Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Blogger: When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be...

How super helpful were Kathy's tips on surviving the first year of marriage yesterday?  I personally loved that she mentioned how when you get married you become members of each individual's family...very true.

Today, Megg from The Life of a Not So Desperate Housewife is here to talk about the path she took to get where she is today.  Very interesting - and so true that even the best-laid plans don't always go (cough) according to plan.


I'm Megg, and I write the blog The Life of a not so Desperate Housewife. I'm an aspiring librarian, working as an office assistant. When I'm not filing papers and doing data entry, I love to read, write, watch old TV shows long off the air, may jewelry for my Etsy shop, and cuddle with my cats. I live in Seattle with my husband, Geoff and two insane cats.

As of June 6, it's been 10 years since I graduated high school. Back then, I had high anticipations of what was going to happen in the next 4 years of my life (I don't think I had the foresight to look much past graduation!) I was off to a college I loved, 6 hours away from home and I couldn't wait.

Two years later I was transferring. Not because I didn't love that school anymore, but because they didn't have the program I decided I wanted: journalism. I don't know how I reached this decision, but one day I realized that's what I wanted to be when I grew up, a reporter. I graduated 2 years later, and headed out into the world (or, my parent's house) anticipating that I'd have a job within a month. A year later, almost to the day, I was offered a full-time reporting job.

Five years prior to that, I had no idea that that was where I would be heading. I had no clue what my life would look like, but I don't think that's what I anticipated. Around that time I also started dating my husband, who lived 3,000 miles away. If you had told me that this is where I am in my life, at 28, I would have believed a word you said. Never in a million years did I think I'd be dating someone from Idaho, of all places, and later would move to Seattle. The furthest west I'd been at that point was Ohio which, now that I've driven cross country (twice) I realize really isn't that far from home (Massachusetts).

The point is, we all have plans for our lives, but most of the time those plans don't actually work out the way we think they will. Since graduating from high school I've driven cross country twice, graduated from grad school, changed my mind about what I wanted to be (now I'm a librarian, working in an office, unfortunately), got married, lost my father-in-law too early, and bought a house.

Do I regret my decisions? Nope. My husband and I dealt with so many things, both good and bad while dating, but I don't regret any of it. It's all a learning experience and the most important thing I can take away from it is that plans change, and we are not in control, much as we'd like to think we are. I may not always be happy with the way my life is right now, but it's my life, and I'm slowly learning to accept that things happen in their own time, and you just have to go with the flow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Blogger: Surviving the First Year of Marriage

Hey Y'all!  I am so excited to share some amazing guest bloggers with you (and also I'm excited to be on VACAY!) this week!  Enjoy the week, and give these super wonderful ladies some love!

First up is Kathy from Life As I Know It, who I can forgive for loving Harry Potter (so not my thing), if she can forgive me for not loving it!  Read about her tips on surviving the first year of marriage.  I loved her idea of sharing these tips (which are all totally applicable and valuable!), especially being a newlywed myself.  Enjoy!


Hi everyone! This is Kathy from Life As I Know It. I blog about a bunch of random things including animals at the Zoo where I volunteer especially the penguins, my travels abroad (Antarctica, Argentina, Germany...), television, movies, and books especially Harry Potter, YouTube, mental health, my wonderful dog Stig, and my amazing husband Christian.

Christian and I have been married for almost a year and half and we have both grown up a lot as people and in our relationship in that first year.

So today, I am going to share with you my tips for surviving the first year of marriage.
  • Keep dating. Once we're married, it becomes really easy to become complacent about the relationship. We see each other every evening and we eat dinner together every night. We see each other and talk to each other everyday, so it becomes difficult to remember to take each other out on dates. But romance never gets old. Even if there isn't time or money for a date, romance can still be a part of the relationship through little gifts, sweet notes, or great big hug. Romance makes us feel special and reminds us what made us fall in love with each other in the first place.
  • Don't expect life to be perfect.  We all grow up hearing love stories that end "happily ever after". It doesn't work that way in the real world. There is no point in a relationship where every thing is happy and easy forever after. We still argue. We probably always will. Arguments aren't necessarily a bad thing, in fact, if we argue constructively it can improve the relationship.
  • Be a family. Getting married makes us a family which is wonderful. But it's also important to remember that marriage also makes us new members of each other's families. Getting to know the in-laws is really important. Every family is different and they have different holiday traditions and different ways of interacting with one another. Realizing that these things are different and not necessarily bad is the first step. Then there's the journey of working out how we fit into our new families and their traditions.
  • Make adjustments. Everyone has different expectations and ideas about what being a family means. We have to be open to talking to each other about how the relationship is working. And we have to be comfortable talking about things like our finances and what to do with our bills and how much money to save. And then reaching some compromise that we can both live with. These aren't fun discussions but it is really important to us that we're on the same page.
  • Have fun. The last and probably most important tip. Just because we're married does not mean we have to act like "adults" all of the time. We still love video games, and sleeping in late on the weekends, and generally being silly together. It is so important for us not to always get bogged down by the bills we have to pay and chores that need to be done, and just relax and have fun together. Christian is still the one and only person who can make me laugh no matter what's going on in my life.
Thanks for having me, Casey!

