Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Working World

It's been a while! I haven't really known what to blog about lately. 

The working world puts a damper on my blogging because I pretty much go to work and come home every day, and I don't have so much time to procrastinate and blog like I used to. 

I went to Florida for fall break a couple of weeks ago. My cousin Emily and her two friends, Sarah and Kelly went, and my mom and me. We watched the entire season one of Friday Night Lights in three days, and I loved every minute of it. 

We took some fun/funny pictures one day when a storm was blowing in and the winds were crazy. 

I got back to work and hit the ground running so I could get caught up to stay on track for studying for my Series 7 licensing exam... And that has defined my life since then. I am taking a cram course next week and will then be ready to take the exam the following Monday. (Yay!) I'm ready to have this over! 

I am moving out of my parents house to a house next door with my cousin Crosby. I'm excited about that because it will be fun living with her but I can still be close to my parents, and I'll probably still be at home a lot. I'll have the best of both worlds! 

I wish I had a cool/fun/exciting/funny story to tell you, but I can't think of one, so I'll keep this one short. 

I'll be thinking for next time! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going to the Office

I am a part of the real working world now. So far, so good!

I'm working for my uncle as his assistant stock broker, learning everything I can from him and from my two huge books for the General Securities Representative Exam (Series 7) and for the Uniform Combined State Law Exam (Series 66). So pretty much, I'll be going to work for the first couple of months to study for these exams so that I can get licensed and can then do my job and eventually do what he does!

Anyways, it's been an adjustment to go from a college student to unemployed/make-my-own-schedule to a 40 hour work week, but it hasn't been too bad as long as I get in bed a little earlier than I used to.

I get my own office, which has probably been the most exciting part, besides of course, learning about municipal debt characteristics.

The decorating is coming slowly but surely. I still have a little ways to go. I also love having an office instead of the way college was, having to bring your stuff with you everywhere you do. It's nice to go to the office and already have everything you need!

My lunch/study break is up, so I'll blog later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Life in Pictures (And Captions)

Life on the Mountain is so different from Life in College. But it's good! 

Crosby and I worked at the barn lot for days trying to clean up the brush (shown behind the dump truck).

We inspired other people in the family to help us clean up.

These two adorable four-year-olds (my cousins) play in my yard at least once a day. 

We take Shelby most places, and we've tried to get creative with the car seat thing. My thoughts were that all a car seat did was give her a few extra inches-just like the arm rest would do! Shelby didn't buy it. 

It rained and rained and rained... And I had to get the eggs (Dad left town because of the rain). 

I work at Poppy Flower Shop and got to make this! 
Cooking classes were so fun with Crosby... 
And the next night we practiced our cooking.

This is tiramisu that we learned at cooking class.
I forgot half the brandy and rum and it was much better than normal.

Donkeys escaped after the rainstorm because the tree was down on the fence... and so a drizzly morning walk turned into an hour long chase/enticement of the donkeys. Just another day... Good thing I didn't have plans that day.

I get to watch Laurel Anne and Shelby at gymnastics.

I get to visit Geoffrey for UT football games.

I also get to babysit Kaden any time that I want. 

Crosby got a draft horse tonight that is HUGE. She is so gentle and sweet but her size (1700 pounds and her shoulders are 6 feet tall) is intimidating to say the least. I'll be waiting a while before I jump on. At this point, I'm great with looking at her and petting her.

Haley the horse could barely fit in the barn stall. 
And so, that's my exciting life on the mountain. It's a very different kind of exciting compared to college exciting, but it's good. Every day is different. And I have a feeling this horse is going to keep it interesting. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Procedures, Burns, and To-do's

I have finally, after two months, had all of my abnormal cancerous cells removed! Two procedures, four numbing shots (the worst part) and twelve stitches later, I have no worries, and I heard Friday that the results came back clear. Dr. Fennewald got it all out. I knew he had gotten it all out because I saw the huge amount of skin he took out of my body (which he so kindly put in front of my face). I figure that I probably lost at least an ounce of weight from that. (Looking on the bright side!)

