A Travellerspoint blog

BootsnAll Traveler Quiz

TIps and new ways to contact me

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Hi guys,

I have been receiving the newsletter from Bootsnall and they had a "What kind of traveler are you" quiz.

I travel Like Tony Wheeler which means, You are someone who others will come to rely on for their best travel advice and information. With any luck at all, you'll eventually get bought out by the BBC, so you can retire, and then keep traveling anyway

I also recently found a site called flyforgood.com. This site offers discounted rates on some routes for people who will be volunteering. Great plan and hopefully, your route will be available.

In 2008, I began my website - www.janestanfieldwish.com.

As of 2009, I am also on facebook, linkedin and Twitter as Jane Stanfield (LadyJane was already taken) so I hope to catch up with you there.

Lastly, but not least, my first book, Mapping Your Volunteer Vacation is in print and in my basement. It is currently available at my speaking engagements and classes and on my website. I am still loading my paypal shopping cart, but I expect to have it up and running by the end of this week.

I trust that 2009 will be a time to shine for all of us.

Until I see you again, Travel In Safety.

Jane

Posted by ladyjanes 08:30 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New things happening with Where Is She Heading!

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I know it has been a long time since I have communicated on the blog, but as you will see, there has been a lot going on.

First, under Where Is She Heading, I completed 50 presentations in 2007 and it looks I will reach the 100 mark by the end of 2008.

Second, I launched the website for Where Is She Heading this year. Check it out at www.janestanfieldwish.com.

In addition to information about the 2006 trip and the 5 different presentations offered by WISH, the site also contains a calendar of upcoming classes, presentations and the schedule for the book club at the Tattered Cover on Colfax.

Third, the Travel Lovers Book Club is in year two of books to be read and discussed and we are pleased that there are new faces appearing at every meeting. Our numbers swelled during the months when we discussed Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Summaries of the all the books read since 2007 are included on the book club pages so you can catch up on any titles you missed.

Lastly, at least for now, I am pleased to announce that my first book, Mapping Your Volunteer Vacation, will be in print as of November 2008. It has been a journey from thought to paper and I am still involved with the final tweaking and working with various editors and designers. Once I finally get this one in print, I may write about my experiences of writing a book!

As soon as I have a firmer publication date, I will let you know.

Until I see you again, please travel safely.

Jane

Posted by ladyjanes 10:11 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (0)

Entry 35 A - First month back in Snowy Colorado

I finally realized why it was so hard for me to finish the blog!

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Hello Guys!

As of 1/27/07, the verbiage for the 2006 trip is loaded on the site. I know that there are still photos missing and I will try and go back and load them before I leave for Thailand on Feb 13.

I finally realized why I was having a hard time finishing and not loading my blog. I associate posting the blog with sitting in a coffee shop. So here I sit, on the 27th of January, with a quickly-growing-cold-cup-of-coffee and loading photos and words.

I have in my hands 3/4 of the blog that had been thoughtfully copied and put into binders for me by two of my special friends in Colorado, Kerry Beebe and Susy Hickey. This will make proofing, editing and reading the blog much easier for me as I move into PHASE 2 of "2006 - The Volunteer Trip Around the World".

Look for the summary of the first month home to be posted by next weekend and see WISH - WHERE IS SHE HEADING?

Thanks for your interest and support!

Posted by ladyjanes 16:38 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (1)

Entry 32C-2 - Romania - Orphans - third week

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Thursday, December 21 – Winter Solstice!

Three stops is morning on the way to Tutova – 1) bank with Bernice’s newly working ATM Card, thanks to a phone card that we purchased last night (her bank had seen her first withdrawal at the beginning of the trip and blocked other transactions) 2) Berlin market for yoghurt, chicken and #3 diapers, 3) the stationary store for notebooks on the 4 newest arrivals at the clinic.

Bernice and I plan to spend time on Friday night between packing to update the journals of the individual children that we have spent time with.

Bernice’s 4 had not eaten much of the early bottle, so it would be a long and loud session for her before the noon bottles arrived. Little Paula is still pretty red, but not very complainey. I got the mobiles in to the toddler room and spent a little time with each on the way in. Mirella has become quite a whinger. As soon as any of us go past her door and she is ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT, she begins to cry and insists of being the first one held and taken out. That worked earlier with me, but I felt that at times others needed their special time as well. My wish would be that they move all the mobiles into one room so that once you get one, you get them all. With the non-mobiles mixed in, I may be trying to get the other room settled first, but am constantly bombarded by the mobiles. If it were a perfect world!

