Saturday, May 31, 2014

Africa travels begin

Every airplane ride is preceded by the anxiety and excitement of a new journey. This is felt in the days leading up to departure and even more so, upon arrival at the airport. At the airport it is then magnified by the number of people in the waiting areas, in the lines for Security, and in line to check in. And we are not immune.

After much humming and hawing, we decided against taking the Nikon big camera and opted to get a smaller version of a DSL wannabe, the P600.
 We spent many an hour trying it out, learning it's quirks and a lot of referring to the manual. Did you know that you can now take photos by connecting the camera to the iPad and using the iPad as a remote control? Yup! You can! Will this be useful? Only time will tell. And what about the special effects?
 Would we ever realistically use something like this? 

Then there was the packing. Seemed like we hummed and hawed for days here too. Trying to reduce the amount of stuff that we are taking was a battle that was lost. We ended up taking one suitcase each that was loaded to capacity, weighing in around 30 pounds. Under normal circumstances this would not be bad but during the trip we have to trek for an hour on a walking path to a village, carrying our bags I am sure. Am not sure how the cases will do on that. We shall find out and adjust accordingly once there. [photo]

The RV went into storage. I am sure that she must be very disgruntled every time that she sees the place for it means that she is left to her own devices for a long period of time. Still, she waits patiently for our return and never acts up once we are back. She is just glad to see us return and get her out into the sunshine again.

And so we leave ...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Preparing for Africa amidst life happenings ...

The month of May has been a month of conflicting ideals - the trip to Africa which is upcoming at the end of the month, and the activities and events of Brooke's graduation. Both are fun, exciting and memorable.

Brooke will graduate officially on May 30, where we will witness the proverbial walk across the stage after the commencement addresses and notices. Of course, Pomp and Circumstance will be hummed by all as it is played when the graduates enter the auditorium. In the meantime however, we have witnessed the Sports Banquet where Brooke was honored by one of her teams. The placemats for the dinner had photos of all the teams. Of course we gathered them up so that we could memorialize them. [photos]. There was the dinner at the Dishman's, her second family, where her friends congregated to wish her well.
The Dishman's celebration for Brooke

 Her second family
[photo] During this I often found myself deep in thought as I remembered and reminisced about our adopted families in Panama: our host families, our many friends who welcomed us into their lives and their homes, and of course, our adopted daughters. [photos] We ran the Sherrod B&B replete with the chocolates on the pillows, welcoming one and all as well as many Couchsurfer visitors. I heard this last trip to Panama that we are famous in the later groups for our B&B and chocolates. And what is grad without a Prom: The Senior/Junior Prom. Here we lucked out! Our granddaughter Brooke attended as a senior and our youngest grandson attended as a date for a junior. Of course we were there to see them dressed to the nines and for photos. 

 Junior Prom Blake & Callie 

 Senior Prom Brooke & John 

 I love this one
 Walking the Red Carpet to be presented:
 The last event, still to come will be the grad itself. Photos to follow after the fact.

In between all of this, we have been planning our trip to Africa with Gary & Peg.
How lucky we are to be afforded this opportunity. I even updated my front page on my computer:
Africa is a once in a lifetime happening, I believe, and we are able to go. Not only are we getting to go, we are also going to be given the opportunity to visit with a PCV in his village and even possibly attend a local wedding. Wow, how exciting. So in the ensuing time, we have packing to do, organizing to do, shopping to do for Brooke, and for me, finishing a UFO quilt so that I don't have to pay the penalty for this quarter. I will be updating the trip to the blog, hopefully more frequently than infrequently. AM not sure as to the availability of internet where we are going. It is hoped that hotels will offer it, even if in the lobby.

One of the exciting events that we are looking forward to is a ride on the Tazara train that goes from Dar es Salam, Tansania to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. It is a 2 night, 2+ day ride through the various topographies of the both countries. You can have a good read here: and here:
If only I can be so proliferate in my writing. Often times other things get in the way. :)

Follow our trip here on our Blog, Where are we today? , for the latest update. See you then ...