Archive of ‘Travel’ category

Costa Rican Expat

July 4 and CR1 101
My Balcony View

My Balcony View

 

I am now a Costa Rican expat.  To begin the departure for my expat trip in Costa Rica, Lori and I bounced out of bed at 2:25 a.m., and we quickly got ready and headed to the airport. The ride passed quickly to Memphis as we chatted and solved a few of the world’s minor problems. I cannot thank Lori enough for making this sacrifice of sleep for me.  I arrived at the airport in time for a Skinny Chocolate Latte before boarding. On the first flight, my seatmates were great companions. The guy on the right side was a lawyer from Memphis who attended Ole Miss Law School, and he was going to San Jose to meet his father and his friends for a blue marlin fishing trip. They were to meet and board a boat at 5:00 for a weekend trip that would begin 120 miles from shore.  The young lady on my left was beginning her senior trip with ten other young ladies, and they were headed to the Bahamas. She will enter UT Chatt in the fall. She wants to be a nurse and work with veterans because her father and step-father were both veterans of the Vietnam War.

As soon as everyone was seated, the pilot announced that there was a problem with the hydraulics, so we sat on the plane for an hour and forty-five minutes. While we were waiting, the airline played some really good music.  One song took me back in time to May of 2013, and I wanted to hear a British voice.

Everyone on the plane was connecting in Atlanta. Panic started to arise.  No one made his or her connection. While we were in the air, Delta re-booked all of us on connecting flights. When we arrived, we were all checking our cells to see what time we would get to leave. I was scheduled to leave the next day. I went to a Delta phone, and the lady re-scheduled me to fly American Airlines to Miami and then Liberia, Costa Rica. I would arrive in Liberia at 7:00.  I notified the condo and my driver, and then went in to a full blown panic about the bag I had checked in at the Memphis airport with Delta. I talked to three Delta agents and one American Airline agent and walked many miles in the Atlanta airport. They rerouted my bag and hoped it would be there. In my carry-on bag, I always take an extra set of clothes just in case my luggage does not arrive. I had gym shorts, undies and my computer and my make-up, but no toothbrush! I will re-think the contents of my carry-on bag for the next trip.

My lawyer friend was not quite so lucky. The boat would not wait on him to arrive in San Jose at 8:00, so he was trying to fly to Honduras and then to San Jose. I hope it worked out for him. He reminded me that I did have a month and that he had only four days, and he really wanted to go fishing. My other companion was on a 4:00 flight; she was happy.

While I was waiting for my Miami flight, I was paged to the counter. Why do we always gravitate toward the negative thoughts? As I was walking toward the counter, all I could think was that I was going to be bumped because of my late booking. Oh no! I   was being bumped to first class because the guy with the knee brace needed the exit seat for more leg room.  I have not flown first class since Daddy stopped buying my plane tickets. It was wonderful! A big seat that will move in many different directions, better snacks, free drinks, a mint, and the best part was great conversation with Dr. Mark who was a fascinating man. We discussed higher education, religion and the city of Miami. You can learn a lot in a short flight. He was a very nice man.

On the Miami flight to Liberia, there were only thirty-five people.  It was heaven! Everyone had three seats. I met a darling couple who was on one of their honeymoons. He lists properties with airbnb. After arriving in Liberia, it took twenty minutes to exit the plane, find your luggage and go through customs. I was by this point very tired and excited that it was a fast transition. My driver was waiting with a sign with my name on it. I forgot to a picture of the sign. He was a nice guy who spoke very little English, but he was a very safe driver.

After I arrived at the condo, I was met by a nice young man and shown to my condo, and it was exactly what I wanted it to be.  I walked down to the Monkey Bar for a burrito and a long awaited cold beer.

When I was awakened this morning at 6:15 by the sound of the birds, I jumped up and ran to the balcony. I could not see last night what my view would be. I knew what it looked like on airbnb, but I had no idea what it would look like in person. I was a very happy camper as I sat on the balcony and drank my tea. You know I am a coffee girl, but I found one small packet of tea in a drawer.July 4 and CR1 097

After a shower, my focus was finding groceries and breakfast. I heard two men speaking English, and I stopped them and asked them about breakfast and a grocery store. They told me to go to Marie’s and eat and the grocery store would be at the entrance of this street.

