May 24, 2008

5/24/08 Kansas City, MO - USA

Another night of thunderstorms and a pretty gloomy morning to start the day. Spent most of the morning 'catching up' with all the little items that need to be done before I leave. One thing I really needed to do was get my health insurance for the Canada trip.

If you travel overseas, you should really ask your medical insurance provider what they cover once you leave the USA. In the past I've paid my own monthly premiums, but when that passed $400 a month, I began looking for alternatives. Last year I found a new company called World Nomads, endorsed by Solbeam, the perpetual traveler. It was pretty inexpensive, so I thought it was a good choice. Little did I know that I would make a claim when my camera was stolen in France. Along with major medical coverage, there is a theft rider included free. Once I made my claim, I was sent a check for the 'original' purchase price of the camera in a little over a week. Wow. No worries, no haggling over value, just a thank you and here's your check. I will be using World Nomads while biking across Canada, and also for my year in Mongolia.

Checked the tracking of my bike wheel sent to get repaired and FedEx tells me it has reached Salt Lake City, Utah. So, keep your fingers crossed that it will reach San Jose by the time Phil Wood & Co open their doors on Tuesday after the holiday weekend.

Went to yoga class today at the Rime Center. It's been six weeks since my last class because of the ESL certification class and because the teacher Britten was on vacation too. Definitely hard after so long off. But Britten is great, teaching us for free. I just wish more took advantage of her generosity. Now, if only I could get into a habit of doing it during the week, especially with the bike trip coming up.

Well, the clouds broke and the sun came out a shinin'. Which was a good thing too. My aunt Juanita and my uncle Bob threw me a 50th Birthday-Biking Across Canada-Teaching in Mongolia Party. My other aunts and uncles, most of the cousins and my grandmother were there. They decided on a Mexican theme so there were tons of spicy dishes to sample, Margaritas to drink and of course, the requisite piƱata. There were plenty of signs, balloons, cake and even a sombrero. We all ate too much of course, but it sure was good to see everyone. There was the gag gift from Robin and my brother Chris gave me a wood carving inlaid with copper of one of the Buddhist auspicious symbols. He tells me he will have all eight done for me by the time I return from Mongolia.

My grandmother, 93 years young

13 days till I leave for Vancouver