Airport 060708

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All the goodbyes are said. My life for two years is packed in two suitcases, on camera bag and a VERY LARGE purse. I am at Bradley International Airport sitting at Gate 27 waiting for a whole new life to begin. I am ready for this. In Maine my high school girlfriend, Carrie, said to me “This is so you. This is what you should be doing.”

This great adventure could not have happened without the support of many dear friends and loved ones. Because of the trust, and support I have received from my family and friends over the rough times in my life I am ready to take on this new challenge. So yes Helen and all the restof you it is your fault. I will bring with me so much that I have learned from each of  you. So what I do in Ghana will be a representation of all the people back home.

NOW i’m crying!


Jack, Bette and Bella

My Brother and Sister-in-law

I have really been treated like a princess by my family as I visit them. Their love and support were evident from the moment I arrived. Jack is the traditional male breadwinner of the family but also loves his wife enough to help with breakfast or go out for a meal quite often. He’s very protective of Bette and of me when I am there. I feel safe and secure with Jack.

Bette is a home maker. Her house is lovely. She’s a great cook. She sews, quilts, puts up canned goods and has a large pantry in the basement. Bette volunteers in the community and with her church. She and Jack are working at the Mormon employment center in Brigham City two days a week. Bette’s creativity encourages me to use my creative talents.

Bella is a bouncing barking minature snauzer who is full of joy and energy. I will miss her three short are you awake barks outside my door.

We visited all over Utah. The photos on this blog are from our trip to the Eden Valley. We also visited the Church charity distribution center in Salt Lake City and a lovely restaurant. We also visited my four nieces and nephews, who are very close to my age or older and insist on calling me Aunt Vicky! I will write more about those visits in another post.

Saying good-bye to my family is hard. “I do not cry in public.”


The Palace

Castle on a hill in PA

My brother Dennis and my sister-in-law Mel made me feel like a Princess.Den and Mel The royal treatment started in the morning when they turned on NPR’s Morning Edition for me and ended with caring phone call when I arrived in Utah at my brother Jack’s.

We visited two Carnegie libraries in Pittsburgh. Mel and I had Ethiopian food. Den joined us for a visit to the science museum and lunch on Mount Washington. During lunch we saw people sky diving into PNC baseball stadium. The view of Pittsburgh was beautiful. Three rivers meet in downtown Pittsburgh. Please don’t ask me the names of the two besides the Ohio. Pittsburgh rivers are segmented with many bridges and quite a few of them are bright yellow! I think that will be one of my lasting impressions of Pittsburgh.

My last day Mel and I went to a play and to the Cathedral of learning.  The Cathedral of Learning has 25+ classrooms built by different nationalities that immigrated to Pittsburgh.  I loved the African room.  The French room was ornate and beautiful but the Dutch room was all wood and very homelike and cozy.  It would be very fun to have classes about a specific nation in that nation’s room.  The great hall was filled with oak chairs and tables of all shapes and sizes.

Den and Mel made me feel so at home. I was well loved, entertained and cared for – just like a princess. Being made to fell welcome and a part of the family does not depend on the size of the house but the size of the hearts in the house.


For Helen – May Itinerary

TravelMay 7 – Pittsburgh – Brother Dennis  and Stewart O’Nan’s hometown

May 11 – Salt Lake City – Brother Jack

May 17 – Houston – Beth

May 30 – Madison, ME – Mom

June 4 – Granby – Fiya, Liz

June 5 – Lunch at Newington – You guys!

June 7 – Philadelphia – New PC friends to be.

June 10 – Accra, Ghana

I Do Not Cry in Public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

The favorite parts of my job were taken away from me over the past four years and many of my daily tasks were routine and boring but as my investment in the daily grind of the job lessened my connection with my co-workers deepened. This is a truth that I think will be reinforced over and over in my journey with the Peace Corps. More than the food, more than the movies, more than the easy access to book, EVEN MORE THAN INDOOR PLUMBING when I am in Ghana I will miss the people I love. To misquote a campaign slogan of an earlier Clinton Presidential candidate “It’s the PEOPLE, stupid!”.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public

I do not cry in public.


