Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Disembarking and flying home
We got off the ship without incident and waited for my mom to pick up a rental. She showed up with a Ford Flex....for 8 people and 14 bags!
We packed the trunk full, loaded the back seat with luggage and kids, put 2 suitcases on the floor of the middle seat (meaning the The Big Guy and I had no legroom) and 17 sat on a suitcase in the middle. It was by no means comfortable nor safe! We drove about, had lunch at a Cuban place,a shopped at a mall and then went to the airport. Free wifi in the airport was a true gift to these weary parent travelers! We also had outlets...not enough but enough to make do.
3 hours and many snacks later we boarded a plane home. The flight was uneventful and after an easy landing at Midway we got our bags and prepped for the last leg of the trip...the drive home!
Today I am gradual for safe travels and coming home.
Today is our last day on the ship. I woke up early to a beautiful sunrise. I decided to go for a run on deck which was amazing. The wind at my back for part of each lap and then into wind for the other half. After 5 miles I chose to head in to the gym for a bike ride then some weights.
Breakfast on deck and then a quick change into a bathing suit. I planted myself on a deck chair for the rest of the day happily reading my book and drinking umbrella drinks.
Early in the afternoon we had to head down to our room and prepare for the main event...my parents vow renewal. The girls looked beautiful and the boys handsome.
Dinner was a relaxed affair with story after story of how may parents met, dated, and married.
We retired to our rooms full of food and festivities to pack ours bags.
Today I am grateful for warm sun and love.
Again we had to tender into port. This was an arduous process as the waters were choppy and there were 6 ships in port. Once we got ashore we exited the safe area and took a cab downtown. We shopped a bit and wanted to take a glass bottom boat ride but the waters were choppy and my kids got a little skittish so we gave up on the idea. We met the family for lunch at a place called Panchos backyard. It was so good and the drinks large. 17 and I had a few cocktails together again which was fun.
The kids had all made friends aboard ship by this point so they all took off leaving mom and dad alone for a change. We spent some time in the hot tub and went to a super sushi dinner together.
Another day done.
Today I am grateful for deep drinks and time with my husband.
We woke up early and walked off the ship prepared for the kids to participate in a long awaited excursion....swimming with the dolphins. It was early (8:30) but already warm. We walked to the dolphin pool and while the instructor gave an initial lesson, I took pictures marveling in the excitement of my kids.
Once they were finished and got out of the water we walked across the beach to Señor Frogs for fruity drinks, free Internet and nachos.
There is a free large pool and beach with coral access to the ocean. We hung out in the pool, laid on chairs in the sand and swam in the ocean looking at the living things under the water. Mom and I collected pieces of coral and I swam with the kids in the warm Gulf waters.
We packed up about 4 and headed back to the ship to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner...at the steakhouse!
Yes, I had steak, potatoes and shrimp for Thanksgiving dinner! A non traditional Thanksgiving to be sure but one that I will remember forever.
Today I am grateful for dreams... And the ability to help my kids dreams come true.
I slept almost all the way through the night for the first time in days waking to drink a little water. I woke up for good early and headed to the deck to sit and enjoy the view. I watched as the ship came to port and anchor as my family slept. I was feeling much better....not 100% but stronger and ready to see another city.
We got back on The ship via the tender and relaxed for the evening.
Today I am grateful for cool drinks and fresh seafood.
The rest of the family woke up and headed to breakfast as we watched the ship dock in the port of Roatan Honduras.
We disembarked and headed to the main port area. My mom had already contracted a driver to chauffeur us about the island. As our driver, Percy, drove We saw many beautiful and many not so pretty parts of the area. Many clothes hanging from clothes lines and lots of people walking everywhere. I like to get in and mix with the local culture however being married to an over protective cop does not allow for this behavior when we are together. So we traveled by van throughout the island. I took photos from the van windows and longed to get out and walk amongst the streets. We visited a private nature preserve that was beautiful. Many wealthy islanders have been allowed to build homes on the property and it also houses a private resort. We got out near the resort area to use the restroom and walk around. Soon the rain started again and chased us back to the van.
We decided at this point to head back to the ship as the rain became heavier. We had planned to go to the beach but the weather had other plans.
We did make a stop at the monkey park. This was a very small little area where a private guide, Oskar, took us to various cages of different native and nonnative species of wildlife. We saw tapirs, spider monkey, island rabbit, and island white tailed deer. We entered the cages and interacted with the white faced gibbons and scarlet macaw. It was the macaw that took a liking to Jack as it took a nibble of his finger!
We boarded our van and drove though an area called the West End. This a an ocean front area where the divers and fisherman are the prime sources of income. Dive shacks are everywhere and boats to take the divers out are a dime a dozen. We stopped at a shirt shop to get the kids a souvenir. The shop was owned by a man from Iowa who came to visit and never left.
As we drove though the streets Percy told us about the area and himself. With no traffic laws, the only thing governing speed on the streets are well placed speed bumps. Also the road is riddled with potholes that could swallow a car whole. Percy shared that his father was originally from Columbus Ohio and had come to Honduras to work for Dole foods many years ago. He never learned the language but his children did ... Much to his frustration as the often spoke about him right in front of his face but he could not understand.
