Michael contacted the boat show organizers and asked if they would be interested in having us speak. They said they would and here we are.
Exciting and nerve racking at the same time!
It was hard to decide what to talk about as we had only 45 minutes.....giving each of us about 8 minutes. What story to share from 7 years of adventure? We narrowed it down by brainstorming 4 or 5 of our most memorable moments and then tried to keep them under 8 minutes. What a challenge!
We did it and had fun sharing our stories!
We are moments away from giving our first ever talk about our circumnavigation.
I thought I'd just end the blog upon returning home....sort of write a good-bye and move along with land life. When I mentioned this to a friend, she said no way. She said she wanted to hear updates about our transition to land life.
So, in September, I began to put together a blog post with pictures telling and showing how things were going. And things were going well, and fast! We were so busy that we, sadly, didn't think a lot about Gromit. Unfortunately, those pictures cannot ever be posted and the emotion of those first days and months are now too far back for me to express them the way I had them written at the time. So much has happened.
So in a nut shell, as best as I can remember.......
August was really busy with unpacking and reorganizing and going through many, many boxes of stuff we had stored away in the house before we left. The girls were studying hard to get ready to write their exams. Liam was enjoying his last days of 'freedom'. Michael started work with his former company and I had an interview scheduled for September to get on the supply teacher list of my former school board. Things were moving in a good direction with the expected ups and downs.
September had us feeling more settled in our house, but there was then the adjustment of going to school. It was a time of tiredness and overwhelm, but as the weeks progressed, things began to settle. I was preparing for my job interview and feeling very stressed. The interview went well and I was offered a job as a supply teacher. Yeah! My orientation for starting work was until early October, which gave me more time to get us more settled in. It felt like everything was falling into place and we hadn't really had much time to think too much about Gromit and missing him or our former life. We were all just too busy and tired to think about anything but our day to day.
And then it happened......
......our house caught on fire.
Fortunately, we are all safe and well. Fortunately, our house was insured. There is so much, too much going on now for me to be able to, even in a nutshell, write about it. Lucky for us, we have had practice with crisis and do fairly well in high stress situations. Zoe made a beautiful comment one day, that we were a tight group already, but now we've become even closer. We've had to.
We lived with our wonderful friends two doors over for the first couple of weeks and are now renting a house. The day we moved into our rental, I was picking up a few things so that we could make pasta for dinner, when the enormity of it all hit me. It wasn't just noodles and tomato sauce that I needed to buy, it was everything. We have to replace everything. I just stood there paralyzed and befuddled.
So, needless to say, we have had to go on 'shopping marathons'
to get clothes, shoes, mattresses, kitchen stuff and on and on and on. Many of our family, friends and neighbours have offered help to get us re- established. Thank you so very much everyone for your love and support!
View from the west.
The north end of the house got the worst of it. This is where our bedrooms and office were.
Almost all of the kids' journals and items from around the world were in their bedrooms. They lost 98% of everything. They are heartbroken.
All our hard drives are gone. Luckily, all but the last year of our pictures had been backed up and saved off site. So, from Madagascar on, we have no pictures. We are very sad about this.
The plan was.........
As I've often said, plans change!
We got the cube van (Wednesday) the day before planning to drive home so that we could pack it and be ready to leave Gromit relatively early in the morning (Thursday). That was the plan......the fact was that we didn't get away until around 4 pm and were too tired to drive all the way home - about 10 hours with breaks.
The crew agreed that this was the perfect time for a little luxury, so we booked a hotel with Michael's Hilton Honour Points!(Thursday night). Oh, la la!!! It was fantastic....just what we needed.
We arrived at Casey and Glenn's place (our neighbours - 2 doors over) at 1:30 in the morning (Friday night/Saturday morning), and after a quick hello, we fell into bed. We had to get up early to unload the van so that Michael could return it - it was a one-way rental from Maryland to Niagara Falls, NY and he had to have it back by 1 pm.
It felt amazing and odd to be back in our empty house. Boxes everywhere, voices echoing off the emptiness, excitement running through us. It was the beginning of a new chapter and it was feeling pretty good!
We couldn't believe how much stuff we had aboard Gromit!