29 October 2010

25 in Sacramento

This October 22 was Scott's 25th birthday! We had arrived only two days before that with a car full of clothes and toilletries to Sacramento where we will be living with my in-laws for the next few months as we await our med school fate. We walked in the Chandler house and found this scene:

Martie sure knows how to decorate her house for the holidays! You don't even want to know how many boxes of Christmas goodies we had to move around the garage to free up storage space for our stuff. Pretty sure she thinks we are going to help her take down and put up decorations, and rumor has it that it takes DAYS!

Scott's birthday present this year from me was, no surprise, a trip to Costa Rica (the one that we took in September). That's actually our birthday presents to each other this year. It's not as much fun to say that now that the trip is over, but it was well worth it! For Scott's birthday, we went out to Texas Roadhouse with his family. It's one of Scott's most favorite restaurants! I asked him why just now, and he says he doesn't know, but he's pondered the question many a time. The waitress there had to sing Happy Birthday at least a dozen times Friday night, so by the time she got to our table, she skipped the singing and blaring of the dim table light on the birthday celebrator, and instead just dropped off this bowl of ice cream with six spoons.

I think Scott looks like quite the gentleman with that sweater/collar shirt combo. You should see it with a red tie! Rawrr! After dinner we went to the movies to see RED, a new movie with Bruce Willis. It was pretty good, and surprisingly funny for the topic. Had the comedic lines been removed and had the music been a smidge on the threatening side, then the producers might have called it Die Hard 17. All in all though, I liked it.

Later on that weekend, I also made Scott his two favorite desserts - Aroz con Leche (learned in Costa Rica and is so rich and nummy) and Kneaders Raspberry Bread pudding! Thanks, Heidi, for the recipe! It was as good as it looks!

27 October 2010

Moving and Marketing

It's about time right? I bet some of you were wondering if I got lost in the move. In a way I did! I've realized after this move that I hate moving! I know I'm not alone on that one. If I have to open or pack another box in the next six months I may just burst into tears. Moving is emotional!

So I took a little while to get situated here in Sacramento [read: to watch Scott organize our new abode]. We're still getting things organized, as a new shipment of our things just came into town. *A hearty sarcastic Yay! Luckily it is the last of our things, and I have decided that all boxes will be in permanent storage until the day that we go to medical school. I have yet to set up my beautiful computer... though Scott is working on my new desk as I type/You read. Soon I'll have a beautiful throne for my magnanimous Mac. Subsequently, though, I am behind on blog posts and school work. We're getting there!

There's so much to blog about too! Scott had his 25th birthday last week, we have med school updates, and new creative endeavors! Pictures included... when my mac is up and running.

But for now I thought I would share marketing tidbit so you know I'm still alive. Last week in my MBA Marketing class we had a discussion about our favorite advertisements and why we thought they were so effective. Of course, Coke, Dos Equis, Mac, Gap, and other favorites were brought up. I had to put in one of my favorites - Old Spice's The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Love IT and BYU's copy. I was curious in this discussion how these ads affect sales, especially when humor is involved? Sometimes it seems like the humor is the main point (like beer commercials) and consumers forget all about the product. One of my classmates linked to this article for the answer - The Man Your Man Could Smell Like vs. The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Even better though, another classmate linked to a Sesame Street copy of the advertisement to teach kiddos about the word "on". Haha!

15 October 2010

In the Midst of Boxes

Boxes and empty walls.

After much deliberation and searching, Scott and I decided that it was time for us to move to Sacramento. We tried hard to stay in Utah where we have amazing friends and cousins nearby, fun church callings, and snow. Nix that last one. We are just not the type to stay for snow! We've decided that we are more the type to move where the weather is pleasant all year round when the going gets tough.

So while Scott is putting in his last hours at the physical therapy clinic in Lehi, I am trying to pack up our house. One shipment of things is now on its way to Sacramento to be in storage for months. This coming Wednesday is the official day we turn in our keys and make the long drive to our next home. Thank you to my in-laws who are so gracious to allow us to live with them temporarily!

For now, though, so much of our apartment is itching to get in a box. The kitchen is relatively unpacked, furniture, do-dads, food that will most likely not get eaten by Wednesday, and a big pile that will eventually find itself at the DI. Here's what I'm thinking - Moving Party! Bestest of friends nearby, come visit our place and if you pack a box you can have free range of the pile of things to stay in Utah, including, but not limited to... a Rainbow Chip Cake Mix and matching Icing!

Sorry, Christie! You snooze, you lose!

13 October 2010

Walmart - The New Super Power?

In another discussion for my MBA Ethics class, we had to analyze the non-market issues of Wal Mart. I am no expert on the many issues that Wal Mart has faced and created. From my textbook there seem to be two major thoughts. First, Wal Mart inspires criticism from those who disapprove of their treatment of employees, effect on local small businesses, immense powers of negotiation with large corporations, and damages to the environment.

The second thought is that Wal Mart has to act the way they do in order to have such low prices. The class text had this quote from a Sacramento Bee columnist about Wal Mart unions and, "So for the sake of 250,000 grocery store clerks and baggers and their employers, the other 35 million people in this state are asked to agree to pay billions of dollars more than they ought to for the necessities of life and to deprive themselves of choices that could make their lives better."

Despite my lack of knowlege, I was anxious to post the issue for several reasons.

