New York

29 May 2008 – Manhattan & Brooklyn

Arrived on a warm balmy afternoon to Tribeca where Kat (daughter of my brother Leslie) lives. The apartment is conveniently located in lower Manhattan. Mei Pin, a friend of Kat from SIN was also visiting. A nap was most inviting after the lack of sleep from the Greyhound dramas. Dined at a French/Jamaica place, Ivo & Lulu’s interesting combination of cuisines.

Wed- walked and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to visit Dike (daughter of cousin Lock) & Isaac in Brooklyn Heights. What a beautiful day with cousin Yun from Toronto, also visiting Dike. It was sad to not see the World Trade Center but Empire State Building still stands majestically with Manhattan Bridge in foreground. Walked back to East Village to end the evening with a delicious Italian dinner at Il Bagatto.

Thu- another glorious day of walking. The SuperShuttle should soon be here to take me to JKF for my 8+hr flight to Oslo via Iceland.  Thank you Kat & Greg for putting up with me and for the wonderful dinners. Looking forward to your weddding in Nov when we meet again in SIN.

Practically everyone in NY has half a mind to write a book and does – Groucho Marx


27 May 2008 – Irmo & Greyhound

Glad that I gave birth to my children in my 20s. Do not have the energy to raise or discipline anyone but myself nowadays… even that is questionable? Offered to baby-sit on Sat while Linn & Jeff could have a night out but only after they gave the 3 kids their baths! JohnW was asleep within 5mins, Ellie fell asleep on the laptop. Read some to Katy and she was excited but apprehensive about the glow sticks I hung on the ceiling fan. Told her that they will only light for the night and will be gone the next morning. She was upset that Ellie did not get to see them, what a considerate sister. 

Sun- Katy started her day first with church, then a Bday party at McD’s and ended with her ballet recital. Now if that is not a full schedule, then what is? Had a memorable memorial day on Mon with the kids at Lake Murray, somehow sand & water never fail to entertain kids. The ride on Greyhound from SC to NY was one of the most action ride I have been. And I thought those kind of action happens in the movies only. Being the only fairer skin person around was quite a change.

We live our life forever taking leave – Rainer Maria Rike

Back to Irmo

23 May 2008

Feel like a zombie with the allergy medications but without them, the runny eyes & nose and headaches persist. The colourful flowers and spring green leafs are too beautiful a sight; I will try not to complain about my eyes! Catch 22.  The advantages and disadvantages of life! C’est la vie.

Linn had 2 extra kids to look after and 4 more after car pooling from school on Thu. Decided to do some shopping of accessories for Katy’s outfit for the end of year ballet school performance this coming weekend. The diminished maternal instint with thoughts of 6 more kids in the house + the 3 grandchildren was enough to get me shopping even when shopping  is not my favourite past time!

All these end of the year functions are overwhelming. Ellie had a blast for her last day at the pre-school on Wed. Katy was taken out of school for an hour to participate. JohnW enjoyed his ice cream in-spite of his runny nose from allergies and completely oblivious to the fuss and functions. Way to go JohnW and grandmother still has much to learn from the grandchildren 🙂

Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts –
Sigmund Freud

Damascus VA

19 May 2008 – Trail days in Damascus

The weekend flew by quickly. There was neither time nor internet access to update the blog. The drive from Irmo to Damascus took about 4+hrs oneway. Tried to set up a tent for the sales of my book but unfortunately the winds were too strong and the tent did not stay upright for too long. Decided to spend the last Trail Day with my 2005 thru-hike and fellow hikers. Parade photo courtesy to Mike Freed LOON

It was wonderful to see so many and my appreciation to all who made the effort to meet up. The owners of ‘Between The Trials’, Pam & Kyle Peterson were most accomodating and my sincere gratitude to them. My apologies if the spirit was not at it’s best. A bad cough & cold on top of the allergies drained much energy and left me without a voice. Lack of sleep has finally caught up with the body’s resistance. Another reality to aging!

Love and a cough cannot be hidden – George Herbert 

Mothers’ Day

13 May 2008 – Irmo

Sun- Happy Mothers’ Day! The pastor in church was right regarding about honoring mothers and fathers not just only on mothers and fathers’ days but everyday. Watching Linn & Jeff with admiration who made me a proud grandmother to the 3 most wonderful grandchildren. Lunched at their favourite Chinese restaurant. Katy enjoyed the sesame chicken, Ellie, prawns and JohnW rice! Linn & I received pink carnations from her church, red roses from the restaurant and ice cream from Bruster, with compliments from Irmo’s hospitality. The day ended with high spirits and winds, causing the lost of power in clear evening sky with candle lights indoors.

What is happening? The almighty mother, Mother Nature is throwing her fury with the cyclone in Myanmar, earth quakes in China & Japan, storms in the USA. Is she trying to tell us something?

Mon- Katy wanted me to lunch with her at school. Was a treat to meet her in the K5 class at HE Corley Elementary School. The cafeteria food with cat fish fingers, mashed potatoes, salad and jello was not her choice  and she decided that her own packed peanut butter jelly sandwich & yogurt was more to her taste but she enjoyed the jello.

Tue- Linn must be the most active mother of 3. She runs every other mornings and the other mornings she works out at a gym, in addition to car pooling. How does she manage all that and stay sane? Am having problems just to remember what I need to take with me for the AT reunion this weekend! Thank goodness for the ice cream truck in the area on this beautiful day.

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers – Jewish Proverb


10 May 2008 – Amtrak & Irmo

Thu- Linn met me at 0430hrs in Columbia. The drive to Irmo did not take more than 20mins at that time in the morning. Ellie & JohnW took a few minutes before they warmed up but Katy jumped into my arms the moment she came down stairs. Have forgotten how time & energy consuming to raise children! Will certainly not be able to be a full-time mother today for 3 children under 7 years.

Fri- if I had the energy of any of those kids, I will be able to walk the AT North bound and South bound in less than 6 months. Exhausted just observing them. As mentioned in my 1st SIN AT Thru-Hiker book, out of the 3 most challenges in my life, raising children and the AT thru’ hike were 2 of them so far…

Sat- Katy’s ballet lesson first thing in the morning and pre Mothers’ Day shopping with Linn on this hot sunny day. Public transport here is as good as none and the traffic was bumper to bumper on the I-26. Having lived here for about 5 years, she knew the back roads. Still no fan of shopping but good to be with Linn for the afternoon. Thank you Jeff for looking after the 3 children so that I could have some time with my daughter!

Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your children – unknown

New Camera

7 May 2008 – Casselberry, Longwood & Altamonte Springs

Tue- Happy Bday Wilki, my cousin who I just visited in HI. There was a US $30 rebate for this lilac colour slim camera and it was looking at me with a ‘buy me’ look, just irresistible. Finally gave in and bought Nikon CoolPix210 but instruction manual takes me a long time to digest. No fault of the camera but the incompetence of the owner.

Lunched with Hank who was my Carmel neighbour in Casselberry. His wife Ann, a good friend, confidant and surrogate mother passed away 4 years ago. The drive around the Carmel neighbourhood and Park Ave/Morse Museum where she worked brought back fond memories. Her remains has been scattered around her favourite river.

Dined with Cindy, Linn’s mother-in-law at Longwood. Took a stroll around the corner to St Stephen Lutheran Church where Linn went for Sunday services, got married and her eldest daughter Katy was baptised. A lovely evening chatting, catching up & giving thanks to our blessings. Just cannot imagine the cyclone disaster in Myanmar. Received news that my friend Theingi & her family are safe in Yangon.

Wed- thank you Terry & Dee. Their house with the pool must be a little piece of paradise for the grandchildren during their visits. Packed and ready for the Amtrak, a 9+hr train ride to Columbia SC. Looking forward to seeing Linn & family. Goodbye Mickey Mouse, the theme park state with Disney World, Epcot & Universal Studio and the state where May, Linn & Jeff attended school & university… go Gators, University of Florida!

Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language – Walt Disney



5 May 2008 – Orlando, Sanford & Uptown Altamonte

Sat- arrived into Orlando and my baggage was not there; complicated & long story! When people asked where is my home, the answer is usually ‘where my suitcase is’ but this is not applicable today. Al met me at the airport and drove straight to Jan’s parents’ surprise 60 wedding anniversary – apologies for arriving 1hr late. Quite a different weather from cold Canada to warm Florida. It was no wonder the flight from Montreal to Orlando was overbooked!

Jan and I were in same travel school in 1988. Angie and I shared the same birth date; Al, Jan’s husband and Linn also shared the same birth date and we used to celebrate those days together. At present Jan has 4 grandchildren from daughters Angie & Jackie. Amanda, her youngest daughter is May’s age. Appreciation to the Sosa family for including me on this very special and memorable evening and thank you for giving a bed for the night.

Sun- my ‘home’ was delivered to Nancy’s. We used to help at the events & functions when her son Matt & Linn were at Lake Howell High School. Nancy has 2 grandchildren now. We lunched in Sanford at the Willow Tree which used to be a smaller cafe. Spent the afternoon driving around Lake Monroe enjoying the company & weather. Overnight at Terry & Dee, Linn’s in-laws.

Mon- chatting, shopping for grocery & cooking with Dee. The evening breeze was pleasant and so was the 3mi walk around Crane’s Rooster, a man-made retention pond surrounded by shops & condos around this new area of Altamonte Uptown. Gina’s Lakeside was where the rehearsal dinner for Linn & Jeff’s 1997 wedding was held and it still stands. Photo courtesy to Dee.

Every day is a journey; and the journey itself is home – Matsuo Basho

Camera Crisis

2 May 2008

Thu- dropped my camera and it is not happy. Do not know when there will be a chance to buy another one. Photo courtesy to Lock & Yun.

Met and lunched with Graham, an ex-colleague and friend of Yun. Appreciate to meet up with someone with a good sense of humour. Yun & I have been going thru’ photographs dating from 1930s, such fond memories of our childhood in SIN and student days from Dublin. 1969 wedding picture of Lock & May at Stillorgan Rd, Dublin. Tonight they arrived for dinner at Sumach St, Toronto after their long drive from Sault St Marie.

Fri- paid respect to 5 uncle Tick at York Cemetery on this grey day. There will not be a house warming at Newcastle this trip. Good luck and hope that their new house will be ready soon. Dinner with the 3 cousins & May. Still trying to convince them to be in SIN Nov for a family gathering. Tomorrow at 0700hrs I will have to catch my flight to Orlando. How wonderful to have caught up with them and thank you for all the hospitality, especially Yun, who had to put me up for 2 weeks.

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words – Chinese Proverb

Niagara Falls

1 May 2008 – Ethnic towns & Niagara Falls

Tue-  Happy Bday Stanley, my grand-nephew in SIN on this chilly but clear blue sky day. Eyes and nose are watery, not due to emotions but to my nemesis. No hypothetical Red-Dwarf or Star-Trek but the birch tree. Used to think that I was having a cold every spring in Norway until I needed an inhaler to breath. How ironic that one of my favourite trees has this effect on me! Visited Greek & Korea town. In India town behind the Glen Rhodes United Church, there is an unique statue in a driveway with hand prints dedicated against abuse. 

Wed- Happy Bday John, my HKG friend. Niagara Falls (1hr+ drive from Toronto), one of the most spectacular wonders of the world is an Iroquois word meaning Thunder of Waves connected by 3 bridges to Canada/Ontario & USA/New York with 200 millions visitors to present date. Words will not do justice for this wonder. Being there is the only way to see and feel the grandeur of this waterfall with the brilliant colours of the rainbows on this clear day. The never ending love story… 🙂

Lakeshore Road parallel to the lake leading to Niagara on the Lake (a very attractive community) is lined with wineries. Inniskillin known for it’s Icewine was the one we visited. Would like to walk or cycle this 20km stretch someday. A charming mini chapel reminded me of a similar one in the US state of Washington near Leavenworth.

True love stories never have endings – Richard Bach