Day 357 – A Modern Day Helen Keller

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Travel | Posted on 22-06-2010

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Tuesday June 22nd, 2010

I sat in the airport watching everyday people go about their airport business when a Reagan National Airport employee led a blind man into the gate. It, of course, made me stop and watch for a moment. Both were silent as one led the other and the other trustingly followed. Just by looking one could see how focused the blind man was as he followed a stranger by the arm. It wasn’t until minutes later when the blind man tried to convey his concern that I realized he was also deaf and mute. When hand gestures couldn’t get his point across to the employee, the man began getting a paper and pen out of his bag. After writing down his thought, he handed it to the employee. He must have shared his need to know the location of the ticket booth, because that’s where the employee led him. His hand gestures were then crystal clear to me. It hadn’t been sign language like I had originally thought, but motions to shape a counter. After the man was seated and the employee left, he went about his normal airport business: reading Braille.

Later the man walked to the ticket counter but no one was there. While walking back to his seat another Reagan employee intercepted him and tried to communicate with him to no avail. The blind, deaf, and mute man then reached into his pocket and pulled out a laminated piece of paper. After reading the paper the Reagan employed began writing letters with his index finger into the man’s palm. The man nodded his head in comprehension responding by writing a question onto his pad of paper. Their conversation continued as such for several minutes until the blind, deaf, and mute man had his questions answered and the Reagan employee walked away. The man then continued reading his book.

It is so easy to take life for granted; to not recognize the gifts you’ve been given. I’m sure this man has many more than I could witness on our brief encounter, but the ones I could recognize were trustworthy strangers as well as acceptance. This man did not let his circumstances – albeit difficult – to restrict his life. No this man didn’t have sight or hearing or voice, but he was enjoying his time at the airport like any other. While the young woman who sat directly across from him watched a movie with her ears and eyes, he enjoyed a story through his fingers. And I thought that if this man can manage to travel while being blind, deaf, and mute, we can all accomplish things seemingly impossible.

Day 356 – Double Feature

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 21-06-2010

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Monday June 21st, 2010

My dad used to treat me to a double feature every once in a while – usually followed by a giant chocolate milkshake from Dairy Queen. Therefore, double features will always hold a special place in my heart. It was something that was rare enough to get me into an all consuming excitement, but often enough to be something I knew could happen when I was with my dad. So it’s not surprising that Andrew and I found ourselves prepping for a double feature last Saturday night. On the agenda: Karate Kid and Toy Story 3 in 3-D.

I have been and always will be a Jackie Chan fan. He has what I call the huggable attribute. Not only do I want to jump through the screen and hug on that sweet Chinese man, he can crack me up with nothing more than a glance – Shanghai Noon anyone? Chan was absolutely fabulous in Karate Kid, bringing me to tears at one point. The best part of the film, however, had nothing to do with the film…exactly…but with the audience watching it. By the time the previews were rolling, the only seats left were in the front row. No, not the front of the main section, literally the first row in the theater, and that is where Andrew and I were forced to sit. Since the theater was filled to capacity the giggles were louder, the gasps were longer, and the experience was one of a kind.

Jaden Smith’s character, Dre, caused our fellow watchers to erupt in a chant cheering him on. I have witnessed the occasional contagious laugh (my dad’s in Hairspray when he realized halfway through the film that Edna Turnblad was John Travolta) or the applause as the final credits roll by, but this was like being at an actual Kung Fu tournament. It completely changed my expectations for theater audiences and I doubt I’ll be satisfied to just silently sit through another film. What, you don’t think I have ever sat through a film silently? Touché, touché, but now I will expect others to join in with me!

Toy Story 3 was everything I’d expected it to be: entertaining, emotional, and absolutely amazing. Yes, just like most Pixar films make me do, I cried, but I also laughed, groaned, and got that warm fuzzy bunny feeling inside. The ending caught me by surprise leaving me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Overall, both films were wonderful making my and Andrew’s double feature a huge success.

Day 355 – The Curse of the Open Container

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 20-06-2010

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Sunday June 20th, 2010

It was like any Saturday night at the movies: theater packed, a large popcorn bucket in my lap, and Andrew at my side. But, it was unlike many Saturday nights at the movies: we were in for a double feature, the large popcorn had unlimited free refills, and Andrew and I were going to eat our monies worth of it.

