Sunday, July 09, 2017

Australia Bound

I'm currently at Gate 25 of Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, enroute from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Sydney, Australia.

I must admit it feels strange to be embarking on what's become an annual sojourn to my homeland at this time of year. Indeed, I've never left this late before, with summer already started in North America and winter underway in the Great South Land.

Why are you going back in winter?, some have asked me. But let's be real here, winter in Australia is nothing like winter in Minnesota! It's more like the North Star State's autumn, to be honest.

My later than usual departure was due, in part, to my needing to stay in the Twin Cities until the end of May so as to complete my first unit of ACPE-accredited clinical pastoral education at St. Francis Medical Center in Shakopee. That experience was the first step in my journey in becoming an interfaith chaplain, a journey that will continue upon my return to the U.S. at the end of August when I begin a chaplain residency in a Minneapolis hospital.

Of course the good thing about leaving my second home in the Twin Cities for an extended visit to my homeland is the opportunity it affords to have any number of gatherings with friends who wish to say bon voyage. I'm all for that!

Left: With my boyfriend Brent – Saturday, July 1, 2017.

Following are some pics from various gathering I've enjoyed with friends in the lead-up to my departure today, July 9, for Australia. Oh, and I have to say just how incredibly fortunate I am to have such steadfast, caring, and generous friends in my life. It is something I definitely don't take for granted.

Above: Standing back row center with (from left) David, Hugh, Alfredo, and John. Front row (from left): Brent, Kathy, and George.This photo and the next 17 where taken at the gathering my friend and housemate Tim and I hosted on the evening of Saturday, July 1.

Above: George and John, who will marry in September. I am honored to have been asked to officiate at their wedding.

Above: Omar, Stephanie, Alfredo, and Matthew – July 1, 2017.

Above: Jeffrey, Pete, and Omar.

Left: George and Alfredo.

Above: From left: John, George, John, Zac, Alfredo and Colleen.

Right: Brent, Kathy, and Lisa.

Above: John, Brent, Jeffrey, and Pete.

Left: Stephanie, Don, and John.

Above: Tim, Hugh, David, Omar, Matthew, Brent, and Zac.

Above: Omar, Matthew, Alfredo, and Jamez.

Above: With Alfredo and Colleen.

Left: Don and Jamez.

Above: Alfredo and Matthew.

Above: Stephanie, Alfredo, and John.

Above: From left: Brent, Alfredo (in front), John, Stephanie, and Omar.

Right: With John.

Above: On the evening of Monday, July 3, my good friends Ken and Carol invited me to be part of their monthly PAMM (People Against Military Madness) potluck. I've known these folks since my early activist days in the Twin Cities' justice and peace community, which would be the late 1990s. I see most of them very rarely now, so it was great to have this opportunity to catch up with them all.

From left: Nancy, Steve, Greg, Ken, Mary Ellen, Joan, Sue Ann, Carol, and Anne.

Above: Celebrating July Fourth with (from left) Brent, Matt, Joan, George, and John.

Left: With my good friend Kathleen , with whom I've embarked on many memorable road trips over the years, including to St. Louis, Wisconsin, Kansas City, Pahá Sápa, and most recently to Grand Marais.

About: Breakfast with my friends Brian and Rick – Friday, July 7, 2017. We're at the Colossal Cafe in Minneapolis.

Above: Friends Dee, Phil, Noelle, Liana, and John – Saturday, July 8, 2017.

Above: With darling little Amelia! – Saturday, July 8, 2017.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Moving On
Out and About – Spring 2016
Australia Bound (2009)
Australia Bound (2006)
The Onward Call

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