Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Spring Outing

10 Mar

I am hearing and seeing new things at English Village.  Birds are flying in v-shapes overhead.  There are more people wandering the streets on weekends.  I notice voices of other teachers outside in the evenings.  The birds are even starting to sing.  It seems the Christmas trees in front of our “City Hall” have even been taken down.  Plus the collection of snow on the English Village campus has shrunk to a minimum. Could it be… is it possible… that Spring is coming?

Talking about Spring in Paju, South Korea automatically strikes up conversation of local weather.  It seems that Paju is in some sort of bad weather vortex on the peninsula of South Korea.  It has long, particularly harsh Winters (we are colder and get more snow than our neighboring Seoul, just an hour away).  Hot, humid Summers (I am told, yes, for some reason Paju is hotter than Seoul too).  And then there is monsoon season.  I don’t know that much about it except for stories of water flooding through the hallways of buildings and being encouraged to buy rain boots. I hear that Spring and Fall here are fabulous… for as long as they last… which is rumored to be comparatively short to Summer and Winter.

As the freezing cold weather appears to finally be breaking away, I can feel myself and the world around me starting to come out of hibernation.  I am beginning to have a desire to do something other than bundle up and stay warm for dear life.

On that note, I took a little outing this week on one of my days off.  As I am working weekends this month, my “weekend” currently is on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  This past Wednesday was such a fresh day I actually felt inspired to go out, take a little walk and explore the area.   I learned recently that the outlet mall that I knew was “somewhere around here” is in fact in walking distance just a straight shot down the road.  So I took a little walk and made my way to the post-office first (so long Flat Stanley!) and then the neighboring “Paju Premium Outlet Mall”.

Now, my first observation is that “Paju Premium Outlet Mall” sounds suspiciously like “… Philadelphia Premium Outlets”.  Before coming to South Korea I stayed in Philadelphia for a few months acquiring my Korean work Visa and preparing for my trip.  How surprising it was to leave the States, travel to the other side of the world, arrive  in the foreign lands of Asia only to find… another Premium Outlet Mall.  Hmmm…  That said, I enjoyed my walk down the street, a beautiful day, and the splendor of just spending some time away from work and “off campus”.

Walking around in Paju is no easy feat – especially for this woman who lived in the flatlands of New Orleans for 13 years.  Paju is what you might call… hilly.  You cannot go any direction outside of English Village without surmounting at least one if not two hills.  This is not a complaint mind you.  But for me and my hamstrings it is… an adjustment.

I arrived at the outlet mall to find a seemingly endless array of shops and restaurants, piled up three stories high.  I ran into some colleagues from work in the food court and joined them for lunch.  Afterwards I continued to peruse the daunting supply of high-end shops including DKNY, Coach, Nike and Calvin Klein.  I bought myself a smoothie at Smoothie King (yes the Premium outlet mall comes complete with Smoothie King and Aunt Annie’s pretzels… sound familiar?).  Despite my periodic moments of deja vu, the outing was a treat and I was glad for the diversion.

I returned home the same way I arrived…on foot. The two hills I easily surmounted on the way there looked a bit more oppressive on the way back.  I considered taking the bus, but my pride got the best of me and I trudged my way back over the hills and made my way home.

I have enjoyed swimming lately as well.  We are lucky to have a gym here on the English Village (EV) campus that is open to the teachers and staff at EV as well as the community.  As I am now off on Wednesdays and Thursdays it gives me a little time to sneak in for a swim when it’s not as busy.  Usually Korean moms and kids start to arrive in the afternoon just about the time that I am leaving.  It’s funny to watch the little girls staring at me – in a friendly way.  I am usually the only foreigner in the locker room and I am sure quite a surprise and literally a “foreign” sight to the young Korean girls.

Our last quiet week of work has nearly come to an end as we will have students again this coming week. I am grateful for the promise of Spring arriving and all that brings.