As I went down the hall with the first mobile, I noticed that all the little walkers did not have their cloth seats as they had been to the laundry. (Very much needed laundry, I might add). This told me that the afternoon session would most likely have to be in the bigger room once the toddlers went with their teacher. In the mobile room this am we only had one major melt down with Mihaela and I put her back in the crib.

I had a good session with Sylvia standing between my legs. She is getting bolder and even making a few steps. I am encouraged that she is on the brink and it will simply take consistency to get her mobile. We learned today the next team arrives in Romania on Saturday and will be with the kids on Christmas Day, next Monday. I will make sure that my diary entry for Sylvia encourages continuation. Marian also did a few walk steps. He was feeling a little fragile (along with the rest of the group as most of them have runny noses and coughs are becoming more prevalent). Maybe tomorrow. I will ask Bernice to come into the Mobile room with me and get pictures with me and each of the guys!

Bernice is feeling a little low herself, so lunch of wonderful warm soup with lots of veggies and oranges was most welcome. As we were heading out for our walk, Dr. Delia was entering the clinic on her rounds. We stayed for a few moments in order for her to tell us some of the backgrounds on the children. Denisa and Larisa (the 2-month old preemie twins) are from a gypsy family with 7 children about 80km from Tutova. Little Denisa has clubfeet and will most likely have to have an operation. Dr. Delia will try to get her to see the specialist in Iasu in January or February. Crina (the 4 month old – that looks a lot more like 6 months to us) has a sister in the clinic in the toddlers and was abandoned by her young mother. Paula the 3 months old that we called Elf, will be tested for genetic conditions after the first of the year. She also was abandoned. I am sure Bernice will follow up on each of these little girls. I told Mihalla (the country manager) that she would need to check Bernice’s luggage as she leaves Tutova on Saturday morning.

Lots of new stuff this afternoon. Ramona, the former translator, arrived with lots of goodies for the staff, toddlers and the clinic. Thanks to her, there is now a wall mounted TV and VCR in the largest playroom that was playing animal videos by the time we left today. The kids were thrilled with the fresh bananas and the staff also received little goodies. The walker’s cloth seats were back and installed so the mobiles could exercise in the hall. As I was moving non-mobile around, I notice an Orthodox priest (with a parka on over his vestments) entering the building. More apples for the toddlers. He met me in the hallway and pushed an icon at my face. I looked at it and Lily said I was to kiss it. Bernice told me after the fact it had happened to her as well and she was not sure what to do so she kissed it. She wasn’t sure if she was supposed to kiss his hand or ring as well. Being a Buddhist, she was afraid she had offended the priest. The staff told her that to kiss the icon was respecting their religion. She was relieved that she had not offended anyone.

Non-mobile room was pretty quiet except for the snuffling noses and the little coughs. I so prefer to be in this room with the music droning and the overhead light off to allow the natural light in through the window. Even though it is cloudy, it gives a nicer light than the fluorescents high above.

Hard to believe but we are low on diapers again. We will make one more stop tomorrow and hope that will last until the next team arrives.

We met Mihalla at the travel agency. I had the perfect finale to today when I found that I had the later fight on Saturday and therefore did not have to leave a day early! YAAAH! We also learned that we would be taken back to Bucharest on Saturday so we don’t have to take the train. I am sorry to miss the train, but am pleased that I don’t have to hassle the taxi from the train station to the airport. THANK YOU ANGELS!!!!!

We went to pick up Gabriella at Myosotis and found that Santa had left a little gift of each of us, lovely Romanian Milk Chocolate. We thanked Gabriella and asked her to pass the message on to Santa for us.

Tonight we had dinner with Helen, her husband Alexandru, sister, Tantsa, Gabriella and Nastasi. It was a wonderful evening full of laughs and good food. Just WAY TOO MUCH FOOD. We even had a special cake with three sparklers and a sip of champagne to celebrate the finale of the team.

One more day with the kids.

Thought for the Day – Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. – Creed for Optimists

Friday, December 22

With sleepy eyes and neither of us feeling 100%, we left for Tutova for our last day. It was grey and very cold and I thought I saw the odd snowflake here and there.

