Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving in Budapest

Jay and I took advantage of another four day weekend over Thanksgiving! Thursday morning we jumped on a plane to Budapest, Hungary. The trip was meant to be more relaxing than we're used to. Budapest is known for it's spas. There are fresh hot water springs all over the city that fill into pools.

We took most of Friday to soak up the water. The spa complex that we went to had 15 pools in all. We made it into two of them and both of them were outside. It was FREEZING out, but the water was so warm! We had to keep ourselves under the water up to our shoulders in order to stay warm. But, the water was so hot that we had to sit out every once in a while. It was great just to sit and relax in the water. A good stress relief!

 These guys were fun to watch. This is a huge tradition in Budapest..... old guys playing chess in the water.

The rest of the time we were in the city, we walked around to see all the beautiful sites. It was freezing out, but that didn't stop us. Well.... at least not Jay! On Saturday, I decided that I would rather stay in the hotel and spend the afternon there. Jay went out on his own to finish seeing the city. I had no troubles sitting in the hotel room, watching a movie, skyping with my family, and writing our Christmas letter.

The BEST part of the whole trip..... we went to the Christmas fair every night! It got better and better each night we went as it didn't actually "open" until Saturday. Several of the booths were open on Thursday, but there were many more by Saturday. We got some great Hungarian food that hit the spot! My favorite part was splurging on a tea pot. I have started a small collection and this one was just awesome! Handmade and cutely painted! I was so excited to get it!

We're home now for three weeks...... and then...... TO THE USA!!!!! I can't wait to be home!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Summing Up November

I decided I better make another post in the month of November before it's over! It went so fast.... BUT THAT'S OK WITH ME! That just means we'll be back in Iowa that much sooner!

Over Veteran's Day weekend, Jay and I took a trip to Turkey. We spent four days traveling around Istanbul. The weather was pretty chilly and rainy, but we still had a good trip. It was very interesting to see an entirely different culture! We were able to go into a few mosques and see their style of religion. In order to go in, we had to take our shoes off and I had to cover my head.

One of the full days we had in the city, we bought tickets for a hop-on hop-off bus. It wasn't the best of days, so a good day to be on a bus. We drove all around, getting off to see a palace and a few other sites. The best part about the bus trip was that it took us into Asia! The city of Istanbul is actually on two continents. The west side of the city is in Europe and the east side of the city is in Asia. The city is split by the Bosphorus Strait. We rode over a huge bridge and into Asia. The east side is much more Turkish than the west side, which is much more Westernized. I was excited to have the chance to be in Asia. That was my first time crossing over!

 This guy was just fun! And he was posing perfectly!

We really enjoyed the different markets that were spread around the city. We spent a lot of time and money in the Grand Bazaar. That is were most of our family will be getting their Christmas presents! They had thousands of rugs to choose from, but we have plenty from Afghanistan. I tried to keep my eyes away from all the scarves, as Jay has supplied me with lots of those too. We had to try out some Turkish delights. They are little gummy squares covered in powdered sugar. We bought a couple boxes to try out!

It was nice to be traveling again. We haven't been anywhere all fall because of my coaching gig. We had games every weekend, so were stuck in Schweinfurt. We were a little out of practice. We usually don't worry too much and just go with the flow. We had a little trouble getting back home. Our flight left Istanbul late because of thick fog back in Munich (Germany). Once we got to Munich, we had already missed out flight to Nurnberg, where our car was. We tried to catch a train, but being nearly midnight, there weren't any more left until morning. They couldn't get us on another flight until 8:00 the next morning. The hotels were all booked up, so we ended up sleeping on the airport floor. We took some cushions off restaurant benches to make a bed! They worked pretty well. I had to call in and take the morning off since we wouldn't be home in time. Our flight left a few minutes late the next morning, but we made it back at a decent time. Jay drove as fast as possible back to Schweinfurt to get me back by 11:15, when my half day started. We didn't even stop at home, Jay just dropped me off at the school door at 11:18.

This weekend, we are heading out to Budapest, Hungary. We fly out tomorrow morning and we'll be back on Sunday. It's really cold there, so won't be too fun to be outside. Thankfully they are known for their pools and spas! That's where we'll be spending our time!

We hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for this year! Things in our lives are just so wonderful. God has really blessed us beyond belief!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Medical Update

There are times in life when God tests us, wondering how much he can give us before we fully give it all to him. Well folks, the past month has been a test of character for us. A lot has been happening that has kept us busy, made us worry, sent us to places we don't want to go, and challenged us, sometimes more than we care to handle.

Let's begin in the middle of October, since that's the last time I posted. Nothing too stressful to report, just the usual. It's just that our usual is quite full! I was in the middle of my volleyball season, majorly struggling to build a team (that's for another blog). Jay was doing his usual things at work, keeping himself busy. We watched the Houston's a few days while mom and dad were trying to recoop. During the week, besides not finishing up with our day's work until 6:00 in the evening, we have activities every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. All of this we could deal with. It's our normal life routine! But there's more to add...

One of our best friends here in Germany has cancer and is going through chemo. We've been trying to help out the family as much as possible. Jon has been recovering, which means sleeping a lot. Angie got sick herself and ended up spending the night in the hospital also. We took the two little boys for a couple days, got them to school and a babysitter, and then back home to mom and dad. We can't do a lot for them, but we try to do what we can. They are special friends to us and we want to be there for them! On October 21st, I get an email from Jay in the middle of the day to tell me that Jon went to the ER because he couldn't breath. Come to find out he had a collapsed lung. He was going to be hospitalized and would be in for a few days. Jay said in his email that we should go see them that evening, after volleyball. I was at volleyball late because I had to get two gyms set up for a home tournament the next day. Being a new school, we had to make shift a few pieces of equipment to make things work. We got it all figured out thanks to a lot of duct tape!! Jay and I both parked our cars in front of the house at the same time once we were both done at work. I got out of my car and jumped in his to head to the hospital. We called Angie once we got there to ask if we could come up for a few minutes. She was just getting ready to leave for the night, so we quickly went up to say hi. Jon wasn't in a good state, so we gave him our love and walked out with Angie. She had already called for someone to come pick her up, so had to wait for her ride. We walked outside the hospital and were standing on the sidewalk waiting. Jay, Angie, and I were all standing there when all of a sudden Jay fell to the ground. He had his hands in his pockets and fell just like a tree. His chin was the first thing to hit and he bounced. Angie and I both looked down and at first, thought he was joking. It took us 2 seconds to realize that something was wrong. I quickly rolled him over and held his head. Wade, our friend that was coming to get Angie, jumped out of the car and came alongside Jay. He found Jay's pulse through his entirely tense body and started unzipping his coats. All I could do was stay at Jay's head and keep it from hitting the ground. Angie ran inside to get someone out there, who was out there within the minute. They quickly got Jay stabalized and onto a stretcher. They took him straight to ICU, where he stayed overnight and into the next day. That first evening was really rough. Jay had no idea what happened and why he was in there. I had to keep telling him over and over again. On Saturday, Jay was moved to the stroke unit. There they had him hooked up to a heart monitor at all times. We aren't quite sure why they put him in the stroke unit because he didn't have s stroke. It was a seizure instead. Jay was stuck in bed for the next three days, with cords hanging all over him. He wasn't allowed to leave his room, let alone the floor. He wanted to go visit Jon on the floor below us, but the nurses didn't like that idea. After multiple tests, his brain was cleared. He was then taken down to the cardio unit. After another day full of tests, Jay was finally released. All of the tests came back negative, showing no reason for what happened. Since then, Jay's been doing well. His face was pretty beat up for quite a while, but has since healed. The sidewalk definitely got the best of him.
Bruised shoulder...

We still aren't convinced that something isn't wrong. We continue to pray that all is well with him. Jay took a blood test last week and we're waiting for results. From there, we'll decide if we need a second opinion. Time will tell!

To change gears, I had my blood tested two months ago based on a doctor's request. I never heard back from the clinic with any results, so I made an appointment to check it out. All was clear, except for one thing! I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Not a big deal, just means I take a little pill for the rest of my life! I can deal with that! I looked at all the symptoms and so many of them made sense! Hopefully things will get better for me now!

We're still two very healthy individuals, just with a lot on our plate! But don't think that any of this will make either of us slow down! I certainly know that's not going to happen!! Too much to live for!!

Enough health news! Let's move on!