Pushing Through

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I have started writing about a half dozen posts and then deleted them because I feel that they are silly or stupid. I have been having a hard time feeling inspiring or inspired. I am forcing me to write this because I do have followers and I am letting y’all down. I am very annoyed at work today. Of course, that is probably I’ve only had 8 hours off between my two shifts. Plus I worked an extra 20 hours of overtime this week. So my attitude is poor and I should be sent home.

Beyond that I have been trying to be supportive of my mom. She is now an empty nester. (Way late if you ask me) My brother has taken a job with Border Patrol on the Southern border. He drove all the way there and my mom bawled. I feel for her, I really do. With dad gone what does she have. I told her to come see me but she still have some responsibilities at home. I hope now that with him gone she gets in gear about getting everything automated so she can travel more.   Beyond day one she seems to be ok. No big breakdowns or wallowing. So maybe things will be ok after all. In a few weeks she has to meet my sister in Vermont anyways. So there is that.

I will continue to post about my brothers adventures at the academy. I also have some travels coming up too that I will write about. So beyond being exhausted and annoyed things are moving forward. Hope the last of summer is going well for all of you as well. I would love to hear some stories!!

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Morocco 2017: Part 3

Where does the time go?? Like, really! I have been home two weeks already. Haven’t done much in that time other than work. I was sick the last couple days but I think I have whipped it. Finally am mostly unpacked. Though I have to repack to a trip to my sisters the end of the month. 

So we left off where I was leaving the Gorge. Such lovely, peaceful country. We head back to the main highway and work our way west, toward the coast. Beautiful mountains surround the Road of 1000 Kasbahs. Our drive follows a low river.  You  see green surrounded all around by dry, craggy hills. At one place we stop at a Berber village. Here mud houses are build into the hillside with their goat and sheep herds high on the slopes. 20170414222835It was wonderful place to see this traditional village. A local even invited us in for tea. It was fantastic. You could really see how these people live and had lived for many, many years. We stop at only a few of the 1000 Kasbahs and marvel at the architecture. There are little bit of history in each of them. Low doorways give you easy access to your enemies’ necks and high stairs keep the animals on the first floor. At Ait Benhaddou, we learn that they started putting the granary at the top of the hillside fortified city (as you can see in the picture). This was to keep the crops safe from bandits. Ait Benhaddou is also known for the many movies that were filmed there such as Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia. Many of the Middle Eastern movies have scenes from this area in Morocco. We continue to Marrakesh, the heart of Southern Morocco. We cross the 3rd highest mountain top in Africa. There was still snow on its slopes. In the lower levels of the mountain you see herds grazing and crops growing. Even here in the middle of nowhere people are making a livelihood. The colors are amazing.

Marrakesh is a huge city that all of a sudden pops up. We drove, for what felt like forever, then here we are! It is busy; lots of cars, horse, mules, bikes, and scooters. All moving in some coordinated rhythm that I can’t see. Our driver drops us off for the last time and we make the short walk to our Riad. A riad is like a mansion that has been turned into a hotel. The front door is flush with the alleyway and we have a bell boy who greats us at the door. We are shown to our room, which opens to an open-air square. The details and design are overwhelming as always. IMAG1281We take a guided walk through the medina and if we didn’t have this guide I know we all would be lost.  There are venders everywhere and people pushing and vying for the best view. It is a little overwhelming but the excitement of it all makes it fun. We eat in the square that night. People trying to convince you to eat at their restaurant is a little foreign from the way it is in the states. The food, as always, is fantastic. The next two days we are left on our own. I, of course, spend this time shopping and wondering around the area.   20170417155501The day before I leave, though, I wanted to spend in Essaouria. This is the coastal town about three hours west of Marrakesh. One of my fellow travel companions join me and we begin the trip that morning. Our driver was a little crazy. He was older and just not completely there. I was worried that my fellow companion, a tiny women, was going to kick him out of the vehicle and take over. However, in due time, we made it there. Essaouria is a lovely coastal town with the normal, slower, Island Time. Everything works a little slower on the coast–any coast. We walk through their medina and then out to the pier. There are battlements with canons around the docks and we are able to walk around the top of the walls. We, well she, eat seafood that I am sure was fresh caught that day. Then we stroll along the beach and put our toes in the ocean and wander until we need to meet our driver.  A great way to end a most wonderful trip.

