Monday, December 20, 2010


There have been many a jokes about me writing a book about ALL of my crazy travel stories.
And many of them have happened around the holiday season.
So, maybe I've started to jot down a few chapters to this probably-never-to-happen book and have already given this section a title:).

So, enjoy a "sneak-peek" at the LATEST chapter...

For a little background info, Friday morning I woke up not feeling my best. Thursday afternoon I had thrown-up for no apparent reason, but that morning I was realizing the cause.
I was sick!
I spent most of the 1/2 day in the fetal position on our couch in the staff lounge.
I went to the doctor that afternoon and even though there wasn't enough time for a complete diagnosis, she thought I had some kind of infection and I needed to be on the white diet.
Now, if you've ever had any kind of bacterial infection, you know how AWFUL the white diet is.
Basically anything flavorless and white (potatoes, rice, chicken without ANY sauce, etc.) is permissable. Anything fresh or enjoyable is out of the question!

So, 4:15 Saturday morning comes around and I am honestly feeling a bit better.
Thank goodness. This should be a good day....or so I thought.

La Paz security goes well and we wait with many other Highlands teachers for our flight.
However, because of weather problems in Miami, the flight arrived in La Paz late, so we left about an hour late.
THEN when we get to Miami and there's rain and a line of planes waiting to land.
We land after 30 min. of waiting.
Even with the 1 and 1/2 delay, I thought we still had plenty of time to make our 6:10 Continental flight. So, at this point in time, we are SOO HAPPY to be back in the US....and feeling confident about the rest of our travels to SLC!!

But, after waiting for 4 different "rounds" of luggage pick-up and a line at the Continental worst nightmare starts to unfold.
And since I knowingly booked our itinerary through 2 different airlines, we didn't know if Contintenal would help rebook us because of a delayed American flight.

The lady at the counter, without any seen sympathy, quickly sends us over to the American counters to see what they can do for us. "They can't do ANYTHING!" I'm thinking...but we start going to American just the same.

Now, if you have spent some quality time in the Miami Airport, you know that the airlines are all spread out and you actually have to leave the building to get to another terminal.

When we get to American terminal D we see various lines FILLED with people.
We have a tough time finding the line for us and when we finally do, we ask a couple of American attendants if their airline will be able to help us with our specific situtation. They both assure me that there are many flights that go out a day, and we should be able to help you in ONE way or another!

While I am waiting to talk to an American attendant, Esteban goes back to Continental to see what they can do for us.
When I finally make it through the line I hear what I expected to hear....there is nothing we can do for you. I also hear, you should look into the train.
TO IDAHO? I don't think there IS train that runs from Florida to Idaho!!!
Sufficed to say, I leave the American counter in tears, advised to stay calm and not to make a rash decision!

Thankfully Esteban comes back as I'm leaving the counter and has better news to share with me! Continental will get us on stand-by for a flight tomorrow...for FREE! All we have to do is call Orbitz and have them reinstate our reservation.

So I call Orbitz......for the first time.
They tell us there's nothing wrong with our reservation and we head back to Continetnal to see what we can do next.

Now this is where my mood officially shifts. I've already had at this point some quick fits of anger, but when we return to Continental and they flippantly tell us they're closed (even though they are helping other customers and some attendants aren't doing anything) and just don't seem willing to help, I become my assertive, you-MUST-help-me-get-home-to-my-family self!!

Now this form of Megan doesn't really go over that well at Contintntal and before you know it, I'm back on the phone with Orbitz again.
For probably an hour and a half.
This time I have a very helpful Jim/Jeff (I was calling him the wrong name for a while....guess I still struggle with Indian accents:)!!).
And even though he ended up singing the same "your-reservation-was-not-voided" song that the first guy sang, he WAS super sweet.
At one point I handed the phone over to Esteban while I was on hold, and when Jim/Jeff got back on he said, "Oh Esteban. Yes. Megan is crying. I can hear that. I understand."
While this was all taking place, I was DEFINITELY crying.

One, because our stand-by flight was seeming to slip away from us.
Two, because I was pretty exhausted.
And three, because the only thing we could do at that point was stay at the airport and "enjoy" dinner together. But, I was stuck on the STUPID white diet eating a subway sandwich of chicken. Literally chicken and NOTHING ELSE! So....NOT ENJOYABLE!
Hence the tears.

That night we slept on the airport floor and enjoyed the "friendly" recording tell us every 15 min. what time it was. I wished the instrumental Christmas could just play the whole time. When we woke up the next morning we found that more people had come to join our "party."

