Friday, March 30, 2007

Hello from the Oyibu

Surprise! I finally have secured some internet access. I know you all probably want to know everything, however, being as there is a long line for the computer, I am not sure everything will be possible. However, I will do my best to attempt to share with you all the highlights of our adventure. I believe Tara was going to attempt to load a picture, however, the internet access is so slow, that pictures may have to wait.

I find myself sitting here with so much to say and no ability to actually figure out what is the most important. I will tell you that the rumor is, our luggage has arrived in Abuja. However, getting it from Jos (4 hours away) is another story. Currently, the goal is that we will have it by Tuesday. We have made due with what we have.

We arrived in Jos on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon, we headed to a rural clinic about an hour away. We spent the next day and a half servicing this rural community. I have never, in all my life, seen anything like what I saw during these two days. I stood at the door, determined if the patient spoke Housa or English – whether they needed a translator or not – and then ushered them to one of the doctors. The doctors included Tara, Ajit, JB, Dr. Chris (more on him later), a surgeon, Dr. Aquiris (sp?), and a nurse Loretta. Kelsey helped Loretta. It was amazing to see my husband dealing with these patients and how quickly he became acclimated to tropical medicine.

The people lined up at the door for hours. When we went to lunch, they sat down to hold their space in line. There were thousands of people – some only mildly sick. Some very, very sick. They begged at the door for a turn to come in and were so happy and thankful to be seen by a doctor. At some point, I will try to document my time at this clinic with pictures, but for now, please trust me when I tell you that I am forever changed. There was no such thing as privacy. These people were very poor and they were so thankful for the opportunity to speak with a doctor if only for a few minutes. One woman came in, desperately wanting a baby and there was nothing Tara could do for her. Other cases were much more serious. At one point, when a woman’s blood pressure was so high that John believed she may not live another day without medication and the pharmacy had run out, Loretta gave her money out of her pocket to see a chemist across the street. I saw so many children who were malnourished. I saw goiters and hernias, and things of which I never dreamed I would actually see. If people couldn’t get in the door, they reached through the windows with notes and requests. Through that same window, people meandered through the field to use the bathroom. When we had to use the bathroom, a man stopped and cleaned it for us. He then asked if he could talk to me about his medical condition. I told him to find John later that day. He found him thirty seconds later. Another time I made the mistake of stopping when someone asked me a question. Before long, dozens of mothers were surrounding me, begging me for help – help I had no way to give. When we closed the doors at 5:45, there were still people lined up that we had to ignore. As Dr. Chris said “you almost feel more depressed when you leave then when you come” because you realize it was only a small drop in the bucket.

One thing really bothered me. Dr. Aquiris is a gifted surgeon. He tried to do surgery but this clinic wouldn't allow it without some money ad Dr. Aquiris does it for free. One man was so excited to get a large lipoma removed from hs forehead that had been there 20 years. He immediately went and shaved his head and fasted until the morning on the surgery -- only to be told they couldn't do it. I was broken hearted.

I also saw a woman crying, surrounded by friends. Then they rolled her loved one's body by on a stretcher. I had never seen a dead body.

Speaking of Dr. Chris, I will have to reserve a post another day for the man he is. He started Faith Alive and dreams of having another Mayo in Africa. You may think this is not possible but Dr. Chris’ faith is contagious! When we pulled up, there was a sign welcoming us, as one of the first steps in this dream -- 3 Mayo docs coming to Faith Alive. He has created a free clinic and provides free HIV tests. I have seen many people with HIV and AIDS here. I have seen people so ill that I feel I can’t even talk about it right now. However, they are so happy – and so blessed to be here. I can say that I am not sure there is a better man alive today. He is amazing.

I have written down so many stats and facts but they will have to wait for another day. I think I will try to type a blog on Tara’s computer later in word that I can then put on the blog later. Let me tell you that I have been amazed at how little I need to survive. There is no running water. We take bucket showers, wash our own clothes, and pour water into the toilet to flush it. There is only electricity on occasion. Internet is possible in the missionary family’s house downstairs, but only if there is electricity or they start the generator and the Internet works at the same time.

We also have had some very tense times. There are security patrols at checkpoints along the road, on every part of your journey. Security is seen as the number one concern, so the government created these checkpoints. Our driver did not stop early enough for one of the guards today. Normally, we slide right through, as we are such a “good” organization and the name of the organization is printed on the same of the van. However, this time, it did not work. Dr. Chris had to go outside and apologize for the driver not “obeying” him to finally get us through. We were worried they would perch us on the side of the road for hours or even worse. Dr. Chris’ brother was shot in a similar situation. He survived but the guards must show power. As long as you let them, then everything is fine.

Nigerian people are the nicest people you could ever meet. They have nothing and yet they love everyone and smile all the time. They call white people “OYIBU”s. This is a positive term of excitement at seeing someone from the “land of milk and honey”. I don’t think my blonde hair and blue eyes hurt at all. All the children want to touch us and Ajit also who they call a “black oyibu”.

I think that is enough for now. I could go on for days with everything I have seen. I will ask that you pray mostly for health. We are all dealing with new food, jet lag, and new surroundings. We are doing well but are little banged up as far as sleep and stomachs are concerned. Today, we had the sewing school make us outfits for the wedding we plan to attend tomorrow. We have taken nearly 200 photos and I would love to share all them with you. I will at a better time.

Blessing friends. I hope to blog again in a few days. Also, please excuse any grammar or spelling errors. I am writing this very quickly!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We are in Nigeria

I did not expect to have the chance to post a blog. And in fact, this blog must be very short as I don't have much time. It is 9:50 am Nigerian time. I think this makes it about 2:00 am in the US or something comparable.

We had about a 9 hour overnight flight from Minneapolis to the Netherlands. Then we had about a 6 hour flight into Abuja (with a connection that didn't even leave us time to use the bathroom). Dr. Chris was there to pick us up with some friends. However, getting onto the bus and to the place we would spend the evening was not that easy. Half of our luggage arrived, however, in the end, JB and I do not have our toiletry bag, Kelsey did not get her luggage, and Tara did not get her luggage or the box she brought. We have been informed we should have this by Thursday so right now we are passing around the necessaries which include shampoo (Ajit had that), deodorant (Kelsey had some in her bag), and a brush (Kelsey had that too.) I also have the only "girl clothes" which fit Kelsey well but leave Tara in a bit of a bind. Good thing she had brought one extra set of clothes in her carry-on.

