Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back in the Saddle ...

When I first started blogging, I had every intention of stopping once we came home form Peru because I thought life would be pretty boring after that. As it turns out, our lives over the past few months have been filled with so much mystery, intrigue and adventure that with the motivation of a couple requests I've decided to post again.

I couldn't possibly recap everything that's happened since Peru in a way that would do it justice, so we'll start with a short timeline and you'll have to fill in the blanks with your vivid imaginatons.

May-August we:

  • Came home from Peru.
  • visited my family in Canada.
  • Accepted a spot at University of Chicago Law school.
  • Shortly thereafter changed our minds and accepted a spot at Harvard Law School.
  • Moved ourselves and a couple of suitcases to Virginia (to stay with Jeff's parents).
  • Attended my brother Derek's wedding in Utah.
  • Moved all of our belongings to Boston and set up our apartment.
  • Moved ourselves (minus belongings) back to Virginia to finish the summer.
  • Changed our minds once again and accepted a spot at Stanford Law School.
  • Moved our belongings from Boston to Palo Alto.
  • Were really stressed out!

August-now we:

  • Were homeless, so we crashed at my wonderful aunt and uncle's place in Walnut Creek.
  • Started school (Jeff was commuting 1 1/2 -2 hours each way!)
  • Found an apartment and moved in. Unfortunately our belongings didn't move in until a couple weeks later.
  • Got cable TV- a very momentus occasion as I was home along all day without any furniture except a TV.
  • Reunited with our furniture.
  • Looked for a job.
  • Looked for a job.
  • Looked for a job.
  • Found a job! (working at Altos Ventures, a venture capital firm)
  • Picked up another job teaching prenatal nutrition and infant feeding.
  • Had visits from my brother-in-law Chris, my mom and sister Michelle.
  • Successfully made it through finals week.
  • Went home for Christmas.
  • Came back.
  • Applied to move on campus. (That will be our 8th move in 3 1/2 years).

As I reflect on the past few months, I often wonder... AM I TOTALLY INSANE?! I think so.
But throughout it all we've had some great times and made some great friends. I've posted a couple pictures of fun things we've done, and will update our web album with more complete sets of pictures.

Jeff was the lucky man that got to dance with Steph during the Grad theme song!

Our nephew Max when they visited us in Virginia.

Derek and Courtney's wedding

Jeff, Jenn and Steph doing ... stuff...

Our visit to D.C.

Celebrating Jeff's birthday with Peter and Nikki.

At my cousin's wedding over Christmas

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Another Change of Plans

Not sure if anyone still checks this, but we just wanted to let you all know that we've had another change of plans. Last Thursday Jeff was accepted at Stanford Law School. We took the weekend to think about it, decided to go there, and notified them on Monday. We left Monday night to drive up to Boston, arrived yesterday afternoon and have been packing ever since. Unfortunately we had already moved all our belongings out here, set them all up in our apartment, and threw away our moving boxes since we expected to be here for 4 more years. Let this be a lesson ... never throw away those moving boxes!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Change of Plans

For anyone who still reads this, we received some exciting news this morning. Jeff was accepted at Harvard! So now we are planning to be in Boston in the fall!

Also, I got all our Peru pictures posted in higher quality. If anyone wants any of the highest quality versions, let me know which ones and I can e-mail them.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our Roommate

Well, it looks like I finally took a picture that was small enough to load. Let me introduce you all to our roommate Hormiga. He moved into our kitchen a few weeks ago. At first he was a nuisance. He would invite all his friends over late at night, throw parties in our utensil drawer and always eat our food without asking. One night (when he was throwing said party in our utensil drawer) I lost all control and in a violent rage killed him and all his friends.
It was then that we discovered Hormiga's amazing ability. Not a day later I entered the kitchen and who was crawling on our counter? Hormiga! It turns out that Hormiga never dies. No matter how many times I kill him, he always comes back ... as long as he thinks there's food involved. Now that I've discovered this talent, I use him as a kitchen cleanliness-o-meter. Everytime Hormiga comes back, I know that I missed a spot.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Law School

Just wanted to let everyone that Jeff and I have chosen University of Chicago for law school school in the fall! This week we found out he was put on the waitlist at Harvard and Stanford. He was accepted to several other great schools, but ultimately we felt University of Chicago was the best option. Thanks to everyone who has given their help and support during the long application/waiting process!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley

We just returned from our big trip to Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley. I've tried to post as many pictures as possible on our web album, but unfortunately I still can't load all of them. I'll try to make my post as short as possible because I know it can get boring reading someone else's travel log. The pictures are beautiful, however, and worth the time the time they take to look at!

