Where I've Been

Looking at my parents and in-laws I’ve begun to come to the realization that 30 or 40 years is a very short period of time. I’m 28, soon to be 29, and I feel like I’ve done nothing of consequence in my life to now. Travel is one thing I would love to do, as time allows and funds come available.

As far as travel goes I was blessed with having a mother that comes from a foreign country. This obligated our family to travel abroad from the time I was very young. It had enriched my life in many ways. My mother taught me her mother tongue, Spanish, and about the history of her family. I was blessed to meet and form relationships with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins though they live more than 2000 miles away.

When I was 2 my parents drove from West Unity, OH to Mexico City, Mexico. It was my first visit to my family. Until then they only knew me from audio recordings, pictures and letters. That’s kind of how things are now with my little girl; we haven’t been able to afford a trip to visit my family in Mexico. My aunts and uncles still talk about the quirky, silly things I said on that trip. We went back when I was 3, then again when I was 4 1/2 and my brother, Richie, was 5 months old. Oh, I remember that trip. Mom put me in charge of his diaper bag as we boarded the plane. We had to go out on the tarmac, this was middle of December mind you, and climb up the stairs to board the plane. Somehow the diaper bag came open and diapers went flying out over the tarmac as I clumsily climbed the stairs.

We went back to visit in 1985 and saw the devastation of one of the worst earthquakes to hit Mexico City. In 1988 my parents took us to Acapulco, Ixtapa and Xihuatanejo where both my brother and I got Montezuma’s revenge AND nausea. My brother puked all over my aunt on the bus ride back to Mexico City. The 1991 trip signaled the start of my emotional rollercoaster years, you know, with my first huge crush on my grandparent’s neighbor’s oldest son. Unfortunately, this trip marked the last time I’d see my grandmother. She died in October 1991 after a long battle with amoebic induced cirrhosis of the liver (we’ll save why this was weird for another post). In 1994 my parents took us to a relatively unknown resort on the Pacific coast called las Bahias de Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca. It was very nice and very peaceful. Right before the start of my senior year in 1996 we took a trip to visit my family again. It was urgent because my grandfather was dying from complications of Alzheimer’s. It was awful to see how horribly the disease had degenerated his body and mind. One afternoon, I got to feed him his lunch and he had no idea who I was. He thought I was my mother and I just played along. He did have a few moments of lucidity that allowed us to tell him how much we loved him. He died in March of the following year. Right before I started dating my now husband, in July of 1998 we took a quick trip to visit my relatives. It was bittersweet and just not the same. I finally got to take my husband to meet everyone in May 2004. Though he doesn’t speak the language he fell in love with them and they with him.

As a family, when my brother and I were young, we also visited Niagara Falls twice from the Canadian side. On one trip in 1992 we took a detour to Toronto. We went to some garage sales and visited the CN Tower.

In December 2002 I started working for a medical equipment manufacturer in Bryan, Ohio. With their staff I was able to travel to many places in the states and also throughout the world. My favorite trips were to Barcelona, Spain for European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in October 2003 and to Queenstown, New Zealand in November 2004 for the annual New Zealand Dermatogical Society meeting. I paid for my husband to go with me to Barcelona and made the trip three days before we had to be there for the show. We got to go all over Barcelona. We visited Parque Guell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, las Ramblas, the statue of Cristobal Colon and the Cathedral. While I was at the show my husband got to visit the shrine built to Columbus and the first indigenous Caribbean to worship in the church, the Picasso museum and many of Antoni Gaudi’s other creations in Barcelona. It was a very memorable trip.

When I went to New Zealand my mom went with me. In hindsight mom would probably have enjoyed Barcelona more and my husband would have liked the winter sports in Queenstown, but things worked out OK. After we were done with the show in Queenstown we spent a few days in Auckland. We visited the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Not including the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur we had been in the tallest buildings in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

My last trip abroad with the company was to San Jose, Costa Rica. It was neat to visit another foreign country. It wasn’t much fun though because I didn’t have any family with me. It was just a quick trip to certify some doctors and nurses to run the medical equipment. In the city I did not feel very secure; even the natives said it wasn’t a good place for a woman or foreigner (aka whitey) to be out alone. It didn’t help my comfort level any that I was 2 1/2 months pregnant at the time and I just wanted to be home. An acquaintance did get to take us on a day trip to an inactive volcano outside of the city and to an arboretum that had plants from all over the world. It was amazing. The meal we had on the way back was at a little hole in the wall restaurant, but it was delicious. The setting on an open porch in the warmth of the afternoon surrounded by tropical flora really helped enjoy the moment.

In the United States I’ve gotten to visit some interesting places as well.

San Francisco, CA – AAD 2003 Atlanta, GA
Washington, DC – AAD 2004 Charlotte, NC
San Diego, CA – NPF 2004 Detroit, MI
New Orleans, LA – AAD 2005 (pre-Hurricane Katrina) Grand Rapids, MI
Chicago, IL – Summer AAD 2005, I’ve been here many times for fun too Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Houston, TX Niagra, NY
San Antonio, TX Gulf Port, MS
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX Cabool, MO
Wichita Falls, TX Bethlehem, PA
Mammoth Cave, KY West Orange, NJ
Louisville, KY

I’ve passed through a number of states, but never gotten a chance to see anything of significance (I’ll include the states listed above that I’ve ridden/driven through; it helps my process of elimination): Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois.

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