Whale Watching

I wish I could express with a picture the amazement I felt when we saw the first whales today. A mother and it’s baby. So graceful through the water! Melody said the mum was teaching the young to breath. We saw another 7 at the various spots the boat took us. Amazing!!!

We could get in the water at whale island, so named as the island sometimes spews water. Just as we were about to graciously drop ourselves off the boat another whale passed by! How cool!!!

As I said… I wish I had pictures… am sure Melody will upload a little clip.

In the mean time, here are some snaps from the beach location… a little bit of heaven on earth…

In case you were wondering where? Uvita, Costa Rica… it feels like holiday… I may not come back!!!

Costa Rica Adventure

Did you know that some hummingbirds are as small as bees? They are the most amazing little creatures, with their ability to fly backwards and flap their wings so fast you can’t see them…

Costa Rica has these beautiful little birds in abundance and this weekend Melody and myself were privileged to be taken out by friends where we saw loads.

It was an early morning start.. breakfast in the hotel had only just started, so I was at least able to get some coffee… the first stop was therefore breakfast in San Jose.. with coffee in a traditional little coffee pot… then on to the national gardens about 2 hours south east. That’s where we saw the hummingbirds… I tried to take pictures, but that’s just not possible with a phone.. they move so fast!

We had a great walk through the forest, where we also saw beautiful woodpeckers.. if you are a bird watcher there was lots there!

After a slightly strenuous walk, we went to a trout farm for lunch.. we gave the fishing a miss.. but ate some very fresh trout freshly caught.

I love seeing and experiencing all these things on my travels. I know I am privileged and blessed that people are willing to show me around.

Below a selection of snaps of the day… minus the hummingbirds… you just have to believe I saw all different kinds!!

To end it all, there were several smaller earthquakes here… the bed shakes. Rather alarming!

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Melody is ready for a new adventure

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The crew
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Coffee is served
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Costa Rica style

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yum!
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Sigh…. how much further?
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Fern…..

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Mels hair blends in
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Ready for the rain

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Applepie!

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This and That

Quite a number of years ago there was a Dutch entry for the European Song Festival… the chorus had the sentence ‘een beetje van dit, een beetje van dat, een beetje zus, een beetje zo’… (English : a little bit of this, a little of that) Not sure why that song popped into my head but I guess it’s like that cause my thoughts are all messy…

My family is currently over the ocean, flying to Tobago to celebrate with the bride and groom there.. a wedding on the beach, how awesome is that! Sad I can’t join them, an experience I have to live through their eyes backed up by photos and FaceTime (what would we do without it).. meanwhile I am busy at work, currently in the US, which feels less like home now I am staying in hotels again..

Am sitting here in the Mall of America, eating an ice cream, listening to all the screaming from the people in the rides in the theme park in it.

Carefree they are, not burdened yet by all we as ‘responsible’ people deal with on a daily basis…

Jesus said ‘be as the kids, as they will inherit the Kingdom’

Maybe that is my topic of today… it does not matter where we all are, as long as we can enjoy and share together.. and be spontaneous and carefree as the kids are…

See, this and that… really nothing much…

Distance

Distance is a funny thing… it can tell you what’s really important in your life…. and it can tell you what’s not worth keeping close.

This week started with my return from Costa Rica without my suitcases… these decided to hang out in Atlanta a day longer… funny… I did not appreciate that distance!! And I prefer to keep my suitcases close.

Melody graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University, which was a distance worth getting to. It was a really great family day… and she did her Masters by Research, at distance (most of her paper was written in the US). Distance allowed her to take the time out to do the research.

We met up with Karsten and Kirsten on Thursday… they are now living down under in New Zealand… a distance not really appreciated! It was great to chat and eat and share life… something we miss doing. Distance did not change this friendship.

On Friday I met up with my dear friend Althea. I was so glad to hang out with her… when I am away I miss her… distance is again negative…however, she is my sister and the connection is there no matter where we are!

Last night was the blood moon… completely cloudy here in Wooburn Green… while my dad texted me that the view was great in the Netherlands… more unappreciated distance… I miss my parents..

Sometimes God feels very distant. This probably has more to do with me than with Him as He is always there. I don’t always seek Him. A distance easily changed by my attitude.

Distance sometimes let’s you know who’s worth keeping and who’s worth letting go (saying from the internet)

Friendship

Friendships come in many different forms… needs are filled in many different ways…

I travel a lot, and am not often anywhere long enough to feel at home. However, I am truly blessed to meet many wonderful people. I know I have blogged on this before… but it truly is worth repeating. Friendship is not just one thing.. it’s lots of things.., and it makes life richer.

These last weeks in Costa Rica I have been privileged and blessed to hang out with colleagues who have become friends too.. they go out of their way to make me feel welcome, each in their own unique way.. whether it’s some fun over the phone, a smile while chatting about nothing, or playing games just because it’s fun… sharing a meal…sharing life.

Below a small selection of photos..

Friendship is not a big thing… it truly is a bunch of little things.

Song

One of my favourite songs is the well known hymn ‘this is my Fathers world’. It tells me that no matter what He is in control!

