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Family and Friends

    Family and Friends  --  Travel Around the World

    Lunar New Year Festival

    Chinese New Year – The Year of the Rooster

    We begin the year of the Fire Rooster. People born in a year of the Rooster are very observant. Hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented. Roosters are very confident in themselves.

    Three years ago we were lucky to be in China and in Korea during the Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year and Spring Festival). Lots of firecrackers!  That was 2014, the year of the Horse. It was in Korea that I learned I was born in the year of the Rat.  Apparently Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, kind, smart, and lovely.  I’ll take it!  Click here to see what your Chinese Zodiac sign is.

    By the way Donald Trump was born in 1946, the year of the Fire Dog.  The Fire Dog prefers to be the leader of their own domain, which explains their resistance to change and influence. In a similar light, the adventurous Fire Dog is likely to become restless if their need for excitement is not met. In order to counter these shortcomings, the Fire Dog should take time to facilitate inner peace and feel content in their efforts.

    Seems pretty accurate to me.

    Once again we find ourselves straddling two Asian countries during this, the most important Asian holiday event of the year. The Lunar New Year celebrations begins on January 28th while we are still here in Thailand and runs through the first week of February when we arrive in Vietnam.

    Many of the Thai people trace their roots to China,
    and so this tradition of celebrating with family and remembering your ancestors is important to the Thais.  However, because the entire country remains in mourning following the passing of HRH Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13th, 2016, many of the usual public New Year celebrations have been cancelled.  But the holiday really is more about family than about public events, and families travel great distances to be together each year. And to set off lots of firecrackers!

    When we were in Korea, we were astonished at the absence of people in Seoul during the weekend of the New Year.  The entire city seemed to vanish, as city dwellers headed to their home provinces to be with loved ones. And set off lots of firecrackers!

    We arrive in Vietnam on February 1st, just as the events will be winding down.  But Vietnam, like many of the other Asian countries, believe the colors red and gold are lucky.  I expect we will see the red and gold theme carried out widely in Vietnam.

    Called “Tet” in Vietnam, the Vietnamese prepare well in advance for the special event cleaning and preparing their homes and food and gifts as well as special care given to the ancestral altar.  The holiday is a deeply religious one, and offerings are made for good luck and good fortune in the coming year.  Historically the holiday also was a time of rest after the harvest and before the new plantings began (hence the name Spring Festival).  I expect it also involves lots of firecrackers.

    People consider what they do on the dawn of Tet will determine their fate for the whole year, hence people always smile and behave as nice as they can in the hope for a better year.

    I plan to practice this as well.  Heaven knows we all need a bit of luck right now.

    Happy New Year!!

    Family and Friends

    When I Was Young

    On My 57th Birthday

    When I was young I never worried about money or healthcare.

    When I was young I never heard of sunscreen or moisturizer (except Noxzema)

    When I was young I never thought about my daily BM or bladder control. And I certainly never talked about.

    When I was young a telephone was for making phone calls.

    When I was young I took for granted 20/20 vision and brown hair.

    When I was young I didn’t make funny noises trying to get out of bed in the morning.

    When I was young I didn’t spend energy worrying about my kids. I only worried about myself.

    When I was young I didn’t have skin on my neck and under my arms that flapped like a sheet in the wind.

    When I was young you had to stay in one room to listen to music or watch TV.

    When I was young I was convinced I didn’t snore.

    When I was young there was a  thing called writing letters.

    When I was young I took things for granted.

    When I was young I didn’t have a husband who loved me no matter what.

    Being young is overrated.  Go back? Never !

    Fifty-Seven and Fabulous!

     

     

    Family and Friends

    The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

    Chapter Five – Traveling With My Adult Kids

    It’s been a special treat traveling these past six weeks with my adult kids.

    No matter how old they are – I worry about them. We sent Erik off last week, back to Burkina Faso to complete his Peace Corp commitment. We hope to see him again in August in Portugal.

    Today Arne and I return to Thailand for three more weeks in that magical country, and today we say good bye to our oldest son Dane. Dane will be staying in Siem Reap working at an English school here. I think he will be great at that- and this city is so awesome.

    For three weeks we will be traveling on our own. I think that will be good for us too – I look forward to connecting with Dane again in Vietnam  in February.

    People always say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s true as far as travel when it comes to our family. However both my kids find joy in volunteering and helping others less fortunate than they are, even if it means living in difficult environments. I never had that calling. I am proud that they do. I am hopeful all of this will steer them to a fulfilled future. Wherever that may be.