We woke up (often, but officially) at 3:45 to get to the Continental counter close to 4.
My anxiety level started rising as we neared the LONG line already formed.
By the time we got to the counter I decided it would be best if I stand by the huge cart of luggage. Away from the crowds. Away from the attendants that I might be tempted to yell at if anything goes wrong! I kept myself busy by shifting the weight of one luggage to another.
It seemed like I was over there for eternity.
At one point I came over to see how it was going and I heard the lady say something about calling Orbitz again.
OH NO.....angry Megan is coming out again!
However, I decide to go back to the luggage. And, after ANOTHER eternity, I witness a Christmas miracle!!
We have 2 CONFIRMED tickets to SLC.

After that, it's pretty uneventful except for the fact that we MADE a stand-by flight in Houston which got us home about 9 hours EARLIER than our confirmed flight!

GOD IS usual:).

The end.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...


To start off the month, we had our life group girls over for the "annual" putting up of the Christmas tree.

If you remember last year, some of our girls' families do not celebrate Christmas so it was nice to be able to be their "memory" of Christmas again this year!
We of course had to also make the traditional sugar cookies...

and take the timed-group shot...guess who ran into the picture and tried not to look so alone in the front?
Our group has grown a little this year...YAY!
(L-R): Dani, Carolina (who accepted Christ this year!!), Nur, Steph, Jill, Claudia...and me in the front

This is the 2nd year now that we have been having these girls over at our house every/every other Tuesday night, and it's SOO neat to see how each of them have grown during this time. Many of our girls this year are seniors this year.....and 2 OF THEM HAVE APPLIED TO TAYLOR UNIVERSITY!!

If you were here, you would probably hear us wish you (in many different ways)...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Halloween and Thanksgiving...

As most of you know, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
But before Christmas can happen, there are 2 "lesser holidays" that must first take place.
This year, both were celebrated and are worth mentioning on the blog.
However, don't worry, after this post, there will be PLENTY of posts touching on the holiday that is fastly approaching!

October 31st is the birthday of a dear friend here in La Paz. And since another friend's birthday is about a week before, we had a birthday/halloween party for them.
After hearing the word costume, Esteban and I immediately went to work on our costume (since he would probably admit to liking costumes as much or even more than I do.... if that is possible) and we came up with....

That's honor of Idaho (Famous IDAHO Potatoes) and Bolivia (the home of over 3,000 varieties of potatoes!)

Here are the birthday girls Jjill and Molly...

And here's the ever popular, timed group-shot...

With the ending of October, we were quickly ushered into the "Thanksgiving Season" as I have come to think of least this year I have!
You would think that since I live in Bolivia and Thanksgiving is traditionally an American holiday, meals with turkey and stuffing would be few and far between. However, I think had the most feasts that I have EVER had in 1 year this year.
And at each one I ate my full!!!

We did a thanksgiving feast with the middle schoolers to give them a better understanding of WHY we didn't have school for 1 1/2 (wonderful) days. Then, the Saturday before Thanksgiving we had an extranjero celebration complete with LOTS of great food....

**Note that my Bolivian boy is playing the "all-american" sport and enjoying it:)

and Happy Thanksgiving Charlie Brown (traditional, even if it had to be viewed on a bity computer screen!)...
THEN we had a staff thanksgiving feast before we all went our separate ways to ejnoy the break.

This year I stayed in Bolivia to enjoy Thanksgiving in Santa Cruz with Esteban....AND HIS FAMILY!
Esteban's mother is from a family of 9 children (a couple have died since then) and they all live in Santa Cruz, except for his mom Tere (yes...his mom's name sounds just like my mom's name....!).

While there I enjoyed getting to know the many tios y primos (aunts/uncles and cousins) even if they couldn't really say the same about me....
People from Santa Cruz are known for their accents and habit of leaving off the "s" sound completely.
Megan was lucky to understand what was being said...adding to the conversation was not in the cards for this trip!
Here are a few pictures from our time.....I LOVE SANTA CRUZ!!

A taste from the great West...mas o menos....

The hats Tia Ana Maria let us borrow for our day at the water park Aqualand that we "happened" to have forgot at the house....bummer!

Our reaction after finding out that Aqualand only had 1 "ride" open and that 2nd best was the rundown Playland with the faded dinosaurs next door....we still had fun despite the less than ideal conditions of this park.

Here we are celebrating Choco's 26th birthday (a few days early) eating one of his favorites....sushi!

And here's a family pic of us with Tere....

...posing by a tree native to the area that grows the fruit guapuru on the bark instead of hanging from the branches. Really cool!

So that is my "Thanksgiving Season" in a nutshell!!
Stay tuned for some more pictures and updates of theChristmas Season!!