I can't believe a year has gone by without posting. We really miss traveling abroad. Steven got a job pretty much right after we returned to our home and started working in the beginning of January. We started to do some more renovating in our home which is stressful and exhausting. However, that part was was finished just in time for my 50th birthday party I planned at the house. I had a great band, Matt's catered, a friend I met in Singapore which now lives in Boca Raton came and my brother John came from Indiana making it extra special.
In April I went to Las Vegas for a small reunion of high school friends and in June to the Bahamas with my friend Nancy. My mother had back surgery so I decided to go up to Indiana to help her out in July. When I got to mom's house she was doing pretty well so my services weren't needed as much, which was good! I got together with a lot of my friends making the trip really nice. Steven joined me that last weekend for the 4th of July. Mom invited me to go to a party that Jim Davis of the comic strip Garfield attended. Mom is good friends with him. I was the only one snapping pictures of him!
In April I joined a weight loss clinic and a gym. I've been losing weight very slowly but I guess that's a good thing. I don't have the money to have surgery to take off the extra skin people get from losing weight too fast. I've lost 35 lbs. as of December and Steven has lost 17.
In April Uncle Phil and Aunt Terri came to our house for a visit from Iowa. They stayed with Steven's Dad and Deana in Ft. Pierce. It was the last time we got to hug him goodbye as he succumbed to cancer July 29th after a tough 7 year battle. The news was so heart breaking. He was such a good and wonderful person and will be missed.
In July we found out my father-n-law has prostate cancer. He went to Indiana for treatments and was gone for 4 months. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving reunion at our house. Treatments are finished and looking forward to a bright future. Another happy note; our friend Ben found out he had lung cancer April 2010. He fininshed his last surgery in August and just got a clean bill of health November 28th!! It is remarkable how well we are advancing in the ilimination of cancer. Now, if we can control the over charging of insurance companies, there might be more hope for more people. Such a scary issued that I won't get in to right now. After living abroad for 5 years, it has opened my eyes to a different view. Also, in April and June I went through extensive tests for my heart but my results turned out good but our pocket book and trust with doctor's is still hurting.
In November Steven and I flew in to Richmond, VA and stayed with Steven's mother, Kathleen. We drove to Chestertown, Maryland to attend the "Downrigging Festival, "http://sultanaprojects.org/downrigging/ and to see Carla, Steven's sister and her husband Frank and we stayed at a B&B.
The month of December has us starting it by going to Steven's work Christmas party at the hotel where we got married! Going to the Nutcracker Ballet and then the 2nd week going to Ben and Tracy's party for the Cocoa Beach Boat Parade. They live on the water on the parade route. Then it looks like parties in Orlando and here.
Speaking of Christmas, we need to get our annual Christmas card out! Happy Holiday's!
We’re back! All good things must end and our expat adventure was one of them. Traveling and living in Asia for the last 5 years was incredible and we had many bittersweet feelings as we readjusted, but we are glad to be home for good. We arrived in the States in September and made several trips around the country visiting friends and family. We’re sorry if we didn’t get by to see you. After missing a connection, we nearly started the year off stuck in Dubai, but we reached our apartment just in time to watch the fireworks from the balcony. We aged a bit as we entered India when the immigration officer detained us. We found out that visa rules had changed while we were gone. The senior officer let us in but required Angela to register with the government. Under the new rules, Angela wouldn’t be allowed to reenter India unless she stayed out for more than 2 months. This drastically changed our travel plans from pan-Asia to intra-India. On the plus side, we’d have more to spend on antiques! Like last year, we went to many weddings, temple celebrations, and festivals. Our favorite was a puja (Hindu ritual) for a baby and watching the snake boat races was a close second. While Steven worked, Angela spent her time getting ayurvedic treatments, taking yoga classes, and going shopping. She also went to the hugging saint Amma’s ashram and was hugged again. http://www.amma.org/. Our first trip of the year was to Varkala for Angela’s birthday in February. Varkala sits next to the Arabian Sea atop cliffs that are unique to the otherwise flat Kerala coast. It is a laid back hangout for western backpackers and hippies. The many hotels and restaurants are unpretentious and serve (unlicensed) beer in coffee mugs. The beach is beautiful and water gorgeous. We liked it so much we took the train there again for another holiday in April. Also in April we flew to Chennai over on the southeast coast of India. Angela found a great package deal where we got to stay at a Taj Resort. On our 5 day visit we toured the temples of Mamallapuram (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), took a day trip to Pondicherry, and went to a cricket game. We would have done more except the resort was so relaxing. We caught World Cup fever in June and watched several of the games at an outdoor restaurant. One night we came across two baby street cats who were cute but sick. With the manager’s urging and perhaps one too many beers, we took the kittens home with us. We named them Billi and Poocha which are the words for “cat” in Hindu and Malayalam. We found a veterinarian who made them