I am wondering, has Spring sprung wherever you are in the world?  If so, what will you be doing as the lovely Spring days fold in?  Any suggestions for how to spend a spring day in South Korea?  It’s always great to hear from you!

Featured image at top from the second floor of the Paju Premium Outlet Mall.  Clearly a close cousin of the Premium Outlet Malls in the United States.

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.

Adventures in Babysitting

10 Nov

It’s a cool Fall afternoon in Philly – threatening to act like winter.  Once again we had another prediction of a great storm this week and once again Philadelphia was left practically untouched.  We had just a few snow flurries earlier this week on Wednesday and by Thursday, while it was still chilly outside, the weather had us wondering what all the fuss was about.  And so, no snow and no great winter storm for the Philadelphia area.

It’s felt like a busy week for me.  This is a high energy household and often it feels like once I climb on board the wave of  activities for the day, it’s a wild ride.  I continue my new-found happiness… much to my surprise… in cooking and preparing evening meals for the family.  Last night I made homemade burritos served with fresh guacamole with organic cooked carrots on the side.  I have to say it was all really yummy!

I had some new adventures in babysitting earlier this week with the four-year-old, the  youngest of the two boys here.  He had the day off from school on election day so he and I took off for the afternoon to give the work-from-home parents some refuge to get their work done.  We went to what must be the “latest” in parenting… a cafe-like place set up just for kids and parents (or parent-like folks).  You enter with a simple entrance fee and once inside the “gate” there is an indoor playground with an amazing spread of toys and indoor activities.. a slide, a clubhouse, and toy grocery store… you get the picture.  The other half of the place is a parent friendly cafe where one can lounge, do a little reading or computer work while the kids happily make a mess in the room created for the purpose of making messes!  Ah what a difference that makes!  Additionally they have kid-friendly meals and organic and healthy snacks.  You run a “tab” while you are there… so both child and in my case babysitter are free to snack and play and work and then pay the bill on the way out.

I have been somewhat hesitant with taking on childcare in the ensemble of services I offer within the agreement of my exchange here.  But I know full well that often this household really just needs someone willing to take the kids out of the house and give them some space to have a little fun.  The youngest when out of the house and on his own is really quite good and I know he gets a kick out the time and attention.  We had a fair amount of fun at our cafe outing.  I watched him play and when he seemed a bit sheepish on his own I joined him in playing.  We read a book together in the clubhouse and played tag in the tumbling room downstairs filled with mats and basic gymnastic equipment –  a room that it seems no matter how old you are invites you to play! At the very least I got to be a voyeur into contemporary motherhood for an afternoon and my hosts got a quiet afternoon to work.

The youngest and I took another little outing yesterday afternoon.  After the threat of the storm it was a gift to have a bright sunny blue-skied day that was brisk but still inviting to be outdoors.  The youngest gets home early from school on Fridays so I took him for a little outing that was a real treat – a trip to the Morris Arboretum.  It’s just up the street from their home and a favorite of the family’s to visit.  This was my first trip there.

The little one was my enthusiastic tour guide giving me clear directions once we pulled in past the ticket guard.  He let me know to follow the cars in front of me, that the cow-shaped creatures off in the hills were in fact not REAL cows, and led me safely to the parking lot.  It was such a beautiful day the hills just called to us.  He was off and I was not far behind him.

First stop was the tree house.  Wow, what a magical construction with fun inviting places to visit – like a giant bird’s nest and netted pavilion high up in trees.  Of course I did feel the panic of my fear of heights which I greeted lightly and tried not to take too seriously.  Luckily for me he didn’t want to stay up there too long and soon we were off.  We wandered next to the fernery, a steamy room filled with lush plants and fish.  Then to the log cabin and playing and visiting with the nearby stream.  His enthusiasm to be there leapt and peaked until… it was gone and the next question from him was… “can we go home now?”  Of course we can… although my spirit could have wandered through the Arboretum for hours!  Still, my first visit would not have been the same without him as my guide!