I saw something that said Automart- I thought that it was an automobile place, but it is a small store.  I walked on to Marie’s and had breakfast. While at Marie’s, I met four new friends: Ron, Bill, Claudia and the owner Marie.  They are all residents of this country. Bill is considering moving to Charleston, so we are going to trade information. Claudia is a beautiful German girl who runs a bicycle and a tourist shop.  Maria is an English girl who has been in CR for many years, and she is a beautiful lady with a kind spirit.  Ron is a fun loving guy who plans to visit England and Africa in August. He has also been here several years.  I am going to try to start learning the Spanish language. Breakfast at Marie’s was amazing.

Breakfast at Marie's

Breakfast at Marie’s

Ron offered to take me to a big grocery store and show me Flamingo Beach. On the driving tour he also showed me a local restaurant, the bank, a yoga studio, and many other places, and then we stopped at the grocery store which was not as big as the size of the Dollar General in Tupelo. Groceries are more expensive here. I spent $115.00, but that will be cheaper than eating out for each meal. The kindness of people always restores my soul.  I am so thankful for my new friends. Ron said, “Expats must help each other.” It made this Hemingway girl so happy to be called an expat.

Local Restaurant View

Local Restaurant View

My groceries are put away, and my clothes are unpacked. Now, I am ready for more fun!

Costa Rica Countdown

Liberia-960-x-420

The Costa Rica Countdown has begun! I have heard that preparation and anticipation of a trip is just as rewarding as the actual trip. I beg to differ! I think when I am looking at the view from the condo balcony, and the to-do-list is checked off that I will enjoy the actual trip more than the planning.

When you book a room through airbnb.com, make sure that the only charge you will incur is the price of the room. Get the price in writing from the owner or the organization. There should be no hidden fees from the owner like the electric bill or a hidden deposit.  This confusion resulted in many e-mails, and it was partially resolved, but it was stressful.  Airbnb supported me to a point, but they would not back me 100%. The owner of the condo agrees to the company terms when the property is listed; therefore, there should be no other charges or cash transactions. I take some credit in the misunderstanding, but it will not happen again when I book a room.

Car has been reserved. I am super excited about a driver standing in front of the airport with a sign with my name on it.

Your credit card company and your debit card company must be notified if you plan to make any international transactions. There is a 3% increase on your debit card for cash advances.  My credit card company would only issue me a pin by mail – not helpful!

Shots- Yes, that was today.  Typhoid and Hepatitis A and then an extra one for Kayden’s arrival in September.  Two in one arm and one in the other arm. I am a little sore, but it is not as bad as I thought it would be.

Packing- Clothes were easy, but I packed too much again, so I re-did my packing. I have a washer and dryer, so I can wash clothes. I will be willing to wager that I will once again wear only half of the clothes that I pack.

I tried to find a magic number like four pair of gym shorts, four dress shorts, four dresses and four bathing suits.

Toiletries are very hard for me to limit!  Yes, I want my Victoria Secret body wash. I am a toiletries ho (Thank you, Jenny, for that phrase.) – Yes, I need my lotions and potions, and I think Vaseline can literally cure everything.

Of course, there are other important things that must be taken care of before you leave like nails and a pedi.

I have an early flight, and Lori has volunteered to take me to the airport. I would have never asked her because of the ungodly hour that we will need to leave, but she is willing to sacrifice sleep for me to go on an adventure. She is always with me in spirit.

I hope this is going to be my Pray part of my Eat, Pray, and Love journey. There has been so much joy in the last six months and so much love showered on me, but there have been major changes and disappointments in my life, and I need to embrace all of the happy changes and let the disappointments flow in to the ocean, and think about what I want to be when I grow up. People enter your life for a reason and for a season. Sometimes the purpose of their visit is clear and sometimes it is not, but you must trust and believe that when one chapter closes a better one will begin.

lady in ocean

Also if you want to see your family and friends, leave for a month. They will want to hang out with you.  My social calendar has blossomed.  A few friends are yearning to visit me, and I hope they are able to pull it off and do Costa Rica with me!