better and they in turn made our life better. Knowing we would be travelling a lot, we decided not bring them back with us. We found a loving home for them there but still miss them very much. Even with Billi and Poocha to entertain us, July found us more and more fed up with India and homesick. We weren’t too upset when Steven learned his assignment and job would be over at the end of August. There was lots to do to prepare for moving. For our last hurrah, we planned a 6 day trip to Leh in August. Leh is in the upper Indus River valley just north of the Himalayas. We were lucky to go after a cloudburst hit the Ladakh region resulting in fatal flash floods and landslides about two weeks before our trip. Things weren’t quite back to normal while were there but it was a most memorable trip. We landed in Leh at 11,000 feet and only went up. We visited many of the ages old Buddhist monasteries and palaces for which Ladakh is famous. The history of the area has been well preserved and the unique Indo-Tibetan culture is still active. We drove up to Khardung La pass. India claims it is the world’s highest motorable road at 18,379 feet but modern GPS pegs it at only 17,582. We had good weather and were able to see K2 on the horizon. We took a day trip to Pangong Lake. The lake’s blue hues were amazing. So here we are back at home. In addition to our U.S. travels, we’ve turned the house inside out making room for our shipment from India. It finally arrived and we’ve been busy unpacking our 69 boxes of goodies. Each box brings back many memories. Staying home together has been somewhat challenging. Things should get back to normal in January when Steven starts his new job at Rockwell Collins. We would love to hear your updates. Please write, call, or visit us when you can. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday and much happiness to come. Love, Angela and Steven
Since I've been home I can tell that I have changed. I'm having a hard time "fitting" in. One area of change is my patience of selfish people, or I guess I should say what little patience I have now. It seems a lot of people don't understand how lucky they are to have so much here in the U.S. and I don't think they realize how most of the world doesn't have or can get what people here can get. I see and hear so many people who live in their little selfish world and complain. I see so many people get so angry over small things and then there's the "control freaks". Who try to control others around him/her. Then again, not many people get to travel as I did and see other parts of the world. So, I guess I shouldn't be too hard on others. I know what I need to do and that is to focus on myself and the good that I do have in my life. I can't say or write enough about how grateful I am for everything in my life. I am blessed for sure!
Steven and I are still unemployed. Steven actually quit for us to come back home. The company has requested him back and are writing a proposal for him to consider. It would be nice to go back to India for a brief time. I need to pick up some supplies of Auyervedic medicines and other things I thought I could get at home and can't. However, he has had several potential leads and interviews so at this point who knows. I'm just waiting and wanting our shipment container to arrive, supposedly around the 19th.
The last 3 weekends we've been to 2 different Halloween parties and to St. Augustine for our Hash group's annual pub crawl. We stayed at a hostel called the Pirate Haus and it was our 12 year wedding anniversary as well! Ha-ha. It actually ended up to be fun because about 15 of our other friends stayed at the same place.
Our next adventure will be going to Indiana to see my family for Thanksgiving. I Plan on having another "gathering" of my friends at some point of my visit as well.
I haven't really talked much about being home. It's been almost 2 months! I really don't know where to begin. I have all of these feelings in me that I have difficulty expressing. People here often ask me, “how do you feel about being home?", "isn't it good to be back home?" or "I'm just glad you're back in the U.S.". Most don't ask or really care to listen to the experiences we had there. It's mostly our expat friends who want to know more. It seems like most of our family and some of our friends just care that we're back in the "good ole U.S.A.". And sometimes that makes me lonely but yet also makes me feel loved.
It's hard to express the bitter sweet memories of living in and leaving India. I mean, hell, we've trekked in the Himalayan mountains on the West and East side of India, went to a Ashram, was hugged and kissed twice by the hugging Saint Amma, scuba diving in the Sri Lanka and in the Maldives, wondered through several temples, Monasteries and saw their high leader in one of them, saw the 2nd and the 3rd highest mountain in the world, was on the highest motorable road in the world, road a yak, elephant and a camel (several times), sent flowers of wishes in the Ganges River, saw the Taj Mahal, went to a baby puju in a hindu temple and was sang to by the women choir, went to countless temple celebrations and that's just a few of the things we did while living in India!
Yeah, we didn't like a lot of things in India. The loud noises of everyday living, the zillions of people everywhere, the daily loud honking of the cars, mosques, temple celebrations of loud M80 fireworks. We didn't like people constantly trying to get money from us. We didn't like having no friends but was invited to their weddings. We didn't like walking down the street and the smell of urine, trash and the burning of trash. It seems like everything was dirty there. Electricity was off a lot. Little air conditioning and it was around 90 degrees most of the time. We didn't like that we couldn't get much western food and that things were expensive there. And those are just a few things we didn't like about India.
