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.
As of this week our families, friends, and employers are all aware of our big move. Reactions from everyone have been interesting, mostly happy and excited for us. We have been planning and researching and trying to begin preparing for the biggest change of our lives. This week we have been trying to refocus our energy on the wedding which is only two months away!!!! There is so much to do and we are loving tackling each part of the wedding "to-do list." Order wedding bands. Make invitations. Decide on table decorations. Meet with DJ. And the list goes on and on.
In the mist of everything I received some Myanmar reading material that I ordered a couple weeks ago. Although these books are outdated of the recent progress in Myanmar I am hoping they will give us a good idea of the history and general state of the country. In many blogs I have read about travels around Myanmar, tourists will refer to the Lonely Planet Guide as "the Bible" because it is literally the only travel guide to Myanmar, which means almost all foreign travelers carry this book. Since it was published in 2009 many things have changed about the country in terms of progress and options for travelers. Lonely Planet is actually publishing a new version due out in August of this year. So for now these are what we have available. I'm looking forward to squeezing in some reading when I can.
These are the books I purchased:
Lonely Planet: Myanmar (Burma)
Culture Shock! Myanmar: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette Saw Myat Yin
Burma/Myanmar What Everyone Needs to Know David I. Steinberg
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world