Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wait...What city is this?

I've gotten to the point (already!) of asking myself, "Wait...What city am I in??" Usually this happens if I'm sitting somewhere alone, such as an airport. Within the last two weeks I've slept on 4 different beds, been to 8 different cities (not counting different towns/cities I've been driving in while in TN), 4 states, and 2 countries. By the time summer is over I probably will hit sleeping on 20 different beds, 4 countries, 8 or so states, and countless cities. It'll be a fun thing to count up sometime in September.

Since my last post a LOT has happened. Let me start from Friday, the 20th of May.

Friday came along and I had last minute packing to do for my trips. It would be my last day home for about a month. Mom, dad, and I were leaving on a jet plane for Seattle at 7 p.m. with some of our family. The next day our cruise ship would leave the port and set sail in the world's beautiful Alaskan waters!

...Or so we thought.

Before we knew it, dad was being hospitalized AGAIN for the second time within just a few short months. We had no idea on what was going on or what exactly was wrong. We just knew something was up with his blood tests that caused his admittance into the hospital. From that moment life got even more stressful then the usual travel stress. Mom was canceling her and dad's plane tickets and cruise passes. We were trying to decide if I should go, or if I should stay. The doctor's said it should be okay should I go on this cruise, mom insisted I should go, and my aunt Felicia was telling me I really needed a vacation.

Inside I was torn. Sitting on a hospital bench just outside the doors I found myself breaking down unable to control the tears. Stress from the week was finally catching up to me (I had finals, projects, lost a dog, was trying to get the idea). I desperately wanted to go, but at the same time, "what if" something did happen? Who would help mom with things around the house that week? I also didn't think it was fair for me to go while my parents stayed behind in "Sunny California". However, we also realized that my plane ticket left from Seattle right after the end of the cruise to go onto Nashville. Not only would we need to cancel a plane ticket and cruise for me, but we'd have to figure out a new route for me to arrive in music city.

After talking it over with mom for about an hour, I came to a couple of conclusions:
#1. Figuring out all my travel plans by canceling and rerouting would add to our stress.
#2. I can't live in the "what if" state of mind.
#3. If something did happen, I could catch a plane from Alaska to head home as soon as possible.
#4. There really wasn't much I could do by being home except sit there and wait.
#5. We'll just do an Alaska Cruise: Take Two! next year, which is already in the making.

From those realizations, thoughts and with the encouragement to go, I decided that I would still hop on the 7 p.m. flight out of my hometown to rainy Seattle.

The cruise was amazing. The views were spectacular. I've never seen anything quite like Alaska. We saw whales, glaciers, icebergs, eagles...The list goes on and on! I made some new friends from many different locations around the world. My new friends were from Australia, New York, North Carolina, Memphis, Brazil, and Arizona. There were also over 1,000 cruisers from Asia. They would ask my aunt if they could take a picture of her and my baby cousin in group shots. They love American babies!

In Juneau I was able to participate in a land and sea photo safari. Four whales showed up around our little boat as I snapped away with my camera. We saw seals, sea lions, fish, and birds. While we saw no bears, we did see a bear cave and bear poop...Both of which I took pictures of, since I didn't get to see the actual animal. At the end of the excursion our tour guide (ironically named Cam...Get it?? It was a photography land and sea safari excursion led by a guy with the name of Cam...) took us to a glacier. If you've ever seen the Grand Canyon, you know the feeling of awe that it gives and the moment when it takes your breath away. At the glacier I had the same feeling, but even stronger! It was beautiful.

Of course, at the glacier I saw a really cool picture idea. If you know me you know I sometimes put myself in interesting situations, giving myself interesting stories to tell...Walking to the spot I needed to go, I stepped in some previously walked across mud not thinking anything of it. Switching camera lenses, I took one step on the mud and...WHAM! Next thing I knew, I was not only stepping in it, but being covered in it as well!

No worries...My camera and both lenses were okay! Oh, and I was too. Needless to say...I did not get the picture I was aiming to get during my meeting with the mud. (The whole area was mud, and I just decided it was wiser not to continue on...This time!) However, I still got some neat shots.

I'm glad that I chose to go on the cruise. I do believe I made the right choice. I was able to get some relaxation I needed, a short change of scenery, new friends, and lots of laughter. Not to mention really good food (by the end, I needed a vacation from food!), lots of pictures, learned some new things about photography and Alaska, created memories, and ended up with stories to tell.

Throughout the cruise mom updated me on dad's condition. A lot of the blood tests turned out to be false positives. We did learn something new about a previous condition he has had for a while that has changed a bit and that we needed to know about. He was in the hospital for almost the full week and some family friends of ours helped my mom out during this time.

For the last week I have now been in Nashville. I've been visiting with friends, house hoping, injured myself with a tape measurer (how in the world does a person do that??), been attacked by the nasty cicadas, driving around town with my country music flowing through the car's speakers. I've been having a good time. Today I'll even get to ride a jet ski and drive one as well, which is something that I will be able to officially be able to kick off my bucket list!

Tuesday morning my sister, brother-in-law, and grandpa and I will journey on to our next adventure: Driving across the USA.

The Travelin' Chick,

PS: I also did have my picture taken for my OM prayer card! Yeah!!

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