It wasn’t a bad plan. We hadn’t eaten dinner. But as I lay in my bed after eating two full buckets of popcorn, I felt that at any moment it was going to pop right out of my mouth. That night when I moaned with every movement, when I cursed Andrew for touching me, when tears fell from my eyes for the pain in my stomach was too great, I vowed never to be cursed with an open container at the movies again!

Delicious, buttery popcorn, the curse for all mankind!

Day 352 – High School Graduations

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 17-06-2010

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Thursday June 17th, 2010

The main reason for my and Andrew’s trip to the States was to be there for his sister’s high school graduation. She graduated from the same home school program that Andrew and I graduated from in 2004, although now they are considered a private school/home school program and have changed their name from New Creation Center (NCC) to New Creation Christian Academy (still NCC). NCC offers sports and classes in a Christian environment to homeschooled kids. I think I took two classes from there in high school, but participated in almost every sport available at the time: cheerleading, basketball, volleyball, and field and track. The school has grown and now even has a football team as well as a more permanent location.

I do not have many fond memories of life at NCC, but I’m still glad I had an opportunity to participate in sports through high school and have a graduation ceremony. Both of which wouldn’t have been possible without the program. Unbeknownst to us, Andrew and I graduated alongside our future spouse – awe. Each person was allowed a slideshow, a speech from their parents, and/or a pastoral blessing. With roughly 30 graduates, one would think the ceremony would’ve been relatively quick. Several hours later, when equipment wasn’t working properly and the guests and graduates were falling asleep – one of which was my beloved husband – we were all ready to be out of there. My sweet friend, Jenn, who had driven an hour to watch me graduate, was wishing my last name began closer to the beginning of the alphabet rather than near the end. Then, to top it all off, each graduate also had a table set up however they liked at the entrance of the church for the guests to visit after graduation. The idea was great and unique and personal, but the implementation didn’t go so well.

Luckily, by the 2010 graduation ceremony things went off without a problem. Liana, Andrew’s sister, walked across stage as her parent’s prerecorded blessing played along with her slideshow. There was only one technical difficulty and it wasn’t that big a deal. Overall the ceremony was beautiful. Congratulations Liana!

Day 351 – China House

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 16-06-2010

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Wednesday June 16th, 2010

When Andrew and I were dating and he lived in Stockbridge, we ate at a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant regularly: China House. It was in a Publix shopping center and was nothing spectacular to look at, but they had the best honey chicken we’d ever eaten. On our recent trip to the States, we made the trek to our old stomping grounds to have some fabulous memories in a carton. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! It was just as good as we’d remembered and we have yet to find a Chinese restaurant to beat it.

Day 350 – Emma the BBC Version

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 15-06-2010

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June 15th, 2010

Remember when I said that Emma was my favorite movie growing up? Remember, it was when I told you about reading Jane Austin’s Emma for the first time: Day 85 – Emma. Well what do you know, BBC has a new adaptation out and it is four hours of fabulousness! Seeing as how I missed its airing, I bought it off Amazon for $25.00 and I’ve already watched it twice…and I’m ready for the third go around!

Here’s a link to BBC’s official page for it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n8s6x.

Day 349 – Huddleston Pond

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 14-06-2010

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Monday June 14th, 2010

During my stay in Georgia, I attempted to maintain my exercise routine. After the first week, it was mostly to no avail, but I did manage to go on a jog occasionally throughout my entire vacation. Stating that I tried to maintain my routine is a bit misleading for I had only had a routine for just over a month when I went out of town.

In Peachtree City, I used the bike trails for my run. There is a pond a few minutes from my house that I had run to several times before and was running to on this specific trip. I feel that I should also state that I was not garbed in a fancy running outfit but rather red volleyball shorts and a purple t-shirt; I in no way looked like a professional – more like a little kid that’s parents let dress herself.

So, off I ran towards  Huddleston Pond in hopes of lasting the twenty minute goal I’d set for myself. However as I approached, unlike any other morning, the parking lot surrounding the pond was full and there were cars parked along the street. Whatever, I’m not ashamed. I’m trying to get in shape. So what if there are people around while I’m running. I’m not going to run somewhere else just because some preschool or something decided to meet for breakfast at the pond. I can just run around them.

