Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Day at the Zoo

Sunday was a beautiful spring day!!!Did I tell you that I love spring? I don't think I would love it as much if it were not for winter. After three months of rain, cold, drab colors, slowly the flowers begin to bloom and the trees begin to grow crisp, green leaves. So anyway, after church Norman and I headed to Zoo Atlanta. They had a new parakeet exhibit and we were able to go in and fed them. They were beautiful; yellows, blues and greens. Norman enjoyed rubbing the pig's belly in the petting zoo. We also got to watch a panda eating bamboo. They are usually asleep everytime we go. We enjoyed it so much we purchased a membership so now we can go anytime. We also received a 10% discount because I am a teacher. YEA!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Congrats to Samuel!!

A BIG congratulations to Samuel for being chosen as one of the top 2 sales manager in his company. He won the use of a 2010 corvette for a year and a trip to Naples, Florida. We are so proud of you and all your hard work!!!

Just What the Dr. Ordered...visiting Luke in Grenada

This trip was one of the highlights of my life. Norman and I left last Wednesday for a visit with Luke in Grenada. He was finishing up his mid-terms and had a few days off from school. We left the house around 6:15am headed for the ATL airport where we flew non-stop to St Lucia compliments of Norman's Delta Skymiles. We knew we were going to have to change airports in St Lucia but what we did not know was that the other airport was on the opposite end of the island.

We were directed to a waiting cab and began our journey. Our cab driver, Pios, was very knowledgeable about the island and answered all our questions. We traveled north with a zig and a zag east and west through a fishing village and a rain forest, all the while hearing about the island. We saw lots of banana trees.

An hour and a half later and $80 less in our pockets, we arrived at the hole in the wall they call the "local airport", home of the infamous Liat Caribbean Airline-which handles all the hops from island to island. This was a small open air facility with a tiny cafe(by this time we were starving having dined only on biscoff cookies and diet cokes). We made a quick money exchange and headed for the cafe where we were served a delicious hamburger and French fries. I sprinkled my fries with what I thought to be the salt but turned out to be vanilla for the coffee.

Around 5:30 they began calling for the flight to Trinidad/Tobago. I knew our flight was not until 6:30 and that we were going to St. Vincent. Norman was reading and I was people watching. They did a final call and Norman asked me if I was sure this was not our flight. I began to wonder and checked the departure sign again, still no mention of St Vincent. I finally asked the agent and sure enough it was our flight. We quickly went through the checkout and were personally escorted to the plane(may I add we were the last ones to board).

They dropped us off in St Vincent which was another tiny place-no cafe but it did have a liquor store. We finally arrived in Grenada around 10:00 pm. Luke picked us up at the airport. It was good to get a big hug from him.

One of his friends had gone home for the break so we were able to stay in her place which was located right next door to Luke's. Keri, a sweet young lady from Canada, had bought snacks, water and juice for us and had placed chocolate and flowers on our pillows. What a nice welcome we received!!!

The next morning we heard a whistle and it was Luke bringing Norman some coffee. We visited briefly with him before he left for his exam. Later we met him and his study buddies at Nick's Donut Shop - apparently that is an after exam ritual. The rest of the day we spent hanging out at the beach. That night we all gathered at his place and watched him prepare a delicious meal of spaghetti with girl scout cookies for dessert. Yes, siblings, he cooked-pictures to prove it!!! I guess all that sou chef training he has had with Ryan has paid off.

Friday was the campus and island tour day with Luke and Lorin, a precious girl from Trinidad. Luke was not cooperating with my photo ops so Lorin graciously stepped in. Being able to see all the places he has told us about was a real treat-school,church, grocery store and all the places where he and Mark run everyday-some very beautiful views. More beach time and a meal at the local Owl Restaurant with Keri,Luke and Lorin.

Saturday he and Mark(a 50+ Californian who decided to pursue a new career as an MD, he already has a PHD in engineering)went on an early morning scuba dive. Norman and I opted out of that trip but we were able to sit on the beach and watch them gear up, leave and return. That night I fixed French toast, Keri fixed sausage, bacon and a fruit bowl and Mark fixed pancakes. It was delicious!! It was so neat how everyone fixes whatever and gathers wherever to share all their meals together. Coffee and tea were always served after the meal and much conservation was enjoyed.

Sunday we all piled in the car and headed for church, which is held on campus in one of the lecture halls. It was a wonderful service with lots of good singing. We all met at the La Boulangrie(an Italian place) for lunch after which Norman, Luke, Keri and I decided to go snorkeling. Let's just say we gave everyone on the beach quite a laugh-with both of us (Norman and I) trying to put on our flippers while being crashed by the waves-(Help, I have fallen and can't get up) It was not a pretty site. Once we finally made it into the water Luke and I (Norman decided snorkeling was not his forte)were able to see some pretty black and white stripped fish, some yellow ones and some pretty blue ones. I can't believe I grew up in Florida and had never been snorkeling. Once I stopped drinking the water and realized I could breathe through my month it was really neat! Thanks, Luke for your patience.

Sunday night Hamid and Ciara, two other friends, prepared a fabulous, authentic Afghan meal of spinach/potatoes, eggplant, grilled chicken and shrimp, and a wonderful chocolate cake, and of course coffee and tea. Hamid kept us all laughing throughout the meal. Later Luke and Norman went to a flag football game where Luke's team ended up losing in the last 12 secs. He was not a happy camper.

Monday the game face mode kicked in for Luke and it was back to the grind of studying. Norman and I spent most of the day on the beach just relaxing. We made a trip to the grocery store but did not realize how steep the walk back up with 6 bags of groceries was-worked up a bit of a sweat!!!.

Tuesday everyone had classes so Norman and I made a trip to the school bookstore for some souvenir shopping. We were also able to visit the memorial for the 16 Marines who lost their lives to rescue the American medical students in the 1983 invasion of Grenada.

It truly was a blessing to meet all of the wonderful people Luke has as his friends and to meet some to the locals that also help care for Luke. How truly blessed he is to be in such a special place surrounded by such nice people. They are so encouraging to one another. Thanks be to God for allowing me to see how He has surrounded Luke with His love and care.

Luke and Lorin took us to the airport early Wednesday morning and although I hated to say goodbye, I was going home knowing he was in good hands. Our flight home was long but uneventful, thank goodness. Our cab driver met us in St. Lucia and took us to a wonderful local restaurant on our way back to the international airport. There we enjoyed fresh grapefruit juice, king fish, plantains, salad and a banana/ice cream dessert that was heavenly.

It was indeed one of the best trips ever.