All posts by Amanda MacAllister

Back from Kenya

So, we are finally back from Kenya AND settled into the swing of things. Jason made a post before about the first few days of our Kenya trip. I shall continue. But first, some background info about Kenya. There are more than 30 different tribes in Kenya falling into?three main categories. The two tribes we worked with most were Kikuyu and Maasai which are from two different categories out of the three. The Kikuyu people are more westernized or more?modernized, like Americans. They mostly live in the Uplands area of Kenya in Nairobi and the surrounding area of Limuru. This is where our trip started. This area is where the Limuru Presbytery is with whom our Presbytery partners. Then, when you travel down into the Great Rift Valley, you enter Maasailand. The Maasai people are not westernized. They follow cattle and roam the countryside. The men often wear red robes and carry a “rungu”- a stick for beating animals (and wives). At age 18 all Maasai men must kill a lion in order to pass into manhood and be eligible for marriage. They practice polygamy and a Maasai man may marry up to 12 wives.

So, this is the group of people we were evangelizing to. After leaving Uplands and the comfort of cities, towns, and the more familiar culture of Kikuyu people, we traveled down into the Great Rift Valley and began there in Narok- the largest city in Maasailand. The first clinic we visited there was in a town about 8km north of Narok called Nairasirasa. This clinic is run by a nurse, Frida who joined our team and traveled with us. She is Maasai. A history update: this is the clinic that we were supposed to set up 2 years ago when I was in Kenya. However, a pastor was sent to the clinic first to survey it, and he returned having been attacked- he had been beaten by members of the community. Now, there is a clinic there up and running and we were welcomed with open arms!


Vacation in Mexico

This past weekend, I had off Monday for Martin Luther King Day. So, on our long weekend off work, we took a vacation to Baja Mexico. We packed up our new car with tons of stuff, our dog in the backseat and our surfboard on the roof, and drove the 2+ hours to a place in between Rosarito and Ensenada on the Pacific coast of Baja Mexico.
Jason unpacking carTeddie comes with us!
The hotel was called La Fonda. Our room was beautiful- with an ocean view, and Teddie loved to sleep out on the porch since it was so warm at night.
Hotelhotel office and restauranthotel lobby areaview from deck
We also had an awesome fireplace in the room- Jason went out and cut down wood with his machete (or so I thought- but really he just got free wood off a woodpile outside)
Jason cutting woodJason makes fireFIRE
It was so fun to bring our dog with us- He LOVED the beach, but not-so-much the water. He sniffed the whole beach but was scared of the ocean waves. He did try to come in the water once or twice but soon found out he couldn’t swim and ran back to shore. There was almost no one on the whole beach except for us.
Teddie in hotel roomTeddie sniffing alwaysTeddie asleep on bed20090119_141209.JPG
We also got to watch two gorgeous sunsets over the ocean on both nights we were there, enjoying it from our hotel veranda.
Sunset Saturday20090117_170532.JPGSunset Sunday
Every day we were there, Jason went surfing. The water was FREEZING! Jason wore a full wetsuit, and I ended up wearing his short wetsuit to go in the water and body-board.
Amanda in wetsuit
Everything was so much fun, except for the fact that my credit card info got stolen and someone used my card to buy $114 worth of shoes at a department store (Note to self- never use a credit card in Mexico!). And also except for the 2 1/2 hour wait in line at the border to re-enter the USA and all the peddlers knocking on our windows trying to sell things like Steelers blankets (since they had just won the big game!) Here’s a picture of the border:
Mexico border
But overall, it was a wonderful vacation. We ate authentic Mexican food overlooking the ocean, ran on the beach with Teddie, and just enjoyed our time together.

Catalina Island

So, this year for our kind-of anniversary trip (4 years already), we went to Catalina Island for Easter weekend.
It was crazy… There was almost no one else there.
First we took a ferry-boat over (Jason got seasick)
Jason and Ferry Boat
When we got to Avalon, which is the the main city in Catalina Island, it was virtually deserted. All the buildings are little, and there are only compact cars and golf carts. I felt like we were in Oz or Munchkinland.
Little Avalon img_6206.JPG
We walked around there all morning, ate lunch on the pier. It was a gorgeous day. There were even trees floating in the sky:
Trees in the Clouds
Then we took a bus ride to the other, even more deserted part of the island. The “Safari Bus” was a bumpy, crazy drive with gorgeous views of the inland parts of the island. We first stopped at Airport-in-the-Sky and watched some planes take off. Then we read about the Preservation of the Island’s plants and native animals, like the Santa Catalina Red Fox, Catalina Red Squirrel, deer, and buffalo. Oh, yeah, wait- native buffalo? Not really…. A few wild bison were brought to the island for a filming of a 1925 movie, “Zane Grey’s The Vanishing American”. They adapted well to the island’s climate, flourished, and multiplied. Now wild bison roam the island in herds- and when we left the Airport en route to Two Harbors, we got to see a herd along the road.
Safari Busimg_6259.JPGWindy Road
img_6285.JPG Airport-in-the-Sky Airport
Buffalo Wild Bison Jason kissing buffalo
On the bus ride over, we were the only two people on this huge school bus- it was really creepy! Check out this video:
Jason alone on bus
Then, we arrived in Two Harbors, a very tiny town on the West end of the island. The town has a population of 100 people. You cannot own private property there. You must work for the Catalina Island Conservancy (who owns the town) to live there. Our Bed and Breakfast was called “Banning House Lodge” The Banning brothers originally owned the island until they sold it to Wrigley- the chewing gum tycoon, who then put 88% of the island into a nature conservancy (to avoid property taxes). Below are pictures of the view from our hotel (we even saw a solitary buffalo roaming from our window!):
Jas and hotel Cat Harbor View Banning House Crazy Jason BUFFALO OUTSIDE HOTEL WINDOW Room #5 for us Me at hotel

Then Friday evening, we went on a Hummer “High Adventure” tour of the coast of the island. Our driver was the same guy that drove us across the island (in the empty huge bus)
Both of us by Hummer Jason on Hummer Me- hummer ride View from Hummer
That night, we went to dinner at the only restaurant on the side of the island (so, yeah, the prices were very high- I guess you can charge anything if there is no other place to eat!) The next morning, we got up bright and early to do a “Super Tour” which was Kayaking down the coast to Blue Caverns and back, with a stop in the middle to snorkel in a kelp forest. We got to see many fish, well only one type of fish actually- the bright orange Girabaldi- the official state fish of California. The water was freezing (58 degrees) and even my 7mm-thick wetsuit didn’t keep me warm enough.
Amanda snorkeling Pulling out kayak Me in Wetsuit
Then, we rested all day. It was beautiful and sunny outside. We went for a little hike:
Hiking Jason hiking

On the next day, Easter Sunday, we couldn’t go to church because there was no church in the small town of Two Harbors. We took the same rickety, scary bus back to the populated side of the island- Avalon. We had lunch there at Catalina Cantina and Jason ate a BUFFALO burger (made out of real buffalo meat). It tasted almost the same as a real burger. And I ate a fish:
Me eating a fish Jason at Cantina

We had a wonderful time- celebrating our 4th Anniversary together out in a secluded island. Although it was only 3 days, it felt like a lot longer.

Anniversary Vacation to Los Cabos

We are back from a week of relaxation – Los Cabos, Mexico for our 3rd Anniversary! It was sooo nice. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort on the beach. Here are some photos of the resort and the beach.

Resort PoolResort PoolOceanfront JacuzziAmanda at PoolJason Relaxing by PoolView of Beach from Resort restarauntRelaxing in an Oceanfront Hammock

We also did some fun stuff there, like: a climbing wall – very high, somewhat scary, and very challenging:

Amanda half-way up WallAmanda climbingJason Climbing Up

And we rode a zip-line from the resort down to the beach – not as exciting as it sounds:

And Off he Goes??Jason with Resort Activities Employees- Ready to ZIPAmanda on Zip Line

And played tennis on a rooftop tennis court (with beautiful view):

Beuatiful View on the roof!Jason’s a Wicked Tennis Player!

Most of our time was spent at the resort, relaxing, lying by the pool or beach and eating and drinking! But we did go into town (Cabo San Lucas) one day for a boat ride out to see Land’s End and Lover’s Beach:

On boat at Land’s EndThe Arch at Land’s EndLover’s Beach

And also, to hold a baby lion:

A baby Lion (male) and usLion trying to bite AmandaAww How cute is that Lion??

At the resort, we had nightly shows – one Mexican show was very good – and we were in it. (jk) And great dinners!

Mexican FIESTAEl Quetzal- a buffet restaraunt

It was a GREAT 3rd Anniversary:

The Resort Staff made us a cake for our Anniversary!wimg_4287.jpg

Out with the Old, In with the New

We’ve had a lot of changes recently.

—Old Shoes—
Old Shoes

—New Shoes—

—Old Car—
img_3202.JPGimg_3198.JPGMy Old Car

—New Car—
New Car on the BeachNew Car Color- Midnight Blueimg_3249.JPG

—Old Dog—
Old Dog

—New Dog—

… Just kidding.

We bought our first car ever! It is a Used 2006 Chrysler Sebring Convertible. It is a midnight blue color with a black cloth top. I traded in my old 1993 LeBaron Convertible finally (it was sooo sad, like losing a faithful dog). The new car is really nice, though. We bought it with 15,000 miles on it, although we have put many more miles on it since getting it and driving up and down the beach! We’re excited to have a convertible that we can open the doors to get in (instead of climbing in with the roof down in the old car because the door hinges were rusting off). We’ve got one of those cool computers in the dashboard that tells you how many mpg you are currently getting. It also has a compass in it and tells you how many miles until you need gas. All in all, it was a stressful but rewarding experience.
img_3243.JPGNew Car Interiorimg_3235.JPGA sweet dashboard!

Amanda’s Landed a Dream Job!

Well, I finally got a job out here in SoCal…. and I LOVE it. I am working in a family practice office for a doctor who has been a GP for 20 years. He has two offices- one right on Laguna Beach and one about an hour north of my home. So far, I have been scheduled to work pretty exclusively at the Laguna office, luckily. The commute is only 6 miles, no traffic, with a view of the beach along the way. I love the job. I am working part-time– about 20-24 hours per week. And, I LOVE what I do. I basically work alone with a nurse and a receptionist. I never see the doctor I work for (I can reach him by cell phone if I have questions). I see patients who schedule routine appointments and also we see walk-in patients for urgent care. I will also start working in the OB/GYN clinic one day per week and the Pedicatric clinic one day per week starting in November. So, it is a little bit of everything in general practice.

Below are pictures of the outside of my office and the georgeous view from when I step outside after work to see the sun setting over the ocean.

The Office Building I Work InAnother picture of the outside of the officeCaduceus Medical- the physician group I work for.Stepping outside of my officeI can See the Ocean!