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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Holidays...

So... time for a bit of an update.

we've moved into our new apartment and it's AWESOME. LOVE IT SO MUCH!! so much more light, more space, and it's a lot cleaner than the other place we were in. plus trav and erin are upstairs and we share meals all the time! sooooo great :D

Thanksgiving was awesome. we spent the first round at the Thomas' (My Eldest brother's wife's parents... odd connection, I know, but they're AWESOME people :D and so welcoming!) and then after that we drove up to Bountiful where there was a HUGE conglomeration of Mumfords. Mumfords is kind of a general term since Rhonda's family is Perkes and Melissa's family is Pace, Gramma's lastname is technically Hawkins and of course my last name is Daly. But hey, they were all Mumfords at one point or another... or their parents were Mumfords at one point or another. so there. but it was awesome! we had a great old time! lots of yummy food, lots of interesting conversation. probably the most benign mumford thanksgiving i've ever been to. and of course most of them are my cousins who had yet to meet Scott, so he met a LOT of new people that night. but we had an amazing time and i was very grateful for it.
moving on...

We went black friday shopping... Toys R us opened at 9pm thanksgiving night. it really wasn't too bad... until we got to the checkout line. that went all the way. around the store. seriously. it took TWO HOURS to get through the line just to get to the check out!! it was madness and we were wondering if it was worth it just as the line began to move faster. i'm glad we stuck it out tho... we got some really great deals and most of our shopping done. And then on Friday we avoided all retailers. it was a rather wonderful day.
It was really really nice having Scott to myself for 5 whole days. it's been a long time since we've been able to spend that much time together. and we had a lot of fun! we cooked, played games, watched movies, and we went to see The Help! Scott enjoyed it and i loved it because i loved the book. and it was in the dollar theatre. booya.

So December came... and with it Utah realized that it's supposed to be winter. blahhhh. i guess it doesn't really matter for me since i'm inside 99% of the time... but yeah still don't enjoy it at all. there hasn't been a good snow yet... i have a feeling January will be blizzard month at this rate. i've never had a utah winter that's been this mild up to this point, so i'm sure the madness is coming. not looking forward to that. but it's okay.

looking at a few job opportunities for me... nothing solid yet... maybe the universe will give me a Christmas present! more later... my typing may be keeping scott awake... ah well. 2 more days of classes! yahoo!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall or winter? will the weather please make up its mind?

So Halloween day was absolutely beautiful. clear blue skies, a few puffy clouds, warm with just a little hint of fall coldness in the air... and then BAM! the next morning, cold, rainy, and then snowy. grey skies, icy wind, and just not fun in general. welcome to winter? but that's the way utah is... you can LITERALLY have all four seasons in one day. actually in about 12 hours. i've seen it happen. no joke.

but so for halloween, Scott and i were Han solo and Leia, which was pretty freaking awesome actually. our costumes looked a lot cooler than i thought they would be. of course, i couldn't find a vest for scott, so i made one out of pleather i got at Joanne's. i was pretty proud of myself. no sewing machine, no pattern... i just basically formed it based on the size of one of scott's shirts and stitched it together myself. turned out pretty well, i must say. it is the first functional piece of clothing that i have ever made by myself. booya. but we had a really great time. we hosted a small halloween get together on friday, which was awesomely fun, and then saturday we had our primary rehearsal and then a BBQ and then the Temple with Travis and Erin, and then another party. awesome. needless to say, we had A LOT of pizza that weekend. but no complaining here!
sunday, of course, was the primary program, and it actually went a lot better than i thought. we're getting released this sunday in preparation for us to move next week BOOYA! yes!! so excited to move. we started out loving our apartment, and we do still like it, but in comparison with what we are going to be moving into... yeah. the new one is a lot nicer. anyway! monday night we spent at Travis and Erin's again, we had dinner, ate lots of halloween candy, and watched the new A-Team movie, which is awesome, by the way. if you haven't seen it... see it.
which brings us to tuesday... where scott and I went to see PRESIDENT MONSON speak at devotional. yeahh! it was really awesome. so glad i went. and honestly, getting to see prophets and apostles speak in person is basically the one reason left i have to actually like byu. everything else... not so much. besides the linguistics department of course. but hey i'm biased in that regard. anyway
wednesday morning i woke up with a bit of a scratchy throat, but went shopping with Corinne and her little boys. which was fun :D but then i got home and realized that i had a cold.... and it just got worse throughout the day. so i'm sick... again... jeez! i haven't been sick so often probably since elementary school. you know, when your immune system is still developing? when i was at school i was surrounded by 34,000 people every day and would never get sick but once in a while. i didn't even really get sick while i was in the JUNGLE! but i guess it happens... i'm a firm believer that the right levels of stress actually boost your immune system, because there's that "NO I CANNOT BE SICK RIGHT NOW" coursing through your veins. i'm a fan of that thought.
anyway, still looking for jobs... still coming up empty for the moment... but whatever. we'll find something sometime. i hope.
and so, i've read 5 books in the last 9 weeks. all totaling over 400 pages each. i've read "the House at Riverton" by Kate Morton, "The Help", the first and second Harry Potter books, and "The Amber Spyglass" by Philip Pullman. oh how i love reading. i'm also now working on chapter 5 of my latest rewrite. i'm totally on track for getting this latest rewrite really seriously underway... but i'm just working on timing issues now. i mean teh whole beginning before was to show that the main character became optimistic just for everything to come horribly crashing to the ground. and right now she's optimistic, and i'm wondering WHEN things should come horribly crashing to the ground. so you know, tha'ts coming along... hopefully i'll get things really rolling, because i figure by the fifth chapter, the main driving actions of the story will come into play. as in the war will begin. war makes a good premise for stories, just sayin'.
anyway that's about it for now. i'm feeling a lot better today, probably because i took nyquil and actually got some sleep last night. i slept like 12 hours! but i guess that makes up for not really sleeping at all the night before. we had a plan for date night tonight, but that's totally not going to happen with me being sick and with the weather supposed to be really nasty tonight. we'll probably just stay in, make some popcorn, and watch a movie. i'm good with that.
OH I HAVE THE BEST HUSBAND EVER!!! not only did he stay home from school yesterday to take care of me, the dear, but he also went to target and bought a heater. OH THE JOY. the owners upstairs have the thermostat set at about 68, which is great for the main house, but we're in the basement and don't get a lot of heat staying down here... so when it's 68 upstairs it feels about 60 downstairs. and when you're wearing 2 pairs of wool socks and your toes are still ice?? not a happy thing. so we love it. and i'ts awesome. and this way we can just be warm whenever we want :D
so that's about all. i'm going to go eat something and take more drugs so that my nose will hate me slightly less than it does now.
toodles!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Words, Tubas, and Pirates.