The Costa Rica Countdown continues.  Thank you for sharing my journey with me.

Cheers!

CR drink

Costa Rica – My Future Home

      Playa FlamingoCosta Rica  is my future home.   As I sit here texting a friend about the benefits of Cialas that I have heard, while eating barbecue pork rinds with an ice pack on my shoulder and upper back, I thought about my change of plans.

My upper back started bothering me when I was in Charleston. I think it was sitting on the couch in a humped back state working on my class and my blog that did it, but who knows. It could have been a combination of things like the bed I was sleeping on at the house. I did walk every day, so my lower back is feeling great.

Anyway, I started chartering my course for the west, and I realized that if I flew I would only see Portland and I was going to spend around $2,000 for seven days.  If I drove I would spend more but I would get to see more sites along the way, but the hotel expenses would add up.  I did not think my back could handle driving right now, even though it is feeling stronger every day, and I wanted more time away, or you could say more “bang for the buck”. I was attending an amazing Soiree in Portland, OR, which I hope I will be able to attend at a later date. It is going to be an amazing meeting of great minds.

I heard a friend talk about a birthday trip that she was taking to Costa Rica, and I started researching a trip there. I can go there for a month and eat well and take a few excursions for $3,000.00 and stay at a very nice resort.  This would be a sanctuary of beauty and new experiences.  I hesitated a little, and I am not sure why I hesitated, but after a swift reality check by my non-blood sisters, I was ready to book the airline tickets.  I hope to be healthy and full of life for a long time, but no guarantees are given for the future and who knows if we will be alive or healthy next year, and I can be really cheap when I get home.  No new fall clothes or shoes for me, and Christmas might be a little slim, my girls, but I did hit the winter sale at the ICC bookstore in May. I know that makes everyone feel better about his/her Christmas present. My friends who have seen my closet are thinking— what could you possible need that you do not have?

I started my search on airbnb.com. I would recommend this site but save every correspondence that you have with the owners. You must register and then you can send messages to the owners.  The price should be set before you leave. Print off your reservation slip.  I will be staying at the Flamingo Marina Resort. From my balcony I can see the ocean and the resort swimming pool.

Airport location and the location of your place of dwelling is important. When I started looking for a ticket, I chose the most common airport which is San Jose, but it was five hours from the resort. I realized this was not going to work and that I needed to fly in to Liberia airport which would be an hour and a half from the resort. There are several airports in Costa Rico, and you will need to research location. You also must arrange transportation to your dwelling which the price of the shuttle depends on distance and if you can take a shared shuttle or if you need a private shuttle. Of course with my arrival and departure dates, I need a private car.

I have found an excursion site. I want to take the Rincón de la Vieja National Park tour and as many other tours as I can afford. I will also be happy just sitting on the balcony or walking along the beach.  The beach close to this resort is Flamingo Beach.

full-Flamingo-Beach

Many people are retiring to Costa Rico and Belize, so I will need to check out Belize next. I know that YOU want me to compare the two locations for you.  Maybe next year……….

I know some of you are still reading because you want to hear about the Cialias… nothing really to add except if you need it, purchases can be made from Canada. I am not endorsing this in any way just passing on the gossip!

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Charleston: What I Need

Charleston 1 235As I arrived home from Charleston, I realized how much I knew about myself that I did not know before which I think happens more easily when you are out of your natural habitat and must rely on yourself.  Until I went on this journey, I did not really know what I would need to be happy or to be content away from home.

  • Coffee pot –Mornings are not happy until I have my coffee and my first breakfast.  Yes, I have my first breakfast then in a couple of hours a second breakfast of yogurt and fruit.
  • Internet access- two screens would be nice. Spoiled rotten. Thank you ICC!
  • Comfortable bed- Yes, my back feels better with a firm soft mattresses. I know that is an oxymoron, but somehow there really is such a mattress.   There is a hotel in the West that had such a mattress. I wonder if they would let me go in that room and just look at the brand.
  • Places to explore or an ordinary place with interesting people – It can be a coffee shop or McDonald’s, a beach, a sports bar – not picky. It does not have to be anything elaborate.
  • Reading material – I hit the $1.00 sale at the Charleston library. Greg bought me a book, and Lori sent me a book. I also had a few of the many magazines that I subscribe to each month.
  • Box fan- This is a very important thing for the packing list.   Those girls would come in at all hours of the night, and I would only hear the front door close. Turn it on “3”, and you might could sleep through a train crossing. They were a very considerate group of girls.
  • Phone calls and text from the people I love- my support team!

