Program picnic!

21 Aug

Yesterday we were invited to attend a picnic hosted by the new University president at her home. Since she is still remodeling, wasn’t that lovely of her?  We had pork sandwiches, Cole slaw and a baked potato dish.  Delish! :-)

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Leaving Iowa

19 Aug

Hi everyone! Sorry for being such an absent friend recently.  Honestly, packing and preparing for the move was absolutely crazy ~ 6 weeks of garage sales and two weeks of all-nighters packing and cleaning and preparing items for storage.  Even so, I don’t think things actually got real until the girl walked away with my bed.  Then for the next week, I was living off the floor ~ sleeping on pillows and makeshift blankets. Between that and no internet since July 31, I was soooo ready to hit the road :)  It has been just mind and body-exhausting! 0_0  

We finally finished everything after 72 hours straight working on what was left and we headed out of Iowa City at 4:06 in the morning.  Lol, we were so exhausted we kept having to change drivers to keep ourselves awake. . . we were playing a question game and it took my mom 16 minutes to think through “What is your favorite flower” even though she’s worked with them all her life.  :P  

Then, after an 8 hour drive, we arrived yesterday in Fort Hays, Kansas at the local Sleep Inn.  It’s a lovely hotel, has a swimming pool, hot tub, and we even got a room with a lovely little sitting area ~ perfect for finishing up the last minute law and personal chores before leaving the country.  

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One of which includes finding out how to get my medication (got too busy to buy it before).  Anyone know whether you can buy Zantac (Ranitidine), Claritin (Loratidine) and Benedryl in China?  If not, I’ll just pick some up in Wal-Mart tomorrow or the next day. :) 

On a related note, you should see how much we brought with us still.  The pile is so enormous, I took a picture for posterity! 20140818_171517_resized

 

We finally moved down from a filled 3-bedroom home to a truck full coming from Iowa to Missouri. Then we met up with my aunt and further compacted everything into a jeep.  Now, I have to figure out how to narrow it all down to just two suitcases and a carry on. 

A little worried about the carry on, since we are flying with Air China which has a 11 lb limit on the carry on.  I’ll probably be over, but I’ve been told that they are not as rigid about that rule as long as you can pick it up and fit it into the overhead container.  Here’s to crossing our fingers. . . . :)

We were very happy to get our VISAs and Passports on time last week; several members of the team have yet to receive theirs and they are slowly panicking.  We’ve been told though that everything should work out.  Apparently, a whole bunch of people supposed to prepare and sign the papers for the VISAs went on vacation and it took a little longer than expected to get everything working again.  Still, mom and I have ours so we are ready and raring to go!

We leave Hays, Kansas on August 22 and take a bus down to Denver. Then our Flight Schedule is:

  • Denver to Washington DC (August 23, 8:18 am – August 23,1:40 pm) on United Airlines 1297.
  • Washington DC to Beijing (August 23, 5:00 pm – August 24, 6:40 pm) on Air China 818.
  • Beijing to Zhengzhou (August 24, 9:30 pm – August 24, 11:05 pm) on Air China 1331.

If you look at a flight map, you’ll see that our DC-Beijing flight actually goes over the Arctic!  Mom and I have tickets that are a little unique from the rest of the group since they ran out of space for four of us on the plane that the majority are taking on the evening of the 22nd.  So the four of us get to spend the night in a hotel and then start off early the next morning which should be pretty nice.  

Can’t wait for the exciting moment of stepping onto the plane!  I’ll post photos and keep everyone updated! :)

 

 

Why I Want to Live Abroad Again

10 Aug Featured Image -- 3943

Originally posted on Travel Morgan Travel:

Moving to a new place is never easy. It isdifficult and presents challenges youdid not know were possible. Sometimes youstruggle to make new friends oryou have difficulty fitting into thenew workplace. The literal move itself is never easy! Moving town to town lugging every prized (or let’s face it, not so prized possession) in the trunks of yourcars only to find that the new home was not as big as imagined.

But then something happens.

That one coworker who you’ve talked to at the coffee machine asks you to get a real coffee at Starbucks, or better yet, you get the courage to ask them and they say yes! Then there’s the day when your job isn’t that monster looming under your bed but a welcomed routine to your new life. All twenty-seven boxes containing your prize possessions have finally worked their way into the new nooks and crannies.