So here we go... the update before halloween is here and i really have a lot to write about.

so as you know, i've been having a hard time getting motivated to do anything because i didn't feel like i was being productive at all. i mean there's jobhunting, but provo is really not a good location to try and find a job if you're not a student. but that's okay. but i've been doing lots better. my Dad even gave me a pep talk about writing more! now that was a surprise.
so i've been writing. alot. i finished a zombie story i was writing when i was down in ecuador. it's more of a slightly violent comedy. it's funny, but of course it's funnier if you know the people and how it's pretty true to character. literally. anyway but my problem with writing is always my beginning. i can write a fantastic rising action, climax, and conclusion/resolution. But the exodus? forgeddaboutit. i like to hit the ground running... unfortunately most readers don't. but i've finally accepted that about 80% of the original set up of a novel i've been working on for about 7 years..... yeah..... needs rewrite. but i've finally got a plan. and it works a lot better, i think. i mean there are some character eccentricities that i need to fix but those are minor details. so i'm making progress! and i feel productive because this is a dream that i can still achieve! YAY!
moving on... Scott, my wonderful musical husband, got us seats in the grand OcTUBAfest ensemble this last weekend. we went to the performances on thursday night which were AWESOME and then we attended rehearsal Saturday morning and played in the saturday night concert. it was amazing! thursday night when i was listening, i started to remember how much i loved playing in band when i was in high school. playing Tuba is something that really too few of us get to appreciate. it's this massive instrument, full of this in-your-face power if you know how to use it correctly. but it also can just make beautiful sound. i know what you're thinking... violins and clarinets are for making beautiful sounds, but no really the mello glorious sound of a tuba played right is like a cello. just hearing those notes, those low powerful foundation notes... they fill you up right to the top. and then when you're creating them? when the buzzing of your lips make a soundwave that shakes the chairs in the backrow of an auditorium?! now that is a fantastic feeling. i'm so glad i still have enough talent in me to be able to sight read a whole bunch of music after 4 years of really not playing at all. it was really fantastic. and i LOVED it.
another recent development is that scott has a game on his iPad that's a pirates game. and we're both (mildly) obsessed with it. holy cow. it's really funny. and it's made us in an extremely pirate happy mood. we went to buildabear this weekend for our friday night date and we almost made a pirate, but then we picked the naval uniform and now have Commander Russell. yeahhhh! and then today we pulled out Muppet Treasure Island and watched it after i went visiting teaching. yeah. pirates are awesome. well at least the old school kind. somalian pirates not so much. but anyway!
that's about all for now. making biscuits and gravy tonight! and our old friend Will from CP is coming over to share it with us. OH and we're also making peppermint-chocolate chip ice cream YUM. so far our favorite has been the peanutbutter reeses cups ice cream that we made last week. needless to say it didn't last very long.
but seriously... that's all folks!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Poor little bunny...

Well, we've officially gone through the "first cold" stage of our Marriage. it's funny to me to think that Scott and I have never been with each other when one is sick. we've never really had to take care of each other in that respect before. but its definitely nice to know we can.

My family are medicine-takers. if you have a headache, take a tylenol, if you have a fever, take a motrin regimen, if you are stuffy, take a sudafed. that's just the way it works. if there's one thing i've learned through my cases of flu, strep, and colds in my life, it's that the best way to get rid of something quickly is to hit it as hard as you can. which means, as soon as you know you're really sick, you bust out all the meds that will pump you back into shape. it's not abuse, it's science.
i'm saying this because i've had roommates before that would rather lie in agony with a pillow over their face with a migrane than swallow a pill to make it go away. personally, i think that's kind of dumb. and i was pretty sure Scott wasn't that way before... but now i'm absolutely sure. he's a good little patient. he only asked what i was giving him, and then took it obediently, and then helped remind me when his next dosage was. now there's a fella who wants to feel better!
he was feeling pretty crummy saturday night, and then Sunday he was pretty down... that's when the fever hit, but we got him pumped with sudafed, tylenol, and motrin all at once and got him on the road to recovery. he didn't really sleep Saturday night, but he definitely slept sunday night, and monday morning he was just fine! thank goodness it was just a small bug. about a day and a half. not much more.
he's still a bit stuffy, so good thing we have lots of tissues! but he is definitely ten times better than yesterday.
that's another funny thing i've learned about the last few days though. Last Wednesday, my sister-in-law Corinne had a surgery, and so i watched her kids all day Wednesday and helped her on Saturday while the boys were at priesthood session. i realized that because of the way i grew up in my family, taking care of people is really easy for me. playing with kids is easy, tiring out a 2 year old so he will finally take a nap is easy, making dinner, feeding everyone, making sure the sick ones get their meds and lots of water and food if they can handle it... those things are really easy to me. and i know how important they are, believe me i do, but it just seems to me like i definitely need more than just that. which is why of course i'm going to be going to get my MS in Speech language pathology, so i can have a career. i don't know, it just seems like since its so easy for me it's not entirely fulfilling? it's weird. i havent figured it out yet. i'm very glad to do it though. very glad. i love helping people and taking care of them! i do! just so long as that's not the only thing i'm doing. anyway...
conference was awesome as usual... and i'm getting back into croceting again!
also, if anyone wants to move into a new apartment in november... lemme know! because hopefully Scott and I will be moving in Orem to be neighbors with my brother and his wife! yay! that'll be fun. and it's a bigger apartment for the same price wahoo!
anyway that's about all for now!
cheers!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Waking Dream

So... not going to lie... it's been hard on me this last month or so. Feeling pretty much useless for all that time starts to get to ya. but i'm hard on the job hunt. so hopefully i'll get something better soon.

my guitar helps a bit. it gives me something productive to do, something that's bettering self, you know? and i really don't know very much, just basic chords and musical instinct. but lately i've been wanting to play something. and then the other day, when i was having a hard time, i just started writing. and i wrote a song.
it's not complete. and probably never will be, but it's something that just helps me. something that gives me a chance to remember why i'm here, even when i don't understand. it's just about me being caught between what my dreams used to be, and what my life is now. and since i'm pretty sure no one reads this blog with any level of dedication... i'll share it here, if for no other reason than i'll probably lose the pieces of paper i have the words written on. so... here goes.