I burnt my leg on an exhaust pipe yesterday AGAIN. I'm going to have to start waiting to get stuff from my trunk for at least an hour after I get out of my car.  I just don't learn/retain.

I also burnt myself last week on a metal spoon that had been touching the gas flame on the eye of the stove. Mom had moved the spoon out of the flame by touching the other end of the spoon, and set it down on the counter, and then my arm brushed against the hot end of spoon, and I was SO surprised that a spoon was so hot, and mom was too! I think I screamed. We both heard my arm make a legit sizzle noise. I didn't know that happened in real life.

And so, I burnt my arm... not on a hot cookie sheet, or on the oven, or even a plate from the microwave... but on a spoon.

Anyways, I have a pretty low key week planned this week. (Not that it really takes any planning to plan nothing.) I tried planning already, and then I realized that it was dumb. I made this as I was trying to plan what I'd do after work last week:

My one plan for this week is that on Tuesday evening, Crosby and I are taking an Italian cooking class that we are really excited about! We'll find other things to do, I'm sure. We've thought about maybe painting some furniture or getting a horse or puppy for Crosby or something like that. We'll also visit sweet, tiny baby Preston, my little 2 week old cousin who lives right next door to me.

I'm still waiting to hear back from a company that I've been interviewing with. They keep calling and saying that it will be a couple of more weeks before they decide, but that I'm still on their radar, so that's good I guess... We will see!

I'll just keep trying to get my crazy, busy life organized by making detailed to-do lists like the above...

If you need any random jobs done, let me know. I'd be happy to help!

PS-- Has anyone else seen the new "scribe"tool on blogger? It's a little pencil icon on the top of a new post that you can click on and it guesses what word that you will type next. It's actually correct a lot of the time! If you have a blog, try it. It's amazing how smart technology is! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Going to LAX... Or not

I got the most exciting email today from Karen Stien. (I've never heard of her in my life). It was a forwarded email from that said Melissa P. has a flight booked from ATL to LAX on November 22 and returning on November 25, already paid by this same stranger's credit card.

Pretty sweet deal!

I am sure this person just got the wrong email address and forwarded it to the wrong Melissa P. since my email address is mmp****, but it's odd that 1) the ticket had my same exact name, first and last, even though my full name isn't in my email address, and 2) that it is to/from the Atlanta airport, which is where I would normally fly out from.

I could technically, maybe, show up to the airport with my Melissa P. picture identification and get on that flight since I have the confirmation number and all... but I might be sitting next to an angry stranger who bought a ticket for a friend who wasn't allowed on. 

I'd feel pretty bad about that, and I don't want to make national news or something for making a scene in an airplane. 

This gives me a flash back to tonight... getting thrown out of a movie theater (for "being in the wrong auditorium; this auditorium is for VIP only"). The sign outside the door said "The Help 6:45", so we went in and cozied up in our seats. I didn't know to look for a VIP sign. I didn't know there was such a thing as a VIP movie for a film that came out two weeks ago, now showing on a Monday night at 6:45. But apparently there is. And so it was obvious to all the VIP's that we were not VIP's, so we were kicked out to an empty theater auditorium way on down the hall.

So my point is, getting up out of the "VIP" seats tonight in the dark movie theater by the movie theater  woman yelling at Crosby and me was bad enough; I don't want to get kicked out of an airplane by a US marshall in broad daylight

I won't be flying for Thanksgiving! Tennessee is great with me... I would much rather stay home. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where did July go?

I'm skipping two jam-packed weeks and about 3 laid-back weeks of my life because I don't know where to start on them so I keep procrastinating on blogging. Camp Coker Creek with Geoffrey's church was great, and so was family vacation at Fripp Island with my whole family.

My 8th grade girls cabin at camp.

The dreaded group picture on a stranger's stairs at Fripp.
I'll come back to those weeks in further detail later when I don't feel like procrastinating.