    Family and Friends

    When The Dog Bites

    Chapter Five

    Well as I’ve said before, Mama said there will be days like this.

    We had an excellent Christmas Day here on the island of Samui, Thailand.  Very relaxing and lovely.

    Today, December 26th, we vowed to get up and run, since we had taken the last five days off from running.  We headed down the hill to a flat area near the beach.  I told Arne I wanted him to stay with me until we passed a house where three dogs had growled at us the other day.

    So as we walked down the hill, we passed another house with three dogs, one very nasty and viscous  looking, but all behind a tall secure fence.

    About 20 yards past the house, suddenly we heard a noise and turned to see all three dogs flying down the hill, the vicious one in the lead teeth barred.  Someone had opened the gate and released them and immediately they came after us. In clear attack mode.

    At the hospital emergency room for the first in a series of shots

    The mean one took a bite. Leaving a broken wound on my husbands thigh.

    The dogs retreated and we stood there in shock and shaken.  My husband was not gravely injured, but the only way back to our apartment was to walk past that house again.

    We both got a big stick.

    As we approached the house the three dogs were back behind the gate.  We hollered and yelled trying to get someone’s attention but no one came.  We walked back to our apartment and immediately went to find the proprietors of our Airbnb.

    Of course they were horrified. They told us there had been some problems with these dogs in the past.  They walked with us down to speak to the owners.  The conversation, which was in Thai, seemed to lean towards the fact that we shouldn’t worry because they had vaccination records for the dog.

    That didn’t cut it for me.

    I asked for an explanation as to why they let the dog out right as we walked by? The answer was the dogs needed to poo.

    That didn’t cut it for me.

    They offered to pay for the doctor.  Duh.

    Our Airbnb owner told us where to go for the doctor so we headed out.  After three tries we ended up at the Koh Samui hospital emergency room where Arne was treated by beginning a series of both rabies and tetanus shots that will take place several times over the next month.  At a total cost to us of around $150.  I expect the dog owner to reimburse us.  Time will tell.

    Additionally our Airbnb owner wants to go with us to the Tourism Police to help us file a report. This will start a process against the dog and the owner.

    We will go there tomorrow.

    Here is my philosophy on this – Dogs shouldn’t bite. Plain and simple. I don’t care what country it is. I am as much of a dog lover as the next guy, but owners need to be responsible to train and monitor their animals.  And there are no second chances.

    Here in Thailand elephants and monkeys are regularly trained and used for both work and entertainment.  I know many people feel strongly against such uses of animals. You won’t see me riding an elephant for tourism purposes, but  I am also not going to condemn something that is a centuries old practice in a country I am only a visitor in. That doesn’t mean I will participate or support the practice.

    But when it comes to dogs that bite, in a neighborhood with pedestrians, children, scooters, cyclist – I draw the line.  Even as a visitor from another country. There is no room for error and no second chances. This dog has got to go.

     

     

    Family and Friends

    Map My Trip

    Chapter Five – My Great Nieces & Nephews

     

    When I was a little girl, maybe as young as four, my aunt and uncle lived for a short time in Hawaii.  Hawaii seemed incredibly exotic to me, even as young as I was – not much more than a toddler.  When my aunt came home she brought a grass skirt and bikini top for me and my sister.  I was smitten for Hawaii right then and still am to this day.  I never forgot that first love for exotic travel.

    Looking at the map with my great niece Elsa and great nephew Isaiah.

    Looking at the map with my great niece Elsa and Her Mom Nichole.

    I have a total of thirteen great nieces and nephews.  Seven of them are in early grade school.  An age when kids are inquisitive and impressionable.  I want to use our travels in a positive way, and I think I can help my younger nieces and nephews learn a bit about the world through my Grand Adventure. And in turn, maybe they will have lifelong memories like my experience with my aunt.

    My great nephew Landon and great niece Lily

    My great nephew Landon and great niece Lily

    So for my grade school age nieces and nephews I have given each family (three) a world map for their wall. As we travel in the years ahead I will stay in touch with these fast growing little ones by sending them post cards and from time to time small gifts and books. I hope to encourage them to find us on their map as well as research online

    Cards I bought today to send.

    Cards I bought today to send from Thailand

    about the places we are. They will follow our travels, learn about far off places, new cultures and people.  And perhaps be inspired to be a world citizen in a country that too often lives in a bubble.

    And hopefully not forget me and my husband as they grow so quickly.

     

    Family and Friends

    In Sickness and in Health

    Celebrating 34 Years

    Thinking about 34 years. It’s weird. How in the world has so much time passed? It’s like a balloon, that keeps adding air…bigger and more interesting to look at every year.

