Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Kids, the Brits

That's my son walking down the street.
He's a student once again.
Give ya three guesses where he's studying. . . .

and living with along with . . .

. . . his faithful companion, Jill and their daughter Grace . . .

. . . and their other two sweet munchkins, Kenneth & Audrey.

It was definitely a good reason to go there
and a good reason to blog about it RIGHT NOW,
because my two weeks in Oxford constituted a highlight of my time abroad.

Truth is, I went to a basket-full of other countries before I left the ship.
You'll have to hear reports on those places later.

At the moment, MY KIDS come first.

Incidentally, Arian and Jill put ME first while I stayed with them.
They spoiled me rotten.
Oxford is a fabulous place, made all the better when your kids live there.

If you don't recognize the room above, you haven't seen the Harry Potter movies.

Yes. I took this shot, but unfortunately I was NOT invited to stay for dinner.

However, Arian had a V.I.P. pass to soooo many special places in Oxford

. . . and when he didn't have one,

somehow or other, he found a way to get in!

I had royal tours of many EXCLUSIVE places in Oxford, that's for certain.

But I also had an intimate experience of staying with residents.

Arian's family live in the historical part of Oxford and they do indeed live like the natives.

Just about everyone gets around on bikes . . .


. . . including my son who bikes little Sir Kenneth and Madam Audrey to and from school on a regular basis.



Jill also does her share of kid shuttling, while pushing little Grace in the stroller.

The plastic covering is necessary because it DRIZZLES in England. A lot.


Since most people don't have cars, taxis are everywhere. THIS is an British taxi:

THIS is a British Taxi on Steroids:

Arian's neighborhood, 'Jericho', is chock-full of history,

like this ole pub which stands just a block from their home.


Truth is, their home actually WAS a historic pub, before it went through major renovations.

It's three stories high and the two 'big kids' sleep on the top floor with a dazzling view across town.

LinkThe famous Oxford Canal runs right through their neighborhood. It's 78 miles long.

People actually LIVE in these narrow canal boats.

(Notice the bike on the roof of the closest boat on the right.)


There's a quaint shopping area just three blocks from their home where Jill does her errands.


Oxford is full of surprises. Things I'd never see in the U.S.A.

For example, one day we were strolling along and there were these fellows sitting on these bike rickshaws.

"A wedding." declared my son, quite casually. And so it was.

Quite novel and full of Oxford class.


You'll be seeing more of Oxford, I promise.

(Don't say I didn't warn you.)


But before signing off today,

you've got to hear my five-year-old grandson with his little British accent:


video


Is that cute . . . or am I just a typical grandma?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lost at Sea? Nope!



Perhaps a few of you wondered if I'd died in a ship wreck???

Naaaah.

Just did a pile of traveling and it sucked my energy . . .


. . . and then there was something else.


After returning home, I had a household of company,
including my 87-year-old my ship cabin mate who became gravely ill .

Alberta with Chica the dog-
right after returning to Utah after the Grand Voyage,
before her near-death illness.


With my insistence, one of goddaughter's boyfriend lifted her off the bed and carried her up a flight of stairs and right through the front door of my house. He placed her in my Subaru and we raced to the hospital.

Alberta's time seemed close at hand, but - ALAS - the hospital care gradually restored her and she's almost ready to return home to Canada. BTW, I wasn't alone with the situation - her daughter and husband were also staying at my place and taking an active role.

I'm just super grateful we weren't in some exotic port at the time.



One by one - no, I should say two by two, the extended Harris family departed,
and now I find myself regrounding after my voyage which included 18 countries.




Time to digress.



Although it wasn't my next destination, I'm posting about my stay in Athens, Greece.


It was truly a highlight, because my niece, Jennifer, is residing there and she completely doted on me.

Jennifer with Greek food including LOTS of feta cheese.

This special niece is a mother, wife, devoted sister to her eight siblings, talented musician, gourmet cook, leader in her local church, connoisseur of the fine arts, an avid cruiser, volunteer museum guide for the U.S. embassy, . . YOU NAME IT!

The thing I admire most:
Jennifer maximizes her experience of living abroad.


Jennifer and I in front of one of the fabulous museums in Athens.

Back in 2010, I visited Jennifer in Greece after my adventures in Ethiopia.

Caleb the son, Jennifer and Joe the husband - and a good man -
on one of their many trips on the Mediterranean Sea.

Due to her raves about ship travel,
I sailed around the Caribbean with my eldest daughter Leah in 2011.



That positive experience inspired this 2012 mega-voyage.

Sooooooo, I owe A LOT to dear Jennifer

Well, truth is, she keeps me constantly indebted.

Caleb in their living room
after Jennifer's home-cooked dinner. Yum.

This sweet gal devoted two solid days to be my personal tour guide in Athens. . . .

and did so with PLEASURE!

Kelty - this museum piece reminded me of you
riding dear old Buttercup.

Along with seeing all the marvels of ancient Greece,
we hit the marketplace.
I did extricated myself from buying a bedspread at this place of commerce
BELOW,
located in the bowels of a very, very old building.

Crawling down STEEP steps
to peruse 10,247 bedspreads & pillow covers.

I was, HOWEVER, like a kid in a candy store when we happened upon this bead store.


Ugly store. Cool beads.

A few euros escaped into the indebted sovereignty
so that I might create some snazzy Christmas ornaments from BEADS.


One of the strangest sights presented itself in a lovely park:


Yes. That IS a PIGEON standing on top of a TURTLE.


Finally, I'll share a shot of a BOUZOUKI - the showcase instrument of Greek music.



I discovered Greek music as a teenager and it's among my favorites.

When we stopped to listen to the bouzouki being played by a local street musician, I was smitten.


Okay. More coming.


I'll be rolling out the posts!

Counters Free Counter