Leavin’ on a jet plane

all good things must come to an end.  and a new beginning.

all the bags are packed, we’re ready to go!  david and katherine are diligently gathering up odds and ends from the car and hotel room. i’m scrambling to write a few last words on terra firma before we head for Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 9.32.00 AM

we arrived in the Hampton Inn last night at 10:30 pm after a long drive from Atlanta.  all was going well until i had the good idea to leave I95 and drive along Hwy 1 to find someplace to eat.  who knew  so few restaurants are on A1A?  we found a good puerto rican restaurant and had one good last supper. got lost finding the hotel (we left our portable GPS at the storage facility in Norcross) and wandered around Pembroke Pines Florida for longer than we enjoyed!  checked in and went right to sleep.

this morning, leisurely packing and preparation.  drop the van off at noon and spend the afternoon in the airport.  the plane departs around 7 this evening.  hopefully our hotel in quito will remember to have someone pick us up this evening …it will be close to midnight i guess.  we plan to spend two nights in quito and then make the eight-hour trip to cuenca. david has arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport and drive us to our new home.

the stomach butterflies are active this morning. katherine is concerned about how airplanes stay aloft and what we will talk to the driver about for eight hours.  (spanish, i say.  we will speak whatever spanish we can think of.  como ce dice….???) david has jitters about myriad details.  i wonder where we will find our first cup of coffee and when to grocery shop.

our five-week-and-two-day adventure across America has ended.  7,800 miles of USA.  an amazing trip and katherine was a trooper every mile.  we visited with 84 family members and close friends–what a gift!  our lives are filled with so many excellent people. caring, big hearted, laughter-filled, joy-producing, open-armed, grace-giving men and women.

so many highlights. an abundance of snow in the heartland and views of two beautiful oceans. big sisters and little cousins. 150′ zip line for katherine. a great birthday celebration by the Guadelupe River and reunion of the Siloam Springs soup kitchen! A leisurely ride along the river walk in San Antonio, seals in La Jolla, breakfast with a niece, katherine’s adventures driving a golf cart, long leisurely talks and comfortable beds.

taco soup was a favorite. and smoked brisket. the world’s best hamburger in Meers Oklahoma (ok, one of the top three in the USA). bison herds and bonding with family members seen all too frequently.

so now we wait.  jet blue will board about six this evening and we’ll be there.  i feel we are still taking too much, although all we own has been reduced to 8 large suitcases, three carry ons and three personal items. still rich by most of the world’s standards.

we hope to keep in touch via Skype (send us your number, please). we’ll keep our emails. phones are off line as of today. and of course, this blog.  i’m looking forward to having the time to reconnect with friends and family.

time to say goodbye, at least for now.  remember you have an open invitation to visit anytime. just give us a few weeks to find a place, settle in and locate a good restaurant or two!

life begins in South America for the Vander Plaats tonight at midnight!

Life is good!


5 thoughts on “Leavin’ on a jet plane

    • thanks trish. am in ecuador now. day one in Cuenca. the reality of what we have done is sinking in and is a bit overwhelming oh that your parents were here with their knowledge of the language! but we will be fine. we love the city. arrived yesterday about 5. staying right next to a lovely river in an apartment that is about 100years old (updated in 85). tall ceilings. thick walls. lovely cool breezes. my ankles have swollen up to be the size of rhode island and my heart hurts when i walk but i’ll adjust! this will be a good home. come see us!


      • Nancy, I’m so happy you’ve arrived safely and enjoying the city. I wrote you a reply earlier, but can’t find it so I’ll try to express how much I appreciate your blog and sharing it with me as one of your friends. Your writing is stupendous! I’ve always enjoyed reading your “headlines”. 🙂 You stay happy and know we miss you here at BMB. It’s not the same without your laughter. Looking forward to reading more exciting stories about your new/old city/country and maybe some photos will be forthcoming! -Gayle S.


      • thanks gayle. i may have received your note, but note gotten to it yet!! am way behind. moving slowly. the city is beautiful…the country is amazing. so green. so relaxed. i hope to get to that state very soon. thanks for your words about my writing. feels good! hope you and your mom are doing well. and work continues to go well.
        i know you’ll retire when the time is right. but just let me say…its GREAT!:) talk soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Nancy, thank you so much for sharing this blog with us. I’m thrilled to be one of the many who will experience your new adventure with you through the internet! I’m, I think, as excited as you! Well… 🙂 I loved reading about your trip through the US and hearing how enjoyable and exciting that was, even through the extreme weather. Stay safe and happy, my friend.
    Gayle S.


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