Waking Dream

Had a dream that I would be
Somewhere far away--across the sea
Somewhere no one knew my face
I'd find my place.
But chasing dreams is over now
gotta sit down and figure how

to find my Waking Dream.

Cuz even though it's hard on me
I know i'm where i'm meant to be
no more spotlight in my mind
just here with what i left behind
but if i stumble half-asleep
do you think i'll find

My Waking Dream?

So I guess i'll stay a while
Keep me warm, i'll help you smile.
i know you're scared when i sigh
Afraid that you've made me cry
It's a long winter ahead
just remember i never said

I found my Waking Dream.

Cuz even though it's hard on me
I know i'm where i'm meant to be
no more spotlight in my mind
Just here with what i left behind
but if i stumble half-asleep
do you think i'll find

My Waking Dream?

Since i learned what hearts are for
I gave you all... and then some more
And all the rainbows i've outgrown
are just shadows in our home.
What's left of what i thought i'd be
its the ruins that will help me

To find my Waking Dream

Cuz even though it's hard on me
i know i'm where i'm meant to be
no more spotlight in my mind
Just here with what i meant to leave behind
but if i stumble half-asleep
maybe--maybe i will find

my Waking Dream.

So there you have it...
just a few clarifications: if you leave a comment lecturing me on how i need to buck up, or accept my situation, or even if i only do one tiny thing productive a day that should be enough... i might hate you. seriously. that's the last thing i need.
where i am right now is: this is hard, but i'm trying to make it better. so either cheer me on or try to understand the wisdom in my pathetic little song. seriously.

That is all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

keep movin' along

So, Scott went in and raised a mild ruckus and now (hopefully) we've got the money thing figured out and (hopefully) we will have it soon! so that's good news :D

other than that, nothing much has really happened thats groundbreaking. Scott got an A on his first math exam (but that's no surprise because he's so smart!) and he's got another test tomorrow but he'll ace that one no problem. he's enjoying his TA job, which is great! i always wished i had been a TA. but i loved my Techie job so much i couldn't give it up! but hey, it's not over yet. i could totally still be a TA when i do my post bac program at UW. i would say during my masters program too, but i'm really not so sure trying to work while earning an MS is a good idea... probably not. especially after seeing my mom go through grad school. yeah... probably won't be working through that.
speaking of working... i quit my job. i'm still working this week but not next. i quit my job because i hated it. so i'm job hunting again! yay! we don't need me to be working desperately, so that's why it was OK to quit without any solid other prospects. i've applied to be a Teller at a few banks in the area, so i'm hoping to hear from them soon! that would be a LOT better. definitely. i'm just so glad scott has supported me in all this. he doesn't want me coming home from work crying anymore than i do. he's so sweet. it really is just so nice to come home to someone who just genuinely wants to take care of you. that really is the best. i'm very lucky.
moving on from the mushy-gushy...
we had Corinne (scott's sister) and her family over last night! we had to fix a few things to make it "childproof" for our nephews, but overall it was so fun! our hometeacher has a peach tree so he brought a bag full of peaches to us! and we made peach cobbler! YUM! and we had lasagna too! yum. i like cooking. sometimes it seems like the only thing i can do right.
you know, like when you're having a bad day and you just want SOMETHING to go right? well when that happens, i go home and cook. because that's something that goes right. you just put it all together and heat it up and voila. there you have it. I do it more for the creation than for the eating. but the eating is definitely a perk.
anyway so life is good! we're moving right a long.
i helped my friend Seth move today, which was AWESOME because i haven't gotten a chance to really use my muscles in a really long time! it was awesome. their new place is really great! so excited for them to have a new home where they can have their new baby! i'm so jealous of their new kitchen! they have a dishwasher! hahahaha. but i'm also super tired and super sore. but that's awesome because i totally earned it :D
anyway! ta-ta for now!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

what's life without a few curveballs?

personally i prefer knuckleballs, but that's another story

anyway. things have been going very nicely. and they still are, in all honesty, it's just a few things bubbling up that are annoying. first and foremost being that BYU financial offices have bamboozled Scott and I out of 2 grand.
so let me relay the story a bit...
So Scott has a Scholarship with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. He works for them during the summer, they pay tuition and books during the school year. and when he graduates, he works for them. sweet deal! right?
so the money was sent to BYU wayyyyy back in August, but was sent to the Student Services office (which handles all financial aid, payments, and scholarships). they received it, apparently didn't know what to do with it, and then did nothing. didn't even call. or email. nada. zip.
so when we're driving back down to Utah, school starts in 4 days, Scott calls, apparently there's been a problem, they have no record of it. okay. so get to calling offices again. Student services says to call Records. We Call Records. The representative at the Shipyard sends it to Records. and records sends back a paper saying that "Scott Eric Daly" doesn't attend school at BYU. Problem: Scott's middle name is EVAN.
so another week goes by. Shipyard calls, asking what's g0ing on... we make the calls again, get Records office involved again, and it all gets very quiet.
and apparently it disappears again.
all the while, Scott had applied for a Pell Grant, which he got! which is awesome because that money was going to pay our rent. all of it. for the next 8 MONTHS. but, since BYU is so slow, that money got to BYU and they automatically used it to pay Scott's tuition, which had not been paid up to this point. and then the rest of the money was refunded back to us via check.
and so a few days ago, the shipyard calls again, saying that Scott is the ONLY co-op that hasn't used the money yet and what's taking so long? he explains the situation, turns out the lady that was helping him at the shipyard before is on leave (since this all should've been taken care of in AUGUST) so still trying to track down whatever contact BYU EVER had with the shipyard.
and so here lies the problem. The shipyard will only pay tuition and books that are due. Tuition is past due and on Scott's account, it says it's been paid. The money the Shipyard supplies will pay for books, and possibly the Independent study class that Scott has signed up for, but not for tuition that's already been paid. in other words, because BYU was so slow that the Federal money got in before the Private Scholarship money did (which is unheard of...) the shipyard will only pay for the balance due. which means that that rent money, that 2 grand that were were going to use to actually, you know, live on, won't be awarded to us.
so let me sum up... BYU. IS. FREAKING. STUPID.
and i can say that because i'm an alumna.
and this is not just a once-in-a-lifetime problem. when i was applying for BYU, they lost my Ecclesiastical endorsement 3 TIMES. and now they've lost shipyard money 3 TIMES. i guess the fourth time is the charm at BYU. but you think an institution that deals with scholarships, payments, loans, debt management, and paperwork EVERY DAY would be better at this. especially considering all the other people on the same program from the shipyard not having a problem.
oh and did i mention when we called the records office the other day to see what in the HECK was going on, they referred us to student services?? everyone is passing the buck, apparently they don't want my husband to get an education. or something. seriously byu? seriously?