We decided to try and catch Dr. Delia first thing as her day tends to accelerate and get away from her. We dropped off a small token of our appreciation from the team and also some donations to be used to help the clinic purchase car seats for transporting the children to the hospital. The traffic laws have changed recently requiring child seats in vehicles. Mihalla said that the law has been in place for a long time, it is just that the seats are so expensive, the police have not insisted or given tickets if there were no seats. Dr. Delia may be feeling the needs for the seats as the children are no her own and are being transported to and from the hospital.

Bernice then went into the room with the four that was blessedly quiet as we entered the building. A first! I got Marian, Mirella and Mihaela in the toddlers’ room but Sylvia was having a bit of a lie in. Bernice joined us with first Larisa, then Denisa and finally Paula and we took picture of each other with our favorites. Sylvia was finally awake and was happy to be removed from her crib.

Sylvia walked today! Not totally on her own, but she was definitely taking steps towards Bernice with me supporting her around the chest. Unfortunately, Mihaela and Marian were at war at the same time, so our exclamations of praise for Sylvia were drowned out by two howling children.

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Yoghurt time for three with Bernice working with Marian and I with Mihaela and Mirella. I think Bernice now appreciates how distractible he is as she inadvertently smeared his forehead and ear with yoghurt as he head whirled around.

After our walk, we loaded all the non-mobiles into the room. They had not had a chance to get out at all this am and were anxious for their time. Ramona allowed me to give her the bottle again and it went very smoothly. What a thrill! I spent time with my first lover boy, Samuel who yesterday and today has finally remembered how to smile. He just captures my heart. Bernice helped with Daniel, Andrea and Daniela. Within 15 minutes, Daniela had thrown up her entire bottle onto her chest and rocking chair.

As I diapered the entire herd of mobile and non-mobiles for the last time, I spoke to each of them and asked that they receive the best Christmas present I could imagine - to go home or to be put in a fabulous foster home as soon as possible.

As we left for the last time, we hugged the three staff available and presented them with some yummy cookies to celebrate the holidays. Although we left with sadness, it was wonderful to know that on Monday, the next team of 13 will be visiting and picking up where we left off. With such a large team, more children should be given more individual time. The most wonderful thing about Global Volunteer is the 17 teams a year come to the clinic so that the children never have a week without people who want to hold, kiss, play and love them.

What will we remember most about our time at the Tutova Clinic? Florin and his little-man ways, traffic cop attitude and happy smile and wonderful hugs? The incessant banging of the wooden cribs with toddlers who weren’t being let out fast enough? The dogs that waited at the door any time we exited for goodies and treats? The yummy soups for lunch from P. Giani?

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I know that I will always remember the little song in the non-mobile room, Sylvia’s happy screech, Mirella’s insistent wail if she spotted you and you weren’t immediately picking her up, Marian’s impish grin, Mihaela’s shy way of playing with me and her dancing and of course, little Samuel’s raspberries.

Thank you Global Volunteers for your ongoing commitment to making a difference for the children at Tutova.

Thought for the Day – When volunteering and you are not sure where to help, pick an agency and just do something.

Saturday, December 23 – To Bucharest and flight to London

We both had a very quick breakfast and there was some confusion about if we had to pay for breakfast. Because we weren’t sure, Bernice paid.

We loaded into the bus and went to pick up Mihalla for our 5-hour trip to Bucharest. We arrived at the airport at 12:45 for my 3:40 flight on British Airlines to London. There was no indication of which check in desk to use until 1:30. There was a long queue of people using the only line that indicate BA, and another one for AA at the same time. A pair in front of me jumped the queue and went directly to the AA line, which irritated a young Romanian man in front of me. There was an unpleasant conversation between them that left a lot of emotional vomit in the air. I was pleased I was next so I could leave the area soon.

