A Different Road….

One of the most difficult decisions I have had to make, came once I finished my physical therapy after my back surgery and the doctor cleared me to go back to normal. Do I apply to return to my Peace Corps service in Indonesia? Or, do I forge ahead and take a different road in life? After seeking advice from many people and getting comments about how I am “Not a Spring Chicken any longer” or how my “baby bearing days are almost at an end” I decided to think about my decision and come up with a plan that was best for me. All I knew at the time was that after being in pain and having limited movement from May 2012 to January 2013, It was time to take action and get my life jump started. After much debate, tears of frustration, and talking to other Peace Corps Volunteers and friends, I made the decision NOT to go back to Indonesia, and try to start my life here in the States. My best friend Emily (We banded together in College when we sat next to each other in an African American Lit class with a teacher that didn’t really appreciate our thoughts and views, and have been best friends ever since) told me that she had talked to her parents about my staying in the States and wanting to start fresh, and they were kind enough to make me the offer to move up to Chicago and stay with them while I looked for a job and got on my feet. There would be no rush, and I could take my time looking for a job that I actually wanted. After thinking about it and weighing out all of my options, I decided to take them up on their extremely generous offer and moved up to Illinois smack dab in the middle of winter in January.

Jacket

Where I am living in the suburbs of Chicago is pretty amazing. I am getting used to the cold out here, though there are days that I look like an Eskimo when I go outside. We have tons of farm fields out here and wide open spaces. Every time I take a drive, I can’t get over how pretty it is out here. There are also tons of birds of prey around here. I see hawks and falcons every day. Harry and Libby (Emily’s Parents) took me to go Eagle watching a few weeks back. It was pretty amazing. We bundled up and went out to one of the dams in the area. There were about 5 bald eagles in the tree, and we watched as they flew around and swooped into the water to catch fish. There were a ton of people out there taking pictures with these amazingly awesome cameras and lenses. I WANT ONE! Maybe one of these days I will be out there with them. We have gotten a couple of snow storms and are due for another this week, but nothing too terrible. Its giving me good practice for the future winters. I even went out and shoveled the walkway (it seems just plain wrong to sweat that much when there is so much snow all around you).

Neighborhood

I am not that far from the city. I live probably 5 – 10 minutes from the train station, and just take that right in to downtown. That being said I have only been into the city a few times. I went a few weeks ago for a night out with my friend Travis. We went to an underground circus show that totally blew my socks off. The people were beyond talented and it was absolutely breath taking. I can’t even imagine the stamina and training it takes to do the things that they were able to do… tight rope walking, trapeze, ribbons. etc. Absolute craziness. But it was an AMAZING time and we had a lot of laughs.

Circus2

Circus1

I also started the craziness that is Job Searching. There is nothing that stresses me out more than having to sit down and search for a job. Its not just looking for a job that doesn’t sound like I would want to scratch my eyeballs out while working, it is the nervous wreck I become while I sit and wait for a call back, or go for an interview. I always wonder why haven’t I heard back from anyone? Am I not qualified for a job that I felt like a monkey could do? So needless to say I have been a little stressed and irritable. That being said, I did find a job, and even though it seems like it took FOREVER, it didn’t take that long… maybe a month total. I was hired at Mooseheart Child City and School as a Family Teacher. Mooseheart is a residential childcare facility, located on a 1,000-acre campus west of Chicago. Its a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school. The position requires me to live on campus in one of the homes of the kids. I will be there to help the kids with every day life problems. homework, teaching them how to do every day chores and tasks, learn responsibility, how to do laundry, banking, etc. The goal is to teach them the skills they will need to survive after graduation when they are on their own. I will be working in the boys community. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I start mid March, and have to go through 3 weeks of training before I take on responsibilities at the house. This is exactly the kind of job I was hoping to find. I am still striving to do good, and help kids in need. That to me makes the perfect career, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to start my new life.

Moose Statue on Campus

Moose Statue on Campus

Also new… after over 2 years of growing my hair out naturally and not having anyone touch it (not even a trim) I decided to go and get my hair trimmed to remove the split ends and help it grow. To cut my hair they had to flat iron it straight. I love how it looks. It is tempting me to permanently straighten my hair.

Straight Hair

So my new journey has started here in Illinois… Lets hope this one is successful and fulfilling.

