Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.: Are Those Gold Teeth?

I feel like I’ve been saying goodbye for weeks now. The “Bon Voyage” party that one of my client’s threw for me was hilarious and touching. We had everything from moosemeat eggrolls (really, I’m not making that up) to the lovely cake (pictured) made by one of my colleagues. People keep asking me if I’m excited and the answer is yes, but I haven’t had any time to really process what I’m about to do.

My parents have been fantastic, letting me spread everything all over their house the last week and never complaining at my odd hours or frequent requests for coffee. I worked right down to the wire on Saturday. I had a 4:20pm train to catch and I didn’t take a shower and zip up my bags until 3:20pm (really, I’m not making that up either!). Fortunately my Mom drives like a bat-out-of-hell, a carryover from her years of driving on Germany’s autobahn. We made it to the station at 4:16pm and I could only laugh as I watched my Mom jog next to the train doing her “princess” wave, while my Dad and nephew took pictures and shook their heads.

Unfortunately I couldn’t catch up with friends in NC and GA, but I made it to Tampa and was a bit startled at how chilly it was. I was also startled by the toddler that cried for 45 minutes (hurray for earplugs!) and the Jamaican senior citizen who screamed into his cell phone for an hour. I was totally entranced by the caucasian teenagers with a mouthful of gold teeth, and the only starbucks on the planet that isn’t a wi-fi hotspot (suck it!)

I needed to see my brother before I left on this trip, to hug him hard before he gets married this weekend in Jamaica. It hit me that I’m actually going to miss my baby brother’s wedding, and he is still happy for me, as I am for him. My whole family is crazy about his wife-to-be. They welcomed me to their home with caviar and martinis! They demonstrated their love and affection with some dance moves, and some wrestling moves. Yeah, this union is a match made in heaven.

I finally had a chance to think during the 4 hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale. I have to admit that I’m nervous, a bit anxious, and yes, very excited. This trip is unlike any other I’ve taken, I’ll be working for one, and I am a bit of a workaholic already, will I be able to balance work and still have a transformative experience? I have a deep fear of open water and a fear of heights and a vessel of this size combines the worst of the two! How will I deal with the 8 day voyage with no land in sight, no escape from the ship – from Salvador, Brazil to Cape Town, So. Africa?

I’m also not sure how I’ll feel about traveling fast and shallow versus slow and deep. During my 3.5 months in Mexico I got into the culture, hung out with the locals, sought out the food, music, arts and entertainment native to the cities/towns I was visiting, but on this voyage I’ll see so much more of the world, but with the constraints of someone else’s timetable. We are traveling with almost 900 people, 700 of which are students and things happen. I wonder if we’ll all return together, if we’ll all return alive (people have perished). Because I’m a dork, I also wonder about things like: did I pack enough Orbit gum? Will I be able to download new episodes of 30 Rock? Will Desmond Tutu become my new best friend? So I guess it all balances out.

I can’t believe I’m actually traveling again, the sensation of movement away from and towards feels so good.

Pre-Trip Planning: Down to the wire

[1] I don’t really recommend waiting until the night before you leave for Florida to upload the entirety of your music collection into iTunes, order major appliances for your rental property, or back up the entire hard-drive of your laptop to an external storage device.

[2] I bought all new underwear and socks. That balances it all out right?

[3] My Mom is going to kill me when she realizes I have used every.last.one. of her ziploc bags, even the skanky ones. But they are just perfect for holding bottles of soap, listerine, powercords, battery packs, etc. I think I went a little overboard with the ziplocage.

[4] I have been rather self absorbed for the last few months and there are many friends and family members that I will not get the chance to see before I take off. Please know that I love you dearly and think of you often. I wish you could all come with me, but then there’d be no reason to blog right?

T-minus: 3 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Don’t forget to check us out over at Gadling in the meantime for more geeky travel goodness.

Pre-Trip Planning: Reads for the Road

Uh, is it a problem if I have a whole ‘nother bag for my books? Amazon.com is in lurve with me right about now. Where I’m going to put all of these remains a mystery. Maybe I don’t need 14 pair of underwear…..

