends, and set out for a new one in Montana. Okay, maybe not a whole new life, but definitely a chapter! The two days I had to pack were pretty wild and tiring. I didn't have any time to adjust to time change, nor could I give in to the looming jet lag, and so without the help of my mom, K, Marissa, and Amanda, I surely would have come apart. Toward the end, I was just looking at the piles in my living room, unable to do anything but cry. Seriously. If someone looked at something on the floor too long, I told them to take it with them, that's how desperate I was. Thankfully, everything found a home and the apartment was cleaned. Boy, am I glad that is over! (For now at least)

Once I left San Antonio, I headed to Grapevine to visit my brother Jeremy and his family where I was "begged" by my five year-old niece not to move. I did my best to explain to her that Jesus has commanded all of us to go, but somehow that couldn't get through that precious little brain of hers ;-) My father and I left for Montana the next day at 6:00 am...and after a few wrong turns and one threat to "fire me as navigator" we made it to Denver. The next day we headed to Yellowstone only to encounter the most ridiculous 30 mile stretch of road ever. It seemed as though every stretch of road we turned on was under construction. After weaving through Yellowstone at night, narrowly missing a buffalo that was walking down the center stripe of the road, we pulled into West Yellowstone for a nap. The next morning brought fresh eyes to the grandeur of Yellowstone National Park. That place is amazing! It seemed that at each and every turn, my dad or I were stopping to take a picture of the amazing landscape. For those of you that haven't visited Yellowstone, it really is a place you should take time to visit. You will be "Wowed" at what God created. We spent the night in Missoula and arrived in Libby, Montana in the afternoon of day four. Even though my dad had to turn back around and head home, he was such a sport. I will greatly treasure that trip with him. (Love you, Dad!)

So now I'm here in the gorgeous state of Montana, surrounded by mountains. Despite my fear of being attacked on the open road by a pack of wolves, a mountain lion, or bear (ridiculous I know), I've managed to get up in the mornings and go for a walk/jog. The last three years at the desk job I held have really done a number on me...I do not desire to feel 31 any longer! Even though we're two hours away from the nearest Wal-Mart, Libby is not short on attractions. Today we visited Kootenai (pronounced "Koot-knee) Falls, and marveled at the power of falling water. My classmates and I figured that since we are novice hikers, we should start out slow. However, next we're bumping it up to the 9-mile hike through Cedar Lakes! Not to worry though, one of the men here at the training center said he would loan me his "bear spray." There really is such a thing. Whodathunkit?