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If I Had A Stun Gun

Sooooo…. recent frustrations with the Peace Corps…. have led me to my current blog post. So as many of you know, I am waiting for surgery on my back. I have been home and basically unable to get around and function like a normal human (being able to shower on your own) since May 5th. So waiting and going through all of the proper channels…. 1)Physical Therapy for 4 weeks, 2) medical separation from the Peace Corps, 3) submitting an application with the Peace Corps Post Service Medical Unit and trusting them to submit my application to the Department and Labor and FECA with supporting documentation so that I can be granted coverage and authorization for surgery. I have done all of this. 4) I have made follow up phone calls where Peace Corps PSU has said “Yes, everything has been submitted and is currently waiting approval.” I got a letter from the Department of Labor saying that they have received my claim. So thinking that this was all now taken care of, I followed up with the Department of Labor to see if they could give approval for my surgery, and the very nice lady on the phone says, “Well, we received your application, and we assigned you a case number, but we have nowhere near enough information to approve anything much less surgery.” To that I was like… “Peace Corps said that they were going to forward over my application and supporting medical records. Did you not get those?” Silence greeted me and then the dreaded, “Ummmm, we honestly only received 5 pages faxed over.” Now, my brain starts working and I know that I faxed over exactly 5 pages to the Peace Corps. 4 were my application to DOL and 1 was a personal statement from me about my accident. Peace Corps was then supposed to attached the statement from the surgeon I have been seeing stating my need for surgery, and all the records from my treatment with Peace Corps. All of that should have been a hell of a lot more than 5 pages! So I asked, “What exactly do you have?” “Well, we have the DOL application and your statement, and a statement from the Peace Corps Post Service Unit Nurse.” After I saw red, I nicely thanked the lady and assured her that I would contact Peace Corps and get the needed paperwork over to them as soon as possible. The lady on the phone was very nice and assured me that once they had all of the paperwork they would process everything as quickly as possible.

So upon getting off of the phone I called Peace Corps where I had to leave a message… I was so angry that I ended up stuttering (scary right?) through the whole thing. So I followed that up with an e-mail (because I can apparently sound scarier via e-mail than on the phone) to the office to which I got the lovely reply..

Greetings Ms. Williams, 

Thank you for contacting the Post Service Team. We are always here to provide all the support you need for your post service benefits. Your request has been forwarded to the PSU nurse for review.

Sincerely, 

Post Service Unit for Peace Corps- Office of Medical Services

Are you kidding me?! Is this your response?! I hope the nurse has something wonderful to say when she e-mails me back. I am hoping that this is just a case where all of the paperwork was sent it just isn’t all where it needs to be at the moment??? (Anyone have Rose Colored Glasses I can borrow?)

So anyhow… that leads me to my frustrations and the want / urge for a stun gun. How great would it be if stunning stupid or annoying people were perfectly acceptable and not frowned upon??? I don’t want to permanently injure anyone. But at the moment there is something satisfying about the idea of carrying a stun gun around with me and letting everyone feel my frustration… Example 1… going to the store and buying female necessities… and having a young male cashier…. and you hear him mutter under his breath or stupidly say “Oh..Heavy Flow Maxi Pads and Chocolate….” STUN GUN! Flop like a fish and feel my FRUSTRATION! Or Example 2… when you go to the airport and the person in front of you takes an hour to remove their laptop and shoes but forgets his belt, causing the alarm to go off and the rest of us to be stuck waiting longer than necessary! STUN GUN! Flop like a fish and feel my FRUSTRATION! Or when my grandmother comes to check on me and says, “Oh no, Angela, Pop Tarts and Cookies…??? I am not gonna say anything, but you aren’t getting any smaller…” STUN GUN!!!!! (Just kidding.. I would never actually Stun Gun my grandmother…. but I might think about it… sometimes…)

I think you get my point.

Sooo… if anyone has any pull with deities of a higher power, please put in a good word for me and my stun gun. Please and Thank You.

Back in America

So the past few weeks have been one unexpected thing after another… and the icing on the cake was me being medically evacuated because the injury to my back took a turn for the worst and my ability to walk was becoming more and more impaired. I apparently have two herniated discs that are severely pressing on the never in my spinal column… which is affecting the use of my whole left side. So after 36 hours of traveling and layovers I am now back in Florida with my family.  The goal is to have surgery, physical therapy, and return to full recovery in 3-6 months. Then I will return to Indonesia to complete my service.  I am currently waiting to hear back from the surgeon about an appointment to go over my MRIs and get a game plan going.

Being home is completely strange. I am loving seeing my family, but I am completely out of touch with everything. Its funny how amazing things seem to me right now…. The most was the Krups coffee maker that is in the kitchen. Does it get any better than that?  I am still dealing with not knowing which side of the road I am supposed to be on (its a good thing no one will let me drive), and major jet lag, but I think I will get the hang of everything in time.

