Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wedding Holla

Surprise!!!! I, Joshua Anderson and I, Cathryn Kloetzli, got engaged Thursday night, June 12th under the giant white oak aka 'wolf' tree in the back pasture on Joshua's family farm in Hale, Missouri.

Yippee!! Clap Clap!!

Since many of you know one of us but not the both of us, we thought this would be the best way to introduce each other to each others ….

A year and a half ago two wanderers crossed paths in Niger, West Africa, and what follows is our take on the story leading up to this wonderful occasion, or ah..SURPRISE!!

I was a teacher for his group's pre-service training in Niger, I was a class clown with a crushand we were both serving as Peace Corps agriculture volunteers. One day, on the way back from the garden, I asked her if she would be interested to talk shop over a pint, and I said YES! (well, with a little less enthusiasm, I had to be a little coy). I don't even like beer, but somehow it seemed like I just shouldn't say no to this guy. :)

So, it might have been her thick glasses, or shoulder exposure or the dry climate frying my brain ;) but something immediately sparked my interest in her. For my part, I was pretty much the smitten kitten as soon as I watched him and Matt contribute to a first aid presentation (Josh used to be an army medic). Soon we were finding more reasons to spend time together and learning more about each other.

Enjoying each others company we drifted towards the inevitable - culminating in sneaking me out of the infirmary and down into the sands beyond Hamdallaye when one full moon night I felt better. We stayed up all night talking, laughing and sharing our first kisses until the dawn greeted us.

Despite telling him of my imminent retreat from the Peace Corps that magical night and us both getting in trouble the next morning for sneaking me out of the infirmary (but that’s a story for another day…)
we proceeded full steam ahead into the Nigerien aka life concentrate, whirlwind version of dating.
Things escalated into swapping barrages of text messages, holding hands under cover at the Grand Marche in Niamey (PDA a big no-no in Niger), dancing up storms at parties and keeping up a healthy letter writing campaign that yielded close to 50 pages in letters – and that was just from Josh to me.

Alas, six weeks after we first met, I left Niger - and I was left alone in the bush. I went off traveling and working on three different continents and Josh settled in for the ride of his life in Dan Saga.

Despite two continents worth of distance, we decided to continue dating and building a relationship long-distance. One might think the distance and newness of our relationship would spell certain death for our relationship but Allah had other plans for us. Oh monkey wrenches. Barnacles!!!

In October we broke up, but somehow convinced ourselves it would be wise to meet in Kansas City when I came home for vacation. We thought we would smother the flames we had kindled and part ways amicably afterwards. But remember Allah had different plans!! Alllllllaaaahhhhh Akkkkbbarrrr!!!!

As fate would have it, we fell right back into each other, and decided to give it another go. Recommitted, we were set for another year apart. But I just couldn’t wait that long …. :) so, in March I decided to cash in all my frequent flyer miles and get him home for a surprise parents meeting/house concert with Peace Corps friends coming in from all corners of Amerik.

Then the unexpected happened, I got pregnant! No, no just kidding, I broke my back in May 2008.

…..uh, um, ah…..Surprise? I cancelled Josh’s ticket and he, instead, came back to Kansas City to heal on Peace Corp’s dime.

Fast forward to June when Jen and I drove from Charlottesville to Kansas City, Missouri for the week to see my fella and provide a little encouragement to get better to surprise her, I worked some voodoo to obtain health care in C'ville instead of KC.

Ok, now for the sweet part.

The day before leaving to head back to C'ville together we wanted to walk the farm, correction: hobble, around the farm, one more time. On our way to the wolf tree we were high-stepping it through gorgeous, thigh high Kentucky bluegrass as the overcast sky turned dark grey from the setting sun dipping below the horizon - and … ahem, as it turns out, with a cadre of viscous ticks and chiggers circling around us! In a desperate ploy to make them sympathetic to us and distract them I asked an amazing woman with a contagious smile and eccentric qualities to marry me. (P.S. The ‘distraction’ didn’t work!! I am still nursing a pile of chigger bites – but it was so worth it and I loved being out on the farm and how simple, sweet and sincere it all was :) :) :)

My version … Once we arrived to the wolf tree, he somehow got me fixated on looking up at it … Snype Hunting! … anyways … while I had my back to him and was peering up into the great big bough, he took a picture of me. Once I turned back around, there he was - on his knees. No small feat for anyone, let alone a fella with a broken back! :) And he asked me the most miraculous question - to spend our lives together. What an amazing thing for someone to ask you. Even took off my hat!

So, time slowed down a bit, as it does for all big life events, and we looked at each other and promised ourselves to one another. Finally saying out loud the commitment made in our hearts way before that day.... and so here we are!

We are planning a TBA 2009 wedding with lots of music, dancing, food, camping and whimsical fun. Our wonderful friend Jimmie Klein (yippeeee!!!) has just agreed to marry us and we just can’t wait to share and celebrate all this with everyone! We really hope to see you all there! We'll keep you all posted!

With much love and many hugs, Cathy & Joshua

PICTURES: In our Nigerien best …………………..Me being distracted by the pretty leaves of the wolf tree right before Josh proposed…………………………………………………………The first few moments after being engaged!

Dirty 30!!

Today I turned thirty years young, and enjoyed every minute.
I had a CT scan, then played about 10 different mandolins at two different music shops,
found an engagement ring for my fiancee' and dropped a whooping three bones.

she loved it.

I bought a mood ring, seemed appropriate since I am still learning how to read her emotions.

Then afterwards I took a drive into the Shenandoah National Forest. so beautiful.

I have always wanted to live in the mountains.

tonight we had birthday margaritas, which took three seperate places to purchase the goods, one for booze, one for ice and one to find out the other two don't sell either. We also shared some homemade tamale's that we had been preparing over the last three nights.

soooooo tasty.

I'm finding my way here, slowly but surely, and with confidence it can be said that this community is going to be wonderful for me.


Happy B-day to me.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

6-24-08 Peace Corps Redux

I am in a new home

Little or no appalacian language skills

No jingle in my pocket,

And every step away from home is one step farther away from the comforts of

My new makeshift one.

Peace Corps Redux, the domestic deployment.

Has it only been a week?

Time does not fly when stuck to the throwback orange fireball of couch and though my

tiny sporadic burst escaping the gravity field were short each were enjoyable.

Mountain drives, Bone scans, jams with new folk, and sampling many a new varities of quality

Ales were just the right treats. Even managed a couple dates with the misses.

Last week had its high and lows, Its a rough transition, no friends new home, and living with someone I love, but hardly know….

Hello we are spending the rest of our lives together, you fart in your sleep?

Man it scary when you finally get what you asked for, so I guess its natural to have a couple

Discharges of the "Oh Shits!"

I guess though with any major life change the feeling is to be nervous, or on emotionally a

Little on edge. Today I talked with the future home maker and was relieved to hear that she was

Even feeling the same way.

Listen 1 of getting engaged, get comfortable with thinking over and over and over,

Was this the right choice, what if, what if, if she, if I, if we, aaaaaagh!!!

But no worries, there is a break in every storm.

Today I woke, feeling more relaxed, less sore, and definitely ready to start charting my own

Trail through Charlottesville.

So I walked and explored for the closest bus stops, found a new place to play mandolin near a local community pond, and then went out to shoot hoops and swim a couple laps. Slowly Slowly.

While the storm pauses its time to get situated and find my way.

I think everything is going to be just fine.

6-16-08 Transplanting a Human

36 Days since the accident

16 Days since Leaving Niger

15 Days in America

3 Days Since becoming engaged to the Future Misses Anderson

2 Days in Charlottesville Virginia

? Days left in America

? Days until Leaving for Niger

?Days until returning from Niger

? Days until Cat' and I are married

…….loving every single day?

You bet!

As you can no doubt gather this stumble around the world threw us all a little off course.

Can you believe I am all the way in Charlottesville with Cat'! Meow I am loving this place

and its only day two.

Though I have not reconned the entire city what little I have seen, been to, and done has

shown me that C'ville indeed as Dickson said would be the place for me.

Since dropping in on an unsuspecting college town I have been slowly gathering intel

pointing me toward numerous objectives, and like a guerilla blugrasser/outdoorsman/bush wacker

waiting for his chance to strike, I fully anticipate when healthy to be partaking in all types of mayhem.

There's mountians in the near distance, rivers so close I can feel their presence in my veins, mountainbiking, National Forrest, Camping,musicfoodculture….and best of all my future Misses.

And I want to go back to Niger?


four -five months tops.

Then winter sports in the mountains!!!!

Skiing, Never done it, I will.

Looking into honing the music already met some UVA professors and started playing with them

Work, maybe, looking into that.

As good as times are I admit there there are little bumps

Nothing big but there is a huge contrast between living in an African village versus an American apartment complex.

My ears perk eager to hear the sounds of animals foraging at my doorstep, but disappointedly only hear the shrieking weed eaters and chomping lawn mowers polluting my listening space.

Such a short span of time to adjust.

So the adjustment is mainly cultural.

The love nest Cat' has made is wonderful. Its artistic, cultured, comfy and hints at an eccentric's presence.

Our first night alone alone without anyone around was wonderful. Its comical but yesterday was the first time we have been on the same continent alone without sharing a hostel, house, or car, with loads of other people.

None the less we have never done normal couple things!

For example yesterday we ran errands in our lazy Sunday's and laughed with each other at dusk on the back patio sharing a couple drinks, dinner and laughs.

And today is Cat's birfday!!!

Feliz Cumpleanos!!!

Back is sore , and finally tomorrow I am having my first doctors appointment!!!


Okay that's all the noise from this end, I am going to rest and do some healing.

sai anjima!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spirit Away

Alright gang, minutes away from packing up my computer and taking off for another skip halfway around the world.

Spent all day packing, and resting up for the very long journey, I am feeling much better it seems the upcoming trek back will be just the right medicine to dispose of this sterile environment and mixing it up back in my elements.

Catch ya all back in the world.