Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

In just two short days, I will take the trip of a lifetime, which is good because at my age, it’s about time I get it in. I will leave the land that I love and depart for Sydney…Australia that is.  I am so excited to be able to see the greatest Australian landmarks in person! (Would that be 4-D?)

I’ve been pouring over my travel guide, downloading all the Aussie apps on my phone, making lists and checking them twice, packing and, well, trying not to think about the 22 hours total I will have to spend in an airplane on Friday.

The next 18 days will be spent visiting the schools, seeing the sights, and missing my family. My plans are to:

          • take lots of pictures and keep this blog updated for my fans

          • learn all I can about school administration and math curriculum in Australia

          • fit all the fun I can manage into my short/long trip, and

          • figure out how to call home without breaking the bank, (or breaking into a bank)

This trip, unimaginable a few short years ago, is happening thanks to Auburn University. Since my journey at Auburn began two short years ago, I have had many new experiences. Though not quite the culmination of my journey, this trip marks a notable landmark; I have now completed all the required coursework for my Ph.D.! I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment in getting this far! I could even say that it has been a real learning experience, but then that was the whole point. 

I would not be making this trip had it not been for one of my professors and her inability to take no for an answer. Dr. Reames was insistent that I go. She simply refused to accept all my lame excuses for staying home.

          “I’m not sure” I said.

                    “You are going” she replied.

          “I cannot stay away from home for a month!” I said.

                    “You can come back early” she answered.

          “I’m claustrophobic! Can I have an aisle seat?” I asked.

                    “You are high-maintenance!” she laughed.

Ken absolutely agreed with her. But surely he would be hesitant to agree to such a long trip…

          “I’m not sure about this trip” I said.

                    “Go! You may never get this chance again” he said.

In the end, I decided “Why not?” I couldn’t come up with one really good reason why I should pass on this trip. I couldn’t let my hesitance keep me from missing out on the chance of a lifetime.

Now, after months of planning, preparing, and saving…it’s here. Passport, Visa, Study Abroad paperwork, travel itineraries, monetary exchange rates, international converter, good book for the flight and Dramamine…all are checked off the list. Now I simply pray up and wait. T-minus two…

Monday, May 30, 2011

And we'll have fun, fun, fun!

A day at the lake is always nice, especially with family, friends, fun, food, fishing, and...swimming. Lazy Sunday afternoon, beautiful weather, a little shade, and lots of water...the perfect combination for a day of rest. Mama invited us to come out to their place at the pond to spend a little quality time with them before my BIG trip (18 days is a long time to go without seeing Mama).
They've made major improvements to the place and it looks great. Mama and Bob love spending their time there, and most days that's where you can find them. They have worked hard to be able to enjoy their retirement and I'm glad they have something to keep them busy. There's plenty of water for fishing or swimming, woods with trails for hiking or four wheeling, great sites for camping and cooking out. They have plans to keep them busy for many years to come. I look forward to more happy occasions on that spot.

Paul and his bestest sidekicks, Luke and McNeill, enjoyed swimming in the little hide-a-way watering hole, riding four wheelers, and eating barbecue. They always have a blast no matter where they are!


Watch for snakes!
Always the underdog...
I've got faith in you Luke...one day, right? :-)


He's contemplating...

Jump Luke!
I'll give you a five!
(money is no object for Ken)

Fearless Luke!
He was so lightning fast
my camera couldn't catch
him in mid-air! ;-)

Andi rode the Gator
while Justin rode the yacht.
He was content to fish the day away.

Beautiful place.
Way cool!
Little foot bridge overlooking the swimming hole.

I wouldn't dare stick my feet in it. There's no telling what kind of unidentified creatures reside in that water.

Alligator Gar!

Kristen and Chad didn't make this trip... we missed them, so this picture was from the last trip. The "pondtoon" is everybody's favorite. It's always so peaceful out on the water when there's a nice breeze and not so blazing hot.

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