I forgot how much I missed toaster ovens, microwaves, pantries of ready to eat food, and hot showers! I feel like I am on vacation at a 5 star resort!

So I will keep everyone posted on the progress to all of this and will start photo journaling my recovery…. (maybe.. if i don’t look too terrible after my surgery).

Last Outing

At the moment I am listening to my ‘Best of the 80‘s’ playlist… Should I be ashamed that I am rocking out to ‘Footloose’? Definitely. But I am gonna own it and admit that after that I am totally going to sing ‘Keep Me Hanging On’ while dancing around my room. You know you want to join in.  (Oh incidentally, they are remaking the movie ‘Footloose’ and morbid curiosity is going to make me watch it! If anyone wants to admit to seeing it, please tell me how wonderfully terrible it is. I can only hope that Kevin Bacon is somewhere in that movie!)

So on to the good stuff….Vacation… I love vacation! This vacation was particularly special. I went to Yogyakarta and didn’t do anything. It was an amazing experience. I slept, ate, walked a bit, slept, and ate some more. There was no rush to get anywhere. It was absolutely wonderful. But besides being able to bask in my laziness, it was also special because it was the last time that Andy and I would be able to have one of our infamous outings. Andy and I decided to take the train to Yogyakarta because it takes about half of the than the bus and is a lot more comfortable. We met at the station at 8:30 for our 9:30 train. We sat, talked, and watched the trains come in and out. We tried to listen to the announcements on the loudspeaker but listening to announcements that sounds like a drive thru intercom system (only in Indonesian) made it impossible to really know what was going on. A train came in at about 9:00 and we looked at it, looked at our watches, and continued talking. Then our train came in and we got on it. As we boarded and made our way to our seats we noticed a couple in our seats. Upon talking to the porter and couple we found out that the train we watched pull in and leave at 9:00 was the one we were supposed to be on. YAY!

Me: Why is it always something when we travel together!?

Andy: At least we can’t say traveling together is dull.

So we missed our train and needed to find a new way to get where we were going. Andy is very charming and was able to get us on a train 2 hours later, but we would have to sit in the workers section. We took it and then wasted two hours having lunch. Our ride in the workers section was hot as can me. We were dripping in sweat by the time we got to our destination. But we got there… which was the important thing.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We walked through markets and ate street food. On one of our afternoon walks Andy stopped short:

Andy: There is a Rasta shop!

Me: Where?

Andy: Over there! We are so going in!

Me: We are?

With that Andy led the way in. We were greeted by a Indonesian with dreadlocks (that was the first for me).  A plethora of hemp shoes, pot leaf stickers, and Bob Marly T-shirts and CDs greeted us when we walked in. Andy saw these huge hats and convinced me that I needed one

Andy: You need a hat! Its big enough to fit your fro in!

So we tried on hats and finally picked one and proceeded to walk around Indonesia in a heavy knitted hat. Brilliant.

We also got real coffee and donuts, found a place to get pasta and ice cream, sat in our room and looked out the window, and listened to terrible songs that made us laugh: “I’m sexy and I know it” and “Peacock”while we played cards and backgammon. I mopped up the floor with Andy in one game of Backgammon and then I lost every game after that.

And I proceeded to sing “I’m sexy and I know it” every day while taking a shower.

Andy: You are ridiculous Angela!

Me: Don’t playa hate!

Andy: I think that was the most ghetto you have ever been…

Me: Yeah, it didn’t feel right at all! I kinda feel dirty now.

It was a wonderfully low key vacation, and I am very sad that it is over. Andy goes back to the States in 3 and 1/2 weeks and I am going to miss him dearly. Who else am I going to have disastrous travel experiences or eating adventures with?

When it Rains it Pours

I just took three ibuprofen trying to ebb the tension headache that is pounding behind my eyeballs.  So while I wait for my skull to return to normal I am going to do a little therapeutic blogging. To say that the past couple of days have been emotionally draining would be a drastic understatement. I have cried in the privacy of my room for two days. I have gone between anger, sadness, and calm reserve on a roller coaster ride that has left my nerves shot.  So What happened? What happened to all of my positive “You can do anything talk?” That hasn’t gone away completely, but sometimes it gets hard to keep the positive going when you are hit with one thing after another… and the feeling like you are drowning takes over.

