That's my Grandson, Bill. He graduates from boot
camp next Friday, July 27th, his 18th birthday is
July 28th, and on July 30th he will begin tech school
at both Lackland and Camp Bullis, for several
months. The Guard wants him to get a college
degree, so he will probably start in the Jan. 2008
semester. What is truly interesting about my
grandson, Jon, is that my son and his wife just
adopted him 1 1/2 years ago when he was 16! He
had been in foster homes since the age of 5, so this
is truly a mission of love for them. He is very smart, a real computer whiz.
My son, Jim, flies a challenger jet for FlexJet, a
time-share company, so he is gone a lot and my
daughter-in-law has almost the full load and
stress of suddenly raising a 16-year-old!
You asked Marlene, but let me comment: What you need to know before orientation in France is what traffic signs mean and what the message on the pay phone says when you stick a card in. Both had us baffled until orientation. After that it was easy with a phrase book. J.
Bill - thanks for your response. I have never been to Glasgow although my son has a couple friends who live there. I've visited Edinburgh a couple times and went on some tours in the countryside, including Cranpapple (bronze age burial site) and a church run by the Knights Hospitaliers which is managed by a gentleman who is a retired United Nations policeman; also visited a Knights Templar cemetery - you hike out into a farmer's field - he plows and plants around the cemetery. Some of the headstones have little or no writing but might display the tools the tradesman who was buried their used (hammer for a carpenter, etc.). Also, some of the churches in Scotland used stones from older, ruined buildings and incorporated them into building or repairing their churches so if you see a stone with a rosette carved in a certain style, that relates to the Knights Templar. Hope I'm not boring you. I just love Scotland and it has a totally different energy and feel to it (as does each country/culture that one visits).
Not a DJ. I am an advanced practice nurse, specializing in wound, ostomies, & incontinence! Have been for 30 years. There is a local station that will let listeners guest DJ - so that explains the pic!
I have "talked" w/ you for years on Idyllchat - the cafe is much better for getting to know other Untourists. You obviously like to take photos. Most of my photos are of wounds. I have a really great collection!
Bill -- we were in Holland in March 2003. The weather was perfect, only rained one day! We really liked Leiden, too, and though at first thought we were missing out by not basing in Amsterdam, when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised!
I studied abroad in college for a year in Copenhagen, and although Scandinavia still holds a special place for me, Holland is a very close second....
Bill, I thought of a couple more Paris tips. One is mentioned in the Untours trip planning materials: attending a Malcolm Miller "window reading" at Chartres Cathedral. Mr. Miller has been giving talks at the cathedral for about 50 years. He still presents them with a freshness and passion that make the listener feel like the only person he's talking to. He's at the cathedral 6 days a week -- and gone on French national holidays, too -- from April to October, I believe. The rest of the year he travels and lectures. I was fortunate to hear him speak at my city's major art museum 10+ years ago, and I knew then that I had to see the cathedral. I stayed for both his morning and afternoon lectures on my visit!
The other tip is to get a Streetwise Paris map. It is about 9 inches by 40 inches, is laminated, shows central Paris that is the heart of the tourist area -- all in one view, so you can see how far one thing is from another, contains a Metro map, shows many tourist
sites and about as many street details as I needed. I bought mine in Paris after an Untourist from Chicago told me how happy she was with hers. I've seen them available in the U.S. at the major bookstores and Amazon.com. I even refer to it now as I read in preparation for my next trip to Paris. I HIGHLY recommend it!
Bill, thanks for your comment on my Paris blog. Paris in the spring should be fabulous and you will avoid the hot humid weather problems we encountered. I had monitored the weather in Paris before we went, it was in the 60's for two weeks! But when we arrived, so did the hot weather! Next time, we'll go in the spring.
There is so much there to see and do you can't possibly get it all done in 2 weeks...if I could do it all over again, I'd take the 2-day bus pass that goes all around showing you the sights, you can get on and off as you please, just to get my bearings, and then pick and choose where to spend more time. And I love the Paris Vision tours out into the country....
Regarding my pharmacie experience, you are correct that everyone entering and exiting any shop is greeted, and is expected to reply, and we always tried to be polite. I do think perhaps I was not supposed to be taking items off the shelves in that section of the pharmacie.
I think I got myself into trouble by reading too many books about the French culture, and therefore being hypersensitive about possible missteps...I often felt like a big, clumsy American foreigner wearing the wrong clothes and not understanding the language....it would have been great if I could have glided through all that like Rick Steves seems to do, oblivious to everything but the adventure of it all! A lot of my problem with the trip was inside my own head!