    I’ve written about my sweet husband before. But I’ve never written about the vow “in sickness and in health”. My darling husband has taken this vow seriously and has unselfishly cared for me through thick and thin. I have only had to care for him on very rare occasions. The weight of this vow has fallen very lopsided in our marriage.

    He has held my hand, my hair and my heart through food poisoning and cramps. Through flu and colds and sinus infections. Through motion sickness, altitude sickness and migraine. Through respiratory infections, heart palpitations, diverticulitis, breast biopsies, spinal surgeries, gall-bladder bursts, hysterectomy, miscarriage and births.

    And shingles. This past week he has held my hand when I cried, got me a bucket when I thought the meds were gonna make me puke, peeled off my shoes, socks and jeans when I collapsed in bed, cooked and cleaned and ran errands.

    He is my rock. I love him.

    So today we quietly celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary as I continue to convalesce. It’s the first anniversary we haven’t celebrated in a big way. We were supposed to go out to dinner last night but we cancelled that reservation. We had discussed theatre or Seahawks tickets, in hindsight I’m glad we didn’t.

    So today we stay home. Making final preparations for our hopeful departure on Tuesday. Being thankful it wasn’t worse than it is. Enjoying and appreciating each other.

    Satisfied and optimistic and in love with the best man I have ever known.

    Happy Anniversary Mr. Lund. Thank you for taking your vows so seriously.

    Countdown two days.

    Stay tuned….

    Family and Friends

    A Run Down Memory Lane

    My Bremerton Childhood

    I took a run this morning starting from the little Cozy Cottage we are temporarily living in. Although it was raining I set out to run about four miles. I didn’t really have a definite route in mind, I just ran.

    But as I ran I began to enjoy and reminisce about my early childhood growing g up in Bremerton in the 1960’s.

    I first ran over the Manette Bridge. I remember when I was a child there was the Manette Bridge and the “new” bridge. That’s what my Mom called

    The corner where the little house was in the park

    The corner where the little house was in the park

    the Warren Ave bridge even though it was built- in 1958. I don’t remember a toll on the Manette Bridge but I do remember a .25 toll on the Warren Ave Bridge.

    I ran through Evergreen Park where a flood of

    Where the old pool used to be

    Where the old pool used to be

    memories came back. I remember well the giant round concrete swimming pool that cost a dime to swim on hot summer days. But my best memory of Evergreen Park was that very early in my childhood my grandfather was the caretaker of the park. He and my grandmother actually lived in the park in a tiny house that was located in the parks SW corner. That building is long gone.

    The store we used to buy penny candy at

    The store we used to buy penny candy at

    Across the street from this little house was a tiny store. We could go there for penny candy and ice cream. The store is now a small restaurant.

    Later my grandparents left the park and were caretakers at the NAD Park. I think the log cabin is still there that they lived in.

    Just down the street from Evergreen Park my

    The apartment building my parents used to own

    The apartment building my parents used to own

    parents owned an apartment building when I was growing up. It had six or seven apartments and on the ground floor was a little warehouse they rented to a guy to store his hydroplane. Boy as kids we thought the hydroplane was so cool. I ran past that building and it looked in pretty good shape.

    I continued my run past where the old Roosevelt Field used to be. Olympic College is building on that site now. I remember in the late 1960’s a big town controversy over a rock festival scheduled at Roosevelt Field. Half the town was up in arms over it, thinking it would be a hot bed of drugs and violence. Eventually the rock festival was cancelled. As a nine-year old I couldn’t understand why everyone was afraid of rocks. True story.

    I ran across the Warren Ave bridge and took the stairs down to Sheridan. I was looking for the old Sheridan Community Center but it seemed to be gone. I remember dancing a ballet recital there and being in a talent show with my BFF Kristy.

    I ran past Harrison Hospital where I had my tonsils

    The old Bay Bowl

    The old Bay Bowl

    out in third grade and past the defunct Bay Bowl where I went with my Girl Scout troop in 5th grade and the demolished Quarterdeck Restaurant where I once went on a date in high school.

    Funny how I had not thought of any of these places in decades but how easily the memories returned and made me smile. It seemed like yesterday I was a little girl in Bremerton. But fifty years have passed. It’s nice to be living here for just a short time and to be able to wallow in the memories of small town living. Growing up where neighbors cared for each other and you never locked your doors. Where we played outside from dawn to dusk and only went home when Mom hollered that dinner was ready.

    It was a good place to grow up – both Bremerton and the 60’s.

    Fabulous.