Quotable Tuesdays

One last post before I'm off for my vacay, mostly because I have been hearing how much people enjoy Quotable Tuesdays, and don't wanna let anyone down! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Stress-FREE Vacation

I am off to vacation tomorrow, and I have so been looking forward to it - you have no idea!

I already told you about the things I can't wait to do, and now I am so excited to be jet-setting off tomorrow!

Also, I am so excited to share some fabulous guest bloggers while I'm gone.  Make them feel welcome, girls, and give them tons of love!

I will miss y'all, but I promise to come back with tons of pictures, and some fun posts!

Can we just talk about what an awesome moment this was?

That baby is going to be such a gangsta.

GIVEAWAY Cream Rose Ring - Winner!

I am glad to share that the winner to my GIVEAWAY for the beautiful cream rose ring from Deenie Designs is...


Please keep a look out in your email inbox, Joanna - I will be emailing you to set up delivery!

Thank you to everyone who entered - now if you loved the ring, go check out Deenie Designs on Etsy and buy something pretty for yourself!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grateful Sundays

This week, I am grateful for my laundry-lovin' Handsome Husband.

I am obviously grateful for HH every week, but this week I want to take a moment and give him some major credit where major credit is due.

While I don't quite believe that he loves doing laundry, he certainly does it a lot.

I loathe doing laundry, and this is such a sexy trait for my man to have.  He does all of our laundry (every once in a while I step up and do a load, but it's few and far between), including washing, drying, and folding and putting away the clothes (the absolute worst part, no?).

Thank you HH, for always making sure I have clean clothes and don't have to wear the same dirty nasty ones over and over again (or have to do my own laundry, which is out of the question, obvi) and for rarely never complaining about it!  You're the best, babe!

Mandatory cute photo of my man.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What'd I Lie About?

Last week, I asked y'all which one of these three statements was a little white lie, and which two were facts!

1. I used to smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes a day.

2. I have moved 10 times in my life.

3. I have three tattoos.

A whopping three of you weighed in (seriously guys, where's the participation, yo?), and the smartie smart girl who got it right was...

Lauren from Life with Lauren!
(whose blog is like totally adorable, b-t-dubs)

Yes, that's right I am an ex-smoker and a tatted-up lady!

I have actually moved 8 times in my life - but the craziest part about that is that 6 of those 8 times have been within the last 3 1/2 years!  

I am so not proud of the smoking fact, but so glad to have quit.  I hung on to the nasty habit for a long time, and finally kicked the cigs to the curb in January of last year.  Funny story about how I came about to quitting, actually.  Handsome Husband has always hated that I smoked, and one late night we made a (what I thought was) joking little bet that if he could make a Facebook group and get 3,000 people to join, I would quit.

Well, HH is dedicated (and I was wrong about us joking around, apparently) and he made the group, and sure enough, got 3,000 people to join within a month.

People got surprisingly invested, and I there are still over 2,000 members that ask for updates on my smoking (or non-smoking I should say) status.  

As far as the tattoos go, I'm not quite ready to share them in the world wide blogosphere, but I do have three: 1 on my left shoulder blade, 1 on the front of my right hip bone, and one of on my left hip.  I have no concrete plans for any others, but you never can tell what time will bring...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Six Months Ago Today

Six months ago today,

I woke up bright and early with my very best girlfriends, my beautiful little sisters, and my amazing mother and started getting ready for the big day,

watched my bridesmaids get in their dresses,

and hopped into our big limo for a 40 minute drive filled with champage, giggles, and tummy butterflies.

I put my wedding dress on,

took pictures with my ladies,

and got ready to see my almost husband.

I got to finally see my man,

and we took pictures with our big 'ole bridal party.

