The Fulmerazzi

…a day in the life

Back to the grind… September 20, 2009

Filed under: Kenya — Lauren Fulmer @ 10:20 am

Hey all!

 

 

Just returned from our awesome and absolutely UN-REAL weekend safari through Maasai Mara and the Kenyan wilderness. I have some hilarious stories about our weekend adventures but they’ll  have to wait until I have a bit more time to blog….  good stuff so stay tuned!

 

Anyways, we’re back to Home Sweet Nairobi and about to have a little meeting over coffee for our trip to Baruku tomorrow.  I just found out that tomorrow is a Kenyan holiday so we’re not needed on our Kibera project… we’re gonna take the day and head back up to the IDP camp to hopefully get things rollin’ with the chicken coop/business idea.

 

For those praying for our team back home…. thank you SO much! We appreciate all of the emails, facebook messages and blog comments so keep them up. We go through our homesick moments and this weekend on the safari, out in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness, we all felt like we were in a different world! If you could specifically pray for extra energy and endurance for our Baruku trip tomorrow that be fantastic. It baffles me how those hungry kiddos  have the energy to play all afternoon… but us dehydrated, under-fed (haha), relatively out-of-shape Americans have trouble keeping up with them. Not to mention that this camp is the most heart-breaking sight… we just want to keep up our energy so that we can effectively share light and hope with the people there!

 

“Kwherini” (bye) for now!

 

LPF

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Baruku & The Dust Babies September 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lauren Fulmer @ 11:22 pm

Jambo, friends!

Good morning. I have a few minutes before we head out for our weekend safari to Maasai- Mara and wanted to send a quick update on our trip yesterday to the Baruku IDP Camp.

Absolutely the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever seen. In my most horrifying nightmare, I’ve never imagined anything like this!

The people at the Baruku IDP Camp wer booted from their homes in 2007 and the government gave each family 10,000 shillings (approx $130) to start their lives over. Several families pooled their money and bought land together and now are just a series of little white tents in the Kenyan hills. Honestly, I don’t know how they’re surviving. Perhaps by the occasional food-drops…. but I’ve never been anywhere so hopeless and void of energy!

I started crying immediately as we stepped out of the van, but I had to pull it together. The kids all ran up to us “mizungus” (aka: white people) and knew that we were coming to help. Words can’t begin to describe these kids: they were covered in DUST, clothing was rags, and their little faces had snot dried on them, since most of them were sick.

We brought kids books, bubbles, stickers, and games to play with them and had a fun afternoon attempting to distract them from their sad situation. At one point, we turned our van into a “new clothes assembly line” and Jenn, Nikki, and I brought each kid in one-by-one to dress them in a new outfit. Thanks to everyone who donated infant/baby clothes…. I got to see firsthand how they blessed the people there! It was a humbling experience pulling these kids’ old, stained rags off and dressing them in soft new things.

Before leaving Baruku, we met with their community leaders to discuss helping them start a little business. We want to help them in a way that is sustaining…. they can’t survive on the occasional and unpredictable food drops. Our idea was to help them build and buy a chicken coup so they can sell the eggs in local markets and hopefully stimulate some sort of income for them to start building their lives with. More on this later as we get going on the project, but we’re really excited!

Later that afternoon, we stopped by a different IDP camp, Pipeline, and the situation there was very different. Energy and progress lived there and you can tell that these were a determined group of people with the will to live and succeed! I left encouraged.

I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 25:40 throughout the day that says, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” There’s no better way to describe these people other than the “least of these”…. I didnt know that this level of poverty existed. As a man in the Baruku camp told us, “Service to man is service to God.” He couldn’t have said it better, and that’s exactly why we’re here!

Off to Maasai-Mara for a weekend safari! Stay tuned….

L

PS: The computers over here are ridiculously old school so my apologies for the odd formatting!

 

Kenya… Karibu! September 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lauren Fulmer @ 5:17 am

JAMBO from Kenya!

Well, I’m here and I’ll have to sacrifice my long blog posts for a series of smaller updates over the next few weeks.

I’m absolutely LOVING my time here! The people are fantastic and accomodating and I lucked out with my host family. Who knew I’d be so excited to have running water and electricity ?!