On Thursday morning Jeff, Linda and I arrived at the Cusco airport and were picked up by taxi driver from our hotel in Ollantaytambo. We discovered that it doesn't cost very much to hire a taxi driver to take you around, and that way you are not limited to a specific schedule or structure like with a tour group. In order to get to Ollantaytambo, we took an hour and half drive through the sacred valley. Our taxi driver stopped anywhere we wanted so that we could take pictures. Along the way were several groups of women wearing traditional clothing and selling beautiful handicrafts. You can find pictures at:

That afternoon we visited the ruins at Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is supposedly named after an captain named Ollanta who fell in love with the Inca's daughter. The marriage was forbidden by her father because of their different social status, so Ollanta organized a rebellion. The Inca Pachacutec was killed during the rebellion, and his son became ruler. Ollanta was ultimately captured, but the new ruler recognized Ollanta's skill as a warrior and also his love for his sister and allowed the marriage. You can find pictures of the ruins of Ollantaytambo at:

On Friday we again hired the taxi for the day to take us to many of the ruins in the Sacred Valley. The first place we stopped is Pisac. This was an agricultural center for the Incas. They terraced the entire mountain and installed an irrigation system for growing crops. They also have storehouses halfway up that were used to store their crops after the harvest. The view over the valley was incredible!

After Pisac was Chinchero. I'm not sure the what the Incas did at Chinchero, but the Spaniards really went to town there. They destroyed all the buildings, and built a church on top of one of the Incan walls.

Then we went to Moray. This was one of the prettiest places yet, and the ruins look straight out of an alien movie. At Moray the Incas experimented growing crops at different altitudes. There were 3 sets of circular test sites. To get from one level to the next they built these awesome stone stairs (as shown in the picture). I think the pictures from here are some of my favourites! The ones with the sheep are actually from the drive in between Moray and the salt mines.

The last place we visited that day was the salt mines. We still can't figure out exactly how they work, but from what we can tell the salt water drains into all the pools, and somehow the salt is harvested from there. The pictures don't really do the colors justice, and we were told that the pools were a little muddy because it had just rained. Usually they are a lot more white. All around the pools are people hauling bags of salt on donkeys.

On Saturday we got up early to catch our train to Machu Picchu, then received a call telling us our train had been canceled due to mechanical problems. Luckily they were able to schedule us on a later train, but it left us a with only 4 hours at Machu Picchu. Like everyone always says, the pictures really don't do it justice. Even the good ones. What an incredible city! It is so intact and has the most stunning backdrop! Jeff and I climbed to the temple on top of that big mountain that's always in the background of the pictures. It's a pretty brutal hike. It took about 45 minutes of pretty much walking straight up the mountain, but was worth every minute. You've got to check out these pictures!

That evening we hopped on the train to go back to Cusco. I have never seen anything quite like our train ride. We all got relaxed and were starting to fall asleep when all of a sudden traditional Peruvian music started blasting and a guy dressed like some kind of Incan clown started dancing up and down the aisle of the train car. He was wearing a white ski mask and holding a stuffed llama. He came around to each seat and pushed the llama up close to each passenger's face before moving on. I never really figured out what the point of it was.

After the clown thing was over, we all started falling asleep again when disco music started blasting. They announced that we were going to see a fashion show of alpaca clothing. Our train attendants were the models and they had to walk up and down the aisle wearing various alpaca outfits from some company that must have a contract with the train company. Kind of crazy! We arrived safe and sound in Cusco that night and met up with our friend April. We ate dinner at a not-so-great restaurant then went to bed.

We spent the next day visiting some sites around Cusco. The first was Saqsayhuaman (the "h" is silent), the principal ruins of Cusco. At first when we heard the name we thought they were just playing a joke on foreigners, but that is really what it's called! These ruins were also pretty destroyed by the spaniards. Apparently Francisco Pizarro's son was killed here when trying to take it over. It has a beautiful view over the city.

Cusco has a beautiful Plaza de Armas. We met up with April again, walked around there and checked out some of the spanish colonial architecture. Then we went the market and bought a bunch more stuff. We also ate at a restaurant there that night and took some snazzy pictures.

We flew home on Monday and slept a lot. Linda left last night. It was so nice to see a familiar face and have a good friend to share all of our experiences with. Now we're all alone again. :(

We have loved our time here, but we are getting excited to go back home in a week and a half and see all of our friends and family!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Fun Stuff

We posted a few more pictures from our adventures last Saturday. Jeff has been helping out with the young men's group at church, so Saturday afternoon we headed over to the stake center to watch their soccer tournament. Unfortunately only 2 members of our team showed up, so they had to pull some guys from another team and Jeff had to play goalie. He was wearing his flip flops because he wasn't expecting to play, so it was a bit difficult for him, but he did a great job. Check out our cool action shots at

Then Saturday night we hung out with our friend April (previously mentioned, also an intern at the embassy). April has realized that here in Peru people have a difficult time pronouncing "April LaCroix," so now whenever she has to give her name or make reservations she calls herself "Abril de la Cruz." I get a kick out of it every time I think of it. We ended up eating at restaurant called Manos Morenas, an Afro-Peruvian restaurant in the district of Barranco (good thing I edited this sentence. Originally I had put that we ate the restaurant). Though Barranco neighbours Miraflores, we had never been before. We'll probably go back and can take more pictures. The restaurant had a music/dance show, and we got our 3 minutes of fame posing with the dancers for a picture. You can see those pictures at

We're excited to have our friend Linda here. She arrived safely late last night. We have a lot planned over the next week, so stay tuned for more pics and stories.