I stopped in on a little neighborhood Kirtan chanting session last night.  Led by a local man at the near-by Unitarian Church, it was a cozy and intimate event with just a few of us there to sing and chant.  His chants were beautiful and simple and he had an assortment of instruments for us to use.  It was fun for me to grab the tambourine or the rattle and join in.  Kirtan is a call and response style singing… so the leader sings and then the group responds.  With such a small group my voice was often the only one I heard when it was time to respond.  Sometimes it was fun to actually hear my voice in the midst of singing with others and other times it was daunting and I was sure nothing was going to come out when I opened my mouth.

Today is a laid back Saturday.  I have had a lazy extended morning and have taken advantage of not having much to do.  Tonight we go to a lantern ceremony for the oldest son, age 7,  who goes to the local Waldorf school.  All the kids make their own lanterns in school and tonight they will light them and do a silent procession on the school grounds.

My Reiki teacher, Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin, will be arriving next week to teach a first degree Reiki class here in Philadelphia.  How excited I am!  My friend and mentor and great guide on my journey, it will be wonderful to see her!  I haven’t seen her or anyone else “familiar” to me since I left to travel a year and a half ago.  If you are interested in being in the class or have questions you can contact me.

And for now, more of an extended laid back Saturday.  “Thriller” by Michael Jackson has made it’s way onto my Pandora station. Perhaps in a bit I will take a walk in the park.  It’s good to have some time on my own and time to the enjoy the brisk fall air.

Photo of the ever energetic blue-hooded boy and youngest son here in the home where I stay, skipping blissfully through the Arboretum on a beautiful Fall day.

The wake of the storm

5 Nov

It’s a chilly evening here in Philadelphia.  While Hurricane Sandy didn’t bring much damage or activity here, she did seem to bring the colder weather.  I suppose I will take it in exchange for a generally quiet hurricane experience.  On Monday, the Eve of Sandy’s arrival, I went to bed about 10:30pm content that I wasn’t going to miss much action by going to sleep.  The next morning I awoke to conversations of “did you hear that wind last night?”  And learned that for a period of about an hour and half the winds were so strong my host considered waking me up and moving me out of the third floor bedroom for safety.  Alas, I slept soundly and in its wake, generally here all is well.

It’s the weekend, which is my free time here in my world of work and exchange.  Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Krishna Das concert at the Mind, Body and Spirit expo held at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Philadelphia Eagles play.  For those of you not familiar with Krishna Das, he plays what is called Kirtan music, that is call and response chanting of spiritual mantras.  It was my second time seeing Krishna Das, the first was time back in New Orleans.   In addition to his beautiful and devoted music, voice and chanting, I have to say that I like the guy!  During his performance he shared stories of his time in India and he was earnest, compelling and funny.  I was grateful to be able to attend the concert in exchange for helping Krishna Das sell CDs at their CD table.  What a treat!

At the end of the night, as I was among the last of folks to leave I decided to take a minute to find my train ticket back home before heading out into the night darkness.  And guess what… I couldn’t find it!  I looked everywhere… emptied out my purse twice, checked all of my pockets.  The trick of this situation was after purchasing the return ticket on my earlier train I only had $1 cash left on me, not enough for a new return ticket.  Not my favorite situation to be in, but I trusted my gut and while I was eager to resolve the situation, I didn’t panic.  I headed up the escalator in search of a cash machine.  As I was going up there were two kind looking youngish men heading down.  I eagerly asked, “Do you by chance live in Mt. Airy?” (the neighborhood in Philly where I reside)  “Yes we do” they replied… Unbelievable!  I quickly explained my situation and asked if I could catch a ride.  My request must have caught them off guard as they seemed hesitant and a bit perplexed by my request… but after a moment or two…  I was invited with them for a ride home.  So I hopped in the backseat of their Honda Fit and were were on our way!

