Thursday, December 10, 2009


This is quite possibly the most offensive going away gift I have ever received.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I will not give credence to an Amazon customer review that claims a product to be of "pour quality."

Friday, December 4, 2009


After staying at my parents’ house for a few days, I decided to come and stay with my brother, my sister-in-law, and my 8-month old nephew. The 240-mile journey from Rock Port, Missouri where my parents live to Columbia, Missouri where my brother lives is one I have made innumerable times since I moved there for college. In many ways the trip was a flashback to the past—driving my mom’s vehicle that is the same as the one I had before I left for Guatemala and listening to pre 2007 CDs I dug out of the closet of my old room—but in one way it was very different.

The “trip back to school” or the “trip home,” depending on which direction I was heading, always seemed somewhat like a large undertaking. But now after nearly three years spent crammed into buses traveling on winding two lane roads, a three and a half hour trip in a personal vehicle on the amazing Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways feels like a short jaunt. Time, distance, and difficulty are all very relative. Según como se mire todo depende.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Griffin Gridiron

Only one person bled this year! Sorry Matt.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Niagra Falls

On our roadtrip to Vermont, Regan and I swung through Canada and went to see Niagra Falls. Though the falls themselves were pretty, I must say I was a bit disappointed in the overall area given the proliferation of celebrity wax museums and other cheesy attractions. It is like the Branson of New York.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Operación Calabaza

So I actually ended my Peace Corps service about a week ago (COSed in PC lingo) and am currently in the US. The thing is, my parents have no clue.

Peace Corps has a policy that bans taking vacation in the final months of service. I originally only wanted to extend my time from July to the end of October but with my trip to France for my friend’s wedding in September I was given the options of either finishing at the end of August or staying until mid-December to have the required three months of time after the vacation. I wanted to be home for Thanksgiving, but I needed the extra time to finish up my project so I decided to extend my Peace Corps service until the middle of December.

And then the Peace Corps policy changed from three months to two months.

Even though it is against Peace Corps policy to change your COS (Close of Service) date once it has been set, with my special circumstances, I was given the option of changing my date. So after some deliberation (passing over my project to a local group was not going as quickly as I hoped and losing a month would leave me a bit pressed for time) I decided to move from date from December 16 to November 16.

Operación Calabaza was born.

With the help of my three brothers, I devised a plan to surprise my parents for Thanksgiving. Our family usually celebrates Thanksgiving in Oklahoma, but this year we are breaking from tradition and having it in Burlington, Vermont at my cousin Patrick’s house. My youngest brother, Regan, was already planning on roadtripping from Missouri to Vermont and this worked out perfectly for my plan.

On Friday night I flew out of Guatemala and arrived in Chicago at about one in the morning on Saturday (direct flight from Taca!). Regan picked me up there and we have spent the past three days driving across the country. My parents, on the other hand, are currently with my other brothers in route by plane to Vermont. I’ll surprise them at my cousin’s house in Burlington.

Well, that is what will happen if Operación Calabaza goes exactly as planned. Since I don’t know whether I’ll have access to the internet during our roadtrip, I am actually writing this while I am still in Guatemala and scheduling it to post automatically today while Regan and I are on the road and my parents are in the air. Barring any car problems or flight delays, it should work, but after over two and a half years living in an LDC (less developed country), I shall be hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

Now I just hope no one has a heart attack.