Archive for January, 2013

You know how when you call the credit card company or your insurance agency, the automated system usually tells you, this call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes?

I always assumed those purposes were quality service.

Yesterday I called my insurance company to find out their policy on covering vaccinations (for Nepal). I knew it was highly unlikely, but wanted to cover all my bases. So I asked.

Insurance rep: “No, we don’t usually cover vaccines. Which ones are you looking for?

Me: “Well, one is rabies…

Insurance rep: “Oh, you were bitten?

Me: “No, it’s preventative.

IR: “They don’t do preventative.

Me: “Oh, well, I actually just talked to my doctor, and he said that they do.

IR: “No. They don’t do preventative rabies shots around here.

Me: “It’s for international travel.

IR: “Ha!* Well now this call is recorded as you saying it’s for travel and we definitely don’t cover shots for international travel.

*It might have been more “ah!” than “ha!” but there was no mistaking the excitement in her voice. 

At this point, I knew it was a done deal, but I was curious about one more thing.

Me: “Oh, okay. So…you don’t even cover polio boosters? I thought I read something about getting a booster every 10 years.

IR: “Ma’am, I’ve already recorded you saying it’s for international travel, so, no.

Me: “Listen, I’m not trying to be sneaky. I was just looking for information. But thanks for your help.

And I hung up.

Perhaps that wasn’t the mature way to handle it.

But at that point I was done being recorded.

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I am the kind of person who looks at a restaurant’s menu online before she goes out to dinner. I like to have an idea of what I’m going to order ahead of time, to cut down on the on-the-spot decision making.

I am a planner.

But I found out over the weekend that it’s much harder to plan your meal when you’re eating dim sum.

This particular meal made it on my 27 list mostly because Husband has raved about it, and I’m always up for trying new things.

And, to a degree, I knew what to expect: servers pushing around carts full of food that we could say either yes or no to.


What I didn’t know was how competitive/frantic dim sum could make me feel.

The first couple carts came around fairly quickly, and we enjoyed pork buns and sticky rice – two of the best dishes of the day.


But then there was a lull.

The next carts I saw were loaded with clams and shrimp and beef and chicken…but they were empty by the time they got to us. And I think that made me even hungrier. I know it added to this frantic need I felt to have to choose quickly (and a lot) once the server stopped at our table.


Which is why, when the dessert cart came around and we had a choice between custard pie and custard in a bun, I practically shouted, “The bun! The bun!” to Husband, as if there were a time limit on the decision. Or as if someone else would take it if we didn’t act NOW. (Even though there were plenty available.)

In my defense, the custard bun was fantastic – possibly the best dish of the meal.


But it probably would have been just as delicious if I’d been a little calmer about the decision.


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When I listed this as a 27 goal, I didn’t have a set plan in mind. If pressed, I thought maybe I’d go somewhere for a week-long mission trip of sorts. And I’d probably go somewhere in Central or South America.

Somewhere relatively close, for a relatively short period of time.

Suffice it to say, I was a little off. And by a little, I mean by about 11 weeks and several thousand miles.

Because the current plan is this:

In roughly two months Husband and I will be leaving for a three-month volunteer stint with the Umbrella Foundation. In Nepal.


Photo credit: The Big Umbrella

We’ve both wanted to travel and volunteer, but it’s never been the right time – a common excuse. After reading Conor Grennan’s Little Princes (I can’t recommend it enough), we decided that we could make it the right time.

It was completely within our control to seize this opportunity and have our volunteering adventure.

So that’s what we’re doing.

We’ll be spending three months working with children who have been displaced, orphaned, or trafficked – living near them, sharing meals with them, organizing activities for them, and, undoubtedly, learning from them.

Part of the preparation for this volunteer work is, naturally, fundraising, which covers both volunteer and kid costs.

If you feel so inclined, please visit our fundraising page, where you can also learn a little more about the trip and the inspiration behind it. If not, that’s okay, too, but I still encourage you to read Little Princes if you get the chance.

It’s rare that I call a book life-changing, but for this one, I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

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