The ride home was quite amicable.  My temporary companions were friendly and good company.  The “driver”, we’ll call him,  is a teacher of yoga and meditation as well as an interfaith minister.  His loyal companion is in Seminary school studying to be a Lutheran Minister.  And so it seemed I was in good hands!  We shared our tales and adventures of working at Universities in Residential Life, an experience we all had in common.  And before you knew it, we were in Mount Airy and I was happily home.   What a gift!

Today I spent some time with a Reiki friend who I met in New Orleans, originally from and now living again in Philadelphia.  We spent a few hours connecting and giving each other Reiki treatments.  It has been at least a month since I have connected with others to share Reiki.  Today was a great reminded how a little Reiki from a friend goes a long way.  There is nothing like a Reiki treatment to turn down the dial of my anxiety, stress and generally being “wound up”.  I left her apartment feeling all is well and grounded a bit back in my body and my being.

After that I made my way to the Art Museum.  The first Sunday of the Month is free at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  It was such a treat to get to head downtown in the brisk fall air and be out amongst the masses and go to the Museum.  I spent most of my time there enjoying a contemporary dance peformance.  What a treat!  Not long after I made my way back to my host’s car that she generously lets me use, and found my way back to Mt. Airy.

It’s been a big week.  Hurricane Sandy, Halloween, a busy weekend and a brief adventure with strangers.  I am still in the midst of plans for a new adventure but things are taking longer to come together then I expected.  So, for now, I am still in the US and, for now, in Philadelphia.

Tonight I cooked a simple but yummy dinner of black beans and rice for me and the fam.  I am now up in my third floor “hen’s nest” chilling to some tunes on Pandora, one of my favorite things about returning to the States!  Good night for now from the post Hurricane and thankful to be safe and sound world of Philadelphia.

Photo of Philadelphia Art Museum

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!

I’m home

2 Oct

From the very beginning, this journey has been an adventure.  A big part of the experience has been the practice of being in the present moment while exploring multiple options for the future and seeing what unfolds.  And so it seems on this journey that just when I think the road is taking me in one direction, a new possibility presents itself and another path is considered.  Just four weeks ago I was in the countryside in France.  I had connected with various hosts through the website helpx in different areas of Europe with the intent of continuing my time in Europe.  And just when it seemed the next step was there to take… something would change.  I had considered various possibilities… house sitting on an Island in Greece, working at a Bed and Breakfast in Italy…. none of them it seemed was just the right fit…

Then about 6 weeks ago I got an email.  A new opportunity was presented to me… an opportunity that for now I will keep secret… but with that opportunity my travel considerations looked… different.  I followed up with the email.  As things began to unfold it seemed a new direction was emerging.  A new thought entered my brain in the face of this opportunity… Maybe I should return to the States for a bit… wow, that… is unexpected!  This presented a few challenges for me, the lightest of which was, “what will I call my website if I am no longer a wondering flower growing in Europe…”  Alas, I digressed and started opening doors to possibly return to the States…

I began with my trusted friend helpx.net and started sending off letters of interests to many different hosts in the States that looked inviting and welcoming to me…  An artist in Hollywood, a bed and breakfast on a boat in the bay near San Francisco, picking fruit in Hawaii.  I shopped hastily for cheap flights back to the States.  I had a time clock that was ticking… my commitment was to leave my current host in France at the end of August… the number of days remaining were getting fewer and fewer.  There was new possibility… but still no definite plans.

I eagerly checked my email daily, hourly, moment to moment awaiting news from possible helpx hosts who could provide me with a place to land in the States.  Simultaneously I was also considering a possibility to visit with a host in Northern Spain, an opportunity that was still tempting.  Days ticked by until… finally… I got a reply from a host in the States that seemed like the right connection.  A few more precious days passed until clearly I had an agreement with the helpx host in the States and I had a green light to purchase a ticket.

