Monday, October 29, 2012

Quick Catch up and on to the Next Adventure!

It's been a whirlwind since I got home from New Jersey and we are about to head out again today!  I think I mentioned on here months ago that we made reservations for a repositioning cruise from Honolulu to Sydney, Australia.  Well, the time has come! We fly out this evening for Anchorage, spend one night there, fly to Honolulu tomorrow and leave on the cruise on November 2. We built in a little cushion in case we have travel issues out of Unalaska. 

Rich took this photo when we were on our Grumman Goose flightseeing tour and it has gone viral on Facebook with lots of "shares."  It also just won first place in the Convention and Visitors Bureau photo contest in the category of "Town of Unalaska."  Beautiful, isn't it?

So I hit the ground running when I returned from Mom's because our radio pledge drive was scheduled for October 19th and I still had plenty to do to get prepared.  This year, we had a 24-hour "rockathon" and I convinced Rich to go on the air with me from midnight to 2 AM to kick off the drive. We had a blast and who knew he had such a great radio voice!  Is there nothing the man can't do?  :)

It was a super busy day, but lots of fun, as always.  I went to sleep about 3:30 AM and went back to work around 9 AM, staying till after midnight on the 20th.  It's one of my favorite days of the year and definitely my favorite of our fundraisers.  It's always high energy with great music, people stopping by and calling, and just all around good feelings!  Thanks to all our generous donors, we brought in over $22,000.  Hurray!

Then I was also wrapping up my ESL/GED classes for the session.  We have been working on autobiographies so we spent one night putting books together, including a page for each student holding his/her photo and autobiography.  I brought in lots of crafty supplies and everyone decorated their pages--one for themselves and one for each of the other students to have.  That's lots of pages! We stayed late and had a great time creating memories to keep.  Above, Juanita, Rebeca and Susi.

No and Tuyet with Ahmed and Basha in the background

 Marcela and Champen

And last Thursday night, we held a ceremony to acknowledge all of my ESL students for their dedication and hard work, and a graduation ceremony for three students who completed their GEDs. It was so moving! I made a little speech and could barely get through it, I was so emotional!  I am so proud of all of my students and couldn't love them more!

Victor, Marcela and Rodrigo completed their GEDs!  Congratulations!  Victor and Marcela were in my class and Rodrigo (Marcela's husband) was in a different class. He actually passed his GED in the summer but did not have a ceremony so we included him in ours.  Michelle Cochran, UniSea's HR Director, and her staff did a fabulous job of planning a lovely ceremony; John Conwell, the Superintendent of Schools, gave a wonderful talk and Dan Masoni, School Board member, participated with us.  Community members loaned us caps and gowns and we did it up right!  I hope these students will always remember their special night.

 Basha and Victor
Ahmed and Susi

The last few days have been crazy with trying to finish up post-pledge drive and other work related chores, get the house in order for the house/cat/plant sitter, remember all the things that have to be done before a long vacation, and getting packed, etc. I worked all weekend and am hoping I will be ready to go today!!

The cruise stops in Hilo, Hawaii, then on to American Samoa, Fiji, and New Zealand for two days before arriving in Sydney. We will also divert to see the total eclipse of the sun!  Once in Sydney, we have 8 more days to see as much as we can before heading back to Honolulu on December 1 and then home. Internet on the cruise is pricey so I will not be blogging daily but will try to post along the way.  Stay tuned!


Jennifer Stumpf said...

Wow, what a gorgeous photo!!! I would love to visit the Aleutians some day! Your trip sounds amazing-- hope you have a great time! I will enjoy reading about it along the way. :-)

Gigi said...

Thanks, Jennifer! It's a beautiful place--you should definitely visit. :) We are excited about our trip, too!