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July 7, 2015

Crazy day!!! I did not sleep last night, and I am FEELING it now!  Our flight out of Mérida left at 6:05 am?. We didn’t get home from dinner until 1:30 this morning.  We got back, packed our stuff and made our way to the airport.  We were there before 3 but we assumed that was better than not waking up, and we were supposed to check in at 4.  We were dropped off by one tired Tia, and we made our way to the doors.  They were locked!!! What!  Who does that??? Melinda jimmied the door, we were promptly reprimanded!we were made to wait outside until 4 am.

 we laughed our tails off laying down outside the airport!  My aunt would have had a heart attack!  We have made our flight/ connection, and we are on our way home.  We are currently on board our flight.  We have had a beautiful time,not really being touristy, but visiting with my beautiful family.   It was such a blessed trip.  We slept quite a bit,  ate quite a bit!  Saw Grace off, and then just visited.  I brought a friend with me and it was nice because I didn’t feel the pressure of entertaining.  I feel bad I didn’t show her more, but it wasnt in the cards this time.  I am super ready to be home with my family (-Grace?), and ready to just be for a bit.  I return to Merida in several weeks, but am grateful in this moment.  Chow for now!

July 5, 2015

Flat Daddy
Flat Daddy

Feeling sad this morning.  I’m dropping off my daughter to stay with her cousin.  I’m so excited for her, she’s going to be fine.  It’s me…I’m going to miss her so much.  She is one of the most amazing people I know.

I remember being left here for a month.  Circumstances were a bit different though. Mom now says I begged to come, I was stressed,I needed a break. I remember it as a consequence for misbehaving a little too frequently.  She thought my grandmother would help deal with my misbehaving ways. Instead, it was the best summer of my life.  Beach, friends, sleeping in late, parties, fun.  It was wonderful.  I also built relationships with my family that weren’t just based on relationships that my mom had.  I developed my own relationships with my family.  That is tough when you are 15, nothing is in your native tongue, you are in another country with different traditions and cultures and customs.  It was great though.

I’m excited for her, and homesick myself!  I’m ready to go home, and it’s going to be strange going home without Grace.

July 4,2015

 

Baca is a town that houses an Integrative Medicine Facility. People come here for Cancer treatments. It is so peaceful.  It is like actually being in Thailand.

Morning all!  Happy 4th! We will be celebrating in Mexico this year, sans fireworks, sans boat rides and watermelon!  No cook outs either!!! What??? Well,it is NOT a Mexican holiday!  Today we are celebrating by going to a little town called Baca and getting quiet with ourselves and celebrating peace, and health and God’s Gifts to us.  I will be mindful of these things today.  I am grateful for you my friends, and all my beautiful family, spread out all over the country, And throughout this beautiful world of ours.

I’ve not written in a while.  I’ve been busy, sick, and.  I’ve made it home from Europe with my mom, got her home, and settled.  She is happy to be home and readjusting to our seperated space.  It is hard for her- me too, knowing she is sad.  But, she is well.

I sat near a woman who violently sneezed from Germany to the U.S…..dear Lord!  Hideous woman.  Didn’t even attempt to cover her mouth.  Eventually blowing her nose into the airline’s blanket.  No wonder people in other countries hate us and think we are rude and disrespectful.  Needless to say, I have been battling this cold turned sinus infection.  Thank goodness for the z-pack !  I was home for 5 days, and then off again to drop off my sweet middle child off in Mexico to spend a month with our family here, and to learn the language.  We have been talking about this experience for a year now…and it is finally here.  I’m not sure what I will do without her!  I adore this sweet and funny child.  She is going to be so fine here though.  This is going to be such a great experience for her.  I am so happy for her.

I have had a lovely time thus far visiting with my sweet little aunt- Chicha.  She is a blast, and I love her.  She is always glad we are here and always complains that however long the stay is, it is never long enough!  She feeds my desire for soulful music, beautiful food, and places that make me feel whole. It is a beautiful and soulful life down here.  I have also spent some beautiful time with my aunts and my cousin Edwin.  I have grown up smack in the middle of 3 cultures at a physical distance from those that are my family, yet I am still a part of these seperated cultures & tied to all 3. My dads family came over from Sweden, but wanted to be inconspicuous & look and live like Americans. My mother and her family are all born and raised in Mexico and all stayed here except my mom.  We lived in a Hispanic way,but in a homogenized manner.  We were very American in many ways.  But I FEEL like I am with people and things I really connect with when I am here.  Music, food, socializing, family, spirituality, culture.  It’s very relatable to me.  I feel grateful I get to breeze in and out of this life here with these beautiful people.  I’m sometimes sad I don’t fit in more, we don’t have the same history of  those that were raised together.  I’m none the less glad though that I “belong” here.

I do miss my family at home though, and I’m ready to spend some time enjoying their company.