One thing that greatly impacted our first evening was a man in the line next to us who all of a sudden fell over. People immediately screamed to see if there was a doctor around. JB and Ajit were the first two to reach him, and immediately began to go through the appropriate steps. They were replaced a few minutes later by the medics. When we boarded the bus a few hours later, we were told that the man had died on the way to the hospital. It was quite an amazing event, and one I can't really go into in my limited time here.

After about two hours wrestling to find baggage, report missing baggage, and successfully leave with the baggage we did have, it was past the hour when we could find dinner. So instead, Dr. Chris and his driver "Goodwin" (not sure how to spell that), took us to a missionary hotel of sorts where we sat around in Dr. Chris' room and ate all the snacks we had brought on the plane and drank some water.

Early this morning, we stopped for a quick bite to eat and are now on our way to Jos, about three hours from Abuja. Dr. Chris needed to check his messages while here in Abuja so we stopped at this office here and were each given a computer with the instructions to update our friends at home. So that, I am doing.

There aren't enough computers to go around so my turn is up.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Polar North goes to Africa

Well, this will be the last post here in the Polar North for a little while. There are no more sleeps to go! We leave TODAY for Nigeria.

If that news isn't amazing enough, we sold our condo ... yesterday. Can you cut that any closer? There were two people supposed to come by yesterday, but early that morning, once called and cancelled. Oh well. So that left one couple and one day to see if we could sell this place.

This nice couple came by at 11:00 looking for an investment property. At 1:00 I went for a walk with Rachel, and when I came home an hour later, JB had a purchase agreement up on the computer screen. I quickly called his phone, and he answered with, "We sold the condo!" I had told my husband I wanted nothing to do with the condo because it was stressing me out so when the couple made an offer just shy of our asking price and JB couldn't get a hold of me, he went to confer with Dave and decided to agree. By 3:00 we had signed a purchase agreement. Of course, there are a lot of steps to selling a place. The rest of these will be worked out when we get back from Africa as they are not in a big hurry.

I would tell you that I am nervous that one of the other steps in the selling process might make the buyer change their minds, but I think the Lord convinced me yesterday to trust Him! I sat and worried about this condo over and over again during the last few weeks. Then I found, after we sold it yesterday, I was sitting there worrying about all NEW things. As I prayed about this I realized that worry is such a bother! And especially worry about situations you can't control. We prayed that we would tie up the condo before we left for Africa, and we tied it up, of all days, yesterday! We prayed we would get a certain price, and we go that! So I am done with worry from here on out. Geesh, I think I'll just trust God, and be done with that.

Last night Lesley threw a going away party for "Team Nigeria". It was a great time of fellowship, praying, eating, and comforting Nicole who wants to go with us so badly. She brought all sorts of little toys for us to bring to the kids in the orphanage, and Ajit promised us he could fit them in his suitcase. We didn't take many pictures, but I did steal these two from Tara's blog. Thanks Tara. Thanks also to Rachel who gave us little goody bags for the road.

We have a lot to do today before our 3:00 departure from Rochester. I need to get to it. As I have said before, I really feel the need to cut myself off from technology a bit during the next six weeks and just submerse myself in where I am going. However, between Tara and I, we hope to put a blog up here and there. So please check in on our blogs.

Thank you for your prayers, excitement, and love. Remember to check in on us at this blog and on Tara's blog by clicking on her name on the right. Oh, and can you get a better picture to see everyday when you stop in then the one of Ron and Ebby on the top?!
See you in May!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We Sold our Condo!

I think we sold our condo! They are signing paperwork now! God is so faithful. The day before we leave this all gets taken care of.

When will we learn to just trust Him and quit worrying so much?!

I'll post more when I know more.

Tomorrow it is!

In case you didn't know ... we leave tomorrow!

Last night JB and I went out to dinner with the Dave & Lesley. We have been saying we wanted to take them out to celebrate their Mayo Match and also just to get to hang out a bit. They actually leave for Bangladesh for their own mission trip in about two weeks and will not be back until right before graduation. We really don't have much time left with them! We took them to one of our favorite restaurants: Broadstreet Cafe. Afterwards, we came back to the condo to watch some basketball. By 10:00 I had fallen asleep in the chair so I headed to bed. When JB came to bed after 11, I mumbled a question to ascertain whether any of the underdogs had won. (I always cheer for the underdog!) They hadn't, so I felt satisfied with my decision to sign out early. I also felt happy because once again, I slept without any Ambien! Hurrah!

JB and I were both up bright and early this morning. Our bodies were tired but our minds knew how much we had to get done. We have spent the last five hours packing and cleaning the house. Someone else is coming to see the condo today. We still have some things that need to be done prior to our departure tomorrow, but we both feel much better now that our list is considerably shorter.

I am also amazed at how well we packed. We got all of our stuff for six weeks into two suitcases (one for clothes and a smaller one for shoes and toiletries.) We then each have to bring a box of medical supplies as our other piece of luggage. John is also carrying on a handheld sonogram machine that someone from Mayo donated to the Clinic in Nigeria. This is something everyone is excited about! However, it eliminates a carry on for JB so we have to share a carry on. Anyways, we had to pack light, and I think we have pulled it off.

Unless the people that come see our condo today put an offer down, the condo sale/rent will probably wait until we get back. We are okay going either way with the property since we don't have any mortgage or rent in Florida for three years, and we are okay with waiting until we get back to see where the Lord leads us and our potential buyer/renter. We are in no hurry and so, patient we will be.

This evening, Lesley is throwing a "Team Nigeria" going away party for the four of us (and Kelsey who is getting ready for the departure via Colorado.) We will then pack up a van (courtesy of Melissa's mom! How awesome are our friends?) around 3:00 tomorrow. Lesley will drive us down to the airport where we will meet Kelsey, and at 9:25 we board our plane for the Netherlands.

I am very excited and very nervous all rolled into one. My teeth are doing much better, and I am feeling very rested which is good. It will be an adventure, and one I can't wait to share with you all.

I will post one more time before our departure tomorrow. See you then!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Two sleeps to go

We leave on Sunday.