1) While we were in Costa Rica I discovered that Wal-Mart really does have tremendous power.
Look familiar? Those signs aren't in dollars, they are in Colones. This is the Hipo Mart in Costa Rica. It is owned by Wal Mart. We went there for a cultural lesson one day with the director of the program.
While we were in this expansive store, we saw that most of the products had Wal Mart tags or were made in China. In fact, even much of the store's rice (a key ingredient in many Costa Rican meals) was originally shipped from Asia through Wal Mart. There weren't many Costa Rican products to choose from in the store, though we did find some great chocolate made completely in Costa Rica.

On top of owning these mega marts, Wal Mart has even purchased many of the local grocery stores in Costa Rica. Pali is a grocery chain in Costa Rica that is owned by Wal Mart and even has Wal Mart's logo on some of the in store signs. Pali is known to have the lowest prices of grocery stores.

2) My second thought in posting is that I am curious what your opinion is of Wal Mart. I avoid shopping at Wal Mart for the most part, because I try to support local businesses. I don't want farmers to stop growing fruits and veggies (or rice, Costa Rica) because they can be produced and even shipped cheaper from somewhere else. Avoiding Wal Mart can be a hard thing to do for a penny-pincher like myself, especially in a down economy. While I'm in the confessional box, I recently purchased a most fantastic computer desk at Wal Mart, not available in it's shape or style anywhere else that I could find. And I LOVE it. There, I'm done.

Do you shop Wal Mart?

08 October 2010

Adjusting to Limbo

Well we have been back for almost a week and have taken the opportunity to get used to the states. Of course, it helped that on our first evening back, Scott's cousin Josh and his wife Chelsea came to pick us up at the airport and when we arrived at their house they had a lasagna for us to bring home and a gallon of milk! What awesome cousins! Scott and I both made a note that we need to be more thoughtful like that when picking up family or friends from the airport.

Costa Rica was such an amazing experience, and it gave us the opportunity to do service to add to Scott's application while avoiding life for a couple weeks. But now that we are back, decisions are inevitable. I am no longer working at BYU and Scott has graduated and is looking for a job. His application to medical school is on hold as we wait a few more days for his MCAT score to arrive. At that point we will update schools and hopefully receive interview offers. In the mean time, we need two "I"s - Income and Insurance.

Surprisingly, I have been pretty laid back with choices, especially compared to my Limbo of '06. That's probably because I feel like this is more Scott's limbo and his opportunity to react and understand. We have applied to jobs (mostly Scott, however I did apply to a temporary hospital job with the hopes that it would buy us some time and provide the two "i"s) and are waiting for a response. Scott has decided that if we do not hear any positive news from Utah by next week, then we will be moving to Sacramento where good things already await us.

I am glad that, though we missed General Conference because of travel, that the videos of talks are now online. I watched a few today, including this one. Don't you just love the renewal that comes from conference?! It makes limbo seem calm and purposeful.

01 October 2010

The Last Day in Paradise

Today was our last full day in Costa Rica. It was also our last day at our volunteer placements. As we mentioned before, Scott volunteered at a transitory HIV home and I volunteered at a special education school working with the music teacher. Both of our placements loved us, in fact as we were talking at dinner tonight the staff called us “pioneers” having been here only two weeks but making such a difference. Of course, we didn’t feel like we did much.

Scott helped with the physical therapy of patients at the home. All of the doctors (psychology, medicine, dentist, and physical therapists) are volunteers from the community. There are only a few full time staff at the HIV home: the director, a nurse, housekeeper, and cook. Most of the CCS volunteers that are sent to this placement are assigned to help with cleaning. However, Scott only had to clean for 30 minutes total during his two weeks work there. We found out, at the end of our stay, that this was because Scott could speak and understand Spanish so well. Other volunteers had a difficult time communicating, and were thus given easier tasks because of the lack of staff help. Scott not only helped the physical therapist, but on Fridays when the physical therapists do not volunteer, Scott worked with individual patients as his own boss.

I felt like I hadn’t done too much to help the music teacher at the special education school, but knew that just by being there I had made a difference. When I would come to the school in the mornings, I would help distribute instruments (maracas and claves), smile and play along, and help some of the kids to move to the music when there wasn’t a para. There were also times that there weren’t classes, and I just sat around feeling unuseful. That was until yesterday. When I arrived in Costa Rica I was told that I would need to participate in a concert the school was having. I downloaded and prepared a classical piano piece, and at the last minute made up a song by changed the words to the teacher’s welcome song for class about my volunteer experience at the school. Two children diagnosed with disabilities that required them to be in wheel chairs also played the piano. The music teacher had taught them to play in G Major by using shapes on the keys and sheet music. I was the final act, and then the teacher told me I needed to make a speech, which is of course when I started to get teary. Then I sang my song, with the teacher playing the guitar as he normally does in class. The crowd laughed and cried, and applauded. Probably the best response I’ve ever gotten at a concert! Even more so today, my teacher told me that the concert was a big success with the teachers and students. Because the students saw that two other students had played with me, they feel less shy and more motivated to practice for more concerts.

We are sad to leave Costa Rica and the work which we’ve only started, but we are also anxious to get back to our ever exciting life in the States.

What we’ll miss from Costa Rica:
- Beans and Rice, it’s true!
- The people are so nice here and greet you off the bat as a friend or even family
- Falling asleep to a stream of rain hitting the roof
- The CCS Staff (we would go into this more, except it’s already a long post)
- Being so aware of international affairs
- Game nights with the late- night security guard (Jenga tonight!)
- The adorable children at the special education school (They love each other so much and laugh all the time!)
- The horse across the street that reminds me of Young Frankenstein

What I will not miss - Having to put toilet paper in the waste basket and sleeping in bunk beds... that's it!