Sunday, September 30, 2012

Beauty

Here are some gorgeous photos taken by the ever lovely Suzanne... this girl is talented!! Thanks my lovely friend for allowing me to share your talent :)
 
 
This is from the entrance to the IOC


Me and Nicole - we could be sisters. Actually, I never got called Nicole but Nicole got called Krissy for at least a week. And we're both in HR. Awesome.

The beauty of where I am living...

It's rained the last few days - love it.

Suzanne is on the left, Dangyra on the right. Love these girls. Love all my classmates, actually. Amazing how such a seemingly random group of people have come together to make up a family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not much to report...

So sorry if you were holding your breath to find out about the East Texas State Fair.... it was.... well... let's just say it didn't come anywhere near any of our expectations for a fair.  It was very small and there weren't any cowboys that we were able to find.  Very disappointing.

So, to redeem the day, we all went to the mall in Tyler for a bit and then out to pizza for dinner.  Delish.  However, I totally failed in the picture-taking department. Sorry.

This week has been long days of sitting in the classroom, and while the material is great and I'm learning alot, it is definitely tedious to sit all day long. I've taken to standing in the back of the classroom for much of the afternoon. 

Not much to report!

Oh, if you think of it, please pray for calm in Guinea.  If you read the news last weekend there were some riots between ethnic groups in Conakry, and while there's not really any threat to the ship or our work there, it's frustrating for the crew to not be able to travel safely away from the ship. 

Until next time! Peace, Krissy

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vision

Good Morning!

Sorry for the quiet blog - I hope to have more to write about soon!  I've been in Texas now for a week, and it seems like saying goodbye to Seattle was soooo long ago! 

This week we had two different types of seminars. The first three days of the week was called Foundations of Mercy Ships, or FMS.  This was an overview of the history of Mercy Ships, the vision, the different departments, living on the ship, transitions, etc.  It's more focused on people who are considering joining Mercy Ships, not necessarily those of us who have already committed, but I got a ton of great information out of it, and seriously, the more that I hear and learn about this organization the more excited I get about being a part of it!! 

Don Stephens, the founder and president, came to share the vision and future of Mercy Ships, and this got me really jazzed.  There are plans in the works for a new ship, built from the ground up, of approximately the same class and slightly larger than the Africa Mercy. This is so exciting, as all of our ships to date have been retrofitted older ships, this would mean we could get everything we need for an ocean-going hospital ship!  (like, not a flat bottomed ferry like the Africa Mercy.... boy she rocks out in the open seas!)  They are also in talks with the government of the Congo to potentially build a river barge hospital to go up the Congo River. It's just a really exciting time to be a part of this organization and I really hope that I can be a part of those new projects, too!

The last two days of this week were a support-raising seminar.  It was full of great info that I wish I would have had six months ago when I started raising support, not now! But anyway, it also confirmed to me that I have done some things very well, and can definitely work on some other things! A huge thank you to all my supporters out there!! 

So that was this week. It was a bit tedious to be sitting in a classroom all day every day, it's been awhile since I've had to do that!  Wednesday night we had our weekly Walmart run, which was fun, especially for those non-americans who hadn't experienced a Walmart before! Thursday night was field service prep - we met as a team to discuss our three weeks on the ground in Guinea before we join the ship.  I'll write more about that later.  Friday we had a barbecue out at a staffer's house nearby - we're very scheduled up!

This morning I forced myself up and out for a run, and after the first (awful) mile, it was great. I was reminded that I really do love running, that it makes my body happy and my heart healthy, and I need to keep doing it.  So, I will try to get out there on a regular basis. I went out on Sunday and Monday this last week, but not since then; for some reason I've been excessively exhausted, perhaps it's the climate change, or the change in diet, but anyway... I need to make it a priority.