I thought my needs were more complicated than this list, but thankful they are not!

I did not need half of the “stuff” I carried with me. I was amused when I started putting all of those hanging clothes in the trunk that I never wore. I mean really who wears blue jeans in Charleston in the summer- not many people. It is too hot! I will be more mindful of what I carry when I pack for heading west, and I will check out the temperature for each region.  I think my tan is going to suffer, but my Secret (deodorant) will not have to work so hard when I venture to the West.

This trip superseded all of my expectations about being in a new place for an extended period of time. It was a test, and I PASSED!  Yes, we educators always want to pass, but if I had not passed, I would have regrouped and tried again. There are some positive attributes of being a stubborn Southern girl!   I have never been away from Mississippi or my family for more than a week or maybe ten days.   I was happy hanging out with new friends; the Herald family and their friends took this MS girl in as one of their own. Lucas, Jessica, and Trey adopted me on the beach and even thought we tied, we had a good time cheering for the USA soccer team.

At one of my McDonald’s internet runs, I met a veteran of WWII, Lee Hunt who was aboard the USS Laffey in World War II   and his friend, Richard Schramm, 1SG Retired. Mr. Hunt was born on June 6, 1926. Mr. Hunt’s kindness and humility was inspiring.  I will always be thankful for the friendliness, kindness, and love of my new friends and acquaintances.

https://www.patriotspoint.org/explore_museum/uss_laffey/

I was also happy alone on the porch reading or sitting on the beach writing. I loved the house. Notice the light blue ceiling that keeps the haints away. “Haints” are restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from their physical world.

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Front of the House

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My Reading Porch

Carriage House in the back of the house.

Carriage House in the back of the house.

This does not mean that I did not miss or think of my family and friends, but with the world we live in now, technology allows you to stay in touch and communicate with all of your peeps. I talked to my girls every day just like I do when I am home, and we had a group text going at all times. There were texts and phone calls from family and friends and two great visits with Adelia and Michelle.

I can also live with other people! I have lived with my children, but for the last four years I have lived by myself. I am still (I think) an easy roommate to work with under most circumstances, and I think I showed my college roommates that a woman my age is easy to live with if she is not your mother!

I will visit Charleston again. I had a wonderful month, but now the Wild West is calling my name.

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Charleston Restaurants and Bars

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View from the Vendue Rooftop

There are so many great restaurants, pubs, and bars that I have visited only a small number of the eating establishments. I was fortunate to have a local foodie friend who took me to great restaurants and suggested others. I hope this list will help you when you visit Charleston.

Saffron
http://eatatsaffron.com/
This bakery and café on East Bay Street has amazing desserts and cookies. I tried the Red Velvet, the Turtle Cheesecake and the peppered cheese cookies.

Kaminsky’s Baking Co.
http://www.kaminskys.com/
I had the most amazing Hummingbird Cake on 78 North Market Street. It was so big that we split a piece of the cake, and I still brought home at least half of it.

Pearlz was one of my favorites. It is located at 153 East Bay Street. Pearlz is the go to place for happy hour.
http://www.pearlzoysterbar.com/location/
http://www.pearlzoysterbar.com/menu/pearlz_happyhour_chas.pdf

The prices are reasonable. The food is very tasty, and the beer is cold. I recommend the Southern Fried Oysters and the Crisp Fried Shrimp, and the Corn Fritters. I loved the atmosphere, service and the communal tables. It allowed you to converse with other people and relax. Adelia and Michelle both gave it a thumbs up.

Stars
http://starsrestaurant.com/
This restaurant/bar located at 495 King Street has a great rooftop bar. The Lobster and Grits Dish was amazing. I could have eaten the grits with the vegetables and not have eaten the lobster.