Today, I worked my last day at Mayo for six weeks. I also slept last night without an Ambien. I am also having much less dental pain. It seems so surreal that we leave on Sunday!

Heading to dinner with the Jones to celebrate their Mayo match.

Stay tuned. Two more posts before we leave!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Kit. family

I have been waiting to post these pictures until Fort Lauderdale Christian School's Alumni News came out. We took these pictures for this publication. In June, Robbie will be the sixth Kit. to graduate from FLCS and so they did a story on the Kit. family in this publication. I didn't want to print these pictures before this came out, but now that it has come out, here is our Kit. family!

Mom and Dad Kit.

The entire family: Back row: JB, Wendi, Rob, Dad, Mom, Elizabeth, Gabbi, Grant, Katie; Front Row: Matt, Grace, Nate, Ray

The eldest child -- Elizabeth and her husband Grant who were married the summer after we were. 1999 I think. I love this picture of Elizabeth. How beautiful!

The second oldest child is my JB. Here is me and my JB. These were taken by the lake by my parents' home.

Here is the third child, Ray, and his family -- Gabbi, Grace, and Nate. I am blessed that Ray chose Gabbi his wife and that they have given us our first niece and nephew. I don't Nate that well yet, but Grace is truly a huge light in our lives.

The next eldest is Katie. This is Katie with her fiancee, Eddie. They plan to get married sometime this year.

Next is Matt. This is Matt and his girlfriend Danielle. I love Danielle! She's great! (So is Matt but don't tell him I said so.)

Here is Rob. How funny is this picture. Everyone else had their "significant others". Robbie decided to make his own party! Robbie will start college at the University of Central Florida this fall.

Here are the boys of the family.

And here are the girls of the family

Good morning folks!

Well how 'bout an early post for you early risers?

Last night, Tara, Ajit, JB, and myself had dinner at the Fischers house. Dr. Fishcher is a pediatrician at Mayo and was a missionary in Africa years back. He has great connections to the area we are going and will actually will be joining us for the tail end of our trip. In addition, Dr. Thacher joined us for dinner. Dr. Thacher is currently a missionary in Jos. Check out his website at: Thachers Home. He will be coming to the states to work at Mayo later this summer. He was in town for a week for some odds and ends and is actually on our return trip to Nigeria on Sunday night.

It was a great evening to talk about a wide variety of topics. We, of course, talked about Nigeria. However, there were other topics on the agenda as well including Ajit's love life and our struggle with infertility. The Fischers are a tall family as well so, of course, there was good tall-bonding taking place as well. We had the opportunity to ask questions and get advice before leaving on Sunday night. We also found a way to get JB's driver license to Nigeria. JB needs to be able to drive when we get to South Africa as we have rented a van for the trip. However, South Africa won't recognize a US military ID as a driver's license as the US does (Imagine that!). So John went and retook his driver's test in Minnesota only to be told he had to wait five weeks for the license! Anyways, Dr. Fischer is going to bring it to Nigeria with him later on in the trip. Isn't it amazing how God takes care of even the little details?

I woke up this morning with a better-feeling mouth. Please keep praying for me in that area. I would just like to feel better before we head out. I ask Dr. Thatcher about a dentist in the area (just in case), and he said the missionary dentist is on furlough. So my comfort-seeking fell on its face a bit. Oh well. God has taken care of so many other things in our lives -- I know he can take care of a sore mouth!

Our god daughter Jessie, when she was little, used to count days leading up to an exciting event by how many more times she had to go to bed before they happened. If that's the case, then we have "three sleeps" before we leave for six weeks.

Many of you have asked about the status of the blog while I am gone. We have been told we may have some Internet access in Jos. Between my blog and Tara's blog, we hope to update periodically. We don't know how often that will be. It will depend on our time and the status of the electricity as it is not consistent. So while you won't be getting daily updates, you can check in here and on Tara's blog periodically to see if we have any updates for you. Ajit plans to give this to his mom as well who isn't too keen on not being able to check on her boy (and assuring someone is feeding him) on a daily basis.

As for email contact, I do not plan on emailing at all while I am gone. I don't want to get my head stuck in a computer and fail to spend time looking around me. If you can avoid emailing me as well, that will prevent my inbox from cluttering up and tempting me. If you have something to tell me, put a comment on my blog. That will keep my communication in one central place.

Three sleeps to go ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Things are completely insane! Sorry for the lack-o-blogging, but I am currently a teensy bit overwhelmed. We leave on Sunday. Tonight we have dinner with Dr. Fischer, who used to be a missionary at this clinic in Nigeria. Friday night we are going out to dinner with the Jones, and Saturday the Jones' are throwing us a "Team Nigeria" party. Lesley asked if we could all get-together before we left. She didn't tell me it would be a party! We also have a bunch of things to buy and packing to do. Someone else wants to see our condo this weekend. I need to pick up my new glasses. I need to drop off keys for our house sitters. We have to pay some bills and get some other incidentals finalized.

Breathe Wendi breathe.

And ...

I am still, having some dental issues. I went back to the dentist again today. (I know! For real! Everyone make a sad face with me!) She said that I am hitting very hard on that tooth which is causing me the pain. The good news is she doesn't suspect any nerve issues (like needing a root canal) because the pain is not keeping me up at night, just bothering me during the day. She also thinks my body will adjust eventually to the changes. Let's hope so! I may have to go back on Friday. I've been emailing my buddy Rachel (who is tan in Mexico right now) for her advice. Rachel thinks that I just have to wait this out. So I wait ... and wait some more. If I were not going to Nigeria, I would not worry. I'd just wait it out. But fearing waiting it out in a foreign country makes me a tad nervous.

JB and I are also a bit tired because he set the alarm for 3:00 this morning!!! Actually, he set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. but somehow changed the time three hours ahead. So at 3, the alarm went off. I thought it strange that I hadn't been up at all during the night. I usually wake up at least one time. John, as usual, got out of bed first, and a few minutes later he climbed back into bed mumbling something like, "Wendi you are going to kill me." I was actually a good sport about it. In return, he didn't complain when I tossed and turned myself back to sleep!

