Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Airport, Arrived, Adventures

I'm in Guatemala!!! Yay! After a nice red eye flight, Katie and I arrived at 7:30am. We went to the seminary where we would be staying that night and took a six hour nap. Then we took a taxi to the mall (one of the only safe places for a group of foreign girls to be in Guatemala city) and hung out a bit. I was shocked at how many western things they have there. PRetty mucht hey ahve all the stores that we have in North America, which I totally wasn't expecting, but it was interesting to see. WE grabbed lunch and then grabbed some food from the bakery for dinner that night and headed back to the school where we playes eomg ames and hung out until evening when the rest of the group arrived. The next morning, we got in our vans and headed out.

WE stopped at the Guatemala City Cathedral which was really interesting. What stuck out to me was how different Catholocism in North America is compared to here in Central America. Anyway, after a three hour drive, we were in Tactic, which is in the middle of a valley, surrounded by mountains and it is breathtaking. We went to the market and had a list of spanish items we were to buy which was funny and interesting. I knew a little bit of spanish from school so i was able to get by and we got all of our grocery items-yay for fresh amazing tasting fruit!! :)

Last night we headed to the top of the mountain to a catholic church upt here. It was interesting to see how the Catholic church has integrated Mayan religion and witchcraft into their religious rituals in order to encompass those people under their umbrella. THey named the church after the Mayan corn god in order to attract people to their church. Interesting stuff.

Last night it poured which was fun tohear and this mroning as I was reading on the roof of the building we're staying in, I was enjoying watching the wild dog fights. THere's like 12 of them that run around and completely pounce each other. An interesting sight to see to be sure!!

Today we're off to a Coffee Plantation and a bunch of other stuff. Looks like the days here will be pretty packed,b ut it's pretty neat to be able to interact with the people here and see how they are living.

I probably won't have internet access for a while, but wanted to send out a quick update to say hello!! I'm safe and alive and having a great time!! On the weekend we'll be heading to Belize for a couple days and I"m definitely looking forward to being back in that country!!

Hope all is well at home!! Bye friends!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Going, Guatemala, Great!

0 more days until I leave for Guatemala!!

Crazy! I can't believe the day has finally come! My bags are all packed and I think I'm ready to go. I have one suitcase that weighs about 46 lbs (i stuffed a lot of stuff in there) and a couple of carry-ons. This morning I woke up with a migraine, sore stomach and a really sore throat, so I'm hoping it all goes away before my overnight flight!!

I'm hoping to be able to update my blog while I'm gone, but I don't know what internet access will be like and I'll have to borrow someone else's computer.

Anyway, right now my brain is foggy and I don't have much to say, but I wanted to say a final farewell!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fun, Friends, Free, Funny

Leslie and Rachelle came out to visit on Tuesday night and it's been a pretty fun time. On Wednesday we headed to White Rock for some fun and then we had a games evening and swimming that night. Thursday three of my friends, Katelyn, Amy and Laura came over to go swimming and we had lunch and played some games together. Then I went to a baby shower for my cousin Rachel who is due in two weeks. Then Leslie, Rachelle and I went to Dublin's Crossing where they were handing out free beer and you got to keep the glasses!! Crazy!

Jumpin in White Rock

We always go to the fish and chips place called Moby Dick. Every time, Leslie and I have now decided it is tradition for her to take a picture with the waitress.

Hanging out on the White Rock and Finding Crabs

Walking the labyrinth that someone had built on the beach. Mine is similar, but has way more paths

Making funny faces under the water

1 day until I leave for Guatemala (absolute craziness-maybe i should pack or something)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Video, Vanessa, Video

Once again, if you can't see the video, just flick your cursor to the bottom left of the empty space until you see the play button. Enjoy!

Studying, Singing, Shopping, Shakes

This was a newfound studying area last week at the Westminster Quay. Nice because barely any people and it had a beautiful view of the Fraser river.

Here's my diligent set up of school work!

The other day while waiting to get my car serviced and checked out (6 hours later), Jocelyn and I sat at Wendy's and Timmy's that whole time studying! It actually felt really good to get stuff down and crack down!
Sandy and I went for dinner at the Keg on Thursday and then went to see West Side Story which was fantastic! It was fun to hang out again and to try and figure our way around the streets of New Westminster.. hehe

Yesterday I got a lot of stuff done in prep for my trip! I had a lot of little things to buy, so lots of stops, but now I actually feel far more prepared to go!! Now I just need to figure out when to pack and such! :)
Last night I took my Omi to dinner at White Spot and a movie (Nim's Island). All the other movies didn't seem grandma appropriate and although i wasn't sure what this one would be like, it was all right. Afterwards, I went to the airport to pick up Leslie and Rachelle who are visiting from Edmonton! Lots of fun times to come and fun pictures to be sure!
Leslie and I have a running joke with our names.. She called me ness once and I called her less.. then we realized our names were suffixes.. and we could put it to the end of anything.. sadlessness, boringlessness, etc. we think it's pretty funny.. and we decided that we are TEAM Less Ness!! When we're together we're a team and when we're apart, we experience teamlessness.. hee hee.. we think we're pretty clever. Well, Leslie made me a hat to match hers with my name and teamlessness on the back!! I LOVE it!! Pretty excited to wear it although I'll wonder why random people will know my name!! hahahaha
More pictures of the next few days to come after the fun is had!!

