by Carrie Block
Joolee and Carrie on a snowmobile in Antarctica, 2001
I first met Julie in Chicago at our Peace Corps orientation. I remember talking to her during it and thinking she is so cool, I hope I get to know her, and I got my chance on a plane ride from Germany to Moldova! Fortunately for me, our names reside closely in the alphabet, and our seats were assigned next to each other. On this ride we talked about EVERYTHING! I was feeling a bit lost in the crowd, homesick, and nervous, and Julie just made all of that dissolve.
Bridgette, Joolee and Carrie, Moldova
She has a way of doing that with everyone… We discovered we had a lot of things in common. We both loved the color yellow, Carmengias were our favorite cars, and we are horrible at remembering the words to songs. (However, we both knew and sang often all of the words to L.L. Cool J’s song “I Need Love”.) We did find two things we strongly disagreed on and would often debate….Dr. Pepper vs. Root beer and dogs vs. cats! That plane ride cemented our friendship, and it began one of the best gifts in my life.
Julie and I have had so many experiences; lived so many memories. She knows everything about me- she knows my family, and friends; she helped me get Neva… she has always been there for me in good and bad. I can not imagine life without Julie! After our Moldovan adventures, we worked together in Slovakia, she supported me the year my mom had cancer, we worked (and bunked) in Antarctica together, we taught in the Marshall Islands, traveled numerous countries together, and visited each other’s homes in the U.S.as well!
The Commune, Moldova
I admire so much in Julie. She has this ability to make everyone feel at ease. I love watching her talk with people. She never knows a stranger, and always leaves conversations with people feeling good about them. She artfully creates conversations with people that allow them to talk about themselves. She is so humble about all of her experiences, successes, and triumphs. She looks at life as an adventure and wants to see and do everything—even if she has no prior experience. On that note, my favorite thing to tell people about Julie is that she collects licenses. She has her pilot’s license, teacher’s license, yoga teaching license, fishing license, motorcycle license, scuba license, and I am sure I am leaving some out. Julie seeks out opportunities and approaches life very creatively. She thinks of fun things to do whether you are having a rainy day indoors or are traveling through Africa. She is always trying to help others in pursing dreams!
This assignment is hard for me – because I could go on and on about Julie. I have so many wonderful memories with her that I could never choose a favorite, and so many that I can’t remember them all! J So, I thought I would list 40 memories I have had with Julie, in no particular order as they are all highlights – and the list could easily go on and on and on…
- Walking to training from our host families in Chisinau with Chris everyday!
- Pig flu epidemic in Comrat had Julie visiting in my village for a week. We had so much fun!
- Riding our bikes through the South Island of New Zealand trying to train for our upcoming Bloody Good Race!
- Bungee jumping in New Zealand. Yeehaw!
- Beer runs at 1 am to the little kiosk by Chris’ apartment in Chisinau!
- Dancing and singing and hanging out at Chris’ apartment.
- Christmas in Turkey. Our rickety plane ride! Eek!
- Christmas at Chris’. Fake fireplace and all of our family traditions combined and celebrated with the commune!
- Neva getting worms and having to go to the vet on my birthday. I was so upset and Julie went with me to help translate and provide moral support. Neva had to get caffeine enemas! Weird!
- Going to Ireland. Doolin was a blast—hitting the two pubs out of three in that city, hitchhiking and meeting Shaemus, staying out late and drinking too much port and Guinness in Dingle Bay then swimming with Fungi the dolphin the next day! (I still feel sick thinking of that day…)
- Tunisia with Suzanna. Julie made friends with our tour guide and we had such an amazing cultural experience staying with his family! They dressed us up in traditional clothes; we had great food, and went to a Haman! (Remember what happened to me at the Haman…eek!)
- Trekking in the Sahara for three days and two nights! Sand bread, tomato spread, drums and music at night from the Bedouins.
- Eastern Europe Christmas break trip with Bridgie and Chris. Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, oh my! (See Bridgie’s post)
- Julie and her mom visiting my mom and me in Colorado. The day they were to leave was 9/11.
- Being roomies in Antarctica in Hotel California!
- We had our lil’ crumb garden—no pests in Antarctica so no dramas having food crumbs on the floor.
- Sledding down Ob Hill using trays from the galley.
- Naked pictures! In Antarctica and about everywhere we traveled to!
- Being in a play together in Antarctica. So much fun!
- Bloody Marys in our Nalgene bottles for the cast party at Hut 10! Led to some bad decisions later! J
- Going to the Thai Monkey Bar in Christchurch one afternoon and having many laughs, drinks, and bonding session! Then went to rent our bikes for our 2 week excursion and scared the guy who was renting them to us!
- Helping to persuade me to get Neva! It was a flip of the coin…but Julie rigged it so it would be that I would get Neva!
- Taking care of Neva for a month while I went to the States! Julie was the coolest aunt…she took Neva to the disco tech, Neva didn’t have to wear a leash when out on a walk, and they both were scared on the couch when the rat was around in Julie’s apartment!
- Bulgaria to visit Chris.
- Amsterdam: not knowing how to roll, Red Light District early on a Sunday morning, Queen’s Day!
- Following your success on the AT!
- Doing the Bloody Good Race in NZ!
- Marshall Islands-living in an Airstream camper with holes in the bathroom floor!
- Going scuba diving in the Marshall Islands.
- Hanging with Silvia, Aussie guy (Dave), Allie, Julie Wren, Marco in the Marshall Islands!
- In the Marshall Islands we made a list of one thing to do a day—and we had to do it.
- Being a part of hash house harriers in Slovakia and meeting Marty. Going to Vienna to do a 10k race!
- Going to Hvar! Meeting Rick (Lickey), parasailing, nude beach, hurt ankleJ, outdoor movies!
- Going to Oktoberfest in Munich.We took a van with our principal and other teachers and drove straight through the night! Enjoyed the day and night and then drove back!
- Shopsky salad! Yum!
- Movies, taxis, meals out, Neva eating Julie’s passport and glasses (she didn’t even get mad), Nelson (Dan!!!), walks/runs, making those yummy sandwiches for our lunch at QSI!
- Halloween at Dracula’s castle!
- Going to Poland with Bridget . Climbing the highest peak there, Julie encouraging us, going to Auschwitz, visiting Bridgie’s fam!
- The commune!
- Serving dirty girl scouts at our dorm party for Hotel Cali!
Oh. My. GOSH! Carrie Block, reading thru that list was so much FUN! Multumesc and spacibo bolshoy! Did I tell you the Thai Monkey Bar is no more, since the earthquake? You are so amazing, creating this massive memory blast while simultaneously creating a beautiful, squeaky, delightful human being! Thanks for being you…Life wouldn’t have been nearly as good without a giant dose of you in it! You rock (even more than Toad the Wet Sprocket, hehee)!
Oh, man! I refrained from the flag picture! Great memories on that list Carrie!