Two more days of work folks. I can't believe it is almost here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Completely true story

So yesterday I was talking to my buddy Kristi. Kristi tells me that she took her daughters (Raylee left and Logan right pictured below) to Kentucky to visit her in-laws a few weeks ago.

On the plane, Logan was complaining that her ears were bothering her. Kristi had some lifesavers so she gave Logan one to suck on so she would swallow and her ears would pop. Logan had never seen a lifesaver before, but Kristi assured her that they would help her ears. Then Kristi turned away to deal with Raylee sitting on the other side of her.
When she turned back, Logan had stuffed the lifesaver INTO her ear. You know, "to help her ears."

I laughed so hard yesterday when Kristi told me this story. How adorable is that?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Not so sunny Sunday

Yesterday we went to the cities with the Philips and the Jones. Lesley took a few pictures, I should ask to get them from her. The day started off pretty sunny and semi-warm (and by warm I mean -- thirties.) However, unfortunately, that was probably the warmest it got all day. It progressively got more and more overcast and more and more colder. Oh well.

We went to Bethlehem Baptist in the cities where author John Piper is the pastor. There are actually three campuses, and you don't know which he will preach it. We rolled the die incorrectly as he was on a "screen" preaching at the downtown campus. However, none of us really minded it as much as we thought it would. If you looked down, you had no idea he wasn't there.

One of the things we all loved about the service was the incorporation of music from different cultures. They sang a fantastic worship song from the congo -- alternating between English and Congonese (Is that what it is called? No idea.) We loved this! I really enjoyed the service and was blessed to have gotten the opportunity to hear John Piper speak -- if only on a big screen.

Afterwards, Christo took us to a fantastic Indian restaurant. This was south Indian (Christo's type of food), and it was really, really good. The cricket world cup was on so we also watched that. Well actually, we mostly listened to Christo try to explain it to us. It looks like a very fun game, but I still only have a slight grasp on how it is played.

A stop at IKEA ended our day. I drove down and back with the Jones in the backseat so that the three medical students could study for their pharmacology test on Friday. This will be JB's last test of medical school. Hard to believe, huh?

In other news, I am sad to say that I need to call the dentist this morning and return to get this crown "lowered". I spoke to my soon-to-be-dentist friend Rachel (who is currently sunning in Mexico) via email. She said that this is very common and should only take a few minutes. But man I do NOT want to go back to the dentist today. But I must. The tooth pain, while very dull, is getting worse each day, and I want to make sure I give myself time to return again prior to our Sunday departure.

This will be the last week of regular posts in the "Polar North" for quite some time so take it all in folks!! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lots of bottles

I'd like to consider myself a healthy person. I don't feel sickly.

So as I am starting to lay out what we are taking for this trip, I am not impressed with the number of medications I have to take with us. Honestly, for some reason, this makes me feel old. You know, like I have to bring my medicine cabinet with me to Africa. Add to that that you really need to keep them in their original containers so that they have your prescription on them, and we have to take a lot of medication.

Not only do I have to my normal Metformin that I have now been on for a number of years, but now I am taking my Ambien to help me sleep. Add to that the progesterone I will be on for two cycles while I am gone and you are at four containers of pills. Four because I take 3-4 pills of Metformin a night. That's two bottles. In addition, our travel clinic has us taking a malaria medication and sends a prescription for cipro (traveller's diarrhea). I also have to take my vial of lupron (in my new handy dandy, self-cooling package.) Then we'll take our vitamins and other "incidental" travelling medications, and I do feel like the older people JB sees in the clinic with a list of medications a mile long. This is not put down older people of course. It's just fact.

All this medication talk makes me realize that it's been awhile since I have given an update on our next IVF cycle. We are scheduled for a transfer on May 31st. Earlier this week, we signed the paperwork for the number of embryos to transfer. As soon as I signed this and slid it across the table to JB, I got a stomachache. It immediately threw me in to thinking about doing another transfer. Don't get me wrong. I want to do it. However, thinking of getting wheeled back into that room, waiting two weeks for results, and taking all those shots doesn't exactly cause me extreme excitement.

Last night we attended "Mixed Bag" for the medical school -- a variety show of sorts. A couple I didn't know told us congratulations on going to Florida and then asked if we had kids. I realize that this question is something that stings me every time it is asked. You'd think by now, I'd know how to handle this question, but I still don't. I feel this five second sensation of a thousand feelings including -- "do they know we want kids? do they know I have not chosen a career over kids? do they know ..." We were sitting across the table from some friends of ours who have a year old daughter. I felt that they were uncomfortable too and all of us wanted to change the subject. Afterwards, I asked JB if this question made him uncomfortable. He said it did. He said no matter how many times it is asked, it is just not fun.

In fact, "Mixed Bag" is always a little uncomfortable for me. It's a time when everyone brings their children and shows them off to everyone else. I remember coming to this first year and thinking "Well at least by fourth year I can bring our child to this event." Fourth year came and went last night, and still, it is JB and me. I know this is okay. I know that we are okay. And part of me was glad I didn't have to chase a screaming child around for two hours as most of the other parents did. I held Christo and Melissa's son Luke for a bit and passed him off when the tears fell. I played with Bisola for a bit and gave her back when I grew tired. Karuna climbed onto my lap and then wandered back to sing loudly to the music. I recognize all the things JB and I get to do because it is still just the two of us.

Anyways, sorry for this post to be a downer. I am actually not in a downer mood. I am unbelievably blessed my fantastic husband and our exciting adventures in the next few months. Even if I have to take a slew of medications with me on those adventures!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Life in Apartment 202

I cannot believe that we leave a week from tomorrow for Nigeria. Absolute craziness! I am fortunate that I am tying up a lot of loose ends at both my job. A week ago, I just didn't know if I would get things tied up enough to feel good about leaving. But now ... I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am a little concerned about my new crowns. They are beautiful (pure porcelain so there is no metal in my mouth at all.) The bad thing is that my teeth are still bothering me. The dentist told me that if, by Monday, I am having any discomfort, to come in immediately. Apparently, if the crowns are even slightly uneven, they can cause tooth pain and as she put it, "You do NOT want to have to find a dentist in Nigeria." That's an understatement. So, I am hoping that by Monday, they feel good. I don't want to have to go back to the dentist for the FIFTH time in as many weeks. Not my favorite place to be. I am slightly regretting doing this before we left.