I take pride in my work. I want to excel at what I do, no matter what it is. I want people to walk around and say “hey that girl has her stuff together!” I am my worst critic, and I tend to view even constructive criticism as a negative. Is that rational? No not at all, but I never claimed to be the most level headed person in the world. That leads me to my story.

So I was sleeping off my vacation in Yogyakarta (another blog post to come) when my phone buzzed to life. It was a staff member from Peace Corps saying that she had just talked to one of my co-teachers and that she would like to talk to me. I immediately went on alert trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Upon talking to her, I found out that my co-teachers felt like I should be doing more and being a bigger resource to them and their teaching methods. I immediately got angry. I am a decent teacher. I love my kids, they enjoy their class time with me. What was she talking about that I wasn’t doing enough!? Then I thought about all the meetings I tried to hold that were canceled and all of the ideas I have presented that were not deemed acceptable… and my anger just grew. Then I thought about how my co-teacher and friend went directly to Peace Corps to voice her complaints instead of talking to me directly… and my anger grew. Now I am the type of person that when I get really angry… I cry. I don’t know why, but I always have. And I am the type of person that tends to freak out first and then go back and problem solve. Its a little backwards I know, but like I said, I never claimed to be the most level headed person. So I got off the phone after my brain shorted out and I started to give clipped one word answers to the Peace Corps staff, I went to my room, and then proceeded to have the most glorious freak out of my life. When it was over and I could breathe again, I started to think about everything that was said, and really analyze the situation or situations as the case may be.

Situation 1…. Why did my co-teacher / friend go to Peace Corps instead of first talking to me about her concerns.  My first thought was that she must secretly hate me and wanted me to get into trouble. Possible… but maybe a bit melodramatic.  Then I thought about it from her point of view… She speaks English as a foreign language. And when she and I talk we do not always understand what the other person is saying. Peace Corps offers staff members that are fluent in both Indonesian and English. So it possibly could have been more comfortable for her to voice her concerns in her native language and then have Peace Corps be able to relay those to me in a way that I would understand… with nothing lost in translation. Ok. Makes sense. Am I happy about it. No. But I understand.

Situation 2…. What is the issue with my teaching skills?  First reaction was to be like.. “My teaching skills… lady what about yours!” But resorting to being a 5 year old wasn’t going to solve anything. So thinking about it all, I decided… Am I perfect? Hell no. Do I have all of the teaching answers? Definitely not even close. Can I improve on my teacher to teacher communication and lesson planning? Definitely. Does her concern say I am a terrible teacher? No. It says that she wishes that I would give her more teaching ideas and strategies. Understandable. I am only here for two years, she will be teaching much longer after I am gone. So for sustainability purposes adjustments need to be made. So I am going to push to have weekly meetings to lesson plan and talk about what our goals for the week are. We will go from there… I will hear what their expectations of me are, I will share what my expectations of them are, and we will compromise and meet somewhere in the middle. Does this whole thing suck? A little, but it can be tackled and solved.

So with all of that brainstorming I woke up this morning feeling so much better, and ready to start the day. I went to school, to plan and prepare for the radio show that I was doing with my co-teacher and a student to talk about learning English with me. I was still a little worn out, but things didn’t seem impossible.

Then my phone started buzzing this morning at 10:30 and it was Peace Corps, telling me that they would like to have a conference call with me. Again warning bells went off and I started to freak out and get sick to my stomach. So upon reading the message  they said that they would call at 11:30. I had an hour to wait and imagine the worst scenarios possible. When the phone rang I answered to discover that a couple of new issues had popped up in the middle of all of the stuff from the previous day…  1)My host mother would like me to move out and find a new place to live. I immediately felt hurt and betrayed. I thought that we had a very good and close relationship. 2) The school is a bit tired of having to pick me up every morning to bring me to school. Since I got hit by the truck I have been unable to bike to school due to the back injury. So what I thought was a good arrangement apparently is leaving people bitter that they have to be my chauffeur. Again I felt hurt and like I was a burden that no one wanted to deal with.  The tears started flowing again, this time from sadness rather than anger. And I said something that I didn’t think I would say: “I am just done. This isn’t worth it anymore.”I went home and cried in my room again. Calmed down (sort of) and then went to go talk to my host mother. She started crying as she explained that she loved me and that I am family, but the house was very crowded and all of my host siblings are preparing to move back home. So there just isn’t enough room for everyone. I told her that I understood and that I was just sad because I was really happy living with her and her family. She apologized more and I reassured her that it was ok. Then I went up to my room, and screamed “This sucks!” into my pillow.  Then I figured that I can solve both of these new issues with one move. I will move into a home closer to the school.  That way I can walk to school and my current host family has the room they need for their expanding family. It this ideal?Not at all. I hate it. I am very sad and still a little hurt that I am being booted out of what I have come to feel is my home. But I am not going to let it affect my relationship with a fantastic family…. I hope that I am able to continue to be close with them for the next year I am here.