Top to bottom:

love walked in
the secret history**
girl’s guide to absolutely everything***
like life****
the power of one**
the digital photography book******
around the bloc
love & romance
why are all the black kids sitting together
what every american should know about the rest of the world**
the living bible (this is my favorite of my 4 bibles)
lisey’s story*

the world is flat
what every american should know about who’s really running world
the hidden cost of being african american
woman, an intimate geography*****
faces at the bottom of the well: on racism
frida: a biography
a short history of nearly everything
the kindness of strangers

*My Parents gift me a new Stephen King book every xmas/kwanzaa

**Personal Favorite

***Written by fellow Wahoo Melissa K

****Recommended by Melissa K

*****Recommended by Erica

******Recommended by Josh

T-minus: 4 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Check us out over at Gadling for more gooey travel goodness!

Pre-Trip Planning: Murphy’s Law


Shizzle. I have stuff spread all over the FIB-C (Funchilde Int’l Base Camp) aka my parent’s living room. For somebody who doesn’t have a home, I sure do have a lot of stuff!

I just found out that one of the windows in the dupe (rental property) will cost $285 to replace. one.damn.window.

The dishwasher in Unit A decided to give up the ghost, another $400 after delivery, haul off and install. I should probably just replace the dishwasher in Unit B since that one will likely follow sometime soon.

Now I’m really glad I didn’t buy that D80 and the 55-200mm lens.

My credit card company wants me to call BACK on the day I leave to CONFIRM that I’ll be using my card internationally…uhm, that’s why I’m calling you NOW, take some notes, put it in my file. I’m an international woman of mystery, I have no time for these trivial matters (yeah right, i’ll be calling them Monday to double check).

T-minus: 5 days and counting. Can anyone come over and help me pack?

Poetic: Tastee Freez in Snow Storm

I drove out of New Hampshire like a bat out of hell escaping the snow. For the first 45 minutes I thought I might have to turn back and delay my departure. I hit more snow in Connecticut, then high winds in New York, but the sun started to shine. I shed layers as I got further south. Wander Woman (my new new to me car) shed the layers of ice and snow, and I even rolled down the windows without complaint at the 47 tolls and to check out the Basketball Hall of Fame.

I hit Virginia with a smile on my face. Then I ran into a blinding snow on Rte 29 and my smile faded as the sound of metal on metal trumped my new favorite CD. Guardrail 1, Funchilde 0.

All is well, the packing continues.

T-minus: 5 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Pre-Trip Planning: Travel Gear Faves

*Note: If you click on the photo it will take you to flickr where you can see my notes on each item*

So what do you take on a RTW (round the world) trip? I have no idea so I’m taking my favorite stuff.

Things I Cannot Live Without:

-Aquafresh Toothpaste
-Lady Speedstick
-Various odd-a$$ sized batteries
-Orbit Gum
-Goody’s Headache Powder
-Gillette Venus Razor
-Ultra Mentha Lip Shine
-Tazo Tea & Splenda
-Ralph Lauren Sunglasses
-Camera (Nikon D50 & Coolpix S6)
-Women’s Ultra Mega Vitamins (GNC)
-Travel Alarm Clock
-Swiss army tool w/ penlight
-Hip Hop; R&B; Jazz Tunes
-Barnes & Noble Spiral Journals & Uniball Pens
-Toothbrush & Mouthwash
-Cold, Hard, Cash (US $ and Indian Rupees pictured)

What else should I take? What can’t you live without when you travel?

T-minus: 6 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Check me out over at Gadling.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Hanover, NH: The Family You Choose


Family Style @ Tuck, originally uploaded by funchilde.

The thing about being a nomad is that the siren call of the road will always trump the possibilities of laying down roots…until it doesn’t anymore. I’m still a sucker for the thrill of travel and so I am continually bidding someone, somewhere “see you later.”

I realized this weekend that I have a set of keys to my parent’s house (a given), but I have keys to three other houses that do not belong to people I am related to. I have standing invitations to let myself into their homes whenever I need to (and I have).  I can show up to any of these places with no notice, broke, broke-down, and bedraggled and I’d be accepted with open arms.

To be loved and trusted with the keys to someone’s most intimate space is the ultimate honor in my book, trumped only by being trusted with someone’s offspring. And so I bid my fond farewells to my New Hampshire, New York and Virginia client’s, my closest friends and of course my family, which isn’t so hard to do when you know you’re always welcome back.

T-minus: 7 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Check me out over at Gadling.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: Gear & Gadgets


[1] As a gift to myself for working like a dog, completing my grad school applications, and surviving the weather here at Dartmouth College, I bought myself that Nikon I had been lusting after. I agonize over these types of expenditures and excuse me while I go puke thinking about my credit card bill. Oh, and did I mention that I’m getting my next to last paycheck today? Double puke!