We have had many people coming to look at our condo. Some are very interested and many are making a decision over the weekend. It's a bit nerve-wracking. I have really given this concern over to JB and to the Lord. I don't like all this real estate stuff. I am glad we are not buying again in Florida. That would just be another stressor.

I have decided that the number of stressors in our life right now are probably pushing the point of capacity. If you list the biggest stressors in people's lives, we are participating in nearly all of them including:

1. Moving across country
2. Taking a very long trip
3. Adoption/IVF
4. Job change (Wendi)
5. Starting career (JB)
6. Selling/renting home

Anyways, last night, Tara, Ajit, and Nicole came over for dinner. Then the Jones and Philips came downstairs with Dave's sister and her new husband and baby, and we all had dessert. After they left, Ajit, Nicole, JB, and myself got into some deep conversation on differences between men and women, and Tara fell asleep. I made the decision to let her sleep after Nicole and Ajit left as she has been under the weather. She slept until 8:30 this morning!!! At 8:30 the two of us went to workout. I just got home and now eating some of my Golden Grahams while I type this.

Tonight is "Mixed Bag" -- a variety show for the Medical School. For now, got to get a lot of errands done in preparation for our trip. Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jessie and Kellie

How cool is this photo? This is our goddaughter Jessie with Kellie Pickler. Yesterday Jessie filmed her part in Kellie's video for the song: "I wonder". Jessie plays the young Kellie Pickler! If you don't know who Kellie Pickler is, then wake up and join the real world!!! She is a famous country singer who got her start on American Idol. She's awesome!

If you go to Kellie's webpage, you can see the photo: KELLIEFANS. In addition, there is a video where Kellie is being interviewed, and she talks about Jessie. Here's the link to the video: INTERVIEW.

Congrats Jessie! What a cool "gig". I am very jealous of you getting to meet Kellie Pickler.

Video of JB and Match Day

I realized (that to a call from Ebby Ray) that the local station that interviewed JB was another station. He is intereviewed. Here it is: KAATV. Check it out!! Click on "Medical Students Learn their Future".

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Match Day 101

First of all, the local new channel did a video on "Match Day" today. If you would like to watch it you can click HERE. I'm not sure how long this link will be available so check it out. They interviewed JB, but his interview isn't included. However, you can briefly see me and JB, and Dave and Lesley talking about couples matching. It will also explain a little bit about how "Match Day" works.

Okay, so to help everyone who isn't in medicine out, let me take a second to explain how "Match Day" works. I thought this especially important when my Tante Jan commented that she thought this had something to do with clothes. This cracked me up. It's true. I write things like they are obvious. This isn't obvious.

Basically, after medical school, all medical students have to go somewhere to train. This training can last anywhere from 3 years to 11 years!! Yikes!! Now JB is military so he matched back in January. However, most people had to wait until today to find out where they were going for residency. In a nutshell, hospitals and clinics rank applicants. Applicants rank hospitals and clinics. Then a computer "matches" them together. Talk about stressful!!!

We showed up at the Foundation House at 11:00 for a cocktail hour. Then all the fourth year students and their guests are ushered into a room where Associate Dean Dr. Barrier hands every student a letter that reveals their fate. Then you watch as people open them and find out where they are going. This was very intense.

To further tell the story, I thought I would use visual aids. So scroll below for the story of the day.

Cocktail Hour. Here is Hans, Rachel, and Hans' mom, Debbie.

Here is Tara, prior to the match, anxiously waiting to find out her fate! Tara refused to admit which school she ranked first. However, I had figured it out due to clues Tara didn't know she left.

JB and Wendi. JB and Katie K. (who matched Army) both wore their military uniforms to celebrate. They didn't get an envelope, but I, personally, would gladly give up the envelope to not have wait until March to find out where we are going!

Rachel and Wendi. I am really going to miss Rachel. Rachel is currently in dental school at the University of Minnesota. We hope to make it back for her wedding to Hansie next year.

Lesley prior to finding out where she and Dave were "couples matching." Anyone can couples match -- even two people who are just good friends. It's a little more complicated but fairly important if you are married and want to live with your spouse for the next few years!

Third year students are invited to attend match. Here is Christo (left). What was funny was that his wife, Melissa, was actually the guest of Lesley. So Melissa got to come in the room for the match results while Christo had to wait outside with the other third year students. We also cracked up because both Christo and Melissa said they woke up very nervous this morning despite being a year away from their own match! What great friends being nervous for their friends' match.

Here is Katie and JB. Katie and John are really the only people going to anywhere in the deep south. Katie will be in Texas. Most people are going to California, or staying in the Midwest or New England area.

After the introduction festivities, it was time to find out where everyone was going: I love this picture!!! Here is Ajit finding out that he is going home! He matched at the University of Arizona and will now get to eat his mother's cooking anytime he wants. He will also get to move in with his youngest brother who is in college back home. Ajit's number 2 and 3 choices were very exciting as well (Johns Hopkins for one!) but he really wanted to be home. Younger brother Sujit, who is a second year student, is taking some pictures for Mom, waiting anxiously for a phone call.

Sweet relief!

Lesley and Dave are ... STAYING AT MAYO!!! They couples matched. Dave matched in orthopedics -- a VERY VERY VERY competitive field. Lesley will be a pediatrician, and a fantastic one at that. We are glad the Jones are staying in Minnesota as we will be back on occasion for transfers and because we stand a better chance of them visiting us sometime!

Ajit cuddling with JB. (Ajit thinks cuddling is okay for men. John vehemently disagrees and tells Ajit repeatedly!) :)

Hans will spend one year in LaCrosse before coming to Mayo for anesthesia. We are glad they are staying at Mayo. We figure we have a better chance of people visiting us in Florida if they don't have other family to visit. Since Rachel and Hans are from Minnesota, their family is right here.

Here is the map (covered prior to the match) showing where everyone is going. Wendi is very excited to see that it is official! They are going to Florida! They are going south! It will be warm! There will be a beach! YAY!!!!! Many of you have asked where Fort Walton Beach is in comparison to the rest of Florida. Here it is.

Tara shows where she is going. Tara got into UC Davis in Sacramento, California. Tara would never admit this is her first choice so I will admit it FOR HER! We are proud of Tara as she was applying to get into a program with ONE SPOT for a family med/OB residency. This was very exciting! Unfortunately Tara wasn't sitting at my table so I couldn't get a picture of her expression.

