Happy Easter to those who observe...Plus, the beginning of a memorable saga...

We spotted five stray cats hanging around this motor bike.  The lanterns were for sale.
Our last Easter in Minnesota was in 2012.  In a way if feels as if it was many more than two years ago and in other ways, only yesterday. 

As we post here each day, we purposely don't discuss intimate details of our lives with our children and grandchildren in an effort to respect their privacy. Not doing so, in no way diminishes the love we feel for each and every one of our four adult children, their significant others and our six grandchildren.

Many have asked, "How could you leave your family?"  It wasn't easy.  
Stray cats seem to be comfortable around all the crowds and activities in the souks.
It was a decision wrought with a modicum of guilt, apprehension and fear. How could it not be?  Guilt for leaving them and apprehension and fear that they'd be angry at us for going away, so far away, unreachable at times.  We understood that as we took this risk.

Tom and I, a blended family, both had children as teenagers.  Our lives were not unlike the lives of other parents with grown children and grandchildren, filled with dreams and expectations on all sides, some fulfilled, some perhaps unrealistic.

I retired from my business in December of 2011.  All of my life I'd dreamed of writing when I retired.  With little fodder for writing, I allowed imaginary characters to run through my mind in hopes of someday writing a work of fiction. 

This cat was black and grown, an interesting combination for a non-calico.
My life of retirement allowed little noteworthy action for a story with our lives so like the comfortable lives of many retirees worldwide.  Who'd want to read about our medical appointments, dinners for family and friends and occasional trips to Costco?

In January 2012, as the New Year began, one morning, Tom broached a topic we'd avoided with his retirement date looming on October 31, 2012, "What do you want to do when I retire?"

I looked at him, as we both sat in our comfy chairs in the family room asking, "What do you want to do?" our typical response to such a question, asking the other the same question.  How familiar, eh?

He thought for a moment turning to me and said, "Why don't we travel the world?"  I was shocked.  I never imagined this from him. 

My response was simple and expected, "Let me do some research, do a spreadsheet and see if it's possible.  I'll have it ready in one week."

And, I did. And one week later, we decided.  On October 31, 2012, ten months later, we left our loved one with heavy hearts, after selling and disposing of everything we owned, we left Minnesota.  Leaving our head scratching family behind, wondering how long it would be before we gave up and settle down, we left with a sense of excitement and adventure.

Sure, leaving them was hard and angst ridden.  And today, always a special holiday for all of us, we are reminded of how much we're missing them and will continue to miss daily well into the future.
This black and white cat reminded me of a cat we had when my kids were young that had an extra toes on all four feet, an anomaly seen in cats from time to time.
But, somehow, the missing them is a part of our lives that we embrace and accept.  My oldest son lived away as a adult and has always been missed.  This is not uncommon in today's world.  Many of our retired friends moved to warmer climates away from frosty Minnesota, leaving family in their wake, to call, to Skype, to write.

Here we are, 18 months later and feeling we have so much world left to see.  The excitement coupled with the knowledge we've acquired through experience as we learn more each day has only spurred us on, to continue on.

The fodder?  Ah, it's grand!  Although at times, our days are quiet and mundane as over this busy holiday weekend, too crowded in the souks to even venture out, we stay in our comfy riad with our delightful staff eager to make us one more appreciated meal which we'll savor with gusto. 

No, there won't be a baked spiral sliced ham, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, fruit whippy, fluffy biscuits and bunny rabbit cake for dessert.  Instead we'll have plates and plates of vegetables, beef tagine (minus hot spices) with chips (fries) and local bread for Tom. 

We'll sit at the romantically lit dining room table served by three of the finest household staff in the land, grateful to our family for their acceptance of us living our dream, grateful for each other, grateful for our continuing health and grateful that we had the courage to step outside the box to experience the "fodder" that makes writing here each day a rare gift indeed.

Photo from one year ago today, April 20, 2013:

Here is the inside of our cabin on the Norwegian Epic one year ago. This cruise was the beginning of one of the most harrowing and exciting experience in our lives when this mammoth top heavy ship was caught in an outrageous storm at sea with 50 foot, 15.3 meter swells lasting non-stop for a full three days and nights.  We almost had the ship to ourselves when neither of us was sick while many passengers and crew stayed in their cabins.  We wrote here, we dined, we walked around the ship, although not allowed outdoors.  More will follow on this storm in the next few days, perhaps with a video depicting the adventure.  For details of the day we boarded the Epic which was several days before the storm, please click here. 


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