Percy told us of his 3 grown children and reminded both my husband and I that the most valuable thing we could give our children was education. His own children had not followed that example leading to a life of drinking and destitution.
We arrived back at the port with time to spare. I decided to walk out of the compound and across the street to photograph a cemetery. This angered my husband as he does not like me "wandering off". Me? I was fine....happy for the opportunity to enjoy a moment to pray and take some photos of the beautiful headstones.
We met up with my brother and his wife and they told us of their adventures in Honduras as we reboarded the ship. At this point we were famished so we got a little something to eat and I headed down to the cabin for a nap....which turned into an all night affair of me sleeping on and off while people came in and out. I remember little of the night with conversations here and there are my kids and husband paraded into and out of the room.
The sun gave way to clouds again and we decided it was time to shower and get ready for dinner.
Dinner was at a different restaurant on the ship but also one of the main dining rooms. The food was a bit better here and time with my family the best part. After dinner we walked about and soon I retired to the room....while the rest of the family played about the ship. The rest was short lived as I got violently ill. All night long I was in the bathroom sick as a dog. It was no fun for anyone in our room.
Today I am grateful for an on board fitness center!
Once on the ship we found our rooms and changed clothing then headed to the pool deck for a drink. The sun was shining and the weather warm. Before long the ship set sail and the adventure was beginning.
After dinner we walked about the ship and went back to my parents room for a nightcap and then bed.
Today I am grateful for luggage with wheels....and patience.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012, was the WonderGirl 5K sponsored by Girls On The Run. This was the culminating event of a 13 week self esteem, positive body image program for girls in grades 3-5.
The gun sounded and we were off....a little slowly at first as there were so many people and not a lot of space. As we ran through the neighborhood, the crowds cheered and honked horns in support of the girls. Everywhere words of encouragement could be heard....."You can do this!" "I am proud of you!" "You are going to finish..." We walked a bit and ran a bit …we got through the distance….
As soon as the finish line was in sight the girls finally realized that they would finish. We ran to the finish with the sounds of the crowd yelling and flashes going off as a multitude of parents and supporters took pictures and cheered! The girls…every one of them…crossed the finish line head held high smiling from ear to ear!
When we arrived back at our school gathering site, we met with all the other girls proudly wearing their medals! Parents were all sharing stories with one another so visibly proud of their little girls! The girls were beaming! What a sight!!! Shortly after, it was time to part ways and head home.
The girls wore their shirts and medals to school on Monday and we coaches could not be prouder of them!! This was a life changing event for not only the girls but families and coaches as well.
We all started running at different times in our lives. We all run for different reasons. We all train for different events. Everyone had to start somewhere. Our hope and prayer is that this was the start of something good for all these girls and families.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Saturday, November 3, 2012
God bless Captain Herbert Johnson who gave the ultimate sacrifice last night. Prayers for his family and all of the CFD.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Thursday, November 1, 2012
I got home from my running around and walked in to find the dog dancing around the kitchen in her tell tale "no one has taken me out" dance. I asked the kids and was ignored so I hooked up the puppy's leash and took her out.
I was planning on just taking her for a short walk but she started to pull at the leash and gave me that "lets go, woman" look so I started a slow jog to the end of the block.
I rounded a corner and just kept going. She looked so happy breathing in the cool night air with her nose sniffing everything possible that it just made me smile. We went around the park and I was going to go home but my feet took me another direction. I knew the way.... I had run this route before and the puppy seemed to know where we were going. Each time we reached a point where we could turn to go home, I turned the other way.
It was dark....well as dark as it gets in the city. Growing up in the country you learn what DARK really feels like. This was not really dark but it was as dark as the city gets....Unless someone shoots out the streetlight. Living in the first neighborhood to use electric lights and named after Thomas Edison, I have learned that it is never really DARK. I have embraced the lights of night.
As I ran I was enveloped by the warm amber glow of the streetlights. I was overwhelmed by a sense of peace that I had not felt in a long time. I was running with no GPS, no iPod, no watch, no nothing. My phone was on silent and I forgot I had it with me.
I was with my puppy in the dark, leaves crunching under our feet and cool air filling our lungs. I breathed out the crap that filled my head, heart and lungs breathing in the cool air and fresh attitude. The sights and smells of fall filled my senses.
I arrived home 30 minutes after I left but it felt like I could have run for miles more. I walked into the house and was greeted by chores being done and kids getting along.
Sometimes we all need a little dark to appreciate the light.
During the month of November I will post one thing each day that I am grateful for. Just one item a day. By Thanksgiving I will have been reminded of 22 reasons to be grateful and 30 by the end of the month. Won't you all join me and live an attitude of gratitude this month?
Today I a grateful for coffee. It is the nectar of the God's on a day when I need sustenance to get me through the long work day and hours before I can call it a day. On a day when my students are sure to be either over sugared and still wound up or in a complete sugar coma, I am thankful for coffee to keep me going.