By the time I got to the front, I was concerned about the weight of my luggage. They seemed more concerned with number of bags instead of weight. My ticket was concerning to them as it was an open ticket and did not indicate the specific flight I was on. They had my name in the system, but they had to take my tickets and speak to the supervisor. It only took 15 minutes, but it seemed longer. Finally, no problem and off I went to the gate, having thanked the supervisor who assisted with my ticket. I had my window seat and I was at the gate at 2:40. There was a 30-minute delay due to fog in London. This wasn’t’ too bad considering that the previous three days, London had major delays and cancellations. By boarding time at 4:15, we were still delayed with no plane at the gate. When we finally boarded, we had a completely full flight. After 30 minutes on the tarmac, they told us that that we had engine problems and we should know within 40 minutes if the engineer could fix it. He did and after another 15 more minutes on the tarmac, we were finally in the air at 6:20 for a 3-hour flight. I must say that BA and the pilot in particular were absolutely the best in keeping us advised as to what our status was and when we would know our next information. WELL DONE BA!

We arrived in London at 7:20 local time and finally at the gate at 7:45. As I sat there looking at the airport, I remembered that the last time I was in Britain it was 29.5 years ago. Our bags took a while, so I took the opportunity to change both my Romanian and South African Rand into Pounds. (I had come across a stash of 1100 Rand in one of my bags that I had forgotten to exchange!)

Tired after a long day, I opted for the fastest way to the hotel, a Black taxi. The Premier Travel Inn is one of a chain and is very clean, modern, and very basic. No cute little soaps and stuff, but there was soap and shampoo containers attached to the walls. There will also be no meals on the 25th,

I opted for a pizza for dinner as I didn’t want to go to the restaurant and the bar would be closing soon. The pizza tasted fine, but was undercooked, so I ate all the good stuff off the top. Typical when I have been away from TV too long, I spent way too much time watching telly until the early am hours.

Posted by ladyjanes 14:10 Archived in Romania Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Entry 34 - Philadelphia with Annie

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Entry # 34 – Britain – Chicago - Philly

Monday, January 1, 2007 – Back to the US of A AND THE LAND OF THE PLENTIFUL NAPKINS!!!!!

Late night and early alarm, but I was out, on the bus and at Heathrow at 7am. As I approached to put my luggage through, they asked if I had any matches of lighters in my bags. I realized that I had a book of matches from a hotel in Romania. Luckily I remembered what compartment I had them in and found them quickly. As I mentioned before, the closer to the US I got, the more questions I was asked at airports. I was checked in by 7:10 and was on my way to security. As I approached security, I saw a woman with a lipstick in a little plastic bag and I realized that I had some of those in my carry on. Luckily, I had a spare sandwich size Ziploc in my candy bag, and quickly pulled the three things that I knew that I had in the baggie. I was through immigration and security and on the concourse by 7:35. My flight left at 10:15. I know, I know, way to early, but it sure beats rushing!

I had a lovely British woman as my seat mate (I had the aisle) who was returning to St. Louis where she works for Busch. Directly in front of us was a couple with their 12-month-old son who was not happy, harboring a cold and loudly telling all of us about his distress. The parents were stars and did their best under difficult circumstances. 8 hours between Heathrow and O’Hare.

I landed and wondered if immigration would be different when you have been away for so long. We landed at 12:40 and my original connection would have been at 1:50.

Traveling on 1/1 seems to be the way to go. There have been minimal lines in both airports! Passport control was no problem. Bags seemed to take a long time in coming, but as one person pointed out, I don’t care if it is the last one, just as long as it gets here!! Very wise outlook in my view. I played a game with my vibes to see which one of my bags would arrive first. The vibes said Big Gray would arrive first. It did.

I had answered on my customs declaration that I was carrying food, I had animal products and that I had handled livestock. They just skimmed my form and only when I indicated that I had something did they declare did they send me to x-ray. The Dept of Agr guys x-rayed my bags and looked through Big Gray. Those lucky people got to paw through all my dirty clothes. I had packed all my purchases from abroad into one backpack. They asked me if I had any food and I said candy (of course!) When he took out the backpack, he asked if I had anything round in it. I could only think of the spoons, but as he unpacked it I remembered that I had the Gerivital I had bought in Romania. No issue, he closed it back up and I could go. On the plane they kept stressing about foot-and-mouth disease so I told him my only concern was that I had been hiking in my boots, so he said he would do my shoes. My hiking boots came back spotless on the bottom and as good looking on the top a year around the world warrants.

I had cleared the area and it was 1:30. I rechecked my bags for my connecting flight, just out side the customs area and then rode the train to my terminal. Security in the new terminal was the longest one yet. Take off all coats, shoes off, plastic baggie full of creams, take out the ipod and computer. I had cleared security at 1:50. (I would not have made my flight if I had stayed on the original ticket.)