I was around large crowds of people for an extended period of time, so in the weeks following I've enjoyed laying low. Not that I didn't absolutely love every minute of the crowds, a bunk bed and an extremely messy room (both weeks at Fripp and Coker Creek) gets a little old after two weeks.

And so I came home and have been chilling... Babysitting some, cooking dinner at night, cleaning my room out, shopping for and celebrating mom's birthday, having another pre-cancerous mole surgery, and interviewing for jobs.

Mom and I made the best tomato tart from Southern Living. It was a puff pastry rolled out, topped with feta, mozzarella, and tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden. We also made some jalapeno poppers (jalapenos cut in half and topped with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon-- super healthy), which I burnt, but they were still good. Mom and Dad have made some delicious salsa with the tomatoes from the garden, and we have had lots of cucumber and tomato salad with feta. It's been a good eating few weeks! 

I've cleaned my room out for the third time since April, and I think I've finally gotten it clean. Every time I clean, I take out about 2 trash bags of stuff or more, and the next time I do it, I wonder how I missed this stuff the last time I did it. But I think that I've finally got it all, and it feels so good! I can walk around my room without a problem! 

I've gotten to babysit some of the cutest kids (two boys, 10 and 7). We went roller skating, playground playing, to movies, and of course took too many trips to McDonald's. I think I gained weight because of their love of McDonald's! 

The moles that I got taken off and blogged about, they ended up having pre-cancerous cells in them so I got one taken out two weeks ago and got the SEVEN stitches out today. I've got a nice scar on my stomach now, but it's much better than cancer! I am so happy to get the stitches out, and now I just have to wait for August 31 when  I get the next spot taken out.

I have a final interview with a company tomorrow. It's between me and another candidate, and I have to do a 5-10 minute presentation about what my first 90 days in the job will look like, and I am freaking out about it. I am SO nervous.

I'm just praying that God would show me very clearly where He wants me. 

That's pretty much it for these past few weeks. Hope to update more often, starting this week! 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fight or Flight?

I now know what fight or flight response is. I remember learning about it in anatomy class in the 11th grade but I didn't really know what Mrs. Crowder was talking about. But now I do. I experienced it the night that I did my last blog (two days ago) about my hatred of all things medical (ironic).

Mary Sessions, Mom and I went up to Tim's Ford Lake about an hour and a half away to our cousin's lake house to meet my sister Laura, Aunt Dixie, Uncle Ken, and cousins Will and Claire. We got there at about 7:30 expecting dinner to be ready, but Laura was standing at the oven about to put the lasagna in when we got there, not realizing that it took 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook. We gave her a hard time about it, but we were really okay with waiting to eat dinner at 9:15.

We decided to go on an evening boat ride in order to forget our growling stomachs. It was the perfect time of night, not too hot, with the sun setting in the clouds. We stayed out there until  about 9:10 (perfect timing for the lasagna).

When we came back in to dock, Mary Sessions was getting off the boat to tie it up, and she got off where a pole was that was holding up the dock, so her foot hit the pole instead of the dock, along with the side of her face. Then we think she fell backwards and hit the boat (because we can't figure out how the back of her head was bleeding). Then she fell forwards again and hit the dock with her legs off the dock, but top on the dock.

I don't remember getting off the boat or anything, I just remember knowing that she was unconscious and holding on to her with everything I could because she was falling into the lake. Then my marine Uncle Ken yelled, "DO NOT LET HER FALL INTO THE WATER!" I was having a hard time keeping her up. And then my mom was there holding onto her too, and then Uncle Ken was there, and he was able to pull her up onto the dock. Then I was yelling to call 911, and so was he. Laura was freaking out because couldn't find her phone (which was in her pocket) because she was panicking, but Aunt Dixie was already on the line with them. I think that all happened in about a minute.