so scott's going over to the office today to basically say "you suck and skrewed me out of $2200. i want it and i want it now." honestly i don't see anything wrong with that. if we owed BYU 2 grand, they'd be breathing down our necks and would kick scott out of school until we paid. if we owed the IRS 2 grand, they'd send guys with guns after us to make us pay. we're not helpless and we're not taking this. we need that money and by golly we'd better get it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blessings... Blessings...

I'll be the first person to admit that life isn't easy. But it certainly is easier when you're on God's team. Really. Scott and I have seen so many blessings in the month that we've been married. It really is phenomenal. I think most of all, my testimony of Prayer has increased dramatically. We'd kneel together in prayer concerning something and within days it was resolved. incredible! and these are things that we couldn't really fix ourselves, as much as we tried.

for example, I needed a job. I went to Sunflower market to buy some herbs and just asked at the register if they were hiring. they were. I was basically hired on the spot. Scott was weighted down a little bit because one of his classes he had was really heavy on readings. finally, we figured out that he could drop that class and sign up for independent study for another class he needed and it wouldn't set him off track. his load is a bit lighter and he can manage school and his TA job better now. We needed to sell my car, and it didn't seem like anyone was biting, although we had it posted on Craigslist and KSL. it is a good little car, and i didn't understand how no one wanted it. but finally, just a few days ago, a woman called and bought the car. fantastic! and most recently, my job at the grocery store has been driving me insane. i don't enjoy it at all. so i applied for another job and was responded to right away. i hope i get hired for this job, it would be better pay, better hours, and a better job.
these are all things we've prayed about and all blessings we've received. it really is amazing.
you know, watching my brothers get married i had a few expectations about what engaged and newly wed life was going to be like. i thought that all engaged couples weren't 'allowed' to have friends of the opposite sex anymore and that all married couples only were friends with other 'married' couples, or engaged ones. i also thought that once married, financial security and independence went out the window. that was something i was honestly nervous about. but you know what? life is what you make of it.
i still have friends and so does Scott. friends both married and single. and scott and i are amazingly financially secure, especially since we sold my car. it truly is amazing! if i hadn't gone to Ecuador for the summer for study abroad and spent 5K... we'd be ROLLING in it. we'd have too much, i think. but with us both working, all the gift cards, plus what we've saved, everything will be as it should be. it's sort of like that song,
"I don't have much cash on hand, my bank account is small, but tell me what are riches but contentment after all, other folks might think i'm poor but i know it's not so, cuz when i count my blessings i'm the richest man i know."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

aaaannnd we're back...

so, as you know. I got married! yay!

we were married on august 16, 2011 in the Washington DC LDS Temple. it was absolutely perfect. everything really was. we were very blessed with good weather, excellent food, and no drama. it was amazing.
then we were off to our honeymoon in San Diego, CA. Scott's sister was very kind and let us borrow her car. so we flew to Las Vegas, picked up the car, and drove 4.5 hours to San Diego. we had the perfect place to stay. scott found a studio apartment that was just off the highway and about 10 minutes to SeaWorld. it was amazing. we had a murphy bed and a kitchenette. it was a lot of fun to be able to cook again. but we also ate at some pretty fantastic restaurants.
we spent six days there, going to Lego Land, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Temple. it was amazing. and the best (and only) vacation i've had since i was a sophomore in high school. i guess i don't vacation much.
so then we were back to Bremerton for our reception there, which was absolutely GORGEOUS! loved it!! then we were driving back down to provo to move into our new apartment!
It took a few days to get everything in order, but we finally did! and it's amazing! we have couches and a dresser from my grandpa, a brand new bed that we got a deal on through my brother, an amazing new HDTV hooked up to my stereo, lots of amazing kitchen stuff, a bookshelf, and lots of decorations. i love it! it's perfect for the two of us.
scott started school and i started looking around for stuff to do. quickly i landed a job at a local grocery store as a cashier. i'm basically over qualified (like HUGELY over qualified) for the job, but it's something to do and even though i don't enjoy it very much i'm grateful for it. but i'm still looking for something better.
i also LEGALLY changed my name to Daly. so i'm official now! and i got my diploma in the mail! yahoo!
but now we're back... back to the real world. i have work and scott has school and his TA job. and we do the best we can. we're doing great. sometimes it's hard because we don't see each other all day because he gets up before i do and i come home late at night when all we can do is collapse on the bed and fall asleep. but we're managing. i hope my next job i can find is somewhere that isn't open until 11pm. that would be good.
but we're falling into a routine now. we say prayers and read scriptures in the mornings, and we read Harry Potter before we go to bed. :D it's pretty awesome.
all in all, married life is awesome. i'm so lucky to be with my best friend all the time. i'll spare you the mushy-gushy stuff, as well as the details about the wedding. you can ask for them if you like, but i don't think they need to be posted here. be it sufficient to say that i am happy that i chose to marry Scott. and i always will be.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Session numero DOS

So... it's been a while since i've posted. blame the jungle internet and the limited amount of MB we had to use on our internet on the first place.