Ajit and JB -- post match.

Friends for life -- Wendi, Tara, and Lesley

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


My week? In one word? Busy. It is Wednesday, and I have already worked about 32 hours. I feel like I am a teacher/coach again! What's with this? Anyways, today I worked from 7-4 at RLSF as we had someone fly in to train us on out website. Then I was at Mayo from about 4:15-6:30, and then JB and I had dinner with a girl who he met through the aerospace medicine organization at Victorias. She treated! How nice! It is 8:30, and I am just getting home.

Tomorrow is "Match Day." I have heard that for the first time in nearly 10 years, every single person in a medical school class at Mayo matched! All forty-something of them. This is awesome! For all you non-medicine people (like me!) out there, let me explain. Not matching doesn't mean you aren't good. It could mean this, but it could also just mean that you tried to get into a super-competitive program. So tomorrow is the actual Match Day. I feel like everyone feels now like JB and I felt two months ago, when we waited to find out where HE matched. It's very nerve-wracking, but the major nerve-racking part for us has passed. WE ARE GOING TO FLORIDA!!!!

So tomorrow is an even busier day for me. Here's how it looks:

7:30-11:00 RLSF training
11:00-2:00 Match Day festivities
3:20 Dentist appointment (get my permanent crowns on)
4:30-? Work at Mayo
?-? Celebrate Match Day or go to Bible Study or something

More craziness!

And more Sanjaya on American Idol. America ... what are you THINKING?!?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Congraulations Jessie!

We got word today that our goddaughter Jessie (Ron and Ebby's niece) has landed the part of young Kelli Pickler in one of Kelli's next music videos. This is very exciting. This is an old picture of Jessie (she turned 10 last week.) CONGRATULATIONS JESSIE! WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!!! I'll let you know all know when I have more details.

You go Ray Kay!

This title is for my brother-in-law who has TIVO and has agreed to tape my shows for me while I am gone. You go Ray Kay! Actually, I am only going to have him tape Survivor and the last two episodes of Prison Break. We are just so busy, and I know we will busy when we get back as well. I have to let some things go. With Rob & Amber getting eliminated from Amazing Race (Lesley is still in awe of this!), I think I can let that go. And American Idol will probably still be going on when I get back for crying out loud.

Like I said, life is crazy. I am sleeping well thanks to daily Ambien. As I catch up on my rest, we'll start tapering my dosage a bit and see if we can get it back down to normal. Yesterday, I worked a full day at Mayo, and then I came home and did three hours of work for RLSF. Also like I said, there are so many loose ends I want to tie up before I leave.

We also had a spur-of-the-moment dinner with the Jones last night. We went up to do some "condo talk" and ended up bringing up some leftovers and having a quick dinner. Lesley made her BBQ pizza which I LOVE so I was thrilled to be included.

Like I mentioned briefly in yesterday's post (this is working as a good transition phrase for me this post), we have had some people really interested in purchasing our condo. Yesterday we had a family make an offer, and then another offer to our counter-offer. Two of JB's former classmates are also very interested in purchasing it, and another family who looked yesterday seemed very interested. We have not listed it through a real estate company yet. This has simply been by putting the word out to incoming medical students and putting a posting on Craig's List. We are not completely sure we still won't rent it, but we are leaning more and more to selling to help de-stress our life when we move to Florida.

If we are supposed to sell, someone will offer what we want to sell it for so we just have to trust the Lord. Seriously. I mean that. This selling stuff makes me sick to my stomach. I could never live in one of those countries where ever purchase is made through bartering. It makes me very nervous! But ultimately, the Lord is in charge, and if we take one step at a time, He will guide our steps.

March is a HUGE selling time in Rochester. That's part of the rush. This town is sort of unique in that most buying/selling occurs within a three month window as residents and fellows leave and a new group moves in. We would like to know what we are doing before we leave for Nigeria, but if we don't, we are not in a big hurry to sell and can wait until we get back to deal with things. The Lord knows best.

Another exciting bit of news was that yesterday, JB's classmates found out whether or not they matched. They have to wait until Thursday to find out where they matched, but yesterday they were told if they did or didn't match with a residency program. It appears everyone did match somewhere. This was very exciting. Of course, most of them knew deep down that they matched, but it's always encouraging to get the final nod of approval. Thursday will be a big ceremony at the Foundation House to find out where everyone is going. This should be really exciting! Of course, we already know through the military. I'm glad my stomach isn't in knots waiting for that infamous email to come in again.

Oh, and one again ... you go Ray Kay!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quick post

My cousin Josh has another song on the Indie Haven Radio Chart. Will you take a minute to vote for him? I think you can vote everyday. It's called "Holiday" by Heisman. Here's the link:

Speaking of heaven, I think it reached fifty degrees today. That felt AWESOME!

In addition, life is busy right now -- we have a lot of people coming to look at our condo as all the medical students find out where they are going and all of the residents match on Thursday. Someone put an offer on it today. Just pray that the Lord gives us wisdom as we decide how best to proceed.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reality TV update for Ebby

So Ebby keeps complaining, (quite vehemently might I add), about how poor my reality TV updates have been this season. Quite honestly, this has been because I really haven't been as up-to-date as I would like. Betweeen sleep issues and our busy schedule ... I just haven't been as on-the-ball. I watch the shows but often have to tape them and watch them a few days later. For instance JB and I finally watched Thursday's episode of Surivor this afternoon.

While some of our busy schedule is work and non-pleasure activities. There's been plenty of pleasure activities as well. Last night, for instance, we had a FANTASTIC Nigerian meal at Tunde & Deolas. (What an AMAZING cook she is!) Their little girl, Bisola, is so adorable, and we enjoyed reconnecting with them. Tunde is in Brandon's class, and they are from Palm Beach Florida. In fact, Deola used to work as an egineer for FPL! Pretty small world, huh? They both grew up in Nigeria but actually met each other at FSU.

All right, where was I? Reality TV. Right.

Okay, to please Ebby, here is a quick "Reality TV" update, Wendi style.