I walked down the aisle,

and we said our vows and exchanged rings,

and finally we became husband and wife.

We posed for some pictures,

and got to enter our beautiful reception,

where we drank,


and laughed.

The night came to and end, and we loaded into our limo once again surrounded by our very best friends, and did the classy thing and headed to a dive bar.

We drank with our friends, still in our wedding attire, soaking up the last hours of our wedding day.

We left the bar, headed to our hotel, where we talked about how amazing it was that it was really over, and acted obnoxiously chiche and referred to each other as Mr. and Mrs. LastName.

Thanks for making the last six months amazing, and for marrying me at the most beautiful wedding I could have ever imagined, Handsome Husband.  I love you, Mr. LastName, and still can't get enough of being being called Mrs. LastName.

Smart and Trendy Moms

Full wedding recaps will continue after I get back from vacation promise - I have totally slacked, but these pretty pictures from D2 Photography need to be shared!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things Thursday: Things To Look Forward to During Vacation!

I am off to Oregon for a family vacation in five short days, and there are so many reasons to look forward to it!  Hence, this week's Things Thursday.

1. Seeing the Oregon coast for the first time.

2. No work for an entire week!

3. Awesome guest bloggers sharing some fun posts while I'm out!

4. Visiting Portland, the city where Gardening Mom and Hat Dad found each other and found love.

5. Road trip games with these three:

6. Just going somewhere and seeing new things.

7. Getting to spend time with Handsome Husband's Dad and his family - they live in Oregon, and we rarely get to see them!

8. Going on an airplane - I love to fly!

9. Going on tours of the Oregon Universitys - my not so little sisters could end up being future Ducks or Beavers!

10. Seeing Best Cousin marry the love of her life, and getting to dance the night away at her wedding surrounded by family that we don't get to see nearly as often as we should!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wee Bit Wednesday

{one} what's your guilty pleasure tv show?
Oh geez - what isn't my guilty pleasure tv show?  The Real Housewives, Real World (obviously I'm very real), Teen Mom, basically all reality crap.

{two} ear piercings on men: yes or no?
Please, no.
{three} do you have dish or comcast?
Um, neither?  Cox cable?
{four} what's your favorite current fashion trend?
I don't really follow the trends to be honest.  I like the accent nail, though!
{five} if you could learn to do anything, money not being an issue, what would it be?
Would LOVE to learn to fly a plane!
{six} red or white wine?
White.  White Zin for the win!
{seven} what type of food is your favorite (ex. italian, mexican, etc.)
Italian and Japanese (ie Sushi!)
{eight} hp or mac?
I was a very long term PC-user, who recently switched to Mac, and it's been the best ever!  Mac for lyfe, yo!
{nine} what color is your bedroom?
My current bedroom is a poorly chosen shade of grey that I picked when I was maybe 14...not a good choice, and never thought back then I'd be living in it with my husband almost 10 years live and learn.
{ten} what's your favorite form of exercise?
Running and elliptical is sadly pretty much all I do.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grateful Sundays

This week, I am grateful for breakfast food.

A slightly trivial thing to be grateful so, but regardless, how can you not love it?  I don't usually eat breakfast (naughty naughty I know), but this weekend, I've had lovely breakfast food twice!  Lucky me!

My all-time, old school favorite - french toast

These hash browns look to die for!

Scrambled eggs, a good stand-by.

LOVE fruit.

The one breakfast food I haven't had this weekend - maybe I will go and change that right about now!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Fashionista!

Today is my best friend's birthday!  Fashionista is turning another year young - and she's all the way in India while she celebrates it!

Fashionista and I met in high school, and we've been friends ever since!

Don't worry we didn't always dress like this - dance recital

Senior Prom!

Fashionista is the kind of friend where it doesn't matter how long it's been since we've seen each other,
when we do,
it's always the same.
Like nothing has changed.

It's not easy to find someone who you can be yourself with,
where it's not awkward to have moments of silence while driving around,
someone who you can talk about ridiculously TMI things,
someone with whom your greatest common interest is your shared history, and your friendship.
I am so glad I have been lucky enough to find this kind of friendship with my lil bestie.

Early birthday celebration 

Happy Birthday, Fashionista!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things Thursday: Things To Love About Fall

I'm counting down the days until Fall, so that inspired this week's Things Thursday.