....so good!

….so good!

Vendue
http://thevendue.com/restaurants/the-rooftop/
This was my favorite rooftop which was located on Vendue Range (right off of King Street on your way to the park). It was amazingly comfortable set up, and it had such an inviting atmosphere.

Red’s Ice House
http://www.redsicehouse.com/
This is a great place to watch the boats, kayaks, paddle boarders, and the fish sandwich was really good.   After a day at the beach or a day in the boat, it has the perfect atmosphere and view of Shem Creek.Charleston 1 108

Charleston Harbor Fish House
http://www.charlestonharborfishhouse.com/
This place provided a beautiful view of the harbor.  Charleston 1 089

Basil
http://www.eatatbasil.com/mt-pleasant/
The duck dish was amazing.

Langdons Restaurant and Wine Bar
http://www.owensdininggroup.com/langdons/
Order the pork chop! Great atmosphere!

Shelter in Mount Pleasant is a fun place with good music and a great outside area.
http://www.theshelterkitchenandbar.com/

Southern is a laid back relaxing type bar with an older crowd. It was a fun place to end the night.

The East Bay Bar and Grill was a good place to watch the game. Typical bar food.Charleston 1 201
One thing that seems universal about Charleston restaurants and bars is the outside eating and drinking areas. With the climate of this area, it is what most people want to do. They take advantage of the warm weather and in some locations the wonderful breeze to enjoy being outside. Charleston has so much to offer in the way of fine dining and casual dining.  Enjoy!

Downtown Charleston: My Eat Pray Love Journey

 morris island--lighthouse 023

“….my shadow has not darkened the doorway of a church or a museum, nor have I looked at a guidebook. But I have wondered endlessly and aimlessly,…..”
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, page 37 .

I love living in Downtown Charleston. Yes, it has only been a little over a week, but I love everything about it. I can sit on the porch and watch the constant flux of people walking down the street, the horse and buggy tourist groups, the bicyclers, and the people walking to work.  There is an energy that you can feel.

I can start walking in any direction and see amazing architecture and pretty flower gardens. I have wondered aimlessly throughout the downtown area. I like having no plan, nowhere I have to be or no tourist site that I must visit. It is a great feeling to ask yourself, what do I want to do today when your life has been dictated for the most part by the restraints of societal responsibility.
Some times by choice, sometimes because I would walk out of a store and go the wrong way, I have toured downtown. You know sometimes left or right is tough, but you always have a fifty percent chance of making the right decision.

“My shaky sense of direction and geography mean I have explored six continents in my life with only the vaguest idea of where I am at any given time.” Page 40

As I went the wrong way when I came out of Victoria Secret (bikini looking a little old- sales staff was amazing), and walked a long way in the wrong direction, I discovered King Street Cookies. http://www.kingstreetcookies.com/delivery.html


The House Specialty  and the Georgia Peach were absolutely amazing. I sat in the big orange chair and enjoyed every bite.morris island--lighthouse 005

As I continued to walk in the wrong direction, I also found the Blue Bicycle Books which was featuring Dorthea Benton Frank’s new book Hurricane Sisters.  It was a quaint bookstore and one guy did come through pushing his bike.  Battery Park is my favorite destination, and I actually know how to get there from the house.  It is beautiful and the breeze and the sight of the harbor helps me to relax and let go.

“People ask me before I left for Italy, “Do you have friends in Rome?” and I would just shake my head no, and say, ”But I will”.   Page 42
I have made some friends, and I will make more because if you stand still long enough, I will talk to you, and I can converse on many different subjects, so changing the subject will not deter me.  I do not watch the news, and I have not watched tv or anything on the computer  since I arrived, but I can still talk or more importantly I can listen; as Lori and I have discovered, most people just need someone to listen and to allow validation to occur for his/her ideas and existence.

“Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.” Page 56
I am being polite to myself and forgiving of my directional screw ups. I have no plane to catch or life threatening appointments to keep at this time, so I will learn as I go and continue to find the hidden treasures of Charleston.