That was my fight response, then I had a flight response. I had to get away from the scene because I knew the marine could do it better than anything I could, and I was completely freaking out seeing Mary Sessions laying there.  I went out and up a few stairs towards the house and had my hands lifted praying out loud to Jesus to save her life as she was having a seizure. Laura and Aunt Dixie were praying out loud over her, and Mom was whispering to her, while Uncle Ken was putting her on her side and holding her steady. It was a nightmare scene, but I kept my arms lifted, and for a brief second wondered if any of the many neighbors thought I was a freak if they couldn't see what was going on down at the dock, but I really didn't care at the moment.

I went to the top of the driveway to wait for the ambulance. I also yelled to an elderly neighbor to see if he knew of a doctor around, but he didn't answer.

Mary Sessions woke up and the first thing she said was, "I feel better." It was a relief to everyone! She said she couldn't figure out where she was, and she was really fuzzy, telling Uncle Ken that the president is George W. Bush, then laughing because she knew that was wrong. She could move, though Uncle Ken made sure that she not move anything at all.

And after what seemed like ages, a good 20 minutes, the ambulance arrived. I led the EMTs down there, and they asked her the president, and this time she got it right! Go Mary! I crossed my fingers as it took her a while to remember the year and month, but she got them right.

They said she needed to be life flighted to a trauma center because she had both a seizure and was unconscious. Apparently just because someone is talking doesn't mean that there isn't a brain injury, so they wanted her to be flown to Vanderbilt, Huntsville, or Chattanooga, and my mom begged for Chattanooga so my dad could be at the hospital when she got there.

Six men carried Mary Sessions up on a board about 50 stairs to the ambulance. We followed the ambulance to the place where Life Force came to see her off, but then the police wouldn't let us close. There were so many people there! Four sheriff suburbans, a couple police cars, and what looked like the entire volunteer fire department, and of course the helicopter!

Mary Sessions got a 27 minute ride on a hard board in a neck brace to Erlanger. Laura, Mom and I got a hour and a half car drive as we sweated bullets in two separate cars (brave Mom alone, Laura and I in another car). to Erlanger. Dad got to Erlanger an hour before Mary did because he wanted to make sure he was there. When we arrived, Aunt Anne G, Laura's small group leader, our two pastors, Laura Leatherwood and her brother Wade and a few of Laura's friends were there waiting and praying for Mary.

A very cute doctor (says Laura) met Mary at the helicopter and got her to her room to check her out. They only let us see her two at a time and I missed the doctor every time I was back there. I just wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

Dad was sure to take a pic of her on
his camera phone. She was even smiling
in a neck brace!

The doctor had very good reports and let Mary walk out of the hospital barefooted just 3 hours after she had arrived. Our family got home at 2 am after being stopped by a policewoman for Dad running a red light... After Mary intentionally made a very sickly face and Mom explained the story, the policewoman let them go without proof of insurance, but questioning if Dad was in a condition to drive safely. 

I was so happy that the whole family was home that night! I couldn't have even dreamed that would happen when I was praying over the dock just five hours earlier. 

Mom and I had trouble sleeping after all that, even though she was alright. I might have gotten an hour of sleep. I think I was still recovering from the fight or flight response adrenaline or something. I had to start taking every thought captive and Philippians 4:8-ing every thought like Paulette always told us to do ("Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things"). I had to make myself stop what-if-ing everything... And remember that Mary Sessions is great and anyways, God has it all under His control, and He loves her more than any of us do.

Mary Sessions has had lots of visitors, sweet texts, cards, flowers and candy. I am so thankful that she is completely okay, though she is still taking strong pain medicine for her headaches and very sore muscles from hitting things and having a seizure. To me, she's much much better than she could be. It's kind of embarrassing that I'm sore too, though not nearly as bad, from trying to pull her out of the lake.  I need to work on my arms and legs a little.

