I am back on Doramac. It was a great trip home. I saw family and friends and every medical person under the sun at least 2 or 3 times! I have new lenses for my glasses. I have calcium for my starting to soften bones, and clean teeth and 2 new fillings!! I left Subic with one small backpack and returned with the small backpack and 2 huge 70 lb. suitcases. They were filled with boat supplies, books, Red Sox World Series videos, a few clothes, a year’s supply of ibuprofen, fibercon, epi pens, bundt and muffin pans. No, you can not buy a bundt pan in Subic/Olongapo. Or Fibercon pills. Although we do try to live “locally” and adapt to what is available, some things we just need. Like Kroger’s sugar free powder drink. I am trying to give up diet cola; bad for softening bones and other body parts. I would have brought back whole wheat flour but that might have been tricky to get through customs. I did bring back filters and chemicals for our water purifier. I was worried about the that, but no problem. No problem with anything actually. My sister and niece each donated a huge red rolling suitcase. I bought bright green and rainbow luggage straps and bright green name tags. I wrote our name and address on the luggage with black magic marker. My brother-in-law packed and weighed the suitcases for me and lastly loaded them into their van for the short trip to the airport. My sister’s cats guarded them every night sleeping on them as hard and lumpy as they were as new items were added each day. During the trip back to Manila I sailed through inspections and customs and the luggage was right on time. I had checked both yes and no to one question on the form, but no one seemed to care. There were lovely people to sit near on each flight and good movies to watch. The food was not great, but the wine was free and I did have some on the way back. One “tiny wine” was all I needed to actually sleep through half of the 13 hour flight! Should have had some on my way to Roanoke. There were only small glitches. My plane from DC to Roanoke was delayed about an hour and needed to be “de-iced!” On my flight back to Subic, the Japan airlines staff couldn’t understand how to deal with my Philippine visa stamp. Of everything I had worried about concerning the entire trip, that was not on my list. It took 15 very long minutes of calls and finally a check with the supervisor before they would issue a boarding pass so I could catch the flight from Tokyo to Manila. And then they didn’t give me the isle seat I requested so I had to ask the man sitting on the isle to move a few times during the 4 hour flight. It took about 27 hours to go from the hotel in Manila to my sister’s house in Roanoke and about 28 hours from my sister’s house back to the hotel in Manila. That counts waiting time in the airports before I ever boarded a plane. It was quite tiring but everyone was helpful, friendly and some had great stories to share. In Roanoke I met a you man who was going to Utah to join his family who were to go on to Branson, Missouri to perform. Their group is The Bretts. http://www.brettfamily.com/site I met Brydon who is a college student in Virginia. He was very warm and charming and we talked about lots of things, including books and boats and the state of the country. On the Chicago to Tokyo flight there was a woman from Harrisburg, PA whose aunt liked in New Bedford. There was a very brave/nervous man from West Virginia who was flying to Manila to meet his email bride and his 4th marriage. Finding Randal at the Manila airport was a bit tricky; he had to wait outside under the letters IJKL for me. I didn’t know how the system worked or which part of outside he was waiting. I had forgotten my Philippine phone; but one of the baggage helpers showed me the alphabet system and I quickly found Randal. Finding a cab was a whole other story. And not only did the driver try to charge us $40 rather than the reasonable $10, but the radio was turned to a station where there was a radio show broadcasting a fairly graphic encounter between two gay men. We finally arrived safe, sound, and sane a little after midnight at our hotel.
I stayed with my sister Harriet and brother-in-law Jim while I was in Roanoke. My nephew Andrew drove in from Philly the first weekend and my niece returned from a business trip Sunday so we could all be together for dinner Sunday night. My friend Sheila, who I met the first week of college, 1968, drove in from Ashland, VA the last weekend. In between I saw many of my friends and that was bittersweet. It was wonderful to see them all and sad to say good-bye yet again. Ellen, Sharon, Jane C, Jane F, Sandra, Becky and Mike, Jore, Sue and Rosie. My 92 years young friend Elsie Asher. I visited the Roanoke County Public Library and had a lovely chat with Diana who was my director and is still there working to build the new library. I had lunch with Darlene, Alan, Lois, Arleta, Di, and Jane. I saw photos of Marino’s and Wendy’s adorable son, Samuel. There was PJ and Sid and Rose, and Kerry and Robin and, and, and. Everyone was there working hard; I miss them and miss having a library to go to. I chatted with library users who were kind enough to say they missed me. My friend Ann was kind enough not to kill me when I went to the wrong restaurant and missed my chance to have lunch with her. Sorry Ann!!! I visited my friends Sarah and Drake and Drake and I had our walk in the park. Good dog, Drake!
I spent one long lovely Sunday afternoon with Linda and Ken, Randal’s sister and her husband. We had the funnest lunch!
I had a lovely lunch with all of the Rawlings, Kim, Jeff, Caitlin and Beth. Sadly Beth’s paper plate puppet met an unknown fate when it was left behind at the Station restaurant. When you are 3, that’s a big deal.
I was able to have those yearly dental, eye, and medical checks because Harriet was kind enough to make the appointments and everyone was kind enough to squeeze me. I met with Helen umpteen million times as we took care of taxes and van and other business tasks. And Mitch at RWR was a hero to help me with the dead van battery. Poor old van, we had such fun trips in it and it would hold every bike we owned and we would stuff it to the gills with anything we might need for travel. It definitely needs a new home.
I brought back some US dollars and the lady at the bank searched to find those bills that had no marks or dents or anything that would make them unacceptable in foreign countries. Who knew?
My nephew was kind enough to put the model banca together that I had brought home for Truman and my niece spent most of a Saturday helping me find a bathing suit top called a tankini I can wear biking or swimming with my shorts. I even bought a spare camera! Too hard to find them unless you make a trip to Manila and there are more less expensive choices in the US. I spent most days rushing around; luckily my sister has 2 cars and their rv truck so I could use one car. Jim took the truck. It was a shock to fill the car with gas, for me anyway. There is a definite advantage to walking and taking cheap jeepneys. I brought funky gifts to friends who also were kind enough to thank me for the paintings I gave to them. I was able to visit my art teacher Katie and see her various projects.
I visited bookstores and received books as gifts. I should be set for a bit.
There were phone visits with Martha, Julia and Harriet; all good friends who all live in Massachusetts.
I didn’t even really mind the cold.
Rereading this I seem to have used the word kind a lot. But people were, and it made my tasks so much easier to actually accomplish. Every day was busy; but it all got done. Hopefully I didn’t drive Harriet and Jim too crazy. I am certainly lucky to have them.
My friend Elsie. I took the photo of us.
Max the dog. How can you not love a face like that. Max would come racing into my room in the morning, jump on the bed and start licking me like mad. He was a bundle of puppy energy. Harriet’s cats put up with him.
Library circulation desk.
My sister and niece vetoed their photos and Linda wouldn’t let me take any of her. I am guessing Kim and Caitlin would say the same thing, so no family photos. So I’ll stop with these.
I realized when I was writing that I didn’t know what to call home; Roanoke or here. I guess I think of Randal and Doramac as home. And we have made some new good friends here too. I don’t know what to call Roanoke. Robert Frost wrote that “home is the place that when you go there they have to take you in.” My sister and friends certainly took me in. So, though Doramac is home, I will have to come up with a word to describe Roanoke. Any suggestions?