Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Posts tagged ‘travel’

1 Year, 5 Countries, A Lot of Living

Just over a year ago my family moved to Sicily. Since the spring of 2017, we have spent time in five different countries – a few we went back to again and again…and again. We left America and settled in our temporary, new home. After that, we fell in love with Germany. It was so beautiful in the summer that we decided to go back and see it transformed in the winter. Every morning we looked up at Zugspitze, the mountain that has the highest elevation in Germany. It was majestic during both seasons.

Zugspite in the winter

Zugspite in the winter

 

summer mountain

Zugspite in the summer

 

 

We visited Austria and saw the town that brought “Sound of Music” to life, Salzburg.

Salzburg

Residenzplatz in Salzburg, Austria

 

 

Windmills in Zaanse Schans, Ntherlands

Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam

 

On the next trip, we went to Netherlands and saw how they make wooden shoes. We had our breath taken away by watching windmills turn along the waterfront and saw tulip fields just starting to bloom.

 

 

 

 

Flower Fields in Keukenhof

Flower Fields in Keukenhof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our children are enrolled in an American high school here. We, as a family, have flown on more planes this year than we had in many years combined back in America. A three hour plane ride here can take us above several countries. We’ve learned the skill of backpacking. We board a plane with only one backpack each. There is little we need besides comfortable walking shoes and layers of clothes that help us adjust to the fluctuating temperatures.

There have been challenges along the way, of course. My children were at a school with about 1,600 students before they moved. The school here, 6th-12th grade, has under 200. Having prosopagnosia created a feeling of isolation when we moved into our community. It’s hard to get new friends to understand why I reintroduce myself over and over and over again. My tremors are worse and my eyesight is no better.

Yet, even with these challenges, I would not give up this experience of living abroad for anything. We are seeing the world. We are meeting new people and learning new things.

 

To the friends I met in Germany, “Hallo, wie geht es dir”. One of my children always helps us learn new phrases to say hello when we visit a new country. After all, we are in their country. Some speak English, some do not.

To the wonderful people of Netherlands: Thank you for spending so much time with the tulip fields in Keukenhof. It is no easy task to plant seven million tulip bulbs!

To the people of Italy and my new friends in Sicily, “Grazie mile for making me feel at home.”

Mt. Etna

A view of Mt. Etna from near our house – Sicily, Italy

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Losing and Gaining Weight (8,313 Pounds)

On February 28, 2017, I watched all 8,313 pounds of our household belongings be loaded into seven crates.  This is an odd perspective, seeing everything we own (clothes, furniture, etc.) covered with a thick tarp being driven away.

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Sixty-three days later, on May 2nd, these belongings -now noted as 3,770 kilograms-  were delivered to our new house on the eastern coast of Sicily.

Gaining Weight

 

  • 8,313 pounds
  • 242 boxes
  • all fit into 7 crates

…That folks, that is just stuff.

 

  • 2 beautiful children
  • 1 intact family searching for adventure in this world

….These friends, these are gifts we’ve been given by life. It is our responsibility to remember to remain grateful and embrace the gifts life provides us.

 

We’ve started on a new adventure life offered our family this spring. There are still many challenges in my life, but I maintain an unwavering optimism to overcome these obstacles.

 

Stay tuned for my series of See Sicily With Me.

csicily

 

 

 

A Work Trip in Numbers

I was fishing for dreams to share and hope to build…. I think I did well gathering both for myself and others during my time away.

Time Quote

I was fortunate to have been invited to speak to a wide variety of people the beginning of this month. This invitation took me halfway across the United States. The day after I returned home I was so exhausted I laid down in my bed early and slept for ten hours. It took me a few days to get rid of the jet lag and resume my usual schedule. It was a lot of work, but it was such an honor to have been invited.

6 Consecutive days
3,712 Miles flown round-trip
14 Presentations
2 Cities
2 Colleges (Thank you University of Iowa and Loras College for your warm hospitality)
1 Education Center (Thank you Regina Education Center. By the way, I loved being there on pajama day!)
1 Nurse’s group mixed with some amazing volunteers (Thank you University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinic nurses and volunteers for the wonderful gift of caring and compassion you provide to your patients daily.)
COUNTLESS conversations with incredible people who were willing to share their time and join me in a journey to help others learn from the lessons our lives have taught.

It was a whirlwind trip, but I always find myself gaining more than I could ever hope to offer when I hear of the impact we are capable of having on one another.

What Happens In Vegas…

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The city’s tourism slogan is “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas”. Are you like me and wonder what does happen? Stop back in two weeks, and I will tell you what really did happen in Vegas. Right now I am full of hopeful anticipation. I will be traveling to Las Vegas next week to speak at two venues.

On Wednesday, September 10th at 7PM, a brand new theater located within part of the newly renovated and exciting Downtown Project has invited me to present. I will be at The Window attempting to inspire with lessons of overcoming adversity. We all face challenges. Everyone needs to remember they are strong enough to face these difficulties. We all have it within us to become stronger after the storm has passed.

On Thursday, September 11th, I have been invited to speak at the world-renowned Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. I will speak to patients and doctors about my first-hand experiences with acquired and traumatic brain injuries. They will hear what it is like to be a patient and live as a survivor.

 

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I am planning on sharing a few stories about what happened in Vegas but pictures… we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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