the second session really flew by! instead of having anthropology peoples at the field school, the second session was full of ethnobotany peoples! they were much more nerdy and fun to talk to :D we had a good time getting to know them! one of them, Irina, was Taiwanese! She was my mandarin-speaking pengyou. i love using chinese randomly. it's really awesome.
but the second session really went by fast! probably because it was crunch time for all of us from BYU. we had research to do after all.
so kichwa classes were getting harder, because we were so far ahead of the others... so we just finally branched off and started teaching ourselves!! which was REALLY useful. but of course we started doing this when we had 2.5 weeks left... but that's okay. we got a lot done because we were linguists teaching linguists. we know our vernacular and we know how to teach ourselves. it was pretty awesome.
but then the last week, we didn't have class so that we could just work on projects all day! but that meant that i had nothing basically to do because I WAS ALREADY DONE! that's right folks... i have officially and permanently finished my LAST research paper and readings as an undergrad!! now all i have to worry about is the Final... but i'm not terribly worried. it should be open-note and i'm pretty well versed on morphology and translation! that was my project after all! but it felt SO GOOD to be DONE!! it still does. i'm so glad it's done. ugh i just want to be done with school for a while.
basically the whole second session was just focusing on research. not much else to report. i mean we went to Tena a few more times, we had lunch at a members house, went to a baptism, went to misahualli, a few people went on the jungle hike again but i didnt. all in all, it was a wonderful amazing experience.
on the way back to quito we stopped at pailon del diablo, which is the COOLEST waterfall i've EVER seen. it was sort of a 'holy crap this thing could kill me' kind of experience.. especially crawling up the side of the gorge to get behind it. we got soaked. so totally worth it.
we also stopped at this inca ruin that was turned into a mission that is now the hacienda of the Ecuadorian President's family. it was really cool! and we got to feed llamas!! YEAHH! they're so funny. and smelly. lol
then it was quito time once again! it was sad saying goodbye to everyone... i mean i've been living with the BYU kids for 2 months! day in and day out... morning and night... it's weird not having them around. but i get to keep Liz for another week!!
so funny story... i left my american cell phone in Iyarina... so we have to go back to tena to get it. but at least they have it and i know it's not lost forever. that would be terrible. so we're just going to go back to Tena to get it and stay there for a few days. no guayaquil. but that's okay because apparently there's been some robberies in guayaquil lately. oh well. this is vacation we want as little stress as possible. but we're in cuenca at the moment and it is gorgeous! love it!!
that's about all for now... wrapping up adventures and ready to head home!!

cheers!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacation!

So we got to Guayaquil and the first thing we wanted to do after we caught up on sleep and were oriented again was go to the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guayaquil. We got there and it is absolutely GORGEOUS! there is a lodging place for people that have to travel long distance to get there and we walked around and spoke to the brother in the office, come to find out he was the bishop of Tyler's mission president! how small of a world it is... especially when you're LDS. anyway so we walked around some more, come to find out the next service in the Temple that we wanted to attend wasn't until 6pm... and it was about noon. so we walked around and looked at shops, and then a taxi driver recommended that we check out the Mall del Sol. so we went to the mall!
it's really funny after being in a "civilized" area of the country after being in the jungle for so long. totally bugless, no rivers thundering along all night, air conditioning, connection to Wifi, and shopping malls. not to mention actually being INDOORS. don't get that a lot in Napo. it's definitely a change!
but we got food, tango mcflurries, and walked around the mall! it was fun! although we discovered that Monopoly is REDICULOUSLY expensive in south america. probably because it's totally an american thing, not a south american thing. anyway so we went back to the Temple at about 430 and were there until after 8. it was absolutely incredible! it's amazing when you do something completely familiar but in another language. you pay so much more attention to the semantics, grammar, and structure, and it really gives you a whole new perspective on everything. interesting how languages do that. i love being a linguist!!!
so that was... thursday? i think. no friday. anyway so saturday we were going to go to the beach... but we had a little trouble at the bus terminal and to make a long frustrating story short and less frustrating... we missed our bus. so by that point if we had gone to the beach we'd have about an hour of sunlight left... so we went back to Nuca Pacha and met a couple of guys from Chicago who ended up going with us to downtown Guayaquil. we went to this iguana park, saw an amazing cathedral, walked around, saw the municipal palace, and walked along the boardwalk! it was rather awesome.
Sunday we tried to go to church, but the gates weren't open, sad. so we went back to the bus terminal and got on a bus to Ambato, which was about 4.5 hours away. then from ambato we took a taxi for about 40 min to banos! and we had finally arrived! our hostel is called Transylvannia hahaha. and the people who own it are Israeli! so there is hebrew everywhere! it's awesome! and the people here are very nice. today we went and hiked a waterfall, strolled around town, saw this cathedral which is equally awesome, and explored town. i got a HAMMOCK! and it's BEAUTIFUL! i'm so excited. happy 4th of july!!! tonight we're hoping the rain will stop so we can go on the volcano hike. how epic would that be? but it's awful rainy at the moment so i'm not keeping my hopes up...
anyway! i can't believe it's already monday! time is flying fast! before i know it i'll be back at the field school complaining about Quichwa class. but for now, life is awesome.

Cheers!!!

