Tag Archives: Mt. Airy

Birthday Eve

21 Nov

It’s about 10:30 pm Eastern Standard Time here in the US. I am (mostly) shamelessly listening to the Carpenters (among other tunes) on my Pandora radio.  I have my space heater cranking in my brisk third floor room and am reveling in the simple joys of some time alone… you know, organizing and throwing away old papers, doing a little yoga, drinking hot tea.  Ah, the good life!  In a few hours I will usher in the day of my birth, less formally known as my Birthday.  This year I celebrate 42 years of living.  I am thrilled.  It’s a good time to be alive.

About three hours ago I took my Reiki teacher, Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin, to the Philadelphia airport for her flight home to New Orleans.  She came to teach a First Degree Reiki class here in Philly and for a visit. Elizabeth first came to Philadelphia to teach about 6 month ago.  She has some family ties to the area.  She also has another Reiki student who lives full time in Philadelphia and coordinated a class for Elizabeth in June 2012.  She coordinated this most recent class as well.  There is now a budding community of Reiki students in the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition initiated by Elizabeth blooming and growing in Philadelphia.

It was a real pleasure to have Elizabeth here.  It was like a wonderful burst of “home.” Much of our time together was spent in the Reiki class that she taught all day on Saturday and Sunday.  It is typical for me to sit on Elizabeth’s Reiki class.  Elizabeth is a wonderful teacher and after practicing Reiki for about 8 years, I always find it rewarding and beneficial to sit in on a class.  It’s also fun to be able to contribute in small ways… sharing my experience with Reiki, answering a few student’s questions, and giving assistance as they are learning to give treatments.  It is also a gift to be a in a Reiki class because I get to bathe in the healing energy of Reiki all weekend long.  It feels sort of like taking a vacation … without having to leave the city.  Also Elizabeth is a great caretaker and, when she is not busy teaching or tending to her new students, she always seems to have time to give a little extra TLC my way and make me feel like I am cared for, which is a lovely feeling.

Elizabeth has been my friend and mentor since I first became her student 8 years ago.  She has been there for me persistently and with great care.  We went through the great challenge and new adventures of hurricane Katrina when we were both uprooted from our home for an extended period of time. She has been there to support me through hundreds of big and little triumphs and challenges, including many of the joys and challenge of my latest adventures in travel.  As she went on her way back to New Orleans I felt grateful to have spent time with her and also strong in my on two feet to continue on my journey.

Elizabeth suggested once that I celebrate my birthday one day for each year I have been alive.  I have adopted that philosophy, exploring little ways to celebrate each day.  Tomorrow I will begin my birthday celebration by attending a yoga class and listening to my body and being and see what else my heart desires on this day.

Thanksgiving will likely be a quiet respite for me.  My host family here is traveling to be with their family in New York State.  I was wholeheartedly invited to join them but I have opted for a few juicy days with some time to myself.

And so, on this Birthday Eve and nearly Thanksgiving Eve, I will leave with the spirit of thanks and gratitude… for all the lessons I have learned on this amazing journey I have been on, all of the people I have met along the way and those who have loved and supported me in taking risks and having new experiences of myself… that I would have never had if I hadn’t taken a risk and bought a ticket to Europe a year and a half ago.  Yes I am grateful for the simplicity of living out of a suitcase, taking it one day at a time, and exploring the possibility of new adventures.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Photo of stunning Fall Colors in my Mt. Airy neighborhood.

Life with the “fam”

18 Oct

It’s another day in Philadelphia.  The weather is getting cooler… nothing too alarming, just a fresh reminder that it is Fall.  I am preparing for a good night sleep to wake up “early” tomorrow to go to Yoga class.  I am attending a gentle yoga class lately as my left ankle is still on the mend from my spill down the stairs in May in France.  I am encouraged by friends saying that, alas, it takes a long time for these things to heal.  I am really fortunate that there is a sweet little yoga studio walking distance from where I stay.  I have been going once a week, but would love to go more often!  A yoga class always provides the time and space to treat my body and my yoga practice with the honor and attention that it deserves.  I love yoga!

Tonight we went out for a little dinner…. me and the family I am staying with – mom, dad and the two boys.  Wednesdays is kids eat free night at one of the local restaurants.  I am finding this community is quite a “small town”, already running into familiar faces at the coffee shop and the yoga studio.  The restaurant we went to last night is run by the husband of the owner of the yoga studio I attend.  Yes, it’s a small community feel.

I have continued my balance here of house attendant, quasi-chef, and marketing/small business assistant extraordinaire.  On a good day you can add Reiki Practitioner to the mix.  It helps to keep it interesting to be able to mix things up a bit… yesterday preparing dinner and grocery shopping while today designing “apps” for my hosts’ Facebook fan page.  All in a day’s work!