American Idol

Quite honestly, I don't really have a clear cut favorite this year. I have some very not-favorites (including the infamous Sanjaya who seems very sweet but really needs to go home before it gets even more painful to watch him survive) and Haley Scarnato, who is another one who just isn't goo enough to still be in this evening. (This coming fro me -- world's best singer. Ha!) However, out of the 12 that are left, I have 5 that I really like. They are (in no particular order):

(Top left to right): Blake Lewis, Chris Sligh, Gina Glocksen; (Front left to right): Melinda Dolittle, and Lakisha Jones.

Quite honestly, I think the winner will be one of the two black women. They are amazing and very, very good. I like Blake Lewis because he is very unique. He does this beat-boxing (am I saying that right?) thing. Chris Sligh is just a funny down-to-earth guy, and Gina is JB's favorite girl this season -- just a hip rocker. So we'll see. I'm not sure what to do when we go to Nigeria. Anyone volunteer to take six weeks worth of American Idol? Woah.


Well, it always takes me awhile each season to get into the Survivor. Anytime there is a season where one team is getting their butts whipped, I have an ever harder time because it is painful to watch. This season one time is living in luxury while the other team lives with nothing. The team with nothing is also getting beat each and every challenge. However, next week promises to pick up with a tribe "mix-up" so we'll see if this livens things up. I think my mom is going to tape this for me while I am gone. So I have this one covered.

Amazing Race

This season is the All Stars and the odds-on favorite are Rob and Amber. These were the two who met and fell in love on Survivor All Stars and then finished second in an earlier season of Amazing Race. Despite how cocky Rob is, I really enjoy them. Apparently he is currently hosting a segment on the CBS early show entitled Rob to the Rescue. Not sure what this is about. Either way, they are probably going to make it pretty far. I call Uchenna and Joyce (who beat Rob and Amber last time they competed) as their bigger competition, but other than that. No one is close. I need someone to volunteer for this taping as well. I can't give my mom too much to do? Anyone.

So I guess it is fairly pitiful that I want to have three different shows taped while I am gone. I am really not a TV junky, and quite honestly, Survivor is the only one I don't want to miss. I'll be sad about the others, but I really don't know when I would be able to watch them when I get back we'll be so busy. Either way, if you want to volunteer to be my Amazing Race or American Idol taper, I'd greatly appreciate it. You must vow to be diligent and forget on a very limited basis. Okay, off to help Kristen coach her volleyball team at the Volleyball Center. I'm not even taking a coat!!!! Yay!!!

Travel Buddy

I stole this "Travel Buddy" thingy from Tara. This is really cool. I am dissapointed that my country attendance is so much lower than her's, however, my "state" coverage outranks her so I can at least be proud about that! I am pretty close to finishing out the US. Just Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, Idao and Alaska and Hawaii left to go!!


Well it is 8:22 on Saturday morning, and I just woke up. I took an Ambien last night and slept, as I usually do when I take one of these magic pink pills, like a rock. For awhile, I am just going to take them every night -- at least until I can get caught up. Then we might, again, try to "wean" down the dosage.

I actually didn't get into bed last night though until after 1am. A bunch of JB's classmates convened on a famous steakhouse in the cities, about an hour north of here. It was very good despite the fact that I don't completely get the fascination with steak. We women decided it was definitely a "man" thing. It was a really good time though, and I am glad I decided to go. Up until about thirty minutes before JB left, I was going to stay home and just try to get some work done and converge on my bed early. However, at the last minute, we decided to give me Mountain Dew and let me join JB as he headed up-state.

Today I am going to be doing work for RLS and Mayo the entire day. The issue with both my jobs right now is that I am preparing to take a six week leave. There are just a lot of things that need to "put to rest" before I take off for this time. My physician at Mayo has hired a new girl (from the candidates I helped interview) to come in 10 hours a week. However, she doesn't start until a few weeks after I leave. I will get to "train" her before I go, but I really need to have things in order before I leave her there to figure it all out for herself. When I return, she and I will work together in office for a few weeks, and then I will head to Florida. The idea is that she will remain his administrative assistant 10 hours a week at Mayo, and I will serve as his "Editorial Assistant" approximately 10-14 hours a week from Florida. However, at a place like Mayo, this has to go through a thousand pieces of red tapes and committees that meet on committee. This has not been officially approved yet. My boss in confident that we will eventually get the committee to stamp things in our favor, but that hasn't happened yet.

Getting things approved at RLS is quite different. There are six of us currently working there, and the Board quickly approved my remote work. In addition to my hopeful continual of my job at Mayo, my job at RLS will continue in the same fashion as it is currently when I move to Florida. The only difference is that I will be picking up more responsibilities as my ability to take on more hours increases. I do 16 hours a week for them now. In Florida, I will probably be doing between 20-30. My main job at RLS right now is to write articles and text for various publications. If you would like to see examples of the types of things I write, you can visit's publication page at: PUBLICATIONS. I also do a lot of work on our website itself, a lot of PowerPoint, and various other tasks.

I really enjoy both tasks and am excited about writing/editing full-time from Florida. It has always been my goal to actually be a writer. At least a writer who gets paid. I think that as of June 4th, my first day telecommuting 100%, I will really be a writer.

Okay, off to catch up on work. Have a great weekend folks. Our snow is melting like crazy!!! Thirty-seven feels amazingly warm!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Posts are short ...

My posts are short lately mainly because so is my sleep. I have tried to refrain from commenting about my sleep either verbally or with the written word on my blog ... mainly because I am so frustrated that writing or talking about it makes me more frustrated. I also feel like other people are sick of hearing about it as well. So I've just tried to go about my days normally. But it isn't working.

I am still not sleeping. I am done with the progesterone medication, but my sleep has not returned. If I take an Ambien, I sleep, and I sleep very well. But anytime I do not take one, I sleep only three or four hours in fifteen to twenty minute segments. I never actually get into a deep sleep. Or if I do get into a deep sleep, it is only for three or four hours and then I am up the rest of the time.

I try to not get frustrated. I try to be patient. I am not napping so that my sleep is not thrown off. I am not watching TV or getting on the computer before bed.

I have been trying not to take the Ambien every night, hoping to find the "minimal" dose for me. But it appears the minimal dose is going to half to be every night for awhile. This should make things better.

