Part 4…last of the photos and info about our temporary home in The Villages, Florida…Socializing is beginning…

This table in the screened lanai has been the perfect spot for us in the morning with coffee and the late afternoons with sundowners (if we so choose). The umbrella provides shade on sunny afternoons.

We haven’t had a TV in the bedroom in so long; we can’t recall. I go to bed an hour or two before Tom but prefer not to watch anything on the TV since it keeps me awake if I find a good show. Instead, I play with my phone until dozing off. I can’t believe I slept over ten hours last night, according to my Fitbit. I’m still feeling tired after my recent heart crisis.

Sofa and extra chair on the lanai, perfect for when visitors come.

This morning, we went for our walk after breakfast, and as much as I struggled to walk very far, we could double the distance we did yesterday. Upon returning to the house, I got two loads of laundry started. It’s fantastic to do laundry indoors and use a dryer, although I prefer to hang up my tops on a rack in the laundry room that may quickly wear out in the dryer over time.

Our social life begins tonight when we head out to a live entertainment venue in one of the village areas, which also has several restaurants nearby so we can dine after the live music. We’re hoping to meet people at the music event, but it’s entirely possible we won’t, and we’ve prepared ourselves for that possibility.

We tend to reach out to strangers, especially after being in Marloth Park for so long, where it’s always welcomed. However, we don’t know the nature of people here yet and may be pleasantly surprised or not. We’ll play it by ear and hope for the best.

Storage area in the garage, well stocked for use, as needed.

On Monday next week, Tom’s nephew Kevin and his wife Kristi are visiting us in the early afternoon. They won’t be staying overnight but plan to stay for an early dinner and would prefer to dine out than dine in. We were more than willing to make a nice dinner, but they insisted eating out would be fine since they wanted to experience the area as well. That makes it a lot easier for me, which right now is a plus since I’m not entirely back to feeling like usual.

On Friday next week, Karen and Rich are coming and staying overnight, and I will be cooking dinner. It will be a lot easier to prepare a meal in the air-conditioned comfort of this house than in the heat of South Africa, always with the challenge of batting off the flies that love to hover over any protein source during food prep. I’ll pace myself and take it easy.

Washer and dryer with plenty of supplies in the house’s laundry room.

Ah, I am well aware of all the conveniences here, although it doesn’t temper my enthusiasm to return to Marloth Park in 14 months. Every location has its pluses and minuses, and over the past ten years, we have learned to adapt to the circumstances wherever we may be.

My en suite bathroom with a roomy walk-in shower and loads of storage space.

Right now, I am following the activities of mating birds. I’ve yet to discover what type of birds they are, although I looked online extensively. They have a nest in a bush in the garden, close to the house, and they have chicks sitting in the nest waiting to be fed. We watch the parents head into the bush with a worm in their mouths and then hear the chicks chirping loudly the moment the parent reappears, which is very often.

Closet in the hallway. The top two shelves are products supplied by the owner, and the bottom two shelves are food products we added.

With Tom’s lousy hearing, he doesn’t hear the chirping, but I love every moment. I doubt we’ll see much other wildlife here unless an alligator walks down the road, which is known to happen.

Speaking of alligators, or shall I say crocodiles, there was a croc walking down a dirt road in Marloth Park a few days ago, and someone posted a video on Facebook. That reminded us how much we love the bush and that no modern conveniences will keep us away.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 5, 2013:

No photo was posted on this date while we had a poor signal on a cruise. For the story posted, please click here.

Part 1…Photos and info about our temporary home in The Villages, Florida….

At certain points along the golf cart path in The Villages, the scenery was lovely.

The house photos will begin tomorrow, but today we’re sharing photos from our first drive using the golf cart that came with the house to the closest shopping area in our Fernandina neighborhood of The Villages. It was pretty fun.

I am a little tentative right now after the Afib bout on the plane, but since we arrived, all is well. My heart rate and blood pressure are normal, with no issues whatsoever. Hopefully, it was a fluke. It may have been too soon to travel on a plane so close to the time I was released from the hospital, only four days earlier. The cardiologist gave me the OK to travel. My fingers are crossed that was the case. I have no interest in going to more doctors and having more pointless tests.

The golf cart paths are easy to navigate.

We had never used a golf cart except in Belize in 2013 when rental cars were outrageously priced. We rented a golf cart to get around when we discovered the first holiday home we rented was infested with insects and had running water only a few hours a day. We used the golf cart to drive to other properties until we eventually found the excellent property where we stayed for our remaining time in the country.

If you’re interested in reading that story about Belize, please see our archives for the first few days of February 2013. It was quite a strange experience when we first started out, but it ultimately resulted in a wonderful experience when we settled into the lovely Laru Beya property in Placencia, Belize.

Zoom in to see the golf cart traffic jam.

We only used the golf cart for a few days at that time. While here at The Villages, the golf cart will be our only means of transportation for almost three months. At first, before we got it going, we were hesitant that this form of transportation would be sufficient for us. But, after yesterday’s first outing, we feel okay about it and will do well getting around. It just takes a little longer than driving a car.

