July ? 3 things – it is summer and I’m a teacher…

I am grateful that my trip abroad with students and parents finally happened and we had a successful educational experience.

A hilltop in Belgium where the American Memorial stands to honor the soldiers that liberated Belgium in WWII.
The precision of the American cemetery. Chilling.

I am grateful for the roof over my head and the home I have built for myself, but I have really been missing my house and my outdoor space. I pray real estate prices come down so this teacher can afford to buy a house. I am grateful I have enough – because I do…I have enough. I don’t need a house – I want a house, and I am grateful to know the difference.

I am grateful for the two little angels I spent the weekend with. They surely have my heart…just when I didn’t think I’d give it away ever again – God tricked me and sent me grandchildren. The sweetness, the innocence, the joy and laughter are all so uplifting and life-affirming.

I decided to put this photo of me as a child on my phone to remind myself who I really am. I, too, am a precious gift from God. This photo was kept in my daddy’s wallet until the day he died. ❤️

#3things #gratitude #choosejoy #bertramtravels

My Three Things from Berlin on July 4th, 2022

Berlin, Germany

I am grateful for all that I have and for all that this life has to offer me in 2022; I am grateful for this WWII History tour and all that I have learned and experienced so far – so sad, yet so proud to be American; I am grateful that my student found her passport back at the restaurant 3 hours after she unknowingly dropped her wallet under the table. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

Bastogne, Belgium and my 3 things

July 2, 2022

Today I am grateful to be an American – and so proud. I know we are not a perfect nation, and I know our nation doesn’t always do the right thing. But the soldiers that liberated this city in WWII, and the soldiers that died trying to do so are incredibly celebrated here. The memorials and dedications to them abound. Even the church bells – every day – on every half hour – begins ringing with the first five notes of the American National anthem. This town could teach some Americans a thing or two about patriotism and gratitude toward our veterans; I am grateful to have met Henry. He was a small boy when the Germans occupied his town and his home. He shared his experiences with us today and he led us from one memorial to the next. Thank you Henry; I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and have these experiences- and those soldiers made it possible. I am humbled.

This is Henry. This is the Sherman tank that stands in the center of Bastogne. That is one of two bullet holes that “knocked it out in December 44. It recalls the sacrifices of all the fighters for the liberation of Bastogne and Belgium”. (Plaque) 🇺🇸

I was especially moved today by the German cemetery. 6 men buried together under one cross. We were told this was German military tradition as in – leave no soldier alone. So many were just boys. So many unknown. So much death. I wondered why they were still here. 7000 in just that cemetery. The Germans just left the bodies. The Geneva Convention requires they be buried, handled with respect. They never went home because families could not afford to have them brought home. And again – so many unknown soldiers. So. Many. “Now, they’ll just be here forever” Henry said.

Freedom certainly is not free.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things #usa #letfreedomring

Paris in July-3things

July 1, 2022

The weather has been so mild for us on this trip, and the people of Paris have been very kind. I am grateful for cabs when I am tired of walking – 7 miles today on a broken right foot and and left busted knee – I am so grateful I did not fall again; I am grateful for the river cruise tonight and for having been given the opportunity to see Notre Dame before it burned down. I hope to come again once it is rebuilt; I am grateful to be traveling with such kind and wonderful people. Tomorrow we head to Belgium – birthplace of my grandmother. #gratitude #3 things #choosejoy

A glimpse of Notre Dame from the Seine.

December 8, 2021 – my daily 3 things

I am grateful for honesty above all else; I am grateful for all that I am learning about myself and the world through this journey of healing; I am grateful that I will be traveling abroad again this summer with students- WWII AND THE WESTERN FRONT. #gratitude #3things #choosejoy

Smash book!! Gearing up for my my next adventure in Italy!

I am about two months from leading my fifth student tour abroad.  This time…10 days in Italy!  For each trip I like to make my own smash book to record all of the wonderful moments of our journey.

For those of you that don’t know about the smash book – read this.

 

 

Avignon, France

June 24, 2016

 

Winning the gift of gab – and all it takes is a kiss!

Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland

June 20, 2015 – Day 5 of the Britannia with Education First Tours.

Blarney Castle: The grounds were gorgeous and green and views from the top, well, gorgeous.

We climbed to the top of the castle and had to lie down and hang out backwards over an opening with quite a drop.  For this gal terrified of heights – the climb alone could have prevented the experience, but I prevailed.  Then this nonsense.  I did it, though – and that would be another item to mark off of the bucket list.

The day was warm and sunny as we strolled through the park.  Of course, the best part of the day was that I got to share it with my son…  Too much?  Yea – that was rather corny – or was it Blarney?

As the day ended and we rode the bus to our next destination, I gathered all of the maps and brochures and my colored pens and recorded the event in my trip SMASH Book.

Off to the Rock of Cashel!

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getting ready; another smash book

As I prepare for for my trip this summer with students I am continuing my tradition of keeping a smash book throughout the journey.  I can’t wait to fill it!!

We are traveling with Education First Tours (EF Tours) and will be visiting Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal on a 16 day trip.  I have the largest group yet, at 27 travelers.  I encourage them to write about their experiences while we are traveling and I model this with my smash book.  Writing down the little jokes and other things that make you laugh; exploring your feelings as you are far from home in a new culture, recording your memories for years to come…these are the things I tell my students when they ask “what should I write about?”

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My Smash Books

Thanks for reading my post!  Read more at Fields of Poppies.  The original SMaSH Book post is here.

Yanks out for a run in Killarney, Ireland

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Me and my travel buddy, Kelly

I love to grab my phone and go out for an early morning run while on tour with my students.  Unfortunately, exhaustion tends to take over and the rest becomes more important as we move through our 14 hour days of walking and sight-seeing while traveling abroad.

 

Still, when I am able to do this I am able to see a few things that I would have otherwise missed.  Plus, running through town can really give you a sense of what it is like.  I mean, you are on foot and don’t have the protection of a vehicle or a large group.   You smell smells and hear sounds that you would otherwise miss – things that really add to the ambiance of a town.   If it feels unsafe – you usually know it right away.  Still, I would never run where I thought I might be unsafe.  We always discuss the area with our tour consultant and folks at the hotel to ensure our safety – and I would never run alone.

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Our Hotel in Killarney

While in Killarney, our first stop on the Britannia with EF Tours, my travel buddy and I went out for a short run – about 2 miles.  We went away from town in the opposite direction from which we arrived.  It did not disappoint.  Our first lesson was to run on the correct side of the path.  We were running on the right and the running path/bike path follows the rules of the road.  We ran into only one person before we realized our error and began keeping to the left.

First, we saw a flock of sheep in a field with a lovely backdrop.  OUR FIRST FLOCK!!!2015-06-18 17.19.53

We ran to a bridge as saw this lovely view.2015-06-18 17.18.00

We went out a mile and then backtracked.  There was a lovely gentleman selling strawberries near this bridge and he gave us a taste.  They were fresh and yummy.

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Our tour bus never did make it this way.  I feel like I won a special prize when I get to experience these places with a short run.  Stinky clothes remain the problem.  I can put them in ziplock baggies with dryer sheets, but they really need a washing machine!

 

 

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Read about more group travel trip here.

Read about my first marathon here.