Do I like being home? Yes. Do I miss India? Yes. Would I live there again? Maybe Our experiences out weigh the bad.
Our next trip we flew to Omaha to see Steven's Aunt Joan. They picked us up and we went walking in downtown Omaha and stopped for a beer and then dinner. After a day of flying, it was exactly what we needed! The next day we celebrated Grandpa's 91st birthday by having a ham dinner that Joan cooked and chocolate port cups and Apple pie for dessert. Later we went back to the farm in Iowa and visited. Until Carla and Frank drove us back to our hotel room in Avoca. After a couple more visits to the farm and taking or stealing (haha) a door from a man at great, great grandma's old house, we headed to the Coraville Heartland hotel to get settled in. Later we walked around downtown in Iowa City and ate Japanese food with Aunt Terri and Uncle Phil. The next day Steven and I took the campus bus and walked around Iowa City University. On Saturday, was the big event, the wedding. We had such a good week visiting famiy and meeting new friends. The wedding was just beautiful and overwelmed my heart.
On Tuesday my cousin Debbie picked us up Kate's house in Atlanta to take us to her and her husband's house in Canton. I haven't seen my cousin for at least 35 years. We have been staying in touch through Facebook and have been wanting to get together for a long time now. We went out to dinner together and had such a nice time talking until late in the eveninig. Her husband Jeff took us to the airport the next day as he had to go on a business trip as well. It was such a pleasure visiing and getting to know Jeff as well.
The we flited off to Richmond, VA to see Steven's Mother. It was such a nice visit!
We had only been home from India for 2 weeks and we whisked off to Atlanta for a reunion of friends we met in Singapore. All 10 of us stayed at Kate and Andy's house and we all had our own bedrooms!! 2 other couples who lived in Atlanta now, came for dinner on Saturday. Kate and Andy's hospitality was the best!! The girls went out Saturday to the Cocoa Cola museum, lunch and to the Atlanta Aquarium. The boys went to a football game, GA tech and NC State. Then on Sunday we all went to the Body exhibition and out to lunch. All of us girls laughed and talked until late in the night. We had such a good time and I can't wait until next year!
Pictues: Our last evening at Avenue Regent Saying goodbye to Frances Saying goodbye to Steven's co-workers After our trip to Leh, we had 1 more week of living in Edappally, Kochi. We tried to buy a few more things to take home, said our goodbye's and the movers came September 1st. We checked in to a hotel nearby Renaissance Hotel, so we could be close. Our previous movers we were skeptical and a little scared of what they might do to our things. Surprisingly after 3 days of packing, nothing was broken and the movers packed up our stuff very nicely. We gave a lot of our things we couldn’t take home to people who were nice to us while living in Kochi. They seemed so appreciative which was so neat to see!
Now on to the bad stuff. September 3rd was our last full day and we thought we would go to the Taj for lunch and then walk around in Fort Cochin and take in all that we might miss. I had cleaned and cleaned to make sure everything was good. Actually, it was much cleaner than when we moved in. Steven’s work said they might rent out the apartment so I had left a little bit of everything in the apartment. The owner was unable to meet us but said his Son would be there for us to give him them the keys and we said OK. When he came in he already had an attitude talking down to us and was abrupt. He then complained of the stuff being there and wanted to pick and choose the stuff he wanted and stuff he didn’t want. I finally started taking everything out into the hall and said he can have it all or nothing. He started yelling in Malalanyam and started making phone calls. I called our driver and he came with a small autorickshaw truck to get everything. The man was so angry he called our friend/driver names along with names for us. Our driver wouldn’t tell us what he said just that it was not good. This man owned a new restaurant near us called Chak De in Vennala or Edappally. We went there once and it wasn't that good and expensive. I can't believe this person owns a restaurant and belittles others as he did. He would never last in the U.S.!! What goes around comes around! I'm sure it won't be there long! We told Steven's work people not to do business with this family!
Our evening was much better. We went to our favorite restaurant, Avenue Regent, had a good dinner but was disappointed when none of our favorite people were working that evening. The next day Steven's work driver took us to the airport and we said goodbye to Kochi, India
Welcome to our blog! You will find descriptions and pictures of our adventures and random thoughts that occur along the way.
As of September 2010, we moved back to the U.S. from living and working in South India for almost 3 years. If you go back further you will see entries from when we lived in Singapore starting in August 2006 when we started this blog. Our living abroad starts in 2005 in Penang, Malaysia. What an adventure we have had. Thank you for visiting.