I kicked off the weekend by photographing another beautiful wedding! Abbey is a Ultimate Frisbee teammate from college and I was thrilled to photograph her and Jason's special day! Congrats you two!!
This week (and next) was all about family! We knew we would want to set aside a good chunck of time to do fun summer things with both of our families before we left so Sunday Kim & I headed up to Avon to join her family for a couple days. We were sure to make a stop at Smalls Falls, one of the best watering holes in the area, a favorite of ours. Robin (Kim's mom) and I took a day to go shopping in North Conway. It was a blast spending time with her and getting all sorts of goodies for Myanmar. The rest of the time was spent laughing and lounging : )
After a quick stop home we packed the car back up and headed to Vermont. My Aunt and Uncle have a camp in Grafton, VT where they hold a weekend long gathering every July 4th. It is a fantastic time to see my extended family (the only time in the year we get to see them usually) as well as have a blast!! There were town parades, bingo, lawn games, fires, lots of rain, and (of course) fireworks!! Happy Independence Day all!
While Kim was up visiting her parents on Saturday I went off to have a breakfast date with Katie over in Oxford.
I then went over to a house on Range Pond to photograph a small and intimate wedding. It was a quiet afternoon with a potluck BBQ, and children running all around. For Amy & Chris I don't think they would have wanted anything different.
On Saturday night we headed over to Meg's house where we invented a game called Adopt-A-Kitchen. It is a "TV Show" where Chef Kimmie goes into friend's houses and makes them dinner. She must make one beverage, one appetizer, and one entree by the end of the night. Part of the challenge is the Host's Choice items which must be included somewhere in the meal. Watch our version below for the fun the was had.
A mini photo shoot was also had:
Another beach day was held at Reid in the honor of Amanda's Birthday, but do we really need a reason to enjoy the long-awaited sunshine? I think not. We not only joined our family for a beach BBQ but also a group of friends for general beach shenanigans. It was a great day that was only made better by stopping at Lotus for Chinese food on the way home.
Also, this is what happens when I leave my phone unattended. For payback I am posting all of these selfies from Sam & Drew as gifs for the world to see. Hehehe
Monday I finally heard word back from ISM that they will be sending along our letters for our visas soon. I have been very anxious about getting the correct documentation from them so we can send out for our visas in DC so we can get them back in time before we go. With only 4 weeks until takeoff my stress has been running high mainly because I have not been able to get a hold of the ISM HR person that should have sent me the information weeks ago.
We were planning on getting our visas before we go so we can fly directly into Yangon, making it easier on the pets. Even though we found out last week that we could not bring Ellie, we were still planning on bringing my Maine Coon Cat, Macy.
When I got the note from ISM stating that they are working on my documentation we decided that it was time to purchase our plane tickets. Of course the flight itinerary that I had picked out and gotten approved was no longer available but I was able to find one very similar to it. After a call to my bank for them to up my daily spending limit on my debit card, I finally had our plane tickets purchased. I printed out the itinerary, receipts, and forms for Macy to have filled out at the vet later that day. This was exactly 31 days before we were set to leave and in order for Macy to be ready she needed certain shots done at least 30 days before flying so we were defiantly cutting it close.
I then proceeded to call the airlines to inform them that we would be having a cat fly with us in the plane. The first airline was absolutely no problem (the one that would take us from Portland to JFK). The second one is where it became difficult. I got another very fast-speaking representative that easily took all of my information on our flights and Macy. He then proceeded to tell me the maximum detentions of the pet carriers that were allowed on the plane, I quickly scribbled these down and finished our conversation about baggage fees. After I got off the phone I looked at the dimensions of the carrier that he gave to me, they were in metric so I converted them into inches: Hight 8" - Width and Length 12" Hu? That seemed really small to me so I dug out my ruler and tried to invasion a carrier that small. I then tried to look online for one that small but it was hard to tell how Macy would actually look in them. Off I went to PetCo hoping that they would have small carriers for me to see in person, but they don't even carry them that small. And here it was, we had come all this way with our months of research only to find out that they only let mini cats fly in the planes. Seriously, who has a cat that is that tiny and not a kitten?
With Macy's vet appointment drawing closer I had to make the decision and with everything in mind I realize that it simply was just not meant to be. This thought of course makes me extremely sad but there is no way I am stuffing Macy into a shoebox sized space for 25+ hours. I cancelled the vet appointment and began my search for a foster home for Macy.
Now that we don't have a reason to fly directly into Yangon we will be traveling to Bangkok to meet up with the rest of my school and get our visas there the day before. I emailed ISM to inform them of the change and cancelled our plane tickets. I feel very defeated after fighting so hard and doing so much research for the past 5 months and to have it all come down to this. But alas, so it is.
The rest of the week was spent packing and doing various moving related tasks, such as getting my wedding dress dry cleaned and packed away, and ordering our contacts for the next year. It seems that the more I pack the more messy the house gets. There is stuff everywhere but I am very happy to be purging items that have long been used. It feels so nice to have less things around, I wish I had been able to go through my things long ago. I know I will miss my things when we are away but it will also be nice not to be surrounded by stuff at ever turn. So far almost all of my boxes are either books or artwork. The many pieces of artwork have proved very difficult to pack up. I have a good number of oddly shaped ceramic objects (like my medusa below) that involved a great deal of bubble wrap and packing peanuts to ensure their safety. I hope that everything gets tucked away carefully.
On Thursday Amanda came over and we made up her wedding invitations, we could not be happier with how they came out!
Friday Amanda, Josh, Toothless, and I headed to Marche because it was Kim's very last day of work as the manager and head chef.
My last day of work was sad yet happy all at the same time. A bunch of my regular customers came in to say goodbye and get one last meal made by me. They all wished me good luck, said they were going to miss me, and told me not to drink the water. I never saw myself working in an open kitchen (where the customers can see and talk with the chef and cooks) but now I know that when I have my own restaurant it is going to be an open kitchen for sure. I loved that the customers got to see how their food was made and all of the work going into it (and could tell that it wasn't just popped in a microwave). I didn't realize how much I loved interacting one on one with the customers, getting to know their names, their order preferences, and all about their lives. Joking and chatting with them as they came in made my job so meaningful and pleasurable. At the end of the day when I went over to turn my keys in I realized how much I learned while being at Marche and how it has made me grow as a chef and become a better person overall. I got to work under a great chef named Justin who taught me a number of skills that I will be taking with me wherever I end up. He was also the first chef to buy me my own professional chefs knife which means more to me than words can say. I will certainly miss Marche but I know that there are grand adventures to be had.
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world