We spent some time this week trying to get through one of our big hurdles for our move to Burma. It turns out it is not that easy to bring a golden retriever across the globe. After doing lots of research over the past few months we still have few answers about the technicalities of bringing Ellie with us. This week we met with a case worker at Kim's doctor's office to talk about getting Ellie a certificate as an Emotional Support Animal. This simply means that we (Kim) needs Ellie's company to feel secure on the plane as well as in Burma. Even with an airline picked out we couldn't get a straight answer on what paperwork needs to accompany Ellie to get on the plane. The case worker was just as baffled and handed us a stack of internet printouts on various related topics. She recommended calling the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) which handles exporting animals from the US. However when we spoke to the APHIS they did not have any information directly for Burma. Figure that. We were then told to contact the Myanmar Embassy/ Consulate in Washington DC, but alas, we have yet to get them to answer the phone. The good news is that I was able to stop in the airport in Portland and speak with the airline agent face to face who told me that there is no problem boarding with an Emotional Support Animal as long as they have advance notice. So lots still to do on this issue, including getting Ellie a health certificate (whatever that may mean) which may or may not involve a trip to the New England Vet Association in Massachusetts. Good thing she is worth all the trouble. Here are some pictures of Ellie at our favorite place we hiked today.
Earlier this week I met up with a group of Maine photographers to grab some head shots of each other. It was just in time too because I got a request the following day from ISM (International School of Myanmar where I will be working in the fall) for a head shot and educational bio to go on their website. I must say I do think I will have the best photo on there. Being a photographer defiantly comes in handy. The first photo below is the one I chose for my head shot for ISM, the second photograph is with my lovely nephew Zane who is a whole 6 weeks old!!! The selection of photographs are from Justine Johnson Photography, Andrea Simmons Photography, LAD Photography, Ledgehill Photography, and Taste of Maine Photography.
Kim brought home a delicious bottle of white Italian wine which flew us back to our memorable trip to Italy on first whiff. While sipping and reminiscing we discussed our fears and excitements for this big move. I'm concerned about not speaking the native language and living in such a big city, Kim's concerns involve having idle hands and being so far away from family. We are both thrilled for having new adventures, meeting new people, trying new food, and being out of our comfort zone. Speaking of new food, Kim has gotten so excited by all of the food videos we have been watching that she tried her hand at her own version of Pad Thai, it was super yummy!!!
We also enjoyed this YouTube travel video while we were laughing and chatting. I thought this video (opposed to the many, many others that we have watched) gave a nice overview of the main tourist locations as well as a lot of other, more off-beat locations to visit.
On the super bright side we are only two weeks away from the wedding and preparations are in full force. I was able to pick out a bikini for the honeymoon this week and we have made numerous lists revolving around schedules, packing, and tasks still to do. We also got to hang out with two of our favorite little people and celebrate Macgyver's 8th birthday by going rollerskating and having ice cream with him and Danyka. Happy Days.
Such big changes without anything really changing. This leaves us in a strange sort of in-between zone that we will be in for the next 14 weeks. I know this time will fly by and I am trying to appreciate being here while we are still here because I know that I will dearly miss it in Myanmar. At the same time we are just ecstatic and it is hard to contain our excitement.
Mother nature is also in-between right now. Technically it is spring but winter is sure hanging on. On Monday it was in the 60s and for the first time I wore a skirt to school. On Tuesday we had an inch of snow fall and it was cold enough that I had to scrape off my windshield before leaving in the morning. On Fridays I have outdoor recess duty and as I stood with my winter jacket, hat, and gloves, the kids were running around me in either the same get-up or spring jackets and dresses. We are urning for warmth even if it is just the fact that we are no longer in the negatives.
Myanmar wise I was able to Skype with my future co-teacher this week. Regina currently lives in Hong Kong and works as a k-6 grade art teacher in an International school. She has great energy and is just as excited for new adventures in Myanmar. Regina will be teaching Film Studies, AP Drawing, and a few art classes. I will be teaching AP 2D Design as well as a variety of Art 1-4 classes. I am very much looking forward to having another art teacher to collaborate with next year!
More progress was made with my second round of shots. The results of my bloodwork revealed the I was not immune to Hepititis B, so when I went for my second Rabies shot this week they also gave me Twin-Rix which is Hep A & B together. I also began my Typhoid round of pills which should finish in a few days.
Kim visited her PCP this week. She was able to discuss everything she needed to cover about moving. Her doctor was able to give her a year prescriptions on her daily medications as well as refer her to the travel clinic where she will start her round of the same shots.
Another in-between is school right now because we just started vacation! I'm looking forward to getting a bunch of errands done this week. But before all that I got to spend some time with a few of my favorite little munchkins. Happy 8th Birthday to my nephew Macgyver.
This week I went to the Travel Clinic to get my first round of immunizations. I ended up getting vaccinated for Polio, Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis. I have prescriptions for Typhoid, Malaria, and Travelers Diarrhea. I will be returning over the next couple weeks to get Hepatitis A and/or B as well as the remainder of my Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines. Kim's headed to her PCP next week to start her process. Check out the video below if you want to know more about my visit.
The rest of the week has been filled with wedding tasks, which are getting more and more consuming as we get closer, as well as Art Show prep (which equals craziness for me). I'm excited to have a tangible task completed for moving, yay!!
April has arrived and with it came a -slight- rise in temperature, finally! It got just above 50* yesterday which to means the air didn't make my skin feel like it was going to fall off. To celebrate, instead of going to the gym, a fellow teacher and I took a walk around town. As we were headed up Main Street I was able to fill her in on the moving process. Although Kim and I are trying to put off most Burma tasks until after the wedding, there are some things that we need to get started on now. As I went through the big tasks we are working on, it was necessary to follow up each one with a long explanation of complications, confusions, and questions attached to each.
Towards the end of our long walk, as I was talking about the multi-step process of bringing our dog with us (which of course is laid with various obstacles along every level), I had a sudden realization that this would be how my life will be for the next two years (at least). Life is going to be hard.
In just under four months from now every aspect of our lives will not only change, it will become drastically different. And hard. Very hard. We will not be able to do one step of our daily routines easily. Simple tasks such as going to the bank, buying dinner, or getting to work, will all become very complicated. Add that to the fact that everyone will be speaking a different language and held to very different cultural standards and I then am over my head in difficulties.
But people don't move across the world to stay comfortable. We want to be challenged. We want a change, not just any change but a life-altering, never-be-the-same-after kind of change. We don't want 'normal' anymore, we want to be around new people, have new experiences, and be in new places. To say want seems not strong enough. It is more of a urning, an itch that is just getting stronger and stronger. Needless to say, we are up for the challenge.
Before we get to the challenging part we get to have quite the opposite. This week we booked our honeymoon!!!! We will be heading off to Cancun, Mexico for 5 days after the wedding. Research has been ongoing for weeks now to find the perfect resort and we finally found it! We will be staying at the All Inclusive Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun. It will be the easy life for us with drinks in our hands, gourmet food whenever we desire, and spending all of our time sitting on the beach. We are so looking forward to taking it easy before our lives get flipped upside down.
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world