Saturday, August 27, 2011

Craigslist Crazy!

So I think I forget to mention that we actually have plane tickets for Costa Rica now.  After we knew we had rented our house out (last post), had secured the house we wanted in C.R., and were going to start paying rent on October 1st, we quickly realized that we better get our travel plans in order.  I think I also forgot to mention the actual date we have to be out of our house here: September 4th.  Then we will go stay with friends here in Seattle for about a week and a half, and then say goodbye to Seattle on the 16th – yes folks, that’s only 3 weeks away! – and then we drive down to Vancouver.  Needless to say, this timeline is a lot faster than we had anticipated, but it’s all good, and we are finally on our way.  No more what-if’s or when-will-it-all-happen conversations…  And so that brings us to our current phase: crazy packing and crazy Craigslisting!

Joe and I have never really used Craigslist before.  We always just take stuff to the Goodwill and the things that are too expensive to donate we’ve held on to – for way too long.  But now is the time to not only donate our junk but to sell it too and make some cash! It’s crazy how people come out of the woodwork to get a good deal… Here is a list of items we’ve sold:
·      Kate’s basketball hoop - $15
·      Wooden lacing beads - $5
·      Tricycle - $40
·      Clothing rack - $25
·      Ikea chair and ottoman - $25
·      Plastic folding tables - $60 plus something special (ask us in person)
·      My bike - $160
·      Joe’s road bike - $700 (sold to a 20 year old kid who wanted it so bad that he had tears in his eyes when Joe refused his offer of $650 – the asking price was $775… “It’s beautiful,” he said about the bike)
·      Old Target desk I’ve used since college - $20
·      Nikon zoom lens - $75
We also have a window a.c., a PSP (video game thingy), our dirty grill, and a file cabinet still listed and have high hopes of selling those as well.  I mean, I'm sure someone must want them, right? The Craigslist cash will go towards stocking up on a few things before we leave as well as furnishing our house in Costa Rica.

So YEA for Craigslist!!  You are brilliant Craig, whoever you are.  (Was it really started by a guy named Craig?  I have no clue!).

Next on the agenda: make plans with all of our Seattle friends over the next three weeks so we can have one last hoorah and say our goodbyes! September 16th is coming too soon!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bad Day to Glad Day

 Have you been in that situation where you have such an overwhelming amount of things to do that you are just paralyzed by it?  You don’t even know where to begin?  It’s like a heavy fog has descended and you can’t see 5 feet in front of you for where to even take the next step.  That’s how coming back from Costa Rica was for both Joe and me.  We got back at 1 a.m. on a Thursday night and the gist of things is that the lack of sleep from long flights and the overwhelming amount of things to do drove us both over the edge last Saturday.  Anxiety and stress got the best of us and at one point I ended up on my closet floor curled up in a ball, crying.  Clearly, emotions were running high at the Westfall house.  The lovely thing about these kind of breakdowns is that typically you don’t remember exactly how you got to that state of emotions in the first place, and so as I recall these events from a week ago I truthfully don’t remember much. But the essence of my meltdown was that Joe brought up the idea of trying to rent our house out by September 1st and that “it was more important to get renters” than whatever my agenda was, blah, blah, blah…  And at that moment in time, I just wasn’t ready for that conversation. It was too soon, too fast, and too crazy! Our move-out date was supposed to be October 1st, not September!! I was SO tired I just couldn’t think straight, and I ended up being a wreck for the rest of the day.  Hence, the Bad Day.
But things got much better, in a matter hours.  Okay, it was 72 hours, but still, it’s amazing how quickly things can turn around.  I had time to think about our “timeline” and Joe’s proposal and started realizing that Joe really was on to something. We had found a house in Costa Rica that, if we got, we’d start paying rent on October 1st. And we wanted to spend a good amount of time with both of our families before we left the country.  And really, I was ready to start packing and it’s a whole lot easier to pack when you know you’re moving soon and don’t have to deal with empty walls or shelves for too long. So I came around and our compromise was that September 15th was ideal, but I could swing a September 5th move out date.  That was the EARLIEST I was willing to do things, because it gave us an extra weekend.
So we posted our house on Craigslist and received a couple of emails showing interest within the first day.  But one couple decided against it due to location and the other email was from “4 responsible adults” – that sounded too ambiguous to me.  Craigslist can be so random, and I really wanted to narrow our search down. After a couple of technical glitches, I was finally able to post our ad on our church’s message board (Bethany Community Church), but I had little hope of anything coming out of that because it doesn’t seem to be widely used.  Lo and behold, I received an email from a Bethany attender and SPU grad (that’s the local Christian college here) within a couple hours of posting.  That was Monday.  Long story short, she and her friends came over on Tuesday night, wrote us a check, and it was pretty much a done deal.  You know how you just get a feeling with people?  We obviously don’t ‘know’ them, but you can just tell they are AWESOME girls – cute, fun, responsible - and they go to our church. They are paying less than we were asking, but they will sign a two year lease, do all the yard work, and maybe even use some of our furniture so we don’t have to move or store it. We feel excited and blessed.
Then, a couple hours after that happened, we found out that we got the house in Costa Rica that we wanted to rent.  For a pretty darn good price.  So Bad turns to Glad, and we sure are glad to have both of those HUGE things off of our plate.
Time is going fast though: only two weeks until we move out!  So our plate is still pretty full… but I know we can do it.  Now we're off to pack...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Great Week in CR