1. Boots!  Love boots, but always feel weird wearing them in summer.

2. Hot coffee.  Granted I drink it at "kids temp" because I have a sensitive mouth, but still.  I'm over iced coffee.

3. Thanksgiving!

4. Back to school supply displays at Target!

5. Jeans - I love jeans...could live in them.

6. Candles with fall/seasonal smells - omg pumpkin spice candles, please.

7. Sweaters, jackets, and pea coats.

8. Christmas shopping (I am neurotic and start in October).

9. UGGS!

10. A break in this dang heat wave!  While it can stay pretty warm here during the day through October, it starts cooling off at night, and it's so nice!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two Truths and a Little White Lie

Because I am a total copycat (and also because I have a mad blogger girlcrush on Raven), I am copying Raven's 2 truths, 1 lie idea that she posted last month over at A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers.

So, here goes!

2 truths, 1 lie.
You guess what's what!
Leave me a comment and lemme know what you think!

1. I used to smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes a day.

2. I have moved 10 times in my life.

3. I have three tattoos.

So, what do you think?

P.S. Go see Raven, and tell her Stress Casey says hello!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stress Case is Looking for Guest Bloggers!

I am going to be going on vacay later this month for about a week (to see my Best Cousin marry the love of her life!), and while I may have internet access, I am going to try and take some days to disconnect a little, and I am hoping that is where you will come in!

I would love to have some guest bloggers share some thoughts here on Stress Case from August 30th-Septebmer 6th.

While I am pretty open to you talking about pretty much anything, here are some topics I think would be especially applicable:

Fun Crafts
Fitness/Working Out
Open Letters
One of Your Biggest Fears
Something Wedding Related

I'd love for someone to take over Things Thursday for a week, and write a post in list format - whatever topic floats your boat, along with someone to share something they're grateful for on Grateful Sundays.

Please leave a comment here if you're interested, with your email address, and I will contact you to discuss what you'd like to post about, and all those fun details!  I look forward to opening up Stress Case to some fun bloggers!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grateful Sundays

This week, I am grateful that my online summer class is over!

I am so excited to have a (short) little break from school work for a few weeks before I start my Fall classes!

I have taken at least one online class every summer since I graduated high school.  For me, it helps me to stay focused and not forget what it's like to be a student.  While some might want the break (and I, too, sometime wish I could just take a break), it is truly in my best interest to stay taking at least one class all the time.

Online classes are super easy for me now, especially as I've gotten older.  I am able to go at my own pace, and take in the knowledge without the full-fledged stress of having to memorize instead of learn for the sake of passing a test or ace-ing a class.

I literally only have 2 weeks off, but I am going to love coming home these 2 weeks without worrying about hitting the books as soon as I walk in the door or before I pass out from exhaustion!

P.S. Have you checked out my Day in the Life over at Nicole's blog, yet?  I even talk about studying in it! :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Project Hope in Haiti, Part I

Sister Swimmer and Gardening Mom, along with Sister's Girl Scout leader (of 10+ years!) and her daughter, went to Haiti last month on a humanitarian trip.  Sister Swimmer did the research and turned her dream of helping in Haiti into a reality.  The following is a recap of the trip in Gardening Mom's own words (only edited to remove names), as taken from the emails she sent to keep those of us State-side updated on what they were doing while there.  The photos were taken by all 4 of the ladies who made the long trek from LAX to Les Ceyes, Haiti.

The organization that they traveled with is REACH: Reconstruction Efforts Aiding Children without Homes, please visit their website if you would like to get information about volunteering.  The orphanage and compound where they stayed and volunteered is called Pwoje Espwa.  I will wrap up this small series of posts outlining their trip with a reflection from both Sister Swimmer, Gardening Mom, and myself on the inspiration I've gained from their trip.

To make the emails easier to read while maintaining the confidentiality I strive to maintain here at Stress Case, the following "code" will be used:
SS=Sister Swimmer
A=Sister Swimmer's friend, and the Girl Scout leader's daughter
K=Girl Scout leader (and lovely friend of the family!)


The Journey to Haiti
Getting here was a journey. The drive from home to LAX was completely uneventful. Having padded our 2 hour arrival by another hour we arrived checked in with almost 3 hours to kill and have dinner at Chiles, spend time in the bookstore and spend too much on snacks for the trip that we could have gotten at the grocery store for a quarter of the price. We each get varying amounts of sleep on the flight to Miami and find our connection to Port au Prince then have a fairly uneventful breakfast at the Miami airport waiting for the flight to board. 