I remember praying that God's Will be done, and that I believed with my all that God could heal her completely, but I didn't even imagine that she would be fine and out of the hospital in 5 hours. This verse is it exactly:

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, 
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church 
and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." 
Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Band-Aid

Tuesday morning I had a dermatologist check up appointment. Dr. Fenn looked at my skin and moles, and he found two moles that looked suspicious, so he ended up telling me that he needed to take biopsies on them. I was fine with that until the nurse led me into another room instead of leaving. You see, I thought that I would come in another day with my mom to have them taken off, but Dr. Fenn wanted to do it immediately.

I frantically told the nurse that my mother wasn't there and I was alone and had to drive myself home, but she just said that it was okay. That didn't work. Then I told her that I am not good with needles and with things like this, I get queasy sometimes,  and I've never had a mole removed. She said that it would be okay. (Not the reactions I was looking for.) And so, I just told her I did NOT want to look at the needle or see ANYTHING that they were doing. And she said, of course, that it would be okay.

And so she gave me the numbing shots. I closed my eyes and probably made weird faces. She gave me the one on my upper abdomen first, then the one on my back which hurt way more. He then razored them off and I didn't even know he was doing it except for the pressure.... Then came the worst part. The band-aid.

Ever since I was a child, I've hated band-aids. I've always hated blood and needles and casts and such. I would scream if someone came around me with a cast on or with any limb amputated. My extreme hatred of anything medically related was over the top. When I'd get a bloody knee, I'd be more upset because I had to put a band-aid on it and I knew that it was going to hurt when I had to pull it off.

I've improved since then. I got shots for Haiti last year all alone, and I got these numbing shots alone, though I did make some painful noises and faces. I can now help other people who get boo-boos and need band-aids. I can be around people with casts and not cry. I've come a long way, but the band-aids still get to me. Especially when I know they are going to hurt!

You see, at our house we have these intense water-proof band-aids. They are good in theory... until you put them on! They are the stickiest things I've ever seen. It's like those heart monitor stickies that they put on you when you get put to sleep for surgery. Has anyone else ever woken up when they haven't taken them off and suffered through the pain of ripping them off?

Well, these band-aids are like that! And they are painful to get off. It's hard to get them off because they stick so closely to the skin, you have to use your fingernails to peel it up. I have to change two band-aids twice a day, so I have to do it a lot.

To sum it up, the band-aids have caused me more stress and worry than the procedure itself ever did. 

Pray that the biopsy comes back with good results (no cancer) so that I won't have to have another worse procedure where they take out more. Skin cancer runs in our family and I have decided to wear more sunscreen so I don't have to wear more band-aids! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The End of the Trip

Today we came to a different hotel, but in the same city of Sorrento. The new hotel, Johanna Park Hotel is slightly outside of the city and has a shuttle to the city. They were nice enough to bring their shuttle to pick us up at our last hotel so we didn't have to carry the luggage everywhere. However, their "shuttle" looked like this. It was interesting fitting four people with four big bags into this car.

We had to carry two suitcases on top of us in the car. My suitcase wasn't small...
So anyways, our shuttle driver told us that we just absolutely had to go to Positano, a neighboring city about 30 minutes away by SITA bus. He said the bus ticket was only 7,20 euro round-trip, and there was a beach there and it was gorgeous. We had been wanting to go anyways, so we decided to do it. The bus picked us up right outside of the hotel, and we packed in through the middle door of the bus. There were already about 20 people standing in the aisle of the coach bus, so we joined them standing in the stairs for the middle door of the bus. Before this, I thought that I was becoming used to the smelly people over there. But no... The man next to us smelled so badly that I gagged a few times. He was up against me because there was no room and he had his arms up holding onto the rails. All four of us got motion sickness I think, and then we started going on these cliffs.

The last 20 minutes of the drive was on a road like this, with the bus driver gassing it on the straight parts and going way too fast on the sharp curves with the bus tilting, looking like it was going to flip. Some say the drive was beautiful, I say the drive almost made me have my first ever anxiety attack, and I'm used to driving near cliffs on a mountain. Nonetheless, we made it there safely.