Tena to San Pedro to Quito to Guayaquil

Monday for FHE we packed and watched Walle for our activity. tuesday we had breakfast and got on the bus. it was a long drive to piqualqul... we went up through the cloud forests again which was really awesome! it is so absolutely beautiful up here. especially where the jungle meets the mountains. everything is so colorful and alive! everywhere you look is thick green, spotted with yellows, oranges, whites, blacks, and reds, and the sky is impossibly blue. and then you get up over the mountains and you can see for miles and miles and miles. it's amazing. we got to our "hotel" which used to be a mission/farm. so there were stables and chickens and pigs and horses and llamas we went exploring of course. we were all wound up from being on a bus all day, so we ran around and played games and build a cheerleader pyramid just because... anyway and of course we read pride and prejudice and zombies out loud in funny accents. which is wayyy more entertaining than it should be. :D it was such a blast. my room was bunkbed and a single with rose and liz, but the guys from BYU all had the same room! all 5 of them! two bunks and a single! i don't know how they all fit in there and managed not to kill each other. hahaha. but anyway after dinner we went to town and took a look around. there were shops and we saw the first music/dance of the san pedro hiesta which was the whole reason we were up there anyway. we all got hats because everyone wears hats during the festival and some of the men wear chaps too! they're covered in either goat skin or llama skin and they look really funny if you ask me but hey it's cultural. the dancing is sort of like a parade and there's this shuffle step and you twirl your skirt around if your'e a girl :D but more on that later. we went back to the plaza and huddled around the street fires. it was cold! well cold for us. it was probably 45 but the humidity and elevation make it seem really cold. okay so now on to wednesday!
so we got up and basically had no idea what was going on... but we got down to breakfast and got our costumes! it's like a white linnen shirt that's embroidered for the guys and a similar thing for the girls but with these ridiculous pleated skirts. so finally we were on our way to the san pedro hiesta. we'd been invited to dance/march/sing for the piqualqui people because they're a quichwa speaking community and know Dr. Swanson. anyway so we get all geared up and then the parade goes on and on and on and on and ON. seriously at least 2.5 hours of dancing/ marching in the street, watching people get progressively drunker. there were also a few gringos from Seattle state or something that were freaking OBNOXIOUS. and they were really disrespectful when they were sober, and the more booze they consumed... basically all of us, even Professor Tim, wanted to punch them. but whatever. so we walked and walked and walked and walked and it was super hot and sunny, but it was okay. and then we got toward the end and all of us were just totally conked out. but it wasn't over yet. there's like a competition or something? so we had to dance/march for the judges and so while we were waiting i had this wonderful long conversation with this eucadorian woman and her husband in spanish about the program we were on from BYU. it was awesome!!! they said i spoke very well :D heh heh heh i'm remembering spanish really well now. which is funny because 5 weeks ago i couldn't say anything but chinese! i can't believe how much it has come back! it's amazing!!! so then we danced one last time and the girls totally got sprayed with beer which was totally gross and smelly, but whatever. and then we were FINALLY done and we sat down to eat lunch... and it started hailing..... grrrrr. but we drove back to our hotel place and got changed and got back on the road to Quito. yayyy. all of us slept on that bus ride we were so exhausted. then we got to quito and had dinner with everyone and then we got the details as to which bus we wanted to go on and we found a good one that the woman at the hotel said was really safe and we had hot chocolate and tres leches cake at a panaderia and then we got on the bus!! and totally fell asleep. or at least tried to. so yeah the bus was safe as far as it was a one way no stops and they never opened the bottom so your stuff was never lost... but ecuadorians are FREAKING CRAZY DRIVERs. i was glad i was trying to sleep because i was afraid to open my eyes anyway... but we made it alive. that's for sure. and we're all bone tired. so we got to our hostel and come to find the people that run it are european... and they all speak english! WHOA that totally threw me off. anyway but this place is totally bomb! there's a pool, laundry, wifi, we can cook in the kitchen (david and i are very excited about this) it's in a good area of town, they speak english (for rusky and joey who only speak russian and portuguese) AND it's 15 a night. which is pretty awesome! so i'm going to do some laundry because some of my clothes are still nasty from the hike. and then probably take a nap... but i uploaded some pictures becuase their internet is way better and so you should look at them soon! i know you're at work so i'll send you a quick note to your work email and tell you this is waiting for you when you get home :D i love you sooooo incredibly much babe! oh my goodness. so much. i'm having so much fun! we'll probably go to the temple tomorrow and for today we're just hanging around. the guys some are sleeping and some are walking around seeing what there is. WE SAW A DOMINOS PIZZA!!! we might have to hit that up before we go. but tonight we'll probably cook because cooking is awesome and david and i miss it ALOT. it feels good to be in charge of my life again... and not dictated to by the school that is entirely unorganized... anyway! let the amazingness of Guayaquil begin!

Monday, June 27, 2011

the Jungle Hike

We left around 2 to start the hike. It was AWESOME. We saw so many beautiful things!! We were in huge rubber boots and pants and packs, and we all got soaked at least to the waist. Some people got soaked head to toe...more on that later. But we saw lots of cool stuff as we waded in the river. Lots of water falls! One waterfall you could climb into and the pool that fed the flow was deeper than Kevin is tall! So about 6 feet deep! He climbed up there and dunked to establish this as truth. Then a few other people tried. Chelsea got scratched up but she made it and so did lauren! It was hilarious!! And then we kept walking. It was overcast, so it was pretty dark the whole way… I started feeling like the sunscreen I had put on was rendered useless by the leaves. The jungle is so amazing, it’s like going back in time to a place where tribal people were running around. It was mostly virgin forest, so Joaquin, our “trail boss” had to pave most of the way with a machete. But at long last, we saw the nurses and the Nuckolls in a pool and we knew we had arrived. (they took the shortcut the killya sikis)

So we set up camp, and went down to the pool for a dip in the water. It was cold! But so much fun! There was a rock face sticking up and a little mini waterfall going down into deeper water… needless to say we did a LOT of jumping off of that rock face. It was so awesome! And so is slopping around in the mud in bare feet! We went back up when we were too cold and got changed and played a few games of banana grams before dinner. After dinner we played more games, and more games, and more games. We had cards, we had banana grams, and we had phase ten, not to mention all the mind and puzzle games we could think of that didn’t require cards. The gazebo type thing we were sleeping in was really hard… and we all only had one blanket and a sheet that we hiked in ourselves. No one slept well. It’s like fall asleep on your side, wake up, hip hurts, roll over, go to sleep, wake up, other hip hurts, roll onto back, go to sleep, wake up, back is aching, and start the whole process over again. I tried sleeping on my stomach but then I woke up because my arms were totally asleep. But all of us had the same problem. So it wasn’t so bad. I will definitely sleep well tonight!

The next morning we played more card games waiting for breakfast, then we went on another hike, this was supposed to be shorter, but it was definitely longer and harder than the hike in. but it was way cool! Joaquin showed us around and showed us different types of medicinal trees etc. there is this vine that grows that makes a great poison for monkeys. Another tree that tastes like Tylenol. Trust me. We tried it. OH and ants that taste like lime! Yes I ate one. Aren’t you so proud? Also there is this sort of bamboo that is related to sugar cane, but it’s REALLY sour. We had fun sucking on that.

