Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Rent, No Jobs, No Problem

Friday was Nathan's last day at work. His supervisor took him out for an exquisite farewell lunch, and he ended the day forgetting his prized name placard on his desk, perhaps not quite prepared not to come back. Even still, his first, real, big-kid job is now a past-tense, bulleted list on a resume. No turning back now. Mongolia or bust.

Sunday, with the indispensable help of Leslie's parents and our friends Justin Stuempfle and Mike Lilly, we packed all of our worldly belongings into a 17’ U-haul and two cars, one of which we towed on a trailer. A couple hours of cleaning later, we hit the road for Erie - security deposit in hand - with an overnight stop in northeastern PA at a White Haven Comfort Inn. Monday morning we made our way across a rainy Pennsylvania, tailed by Leslie's parents, to our storage facility in Erie. After an early dinner we transferred the world’s most comfortable king-sized bed, coma-inducing couches, and most everything else that won't be going with us to Mongolia snugly into their new home.

We took a little trip to Tinseltown movie theater for “Baby Mama” (2 thumbs up), and then crashed hard for the night. Though we slept well, the moving hangover carried on through the day as we zombied the U-haul back to its rightful owners, creaked to the mall for some odds and ends, and shuffled to the lawyers office to sign over our powers-of-attorney to Leslie’s parents. We clearly have a case of the blahs.

Tomorrow, Nathan is looking forward to golf at Peek’n Peak Resort in nearby NY, where we found a great deal: $13 for 18 holes. Leslie will be working on her final project for grad school and trying to work in a massage at the resort, where, incidentally, she worked in high school.

We have a ton of administrative things to accomplish for the Peace Corps in the coming days as well, and we have to move ahead more aggressively with learning the language. We’ve read through the 104-page welcome book, and we continue to learn more about our future home each day. Even still, it's been hard to pursue with so many other life events converging at once.

We’re also debating buying a second computer to take with us. We’ve found one from Dell we might like, and even though it might be in our price range, we just can’t decide whether we’ll need two. The debate continues. Bulk and weight remain a concern as we are only allowed 100lbs of luggage.

Though we’re homeless and unemployed, all in all, we’re holding up well and looking forward to the wedding this weekend of our best man, Eric, to his sweetie, Emily.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Moving Prep, Leslie Passes Her Comps

It's been a long couple of weeks of packing and prepping. Slowly but surely we're about half way done. Leslie's parents will be here this weekend to help us load the U-haul and clean up. We also have some great friends here who will help us lug our stuff down and out on the first leg of the trip to a storage facility in northwestern PA.

Big news to report: Leslie got an email from the illustrious Dr. Dileo, head of the Temple music therapy graduate program, letting her know she passed her comprehensive exams. All that's left now is a few edits on her final research project about self-care practices among music therapists and a paper for her supervision course.

Nathan's co-workers are closing up shop early tomorrow and taking him to McGillin's Ale House around the corner for some beers in his honor, and tonight we're meeting some friends at Lucky Strike for some swanky cocktails and bowling.

Already, the stresses of moving, quitting jobs, finishing school and starting a new phase in our lives has taken a (hopefully short-term) toll. Neither one of us is sleeping well.

It's all starting to get (sur)real. Nathan is waiting for the other shoe to drop, while Leslie just doesn't want her shoes - dropped or not - to be in Philadelphia anymore. Thankfully, most shoes are securely packed.

We'll be moved out of town by Monday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chamberlains Head to Mongolia in June

We are excited to announce that we will be heading to Mongolia with the Peace Corps on June 2, 2008. For 27 months, Nathan will be a business adviser working with community groups and NGOs like CFH International & Mercy Corps to facilitate the development of small businesses, agri-business, cooperative development in urban areas and tourism. Leslie will be a life skills trainer in community youth development. Besides working directly with local youth, she'll be creating and developing training programs for youth leaders, social workers, and staff for organizations working with children.

We'll fly to San Francisco on May 30, then on to Mongolia on June 2. We're super excited. And we super can't speak the language. We will spend three months in intensive classes, but we can't even pronounce the Russian-like Cyrillic letters yet. All we know about Mongolia is Genghis Khan, and the good things we've heard about their BBQ (which is neither Mongolian or BBQ, apparently.) As we learn more, we'll put it up on our blog, which is under construction.

In the meantime, Nathan's parents have offered to hold an open house for us May 17 in Wilmington, OH. We hope you'll pencil it in now and join us, because we'd love to see you. Because it's ridiculously expensive and we'll only be making a $124 a month, there's no guarantee we'll be home again until almost 2011!

Otherwise, Leslie is finishing up her music therapy masters comprehensive exams at Temple and is all set for her May 22 graduation (and birthday). We're out of Philly on April 28.

Hope to see you soon!