           The trip was great.  Very fruitful.  After catching up on sleep on Sunday after my red-eye flight (I was lucky enough to have a whole ROW to myself on the flight from Houston to San Jose – a little gift!), we were off and running around for the rest of the week.  Jonathan and Amy (one of the couples serving at the Project) graciously drove us to the appointment with the ob-gyn doc on Monday morning.  It was an informative, if a little intense, visit.  The Dr. was very informative and I felt really good about the type of care I’d receive in Costa Rica.  It did bring up some questions about how my ectopic pregnancy was treated here in the states, but getting a second opinion is always good, and I can tell he has a passion for his patients and giving them the BEST care possible.  My appointment lasted 30-45 minutes – that says a LOT.
            The rest of the day and week consisted mainly of us being chauffeured around everywhere by Steve looking for houses and at stores, pricing things out for setting up our home. (Steve is the original missionary that helped launch the Project 13 years ago, along with his wife Georgiana and the local pastor Jorge.  We met Steve and Georgiana 7 years ago when were traveling/studying in CR).  I wrote down a zillion prices of things we will have to buy: everything from dishes, to coffee makers, to beds and sofas.  Things are NOT cheap in Costa Rica. I saw my Covergirl mascara going for $24 in Walmart!           
More importantly, however, was we found a house to live in - we think. We have three options and have not signed anything yet, as we’re waiting to hear back from the landlady of our first option.  The house is a little farther away from the Project than we’d like (15 min. in traffic), but has a HUGE yard and lots of space where we could host visitors.  We had been praying for a house with at least some green space – a rarity in CR unless you live in a mansion practically – and this surpassed all our expectations.  It’s a little out of our price range though so we offered $200 less than the owner was asking and are waiting to hear from her.  She lives out of the country, but was coming back into town this weekend and wanted to meet us… Alas, we are back in Seattle already.  But the real estate agent suggested that they go visit the Project together to see what we’ll be doing/who we’ll be working with, and so we are hoping and praying that she accepts our offer.  She visits the Abraham Project on Tuesday.  Cross your fingers!!
If that doesn’t work out, we have two other condos that would work fine and they are a lot closer to the project, just with far less yard (like 12x6 feet).
Besides all that, we were not only blessed by Steve’s amazing chauffeuring skills, but also by all the legwork and phone calls both Steve and Georgiana made for us regarding housing.  In addition, their hospitality and gourmet cooking was incredible.  Seriously, they are amazing cooks and we were treated to some truly delicious meals.  We couldn’t make this huge step in our lives without their help, or the other families that are serving at the Project.  Muchas gracias amigos!  And thanks to all of you who were praying for us.  Kate did great with Joe’s padres, and we felt His peace and presence throughout the week while we were away.  Here are some pictures of our trip.
El Jardin (the garden) in house option #1
The back of the house.
Trash on the street - typical in lots of places.
A really cool, upscale store called Cemaco.  It was like a Costa Rican Anthropolgie.  I got in trouble for taking pictures!
A very nice home, but notice the razor wire.  Very typical and necessary.
Just down the hill is the Abraham Project.  This is a typical Tico (Costa Rican) neighborhood.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Deck: D.O.N.E… and I’m off to Costa Rica!

           I’m leaving for Costa Rica about three hours.  And it’s 9:30 p.m.  Which means I’ll be getting into Houston at 4 a.m. my time.  Not real excited about that.  But what I am excited about – drum roll please – is that our 450 sq. ft. deck is DONE.  Can I just tell you that the deck kept growing in size every time I stepped foot on it?  I swear, it just kept getting bigger and bigger and the project seemed like it would never end. But end it did and boy am I thankful to have that project behind us.
            I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mom, who came out this week while Joe was leading the team down in Costa Rica.  On Monday and Tuesday mornings, she took Kate to the park so I could paint the ‘gaps’.  Each gap had to be painted by hand with a foam brush (without paint in the gaps, you could see the different shades of wood).  Then we had to paint all the railings, and let me tell you, that’s a lot of surface area even though it doesn’t seem like it.  There are all these crevices that you really gotta dig the brush into to get the paint to cover it.  Hence, the picture of the seen-better-days brush below.  So while Kate was napping, my mom and I went to town on all those surfaces and crevices.  Finally, on day SEVEN of working on the deck (two last week, five in a row this week), we completed the task, and I let out a loud “Yes!” when the final coat was applied last night.
           My mom also went crazy on painting/staining other surfaces: the front steps, the gaps in the siding on the steps, the side steps, and of course was super helpful in the kitchen and with Kate and just all around – all week long.  And when Kate went to our babysitter on Friday so we could finish our projects, my mom paid for it.  Thank you mom for your incredible generosity and helpfulness. 
            Now I’m off to Costa Rica and we have some big plans.  Not really, just a final scouting trip to 1) Catch up on sleep from the red eye flight (Sunday)  2) Meet the doctor and tour the hospital (Monday)  3) Look at houses to rent (all week)  4) See where Kate could go swimming, do gymnastics, take ballet, etc. 5)Find furniture/bed/pet food stores  6) Hang out with the amazing missionary team already living there… 7) Meet some of the new/current children living in the homes (a two-month old just arrived last week)… Please pray for safe travel, for open doors, for guidance, wisdom, and most of all PEACE.  Also you can pray for Kate while we are away – Joe’s amazing parents are taking care of her this week at our house. Thank you for your prayers!  As my uncle, a long-time missionary always says, we’re all in this together. 
            P.S. I hope to be able to write from CR but if not, I’ll post pics and do an update as soon as I can when we return (late Thursday).  Pictures of Deck below!