It does not always feel that way…. the week started out with me being stuck in France for a day due to a cancelled flight. The plane had something wrong with its software and was not cleared to fly. I arrived a day later at my destination Costa Rica. And that while my work is so busy… a day makes a difference!

On Wednesday England lost the semi final football game to Croatia… I am not a football fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I also got swept up in the hype and the ‘catch phrase’: it’s coming home! Instead we get to support either France or Croatia in the finals… and England gets to wait another 4 years..

My back is slowly getting better…

and on Friday it was the 13th… not that I am superstitious, but don’t you sometimes wonder? And avoid black cats?

That’s when that song comes back in my thoughts… the last couple sentences are as follows:

This is my Father’s world:

why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let the earth be glad!

And that is exactly what I am doing…. be glad!! Enjoy nature… He is in control!!

Ponderings

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word…I have been to both the east and the west, and find myself once again in America.

Time sometimes goes so fast, you just want to grab it by the horns and say: ‘hey! Slow down!’

I so wish I could… grab the thing that I love, slow down time and speed it up when the times are a little more complex.

Life is not like that though… you have to take the good with the bad and make the best of it.

For that very reason I decided to tattoo a phrase on my foot to remind me of the most important thing in my life… ‘saved by grace’. He died for me so I can live eternally… I will have all the time in the world then… I can do all the things I long to do but can’t make the time for… hang with friends, work in the garden, knit and crochet, be with my family, enjoy the golden streets and my mansion He is preparing for me… I can’t wait!!!

Philippines

Am not sure what I expected. For sure I had not looked at the map to actually find out where it was located… I just knew it was a long journey to get there… leaving Saturday, arrive Sunday evening…. skipping 7 hours in time difference for a few days, till the journey would be done in reverse.

Travelling for work is a recurring theme. I like spending time with the people that use the system I helped implement, and visiting them in their location is a great way to find out how we are doing. Visiting the Shared Service Centre in the Philippines meant going to another country I had not been before….

Driving from the airport to the hotel and I was already impressed and confused at the same time. Run down houses next to military installations… very busy roads with very big cars… very cool little busses (Jipnee) and rain… the hotel I was staying in was in the BGC area (Bonifacio Global City): a beautiful very well maintained area. Full of very modern high rise buildings, many shops and restaurants… as I said, very different from what I expected.

I travelled there together with another colleague, who had luckily been there and knew were to go…

The office was modern, the people very very friendly… and luckily we had a little time to see beyond the office walls… we visited all sorts of areas and restaurants… I loved it all..

Below a few pictures…

A few things I learned during the trip: the food is not so spicy but very flavoursome, rainy season means rain…., the service mentality can be found everywhere, people are very friendly, and I would like to return sometime to actually do some sightseeing.

During the trip I read a book: ‘Left To Tell’, the story of Immaculee and her ability to forgive after having survived the Rwanda Genocide. A read worthy book. I recommend it. She recalls her experience of survival and reminds us that love and forgiveness can tear down the walls of hatred. God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.

I don’t know why I chose this business trip to read the book.. one sentence in the book really spoke to me….’see the world as it could be, not as it is’…. and that is what I am taking to heart… this trip it was very easy to respond kind to kindness shown. The Philippino is so kind, the world is kind….

The real question is, when times are not so easy, or when you are not welcomed with open arms … will you still see the world as it could be? And love and forgive unconditionally?

This is something I am working on….

Castles and Marshmallows

Today we entered Wales, always such a special feeling. Melody studied in Bangor and we made many a trip up there. This was the first time back since she finished 3 years ago.

I know it, I am a shopping addict… so first stop? Farm shop and Welsh food centre. I love it! The fresh fruits and veggies, the lovely breads, the sheepskins, cakes… with a smart car you have to be economical with stuff, but a little bara brith cake and a Welsh lovespoon at least did fit in the car!!!

The next item very high on my list… castles!!!! Bodelwyddan, Conwy and Penrhyn castles.. bygone eras and tales of knights and fair maidens… my imagination knows no bounds when I see the beautiful castle walls… don’t you hear the shouts of Ivanhoe?

Our stop for tonight is Llanfair Hall, a little glamping pod (www.llanfairhall.com) … when you camp, you have to have fire… and where there is fire… marshmallows!!! Melody is expert, mine just burn… those are the best though, with a little crust….

I never want to go back to England.. I am in love with Wales!

UK Roadtrip

As I sit here in the sunshine, am pondering the last couple days. Moving was stressful… what to throw, what to bring, what do we now have double… etc.. another thing that worried me was a car.. as I had moved to the US for a year we sold my little convertible.. and now the pressure was building to buy a little 2nd hand car.

I knew what I wanted, and although it took a little convincing for the rest of the family. They know I like shopping and it’s the smallest car ever… but I now had a little blue smart car waiting for me…

We took it out on sabbath, driving to London where Geert had to speak at an afternoon service…. I can make the car work…. yes, it’s tiny… but we will be fine…

Sunday morning Mel and I packed the car for a couple days camping in Wales.. the car is small!!! But we made it and are now sitting on a garden sofa, having a drink, and enjoying the sunshine… what will tomorrow bring? Destination Anglesey!!! My favourite area in Wales, and something I missed a lot… sea and tea with scones. Yum!