Did you hear me squeal?

Yes, I am a girl and I do occasionally squeal.

Not often.

There are two things that tend to make me squeal.  One has to do with cockroaches.  But that is not what this blog is about.  Thankfully.  The other is a more delightful sort of squeal – usually related to getting to spend time with family or people who seem like family.  I lovingly refer to some of those people as my….

…”soul sisters.”

And that “soul sister” time happened about a month ago.  A dream so big that we had never thought to dream it!  Spending almost 2 weeks together in Greece!  Me and one of my best friends from college. (insert squeal)

A couple of years ago, we had hoped to spend 2 days together in Tennessee and that plan changed thanks to South African Home Affairs, and we never even got to see each other.

This year we both were privileged to able to attend a medical continuing education conference in Greece!  So we had about 10 days of learning, laughing, exploring, taking selfies, eating, laughing some more, telling stories…  catching up.  It had been 22 years since she and I had been able to spend quality time together.  I believe in those 22 years, we had seen each other at our weddings and one other quick afternoon visit.  So to have sooooo much time together was truly a gift from heaven!

Can I introduce you to Ruth?

Oh wait.  You can't see her in this one! ;-)

Oh wait. You can’t see her in this one! ;-)

Here is one you can see! Our first selfie on the afternoon she arrived.

She is amazing.

An encourager.  An optimist.  A lifelong learner – always looking for opportunities to grow and stretch.  A Jesus follower.  A devoted mother and wife.  A wonderful, true friend.

Ruth is the reason I became the school nurse at my university alma mater.

Ruth is the reason I became interested in working in international missions.

Ruth is the reason I met my husband! :-)

In fact, my husband started writing letters to Ruth before he started writing to me.  He figured if he won my friend over, then that would help him win me. :-)

So we had 1 1/2 weeks in Greece together – with no husbands, no children, no cooking, no cleaning …

We had classes every day with lots of chats in between learning – while eating amazing Greek food at each meal and then each evening we got to reconnect and reminisce. What a gift!

Ruth showing off some of our delicious Greek cuisine.

Ruth showing off some of our delicious Greek cuisine.

Um no... these octopi did not tempt our palates... :-)  But they were the fresh catch of the day!

Um no… these octopi did not tempt our palates… :-) But they were the fresh catch of the day!

Just one of our mouth watering meals we shared.

Just one of our mouth watering meals we shared.

On the weekend, we took part in two tours – one to Athens and another that took us on a cruise to 3 Greeks isles.  Pictures do not do these places justice, but I will share a few anyway.

IMG_1250

Trying to keep warm on the boat ride.

The first beautiful island of Hydra - pronounced Eedra.  Our favourite!!

The first beautiful island of Hydra – pronounced Eedra. Our favourite!!

They have no cars on the island of Hydra, so we took the only transportation available - donkeys! ;-)

They have no cars on the island of Hydra, so we took the only transportation available – donkeys! ;-)

Donkeys go everywhere!  This is a picture of a donkey carrying a tourist's luggage up to their BnB.

Donkeys go everywhere! This is a picture of a donkey carrying a tourist’s luggage up to their BnB.

Donkey parking here....

Donkey parking here….

Can you tell I was infatuated by these cute working donkeys?

Can you tell I was infatuated by these cute working donkeys?

Captivating little island...

Captivating little island…

Lovely little fishing island was next on our tour.

Lovely little fishing island was next on our tour.

So much beauty all around!

So much beauty all around!

I think I might be overwhelming this post with pictures, but it is incredibly hard to choose when I took so many! :-)  The second day of touring was to Athens.  I never appreciated history or geography in school, but now that I have traveled quite a bit, I LOVE history!  And being in Athens brought history alive once more.

The parthenon.  My son would have soooo loved this tour!

The parthenon. My son would have soooo loved this tour!

Still can't quite believe we got to experience this!

Still can’t quite believe we got to experience this!

One of the men in our group reading from Acts 17 while standing on Mars Hill.  Amazing experience!!

One of the men in our group reading from Acts 17 while standing on Mars Hill. Amazing experience!!

View of the parthenon from Mars Hill.

View of the parthenon from Mars Hill.

Ruins of an outdoor theatre where they still hold events in the summers.  Wouldn't that be amazing to attend?!

Ruins of an outdoor theatre where they still hold events in the summers. Wouldn’t that be amazing to attend?!

One of the complicating things about this trip was that I was just 8 weeks post-op from my foot surgery.  Hence traveling was a bit harder than normal.  And my foot liked to swell up to the size of a small balloon…  So any chance I got, I had to elevate my foot.  This was a VERY normal sight throughout the week – whether at meals, or in classes or out and about in Athens!  (see below)

Ruth serving me by being my footstool!  Thank you, dear friend!

Ruth serving me by being my footstool! Thank you, dear friend!

Another interesting phenomena about Greece was the artistry!  Otherwise known as graffiti…  I have never seen so much graffiti in all my life – but most of it was very beautifully done.  I would love to know the history as to why Greece has so much graffiti.

One example of the graffiti.

One example of the graffiti.

'Cause dats how we roll....  (trying to get in the spirit of graffiti! ;-)

‘Cause dats how we roll….
(trying to get in the spirit of graffiti! ;-)

I could keep going on and on!  We packed a lot into those 10 days together!  And just to prove that we were also learning (as I don’t have any classroom photos.)

My ACLS card! ;-)

My ACLS card! ;-)

Greece is well worth a visit should you ever be able.  The Greek economy is in need of a boost from tourism.  One of the sobering things that struck us from the moment we stepped out of the airport was the number of businesses that were closed. Every third business was empty.  Signs of a struggling economy.

But despite their struggles, Greece is still a wonder to behold!  What a wonderfully beautiful country!  Should the opportunity ever arise, I would most definitely return!

And as just an added post script – Ruth had 80% decided not to go when I told her I was going to attend the conference.  So I started praying.  Praying that God would make a way for her to go!  And she came!  One of my most favourite answers to prayer yet!  Thank you God!  And thank you Ruth!  For everything!

 

8 Responses to Did you hear me squeal?
  1. Ruth Boyd Reply

    Michelle!!!!! Thank-you dear friend. It was a dream come true. A gift from God. I can’t wait to see how much more our relationship deepens over the next 22 years. ; ). Totally planning on another girlfriend time in our 60’s and hopefully many in between!!!! Ruth

    • Michelle Reply

      Can’t wait to see what kind of mischief we can get up to at our 60s reunion! :-)

  2. Mom Reply

    So glad that you had this opportunity. It is wonderful to connect with friends who are always in the heart even if they are not close or seen often.

    • Michelle Reply

      So very true! And you helped make the trip possible – so thanks again, Momma!!

  3. Melody Babin Reply

    YAY! Michelle I’m so glad to hear about this amazing trip! And that you got to do it with such a good friend. We were in Greece about 12 years ago and I can SO relate to your excitement and amazement about Greece. And we actually went to a performance at that outdoor theatre in Athens. It was breathtaking. One of the best experiences of my life.

    • Michelle Reply

      Wow, Melody! Amazing! What was the performance when you were at the amphitheatre? What a fabulous experience!!

  4. sandra ashworth Reply

    Michelle, what a lovely blog … I’m so happy you and Ruth had this opportunity of a life time to be together!

    • Michelle Reply

      Thank you so much!! Your daughter is a very special person to me!!!

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