Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hello America!

In answer to a question I have been asked many times in the last month, I AM going to keep the blog going now that I am back in California, just not every day I would think.

Normally at the end of a vacation I feel sad about going home but I have been so excited to get back to California that I could not sleep the last two nights in London. After 10 1/2 hours in the air, I finally alit in LAX to find that British Air had NOT lost my one checked-in bag!!!

When I did my check-in at the electronic kiosk in London's Heathrow Airport, it said I had a window seat. Now normally I take the aisle seat so that I can spill out into the aisle to some degree. The negative of this seat is that I would get the hell beat out of me by the food and drink cart as well as everybody walking to or from the rest room for nearly half a day! So I took a chance and opted for the window.

I completely forgot about going to the rest room myself and it made for two epic balancing acts just getting to the aisle.

The 15 year old British lad sitting next to me was interesting. I believe that he was on his way to U.C.L.A. to deliver a speech on his life experiences dealing with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) while at the same time trying to form relationships with strangers. He pretty much beat me up too during the flight!

A last reflection on the past seven months in Europe:

When I was still teaching American Government at Rio Mesa H.S. in beautiful El Rio, California, we would start every semester talking about the roots of our system in large part starting with our countries English roots. One of the things I would try to get across to the students was that difficulties in communication and travel were big factors that led up to the American revolution in 1776.

I read somewhere that in 1776, the average American colonist never traveled more than 100 miles from their birthplace. This factoid always made me think how fortunate we are to live in these times of instant communication and the ability to fly, literally, half way across the world in less than 11 hours!

I have spent the last seven months traveling all over Europe visiting eight countries, countless cities and meeting so many wonderful people!


But my reflection is really this, I used to feel bad about those people during our American Colonial Era who, by and large, never saw much of the world. As I sat on the airplane I came to the realization that almost everybody (loved ones in Las Vegas and friends in Seattle being notable exceptions) and everything I love and treasure is indeed within 100 miles of my birthplace, Long Beach, California.

I think that all those American colonists may have been O.K. after all.

Koreen FitzGerald and her husband Brian picked me up at the
Los Angeles International Airport

Note the In-n-Out Double-Double Cheeseburger in the sack that they greeted me with!

With my friends that evening at Cronies Sports Grill in Camarillo

Brian even got me this cake to celebrate my return home

Note the gelato sign on the lower right side.

Greg, the manager of Cronies, forced me to drink a beer while everyone in the bar sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"

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