There was this huge vine that apparently they use to tie canoes together with, it was HUGE and really smooth and slippery, so of course we all had to try to climb it. So I didn’t get very far, but i'm better at rock climbing... so there. It was super hard! And I got a few bruises and scrapes to prove I’m tough :D

So after that hike, we all shuffled back to camp and played a few games before lunch. We were all SUPER worn out and the sun was coming out, which makes it death-hot in the jungle, and more so on the road where there’s nothing to cover you. so we took the short way back to camp. But that meant 2.3 miles on the black top trying to get back to the compound… which was absolutely miserable. I almost got heat exhaustion because I was in my heavy and slightly wet jeans and those stupid rubber boots, which are great for the forest but not really for anything else. Anyway eventually Todd came along in his pickup and rescued us, but when we only had the .3 miles left lol. But then we had to quick wash our boots and change because we were going to monkey island! Okay it’s not actually called that… it’s called Malecon or something. But the town has this law about not harming the Capuchin monkeys (think Dexter from Night at the Museum) Which means that the monkeys were EVERYWHERE. It was really cool, though. But you had to be careful because they’ll steal stuff from you. Margaret almost lost her soda, but we blocked her in time, if rose hadn’t had her camera safety cable around her wrist, it would’ve been gone, and David had a roll of bread taken from his hand… but David did it on purpose because he wanted a monkey to take something so close to him. Although Kevin sat on a bench and a monkey climbed over him to hop onto a tree. It was hilarious! And one of the stray dogs that Margaret and Catherine named Sandy started rough-housing with three monkeys, it was so cute!! All of us got ice cream which was DELICOUS and this cheese-stuffed tortillas that were also really good. Much better than bugs and bark, which is most of what I had to eat before that.

all in all... it was a tiring, miserably hot, long, interesting and wonderful trip here in the amazon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kausangimi!

It's friday! my second one here at the field school! I've been in country for two weeks! Amazing! I am so, so, so glad that I speak Spanish. Okay, so I took it in High School and Middle School, but I understand a LOT, which is really really helpful. It's sort of interesting because it's like I'm learning Quichua through Spanish. Which is really interesting because I'm learning a foreign language through a foreign language that Yes, I understand pretty well, but obviously not as well as English. It's great because most people are bilingual and you can ask in Spanish how to say something in Quichua, but at the same time, often once they know you speak Spanish, they respond to you more in Spanish. Or they use Spanish to explain things when you don't automatically get it the first time around. So it's a step, but also a crutch. it's interesting.
But I finally have my research project set. and it's really something that I feel like I can accomplish while I'm down here. I'm doing a translation exercise by translating a story of how the Hiluku bird came to be. I have two recordings from two different women. So I'm going to translate both and when I'm done I'll do a comparison between variations in style and story of the two tellers. Not groundbreaking, I know, but it's entirely possible to accomplish in 6 weeks, which is basically all the time we have left.
there is about a 5 day break at the end of this month, so it looks like we're going to go to Guayaquil and go to the coast! they have PIRATE SHIP cruises. they're only an hour but how awesome is that?! Plus the Temple is down there, that would be amazing to be able to go through in Ecuador. so it should be really fun!
I really love on the weekends going to Tena, which is the town about twenty minutes from us. It's 60 cents for the bus and usually about 7 dollars for a Taxi, but there are a whole bunch of us going all at once so we split the taxi so it comes out about the same. still, we usually take the bus to Tena and take a taxi back. it works better that way. But seriously I love Ecuador. The people are friendly and ready to help (if they understand what you need anyway) the weather is GORGEOUS (we're at the tail end of winter, so it's not as blazing as i thought it would be) and i'm having so much fun with the people that i've come down here with! Best study abroad ever, pretty much. And yeah, we have a lot to do, i mean we have 3 hours of class in the morning and sometimes more class after lunch and a lecture after dinner, but it's all pretty interesting. i have a lot of things i need to read, but i'll get that done. and we have fun! We go on the River, we go to Tena, we go on hikes in the jungle, we play cards and banana grams, and we made clay pots and bowls this week! we painted them today! i'm kind of proud of mine :D we will fire them probably on Monday and glaze them too! it's just really cool!
no sunburns, if you're curious, and my bug bites are healing nicely :D
Fridays are sort of movie nights that we've established. We have a screen and a projector in the dining room for class, so last week we watched Mega Mind, which was freaking HILARIOUS, i'd never seen it before. but tonight we're going to watch How to Train Your Dragon. Last night we watched Thor, and last Saturday we watched Pirates 4 :D DVDs are super easy and cheap to get in Tena, which is super boss. although the Xmen First Class i got was in German or something... grr. oh well it was only a dollar.
anyway! that's my life right about now! There's a tarantula that lives on the bridge between my wasi and the common area, but he pretty much doesn't bother you if you don't bother him, which is good. and some bugs are the size of my face, and some are teeny tiny! it's just really interesting. but anyway until my next interesting adventure... Ali Punzha!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's wednesday right?

Day three at the Field school! I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in so short a time! It really is a break-neck pace, but I suppose that’s because we’re here for two months, and most people are only here for a month. But it’s so amazing!
Last night we went to a field to play Frisbee and soccer and ended up playing with some natives, which was so much fun! They picked up how to throw a Frisbee pretty quick, considering I don’t think they’ve ever seen one before. But on the walk there and the walk back, all I could look at were the stars. They were so beautiful, and there were so many of them! We saw the Big dipper, ursa major, the southern cross, and many others. We also tracked satellites as they were flying through the sky! We saw the milky way stretch out across the sky, and the moon was so bright we didn’t need flashlights to guide our steps. It was amazing! But then we got back to the compound and the gate was locked! So a few people scaled it and managed to get to the other side without impaling themselves and got the man with the keys to let the rest of us in. we were only slightly worried that we’d have to sleep in the jungle that night.
Anyway! Today we had an awesome culinary adventure. We were talking to this woman Elsa, who was teaching us Quichua, and someone mentioned chocolate. She immediately took us to a Cacao tree and had one of the taller guys pick a bean. She chopped it open for us and told us to suck on the seeds. They were covered in this slimy, jello-ish membrane that was white. But we all sucked on it and it was delicious! Super sweet and sour. The texture was a bit weird, but it was really tasty. She told us not to bite into it, though. That’s where the actual chocolate is and it’s super bitter. What you’re supposed to do is suck on the seeds and let them dry in the sun, and then you grind them and make chocolate out of them. Needless to say, our seeds are on a plastic bag on the ground, still drying. Although it’ll take two days she said for them to dry completely, and that’s only if it doesn’t rain.
But we learned a LOT of Quichua today, as well as a lot of ethnography and culture. Especially about shamanism. Out here, spirits are in everything. They’re in the jungle, the river, the rocks, the mountains, etc. and the mountains sort of run the circle of life. The mountain spirits only have so much goodness to share with the humans, and they replenish the suerte by killing or taking people. No kidding. When they were building the highway out here to Tena, the foreman had himself lowered into a cave to make a deal with the mountain spirit. He promised he would offer up a dozen of his men in exchange for permission to build this road. And apparently there was a landslide during construction and 13 men died. After that, building went right on schedule. Creepy, right? But people attack each other with spirit arrows. And if the person you attack is too strong, sometimes the arrows bounce off and hit someone more vulnerable, like an old person or a baby. So if you are doing too well, and receiving too many blessings and suerte from the mountains, your immediate family is a greater risk of dying, either to replenish the mountain suerte, or because of jealous spirit arrows.
It works sort of like hot water in a building. There’s only so much to go around. And so if you have to take a cold shower, you’ll blame whoever took up too much hot water. Except the water heater kills someone and that’s how it heats the water again… if that makes sense. Dr. Swanson made much more sense than I’m making. But that’s okay.
In other news, I got my first few bug bites today. Probably because I didn’t put on more bug repellant at lunch. But I’ll definitely remember tomorrow! I only have a few but they’re super itchy. It’ll feel nice to scrub them in the shower tonight. But I am doing so very well! My nicknames now include Gilly (short for Gilligan) and Paku-siki (red-butt). I was trying to say that I have red hair, but the Quichua women kept saying I have yellow hair. It’s not red, they said, this is red, pointing to my bright red binder. They don’t really have a word for orange, so I suppose yellow will have to do. Still, I find it interesting.
Anyway, I believe that is all for now, so until my next adventure, I bid you adieu.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Field School!