We loved Positano. It's an adorable, colorful city on a hill/cliff with the beach at the bottom. There are cute shops, lots of boats, and many tourists. The houses and restaurants are all stacked on top of one another on the hill. It was really neat and had tons of steps.

The beach was made of pebbles instead of sand, which brought a nice twist to it. I liked lying on the pebbles, but I didn't like walking on them because they got into my shoes and were super hot, as they were grayish-black.

After a nice day of laying out and reading, I began to get nervous about the drive home, but I was comforted by the fact that most of the time, we would not be on the same side of the road as the cliff because we'd be in the opposite lane. We waited about an hour for the bus to come, and when we got on, there was just about no room for us.

The driver made Aunt Anne G. stand in the stair well in the front of the bus, right next to him, and he made her hold on to the front rail with two hands. She kind of looked like she thought she was driving or something. We couldn't stop laughing about it because she was also nervous about the ride, and there was no way she could avoid looking at the scary road unless she closed her eyes. I was the first person standing in the aisle, right behind Anne G. and the driver, also ironic because I could see everything and would be the first person through the windshield if anything happened.

But this time, we had a good bus driver who beeped before each blind turn so that oncoming cars wouldn't hit us, and he went slow around curves. He couldn't understand English and was very serious about driving, but sometimes I threw out the word "Bueno" just so he knew I approved and would keep up the caution.

We went up part of a mountain, and then got to the top and began going down. I watched carefully as the driver shift into second gear, and I was glad to see this in case the brakes went out. A few minutes later as we were on the decline, the driver sniffed and looked around. Then Anne G. sniffed and said, "Do you smell the brakes?" I shrugged. Then the driver sniffed, looked in his rear mirror, and started cursing in English. I thought he was mad at Anne G for saying his brakes were out, but he slammed on the brakes, opened the doors, and pushed me and Anne G out the door (without my purse with wallet and passport) before grabbing the fire extinguisher.

I quickly noticed smoke coming out the back of the bus and freaked out about it blowing up and my passport being in there. I was in a bind because I know you're never supposed to go back into a fire, but I thought I'd be stuck there without the passport so I started yelling at the people who were rushing out of the bus to grab my bag. Someone did, and I couldn't tell you the first thing about what the person looked like, I just ran away from the bus in case of an explosion.

We called our hotel shuttle to pick us up because I did not want to ride another bus the rest of the way down the mountain, and we knew that our hotel owner would be nice enough to send someone to get us.  A man came and got us in a different "shuttle."

I was just thankful it wasn't a bus!

So anyways, we got to the hotel and took hot baths and we to sleep soon after so that we could wake up at 5 the next morning for a bus to Rome (which never came). We ended up having to ride a train at 7:50 and then finally making it to Rome by 2 in the afternoon. It was okay though, and I was secretly glad that it was a train instead of a bus, even if it took an extra 4 hours.

In front of the Trevi fountain
We spent the rest of the day in Rome seeing the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, shopping, eating, and searching for good gelato. It was a nice day with a nice hotel and a nice dinner and amazing gelato from a place called Venchi.

Our last Italian dinner
The next morning we were up and at'em and ready to come home! It was a wonderful trip, but by the end I was ready to come home to the US and stop worrying about the conversion rate between dollars to euros (one euro is about $1.50, so it's terrible). Uncle Paul picked us up in a very roomy Sequoyah SUV, and I thought, this is why I love being home... There is space!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ponza, Naples, and an Allergic Reaction

We are in Sorrento now! It's a cute little town south of Naples on the Amalfi Coast. It has beautiful views of the ocean and is very charming.  We love our hotel, too! It is one of the cheapest, yet it still has character. It's family-run and has amazing breakfast. We have been in town today, riding a train around and walking the streets. We stopped to get gelato at a famous place that many famous people have visited. It was delicious until Meredith started having an allergic reaction. We all kind of panicked. She is allergic to nuts, so she got mint chocolate chip and coffee ice cream, but apparently nuts got in the gelato and her throat started swelling before she finished the cone. I had to help her out and finish the cone as we sprint-walked to find a "pharmacia"where the Benadryl was 15 Eu ($21), and so we decided to try to find our hotel to get her Benadryl from home. I'm pretty sure we were all saying silent prayers as we sweated our way home from being hot as well as nervous.