NOTE FOR TRAVELERS – Even with the airline says it is a legal connection, if you don’t feel that you can comfortably make the connection, do yourself a favor and change the connecting flight. This is especially important if you have to go through customs.

I have been cogitating about the next phase of my life at times with anxiety. I have found when I talk about my experiences, I become alive and very excited about my year. When I am by myself, I become inward and anxious. HMMMM! Guess I just have to stay in action and talking about my amazing year.

At lunch of chicken caesar salad and pear, I sat with a couple returning to Miami and told them about my trip. Mr. and Mrs. Firestone were very cute and enthusiastic and thanks to Jack, I have a name and address for a woman who works for the Attorney General’s office in women’s affairs as a possible contact. See what staying in action can do for you!!!!

In my sack that accompanied my lunch, besides the plastic fork and knife, I had 8 napkins! I still have 3 of them and they will go in my napkin display about my trip.

Annie had requested a current copy of the London Review of Books, a periodical very similar to the NY Times Book Review. The paper has reviews of current books as you might expect, ads for properties both domestic and foreign and usually a small number of interesting personal ads. In London, I found a book that compiled the best of the personal ads into one small volume. The book had wonderfully funny and clever ads, but none that were currently active so you can’t reply to those that sound interesting. I read the book on the plane between England and Chicago. My favorite one was from a lisping Rogers and Hammerstein woman who was looking for a man to share ‘thome enthanted evenningth’! Hysterical!

Today, I sent an email to an ad I found in the British Magazine called The Lady about a wooden yacht that would be circumnavigating the globe starting on Feb 2007 from South England. They indicated that they needed a diarist. By the time I had made Chicago, I already had a reply with some details about the trip, (may be a crew of 5, expect to land in Australia by 2010, no pay but some expenses paid while I am on board, no previous experience needed but helpful, crew will be asked to cook and share night watches, etc) asking for a CV. Hmmmmmmm?

We were delayed taking off from Chicago due to air traffic over Philly. I ended up landing 1.5 hours later than I had been expected, but my wonderful sister and brother-in-law were waiting for me. It was lovely to see them again and to be back in Philly.

I was in the upper bedroom with the window open as it had been 70 degrees in Philly lately. I suspected that I would sleep very well tonight.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Right after breakfast – LAUNDRY !!!! YAAAAAAH! One of the things I am looking forward to is clean laundry on demand and the ability to change clothes as many times as I like during the day. I am very much looking forward to my favorite fuchsia fleece tops that I have in storage in Denver.

Reading the Absentee American – Wonderful**

I unpacked the boxes that I had sent to Annie to extract the Xmas gifts that I had sent for the family. It was fun to open the boxes and remember where I had bought stuff and whom it was for. I had also sent a fair amount of my clothes to Annie, usually as packing around fragile items. I will need to fit them into my luggage as I go home.

I will be mailing one more box to myself from here with clothes and heavy things that I don’t want to put in the luggage. I will also mail back to Denver some things from Mom’s estate including three paintings and a set of nesting tables.

Tonight we had our Christmas celebration and Tony had made wonderful roast chicken, rice with cherries and pistachios, gingered carrots and salad. YUMMY!

Xmas – My family has done it again with wonderful, thoughtful gifts and goodies. Some of the many things that I received were coupons for clothes at Urban Outfitters and a massage tomorrow. YAAAH! Zack also received an Urban Outfitters coupon so we have a date to go and spend them on Thursday night. I am committed to clothes that fit me instead of engulf me and in colors other than black and beige!! The gifts that I gave were also well received including the LROB’s book for Annie, Marzipan from Harrods for Tony and the T-shirt for Zack with Nelson Mandella’s prison number.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Breakfast is usually at our own pace and includes fruit, tea, toast or cereal and a very leisurely morning.

Our next routine is to walk Charlie Darwin (the geriatric beagle cross) every morning to the end of the block to buy the paper. His main goal is to find and eat, before Annie can stop him, any bit of food (especially KFC chicken bones). After the walk, we arrive home for Charlie’s small dog bone. Quantity is not an issue for Charlie, just that he ALWAYS gets a biscuit after his morning constitutional.