The…

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Art I Love: Hosta Leaf and Flower Bowl Serving Set

7 Aug

“Hosta Leaf and Flower Bowl Serving Set” by Lee Wolfe Pottery

Available Here

(Right now the site says the Flowers are sold out, just the leaf is available for $26)

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Rooftop Goats!

6 Aug

Originally posted on A Life Savored:

Goat

In a small town in Door County Wisconsin, along Lake Michigan, there is a small store/restaurant that has one of the roofs with grass growing on top.  Way up on the roof, they keep goats, who wander around looking at the people below.  I love the concept!

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International Shipping

4 Aug

The question of what to move in suitcases and what to ship later has risen several times on the FB page for my new Teaching Abroad friends.  But I also remember it coming up when I was studying abroad as well, especially for students living abroad for more than a couple of weeks.  

This is what I have gathered about shipping with USPS:

USPS will allow you to send the Large and Medium Flat Rate boxes up to 20 lbs and Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate boxes up to 4 lbs (weight is the maximum; some countries have weight restrictions limiting you to a smaller allowance).   More information is available at the USPS website for International Shipping.

Services include shipment to over 180 countries.  

Flat Rate costs (to anywhere outside of Canada:

  • Envelope ~ $24.75
  • Small Box ~ $24.75
  • Medium Box ~ $61.75
  • Large Box ~ $80.50

Random Tips:

  • More information about individual countries’ restrictions are available here.
  • It’s cheaper to send 2 small boxes than 1 medium. 
  • Pack it as full as you can possibly get it (within the weight limit)
  • You can find the boxes online or at the post office.  
  • Pricing Guide available here.

Hitchhiking in Italy: The Worst Travel Decision I Ever Made

3 Aug

Hitchhiking in Italy: The Worst Travel Decision I Ever Made

by Glynnis MacNicol via “Yahoo News

There I was, age 19, exactly 24 hours after setting out on a three-month tour of Europe, walking along the narrow shoulder of a busy freeway on the outskirts of Naples — then considered the most dangerous major city in Western Europe — bent under the weight of my backpack and the near-paralyzing fear that I would not live to see the sunrise. It was the middle of the night. My friend Angie and I had just been unceremoniously dumped from the cab of a transport truck onto the side of a busy exit ramp and left to fend for ourselves.

From the start, it had been one of those episodes that, if it had gone another way, would have been the sort of headline-making story fellow travelers shake their heads at in an “obviously, this is what happens when you’re an idiot” way and parents brandish as a dire warning to children setting out to travel for the first time.

Hitchhiking in Italy: The Worst Travel Decision I've Ever Made (Shocker, I Know!)

(Photo: Thinkstock)

In my own defense, the one good thing I can say about the worst travel day of my life is that I got all of my stupid out in 24 hours.

It was May 1994, and after living and working in England for six months on a working holiday visa, my friend Angie and I decided to spend the summer backpacking around Western Europe. We had in our possession overly stuffed backpacks, one tent, and a copy of Lonely Planet’s guide to Western Europe (the first edition having just been released a few months earlier).

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A dog-eared copy of the author’s Lonely Planet guide. (Photo: Glynnis MacNicol)

We planned to give new meaning to its “on a shoestring” tagline with about $1,500 in traveler’s checks between us, plus one emergency credit card each with an individual spending limit of $1,000. Instead of planning out a route, we opted to meet at Gatwick airport, find the cheapest flight, and buy a one-way ticket, which, after 36 hours of hanging out in the terminal, is exactly what we did — to Corfu, Greece.

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20 Reasons Why You Should Visit India

2 Aug

Originally posted on Student Ramblings:

20 Reasons Why You Should Visit India”

by Katie C via “Lost Girls

When I first informed people that I would spend a semester studying abroad in Kolkata, they usually didn’t understand why I would want to go to India. They would have that polite yet bemused expression, suggesting India was not a reasonable place to visit for an extended period of time.