This afternoon we're going to the East Texas State Fair in Tyler (this is not the big state fair in Dallas) which should be entertaining, if nothing else.  I'll try to take some pictures.  Dangyra (Lithuanian dentist) really wants to see some cowboys.  I don't think she'll be dissappointed.

Until next time - Krissy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cowboy Church - Yee Haw!

 
This morning all 12 of us here for Gateway went to Crossbrands Cowboy Church in Tyler. I've never seen so many cowboy hats and heard so much twang in a church service before. They signaled the time for everyone to sit down by blowing a train whistle. There were seriously huge belt buckles and a LOT of bling, and just about everyone wore cowboy boots.  The baptistry was a huge horse watering trough! Awesome. And strangely bizzarre at the same time. (We're not in Seattle anymore!)
 
I'll add some more pictures once I get them from others.


Coffee is served in plastic buckets with a spout on it.


After the service was over, there was a rodeo-type "playday" where we watched kids ride around on horses. It was fun, but surprisingly, very cold! The rain was pouring down outside and none of us were dressed warmly enough!
Me, Dan (Lithuania), Nicole (USA), and Krystal (Canada)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Howdy.

Howdy! 

I guess now that I live in Texas I should start speaking like them.

I made it! A teary goodbye in Seattle led to some awesome people watching - a random lady literally dropped a few feet in front of me, did twenty pushups, and then promptly pulled an ACCORDION out of her carryon bag and started serenading us all in the B concourse.  It takes all kinds, I guess.

After an uneventful flight to Houston, I ended up running a LOOONNNNG way to my transfer gate only to find out my flight was delayed by two hours. Awesome. So I found some food and enjoyed the people watching in Houston.  Finally made it to the IOC (International Operations Center - learn this, I will use it often and quit identifying it soon) around 11 and settled into my dorm room. I'm sharing a room with a Dutch outpatient nurse and a South African OR nurse. It's awesome! There was also a Latvian dentist on my flight in to Tyler. I love this life.

So training actually starts tomorrow morning, with most others arriving sometime this afternoon.  I'm glad I gave my self the extra day to settle in, get my bearings, meet people, and explore.

I don't have anything else to report at this time, so I'll just say THANK YOU again to everyone for your support and encouragement! 

Peace, Krissy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Change is in the air....

I woke up to a glorious morning - it rained last night for the first time in nearly two months.  This might not seem like that big of a deal to many, but here in Seattle where it is damp and wet most of the year, this has been a nearly record-breaking dry spell. It's been wonderful - I love the sun, and Seattle winters can be so long... but the smell of the new, damp morning, the sun rising beyond the mountains and through breaks in the clouds, the crisp coolness that September brings in its wake, the brilliant green of all the freshly watered plants, the blue sky peeking through... I love it. 

And I'm savoring every moment I can.  I have to say goodbye to it all on Thursday. Just three days from now I head to a land where it is very hot (Texas) and after that to a land that is even hotter (Guinea, West Africa). 

I'm so excited.  I'm also so sick of saying goodbye. Oddly enough, I was doing exactly this same thing a year ago.

A year ago I was packing up my house in Benin, saying goodbye to my village, stepping into the next adventure called Mercy Ships.  It was an adventure I was excited about but had no idea it would turn out to fill my passions and calling so perfectly.

A whole lot has been accomplished this last year! I spent three months on Mercy Ships, fell in love with the people of Sierra Leone and the Africa Mercy, and sailed from Salone to Ghana.  I spent Christmas with my family in Minnesota for the first time in many years.  I moved back to Seattle, got a job at Disney, and wondered what was next for me. I got to go to Colorado and spend an amazing week there with some of the most incredible women I will ever be blessed to know. (you know who you are and thank you!) I've been back to Minnesota twice, did a week of summer camp, ran many many training miles, five 5k's, one 10k, a 4.5miler, two half marathons and a Ragnar relay. (Huge thanks to everyone involved in each one of those memorable races!) And now, in this season of change, I'm all the more thankful for each and every person who walked with me, ran with me, encouraged me, challenged me, and taught me how to continually walk out my calling, embrace life to the full and choose joy in all things.