Today was my massage with Danielle at a health club just around the corner from Annie’s office. It was wonderful. There were lots of little knots in suspected and unsuspected places. I am very much looking forward to getting to Denver and working with Toni Guinn on the various kinks and knots from this year and what they are saying.

Shepard’s Pie for dinner, ala Tony.

Annie trimmed the driest of the dry ends off my hair – Still a little scraggly and dry, I will wait until Denver to see what the dry air does to it and determine how much more needs to come off or be shaped.

After that we began the photo journey of my year in reverse order.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Doodle day – The bedroom I have is at the very top of the house with a big comfortable double bed.

Having finished the Absentee American, I moved on to Jared Diamonds’ book, Collapse, about how different societies thrived or collapsed when faced with various situations. Very Interesting. Diamond also wrote Germs, Guns and Steel.

Scanning through the NY Times Book Review, I came across 2 personal ads that sounded interesting.

I had an email back from the contact about the yacht asking if I intended to send back my CV. Cogitated about it before bed and had a marvelous dream.

In the dream I was going to my various medical practitioners at the completion of my trip. I was feeling scattered and out of sorts and indicated to Toni Guinn that I had left a part of my heart in each of the places where I had visited. I illustrated the fact by miming taking a bouquet of flowers and taking out one blossom for each place that I visited, leaving the vase very sparse and empty. Toni made me draw in flowers on a landscape to recapture them. As I moved on to my next practitioner, Dr. Kramer, I woke up but I ended the dream feeling that I needed to write back to the yacht group and to take more command of where I was going after my trip. THANK YOU ANGELS!!!!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Up at 5am to begin blogging and working out what to write back to the yacht people.

Face masks – Annie and I cut our two different masks into two and shared the experience.

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The orange mask ended up burning my face a bit, so I won’t be using the other one I have in my luggage. We are planning a tea party today to try the new tea that I was given for Christmas and eat cookies.

We also went to the UPS store to get my box, the paintings and nesting tables mailed to Denver.

Annie said it would be a short night for me, as the Annual Mummers Parade will be held tomorrow on Broad Street with car towing beginning at 5am. Normally held on New Years Day, it had been postponed due to rain last weekend. While it is raining today, I feel that they will hold it whether it rains or not.

The mummers are troops of men, primarily, that work all year on their routines, dress in exotic costumes and parade into historic Philly down Board Street. They go right past Annie’s house so they have a bird’s eye view. Luckily, I have an early flight, so we should be able to get me to the airport before all the hoopla begins.

Lana called me to tell me that my car is buried in her garage due to the third snowstorm in so many weeks and it most likely won’t be available tomorrow. Not a problem, all I need is my mail, my keys, some food and the babies and I will be good for a while.

Saturday, January 6, 2007 – 366 days from when I left last year – Back in Denver

Up early to get to the plane and I logged on to the web and Annie also checked the status of DIA. The Denver airport was open and my flight was scheduled to leave at 9:05.

I had a marvelous time with my Sister, as I always do, and stopping in Philly on my way home was EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO BEGIN THE TRANSITION FROM MY TRIP TO HOME. THANK YOU ANNIE, TONI AND ZACK FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY!!!!

At the airport I had no problem at check in, but found that my departure was delayed by 1.5 hours because the crew had arrived late last night. There is a mandatory (and I am very thankful for it) 8 hour rest period for crews before they can fly again.

A very full flight, I had an aisle seat and the movie was The Queen. As I had already seen it, I focused on my book and some meditation to prepare for my return to Colorado.

The smoothest landing I had all year long, probably due to the quantity of snow on the runway, I landed back in Denver, 366 days after I left on Jan 6 last year. I was ready to be home.

Miss Lana met me at the baggage claim and she took the final official photo from the trip.

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As we drove to Elizabeth, we missed the exit onto E-470 as we were chatting. I did not get a clear view of the mountains, mainly Longs Peak, which has always been my check in view when I return to Colorado after a trip. When I lived in Broomfield, Longs Peak was the mountain that told me that I was home. I may not feel totally back until I get a good view of my mountain.