You know, I work for the RLS Foundation. Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes people to be unable to sleep due to the need to move their legs repeatedly. I have such a new-found respect for people who cannot sleep.

Thanks for listening to me complain. I won't be talking about this too much more on the blog, as, like I said, the best thing I can do is be positive and not complain. The complaints do not help.

But I needed to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Very true facts

  • Match day is one week from today.
  • We leave for Nigeria in just over two weeks.
  • I am subbing for Jenny and playing volleyball tonight.
  • I am helping Kristen coach the JO club volleyball team that I used to work with in St. Charles. Their first tournament is on Sunday.
  • We are going to dinner in the cities with some people from JB's class on Friday.
  • I got to watch Karuna and Luke last night. What sweet kids!
  • I have an eye doctor appointment today.
  • I am very busy at both my jobs.
  • This is a short blog.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's worse? The dentist, taxes, or wearing a suit every day?

This post is actually a lot more positive than the title would imply.

First of all, JB did our taxes this week. Upon completion, there was a long moment of silence as he shuffled over to give me the news, as I leaned against the wall, impatiently waiting.

A little background: We have now been married for almost nine years. In those nine years, we have never gotten a tax return. The first five years we were married JB was running his own business. This required him to put money in the bank each quarter and then make one payment at tax time. Sometimes we wouldn't have to use all the money, however, we never actually got a return.

Then came Minnesota. This was a disaster. For whatever reason, my teaching job in St. Charles did not take out enough tax money for us. We didn't know this until tax time rolled around and we owed money. The next year, I had left teaching but was working two part-time jobs. This really hit us hard as, "unbeknowest" to us, part-time jobs don't take out as much money as full time jobs. When tax time rolled around, we owed thousands of dollars! This really, really stunk. Year three, we did better but still ended up owing money.

So this year, we were, cautious. Despite requesting more money to be taken out of all our paychecks, we were figuring that come tax time, we would owe a bit. We weren't trying to be negative, just financially ready.

So back to present day. (JB finishes the taxes and shuffles over to me.) He holds up a piece of paper with a large sum on money on it. "Here's the damage," he mumbles. Despite Novocain from my recent dentist visit, my jaw drops. The number on the piece of paper was even more money than we owed in year two! How could this be? How could we owe that much despite having extra money withheld from both of my paychecks? Then JB smiles. This was the money we were getting back!!!!!


The main reason: IVF. Our medical expenses were at their maximum this last year as I did two harvests and three transfers all in the course of one year. This gave us a return! So we actually saved money putting me under. Well, not really, but we are still really excited about this return. It was nice to get nice news.

In other news, I also went to the dentist this week and got my two temporary crowns put on. This was quite an experience. They ended up giving me some of the "laughing gas" as there were two pretty big fillings that had to be taken out, and my lack of sleep the night before was leaving me not-very-relaxed. This gas was wonderful! I actually think I got a nap while she was drilling.

After two hours and what I believed was a conclusion to a not-so-pleasant but very-tolerable experience, I went out to the counter to pay my bill, only to have my dentist come out and get me, unhappy with the molding for one of my crowns. Her real fear was because we were leaving the country for six weeks, if the molding wasn't perfect, there might not be time to return the crowns and get them redone before we left, leaving me in temporary crowns (which fall off easily and are quite clunky) the whole time we are in Africa! So I had to get back in the chair, get more Novocain, and do one tooth again. Dr. Laura was so sweet, and she thanked me for my patience, but I really, really wanted to get out of the dentist office.

In other news from the week ...

This week JB has also returned to real class. He and his forty-something classmates are back in the classroom for a three week class. This will actually be JB's last class and test during medical school. Next Thursday will also be the day that his classmates all "match" with their residency choices (something JB has already done). There is a huge "ceremony" for match day -- something I get to attend. They also cancel class the next day due to the fact that so many students have spent the night before, well, celebrating.

As of last Friday, JB also wore a suit for the last time. Not sure how many of you know that Mayo docs don't wear white coats. They were suits. Every day. JB finds the idea of putting a lasso around your neck each morning quite absurd so he reminded for a week straight that this was the last week he may ever have to put on a suit ... daily.

For the next seven years, he will be wearing a military uniform to work. I'd imagine he'll get pretty sick of that too.


Okay Andi! Andi asked many moons ago and then recently how she can pray for us and our upcoming adventures. I admit, I say "please pray for us" but I don't get much more specific than that. She specifically touched on prayer for me surrounding our mission trip. When we leave for the trip at the end of March, I will repost specific prayers for us in Nigeria. Since I won't be blogging much, if at all, during those six weeks, they will be readily available to anyone who stops into the "Polar North".

The next three months of our lives might be the busiest three months in the history of our lives. We will be going on a six week mission trip, graduating from medical school, doing a transfer, moving to Florida, and both starting new jobs/careers, and possibly moving forward with adoption or a pregnancy. That being the case, I realized that we definitely need prayer and a lot of it. However, specifically, if you are praying for us would you pray:

  • That the Lord gives me sweet sleep in Nigeria and South Africa.
  • That all the details of handing my medications while across the world are taken care of and that my body responds appropriately.
  • That we are able to get all the things done that need to be done before we leave without me nagging JB to death.
  • That I have peace about what I will be doing in Nigeria each day. I am a planner, and I have been told repeatedly that this trip will require flexibility and adaptation to circumstances.
  • That the Lord reveals to both JB and I what it is he wants us to be doing with missions. We pray that this trip opens our eyes and our hearts to the direction He has for our lives.
  • That our condo sells or rents -- whichever it is the Lord wants for it.
  • That we could move into our place in Florida without having to go into temporary housing.
  • That amongst the ten people in JB's residency class, that there are a few Christian couples that we can get support from -- particularly couples who are compassionate and understanding of our infertility journey as are the people we are friends with here.
  • That the Lord would use us in Florida. That our home would be a haven to people who are alone and without support -- just like us.
  • For a successful transfer on May 31st -- 4th time is the charm!!!
  • For wisdom on how and when to proceed with adoption.
  • For save travel for all our friends and family coming to the graduation and all of us as we get ourselves moved to Florida.
  • For JB to have wisdom and he begins to treat patients and work through his residency.

I hope that list is long enough for starters. Again, I'll post a more specific prayer list for our mission trip right before we leave.