Friday, January 4, 2013

last post from the voyage

Morning light on the MV Explorer

7:01PM flying across the United States 

This morning Gerlinde and I both woke up early because it was an exciting day – the day we were to leave the MV Explorer and move on to the next part of our lives – she to visit a friend in Los Angeles, me to fly home to Richmond to see my family after almost a month away.

San Diego at sunrise
The top deck in the beautiful morning light
We had both packed up everything the night before so our tasks were already done.  I happened to look out the window and saw that the sun was rising as the ship was heading into San Diego harbor, so I pulled on some clothes and rushed out to take some pictures in the beautiful morning light.  I wasn’t the only one – this is the earliest I’ve seen so many people up and at ‘em!  It seems like everybody was feeling the need to be active.

Seals on the buoy in the San Diego harbor.  We could hear them from the ship!

After capturing the light on the rocks, I headed back inside to shower and got dressed then head to breakfast.  One last beautifully prepared breakfast of fresh fruits, scrambled eggs, bacon perfectly cooked, apple sausage, and a couple of pancakes.  I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to eat again, so I figured I’d better fill up!  We sat with folks we hadn’t talked to before on the voyage.  One of the young women, it turns out, works at Omega Institute where I went to the Women and Power Conference in September.  I LOVED talked to her about  her job, about life, about Omega, about how to apply to teach a workshop there.  It was quite a serendipitous meeting – at the very last moment!

The light on the upper part of the ship

Sunrise in the harbor

The light on the rocks of the San Diego harbor

Cynthia and me

Gerlinde, Adrienne Knosp, me, and Jim Knosp

My dear traveling companion, Gerlinde
Gerlinde and Cynthia
Then I wandered around saying goodbye to people who have become dear friends the last 25 days – Cynthia and Bob Atkinson; Jim and Adrienne Knosp; Hedi; our steward Don; many many more.  I felt touched and honored running into some of my students who thanked me for the art classes I taught.  A few of them are planning to go back home and take classes there.  That makes me feel great.  It’s so excited to open up the world of doing art to people and to see their enthusiasm and joy in doing it.  
San Diego skyline from the ship

My last view of the MV Explorer, taken from the Gangway into customs and out into the world again!

The passengers' luggage lined up and ready for us to take it home with us.  Everything was remarkable well-organized.  So impressive!

The left side of the largest yacht in the world.  Owned by the 50th richest man in the world.  In the harbor (@ $10,000 docking fees/night) for several months now while getting repairs.  I wish people would use their money to help others in more useful ways.

Finally 10 o’clock came and it was my turn to leave the ship.  I hugged Gerlinde goodbye and tried to say all the right things that would last until we see each other again, probably years from now, and would adequately convey how wonderful it’s been to be with her these last weeks.  It was terrific having her as a travel companion.  She’s so easy to be with and so thoughtful and lovely.  It was all good.

I caught a shuttle to the airport, paid my $10, and was suddenly in the world of the US where everything is in English.  The airport is such a strange place with the snaking security lines, taking off shoes and opening up laptops to assure officials of your benign intent, buying overpriced, underly nutritious food to avoid having to buy it on the plane where it’s likely to be even worse, sitting on the floor in a corner near a plug so I could charge up my laptop while eating said sandwich.  Yes, it’ll be good to be home again. 
Looking west out of the airplane window over the Pacific as we took off from San Diego.
The setting sun from the airplane.

Atlanta before landing.
Atlanta, here I come.  Richmond, here I come with even more glee!  The kids, Laura and Dylan, are planning to meet me at the airport with Chris.  I can’t wait to see them again!

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