Another last

Tonight was the last time Jeanette and I will go see Stewart O’Nan speak before I leave for Africa. Tonight just reminded  all over again about how much I like Stewart.  He is a humble man.  I asked him to sign one book with just his name because I was going to give it to a new friend in Ghana. “What a way to make a friend” he said “give them this long boring book!”

Tonight he talked about the circus fire in Hartford in 1944. He is very genuine.  When he spoke of the people who died and the survivors it was with respect and caring. The one book committee had created a booklet of local survivors stories. Stewart had a copy of the book and as some of the interviewees came to ask him to sign he also asked them to sign.  He talked to every person who wanted to talk to him. He was engaged and charming with each one.

He is funny. When Jeanette told him she was my keeper (we were talking about my uberfandom) He looked dubiously at her and said “That’s a pretty long leash!”

So I will leave for Africa with the read poster of him that I created signed by him. An advanced copy of one of my favorite O’Nans, from his personal collection and signed and his best wishes and hopes.

For librarians who’s rock stars ARE authors that’s pretty heavy stuff!


The Goodbye Tour

Finally made my plans for the trip to visit my family and friends.

The train did not cooperate on many levels. The part that really got my dander up is that someone from out of the USA could get an Amerapass for about 1/2 the price of a peak North American Rail Pass that Americans and Canadians have to buy. Why does it cost more for ME to ride the train than a tourist?

Second part was that I had to go to Canada. OK so I might like to go to Canada but not for this trip.

Third and this was the clincher. I would have to pay full Peak Fare if I traveled even one day after May 22nd since I am leaving my Job on May 2nd. I really wouldn’t give me much time.

So I surfed the travel sites for plane fares. As I was surfing and getting more and more depressed, the prices were outrageous, I remembered Southwest does great one-way fares. They also don’t participate in online travel sites. So I surfed on over to and SHAZZZAM! They were having a sale and I got a better deal than the train and will have much more time to spend with family and friends.

I am going to Pittsburgh. The birthplace of the world’s greatest living author – Stewart O’Nan. Hope I don’t get arrested laying flowers on the doorstep of his childhood home. Oh yes my youngest brother Dennis and his wife Melanie also live there.

Then on to Salt Lake City to the Sevison clan. My brother Jack, his wife Bette, Teresa and Erica his daughters, Jay and Alan his son’s and too many grandchildren to even count.

The to Houston to see my Beth.

I’ll be back the last weekend of may and off to see my mom one last time.

Planning this trip makes me realize I am really leaving the US and going to live in Ghana. OH BOY! Is there a word for terror, excitement, anxiety, sadness and joy all wrapped up in one?


Easter Road Trip

Today, Good Friday 2008, Becca, Fiya and I went on a road trip to visit my mother in Maine. Becca is my oldest daughter. Fiya is my granddaughter. We are going to visit my Mom before I go to Africa.


Driving to the hotel from my mother’s Fiya took off her clip on earring that my mom had bought her. She said there was a drawing on her ear from the earring. Becca then said it was an indentation. Fiya asked what an indentation was and Becca patiently and simply explained what it was. there were many questions and answers back and forth. When Fiya finally understood indentation she said to her mom “I’m glad I have you. You teach me so much!”


Day brightening news

Today I went to Peaberry’s for brunch before going to work. I visited with my daughter and the staff there.  My daughter,Liz,  gave me some wonderful news that just made my day. She said that she will be taking the Wednesday – Saturday June 4th – 7th to spend time with me.  Liz and I will have a great time. I am already thinking of so many things we could do!

I love my family!


Thanksgiving 2007

Yesterday was the start of saying goodbye. It was my last Thanksgiving with family for a few years, if all goes as planned. It was a fun, happy, warm and yummy thanksgiving, tinges with a bit of sadness. My daughter and my new son-in-law had it at their house. Liz cooked up a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Fiya, my granddaughter and their niece, was there and so was Liz’s friend Sammi. After dinner we girls watched football with Eric. Love that player named Kitten or was it Witten? We ate to much. We laughed a ton.