Today ends the second day of my Orientation through VICDA, our local volunteer program. This morning they took us to the Animal Orphanage and we got to play with the baby cheetahs, feed the monkeys, and laugh at the fact that they named their little black monkey, “Barack”. Our tour guide asked if there were anyone from America in our group and when we told him that we were not only from America, but specifically Chicago… he blushed and made us promise not to tell on him!

Though Americans are apparently loud and obnoxious in comparison to other countries, we have found favor with the Kenyan people because of Prez Obama. He’s a celeb here, too!

Things I’m missing:

– my friends/family/co-workers

– DIET COKE FROM MCDONALDS

– food/snacks/meat that I don’t have to second guess…haha

– a shower! (we have a bucket and running water… I’ll let you fill in the blanks!)

Regardless of the few comforts from home that I miss, I’m thrilled to be here with these people, to have met new friends in Volunteer Orientation, and to be getting released on our projects tomorrow. I’m so ready to dig in and start working with the kids!

For those of you who donated baby clothes, I sent a portion of them with the volunteers going to Gilgal this morning. They needed the warmer clothes because this area is up in the mountain area of Kenya. It was so neat to be able to give them something tangible after hearing how much they need it! Thanks to all of those who helped with this effort!

Tomorrow morning, we head to Baruku IDP (internally displaced persons) camp and will be meeting with the community leaders there to see if we cant set up a local business for them. Our idea was to buy them some chickens so that they can start circulating some food to provide for them, as well as sell in local markets nearby! All it takes is people believing in them and willing to loan money/resources. I’m excited about being a part of this… so more on this effort later!

SO…. Jambo from Kenya! Stay tuned for more updates along the journey (hopefully some pics soon).

LF

 

(belated) Birthday Shoutout: BRIDGEY! August 25, 2009

Filed under: birthday shoutout — Lauren Fulmer @ 4:26 pm
 

 Without further ado I owe my best friend a birthday shoutout!

 

 

Ladies and gents, Bridget Ann Vercruysse Sterr, turned the big 2-6 last week on the 18th! I feel like a schmuck for taking this long to post this…. i’m sick of being the girl who cried “too-busy-to-blog”, so no excuses. Sorry, B!   Here goes…

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRIDGEY!

 

 

Let me just say that this girl is having the BEST…. SUMMER….. EVER. She moved into a new apartment, took two different relaxing vacays to Florida, and… oh yeah, married her soulmate, Jared, last month!

shamrock

  

cake

ahemm...she's a "mrs" now

 

One of my favorite things about B is her “up for anything” attitude. This is especially important around Halloween time each year because Lynds and I pretty much haze her into dressing up like us. We’ve been a boy scout troupe, cougars, and my personal fave…. our dads! Yes, you heard correctly.  I dressed as  Britt Fulmer,  Lynds as Billy Rush, and Bridge went as the one and only Bob Vercruysse.

 

Britt. Billy. Bob….’Twas brilliant!  For my self-esteem’s sake, I’ll go ahead and leave the pics of me in a salt n’ pepper mustache OFF of this blog post… but feel free to contact me if you’re interested.

 

boy scouts. no biggie.

boy scouts. no biggie.

B's bachelorette bash. Say that 3 x fast.

B's bachelorette bash. Say that 3 x fast.

McMichael karoke night

McMichael karoke night

Hasse Hotel 09

Hasse Hotel 09

 

Another one of my fave things about B is that the girl has no shame! She ignores the 5-second rule and will eat food off the floor. She argues city parking tickets and often wins. And most importantly, she’s confident rockin’ a scrunchie! 
 
Note: the below pic is an oldie… neither party still owns/wears/sleeps in such things.
 
scrunchies

 

I‘ve had the absolute JOY of living with Bridge for the past few years! Never, I repeat… NEVER was there a dull moment at our humble home. Remember when us four girls found a bat in our kitchen? Or the time we left our gas fireplace on and sent off the carbon monoxide alarm, which sent five firemen racing our way?