So this brings me to my current place.. Laying in my bed with a pounding head… feeling a bit weepy, and trying to figure out if I have what it takes to hack it for another year.  I hope the answer is yes.  Though I am ready to throw in the towel I know that I have come too far now to just quit… and if I am honest… I would miss my students and Indonesia terribly.

I know you can’t always have 100% positive days. Some days just plain suck the big one. The past two days have been those kind of days. I am emotionally drained and very much frazzled, but I am hoping that tomorrow is better and this rain cloud that has settled over me starts to dry up and I can get rid of this drowning feeling.

One Year Of Living

Would it be terribly wrong to say that I don’t think my life truly started until I joined the Peace Corps? Don’t get me wrong, I was alive and surviving through the mundane existence that I had… Go to work, go home, make dinner (or get takeout), go to bed, wake up and repeat. Where my relationship status (or lack there of) constantly worried me and took its toll on my self-esteem…. and relationships that I did have always felt like something was missing from them. My favorite times were the days I got to spend with my sister and nieces. When I thought about my future and one day having kids… I asked myself, what are you going to tell your kids you did before in life? What amazing stories do you have to tell them? That made me stop and reevaluate everything. I remember being a kid and looking at the beautiful things around my house…. a gorgeous oriental wooden screen, an oriental trunk, a beautiful black and red kimono, and oriental vases that my mother had gotten when she lived in Japan. Hearing her talk about how much she loved and missed Japanese food and Japan. And seeing pictures from when she lived there. Or hearing about how when she was a kid she lived in Holland with her parents for a year (and had an Indonesian landlady), and seeing the wooden shoes, mini windmills, and cuckoo clocks they had brought back with them. I remember thinking “I can’t wait to do that.”But like so many goals it got brushed into the pile of “Wouldn’t it be nice…” things to do along with medical school, writing a book, rock climbing, and whatever other goals and aspirations I deemed myself unfit or unworthy of achieving.

Then I finally woke up and decided to do something drastic. I decided to just go for it! And I have been living ever since.

It started a year ago. I said good-bye to a less than mediocre relationship, and I said ‘see you soon’ to family and friends as I left for my new life in Indonesia.  I didn’t know what would await me, but I knew that it was going to be an amazing journey.  I left home home on April 4, 2011 and since that time these are some of my unforgettable experiences:

I got to explore Hong Kong and got to see one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.

I visited Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It was built by the Sailendra Dynasty between AD 750 and AD 850. I saw reliefs carved into the walls of that temple that were so detailed they made me gasp. I climbed to the top and saw the Volcano Merapi and saw the toll its eruption in 2006 took on Borobudur. I tried to count all of the 500 and some odd Buddha statues and carvings within its walls (I was not very successful).

I have hiked through some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in my life.

Naughty Orangutan

I have gotten felt up by an Orangutan, gotten to feed a baby elephant, and been so close to a tiger that when it hissed at me its saliva hit my hand and camera lens.

I have spent all night (13 hours) climbing a mountain just to see an amazing view and then turn around right after sunrise (without sleeping) and climb down so I could take a well needed bath and go to bed for the next two days.

And I have made friends that will have forever impacted my life.

Through these experiences and many more, I have learned that nothing in life should be deemed impossible, and that it is never too late to get started on your journey.  Do I know what I will do in a year when my service is over? Not a clue… but the possibilities are endless. (You never know what you can do until you try to do it).

Always remember, “Not all who wander are lost.”~ Tolkien

…And Your Point Was…?

Since I returned to my village after my accident I have been on a kind of house arrest. I have been allowed to go to work and then back home to rest and wait for my back to heal. The doctor said that I should expect 3-6 months before I start to feel better. So needless to say after about a month of this nonsense I started to get cabin fever really bad. Little things that I normally brush off were affecting me in a BIG way. So Andy and I had the brilliant idea to get away for a weekend and go to the Lake. Hotels there are really cheap and we could spend the weekend walking around the water, eating amazing food, and shopping at the market (all of the produce is grown right on the farms there… and you have never seen such red tomatoes or huge carrots and cabbages).