I love you all!! 

(I wish I had photos of more of those epic things I've done, but I apparently suck at taking photos. I can't find any of most of them. Except running. I have photos of almost every race.)

So, I guess all of that to say, thank you. Though the words seem completely inadequate, they're all I've got right now. So, thank you. Please please please keep in touch. Stalk my blog, Facebook, email me, write to me. 'Cause I'm leaving, on a jet plane, I don't know when I'll be back again.....

Peace. Krissy

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Photo catch up - Minnesota time!

I was born and raised in Minnesota and made it back there twice this summer! The first trip was spent at the place where all of my most happy childhood memories took place - the lake! My family has a lake cabin in central Minnesota where we went every summer. It's been years since I got to be there, so it was wonderful. My second trip I got up to my hometown, Duluth, then to the lake, then back to Minneapolis for a few days where we hit the Minnesota State Fair (2nd largest in the nation... the crowds rivaled those at Disneyland!) Here are some of the highlights/photos from both of those trips!

Feeding the loon babies right off the dock

Taking Kate (BFF Meg's oldest) on the jetski. Told her it was like a motorcycle on water. She loved it!!

Stunning sunsets on Lake Hubert.



Kate enjoying the last bites of the Fudge Puppy (see below)

Fudge Puppy.  Belgian waffle, rolled, on a stick, dipped in fudge with whipped cream and sprinkles. Oh, yes I did.

This is where I got to run, in Duluth, along the lakewalk. Gorgeous.

Me with BFF Meg's newest addition, Hannah! 

In other news... 7 days until departure!!! I'm busy busy busy, checking things off the to-do list, getting everything ready to go, and saying goodbye to zillions of people. It's nuts, but oh so great. I'm so excited!!

Peace! K

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The season of running... and the Disneyland Half!


Last weekend I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon! 

It was a totally epic experience, one I have been looking forward to and training for months. And it was awesome! Huge thank you to my friends and family and my employment at Disney that made it all possible. (just want to be clear that no funds raised for Mercy Ships were used!) I'm so glad I did it - definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I will never regret (Remember, you'll never regret shared adventure with friends!)

I'm kind of sad, though, because it effectively closed the book on this season of running. I don't know when/if I'll run another race! I've loved this season: I started running in February, when I could only do one minute of running at a time; ran my first race (5k) in May; and now I've finished ten races including two half marathons since then. It's forced me to find balance in training, the food I eat (or don't), working out, time management, I've made awesome friends along the way, and I've found I'm just a much nicer person to be around when I've run. :) So thanks to everyone who was a part of this season, encouraging me, running with me, cheering me on, or kicking my behind in gear. I'm so grateful.


Emma and I at the staging area (4am)

Run by 17,000 people, it was by far and away the biggest race I've ever participated in. We started in corrals based on anticipated pace every 5-10 minutes. Emma and I were in corral E.
Finally getting to the start line! (approximately 6:10 am)

 
It didn't actually take us 36 minutes to run a mile - that's the gun time. We didn't cross the start line until about 25 minutes after the gun!

The first three miles were through the parks, and there were characters all along the way, people stopping for pictures, etc. 


Running through Sleeping Beauty's castle.

After we left the park we ran several miles through the streets of Anehiem, with the sunrise blinding us.

Approximately mile 9 we got to run through Angels Stadium - this was SO awesome!

Running into the tunnel on to the field

When we got to the field there was a roar of people yelling and cheering, the stands by where we entered were filled! There was an announcer and our photos on the jumbotron and everything. Very cool and epic. And wonderful encouragement at mile 9.

Finally!  It was a glorious race.


Those finishers medals are legit. Huge. Heavy. Pure awesome.



All my race bib numbers.  Closing the book on this season of running!  (sniff, sniff)