As you can tell, I am re-reading Eat Pray Love. I found it under my bed when I arrived at the house.  I think that was a sign that it should be read again. My friend keeps it close to her to re-read again and again, and she is a very wise lady. There are so many parts that speak to me now and it is not only the new destination parts. The parts about life and love and spiritual presence speaks to me in a different way than it did several years ago when I first read the book. I could not relate then but I can now. Many times we are not ready for a message that we are supposed to take away from a book or from a person, but I think I am ready now for the wisdom of Elizabeth Gilbert. I would encourage you to read this book even if you have read it, read it again. Her posts on Facebook are also inspiring and insightful.

Folly Beach

Folly  Beach 014

The drive over was not bad at 11:00 a.m. The highlight of my drive was this huge boat on the side of the road that someone had written a congratulatory announcement for a couple who had made their second anniversary. I applaud their enthusiasm, but really….  I had been warned that getting from downtown to Folly Beach could be hectic with traffic slowly moving, but it was a nice drive. As I drove down the main drag, there were restaurants and cute little shops on each side of the road.

I took a left and followed the crowd to a sign that said $10.00 parking. The guy in charge was an impeccable salesman. He said it was for all day and the beach was right across the road, and there were bathrooms close to the entrance. I was sold, but I looked at my skin and thought I will not be here all day!

I stopped by this bar because I have realized that carrying a cooler is a waste of enormous strength. Two Styrofoam cups of ice and two bottles of water and I am set for the day.  The bartender was really nice, and the drink concoctions at the back of the bar really caught my eye.

What concoction would you choose?

What concoction would you choose?

Public beaches are awesome for people watching, Ages range from 1 to 80, but everyone is relaxed and in a playful mood. I choose a spot behind the lifeguard station for two reasons: the firm scenery and the safety of my “stuff”.  I was entertained by the gallon jug of sunscreen that the lifeguards applied to each other over and over. I am the Sunscreen Queen, and I started to volunteer to be the sunscreen application girl, but I resisted the urge. I was rolling in SPF 50 all day!

Folly  Beach 012

When you are with a group, you do not have to worry about your stuff. You can go to the bathroom, walk on the beach, or go for a swim,   but when you are alone, you must consider locale before you pick your spot. As I got situated, I realized that I had left my book and my magazines in the car. At first, it was almost a panic attack because this is the girl who reads a magazine and checks e-mail while she eats breakfast. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” I sometimes take this to the unhealthy extremes. I reverse it and never take the solitude to rejuvenate and reexamine my life. It is forge full speed ahead in the darkness! I did have pencil and paper, and I remembered from reading Virginia Woolf that this was all I needed to entertain myself.

Lunch was a turkey lunchable, yogurt, and a granola bar. Everything tastes better on the beach! There is a no alcohol law on the beaches here which was a hard concept for me to grasp. I am not a big in the day drinker, but I do think it should be an option for the beach if you follow the no glass and red solo cup rules that we enjoy during football season.

Warning: The sand will blister your feet. I was not prepared for that. I jumped up and did not put shoes on before walking. I will not do that again! Put your shoes on in South Carolina if you are at the beach and the sand is not wet. The tide goes out further during the day than I have seen at other beaches. I looked up and the lifeguards were pushing the lifeguard stand closer to the beach.

After I left the beach, I went back to Rita’s where I got the ice and ordered a Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita- Do not do that unless you like a hot spicy alcoholic drink. The bartender was a really nice lady who consoled me with a Rum Punch, and it was delicious. She answered my questions with kindness.

Folly  Beach 017http://www.ritasseasidegrille.com/

After this I walked up and down the street and enjoyed the shops and the people. I was very amused by this sign. What a hard choice this would be. Do I want to go to the dentist or the liquor store?

Folly  Beach 021

I was tempted to compare this beach to other beaches, but I stopped myself and realized that comparing people, places, and things does not always bring a positive outlook. Every situation, destination, or person is unique and should be valued.

“Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.”   Virginia Woolf

Charleston: One Way

one way

I know there is a functionality purpose for one way streets, but what is it?  When I arrived in Charleston, my gps lady, whose name is Ginger, did not understand the lay out of the city.  I finally started just turning right then left until she figured out how to get me to my summer home. The people in Charleston are friendly and always available to offer directions- which works really well for me. I think that is one reason why this city is the number one vacation destination. After ten hours of driving, I was ready to be out of the car.  Upon arrival, I met my college roommates. (No, I am not starting my doctorate. They are in college.) They are four friendly girls with very different personalities and different goals.

As I started unloading the car and climbing the stairs to my second story bedroom, I realized that I might not really need nine pair of shoes and ten pair of shorts, but thanks to my unbelievable list, I arrived with almost everything I needed. I was a hot sweaty mess after unloading the car.  The temperature and humidity is comparable to the MS temp and humidity, and the air on the second floor was not working well.

The next morning, I decided that I needed a lamp because I had no light in my room, and I needed food. Where is Wal-mart? I found it using my GPS, and it was nice to walk in a Wal-mart and be anonymous. I looked like I had been run over by a truck, but nobody noticed. When you are in your hometown if you walk down the wrong aisle, you may hear that you are the topic of the conversation.
“Oh, did you see her? She looks like she feels really bad.”
“She is letting herself go.”
If this happens to you, just laugh and think about how bored they are.

Wal-mart

After the Wal-mart excursion, I had to work for a little while then I went downtown to eat. If you ever have the opportunity to eat a Crab Cake, Fried Green Tomato, BLT- go for it!

I am learning to navigate with the help of my gps and phone apps.  My gps lady is doing a better job now. I have also downloaded a few apps on my phone to help locate coffee shops.  I do not want to miss anything that is going on in this great city.

Today it was Sullivan’s Island with a friend. It was cloudy, but it was still a very peaceful day at the beach until the rain came. Then we had a great lunch at Morgan Creek Grills at Isle of Palms Marina:  fried oysters, crab dip, and shrimp over grits.Morgan Creek Grill MOrgan Creek Grill-2

Tonight, dinner downtown. I have a guide tonight who knows the best restaurants and how to navigate the downtown area. I am excited!
An interesting website if you want to find out more about Charleston:    http://www.charlestonly.com

I read a book by Dorthea Benton Frank that was titled Sullivan’s Island. I recommend it for your summer reading list. One of my favorite quotes from her: “The most important thing I learned is that to be truly happy, you’ve got to pay attention to that stupid inner voice we all have. It knows what you need and will drive you shit crazy until you listen to it.”
― Dorothea Benton FrankIsle of Palms

Sullivan’s Island – Click here to preview book.

The one way streets are also a metaphor for our lives. There is never one way to do something or one path that will make everyone happy. We all must find our true path and be constantly searching for the path that will allow us to be authentic and enable us to search for the end of the rainbow.

R[oy]GBCreative Commons License jDevaun via Compfight

GPS needed for U Turn Queen

What address do I put in? Yes, this girl needs a gps. I am directionally challenged individual; hence, I am the U turn queen of the road. A trip does not feel complete without a few U turns. Changing directions is not always a bad thing, but it can seem like it at the time.

Yes, all of this was in my office.

Yes, all of this was in my office.

As I moved my office home last week, I was astounded at all of the stuff I had in that tiny space. After I hauled it home, I put the classic books away, but many things still remain in boxes. I am sure most will be thrown away later, but I cannot do it right now. It is like discarding old pictures or old messages- it takes a little while to wrap your head and heart around it.
I slipped out of the office because I did not want hugs or tearful good byes. You spend more time with the people you work with than you do your family. They are your work family that you love and you become a silent member of their family as you hear them talk about the loves in their life on a daily basis. It is a place to escape your personal life and emerge in a professional goal oriented world.
I was one of the lucky ones to leave a job that I loved (except for the endless stacks of essays to grade) and people that I love not because I have to leave, but because I want to try a different path. Will this be the path for me, well, who knows but I had to see.

