Friday, August 29, 2008

What A Week!

So, Mark is home, but he's been feeling pretty yucky! The jet-lag combined with his still sore throat has not been a pleasant thing for him while he had 5 very important interviews. So far, we've heard that his #1 choice has turned him down. There are still others to interview for, and several others to hear back from. So, we'll just have to keep you posted on what happens and where we will end up for next summer and after graduation.

Mark also realized that he had a conflicting schedule for his interviews next week. He has a scheduled flight on the same day as another interview, but it was before the interview, not after. Oops! So he had to spend some time figuring out that whole mess.

Another interesting thing that happened this week was that our car was towed for being parked on the street at the wrong time. Usually Mark remembers to move it before noon, but yesterday when he left the house and noticed that the car was no longer there, he felt pretty silly for forgetting to move it this time. (Give him a break! He hasn't had to worry about actually moving the car all summer!) So there was a bit of a hassle he had to go through in order to figure out where the car was, and how to get it back...not to mention the $160+ it cost to pay for the damages of forgetfulness. No matter how long we've been here, we still seem to get caught in the traps of the Boston Transportation Department and get gouged with penalties for accidents.

Speaking of getting gouged, I had to go get my driver's license switched over to a MA state license. My insurance company told me that I had to in order for them to renew the policy. So that was a $90 fee that we really didn't want to have to deal with. Now Mark will need to get his switched over before the 4th in order for it to renew as well. Also, Mark's license expires on his next birthday I guess it's not such a bad thing afterall.

Also, we've been preparing to go camping this weekend. In our quest to be fully prepared, we just couldn't seem to find a decent camp stove to take on this trip. We went to REI because we knew they were having a sale, but they just didn't have any that Mark was fond of. We then ventured to Target. They seemed to have the kind he wanted, but they were not in stock. So...we'll just have to see what Mark comes up with today as he organizes everything for the trip. (I'm here at work, so he gets to do all the dirty work of the preparations! We're leaving as soon as we can after I get home from work.)

After the camping trip, if we have any good pictures, I'll be sure to post them. As for now, here are a few from Mark's trip to the Hot Springs in China.

Views of the hotel and resort:

A few of the group from the office that went on this weekend outing:

Is it just me, or does this necklace make you want to chew on gum-balls?

Some of the fun involved playing in the water too!

This picture deserves a disclaimer: It looks worse than it really is because Mark had to grab his hand to keep him from falling. Mark had sandals on, but the other guy's bare feet were slipping on the rocks.

More fun things to least, photo opportunities!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Well, Mark made it back to the United States safe and sound, but he is definitely suffering from the jet-lag. Where he was staying in China, the time difference was 12 hours ahead of here in Boston, so it is a huge difference. There were a few disturbances in his return home, but nothing that made it impossible to get home. First, he got tonsillitis on Monday, and he went to a medical clinic about 3 times to get medications to get rid of it before his flight. He feared that he would be stuck and quarantined at the customs counter in NJ, just a few hours from home, if he had a fever. On Tuesday he learned that there was a typhoon forecast for that Friday, so we were praying really hard that it would not affect his flight on Saturday. He was able to kick the tonsillitis (for the most part) and the typhoon moved far enough in-land that his flight as not delayed- at least not because of the weather.

The trip itself, however, did not go quite as smoothly as these things did. He arrived at the airport over 3 hours early because that was what the website advised for international flights. Well, it turned out that the check-in counters didn't even open for another hour so he was waiting around for nothing. Then his suitcase was too heavy, so he had to buy a plastic bag thingy (the very technical term, I know) to distribute the weight of the luggage. He had a few issues with the metal detectors because he didn't realize the Chinese medicine that was in his pocket was wrapped in a metal foil, not a plastic wrap. And when he got to the other side of the detector, he couldn't find his bag, but they had just run it through the X-ray again because there was something that looked funny in it (his medicines in small vials). Then as he was waiting in lines at the Newark, NJ airport, he was ushered over to different lines (taking up more time in his already short enough lay-over). At the Boston airport's luggage claim, we saw that the plastic bag that he bought in Guangzhou had ripped, so we won't even be able to get another use out of the bag he bought for the return flight. At last he was able to make it to Boston all in one piece, so it turned out just fine.

I was trying to add a few of the video clips from his trip, but there will be some more converting to do before I can add those. Hopefully I'll be able to get that done over the next couple of weekends.

As for now, Mark is starting the interview process for his 2nd summer internship. He's read over example questions and had a mock interview conducted by me, but I'm still nervous for him. He has 12 interviews scheduled- 3 of which are today (Tuesday Aug, 26) and they seem to just keep coming. Of course, Mark would like to have more interviews than the few that he already has, but all we can do right now is pray for the best. I fully believe that the Lord will help us work everything out, so I really shouldn't be worried. However, these interviews will determine his internship for next summer, which will most likely end up being his position when he graduates the following year, and therefore will determine the rest of our lives and where we will be living. These are very important interviews, possibly the mose important of his/our life...and so the only thing I can do is pray that his interviews will go well, and that the interviewers will see the great potential that Mark has. From still trying to get over his illness from last week, and the jet-lag from the return flight, Mark will have to put on a very good show to appear not only confident in himself, but also not exhausted like he really feels. This is a nerve-wracking time for us, and it takes all my concentration to calm the both of us down...which I don't know that I do very well. I can ask for prayers, but that's about it. It's all up to how these next couple of months go with Mark interviewing!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Background Fix

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Count-Down Is ON!!