I used the search engine whichbudget.com and found some very affordable flights back to the States on just a few weeks notice.  And so, in somewhat of a daze I booked a ticket and it seemed I was going back to the States.

After being in Europe for 15 months with a mind focused on travel and moving forward, going back to the States was unexpected.  But I did the only thing there is to do on this journey… I walked step by step through the path and plans I laid out for myself.  I couldn’t believe I was going back.  Boarding the plane in Paris seemed like going through a wormhole… like some sort of time travel from one way of being to another that was familiar… and yet not the same.

My journey back was long enough.  I flew from Paris to Frankfurt Germany and then Frankfurt to Baltimore, Maryland.  In Baltimore I took a train to my destination and so I now  find myself… in Philadelphia.  The City of Brotherly Love.  I flew Condor airlines back to the States after discovering their great last-minute deals on International flights.  Oddly enough, there was a great deal flying from Frankfurt to Baltimore.

When I arrived in the States, I prepared to go through customs.  I showed my passport to the officer and he said to me, “welcome home”.  While I wasn’t exactly weepy eyed to return, it felt good to be someplace where I was a “member”, where the information on my passport communicated very clearly “you are welcome here!”…

It took about a week for my mind and body to more fully arrive in the States.  I stayed at first with a friend from New Orleans now living in Philadelphia who graciously offered me her futon, a place of refuge to relax a bit before beginning my next adventure in trading.  I walked in legs that didn’t feel like my own through the familiar strangeness of an American city.  It was joyful for me to be able to communicate with strangers in the streets after months of limiting conversation in the midst of foreign languages.  Even though I was in a new city, after negotiating foreign cities in Europe where I didn’t speak the language, finding my way in Philly was easy… and liberating. It took me a few weeks to get used to the idea that the people in the city around me did indeed speak English and that when I picked up a paper, magazine, or grocery item, I could read whatever it might say on the headline or package.  I woke up once in the middle of the night truly startled and unclear about where I was… “I don’t understand what’s going on…” I cried.  My kind friend immediately responded, “You’re in Philadelphia”.    Her words came through a thick wall… just a glimmer of information received while I put the pieces together and slowly laid down and went back to sleep.

After a week of much-needed time for adaptation, I connected with my new hosts.  I hitched a ride with my friend’s friend as she was heading just a few miles from my host’s home.  We easily connected and I hopped into her 1994 gold Mercedes and we were off.  A new adventure to begin.

Since I am back in the States, I must admit, I feel less like a traveler.  Sure I am in a new place and I have seen some touristy things like visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, very cool by the way.  But here, in the States, the syncopation feels more to me like… my regular life then daily living in Europe.  While I am here I have a little business to take care of… like renewing my driver’s license that expired some time ago and preparations for my new possibility more easily sewn from home soil.

And so I continue… my practice of being present in the midst of change and new plans unfolding.  My helpx hosts in Philadelphia are a busy family living in a sweet historic area just within the city limits called Mt. Airy.  I am happily placed in a private room on the third floor amidst a busy family, running a business from home and two young boys, ages 4 and 7.  It is a big change for me from the quiet respite of the French countryside.   Since arriving, I have found my way here in little ways… attending yoga classes at a studio down the street, meeting with my New Orleans connection for a Reiki exchange.  The neighborhood here is filled with regular faces who I am already recognizing as I make my way in their world… to the neighborhood street festival and local co-op.

I am doing a variety of things here as part of my help exchange.  I am using my design and marketing skills to help support their growing home business.  I also help with basic things around the house like keeping the kitchen clean and organizing places and corners in need of attention.  From time to time I am able to give my hosts a Reiki treatment and sometimes give an extra hand with caring for the children.

But here I am, back in the States.  Just another step in my unexpected journey.

And so, I leave you pondering one of  the deeper questions of life… what should I call my website now that I am no longer “a wandering flower in Europe”…  Any suggestions?

Photo of the Liberty Bell, up close and personal.