Updated Countdown:

4 days until Guatemala and Belize!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Finished, Fulfilled, Finito

NO MORE EXAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finished my last take home exam-all 16 pages of it (don't even get me started... would prefer a sit down exam any day!!)

YAY for being done the semester and all my work!! Feels SOOOOOOOOOOOO good!!

Tomorrow I will begin summer semester (dang-no breaks here). I have a book to read before saturday and a presentation to prepare. EEP! hehe.. oh well, i'm sure it will get done, it always does!

So crazy that Guatemala and Belize is coming up soon! I am just realizing how much schoolwork there is associated with it. Haha.. dang. By the way, if any of my faithful blog readers want me to send you a postcard from somewhere, email me your address to vanessamsiemens@gmail.com (don't forget the m in the middle of my names.. everybody forgets the m..) But I would love to send you a postcard as I love to send postcards! Just tell me which country you want one from!! (either Guatemala, Belize, Ecuador or Peru). I love getting fun mail and I'm sure you guys do too so I'd be happy to send you one!!! don't be shy!

1 day until Leslie comes
5 days until I leave for Guatemala and Belize (school related)!
28 days until I go to Peru and Ecuador and Galapagos Islands (from Guatemala)!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Zoo, Zany, Zillions

Hi friends! Sorry for the delay in blogging! I have actually had this post started like five days ago with all the pics, I have just been too preoccupied to actually type in words to go with the pictures!! haha! So here are some pics from Desiree's and my trip to Seattle from Monday to Wednesday. There will be videos coming in a future post hopefully!

We enjoyed eating at the Cheesecake Factory for the first time!! It was fantastic!

We bought from Fruity Pebbles at Costco to relive our childhood fun and because they dont' have it in Canada anymore. So here's a picture!
The lions started growing crazily upon seeing us! They were fun to watch!
Hippos!! We started singing a random song about hippos and later a little kid started singing it-it was pretty funny! Oh what a great influence we are on young children!

Komodo dragon!!

Creepy and very very LARGE bat!

We spent one afternoon coloring our book from the zoo!! How fun and therapeutic and relaxing too!

We enjoyed wandering around Pike's Place Market on Wednesday morning too

Okay, here's the latest countdown:
1 more exam!
2 days until Leslie comes!
6 more days until I leave for Guatemala (AHHHHH!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Unemployed, Umbrellas

To commemorate my last day at Starbucks, I thought I would snap some photos!! It was a great last shift. It was Sunday morning so there were extra staff there putting away the order which made it more fun. i got to work drive-thru as well, which is my favorite! So here are a few pics of me an my co-workers on my last day ever working at Starbucks!! (hopefully.. hehe)

Louis and I

Laura and Kylie working the drive-thru

Louis making my last partner beverage!

Sarah and I

Kylie and I

Laura and I

After my shift, it felt so good to be done!! Nice to have a chapter close on my life. it was good while I was there and I had a lot of great times, but I am definitely glad to be done. After work, I went home and got changed and headed out to Walnut Grove for Guatemala meeting. We got to hear a bit more about what we are going to be doing on our trip and it sounds like it will be amazing! We're actually going to be going to Belize for a bit as well! i went there about ten years ago and I'm excited to go back, because it was an amazing and breathtaking country! Beautiful-especially the beaches!!

I left my Guatemala meeting early to go to church for a worship team practice. I got to be part of a band that led worship for MBMSI's Missions Celebration Night. It was so much fun! Lots of people came out as well as a variety of people from different generations. it was encouraging to see everyone worshiping together! Afterwards my friend Heidi came over for night. We watched 'Take the Lead' and then enjoyed a nice lazy morning this morning. And now I must get cracking on some schoolwork.. gulp.

This afternoon, Desiree and I are off to Seattle. We're staying there for a couple of nights for her birthday! We're going to the zoo tomorrow! Oh how I love the Seattle zoo-i have an annual membership and love to go! So I'm sure I will have some fun pictures when I get back. Hopefully it doesn't rain, but we will bring umbrellas just in case!

Here's an updated countdown:
A few more hours until I go to Seattle!
8 more days until my last exam
9 more days until Leslie visits
13 more days until I leave for Guatemala!!

And here's the quote of the day:

The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. - Socrates