Sunday, September 11, 2016

Where Were You? I'll Never Forget! *repost*


It is hard to believe it has been 16 years since that horrific day...I can still remember it like it was yesterday! I still get a knot in my stomach, an ache in my heart and tears in my eyes. My voice still cracks when I try to talk about what happened or where I was. When I think back to that day, I realize that God had me in that place for a reason. Let me explain...

I was born in Minnesota, I grew up there and in Washington State. After college I moved to Arizona, got married and had a baby and quit teaching to stay home with her. Then in January of 2001 my husband got laid off of work and I had to go back to work. I had recently earned a Master's Degree in Educational Counseling and wanted to pursue that avenue rather than go back to teaching. This meant we had to move. I was offered a position as a Guidance Counselor for 5-8th grade in a small town in New Jersey.

In late August, my 18 month-old daughter and I moved to NJ with the help of my sister (my husband stayed in AZ to try and sell our house).

September 10, 2001 ~ Unicorn and I took my sister to the airport in NYC. We looked up at the World Trade Center and other landmarks and talked about taking a trip to NYC soon to view the sights. That afternoon my sister flew back to Seattle.

September 11, 2001 ~ I dropped Unicorn off for her FIRST DAY of daycare and went to work. At 8:30 am I went to met with the principal in his office. The next thing I know a parent comes in screaming that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  (A little background here: The city I worked in was a commuter city for NYC. Of the 500 students in the school at least half of them had a family member that worked at the WTC. Also, the city is only about 45 min. from NYC).

As the events of the day unfolded it became clear that it was not an accident and that the US was under attack. I wanted nothing more than to grab my stuff and get my daughter and go home and cuddle with her. As a school counselor, that was not an option. The school went into lock-down mode. I was allowed 5 minutes to call my family and let them know that I was ok. The ONLY member if my family I could reach was my dad in Idaho. He was then tasked with getting in touch with my husband (in AZ), my mom (in Canada at the time) and my siblings (both in Seattle, WA). He was also able to confirm that my sister had arrived in Seattle safely the night before.

From about 9:30 am until 5:45 pm, I made phone calls and went to each classroom to explain what had happened. We had to call the families of every student who had family members that worked in NYC (approx. 250) and then to talk to each student and let them know that their moms, dads, aunts, uncles, etc. were ALL ok! It was a miracle. Not one of our students had a family member die that day. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with the staff. One staff member lost a family member in the WTC that day.

At 6 pm I was finally able to go pick up my daughter from daycare and take her home and cuddle with her.

I know that I was there that day to help the staff and students through that day. My ability to stay calm during a crisis and to think clearly was definitely useful that day. I grew and changed that day. I would not be who I am if I had not been so close to that tragedy. I also wouldn't have been as needed had I live elsewhere. September 10, 2001 was the first and last time I ever saw the WTC towers. My little family moved back to AZ after that school year. It is the only time in my life that I have ever lived out east.

I will NEVER forget where I was that day? Will you?

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Christmas Trip 2014 (part 7): Genoa and Home

December 30th was the end of the cruise and we docked back in Genoa. We didn't want to be rushed trying to catch a flight the same day we disembarked so we booked a hotel for the night. It was a pretty quick and easy disembarkation process and we were able to get a cab to our hotel pretty quickly. We arrived at the hotel prior to check-in time and since our room wasn't ready reception held our luggage and we went to find lunch and do some exploring. It was very cold!

Motorcycle and mopeds were everywhere. This is how they parked!
Home of Christopher Columbus
Home of Christopher Columbus

This "red line" led us right back to our hotel!
December 31st we flew from Genoa to Istanbul. Since we had a 27 hour layover we got a hotel in hopes of ringing in the new year in comfort. While the hotel was quite comfortable the weather was NOT. It was cold and rainy. We stayed up until midnight and went up to the hotel balcony and watched about 2 minutes of fireworks before we froze and called it a year/night!
Statue of Christopher Columbus on the way to the airport in Genoa
Hubby as Santa in the airport in Genoa
You can't really see them but this is a picture of the fireworks for New Year's
Yummy food we found in Istanbul
January 1st we flew from Istanbul to Abu Dhabi and stayed 1 day with friends. Then hubby took me back to the airport so I could fly back to the US to pick up the kids. Because of the weather in Abu Dhabi we were delayed in our take off. Then because of the delay the flight crew couldn't legally fly the entire way to London so we had to land in Vienna and wait (5 hours) for a new flight crew to arrive. Because of this I missed my flight out of London to Phoenix and I had to spend the night in London. Normally this is not a big deal but there wasn't time to enjoy London and I missed my kids! I finally made it to Phoenix 26 hours late but safe and sound. I spent a couple days enjoying Arizona and then the kids and I headed home. Gratefully it was an uneventful trip home with the kids!
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Christmas Trip 2014 (part 6): Olympia and NOT Malta

December 26th was spent at sea. It was a nice day of relaxing.

December 27th we visited Olympia, Greece. Olympia is where the first Olympics were held and where they were held for thousands of years. It was neat to see current excavation sites. After we walked through the ruins and excavation sites we went into town to do a little shopping. Instead of shopping hubby and I found a little restaurant and had some gyros that we had been craving!

December 28th we were supposed to go to Malta but once we got close to port it was determined that it was too dangerous to enter the port because of the winds that were up to 50 knots. This made for some very rough seas and the ship was "rocking" enough that I spent a lot of time in bed with a queasy stomach!

Here are some photos from Olympia:

current dig site

Here are a couple photos to show how bad the weather was:

The white-caps and waves were visible out our window on deck 10. Also, it was too dangerous to walk on the decks outside so they closed all the doors that led outside. We were actually very grateful for this as the door right across from our door would SLAM very loudly because the wind was so strong.

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Christmas Trip 2014 (part 5): Istanbul

Christmas Eve we arrived in Istanbul! Since we were going to be in port for 2 days I took advantage of a little down time and had a massage, manicure and pedicure! It was a nice day of relaxing and pampering.

On Christmas Day we took a tour of Istanbul. Our tour guide was great and there were only 4 of us on the tour! First stop was the Blue Mosque:

 Then a little walk...

This was brought all the way from Egypt!

 and the Hagia Sophia

Uncovering Christian art that had been covered when it was converted to a mosque.

An angel that had covered when it was turned into a mosque.

Viking Runes carved in the marble

 Our last stop was the Grand Bazaar
Turkey was a lot of fun...we would love to go back sometime. I would love to spend more time at the Grand Bazaar!
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