So Mark has been in China for 7 weeks now, and there is only one more week left to go. He will be arriving this next Saturday. Each time people ask me about when he's coming home, I can't help but smile to tell them that it will be this week. I don't remember looking forward to anything this much...except for maybe the wedding day, but that's almost 4 years ago.

This last week has been fairly uneventful, except for finishing the quilt, then accidentally ruining it by trying to ensure that the marker wouldn't bleed. Since the center pieces were no longer the beautiful flawless that they used to be, the perfectionist in me decided that I really needed to fix it because I would not be able to stand having the marker bleed into the rest of the quilt when I eventually wash it. After calling around and trying to get as much advice as I could about how to fix it, I decided to pick out the center pieces and create a whole new center label. Sewing it into the middle of a quilt that was already tied together was no easy the new centerpiece doesn't sit as smoothly, but it's now a new memory to tell as I talk about the quilt and show it to my future children.

Mark has been working hard to prepare for interviews. Yes, the interviewing process is beginning, and he still has 2 more years of school left!! He's applied to over 60 locations through the BU career office, almost 40 locations through the mail, and I don't even know how many through email. So far, he has been invited for 10 interviews with no more than 2 in the same city. He's been trying to figure out what to do (travel arrangements, buying a new suit, etc.) and what to say for these interviews (what he learned from this experience in China, what makes him better than the other candidates, etc.). Just a couple of days after he gets back to Boston, he will already be interviewing for the firms that are his top choices. He is excited to get to interview, but the interview itself does not guarantee the job. We are in need of prayers because there isn't a whole lot else that we can do. We can apply to more places, we can send out more resumes, but we can't secure a position without someone else (namely the law firms) to see that Mark has great qualifications by looking at him on paper. Of course, the more interviews, the more likely we are to find one that will not only offer him a position but also be one that he will want to work.

We know that everything will turn out alright because the Lord has done so much in leading us out here. I know that He will continue to guide us through this phase in our life. It's still hard for me to have faith and take a step when I can't see where I'm going, but when I hold onto Mark's hand, I feel like I can go anywhere and handle anything. I'm very excited for him to be coming home this next week, but I'm more ready to just be taking the next step in life with him.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Famous T-shirt Quilt

This is the project that I've been working on since Mark left for China. That was 6 long weeks ago, and I still have 2 more weeks left to await his return. I know that there are a few other things that I can do to keep myself busy before he comes home, so don't worry about me.

So I finally finished the quilt...ok, for the perfectionist that I am, I still have a few adjustments that I want to make around the edging so that it looks better, but for all intensive purposes, it's completed and I thought that I would now add the pictures to let everyone see how it turned out. I am actually quite proud of it since it is my first quilt. I'm sure that if I made a quilt from materials that didn't stretch, or small enough that it didn't tug out of the sewing machine by its sheer weight, then it would have turned out to be a much nicer quilt. As it is, I am quite excited to show everyone how it turned out. I think that if you click on the slideshow, it will redirect you to another page where you can see the images bigger and with the captions I included.

I know that many of you are wondering how Mark has been since he left for China. That can best be answered by talking to him directly, but from what he's told me it has been a pretty good experience. Honestly, before he left we anticipated that the law firm he's working for as an intern would have him working for about 44 hours per week and that he would have to work an additional 40 hours as the research assistant for Prof. Wexler here at Boston University. Thinking that it was going to be a very busy summer for him, we were both hoping that he was not going to be too burnt out by the time he had to start school again. As it turns out, the law firm really hasn't given him much to do at all. There were a couple articles that they wanted him to edit, a couple articles they wanted him to write for publication...but not really a whole lot of things that took up any time. So he was able to spend much of his time in the office doing the research for Prof. Wexler. He did get to go to a cocktial party, and a few meetings with clients, so it was good for him to see what goes on in the corporate law firm, but he was disappointed that there wasn't more for him to do for them.

Now that he's completed the research that Prof. Wexler asked him to do, he's just waiting for more assignments to be given him. He's pretty much just waiting for time to pass so that he can come back home. I think it has been a valuable experience for Mark, but it may not have been as "invaluable" as we hoped it would be when he left. Needless to say, it has been a very long summer for the both of us, even if there hasn't been a lot to tell others. We'll be glad for the summer to be over. Mark will be interviewing for next summer's internship, I will be working just like always, but we're looking forward to this reunion and start of a new school more year closer to the end of school! We can just see the light at the end of the tunnel...a few bumps along the way, but we're that much closer!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Welcome to the Dahl Blog!!

I've known for a long time that I needed to be better at keeping a journal...well, maybe it's time that I start keeping a blog. I may not be technically challenged, but I never got into the iPod phase because I couldn 't justify the expense of the device. My in-laws gave me an MP3 player for Christmas once, but the batteries run out so fast that I just don't bother to use it. I never got into the camera phone phase (even though I have one, I can't do anything with the pictures other than scroll through them on the actual phone!) because it always costs extra money to be able to send the picture text or as an email. Well, what's my excuse for the blogger phase? That's free! It's not like I don't have the time while I'm at work. I take pictures and have fun things to mention every once in a while. So, I guess I have none really! So I guess it's time to really make sure that I keep a record of the fun things in life. It will help me to count my blessings and to keep all my loved ones up-to-date with the goings on in our life. I tried to come up with a clever title, but I guess I'll just have to settle with what I have. (I also liked the "Dahl House" title, but it was taken; and if it weren't by that cousin, then it would've been by my sister-in-law! Serves me right for taking too long to start the blog, huh?) I'll start adding pictures in when I can, but this is just the beginning, and I don't have any with me at work right now!