Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch...

I know, I know – it’s been more than three months since my last update. I have gotten a few reminders from family and friends about the lack of new entries since Easter. I have gotten e-mails asking if I had given up on this blogging thing. No, I have not given up. Yes, there has been a prolonged lull in updates. One of this year’s resolutions was to keep my blog updated regularly. Since I am overseas, the blog keeps my family and friends updated on my life in Germany. This blog, as well as photos from my flickr account, was created to provide a response to many e-mails I have received and continue to receive, wondering "what Elvin has been up to"; both the blog and photo site helps from having to respond individually to the e-mails and from sending out regular e-mail updates. I started out the year with an update every week or so, at least for the first four months. So I am back --- with a vengeance, I hope.

It has been a whirlwind of activities, travel, and work since that update. During the last week of April, I was in DC for a week of training. I saw a few friends from that area, as well as doing a day trip to North Carolina. After DC, I stopped in Seattle for a 4-day visit. When I got back to Wiesbaden, it was back to the old grind of working, including weekends to catch up with all my projects. From early May to early June, I was at work pulling 10-12 hour workdays, and 4-6 hour days during the weekends.

Both of my sisters and a family friend from our hometown in the Philippines came to Germany to visit. From 4-16 June, I was their tour guide showing them sights in Paris, Lourdes, Barcelona, Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Munich, Cologne, and nearby sights around Wiesbaden. All in all, we had a blast seeing the sights. Mode of travel was by train for the most part. But we also drove my car from Wiesbaden to Munich area and return, as well as the sights around Wiesbaden.

After my visitors left 16 June, I was again back to the grind of work. We borrowed a couple of Corps of Engineer employees from Walla Walla for six months. One was able to keep my projects on track while I was away. I was back to doing the 10-12 hour workdays and working weekends so that I am able to take one and a half week off to visit Seattle in late June. On 26 June, I went to Seattle for an 11 day visit mainly to see my father (who now spends most of his time in the Philippines), attend a baptism party for a nephew’s son (my great nephew, right?), and join the extended family for the annual family camping event during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

As always, my visit to Seattle is always a hustle and bustle of activities. I accompanied several family members to the huge, yearly Rotary Auction in Bainbridge Island, went to see my dentist to repair a chipped molar and two fillings, visited and lunched with friends from the Port of Seattle, refinanced my mortgage loan, and met with a contractor to revamp and modernize the front yard of my house. After I left Seattle, I felt like there were still a thousand things that I failed to do.

Since my return to Germany on 7 July, I have been at work every single day, including weekends. So that is one of the reasons for the lack of updates. Any free time I have are spent to do errands (grocery shopping, laundry, rest & recovery, etc). “Me” time is spent doing leisurely walk around Wiesbaden in the early evening for about an hour and a half, or going to a favorite coffee shop and bringing reading material to catch up on books and news magazines I subscribe to.

Fiscal year end is soon to pass. I have plenty planned for the fall. Stay tuned for updates with photos, on my late June visit of Seattle, being a tour guide to my two sisters and a friend of theirs, my early May visit of Seattle, and late April visit of DC. Attached is a picture of me during Organization Day at work on 10 July. More to come…