Arriving in Port au Prince is not as crazy as I thought. Having been warned by several people that this can be an overwhelming part of the trip, we are forewarned and prepared to push our way through baggage check and customs and then valiantly defend our luggage from the legions of would be porters. Instead there is a more or less orderly progression from plane to a bus to the main terminal, through customs which was quite organized to bag check. Once past customs we are supposed to be met by the head of REACH who will know us by our REACH Tshirts and also probably by the fact that two American teenage girls accompanied by two American mothers is a bit more unique and recognizable arrival to Port au Prince Haiti than to, say, Hollywood. So we are walking through the crowd pushing forward waiting to be recognized and resisting our bags being taken by a zealous porter when I focus on a sign that says Reach for Children but in kind of scrawled letters and my name spelled wrong in the right corner and realize that I am almost passing this porter who is dressed like the other porters which I did not expect. I ask if he is the head of REACH, and he explains no that the gentlemen supposed to pick us up is unable to come, and he was sent to get us. That gives me a bit of pause and I am concerned for a minute that this is some set up to either abduct us to extract a tip for carrying our bags but decide that neither an abductor nor tip monger would be clever enough to have my name misspelled on a handwritten sign and go with the man who is not the head of REACH. 

He leads us through the outside of the airport to a group of van cabs and loads us into one to take us to the Tortug airport about 5 minutes away and waits for his tip and seems unhappy with the few singles I hand him so K adds to it so that he is probably tipped about $8 altogether between the two of us for meeting us and pushing one bag to the van, which later I think was more than enough although I think he was wanting $10. The cab ride to the Tortug airport is a bit windy but not far and when we arrive there there I hand the cabbie a tip as the cab ride itself is supposed to have been taken care of by Reach but the cabbie follows us into the airport and wants $10 each to have taken us the 5 minutes from the airport. 

So, the cabbie driver is still standing by wanting his money but he is friendly and smiling in a way like it seems like he thinks I don't understand what he is asking me for and he is still in his cell phone back and forth with someone so I decide to let it play out some more and go to the reservation desk to check on our tickets for the trip from Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes. 

When I get to the front of the reservation line the reservation clerk, a guy confirms all of our names on the reservation list but says the flights still need to be paid for. At this point, I am wondering if all of Haiti is running a scam or maybe that REACH, the organization that organized the trip, dropped the ball. A Tortug Airline employee (I assume, since he is wearing a tshirt that says Tortug Air, but had I known then that every possible logo tshirt can be found on young Haitian men, maybe I would not have assumed as quickly). He speaks much better English than the reservation clerk, and explains to me what I already had figured out, that the airline did not have confirmation of our payment. I explain to him that all of the arrangements had been made and paid for in advance by the REACH organization, but in the back of my mind I am wondering if REACH had not prepaid and if I advanced the money whether I would ever be able to get it back from them. The cabbie, who has been standing by smiling pleasantly as if he were just waiting while I dug through purse to give him a tip, makes another call and then hands the phone to me. On the phone is one of the higher ups at REACH. He tells me that he is making calls configure things about about the cab and I tell him about the flight payments and he said he will look into that too and for me to just sit down and he will call me back. 

We still have over two hours before the flight is to depart and I decide that I will not consider just paying for the flights to get to Les Cayes until we are down to an hour. I sit down and start to relay the status of our situation to K (who had previously sat down with the girls), and realize that our row (but only our row) of seats is broken and they are all kind of tilting forward, not enough that you actually slide out when you sit but enough that you have to exert some muscle pressure to feel like you will stay in the seat. Kathy does not seem too stressed with my plan to hold out another hour and see what develops. We chill out, although that is a really poor expression in this case since Tortug Airport, which is quite small, is not air conditioned and I am getting quite warm in these clothes that I have been wearing since about 5 pm Saturday evening in California and it is now about 2 or 3 pm in Port au Prince Sunday afternoon. 

There are maybe about 75 seats in the airport and they are mostly full. I want to take my mind off things and K is reading and SS and A are doing something, so I start to read one of the books that I had down loaded on the trip on iPad. At one point the cabbie comes over to me that payment for the cab has been handles and that the flights were paid for but some one else there in is trying to block the knowledge of the payment probably to run a scam but not to worry, this happens all the time in Haiti and he is working on clearing it up. 

I continue to read and the Tortug employee checks in with me a couple of times and also says he is working on things. I read a bit more then the REACH head calls back and says he is still working on it and he asks is there a white couple in the airport. At first I think, well that's not very descriptive but look around and am startled to realize that the four of us OC girls are the only white people around until I spot a white couple in the row ahead and to the right of us and kind of marvel that I did not even notice them before. I confirm to the REACH head that yes there is a white couple and he says to let them know we are with REACH and Espwa and that they may be able to help us. 

