Posted by: pennyinparadise | December 2, 2008

Back to the USA in 2008

I arrived back in the USA on November 4, 2008 at 6:30 pm……election day!    It was immediately obvious that the country was in a festive spirit which was capped later that night with a huge party in a park in downtown Chicago.    Barack Obama and John McCain showed exactly where their hearts lie by the election night parties they planned well in advance of the election results.   John McCain’s party was held at the exclusive Biltmore in Phoenix, with a guest list of the country’s most influencial Repubs.   Barack Obama’s party was held outside, downtown in the middle of Chicago with everyday folks in attendance as he made himself available to the people of the US…ordinary citizens like me.   That said it all for me!!!

I returned to the US to visit my family;   my dad back in the hospital, my mom taking care of him and my son and his family where we watched the first night launch of the Space Shuttle since the tragic Challenger which exploded shortly after takeoff.    My son works at Cape Canaveral and lives nearby, and we viewed the launch from just across a lake on the edge of the Cape.   Here are photos of the Shuttle lift off and first few minutes

Space Shuttle just after liftoff, 11/07/08

Space Shuttle just after liftoff, 11/07/08

Up, up and away!!!

Up, up and away!!!

From this point on, the Shuttle became a rapidly diminishing light in the sky…..amazing to see so close up.

The shuttle is going straight up, but the earth is rotating, so it looks as if the shuttle is curving

The shuttle is going straight up, but the earth is rotating, so it looks as if the shuttle is curving

Of course, I also went back to my home town of High Springs, north of Gainesville, in North Central Florida (GO GATORS!!).    My friend Judi Kearney gave a big Obama Victory Party at her horsefarm, where I got to see all my old buddies…..here we are dancing to the music of John and Raven Smith’s band, Quartermoon!

Me, Sharon, Linda and Joan (Judi was taking the photo)

L to R: Me, Sharon, Linda and Joan (Judi was taking the photo)

Quartermoon Band (John on left, Raven in the middle, Mike on the right)

Quartermoon Band (John on left, Raven in the middle, Mike on the right)

Judi’s husband Mike (collector of antique cars) wasn’t at the party because he was driving this roadster in the drag races that night.

Mike Kearney on the way to the drag race in his roadster!

Mike Kearney on the way to the drag race in his roadster!

The next morning, Judi fixed breakfast for the girls, and we watched the video I created of my new condo and new city, Cuenca, Ecuador…..these smiling faces make me miss High Springs from time to time….

Valerie, Pat, Sharon & Joan.   Judi in the background with one of her dogs

L to R: Valerie, Pat, Sharon & Joan. Judi in the background with one of her dogs

Mike & Judi live on the beautiful Santa Fe River…..here’s an afternoon shot of the river from their backyard.  Just as the sun was going down, and the water was as smooth as glass…the reflection on the water looks real.

Crystal clear reflection in the waters of the Santa Fe River

Crystal clear reflection in the waters of the Santa Fe River

I left the US with sadness in my heart at leaving my friends and family…..but eager to return to beautiful Cuenca and my life there.    The exciting news was…..my new residency visa had been approved and was waiting for me upon my return.   I now begin the 9 months each year for 2 years, required residency within Ecuador.


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