As I explained why I wanted to go–the challenge of experiencing a completely different culture– many people still didn’t comprehend why I would want to go to an overcrowded, impoverished, hot, polluted, and culturally confusing country. I can see their point. That version of India certainly does exist, but so does another: cosmopolitan cities, a rich and fascinating history, delectable cuisine, impressively beautiful arts and monuments, and so much more.

Since arriving in India, I have fallen in love with this complex country for…

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Fashion I ❤: Po Campo Midway Weekender

31 Jul

As a frequent traveler, I’m always looking for well-designed, fashionable pieces of luggage.  And this new bag from Chicago fashion designer Maria Boustead is absolutely darling.  It is apparently intended for gym goers or sports enthusiasts with an expandable side strap to hold a jacket or yoga mat and a separate compartment on the bottom for shoes.

 I personally would be more inclined to simply use it as an easy overnight bag when traveling.  This would have been so helpful when I was traveling and then instantly on the move in Busan or during my overnight layover at the airport hotel.  Having something stylish available to carry a cute set of clothes and shoes and then later your travel clothes when you don’t have time to stop and drop things off at the hotel would be really helpful!  

The Po Campo Midway Weekender

“The Midway Weekender is ready for life’s travels, both big and small.”

There are three colors, all available on AMAZON:

 

BLACK ~ $94.94

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Purse 1

BLUE AND WHITE STRIPE ~ $91.20

 

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Purse 3 Purse 2

 

BROWN ~ $86.45

Bar Exam Upload Failure

29 Jul

So as most of you taking the bar exam are aware by now, the Examsof software and website is crashing all over the country.  At present, states I’ve heard about problems from include:

  • Iowa
  • Texas
  • Connecticut
  • Utah
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Rhode Island
  • Ohio
  • New York
  • Florida

and others.  

Personally, I didn’t take this exam so I haven’t gone through this problem with the rest of you.  But I do have a lot of my law school year’s classmates who are currently discussing their problems and results on Facebook.  In case it helps someone else, here is what we’ve gathered:

  • Samples of the problems being experienced: 
    • Website crashing
    • ExamSof itself crashing during the Test
    • Error Messages Appearing when takers attempt to upload their test answers. 
    • Conflicting emails and messages about whether or not tests have been uploaded. 
    • Problems with one test uploading and not another.
    • Reports that some tests have actually been lost (unverified ~ this was hearsay from someone who heard someone)
    • Attempts using Auto-load stop working when the option quits appearing.
    • Attempts using the Manual upload stops working when the page won’t load.

 

  • People tried calling Examsof, it took hours to get through if they got past the busy signal or got an answer at all.  Calling doesn’t seem to be worth the time.
  • They so far haven’t been responding to Emails, Chat Questions, or Technical Support calls.
  • The few people who got responses to Facebook comments on the ExamSof Website were told that ExamSof was working as quickly as possible to mend the situation.  They also said not to worry because all the tests are stored on your computer, and can simply be uploaded later.  

At this time several of my friends have finally gotten their tests to upload. Here is how they did it:

  • Repeated attempts over and over until something worked.  
  • Keep attempting Auto-Upload until that option disappears. If it works, good. If the option disappears and you still haven’t uploaded, manual up-load is your only option.
  • Visiting: Examsoft.com/manup and signing in (repeated attempts eventually worked)
  • Verifying that it worked.

What I’ve taken away from what I’m hearing:

  • Just keep attempting to make it work. Most people who got through did because they were patient and just kept trying.  Apparently letting things just keep loading instead of refreshing the page every few minutes is key.
  • The state bar associations are aware of the situation.  So don’t panic yet, they know something is wrong.  
  • Just leave your test answers closed and keep attempting to upload them. 
  • Save all the emails regardless of whether they say failure or confirmation just to show you made the effort. 
  • If you get failure emails after the confirmation emails, it appears that they did load successfully.  Not positive about that, but that’s what I’m hearing.  Calling ExamSof later and verifying is probably the way to go.
  • If it still isn’t working. Stop.  Sleep. Try in the morning. Tell Exam Coordinators. Then try again in the afternoon. Before all other things, sleep and rest.  Stop stressing.  You have to make it through tomorrow, and it is all going to be fine.  

GOOD LUCK!

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