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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

My husband was a textile designer and travelled to Japan to visit textile mills.  I have always been fascinated by the Japanese cultures but could never go him as our children were very small and had no one to care for them and then in later years, he became physically unable to endure the trip.

He died 5 years ago but my longing to travel to Japan never ceased.  I have always felt a connection with Japanese people – a feeling which I cannot explain.  So 2 years ago I decided that “while I can, I will”.  Since we had been on a few Elderhostel programs, I felt secure doing this trip without any of my friends as there are usually a few single people on their trips.

At Kennedy Airport, I met a couple of other “singles” on the same tour and already felt comfortable with my decision to go solo. The trip focused on the cultural heritage and customs of Japan and we travelled to Matsue by plane, to Kyoto by bullet train, to Kanazawa by train and to Tokyo by plane.

The hotel in Matsue provided cotton kimonos that could be worn while walking around the hotel, so I did.  It felt comfortable and natural.  We visited samurai residences and castles.  We got to meet some local people and I began to feel comfortable using the hotel’s unique toilets.   And the Adachi Museum of Art Garden – voted #1 in all of Japan.  The graceful way that they prune and cut-utterly magnificent! (more…)

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I’ve been fortunate to travel a good deal over the years.  This is one of the areas of memory that appears to be more intact than others.  Over the last 8 years, the most pleasurable and memorable trips have been the ones that have involved the whole family.  When our twin grandchildren, Emma and Jacob, were four years old they, with their parents, their aunt and her friend, and our French cousin, all stayed in a little house in the south of France (Port Grimaud) on a lovely vacation.  At that time, playing on the beach, “fishing” with a branch and string from our little boatless dock, hearing another language spoken  by everyone else, and learning to love croissants and cheeses were lovely experiences.  I do remember Jake sighing on his return to California:  “Back to bagels” when he couldn’t get croissants that tasted like the ones in France.

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We’re in front of a classroom of 10 year olds singing Three Blind Mice off key in English. The kids giggle at the strange sounds and respond by singing a song in Chinese, also off key.  It doesn’t matter. We’re all having such a good time!

I am at a small village school near Yangshuo, China, giving an English lesson. A notice posted in our hotel invited travelers in the area to go to the village school to teach English while visiting in Yangshuo. Jane and I decided this would be fun. The school is a half hour walk from the hotel and one of the employees offered to take us on her day off. We wandered through villages and farms, arrived at the school, met the principal, and now we are in the classroom. The children’s workbooks are on their desks and they proudly and loudly recite their English lesson. Not very content with the rote nature of the lesson, Jane and I break into charades, songs, and little games –an obvious departure from the way their lessons are usually taught. They love it! Here I am teaching and here is Jane making friends with her students. (more…)

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A long time ago, I realized that one of the reasons I loved traveling was that I had very few things with me – fewer clothes, shoes, make-up, etc.  I liked the freedom that I felt having fewer “things” with me.

When my husband and I decided it was time to move, it was easy.  I made piles of things that we wanted to donate and  had one garage sale.  I used one of our bedrooms as a “give away room” and invited our friends to take whatever they wanted.  Also any visitors always had to take something with them when they left.  The hardest thing to dispose were the countless photos.  So, I made 4 piles – one for us and one for each of our 3 children.  I saw no reason why they also couldn’t have photos of our many friends.  They will appreciate having them after we are gone. I gave away all my “every day” dishes and glasses and now use all the ones I had at one time saved for “company.”

I now regularly go through clothes, paper “stuff”, books and donate whatever I can.  However, there are a couple of things that I feel I must continue to have – an ongoing collection of pop-up books and art related books.

The end result is that I no longer feel “owned” by my “stuff” and feel much more in control and happier with my new surroundings. [Please leave a comment here.]

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