The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sailing along the fjord

The NATO folks get together every few months and got out on a chartered boat cruise around the area. We went on one of these cruises this past weekend. It started out sunny and then ended in a torrential downpour for the majority of the 3 hr trip. It was nice to have so many friends from so many different countries along with us. These are a few of the views we saw along the way when it wasn't pouring!

A hike and a cookout

Tim, Rich, Lily, Kona and I went on a little hike in Stavanger the other day. We took a disposible grill and some hamburger and had a little feast in the great outdoors. It was a nice hike and grilling out made it even better!

Saying Goodbye...

Keisha...girl, I am going to miss you!
Keisha's gang of friends saying our final farewells around 11:15 p.m. (the sun was just setting) at the Rica Forum Hotel restaurant
Keisha and Michaela, who are also very close friends
Keisha and Marily, who is also Germany.
Keisha and Patti...who is also Virginia
Keisha and me
Keisha opening gifts from her girlfriends...a little something from Scandanavia...
Keisha, trying to put on her brave face...
Tina and Keisha
I have grown up moving around all of my life. I don't really have roots planted anywhere and I wouldn't know what to do with them if I had them (roots, that is). I tend to make friends quickly...but also tend not to make close friends. There is really just a small handful of people that know me really really well. I don't know if I keep a distance because I don't want to have to say goodbye or just because I am accustomed to doing so. However, every once and awhile, you come across a very special person that you just can't wait to spend time with. Keisha is one of those people for me. She has a son a year ahead of Joe in school and a son a year behind Tim in school. All four boys know each other very well. We have spent HOURS upon HOURS at basketball, track and rugby events over the last two years. Keisha and I did not have the kind of relationship where we called each other was something different than was, as she put it at her goodbye dinner, that we were "like sisters, who could always depend on each other." She will always have a place in my heart, and I know we'll be seeing each other again. She moves to Houston (where my brother and sister-in-law live) on Friday...
Keisha has been my inspiration to be a better person ever since I met her. I rarely walk away without being inspired at what a great wife and mom she is. We both have been working hard at the gym to get our "badda-bing, badda-boom" bodies back. We have promised each other to meet in Hawaii for a girl's vacation when we reach our goals. I can't wait! Until then...we'll have facebook....I will miss you my friend!

ISS Graduation

Joe and Matt....both injured as they go into the summer before high school - No, Matt didn't break his arm cliff jumping with us...he broke it on the HS beach BBQ day on the last full day of school...a week prior to his move to Houston.
Joe and Matt looking unnaturally smart in their nice clothes for graduation. Matt's sister, Megan, graduated that night.
Four of the Scottish men graduating...wearing their national dress (pardon the pun) from Scotland. They looked quite impressive, actually.
The 2009 ISS graduating class...congratulations!
On June 4th, 2009, 44 seniors graduated from the International School of Stavanger. I think this is the largest number...last year there was only 32 graduates. There were 13 different nationalities represented among the 44 grads. Collectively, they were accepted into 70 different universities around the world. I knew several of them and was happy to be able to see their last moments at ISS.
The class was small enough that when each name was called forward to receive his or her diploma, they paused for a few minutes for photo opportunities for the family and friends. They also had two of the high school teachers reading a message written by that student. It was only a few paragraphs long, but it told of their memories of high school, their plans for the futures and thank yous and farewells to family and friends. It was really very personal. Even though I only knew a few of the students, by the time graduation was over, I felt like I knew each of them. I hope they are able to keep up that tradition for as long as they can.

Videos of Cliff jumping...

As you can hear, it was pretty windy on this day...a cold front was blowing in. And for every single video of Rich I have saying "I was this close!" (to jumping), I have 4 that I deleted. We were all pretty proud of him when he finally jumped!

Pictures of Cliff Diving

I thought I had witnessed my son's life being cut short while taking this picture. He slipped as he was jumping off the high cliff and was dangerously close to the rocks. He was fine....but it scared him...which is always healthy for a 14 year old...fear.

Rich contemplating his own mortality...he is not fond of heights.
Joe cut himself on some barnacles as he was crawling out of the water. We didn't have enough wetsuits to go around....the boys have grown too much!

Near our house, on the Hafrsfjord, there is a spot to cliff jump. There are a couple of spots close together that goes into very deep water...that is where we hiked to on the last warm day we have had...June 1st. It was a holiday, so Rich was around to take part in the fun as well. Joe's friend, Matt, came along. He moved away on June 10th....back to the U.S., so this was his last "hurrah" before leaving Norway. I will post another blog entry for the videos.... We had to walk through a cow pasture to get to this that is why the cows are included... :o)