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We were headed for the City of Angels and ran into challenges, with a short delay, in airline terms, of an hour and a half, due to mechanical failure.  Airline speak for one of the overhead bins is broken.  It took two engineers an hour and a half to tape the bin.  I wish they’d told me what the problem was, I’m a dab hand and taping things and could have done it in five minutes.  Oh well. The connecting flight left without us, probably the first time ever that I’ve seen the departure board say… flight departed… when it was my flight.  I found it a little disconcerting and disheartening and maybe a teeny bit demoralizing all at the same time.  We had made great plans. Up at four thirty in the morning to get a really, really early flight, get to LA at a decent time and…blah blah…

So here I am, a very unhappy twelve year old.  Living in the middle of an old volcanic crater amidst steaming heat and sand. We settled into school, as best as we could.  Changing schools becomes so much harder as you get older.  Everyone has settled into their friendships, their comfort zones and making room for a newcomer isn’t necessarily on their agenda.  Oh well. But I continued to amuse myself,  wandering around the souks and bazaars fascinated by the sights, the smells, the noise.  Food on stands displayed openly, covered in flies and the dust of exhaust fumes from the old cars that made their way slowly down the narrow streets. Green spittle was everywhere.   Khat, I later learned was something of a narcotic plant, that was chewed and the residue spat out and it didn’t seem to matter where.  But perhaps there was an order to it that…

If you’ve read my bio you’ll know that we travelled a lot.  As a kid, we moved every two years…home, school, towns, even countries.  It was exhilarating and sometimes hard.  Having to make new friends every couple of years became a really big challenge. When I was twelve we arrived here:  This is Aden, Yemen.  OMG was my first thought.  Actually, no it wasn’t,  I was twelve,  it was much more OMG, OMG, OMG what am I doing here.  I cried.  Of course it was all about me.   This must be the ends of the earth I’d heard people talk about…as in “I’d go to the ends of the earth for you.”  Well here we were. This place was built in the middle of an extinct volcano.  A crater.  Rock, rock and more rock.  Nothing green growing anywhere.   And hot.  There were days when it was 110 degrees and that…

Something serene to enjoy…relax…breathe it in. Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France.   Truly the most beautiful place and even when filled with hundreds of tourists…us included…disrupting the peace and quiet… the charm remains. You can visit both the house and gardens…Monet’s home has been beautifully preserved…but for me it’s these gorgeous gardens that have the WOW factor.  Imagine walking into one of his paintings and you’ll get the picture.  Amazing. I just wish I was a better photographer so I could really have done the place justice. Encourage one another. Love Elle xo

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