Honeymoon

Well, it’s been a month since the honeymoon so I figure it’s time we write about it.  I’m actually sitting in a hotel room in Denver right now, not tired enough to go to bed, but too bored to watch tv (although Kona found a special on CNBC about marijuana in California).

The honeymoon started off on a very scary note.  We got to Bloomington on time, but…

Ok, I (Kona) fell asleep watching the marijuana special, but obviously James changed his mind about being bored with it because when I found this posting it stopped at the end of the last paragraph!  So, I’ll try to pick up where he left off!

Getting to the Dominican Republic

After staying up most of the night cleaning the office (see previous posting), James and I managed to get up and out the door on time.  Everything went fine with check-in, security, and boarding the plane,  but then it all went downhill.  To illustrate this in the most realistic way possible, here’s what I posted on Facebook:

July 26 at 5:43 am – “Heading to Atlanta… everything ontime and going well so far!”

July 26 at 6:19 am – “Spoke a little to soon… severe weather down south, plane rerouted, now need more fuel, still in BLM.”

July 26 at 8:33 am – “*sigh*… finally made it to Atlanta, but the chances of catching our connecting flight are SLIM…”

July 26 at 8:58 am – “WE MADE IT!! After doing an OJ through the airport we made it at the last minute! YAY! Consider the ‘Do not disturb’ sign officially out until the 4th!!”

As you can see, things got a little crazy and we really didn’t think we were going to make our connecting flight to the Dominican.  If we hadn’t caught that flight, the next flight wasn’t until the NEXT morning, so it was pretty important that we caught our flight!  Needless to say, once the doors opened on the plane from Bloomington I raced out to find where the gate was for our connecting flight to the Dominican and the quickest way to get there (as if there is such a thing in the Atlanta airport!).  James waited to get our luggage (even though it was carry on, they had to put it under the plane) and once we had it we literally RAN through the airport to the train and then once we got to our terminal I took off (leaving James trailing slightly behind me) for our gate.   When we got there (extremely out of breath) we found out we had made it on time!  Needless to say, even though we were then exhausted and sweaty, we were extremely happy to be on our plane and headed for our HONEYMOON!!

Arriving at the resort!!

After an uneventful flight to the Dominican, we landed and I (for the first time ever) was on foreign soil!! After paying our $10 “entrance” fee and cruising through customs with no problem, we headed out of the airport and quickly found the driver that would take us to the resort.  The trip to the resort took about 1.5 hours and allowed me to get a glimpse of the people, towns, and countryside.

Once at the results we were warmly welcomed and then directed to our room.  The room was quite spacious and as you can see below it provided a great view of the ocean and the resort.

Yet as nice as the room was, as soon as our luggage arrived, we got what we needed and headed to the beach!

Relaxing and enjoying our first couple of days.

Most of our time the first couple of days (as well as the last days as well) were spent relaxing at the beach.  Breakfast was served in the main dining area, but lunch was served down by the beach, so we’d take everything we needed for the day with us to breakfast and then stay by the beach until shortly before dinner.

This was extremely relaxing as well as fun because the resort kept us busy with lots of different activities while down at the beach.  Our favorite activity was water volleyball, which was played in the morning and in the afternoon.  I didn’t realize when we got married that James was so good at water volleyball, but me as well as the other guests quickly caught on to whose team they should be on!!  With his height and length of his arms, James had a clear advantage over most of us who would normally been able use our speed or agility, but which doesn’t work that well in water up to your chest!  Regardless, we got so into the game we ended up pretty sore after a couple of days, so we decided to try massages on the beach.  I’ve had a number of very good massages, but I can honestly tell you I’ve never been more relax or had a better time than down by the beach getting a 90 minute massage!

Also while we were down by the beach we had a great time looking and taking pictures of the hermit crabs and many different sea creatures.

Evenings were normally spent at the main dining area and sometimes included entertainment and sometimes we made our own entertainment!

Day long Jeep Safari

Even though James had done the 1/2 day Jeep safari on a previous trip to the Dominican, since I hadn’t and because it seemed like the most interesting of the tours offered at the resort, we decided to try the full day one.  Lucky for us, another couple at the resort that we had become friendly with also decided to take the tour with us.   The day before we left, another couple warned us that when they went on the trip the day before there were a lot of children who ran after them begging for candy, so we decided to ask the clerk in the resort gift shop if he could buy some candy for us from town.  The next morning we picked up the candy and it was four big grocery bags full, which ended up being more than enough!

We started with a beautiful winding trip up the mountain to visit a traditional Dominican home.

It was quite eye-opening to see how small the house was as well as the lack of indoor plumbing, yet the house and yard were very well kept.

We then had a traditional Dominican meal consisting of fried chicken, rice, and vegetables before heading to an old plantation that also at one time housed cock fighting (one of the nations biggest past-times).

The last part of the tour consisted all of water!! We went to one of the beautiful beaches and got to play in the water and have some fun.

Then we went to the blue lake, which was a small, but beautifully secluded lake where the water was crystal clear and very cold.

Last of all, we went to a waterfall where young children (probably around 8-10) were jumping from and then coming over to see if we’d give them candy or money.

Allergic reaction?

On the second to last night of our honeymoon I came down with an awful allergic reaction to something I ate at dinner.  I’m not allergic to anything that I know of, so while watching the evening entertainment when my palms started to itch terribly and I saw a bunch of bug bite looking bumps all over my body that itched like mad I thought a bug or bugs of some kind had bitten me.  I went to the bathroom to check it out and saw in the mirror how bad it looked and quickly went and told James we needed to go the front desk and see if they had anything for bug bites and then we needed to go back to the room ASAP.  Once we got the made it back to the room, I felt absolutely awful and looked even worse, so I took a few Aleve and had James cover me in the Caladryl we got from the front desk.  I tried to sleep, but it was a long not to fun night.