 

top secret roomie stuff

top secret roomie stuff

 

Mr. Bruno the Bat

Mr. Bruno the Bat

 

So, happy (belated) birthday to my sweet friend Bridge!  Thanks for being such a genuine, loyal, and special best friend and supporting me in everything I do. Love ya, girl!

 

 

Love,

Fulms

 

Song-of-the-day: \”Lost\” by Coldplay ft Jay-Z

 

La La Lolla August 14, 2009

Filed under: Chi-town,musica/reviews — Lauren Fulmer @ 11:25 am

It’s safe to say that I’m still on a music high from last weekend. In fact, I always am for the week following Lollapalooza.  Three full days of my favorite bands with this lovely downtown Chi as a backdrop. Love. It.

 

This year was my fourth annual trip to this music fest and let me just say that this year was NOT for the weak and faint-hearted. Worst weather ever! Between sportin ponchos on Friday in the muddy rain to sweating through our sundresses on Saturday and Sunday, this weekend was truly for the die-hard fans!

 

ponchos = cool

ponchos = instant fun

cheeeese

cheeeeese

 

Let’s get down to business…

 

 Fave Shows:

* Kings of Leon–   The Followill boys never disappoint AND they played tons of my older faves like “Four Kicks”, “Molly’s Chambers”, and of course “Fans”.  Oh and also, Katie’s sex was on fire so that was fun… haha!

 

kol

 

yep... her sex was on Fiiii-re

yep... her sex was on Fiiii-re

 

* Silversun Pickups– Besides KOL, I can confidently say that this band rocked the hardest. They completely blew me away by how good they sounded live. Drummer was UN-real… Nick drooled over him the whole time ; )

  

sspu

 

*Cold War Kids–  Turns out they CAN play a good live show! Such a pleasant surprise. I saw them play a smaller stage at Lolla in 2007 and their sound was jacked so this was fun to hear them r-o-c-k. 

 

at Cold War Kids

* Yeah Yeah Yeahs– Karen O opened the show in full indian headress to “Runaway”…. dramatic and AMAZING! I wouldn’t mind being her or Nikki Monninger for a day.

karen o

 

* Santigold– She wore a funky bright gold pant-suit and is the mastermind behind Betsy’s new signature dance move for the weekend…

 

 

Disappointments:

* Ida Maria- listened to her some of her stuff beforehand, thought she had a unique voice and kinda rocked….. Turns out, she’s a crazy drunk Norweigan woman who yells all the lyrics. No bueno.

 

* Robert Earl Keen–  As Bets labeled him… this man is pure “Old Texas Country”. Ok, I’m sure REK was actually great and talented but perhaps this was just not my scene! Fair? 

 

* Again, the weather = Yikes.   Bought the below *awesome/tubular/sweet/rad* bandanas to help cool us down on Sunday. 

 

fountainbandanaz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sported a poncho and a bandana in the same weekend? check. Got some much needed music-therapy? check.

 

Sigh…Until next year!

 

Cheers,

L

 

Song-of-the-day:  \”Dustland Fairytale\” by The Killers

 * Live on Letterman with a full orchestra… this one is a must see!

 

Bloomington… it’s NORMAL. July 30, 2009

Filed under: hi...hello...hi — Lauren Fulmer @ 3:33 pm

 

I’m baaa-accck! (k, that was annoying. I was even annoyed typing it)  Anyways, today marked the official closing of our busy season here at work and I feel such relief.  It’s been a long summer of anticipation and lots of hard work these last few weeks…so i feel like I just got my sanity/life back!

 

So much has happened these past few weeks. One of my best friends got married. Another best friend came up last weekend to visit. Such is my awesome summer!

 

Finally uploaded some pics from Bridgey’s wedding… here are some of my favorite pics and moments from the big weekend.

 

I had the joy of traveling to Bloomington, IL for the festivities. What I didn’t know was that the adjoining town was called Normal.  Yeah, I’d never heard of Normal, IL. either.  What’s next… Dime-a-dozen, TX? Such a silly name for a town and every time we saw anything out of the ordinary (ie: denim overalls, vanity plates, giant corn fields), we’d just laugh and say “BLOOMINGTON… it’s Normal.” Get it? Ha… let that one soak in.

