Gratitude

We've been home two days and I have already done laundry twice. As I fold the clothes, I pine for the “olden days”, a mere week ago, when the whites came back from the laundry, bright white and every item was beautifully pressed. Now, I must deal with our new reality.

It is a new reality in so many ways. Less than a week ago, we packed our suitcases and walked off the Mariner to return to life at home. Honestly, that day feels like a lifetime ago. Time held great urgency and was laden with stress! There wasn't a moment to spare to get to Fremantle's port. Australia had closed their door to cruise ships and yet, their kindness and empathy allowed so many of us to empty out onto their soil, in transit to our homes in many other parts of the world. 

I sent a note to the Australian Prime Minister, the Honorable Scott Morrison, thanking him for his country's hospitality, for all the kind, caring citizens who reside in OZ, and for letting us stay as long as it took to fly out. 

Aside from extreme jet lag...it took 30 hours to get home under very stressful conditions, I sit in my living room in Illinois, where we are required to self-isolate, and I feel very grateful. 

The rush of gratitude began on the ship. It began with Putu, a sweet young man from Bali who would come by to say hello while I painted. Putu and I became friends, so when he approached me on our last day on board, he said...” I will say farewell...I cannot say good bye to you. I know I must say 'farewell' so that I know I will see you again.” Putu touched my heart. He also took my suitcase and escorted us all the way to the terminal. 

The walk from the ship was incredibly emotional. I teared up seeing some of the crew on the deck, clapping and waving to us as we made our way to security to get our ID cards scanned for the final time. Putu led the way across the bridge, to land, and as we stepped on shore, the Mariner crew was there, clapping, shouting and waving good bye. They lined the dock, up to five people deep...all of them saying “farewell.” I cried. I blew kisses, I hugged whoever came out of the line to hug me. During my time on the ship, I drew portraits of many of the crew and gifted all the drawings to each of them. It was a joyful gesture. I got as much pleasure from giving the art, as they did from receiving. So there they were....dear Putu leading the way and all these lovely people were giving us an amazing send off. Gratitude!

Regent did everything possible to ensure our safety, as well as honor our investment in the world cruise. We'll receive a full refund for the unused days. Their generosity didn't stop there - they transferred us to the Ritz Carlton in Perth where we stayed as their guests. We received a complimentary breakfast and a very generous food allowance for the hotel's restaurants. They would have taken us to the airport, but Emirates sent a chauffeured car for us. Hmmmm, spotless Mercedes or bus??? No contest. Gratitude!

The woman who checked us in for our Emirates flight was the epitome of an Australian. She noted that we had requested a wheelchair for my husband at O'Hare, where getting through Immigration would be particularly difficult. She observed that our connecting gates in Dubai were very far from each other and ordered another wheelchair to transport him through the terminals. Had she not been so thorough, we might still be walking to catch our flight at the airport. Harry rode and I trekked almost three miles between gates, that even included a train ride! Gratitude!

This is getting long, so I will leave out unnecessary details, I will just sum up the trip home as grueling. We were both completely exhausted by the time the plane's wheels touched down at O'Hare. Once past Immigration, our wonderful daughter was there, waiting for us! Her car was packed with homemade tomato soup and dinner for two nights. She baked for us...three kinds of fresh breads...sweet and savory, and brownies. She brought our house keys which we had left in San Francisco (shipped to her by our son) and gave us rolls of coveted toilet paper! She took us home! Gratitude!

I've teared up writing this final post on our world cruise adventure. Not because the trip ended, but because we met so many special people along the way on both good and bad days: Claire and Dee, dear, dear forever friends – their company was always delightful; Louise, who has a fabulous sense of humor....I think we laughed more than we painted together; the remarkable crew of the Mariner; the “pushers” who wheeled Harry where we needed to go in each airport and every person in Australia who demonstrated the power and potential of a kinder, gentler nation. Gratitude!

And, to each of you who followed along...thank you for sharing this journey with me. It was fun knowing that you were enjoying the arm-chair journey while my feet were on the ship and in our many ports.

Oh, if you want the recipe for my daughter's killer brownies, click here! You'll be glad you did!

Till next time, dear readers! Be well and safe! I am signing off, filled with gratitude.  

Putu
Shameer 
Alina

Daria

Our friend Jay!

Saying goodbye - Mariner Crew Photos by Dee Pacifici!















7 comments

  1. I am glad you made it safely home. So did we, but ours was just one flight from Rio to Miami. Passengers from the Insignia were on the same flight. Their world cruise ended prematurely in Rio.
    Stay safe and healthy!

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  2. Marcia, so pleased you are safely home. Thank you for sharing the journey with us too, even if it didn't quite work out as planned. Stay well, stay safe both of you. x

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  3. I am so glad you are safely home. Thank you for all your posts. I worried for both you and Lana the other person doing a live blog. I hope she lets people know that she made it safely home, too.

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  4. I am glad you made it home safe and sound. What a lovely tribute to the Mariner and the Crew. Thank you for posting your time on the world cruise. Lynn Lepore

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  5. Welcome home, Marcia & Harry!
    Happy to hear you made it thru ok, even if it took so many long hours.
    Thank you for posting the last update w/ the pencil portraits & photos from Dee Pacifici--all beautiful.
    Love you back!

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  6. Even just imagining this makes me tear up! Be well.

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  7. Happy to hear you are home safe!

    Ken A.

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