Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gas Mileage

Check out the gas mileage we're able to get here. Yes, that is correct - 53.1 MPG for the last 142 miles! Plus gas prices are as low as $3.69 at some gas stations.

-jas ... (c:

- sent from my treo -

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Job searching / Exploring the area

So I finally got my spreadsheet of schools/school districts set up and have all the school districts websites bookmarked and arranged by county. Now I can see which schools have positions open that are closest to us. New Jersey isn't like Texas where the school districts are larger. Each little township or borough has their own little school districts (sometimes with only one school!). Voorhees actually has 2 school districts and it's really not that big of a place. There's also no centralized job search for public schools here. The school districts can use or to post their jobs, but don't have to. Sometimes it's just posted on their website. So after the long exhaustive search, I've found as many job opportunities as I can. I've already applied to 4 through and just recently applied to Cherry Hill school district using their own online application. I forgot how un-fun job searches are.

We're feeling out how bike friendly this place is. There are some bike lanes, but not a whole lot and the sidewalks, when present, can be rather sketchy. This past Saturday I planned out a route using mostly bike lanes that gives us a little more than 13 miles to the end and back. One of the links on our path actually didn't exist, so we had to Improvise, but it really was a nice ride. On our detour we got to check out the swanky Voorhees houses. Now we understand why Voorhees is considered a rich area. The neighborhood we took this picture in reminds me a lot of Lake Jackson - really tall trees and large yards. Coming from Temple, I'm not used to so many huge trees.

The pets have been doing pretty well lately. Either Roxy is getting used to the apartment and noises or her anti-anxiety medicine is kicking in. Piper, as always, barks at everything that comes nearby. We swear that Tobias thinks he's a dog. We've never seen a cat lay like this on their own.

I also found a junk cruiser bike on craigslist for $25 for Joce to ride to the PATCO station and not have to worry about it being stolen. It's an Executive 3-speed cruiser that had everything except for a seat. It had been sitting around in a warehouse collecting dust. After cleaning & lubing everything, it works pretty well for a $25 bike. After a visit to Target for a $5 bike lock and Wal-Mart (yes, i know - I hated doing it, but I wanted to stay on the cheap) for a $15 seat, Joce is all set up. $45 for reliable transportation to the PATCO train station nearby is a pretty good deal!

peace out!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting settled

I'm writting this from bed using my Treo phone, so don't mind any little spelling errors.

Well, as the title suggests, Joce & I are getting settled here in New Jersey. It's really weird only knowing a couple of mile radius area and beyond that, not really knowing where you are. We're used to knowing exactly where we are and how to get anywhere we need. Thank goodness for the GPS unit we rented with out Budget rental truck! I'm not sure we would have made it up here without that. It wasn't too bad until we got up around the D.C. area. Then it got more than complicated. Especially when you're driving a 16' moving truck with a Prius in tow. But we made it here safely. I'm also just glad that Ardy gave me this Treo. Google maps has been a life saver as we venture out of our little comfort-zone area here in Voorhees. The roads don't make as much since here. I like the good ol grid system with highways (that aren't hidden and easy to get on to) that do North/South or East/West. None of this diagonal stuff. To get somewhere that's only 15 miles away here takes a good 30 minutes. All the roads that are nearby are 45mph tops and have lights all over the place. I also have to mention that the drivers here are, as Brook always put it, in a big hurry to die. Everyone is always in a rush. The gas mileage these guys get must be horrible. It must be a great feeling knowing you're the first one to get to the next red light. *note the sarcasm*

But the people we've interacted with so far have, for the most part, been nice. We got the feeling that everyone was going to be very non-sociable and mean, but it doesn't seem to be so. When we were moving everything in the first day, all the neighbors said hi. I think it helps that we're in a dog-friendly building and everyone here has a dog or two. We were worred about having a cat here that's not on the lease, but we know now that w/ all the pets around here, it's very non-noticeable.

Last week we went to the DMV ( not DOT like we're used to) to get our licence and registration changed as quick as possible so Joce can get in-state tution next year. I had to go to Bank of America to get proof od residency since we didn't have any bills yet, but besides that, it was relatively painless. We actually got our licenses there while we waited. They print them up there on the spot. No waiting for a couple of weeks to come in like in Texas. It's weird looking at yourself on another state's drivers license. It's kinda pretty (I guess) and has this neat holigram deal of the state seal on it. Our drivers license number isn't going to be as easy to remember though. Instead of being only digits, it's now a letter with at least 12 digits after it. It's going to take me a while to remember that. We haven't gotten an ugly yellow license plate for the Prius yet since we have a lien on it and need to wait for Toyota to send the title to the NJ DMV, but that'll come soon enough. I think we might get the "Animal Friendly" license plate 'cause it's cute and doesn't look as ugly. I do miss the white plate with blue letters. So easy on the eyes.

On sunday we tried out our first church. We went to Hope United Methodist Church. The website made it seem like a pretty cool place where we could fit in. We did miss Simpson UMC though. We didn't get the same welcome as we did at Simpson. We're guessing because it's bigger and harder to point out the visitors. Simpson was so small with a tight family feel to it. Going to a bigger church, we might loose that. Although with a bigger church, there will most likely we more ways for us to plug in and more of a chance we meet friends our age. We'll give it another try and check out a few other churches in the area.

Well, like I said in the beginning, we're getting settled in. That means hard-core job searching for me and reading books to get prepared for law school for Joce. I've got my resume updated and applied for a couple of schools online. There's a really cool Christian private school that seems like it'd be a great fit for me, but if I work there, odds are I'd get paid much less than if I worked at a public school. I'm not sure where God would rather have me right now, so I'm applying for all jobs that are nearby. Tomorrow I'm going to take a 35 question true/false test over physiolgy and hygine in order to receive my math teaching certification. I'm not sure what to expect with that. Oh yeah, I got my score back from the PRAXIS math test I had to take and I got a 168! That score earned me an "ETS Recognition of Excellence" award. I'm pretty happy about that!

And I've managed to stay up, yet again, way past bedtime so I should sign off. Please pray for my clarity as far as what job(s) to apply to and where I should go. Also pray for Joce and my comfort here. We're both getting a little homesick and missing all of Austin's awesomeness. (eg. It's not near as bike-friendly here as in Austin and everything closes at 9pm or 10pm here). Pray that we start to meet and make friends that will help us feel at home here.

Much love to all and goodnight!
-jas (aka toj)

- sent from my treo -

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Still moving in

Well, we got here 9 days again and are getting stuff settled. The only things we have left to do is put stuff up on the walls. We were used to having many doors and windows and no so much wall space. This place only has 2 windows and 3 doors, so even with stuff around, it can still look pretty bare.

We've started this blog to chronicle our experience in Jersey and let our family and friends know what is going on. I'm going to teach Joce how to publish things from her phone and I'll try to keep things updated on my end also.

Well, it's very late and we're going to try Hope United Methodist Church tomorrow at 10:30am. We're still on Alaska time and not yet on Jersey time, so let's hope we get up early enough.

-jas ... (c: