Saturday, 16 December 2006

Summer 2005 in Montana

I’m now back in Kuwait about to start my second academic year after a wonderful summer doing more wandering.

I flew to London Heathrow on the evening of the last day of school. Amazing that I managed to pack in time. I packed 2 suitcases with all that I thought I would need and was astounded that I was asked to pay KD82 for excess luggage! She said she was being generous and charging me the lower fee, pretending some kg did not exist. Well that was my silly fault for not checking how much luggage I was allowed – only 20kg! I paid it but when I flew back, I made sure I only took one suitcase weighing 20kg, which of course meant that I left loads of stuff behind.

When I got to London I got the National Express coach to Cardiff arriving mid afternoon. My daughter Claire age 18, was there and it was so lovely to see here after nearly a year. I spent the next day in Cardiff. It was a lovely day and we went for a local walk around the little village of Llandaff, which has a cathedral! Changed a bit of packing and we both set off the next day for London again to get a plane to Montana. I was going to a church conference and Claire was going camping on a teen retreat.

That was a Saturday, which was the longest Saturday I have ever had! We set off at 4:30am for the bus station to get a coach to London Gatwick. Gatwick is the airport where the package holidays go from and I can vaguely remember going through it many years ago for a holiday in Greece. The atmosphere was very different to Heathrow. There were mainly families all going on holiday whereas Heathrow has more of a mix of travellers. Claire and I had different seats on the plane because we had booked a month apart. Amazing that we got on the same flight with the same change!

We arrived at a US airport whose whereabouts escapes me as I write but it may have been Chicago and got another plane to Bozeman. We arrived at 7:30pm local time about 21 hours after setting off. Security and immigration require a destination address. I had no idea where I was staying! Initially I knew I was staying at the Bozeman teaching center of our church whose address had changed since I was there last and then I was going on to stay with a lady called Margery whose last name and address I had no idea of although I did have a phone number. I was given this at midnight, a few hours before I left for the journey because I realised that although I had requested to stay at a church member’s house I had not been told which place. My friend from the BTC was not at the airport but Claire’s ride was there so we packed our bodies and gear into her car and she took me to the BTC. Cristina had got the date and time remembered wrongly but she quickly made up a bed for me and I went to bed at 9pm.

Claire and I both did some EFT tapping to counteract jet lag and Claire was most successful which was a good job because the next day she had to participate in a whole day’s training to become a mentor for the younger teens.

I had a few days of leisure, which I thoroughly enjoyed, looking around the beautiful garden with a duck pond/stream and borrowing my friend’s car to do some shopping in Walmart. I had brought a list for toiletries and craft stuff for school. I also visited a friend’s new day care center and her baby-that-was-a-bump when I saw her last.

I got a lift (ride if you’re American) 50 miles down to Margery’s and settled in there. When I arrived at her house she said by way of greeting ‘I don’t know what you are going to eat. I don’t have much food here.’ Margery was a very old lady, (older and more infirm than Victoria) who had her meals brought to her by a neighbour so she did not have much food in the house. So nearing lunchtime I visited a friend, Victoria a few steps down the road, an old lady who was laying a carpet on some steps in readiness for the visitor she was expecting next day. She was at a tricky bit of cutting around the door jam and as she had never laid a carpet before she asked me to help. I had arrived just at the right time it seems. Anyway with that job finished she gave me some lunch, she is a wonderful cook, and lent me her car so I could take some of my Walmart purchases to Claire who was camping 30 miles away on a mountain. I did not know exactly the route to the camping ground so as the church headquarters was on the way I called in to see Helen, my other daughter age 19, who had arrived a few weeks previously to work for the church the whole summer. I persuaded her to hop in the car to direct me up the mountain. I had not seen her in almost a year but our last meeting was only very short as she arrived from Montana 2 days before I flew out to Kuwait. However we had been communicating by phone, email and instant messaging so the only thing missing was the hugs. I rushed back after giving Claire the stuff because Victoria needed the car and borrowed some warm pants from her because I could not find anything suitable in Walmart and realised that I would be cold when I went camping on that same site 2 weeks later. The weather had turned quite chilly. Whilst I had the car, I bought some groceries at the local store for breakfasts. I then went to visit my friend Penelope who was just across the stream from Margery’s. She wasn’t in but her husband was, along with the part time carer for Jean her 5-year-old severely disabled daughter. So, I started to sort the washing, which is what I usually do at her house when I go. She has 3 other girls and 2 washing machines and tumble driers. There is always something in both machines and both driers and in the basket/floor. I was just starting on the kitchen when she arrived home. I always like going to that house because I feel so at home there. We had some food and so it turned out that Margery need not have been concerned as I was well taken care of. After the meal we went for a walk and Penelope lent me a fleece as it was a bit chilly. I used that lovely fleece the whole Montana visit. Thank you Penelope. Jean was 4 when I first met her and I knew that I had known her in a previous life and she seemed to recognise me too but this visit she seemed to have forgotten and was quite the older girl now. Still gorgeous with a wonderful smile.

The next day was the start of the conference and I enjoyed meeting old and new friends.