I'm here at the Andes and Amazon Field school! We've already seen so much, but no break for us. we dived right into classes this morning. last night we had dinner as well as a sort of orientation, and then had free time in the evening. so all us mormons got together and had FHE. this guy Eli set up a tightrope kind of thing right in front of our dorms, so we play on that every once in a while. then i went to bed, cuz i was REALLY tired. the drive from Quito to Tena was SO BEAUTIFUL!! the pictures i have do NOT do it justice. it was the most breathtaking thing i've ever seen. and i've seen a lot of things. the jungle is so beautiful, rich, and dense. the greens are so beautiful and the colors are so bright. and we're right on the river, which makes everything around us just flourish with life.
we also had the nerdiest conversation EVER in the back of the bus on the way down. basically we discussed biology, zoology, biodiversity, geology, linguistics, languages, language processes, culinary techniques, and botany. best. conversation. ever. i think everyone around us was annoyed yet impressed with our repetoir.
anyway. so this morning we had breakfast, and then a lecture for a few hours, then we had a break before and after lunch, and then our Quichua class for about three hours. now we're about to have dinner and after that a bunch of us are going up to a soccer field to play ultimate frisbee :D it's going to be AWESOME. hopefully we can get some Tangos while we're in town. that would be sweeeeet. tangos are these cookie/candy things that are SO delicious. i'm totally going to bring some home. but i might eat them all on the plane.
anyway! it's so amazing here! i'm so excited to be here! and there's so much yet to do!

until next time...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arrived!

I’m here! I’m here and it’s already so amazing!! Our plane was delayed, so I didn’t even get my bag until about midnight local time. And Customs was basically, fill out a form and put your bag on the xray machine. And that’s about it. But I was so excited when I got into the tiny terminal and saw a man with a sign that said Cate Mumford on it. At least I knew I wouldn’t have to try to catch a taxi at midnight.

There was a really nice Russian couple that was on the same charter as I was. They were really sweet. They said I was too brave for my own good. Haha. Well, I guess to them I was apparently in a third world country by myself. I was sort of worried, actually, because I figured everyone was already in bed, an di would see them at breakfast in the morning. However, as soon as the charter pulled up to my hotel, there they were: David, Matt and Tyler. They had been waiting something like two hours, but my flight had been delayed. But they made sure I knew I was in the right place. We went to bed basically right after I checked in.

And this morning we went to church! There are enough volunteers that come down apparently that there is an English Sunday school. So we went to that. Man I understand so much Spanish, but when I open my mouth I want to speak Chinese! Crazy! But church was awesome! And we made a new friend, Catherine. She’s going to play cards with us. Everyone’s changing right now and we’re going to play cards until Kevin gets here and then go get something to eat! Breakfast this morning was SO DELICIOUS!!! Fresh squeezed pineapple juice!!! And fresh fruit and granola! YUM! I’ll finish this when I get back from playing cards

OKAY! So. We waited for Kevin to come and we played Mao. It was a super intense game! And then we went to a bakery type thing for lunch/dinner and they had REALLY good bread and carne empanadas. And papas refritos. Which are like potatos, peas, and meat rolled in a ball and deep fried. SO. SO. SO good!!! So bad for you… but we’ll be eating super healthy at the field school when we leave to there tomorrow. And then we came back we started watching Sherlock Holmes on David’s computer. We haven’t finished yet, but I finally got the password for the internet so I figured I’d better use my time wisely!

Until next time I have internet and stories to tell!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Come aboard, explorers!

So, here's the deal. I'm leaving to do an amazing study abroad in Ecuador for 9 weeks. I leave tomorrow far too early in the morning. I'll arrive in Quito and start my adventure!! I will keep you posted on my Daily Escapades. And no, my title is not spelled wrong. Within ten days of me coming back to the US, my new last name will be Daly. And i think it's fun making puns about my soon to be new last name.
ANYWAY!
okay, so you may be asking yourself why on earth am i going all the way down to South America. Well. If you're asking this question, i hope you live a long and fulfilling life never crossing the borders of this nation. I, however, have a greater sense of adventure. Not only will this be an amazing chance for me. Once in a lifetime, really, since I won't be going back there at any time. This is my last hoorah before graduation and marriage. So my last big adventure on my own. We'll be in the jungles of Ecuador studying the local languages and peoples. I personally will be focusing on an ethnographic survey of placenames, inspired by the incredible ethnographer Keith Basso. If you haven't read anything by him, you really should. he's amazing. Wisdom Sits in Places is one of my very favorites.
I don't know how good of internet i'll get out there, but i will try to post at least once or twice a week if i can. I should get some good stories out of this and i hope you have fun sharing them with me!!

Welcome to the Jungle. no. literally. that's where i'm going.