I am ready to embrace a new city, meet people, and learn more about me. I think self-reliance is a valuable teacher- (Emerson would be loving me right now.)
Finding the perfect room to rent sealed the deal for my choice of cites, and of course, the beautiful beaches and the many things to do in the city did not hurt the vote for Charleston.
How did I get here? If someone told me last summer this would be where I am right now, I would have been a little frightened, but we have strength within us that allows us to roll with the flow and chase our dreams or maybe allow us to get answers to our questions. Most of the time we keep that strength bottled because change is hard.
Ready or not Charleston, this Mississippi girl will soon be on her way! I am preparing now because besides being the U Turn Queen, I am the Queen of Planning. I have so many wonderful titles! One of the first things was the packing list, and this one is intense, but I have only my car, so I am keeping it as light as possible. Some things may get left behind, but my beach chair will be in the car.

Other necessities will be insurance cards and proper identification and of course, my passport. If someone walks up to me on the street and gives me a free trip to Bali, I want to be ready to leave!
Financial things must also be considered. I do not want to return to MS and find I have no power, no water, or Lord forbid, no internet! There is only so much you can do and then you must quiet your control tendencies and take off.
Stay tuned for more as the Queen of U Turns and the Queen of Obsessive Planning will soon land!
buisness cards 003Thank you Lori– the Queen of Creative Ideas.

Destin: The Freedom of the Ocean

Destin is my second home and the ideal destination for a quick getaway. There are many different things you can do and thousands of places to stay, but this is my ideal trip, and it can be an economical destination. Gazing at the ocean gives you a wonderful feeling of freedom.Destin 2014 029

The boardwalk has great restaurants and activities for the entire family. I have found a hotel across from the Destin Board Walk  in Destin that meets my needs and saves money. Three nights at the Village Inn in Destin  and the cost was $297.00 and when you split that three ways, you have a cheap weekend getaway.  Waffle House is in the parking lot for late nights and early mornings.
This is the only disadvantage of our location. You must drive to the beach. The two public beaches I enjoy are Fort Walton Board Walk and the public beach by Pompano Joe’s in Destin.

The gorgeous view as we ate lunch.

The gorgeous view as we ate lunch.

 

Our days at the beach were amazing days!  The water was beautiful, no seaweed and the temperature was perfect.  Sunscreen was sprayed very liberally because the umbrella would not work for us. (I need to invest in one of those gadgets that digs holes for the umbrella.)

My favorite eating place is Dewey Destin.  The food is always good and the waiting area is comfortable.   AJ’s is the night time destination for me because there is always a good band and the view of the harbor is beautiful.

Sunday Funday at AJ's

Sunday Funday at AJ’s

On the way home, we stopped at a delightful new restaurant called Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill in Daphne, AL. The food was good, and I had the best drink I have ever had. It was called Southern Belle.

Look at the ingredients in the Southern Belle.

Look at the ingredients in the Southern Belle.

 

This was my yes, I am starting a new chapter in my life trip to celebrate and to spend time with friends before my big departure next week. The best place for me to focus on my life and gain insight is while I am looking out at the immense ocean and feeling as one with the creator.  The ocean provides this feeling for many people. My tension in my shoulders started to loosen up, and I felt a sense of peace and well-being as the stress and the tears of the last three months melted away.

My moments of clarity lead me to this truth for me:
Do not give yourself away until there is nothing left of you but a hull of a person. Giving can be applied to your job, your family, and all relationships. After you reach the empty stage and everyone around you is happy but you, what do you have? A lost and bewildered individual constantly looking for fulfillment and approval. “You are enough.” Maya Angelo. You do not need another person to complete you.    Complement someone’s life but do not be his/her life and someone should not be your life. There will be disappointment if you make another person your world.  I know what you might be thinking. How can   my children not be my life or my spouse of twenty years not be my life?  They can be the great loves of your life, but they should not be your entire world. That is too much responsibility for them to carry. We are responsible for our own happiness.

Questions to ponder:
Who is loving you? Do you still take time for you? Do you make people happy and accommodate them to keep peace and to avoid conflict while your resentment and anger grows? Do you set boundaries of how much you are willing to give? When have you been asked what you want or need to be happy?
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way, and not starting.”  The Lost Girls, page 346.


 

Oh, the t-shirts you can buy in Destin!

Oh, the t-shirts you can buy in Destin!

 

 

Great memories made!

Great memories made!

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