Pitaya Ice Cream or Dragonfruit Ice Cream
My beautiful girl
Me and my cousin, Edwin. Love this guy!
Beautiful Baca, Yucatan.
Enjoying a Thai lunch with some of my favorite ladies!
Two of my sweet aunties, and us giant American girls!
When in Merida, Yucatan, you MUST eat at Amaro. It is amazing, and the food it not only exquisite, but divine!
One of my favorite meals…Panuchos. I try to eat at least one of these each day while in Merida!

 

June27, 2015

Ive been delaying watching the movie Still Alice.  I’ve been advised by my friends not to watch it yet.  It was on the que on the way from Orlando to Germany…I avoided it.  Yesterday, at our farewell dinner of our tour, a lovely lady named Alice actually, brought up the movie, quietly, to me.  My mom heard a bit of the conversation and joined in singing the praises of the movie etc.  Obviously , there is so much irony in this as their wasn’t a knowledge as to why this came up.  Also, she was glad to be included in the conversation about a movie she enjoyed.

Spring forward one day.

I watched the movie. Ugh.  So many tears on an airplane.  Gratefully, I’m sitting in the seat directly behind my mom, so she couldn’t see me bawling like a baby.  I’m sure the 2 people next to me think I’m either highly emotional or on my period!  Highly emotional yes.  Period…private.  Anyway.  Wow, that’s all I can think or say.  Wow.  It’s too huge to deal with.  Especially now, on an airplane.  It resonates with my in a big way though especially after the trip we just took.  A lot makes sense, other parts totally haven’t happened.  But wow.  Oh my Gosh.  I feel heartbroken for the future event of some future person.  I can see it.  It is out there still, but I can see it.  I’ve struggled with some of these situations over the last 2 weeks.  The constant questions, repetitive  questions, lack of memory, lack of understanding, empathy, and awareness.  As well as a lack of understanding social cues in public situations.

I can’t and won’t let it ruin our time, but the reality of it makes me so sad.  Grateful to be going home.

June 26, 2015

Well,it’s just about here!  We have been gone now 11 days and we return home tomorrow!  We have had the best time, met some of the absolute nicest people and seen some of the coolest things.  We had our final tour today, we went to Montserrat .  It is 2300 feet up a mountain and it is gorgeous.  I took most of my pics this trip with my actual camera so I don’t personally have a photo to show just yet.  There is a monastery up there, a nunery, a boys boarding school mostly focusing on music.  It is a beautiful campus.  It also holds a statue aptly called the Black Madonna.  It is in a gorgeous shrine surrounded by beautiful mosaic work.   You have to really want to worship, pray or meditate to head this far into the mountains.  I can’t even imagine what building it must have entailed.  Mom attended a Latin mass with her new BFF’s Gina and Manuel.  She was moved by it all. They were sweet to give me a little respite.  I walked around, shopped, took photos then sat by myself on top of this beautiful mountain.  It was lovely.  Mom and the BFF’s were 35 minutes late getting to the bus.  People were getting restless, but everyone said”we can’t leave Mamma Maria”.  Everyone was worried if she was ok.  She was/is, she just moves slow.  Anyway.  We have had a beautiful and blessed time.  We grew closer to each other and to God.    We are each respectively ready to be home with our people.  I miss them all so much!  I can’t wait to be reunited with my sweet husband, my babes, I miss my home and my pets, I miss my girlfriends and a small gaggle of kids that normally is seen hanging around my house!  I’m ready.  See you soon!

June 18, 2015

Morning!  I’m currently sitting on our tour bus leaving Portugal-sadly!  What a gorgeous country!  It is awe inspiring!  Such kind courteous people, and such a devout group of people.   It was such a privelege to attend their services and travel through their country.  Gorgeous food, amazing wines (very inexpensive also ).  They say when you are doing your craft for 2000 years, you’ve perfected it!  There isn’t BAD wine…bad wine is called vinegar!      

Mom and I have had a beautiful time this far.  We toured Lisbon and experienced nightlife in Alfama- Fado, visited where St.Anthony was born and baptized in 1195, toured the Avenida de Liberdad which is stunning and pays homage to Prime Minister Pombal.  We saw the maritime area which houses Cristo Rei which is a copy of the huge internationally known famous statue of Jesus in Rio De JaneiroCristo Redentor Rio de Janeiro me Grande Plano (Christ the Redeemer) Brazil. We toured Torre de Belém (torre de belémJeronimos Monastery.  Lovely!  Amazing-breathtaking.  Buildings that have been here since the 11th and 12 th centuries-still standing, being used daily by thousands of people.  Unbelievable.  We visited Alocobaça and toured their monastery where there was also a beautiful art installation by Cristina Rodrigues.  So vast! 

These are the things we did, but meanwhile we were eating and drinking our way through Portugal!  I had grilled squid for lunch- the big meal of the day here.  Yum! ❤️  Seafood is a must in this port town.  I had a famous dish here called Bacalhou , which is delicious.  It’s easy to eat here if you have allergies.  Foods are mostly prepared in locally made olive oil not butter.  Bread, olives, and local cheeses are  almost always brought to your table.  Such an amazing gastronomic experience. 