Enough with the puking already. This blog is so classy!

[2] I decided on the D50 over the D80 after listening to some photographers whose work I like. The D80 is $600 more than the D50 and that doesn’t include anything except the “body” of the camera. I also had a great offer for a 55-200mm lens, but it was another $700 and I was l like wait, last.paycheck.for.months and Blindian called and talked me off the $700 cliff. I went with the baby lens and used a very generous gift certificate that I received for Christmas. I am very happy. But still slightly puketastic.

[3] It has warmed up to 2 degrees here in New Hampshire-its a heatwave!

[4] Come check us out over at Gadling.com for more hilarious travel news.

T-minus: 11 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: What I Won’t Miss

Dartmouth Wonderland, originally uploaded by funchilde.

It was damn -10 degrees this morning.

I love yall Dartmouthians but I am so.outta.here.

T-minus: 12 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: Courage & Inspiration


I’M No AnGeL But.., originally uploaded by ..Pu®e PoiSÇ’N...

So, I’ve been blogging for a year. My blogiversary was Saturday and this post was written more than a year ago as I worked up the courage to quit my lucrative career, pack everything up and rent out the house, give the nod to a relationship that the sun was setting on, and take a leap of faith. Let me know what you think, share your own story if you like.


The first Ellen was a junior high school classmate. Ellen B was closer to our mutual friend Monica than to me, but we were an affable group of 14 year olds who swore we had dozens of friends and fantastically cosmopolitan futures ahead of us. The second Ellen was a professor at the undergraduate business school that I attended. Ellen W was an Associate Dean by the time I reconnected with her in 2004. And though I had never had her as professor, she was happy to meet me for lunch, where we hunched over an index card as she helped me construct a metric to evaluate graduate programs. These two women were almost 20 years apart in age, and their successive deaths in 2005 still manage to astonish me.

Initially I thought that the two Ellens were pretty different from one another, one was black, the other white, one was younger and lived on the west coast, the other more mature (in years) and a long time east coaster. But after some scrutiny, I realized their similarities were remarkable. They were both single, neither had children and both had a deep, almost tangible faith in God. They were both kind, generous and carried themselves with a humility and openness that is hard to articulate, but easy to recognize. They both had what I call a “warm spirit”. They were the kind of people that even if you don’t believe in God, it would comfort you to know that you were in their prayers. Though I failed to find much dissimilarity in their lives, their deaths couldn’t have been more incongruous.

Ellen B died slowly, over the course of two years, battling daily to gain the upper hand over an aggressive disease. The last time I spoke to her, she sounded like she was winning. Ellen W died suddenly, over two days, succumbing to a merciless virus without warning, healthy on Friday, gone on Monday.

I was heartsick over Ellen B’s passing in that human way we all react when someone our own age dies. I wondered if she ever got the chance to fall in love? Did she travel to foreign lands and eat foods she couldn’t recognize? Did she dream about marriage or children? I wondered if she had ever been so happy, that time slowed down and she could feel the earth’s movement moment by moment for a split second, with a grin on her face and people she loved around her? I did not know these things because we fell out of touch after high school, I kept up with her through mutual friends, but our personal spheres never crossed until I called her when I learned that she was ill.

I was heartsick over Ellen W’s passing in that human way we all react when someone we have recently spent time with or laid eyes on dies. And I wondered about her life and loves too. I hope that both Ellens had the joy and heartbreak of a full life. That they were not strangers to love (people, places and things), and its inevitable companion: heartbreak.

I do admit to hoping that both found work that they were passionate about and utilized their gifts and talents. I hope that they both had many moments of heart-bursting joy, to temper the inevitable pain of a human existence. But mostly I hope, for my own selfish reasons, that neither died alone. That each was comforted by both earthly and heavenly creatures. That on one side of the divide of time, there were warm hands pressed into theirs, soft skin stroking foreheads and whispers of psalms and peace. And I hope that on the other, there were unmistakable celebrations of divine welcome and promises of harmony and rest.

I of course recognize that I wish these things not only for them, but also for myself and for all of us who have yet to make the final journey home. And it gives me a comfort that I cannot name, to think that when my time on this earth has come to an end, that I will be greeted by two warm spirits that seem at once familiar and breathtaking, but happy to see me. I wish this for all of us. And so I go, because time truly waits for no (wo)man.

Let’s get this party started.