I had Friday off from teaching so I met Andy in the morning, and we quickly ran to the bank and convenience store to pick up necessities like Listerine, peanuts, Oreos (of course), soap, and our once a month can of A&W Root Beer. Then we caught our Angkot (like a mini mini bus) to take us up the mountain to the lake. We have gone to the lake many times and know that the price to get to where we were going was 15,000 Rupiah (~$2) a person. So the entire ride we had idle conversation and enjoyed the scenery on the way up the mountain. Then about halfway up there was a plateaued section. The driver stopped and said that if we wanted to go all the way up to the lake it was going to be another 10,000 Rupiah. We needless to say argued with the driver telling him that we know how much it is normally, but he was not budging on his price. I was just about the pay him the extra money when Andy said “No. We’ll just get out.” I looked at Andy in utter horror and said “We will?” “Yeah, I am not giving this guy any more money. We can walk it. It will only take about an hour.”I stupidly agreed and got out of the vehicle. The driver wasted no time and left back the way he came (Ithink he might have even chuckled to himslef). I looked around and up the road we needed to walk up, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me?’ Andy followed my line of sight and said ‘It’s only steep in this one area and then it levels out. Come on we can do it.’

So like fools we started walking up this steep incline up the mountain to the lake. To truly put it into perspective… go to south florida in July, take a treadmill and put it directly under the sun, and set the incline to its maximum level and resistance. Then start walking. After three minutes my back and butt were screaming at me and Andy kept telling me it was gonna level out any minute. We continued on this way for another 20 minutes (with me having to stop more times than I could count to catch my breath and ease the cramping in my left side).

Me: Why the hell are we walking up this damn mountain when we were in a vehicle to start with!?

Andy: Because that guy was shady and trying to rip us off.

Me: Yes he was. You know why? Because he knew only a freakin’ idiot would get out of the car and walk up this damn mountain!

Andy: Its not that bad, we are almost there.

Me: I hate you.

Andy: No you don’t.

I threw our bag from the store at him and told him he could carry it up the rest of the way. So after about another hour or so of walking…. up and incline that didn’t level out in the least we noticed that the motorcycles going up the mountain were slowing down and having a hard time keeping up momentum going up the almost vertical incline. Then a miracle happened, there was a switchback and the road got even steeper! After more cursing and reassurance that I did in fact hate Andy we continued walking.  Then a motorcycle with two teenagers on it broke down right next to us. They tried to restart but the motorcycle was having none of it on that incline. They had to get off and push, but the weight of the motorcycle, the incline of the road, and the fact that they were wearing flip flops caused them to start to slide backwards down the road.

Me: You should help them push up the hill.

Andy: Why?

Me: Because aren’t you an Eagle Scout?

Andy: What’s that have to do with anything?

Me: It’s your good samaritan duty! Now go help them.

Suckers!

Andy went and helped them push up the hill until they reached a point that was a little flatter. They were able to restart and continue on their way. Andy looked beet red in the face and was bent over heaving.

Andy: I can’t breathe and I am dizzy.

Me: Good. Now we are on the same level.

After that Andy had the brilliant idea that if we looked pathetic enough someone would stop and give us a ride the rest of the way up the mountain. It wasn’t very hard to act since were both were already drenched in sweat and bent over wanting to vomit. But every car that passed just laughed, honked, and waved and they continued to drive.

Me: Have I told you how much I hate you?

Andy: That driver was going to rip us off! I was making a point!

Me: What point was that? That we were stupid enough to walk up the mountain! Good point! We sure showed that guy!

Andy: We are not going to agree on this. I was right!

Me: No you sure as hell were not.

Andy: Lets agree to disagree

Me: Fine, but you were still wrong and this was a stupid idea.

We finally sat down ready to pass out in front of a house. This cute little girl was just staring at us completely shocked that two foreigners had stopped in front of her house. Andy said hello to her and she ran inside. She came back a couple minutes later with her mom. After talking to them for a few minutes we found that we were only about another 15 minutes of walking away and the last 10 minutes of that was completely flat. We said our goodbyes and continued. The lady was absolutely right, it leveled off and was just a easy stroll after that.

Andy: See! I told you it leveled out.

Me: I hate you.

We reached the lake over 3 hours after getting out of the Angkot…. All because of what amounted to about a dollar.

The rest of the trip was relaxing and wonderful. The view from our hotel was amazing. It overlooked the farm fields. We ate wonderful food. I went shopping in the market. We watched movies, walked around the lake, nursed our sunburns, and just did whatever we wanted for two days.

View from hotel