We arrived in Fatima, Portugal and immediately we were entranced by this special magical town.  This town almost completely exists on the map because an angel appeared 3 times to three shepherd children in the field and told them to prepare for the coming of the Virgin.  They told their parents- they believed them,and on May 13, 1917 the Virgin appeared to them.  She appeared to them again on the 13th of June, July, September, and October.  This town is like Disney for people of faith.  We had the beautiful fortune of meeting the niece Maria de Los Angeles ( Maria of the Angels) of Lucia, one of the three children whom the virgin appeared to.  She is in her 90’s and takes visitors.  I’ll post a picture later as I can’t seem to squire that much wifi and bandwidth!  I think this was my mom’s favorite experience to date here in Portugal.  We attended a mass, rosary, and candlelight procession.  I’ve never been part of something so big -if you know what I mean.  It was powerful.  Thousands of people, from everywhere praying in their native tongues.  The mass and rosary was said in 5+ languages.  Awe inspiring.  All there to pay homage to God and our Lady of Fatima.  We went to this mass on two separate nights and on the second night, all branches of the military were represented and participated in the service.    Beautiful.    
My mom has done well mostly.  She is having a wonderful and blessed time.  She has had rough nights and tough starts at times in the morning.  She is experiencing confusion, pretty significant confusion.  This has been very difficult to watch, experience, and to be such a significant part of.  I feel very grateful to be doing this with my mom at this time in our lives.  She is keeping up physically which is major here!  And she is happy.  Our new friends on this tour have taken “Mamma Maria” under wing and go out of their way to assist her.  It’s been lovely.  We are arriving in Braga, so I’ll stop for now.  

Blessings my friends.

June 16, 2015

We are here!  Lisbon, Portugal! ❤️. It is beautiful here, but as we just got here we have not yet explored.  We got in at around 4:20 pm (5 hours difference I believe…maybe six)lots of airline travel.  

All went pretty well, mom was confused pretty regularly, I think this isn’t just our trip that jumbled up memory, I think this is our new norm.  She is though having a BLAST!  She talked all through the night( while I tried to sleep).  I’m learning she doesn’t need near as much sleep as me!😳. She is giddy though, and that couldn’t be sweeter!  We are at Hotel Roma in downtown Lisbon.  All is clean and tidy, but modest.  It’s gorgeous outside. Maybe 80 degrees, sunny and breezy.  The people here seem to be very kind so far.  We meet in the lobby at 6:30 to connect with our tour group.  Chat more later 

     

June 15, 2015

Here we are!  We are sitting at gate #84 and we start boarding at 7:25.  We have had an interesting day trying to pack for ME as I packed mom yesterday.  I kept back 20 lbs. of clothes that she overpacked. ❤️.  I have packed us fairly lightly – a backpack each,  and a pillow blanket roll held together by a yoga mat strap!  My backpack turned into a handheld overnighter as I have ALL the medicine etc.  we are Psyched!  I keep hearing…”I used to take you to travel like this, and now you are taking me!”  It’s my turn.  Grateful I can.  Blessed! 

     

Faith Based Journey – one day away!

Well, I picked up my mom Friday from her home in Ft. Myers.  It was a long day! I was in my car approximately 10 hours that day, as it rained in various areas, there was tons of road construction, and there were so many accidents!  The Bonus though is that I picked up my mom, helped her pack for our trip, collected all her necessary items and medications…and then we were off!  We are now in Deland, and we are getting ready to leave tomorrow.  We went yesterday to get her ready to go with a Mani/Pedi, and a few smelly items from Bath and Body Works.  We grabbed lattes and magazines at Barnes and Noble, and hung out with my girls.  It was a great day!  Today, we are doing final laundry, packing, enjoying time with family, and doing all our last minute preparations for tomorrows journey.  I feel blessed. I am super grateful that I have a wonderful and self-sufficient family that is able to part with their Momma and wife for the next 12 days.  While I am gone, my amazing husband Mark, will be getting our son Baylor to RYLA(a Rotary Youth Leadership Conference) in Jacksonville, Fl. for a week, getting my 10 year old Maya to and from Gymnastics 3 times a week, and getting my 13 year old Grace to and from volleyball conditioning daily for two hour segments, not including the meal making, the friend get togethers, the managing of our 5 (yes 5) animals 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 1 hamster.  He is amazing for facilitating this trip for my mom and myself.  It takes a wonderful and strong man to sort of “allow” (forgive the term)something like this to organically exist, and grow into what it has become.  This trip is the trip of a life time for my mom and myself, and I am glad we get to do it now, while we are both in well enough health, and mental clarity.  This is a dream come true for us both.  I wish that every child has the opportunity to do something of this nature with their parent.  What a blessing.