K and I introduce ourselves the white couple, and just as we start talking, the Tortug employee comes back and says everything has been straightened out and they needed our passports, so I gather all four passports and go back the the reservation desk and K continues to talk to the white couple. Reservation clerk takes down some information and then the Tortug employee starts to walk off with my passports. I follow him and he says he has to make copies and I say that's fine but that I am not getting separated from our passports so I will follow him. He said well I just need to make copies and I say that's ok I will go with you. He gives me a look kind of like the cabbie did, like I am not understanding the situation but must decide that it is not worth arguing and he will humor me so ok, come on. Tortug employee starts to head out the door past the reservation desk and I am on his heels when a security guard stops me and will not let me out and I am still pleasantly insisting that I need to stay with the passports when a girl behind the desk right by the door pulls off her security tag that is clipped to her dress and hands it to me and I clip it on and then the security guard, who is right there observing it all, let's me out with the Tortug employee. I follow him across the tarmac and he says, you don't trust me, and I say, I trust you fine, but I just can't let these passports out of my sight, and he laughs. We reach another small building and inside is a couple of desks, a pilot on the phone and a table with a copy machine and I am really glad I came because the building is air-conditioned and I soak in the cool air while the employee makes the copies of the passports then we go back to the terminal. He says it will be a bit longer to get the tickets issued and I sit back down and he comes over and asks that I will take care of him which I immediately recognize as an ask for a tip so I tell him that when I have four tickets and boarding passes in my hands I will take care of him.

A bit more time passes and my iPad is losing power so I go over to another wall where a fan is plugged in and sit in the floor and plug my charger to the other receptacle in the outlet and read some more. After a bit, the Tortug employee brings the tickets and boarding passes to me and there are two with A's name and none with mine and it takes a few more minutes to get this corrected, after which I give the employee $20 which I later realize is quite a large tip. A few minutes later, he is back and tells me the reservation clerk worked very hard on this and I needed to take cars of him too, and I am thinking, the reservation clerk was just doing his job and not a very good one at that, but give him another $5 for the reservation clerk. 

At this point we have another 45 minutes until our flight, but suddenly a flight is called and the white couple and others are standing up and headed out and since I know that the white couple is going to Les Cayes, we gather our stuff quickly and follow them. 

Sister Swimmer excited to be nearly done with the day of travel.

As It turns out, the flight is overbooked and the plane is going to go there and come back for another trip but we get on that flight and off we go. It is a plane that holds about 20 or so passengers and I don't know what kind it is, which is not remarkable, but what is remarkable is that my husband M (hey hey Hat Dad!), who knows all planes on sight, does not know what kind it is when he sees the photo of it later. 

The flight is over beautiful been mountains, and later you can see the coast beyond the mountains, and rivers cut through the mountains from time to time, and the rivers look completely brown, like they are rivers of very muddy water. You can barely see dots of small houses.

We arrive in Les Cayes and the Tortug terminal there is like a beautiful cottage and it is nicely finished with wood paneling and painted walls and wood seats inside and beautiful ironwork on the windows that is painted different colors and has birds worked into the ironwork and it is air conditioned. We realize that we are early and no one is there to pick us up because we are earlier than expected. We are deciding what to do when one of the higherups from REACH approaches us - he is there to pick up the white couple. He calls Espwa and says someone is leaving to get us right now and they are about 20 minutes away and he and the white couple leave. Sure enough, Johnny, a young black man who is maybe 20 arrives shortly thereafter (I should mention that I later refer to the work crew as men/boys and it is not meant as anything diminishing because these are black men but that all of them are between their late teens and early 20s and to refer to them as men creates a different visual for me than the boys that they seem to be). We head to Espwa and go through the outskirts of downtown Les Cayes and the streets are busy and crowded and then down a road less congested, and I notice these metal shacks, about big enough for two people all along the road, in some places three or four one right after another, and they say Bank on them, with different names, like St. Joseph Bank, very colorfully painted, there must have neeb a hundred of them in the 10 or 15 miles to Espwa. I also notice the ironwork on houses we pass, on the windows and gates, many different patterns and colors. 

Their long day of travel ends up with them making their way to Espwa, where they will be staying.  

The room Sister Singer and Gardening Mom share during their trip.

Next time? Read about the first few days of their trip, and expect lots of photos!

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