We are in the U.S. visiting friends and family. Due to limited access to internet connections and just plain being busy enjoying our children and grandchildren, I have been unable to write about our experiences on my blog. So when I have had time, I am journaling and will transfer what I write after editing to my blog at a later time. this first one from a Starbucks.
On November 20th, we flew to Los Angeles, California. It was Mikkel’s first and my second trip back to the U.S. since we moved to Panama 15 months ago. After renting a car at the airport, we stopped at the closest Best Buy (an electronic store chain) and bought a SIM card and 30-day pre-paid plan for my cell phone so we could have calling and data service throughout our stay. Cost was $60, a little much compared to what we pay in Panama, but then we used to pay twice a month as much for cell phone service when we lived in Auburn, California. We stayed overnight and visited our adopted family in Palmdale, California before driving to Arizona. When we moved to Panama, we had no need for winter clothes, so we only had a few long pants, jeans, and light jackets or sweatshirts and one heavier sweatshirt each. So before visiting family, we stopped at a thrift store; I found a raincoat and heavy pull-over sweater, but Mikkel decided to buy a pair of shorts and another Hawaiian shirt to take back to Panama instead. He felt he had enough to keep warm for the fall/winter weather, but could use some more summer clothes. After a good visit with plans to return before flying out to Panama on December 16th, we headed toward Arizona after breakfast.
Originally we had promised to return for the next family reunion to be held in Phoenix for the coming Thanksgiving week, but plans changed a little with our niece’s wedding scheduled on the Saturday before in Glendale, Arizona. Dates may have changed with an added activity of the wedding and reception, but it turned out to be a fun family reunion, nevertheless. Most everyone in my family attended including my sister who has terminal cancer and wasn’t expected to live this long, and she hung in there throughout the whole celebration. The wedding was beautiful and all of us had a good time, dancing until midnight at the reception, meeting together several times for meals, watching football games on TV, and even some shopping. The day after the wedding, Mikkel and I said our goodbyes to my sisters and brother, nephews and nieces; it was very emotionally difficult since we do not know when we will see anyone again, especially my one sister (although she just might defy all odds and outlive me).
We continued our journey south to Tucson, Arizona to visit and spend more time and Thanksgiving with my son Ben, his girlfriend Rozie, my daughter Becky, her husband Raul, and our grandson Eli. I had developed an infected ingrown toenail and fortunately, Rozie works at an Urgent Care facility where I was able to receive very good medical attention and even a family discount. But it looks like it may take a while to heal and closed-toe shoes are out of the question for a while. Fortunately I have some heavy socks to keep my feet warm in this cold weather to wear with some sandals. One day I went with Becky and Eli to visit his preschool and have a Thanksgiving lunch with his class. This brought back many memories of past preschool Thanksgiving lunches I have enjoyed as a Preschool director/teacher. I found myself automatically observing not only Eli, but many of the children, as they played in the playground and interacted in the classroom. Old learned habits never die. Mikkel and Ben went to the grocery store and bought food for the Thanksgiving meal, including a Butterball turkey. Then that Thursday morning, Mikkel was up early preparing and cooking the Thanksgiving meal in Ben & Rozie’s kitchen for everyone as we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a traditional activity we used to do every Thanksgiving in California. Later, Ben and Mikkel watched the 49rs/Seahawks football game as I and others helped with a few more dishes on the menu. Finally we all sat down for the traditional meal, stuffing ourselves with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pudding, apple pie, etc. Lots of carbs! But it was great to see my daughter and son this Thanksgiving. I am very grateful for the time we had.
Thanksgiving Preschool Lunch
Thanksgiving Family Dinner
I was just informed by WordPress that this is my 100th posting! Our U.S. trip to be continued in the next post.