The next morning when I got up, my eyes were very swollen and puffy (as was a lot of the rest of my face) and I felt awful, but at least my palms didn’t itch (which by the way is the WORST type of itch I’ve ever felt) and all the bug bit looking spots were gone, but with the swelling and still not feeling well I told James to PLEASE call the front desk and see if they could get me some benadryl.  He ended up going down to the front desk and writing down exactly what I needed and lucky for me, they were able to get some from the pharmacy… for 8 pesos/pill!  Yes, they were sold by the pill and were 8 pesos each! [James  – Kona thought they were a dollar each, but that’s only about 25 cents each.  In her defense, she was really out of it and in a lot of pain.  I splurged and bought the name brand instead of the generic which was only 5 pesos each and I bought twenty of them].  At that point I didn’t care and the money didn’t matter, so James went ahead and got 20 pills.  I took my first one at breakfast and then crashed on the beach until lunch time.  By then the swelling had started to go down and I was feeling a little bit better, and when talking with another guest who was a nurse, and describing my symptoms and the progression of the symptoms, she told me it wasn’t bug bites, but an allergic reaction (probably to something I had for dinner, considering when and how everything came on).  So, I now know I’m allergic to “something”, but since there were so many different spices and sauces on the food I have no clue what exactly I’m allergic to!!  Also, as a side note, even though James has no problems taking pictures of EVERYTHING, he was gentlemanly enough to not even try to get pictures of me all puffy and awful looking!

He looks familiar…

The morning I was all swollen with my allergic reaction, I noticed a new couple having breakfast not far from where we sitting, so when James went to check on where my Benadryl was, I walked over to introduce myself.  After introducing myself and telling the couple that my husband James would be right back, the wife looked at me and said I think we gave your husband a ride to the airport a couple of years ago!!  What a surprise!! It ended up that this couple had in fact given James a ride to the airport on St. Martin back in 2005 and not only had they remembered James, but James definitely remembered them! Strangely enough, the husband was someone James actually refers to on his work web-site, “Upon hearing that I was a mathematics professor, one geophysicist began quoting the calculus differentiation rules that had been drilled into his head years ago.” It was hilarious that he did the same thing this time as well, except he added to the story that he also recited these rules to his son before he was even out of diapers!

Trip Home

We left the resort around 10:30 am to head back to the airport.  We made it there with plenty of time to spare and were then able to enjoy the non air-conditioned wait for our plane (note sarcasm).  All in all, it wasn’t that bad of a wait and all of our flights were on time and had no problems!

Overall

Overall we had an amazing honeymoon!  We relaxed, played, made new friends, ran into old friends, did some sight-seeing, and just enjoyed being together.  The resort we went to was pretty impressive and I hope in the future we are able to go back and make even more memories!

Start of the semester

It’s been quite a while since our last post, but that doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything; it just means we’re really busy.

As soon as the honeymoon was over, it was time to get ready for the start of the semester.  This is usually a stressful time, but this time it was especially hard.  Normally, I try to get things ready ahead of time, but with all the stuff going on around the wedding and honeymoon, I was not ready for the semester to begin.

To top all that off, I decided to totally revise how I was teaching statistics.  I attended USCOTS in June 25 and heard a talk by Dani Ben-Zvi talk about how he was using a wiki to teach statistics.  I decided that I would give it a go. Besides being collaborative, we’re going to take a data set and run with it as far as we can, rather than going in a linear fashion as we would in a normal semester.  I am totally out of my comfort zone here, but at the same time, very excited.

The Power of Water

While we were in the Dominican Republic on our honeymoon, we visited the Playa Entrada.  While we were there we saw a very creative wave.  Luckily, we had the camera set to video mode and was able to catch it.  You can see it in the video below.

[podcast format=”video”]/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/jjlovekj.flv[/podcast]

The Office

Saturday evening, about 8.5 hours before we needed to leave for our honeymoon, James decided it would be a great idea to clean out the office.  For those of you who haven’t seen the office, imagine piles upon piles of old exams, miscellaneous paperwork, tons of computer parts, and then layers of junk all mixed up and scattered across the floor to the point where you had to almost jump from open space to open space to get to the computers.  In fact, from the time I moved in, this was the “just close your eyes and try to ignore it” room even though I went ahead and put my laptop and other stuff right along in with the mess.

So how did it all start? It started with me deciding that I needed to clean off the table I had been using in the office for my laptop, wedding stuff, work stuff, etc…  My intentions were to just pick up this one area so at least a small part of the office wasn’t a complete disaster when we came back from the honeymoon, but as soon as I got it cleaned off, James started talking about taking the entire table out of the room and moving the computer he uses as a server over to where the table had been.  I thought he was crazy (and told him so), but he just started moving things around to get the table out of the way.

Not one to sit on the sidelines, I figured crazy or not, I might was well join in and started sorting and organizing all the stuff scattered across the floor.  With the combined effort of James moving furniture, me sorting, and then James going through the stuff I had sorted, we were able to get the office completely cleaned up AND were even able to bring my desk into the office so I could set up my very own workspace!  Granted this only allowed us a few hours sleep before we had to head to the airport, but coming home to a CLEAN office was definitely worth it!!

Office

View of the new and improved “CLEAN” office!!