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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back Home

The best part of any trip is coming home. Whenever I come home from a trip and see my nice familiar home I wonder why I ever wanted to go anywhere else. This trip to Mexico was no exception. We walked through our door about 7:45 last evening, two weeks after we left. A thoughtful son had come over a bit earlier to turn the heat up and leave a Welcome Home note. 
Today was consumed with unpacking, getting things in place, and back on track. The first order of business was laundry as everything came home dirty. The final urgent matter was taking my glasses for repairs. I managed to squash them the night before we flew home. I was thankful it didn't happen earlier in the trip. Leroy taped them together well enough to keep the pieces in place so I could see my way home where I promptly exchanged them for my old pair until the smashed frames can be repaired. I will need another day to get everything squared away. By Monday I should be ready to pick up and go on with the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to share any pictures on this post because I left my camera on my nephew's desk in San Diego. I should get it back sometime next week and can make a photo post then. After smashing my glasses and forgetting my camera, I decided I was getting dangerous and it was time to come home before I hurt myself.
The campground where we stayed was nice and well cared for but it was rather inconvenient to have the kitchen so far from the dining hall. We would make the meal in the kitchen, load everything on a van, drive up to the dining hall, unload, set up for serving, and then haul everything back to the kitchen afterward. Someone should show them how to make a kitchen next to a dining hall with a serving window between the two rooms. The log cabins were the size of a large mini-barn and were nice. Each one had a bathroom and two heaters---which we really needed. I sure was glad I took my sweat pants along to wear under my nightgown because the nights were cold. There was frost a couple mornings. One afternoon it got warm enough that I shed my sweater and knee socks for a couple hours. It just was not as warm as I expected it to be in desert country. I guess Tacate is a a higher elevation and being further from the coast than Tijuana is what makes the difference.
It was good to see the Shining Light Children's Home. It is a jewel of a children's home in comparison to the homes where the crews worked. I didn't get to see any of those but I did see the old people's home where some of them worked. It was SO depressing. The people are fed but get very little personal care. One of the things the young people did was bathe the residents. They said the only time they get bathed is when a volunteer comes, which isn't very often. The rooms are dingy with about four beds in each small room. Our girls did laundry, trying to catch up on the pile. There are no dryers and the washers have to be filled with buckets. They hung the clean clothes on lines to dry and then folded the clothes and put them in a storage room. There is no difference between men and women's clothes. They just wear whatever they get. I can't imagine actually living in such a place. But if they weren't there they would be on the street so it's better than the alternative. Seeing that place gave me a feel for the work the young people were doing. 
Leroy went out on a work crew a couple days but I was pretty well tied to the kitchen and laundry the whole time. We cooked tremendous amounts of food to feed 60 young people three meals each day. I lost count of the amounts of most things but remember we went through 23 gallons of milk, 44 dozen eggs, a case of tomatoes, 22 large loaves of bread, and similar amounts of other things.
The young people began leaving at 6 a.m. Monday (23rd) to catch their flights home. We stayed to help the two leaders pack up everything and take it to Shining Light for storage until the next crew goes down in February. The weather was about as miserable as it could get with a cold rain falling. It was one of those times I was thankful I wasn't a man. Leroy was the only one with a plastic poncho so he stayed fairly dry while the other men got soaked. The work was not completed until 9 p.m. Then we finally headed north, crossed the border at 10 and got to my nephew's house in San Diego at midnight. 
We stayed in San Diego Tuesday for a day of sightseeing. The weather was gorgeous and warm. We went to the Creation Museum at Santee, Old Town in San Diego, and the Imperial Beach to watch the sun go down. The best part (to my thrifty German genes) was that all these things were free of charge.
We got to the beach around 4:20 and were just in time to see a whale surface a couple times. Others who saw it were exclaiming about the rarity of seeing a whale so close to the beach so we knew we had not been imagining things. That was a special surprise. I've seen the sunset on the Pacific several times but it is always different and a stunning show.  It was the perfect way to end a lovely day and a two-week (working) vacation.

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