Meredith skyped her mom, and decided she didn't need a hospital and just took an antihistamine and is now sleeping. We decided it was the perfect time for an afternoon siesta because it's so hot outside and we are tired from yesterday....

YESTERDAY was crazy. 

We began on the tiny island of Ponza on the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Southern Italy. It was beautiful and calm and peaceful. We felt like we knew just about everyone on the island--the hotel workers, hotel owner, waiter, restaurant owner next door, beach worker, bus driver... Everyone was so friendly and helpful, even though most did not know English. We did a lot of acting, mostly acting out swimming because that was the easiest way to say we were going to the beautiful beach that was just about 300 stairs down from our hotel. 

It was well-worth the walk, but it was a long walk down. 
This was the only sandy beach that we went to. We loved it! The boulder beaches were pretty but the rocks weren't so comfy. We had the best weather we could've asked for.
We stayed in Ponza for just 2 nights before moving on. It was perfect for relaxing after Barcelona, and we were all so glad that we took the time to go over there. (It was a beautiful 3 hour ferry ride away.)

Anyways, we left our sweet hotel, Hotel Ornensia, and crammed our suitcases onto Ponza's public bus where the very friendly bus driver sang to us in Italian. Then we relaxed on the cargo ferry for three hours as we traveled to Formia where we planned catch a train to Naples. After dragging the luggage up about 50 stairs and asking about 6 people for directions to the station, we found it. The crowded (rush hour) train scared all of us because of the rough crowd on board. We were stressed because we couldn't find seats where our luggage would fit, and there were some creepy men in the section by the door where we had to stand with our luggage.

Four seats finally cleared out for Meredith, Mary, and me. They got into the four seats facing each other, then we stacked four bags on top and around us. People stared, but we were happy to be seated. Anne G sat across the aisle from us where she met a middle-aged, Russian woman, who when we asked where she was from, replied with, "How do I look from?" After some clarification, we figured out that she meant, "Where do I look like I'm from?" Her English was better than our Russian, so I'm not making fun, but it was awkward. 

So Ulka, the Russian lady, talked to Anne G the entire rest of the time and she was going to Sorrento as well. So when we got off the train, she ended up "clinging" to us and throwing everything into confusion. The train from Naples to Sorrento was on strike, so she told us that we were going to split a hotel and all stay in one room and then come to Sorrento the next day. She started bossing us around and we really didn't like it, so we had to tell her that we were going to go ahead and come to Sorrento without her. Meanwhile, taxi drivers were mobbing us trying to get us to ride in their cars for way too much money, and we didn't know what to do. 

We arrived safely at our quaint hotel at about 8 or 9 after an hour drive. I was so stressed by that time that we couldn't decide what to eat for dinner, so the waiter ordered a pizza for me. (And it turned out to be great!)

The cute town has this plant everywhere. I think it's the same kind of plant that the Streets
gave me last summer. Wish my thumb was green enough to have one looking like this!

We woke up to a wonderful breakfast and lovely day in Sorrento until we had the allergic reaction, and though her throat isn't swollen any more, Meredith is still not feeling better yet. It's really hot, and that's what I think is making her sick. We may go try to find a place with air conditioning! I'm very thankful for a restful day, but I feel bad that Meredith has to be sick. Say a little prayer for her... We'd like to stay away from the Sorrento hospital.

And a few pictures that I didn't put up last post...

The view from Parc Guell above Barcelona
A boy we didn't really know "fell asleep" on Mary.

At the top of Parc Guell

Mary sitting with the old ladies at the bus stop.

Our yummy Catalynan dish from the Bachelor party. We are broadening our palate.

The Sea Shepherd is docked in Barcelona!

Mary and Meredith with the cute town of Ponza in the background.