As I continued to get closer to the pond, I began seeing people and then what they were doing. What are they doing?…Wait, why are they all grouped together?…Wait, why are they all stretching? You have GOT to be kidding me?! It’s a running club! I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed! Abort mission! Abort mission! At the moment I realized little amateur me was about to run right into a team of runners, I started looking for an alternative route to get me the heck out of sight. Luckily there was a subdivision to my left and that is where I ran before heading back the same way I had come.

I am tempted to end this post here, but I’ll continue on a little farther. After jogging around said neighborhood, I retraced my steps towards my parent’s home. Partway there three elderly men turned from a side street and were walking the direction I was going. When I had been following them for several minutes without gaining any ground, I stopped “running” and walked the rest of the way home. I have participated in several triathlons, tournaments, meets, all kinds of sporting events, but never had I felt so defeated. What a great way to start my day.

Day 343- J. Christopher’s

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Georgia | Posted on 08-06-2010

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Tuesday June 8th, 2010

After my mom picked me up from the airport we met my sister, Jessica, at J. Christopher’s for breakfast. As usual, it was delicious! I tried the Huevos Avocados for the first time and I gobbled them all up. Jessica ordered her usual biscuits and sausage gravy, which were also delicious. We had a marvelous reunion with laughter and giggles as we ate.

Day 342 – Coach – dun, dun, DUN!

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Posted by Juliane | Posted in Travel | Posted on 07-06-2010

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Monday June 7th, 2010

When it began, I knew it was going to be the longest flight ever. One would think that knowing it would somehow lessen the pain, but that knowledge in no way made the fifteen hour flight from Dubai to Atlanta any more tolerable. Being assigned a seat in coach was disappointing enough, but having been given an E seat about sent me into suicidal depression. The middle?! THE MIDDLE?! I’ve been given the worst seat available on the plane. I should’ve known when the Delta ticket agent handed me my ticket looking as though she was passing a kidney stone. It wasn’t her kidneys that produced her “I hate life” expression, but the knowledge that she was sending me into hell for the next 15 hours.

I rejoiced when I arrived to my row and found two empty seats in my section. Perhaps my misfortune wasn’t all that misfortunate after all. No quicker had those thoughts entered my mind than another young man trudged down the aisle and stopped at that glorious vacant seat. It was then that I knew there would be no stretching of my legs, no laying my head against the seat next to me, no peeing without awkwardly harassing the co-travelers next to me, and no sleeping.

It was then that I decided to order Coke with dinner and watch those complementary movies for as long as I could bear. But, seven hours later, I could feel the veins emerging on my eyes. I was not going to make it. I slumped forward onto my open tray and luckily fell asleep. I relished in the thought that I could pass at least two hours of this awful flight asleep. When I awoke later, I excitedly looked at my watch to see how many beautiful hours had passed as I slept: none. Twenty measly minutes, one thousand and six hundred pathetic seconds was all I had managed to accomplish. Well that and severe stomach pains from curling my long body into an awkward fetal position.

I then sat there staring into oblivion talking myself out of crying. Both of the men next to me were fast asleep; the man to my left had his beanie cap pulled down over his eyes while the man on my right had his head leaned back with his mouth agape. I’ve always been amazed at people who can lean their head back against their headrest and drift into an unrestful slumber. I have never been that person. As I sat there contemplating life, the man on my right jerked forward thrusting his fists into the air and blurted out a mouthful of unintelligible garble. Then, like a comical scene in a movie, his body went limp and his head fell back to the headrest where he was peacefully sleeping again. He later told me that he was having some crazy dreams and had a tendency of talking in his sleep. It’s the little things in life that make life entertaining. If I had a compilation of all the hilarious accounts in my life, I would have a #1 best seller of something, a script, manuscript, skit, something.

Between standing and literally stretching in front of the bathrooms, watching movies, taking powernaps, and chatting, I did manage to survive the seemingly longest flight of my life. Since then, I have been fervently praying that I do not receive a B, E, or H seat; for those truly are the worst seats on the plane. The truth is I didn’t have the only worst seat on the plane.