Thanks to Kris and Lana’s efforts, the car was ready to go home with me. They did a marvelous job storing Amber for me. She was in a comfortable garage with the battery disconnected and they even had rodent control put around the building so that no little critters moved in while I was gone. She looked wonderful. After a year of only driving twice and on the other side of the road, I admit I was wondering how it would feel to drive again.

(I found out why the Brit’s drive on the left side of the road. According to AAA, during the times when people traveled on horse back, people chose the left side of the road as most people were right handed and were better able to draw their sword when attacked by highwaymen. Interesting!)

Lana had reloaded all the boxes that I had left in her care including my electronics and my valuables, so after a quick house tour and a hello to Reggie, we were ready to go. (Rocket was at the vet’s overnight with a mysterious illness). Amber started right up and my first test was to get down the very rutted driveway piled high with snow and out onto the main road. Amber and I did a fine job and soon, Lana was in front of me leading me out to the highway where I could make my way home.

I think I have finally learned to live in the moment as there are lots of things that I used to have right on the top of my head that are now either gone or in cold storage. I still know my way around Denver, but some of the road names are gone.

We had a short stop at Chick-Fil-A for a kid’s meal. Yummy, my first and probably last chicken nuggets for some time. They tasted yummy. As I drove towards Lakewood and Karen’s to pick up my keys and mail, it was fun and amazing to see what still looked identical to when I was in the state a year ago. I am sure that over the next few months, I will be struck by how much has changed and how much things have remained the same.

Karen was wonderful and welcoming as where her two older dogs, Mercy and Grace, and her new-as-of-6-weeks-ago, Hope. Elsie, her sweet kitty with the striped tail, was very interested in all the smells that I emitted and her old guy Cade, was asleep on the couch. Geriatrics are allowed to sleep as much as they want. Karen has been my anchor and was a Godsend. She handled all my mail, mailing my regular bills and paying things as they came along. She accepted all my boxes that I mailed home, stored some of my personal items (Dad’s wood carvings and my photo albums) and worked with Shane on all matters financial. She mailed me my ballot for voting and was a key member of the cat wrangling team. She was also instrumental in helping Tamera with the management of my town home and facilitating the tenant’s logistics. My year would have not gone as smoothly without the friendship and marvelous support from Karen. Karen sent me out the door with my keys, two milk crates of files that I had left in her care, two plastic boxes with misc supplies and checks, and two accordion folders with all my mail from last year.

Driving to my house, I was very present to how blessed my life is in so many ways. A few things had changed between the short distance between Karen’s and 10879 W. Dartmouth, mainly a new bridge that had been out of service for months before I left. The old neighborhood looked the same, even to the number and type of Christmas lights at the entrance to the community. The house looks the same from the outside. I also remembered that I have new neighbors to my right to meet and old ones on my left to reconnect with and become reacquainted.

It was 6pm and the lights were on to welcome me home. Once inside, it looked the same but I noticed it seemed very quiet. After numerous trips to get all the mail, boxes and luggage in, I locked the door and began to explore my house.

The carpet had been newly cleaned and it generally looked the same. Some of the furniture was in a different location, which I decided to leave until later. I walked through every room to see where things were. I found a few lights that needed new bulbs and several items that need to be repaired, but nothing major. In the kitchen, the fridge was very clean, the oven and stove were very dirty and the dishwasher door would not latch closed. As I walked through, I found some things that seemed to be missing. I decided that I would make a complete inventory tomorrow and contact Tamera.

I had no phone service, so I would try to get to Qwest first thing on Monday and see where we are on getting it reconnected. I hoped Tamera had the reconnect order already in place.

I found that the tenants had put all of my supplies that I had left out for them, back in their original place. As I found a little bit of laundry soap, I stripped and washed the bedding and went through all my mail. With Karen’s wonderful organization and filing system, I managed to get through a year’s worth of mail within 1 hour. Karen is a wonder!!!

I unlocked the closets and peeked in and everything seemed okay. I did not want to get the step stool to open up the attic, so I left it locked. (NOT MY WISEST MOVE AS YOU WILL HEAR LATER!!)

By this time, it was 10pm and I had had a long day, having gotten up at 6pm EST. The cats would be home tomorrow and I was a little anxious but looking forward to seeing them.

Generally, I went to bed feeing a little out of sorts, not totally grounded, but ready to be home and get settled for a while. Everything looks brighter after a good nights sleep.

Posted by ladyjanes 00:56 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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