 

Here are some pics from the rehearsal.  We had a great run-through, then had a impromptu stained-glass photo shoot after…. so typical.

 

B and Jared's wedding 001

B and Jared's wedding 003

B and Jared's wedding 004

 

Jared & B at the rehearsal

They're gonna have cute kids, huh?!

 

Rehearsal din was at a fun golf grille and we had a blast celebrating the happy couple! They did an open-mic format so everyone could get a few words/stories in. Lynds and I had fun roasting B but had to cut SO much out… we had tons of material ; )

 

swingers golf grille

swingers golf grille

 

B and Jared's wedding 012

 

pre-wedding stuff in b's basement...don't ask.

pre-wedding rituals in b's basement...don't ask.

Awww the big day!  Let me tell you… it was the most perfect day. Started my morning with breakfast on Bridgey’s patio with the girls. A few mugs of coffee later,  we all started getting ready and there’s just something SO fun about girls getting ready together! Brings me back to high school dances or something…. Lynds helped me pull my hair back, we all shared make-up, and it made me feel like I was 17 again.
The ceremony was so intimate and emotional… at one point we were all in tears (groom included).  Lynds and I performed the song, “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham after the exchange of vows. Lynds sang, I played the piano, and we had a violinist add accents in the background.  Despite the fact that we both were about 10 sec away from completely passing out and thus ruining the wedding, we KILLED the song! Not to mention it was such  a neat thing to be able to do that together for our sweet roommate.

B and Jared's wedding 015

 

b-maids!

b-maids!

get it, Jared!!

get it, Jared!!

 

we OWNED that dance floor

we OWNED that dance floor

 

Now, I’ve been to a ton of weddings in my day, but there are a select few that stand out. They stand out to me because it’s almost like the bride and groom were designed for each other…. like God created one with the other in mind.

 

This was one of those weddings… and I’m so thrilled to have been a part of it!

 

 

It’s good to be Back,

L

 

Song-of-the-day: \”Divine Romance\” by Phil Wickham

 

Birthday Shoutout: CLARE! July 21, 2009

Filed under: birthday shoutout — Lauren Fulmer @ 4:25 pm

Soooo… accidentally took a few weeks off of blogging.  Oooops…Thanks for sticking with me!

 

Anyways, I’m back to the blogosphere for a very important occasion, a birthday shoutout…

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CLARANN!

 

Today is my sweet friend’s 27th… errr, I mean…. 21st birthday.

 

glasses

Ms. Clarann Marie Kennedy... such a prestigous name

 

Fun fact about this girl…. I met Clare a few weeks before I moved to Chicago and she was in my first group of  new friends in the city!  Well, that was three years ago and today she’s one of my besties.

 

 

Here’s some vintage Clare n’ Fulms action below.  Please note that I’m making a sacrifice by putting this heinous photo of me on my blog… for old time’s sake!

 

OLD School circa summer '06

old school, circa summer '06

We learned how to snowboard together a few seasons ago on the Park ski trip. Hit the bunny slopes for a grand 5 HOURS before we dared to try a green.  And how did that go?…. an new-found ego for Clare and bruises and tears for me.
snowboarding

Devil's Head, WI

 

She’s officially my only girlfriend (emphasis on “girl”) that’s also a Rage Against the Machine fan. We went with a group of friends to see them on their reunion tour at Alpine Valley and were part of the 5% female population at the concert among all the crazy, muddy dudes.

ratm

annnnd all of our clothes were ruined. worth it!

 

(disregard my "peace" sign... uncool.)

Rage @ Lolla...(disregard my "peace" sign and the floating man-chin.)

 

We even celebrate holidays together…

 

a pack of "cougars" for halloween 08

a pack of "cougars" for halloween 08

NYE

NYE

 

So happy birthday to a friend that has been by my side for my entire Chicago experience! Love you, Clarann, and can’t wait for many more fun years to come 🙂
Cheers,
L
blast from Clare's b-day past

blast from Clare's b-day past

Song-of-the-day (from B-day girl request):  \”Wish\” by Paper Route
**We’re seeing Paper Route at Schuba’s tomorrow night to celebrate… come by,  hug the birthday girl, and buy her a brew**