My hosts have created quite an interesting world for themselves here.  With two boys age 4 and 7, the oldest boy attends the local Waldorf School and the youngest attends the local co-op nursery school down the street.  In Waldorf education, the oldest is learning unexpected things like how to knit.  I’ve learned a few things about Waldorf schools since I have been here… like they don’t start teaching kids to read until third grade and all students are asked to have no “screen time” (television, computers) during the week.  From what I can see it is an enticing learning environment where the child I stay with seems to be thriving and exploring on his own… including reading very well at the age of 7.

These boys here are really quite something. The oldest is so bright and attentive.  A few weeks ago from the back seat of the car he said to his mom, “Turn off your brights!” when she had forgotten and left them on when an oncoming car approached.  I don’t remember doing that at the age of 7!  The youngest, age four, is full of mischief!  On the car-ride home tonight I was sitting next to him in the backseat.  He got the hiccups and I offered to use my sisters method of getting rid of hiccups when I was a kid – tickling!  Of course he loved it, squirming and laughing… but it didn’t get rid of his hiccups.  He’d scream, “stop”, so I’d stop tickling him and then a hiccup would escape.  And then of course he would say again “tickle me!” until he couldn’t take it anymore.

But for now, it is my private quiet time at the end of the day.  The boys are in bed… and likely the parents too… and the house is quiet until the greeting of the morning noise of the boys.  So I’ll sneak a little quiet time for myself… tucked away with a family in Philadelphia.  Yet another unexpected stop on my unplanned  journey!

Photo taken of 2nd National bank in the historic district of downtown Philly, neighboring sights like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  It’s great to be so connected with our nation’s history here.  Things and places that were like ideas in a story have now come to life!

Being in Philly

12 Oct

Here I am… in Philadelphia continuing to stretch and grow.  My life is filled with an interesting variety as I find ways to be of service on my journey.  For the past month, I have been living with a busy family in Mt. Airy, a neighborhood in Philadelphia.  It’s a great place to be with plenty of mature trees, historical homes and a progressive outlook.  How lucky I am to have landed in such a good place!  The family I stay with is a couple building their developing business from home while raising two young boys, 4 and 7.

Living in a household with kids is a shift for me!  As someone who has spent many of my recent years in quieter contemplation, the reality of life with children is quite a wake up call.  I live with a family with two beautiful boys.  As the saying goes, when they are good they are very good, but when they are bad… well, I’ll just leave that to your imagination!  It’s been fun to be here and help out with the simple things in their life… doing laundry, organizing cupboards, keeping the kitchen tidy.  I get a quiet satisfaction from helping this busy family get a little more form and structure to their sometimes chaotic life.

Recently I have been enjoying preparing meals for the family.  I like considering what I might cook that night and exploring what food is left in the kitchen to whip something up.  And even better, they appreciate what I am cooking!  That makes it even more fun!

I have been taking stock today of how grateful I am for all of my experiences over this past year and half.  I have learned so much and I can feel each day how much better I feel about myself with my growing confidence of being able to contribute wherever I may be.  It’s fun to feel like I am a part of something… a business, a household, a family, and see the ways I am comfortable and confident participating that, before I left on my journey, I was not.  Much that I have learned is really quite simple like in Germany learning to contribute and be part of a community and paying attention to what needs to be done, even if it’s just preparing  a simple meal for those around you.  In France, I learned how to make a great bed and set a nice table.  I see these little seeds of experience  blossom in my time here in Philadelphia.  For example, today I had the opportunity to do a little work at my host family’s local food co-op, Weavers Way.  I worked for a few hours to help the organization set up for a fundraising dinner.  I showed up to be of service and found myself in charge of decorating and setting the table.  How fun it was to create beautiful centerpieces from the assortment of gourds, leaves and flowers and also great to feel confident that I could set a nice table for them.  It’s the little things, they add up!

Tonight I am on my own for a bit.  The kids are tucked in bed after a post-dinner dance party featuring the boys as glamorous performers.  My host and I each had play money to use to pay admission to the show and then the performance began, with flashlights for spotlights and all.  It’s been a beautiful full day with yoga in the morning, some housework during the day and the co-op shift in the afternoon.  I am fully engulfed in the activity of each day and am amazed at how each experience on this journey fully pulls me in…  I become totally engrossed by what is happening in the here and now.

And…in the here and now I find I am tired after this full day!  A good feeling.  So I suppose I will seek a little rest in my comfy bed in my quiet room on the third floor.  Good night from Philadelphia!

Photo taken from the beautiful countryside in New York State near the Catskill Mountains where my host’s family lives.  I spent last weekend here.  Don’t be fooled by the serenity of this photo.  With 6 children collectively, it was a wild, wild ride.