The next morning the lovely bell boy, who I do not think sleeps, helps me to meet my driver for the airport. My flights are easy and on time. I make it into Amsterdam ready to explore but, of course, this is where my good luck starts to fail.  I get off the plane to clear customs and people are pushing and touching and way up in my bubble. It makes me anxious. If you move that extra 3 inches (into my space) you will not get through customs quicker. I make it through and then inquire with an airline agent if I can check my bag now (16 hours early) and they say I should be able to. Well, Amsterdam has a wonderful automated bag checking system. Wonderful if you are not over weight or checking in early. It took me 45 mins to find out that I couldn’t check my bag that early. So, frustrated, I go to look for my hotel ride only to not find one. So I take a taxi, the most expensive taxi ever, to my hotel. There I am told they don’t have an airport shuttle. I showed him the website that said the hotel did. “I’m Sorry,” was my reward. After I got into my room I take a moment to recollect myself then go hunt for food. Here too, there were people trying to get you to eat at their restaurant and I was to negotiate a pasta dinner with a beer. Yummy. I wander around some more and find the bus stop for my morning ride to the airport. Much more relaxed and rested I take my last flight home. It was so nice to see my kitties and sleep in my bed but I would go back in a heartbeat. Morocco was, and is, worth seeing. These people, shunned because of the world’s conflict right now, are the most kind and welcoming people you will meet. I had many offers to come back and visit their homes and be personally guided through their world. It is something I will miss. Their hospitality, I will try to copy in my own life. And one day make my way back to Morocco.

 

Personal Strength

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I am scared, or rather I could be scared. I am going to a foreign country, by myself, with no other contact then the tour group I am using. I will be gone about two weeks traveling in a country who’s personal believes are far different from my own. I have every right to be scared.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” –Frank Herbert: Dune

It really hit me a couple of days ago what I was going to do. This trip is a huge undertaking. However, instead of panicking I reminded myself all the hours of research that has gone into this trip. Hours researching the tour group, the culture, the language, food, etc. I have probably spent more time researching then I will be on my trip. That is OKAY! In fact, that is perfect. By giving myself all the information I can find, I will be able to enjoy the trip.  Now thinking of this trip I feel only excitement and the normal anxiety that comes with traveling.

I feel that more people should put the time and effort into learning about their goals and adventures. Perhaps if we had more information at our disposal we would make better judgment calls. It also helps to have an open mind too and a willingness to experience the world around you.

So as I board my plane to fly to Morocco keep in mind that I probably wont be able to post a whole bunch or respond to comments. However, I will post pictures asap. Send me happy thoughts and prayers as I embark on this most excellent adventure.

Sunday Meditations

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For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.  Psalms 91:11.

I was watching Dune the other night and there is a quote father to son saying, “… a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.” I find this to be very true. Now, if you are not a traveler I am not attacking your choice. There are many ways to travel. Our technology allows us to stay home but visit far away places.

I travel a lot. I am always looking for new places visit. I enjoy new foods, cultures, and sites. I want to tastes, touch, and feel the places I visit. I want to be so far away from all that is “home” because to some people that IS their home. I am sure if they came to see my home and traditions they would be strange and odd.

To travel as such, you have to go beyond your fear. It is wonderful to know that God promises to watch over me. That promise gives me some comfort that regardless of the outcome the angels will be with me. Keep that in mind when you travel. You are cared for, if only, by benevolence of the universe.

Summer gone?

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Wow! August. Where does the time go? Have to say that the summer has been fun; in between the rain storms. It was a very light winter. I live in one of the coldest places in the USA and really we only got -30 for about three weeks. That’s very unusual for us. Normally we have a couple of months of subzero weather. Last Thanksgiving we could have been swimming. Well not really but compared to Thanksgiving of 2014 it was tropical here. Then this summer—rain. Nonstop, continual rain. It has been crazy. However, I have made good use of it. I went to Thailand with my sister, Mother’s day at my Grandma’s, Symphonies, Theater (Beauty and the Beast and Lion King), Opera (Rusalka), camping, kayaking, etc. This winter I have another three, maybe four, trips planned. So all in all very good year. Lots of fun. I hope that next year is just as good.

A lot of changes at work too. I have had lots of new trainings that will help me do my job better or at very least will get me out of the office more. Many crazy things happened, states wide, that has affected my outlook of my job and how we manage our daily lives. For those who might not know I am in Law Enforcement. It’s very scary knowing my brothers and sisters are getting shot down. Not for who or what they are but for what they do. How sad. Its sad loss of life, sad media coverage, sad the lack of support. Only after the second Baton Rouge shooting did management come down and say that we will no longer work alone. That lasted a whole week. I understand that in a small rural town it is easy to think that all that evil is so far away. But it’s not. Evil is everywhere. Sadly.

Now as fall is drawing nigh, I feel that I should blog another story. I have a few that are already written. I have many started. However, I would love some inspiration. Some ideas. If you guys think of anything let me know. Otherwise I can dig up my old writings and get something posted for now. J

 

How has your summer gone? Anything neat happened or you did? I can’t wait to hear.