Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What a Trip

What a trip, figuratively and literally. Bill and I went to places we have never seen before and have a stock hold of memories to enjoy for always. We met so many people from so many places. We will remember them in times when something will trigger a memory. From Cabin Stewart to family member we met for the first time, they come in view from time to time and we smile or laugh at something they did or said. Jeni’s new family members that were able to come, Kay and Alan, Chris and George, Lynne and Dave, were incredible. We felt right at home, even on this huge ship because they were there and they were family. I felt like it was always so. We look forward to meeting more of Tom’s family in October when we will travel to PA to see them and celebrate Jeni and Tom.We met so many of their friends that became ours as well on this cruise. Barb and Dale , Jeanette and Jim, Clarke, Evlyn, Doris, Yvonne and Phillip, and the two other women’s name have escaped my memory as names often do but I remember them and thankfully, I have their names written down at home.
We danced, we went on shore and took in the sights and sounds, smells and culture of these places that we now have great memories of. Amsterdam, Netherlands; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Amsterdam again. When we hear the names we will see the cities and countries in our mind. That is truly priceless. I’ll think of bikes, canals, lovely parks and flowers, town centers, all the history in these places just speaking to me as I walked where great and infamous people walked and where the good people of these lands lived generation after generation loving the places I saw with my own eyes. We dressed up and dressed down, dressed for cold weather after being in 90degree weather, took umbrellas and raincoats everywhere ready for the rains that eventually came. We watched the people of Scandinavia and Russia and tried to see who they were and how like us they were in most ways; they just live in another place. That shouldn’t surprise me but it usually does. I expect the differences, the likeness surprises.
I was surprised at how fit and green Scandinavia and its peoples are. They ride bikes, have a lot of organic grown, I didn’t like their food but I know that was because it was so healthy in comparison to how we eat here in the states. I think they exercise more, eat better, think more about the environment and life on the healthy side. They take pride in that as well. They recycle power, use windmills, find ways of powering their worlds in a more earth friendly way. I am talking about Scandinavia in most of these descriptions, Russia was a whole different place in my mind and I have to process that more. I know we only saw very small pieces of these countries and we can’t paint the whole country in that light, but I have a better idea than I did. I see why traveling is such a good education.
I was ready to come home but I just wanted to bring my new family home with me. I miss them and think about them often now. I look forward to going to PA. We had hoped to go this month but it was just too soon after our three week absence. Bill had to get back into the business and get caught up there and I had to take off to SC for my Mom’s birthday and then on to North Carolina for the summer. Ah, the life we live: I am thankful.

Some of our wonderful memories:

Doris, Yvonne, and Bill became thespians or showed that side of them. Some singers chose Doris to sing to and then Yvonne and Bill became actors in a skit that had us rolling in the floors. I did not know about this side of my husband. He really cracked us up. “I’m going to KEEL you with venom” was his famous line. LOL The comedian kept calling him Phil which just made us laugh harder.
Kay showed a side to her that I think her children were more aware of than we. Pam said she sent them to catholic school as a ruse to cover up. LOL I laugh every time I think about this. Don’t you just love how she coordinates her clothes with her ride? What a stylish lady, er, x-star!
The dance lessons were harder than I thought but something clicked enough times to make it exciting and the desire to be able to do it was stronger than the ability. We learned that it takes a lot of energy and thought and practice, practice, practice to do these dances. The seed has been planted and we do want to learn more. It’s wonderful to have an in-house dance instructor(s) in our family now. It’s our own fault if we don’t learn with all these benefits. This is a secret dream of both of us, to dance. Bill has always been able to move around on the dance floor, nothing formal, but I feel like two left feet and have always been that way. I am convinced now that I can learn though so that is a gift.
Bill and I had acupuncture on board. We had some laughs over that I do think it might have helped some but it was more the act of trying something new that was appealing and fun. I even came away with some Chinese herbal remedies for my knees so that will surely mean I won’t have to have surgery if I take them. This trip could have saved us a lot of money.  Bill did not listen to the woman’s promises and so he came away with just a relaxing time spent in the darkened room after the needles were inserted and considered himself ahead.
This trip has enriched our lives for sure. I’m so thankful for the opportunity and the benefits we received. I even won $85 at the casino but promptly put it back in and lost it. I have to learn to stop while I’m ahead.
After our cruise from hell that we took 30 years ago, this is as different as night and day. I’m so glad we went.


Bill said...

What a memory !

Pam said...

Hi Judy, I'm so glad you and Bill had such a great time...where to next? I'm sure there will be another exciting voyage in the works soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy, et al, What a wonderful recap. Your comments remind us (Kay and Alan) of a quite profound writing of Robert J. Hastings, "THE STATION," to which we should all pay much attention.

"Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at the crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flat lands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering--waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
"When we reach the station, that will be it!" we cry. "When I'm 18." "When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz!" "When I put the last kid through college." "When I have paid off the mortgage!" "When I get a promotion." "When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"
Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. THE TRUE JOY OF LIFE IS THE TRIP! The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.
"Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.
So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough!

Judy Roney said...

Wow, Kay and Alan.
The story "The Station"and your comments are so right on. We have to enjoy the now and make the best of it. Tomorrow is just a dream, today is what we have. You two are certainly good examples of people who seize the day. We hope to seize many more of those days with you.

Judy Roney said...

Pam - Where to next? I hope to get into some of the mystery trips though we were unable to make the July one. I look forward to that though. What a wonderful concept. Bill and I will be in Erie with all of you in October. Can't wait to meet the rest of your family and more friends. Then Bill and I have very loose plans of traveling the northwest: National Parks, Napa Valley, red wood forests , etc.

Mary said...

Nice pictures, nice people, wonderful memories. My favorite photo is the very last one with Bill and the seagulls. I think you should enlarge that photo and frame it. Seriously.