As it turned out, I downloaded a free app, The Villages, which provides easy directions to all locations. What was most important to us was the golf cart paths permitted for driving to any site. This app made it very easy for us to find our way to the restaurant where we had breakfast yesterday and found a Publix grocery store across the road.

The only problem with this particular Yamaha brand of golf cart which is in excellent condition is there is little room for groceries for the ride back to our place. This limits the number of groceries we can purchase at any given time. Now, we understand why so many residents use InstaCart and order groceries online. We may decide to do the same since I prefer to pick out our food. mainly meat and produce.

We inched closer to the row of golf carts and were moving along only a few minutes later.

Today, I am posting photos from our first drive with the golf cart, and tomorrow and for the next few days will add photos I took this morning of the interior and exterior of this lovely three-bedroom home. We love this property since it is in perfect condition, has central air, and is more equipped with supplies and “stuff” than any holiday home we’ve rented in the past.

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of various storage areas in the house so you can see how thorough this owner is. Wow! It’s mind-boggling, and she told us we don’t have to replace anything we use while we’re here. Sure, we may run out of paper products and laundry soap, but we won’t have to purchase cleaning supplies and many toiletries she’s provided.

Tom had his eyes on the road while driving the golf cart.

We love sharing extraordinary holiday/vacation homes with our readers. We couldn’t be more thrilled with this property. If you are interested in renting this property in the future, you can find the listing here on VRBO.

Last night, Tom was still full from his huge breakfast at Bob Evans Farmhouse, while I had a small breakfast with an omelet. We purchased a whole-cooked chicken at the market and ate the dark meat with a salad last night. Tonight, we’re having soft-shelled tacos stuffed with leftover chicken for me and ground taco meat I’ll make for Tom. We’ll be using keto cheese taco shells we found at the market. They are only one carb each, so seeing how good they are will be interesting. I’d read about these taco shells but couldn’t find them in South Africa.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 2, 2013:

Sagrada Familia…Why is the Sagrada Familia so famous? Image result for Sagrada Familia La Sagrada Familia is a building that Gaudí masterfully designed. Despite not being finished, UNESCO made it a World Heritage Site in 1984 because of its unique architecture and how Gaudí created something so artistic and innovative. For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Florida, after a frightening experience on the long red-eye flight…

The lovely dining room is set in our beautiful new home in The Villages, Florida. More photos will follow tomorrow.

We are so grateful to have safely arrived in Florida after a terrifying event occurred on the 17-hour flight from Joburg to Atlanta. We’d had dinner at the airport restaurant, but the food was mediocre. I only had a grilled chicken salad and a pot of chamomile tea since I hadn’t had any wine since the heart event over a week ago.

Finally, after the five-hour layover, it was time to board the plane, and we were anxious to get to our seats and relax. We hadn’t booked our seats together. We booked a seat with two other empty seats beside us, which worked out for me but not for Tom, who was two rows directly behind me. Someone else had booked one of the three seats where Tom was situated,  and he wasn’t ever able to lie down, although I was.

The flight took off about 20 minutes late, but the huge plane finally took off smoothly without incident. I was thrilled to have two empty seats next to me so that when I was tired enough, I could lie down on the three seats with the blankets and pillows provided for all three seats.

About half an hour into the flight, I noticed my pulse suddenly increased. It started at about 100 bpm and, within a short period, it had escalated to 160. OMG, I was terrified. I was afraid to have Tom get the blood pressure cuff out of the bag in my carry-on bag in the overhead compartment. My pulse alone was high enough to convince me that my blood pressure was equally high, and seeing it would only create more anxiety, possibly making it worse.

As stressful as the concept of this long journey was only three days after getting out of ICU in hospital, I felt very calm and at ease about traveling. Sure, I’d considered that something could occur on the plane, but I wasn’t stressing about it by any means. I knew it was afib and not an anxiety attack which I don’t experience.

As the event escalated, I imagined how awful it would be if I told the flight attendant I was having a heart-related crisis and the plane had to turn back. Oh, good grief, that would not be very good. Besides, even after deep breathing and working for hours to stay calm as my heart rate soared, I knew this was no panic attack.

There was nothing I could do but wait it out. I told Tom what was happening, and he checked on me often, worrying about what we’d do if this continued through the 17-hour flight. After the sixth hour, my pulse began to drop for short periods and eventually returned to normal. What an ordeal. No words can express how relieved I was when it settled down to a steady 65 beats per minute. at that point, I was exhausted and hadn’t slept a wink.

After my pulse returned to normal, I was grateful and watched a few movies, dozing off and on. Back in normal sinus rhythm, I was able to stretch out on three seats and sleep for a few hours. Almost 17 hours after the flight began, we landed in Atlanta for the five-hour layover until the next flight.

Much to my surprise, the time passed quickly, and we boarded the last flight from Atlanta to Orlando. I slept during the entire flight, sitting straight up, sandwiched in a center seat between two burly male passengers. I awoke moments before the flight ended, and we rushed to make our way to baggage in hopes of collecting our bags in time for our 6:00 pm pre-arrange shuttle to The Villages.

Although this particular flight was over 30 minutes late, we managed to make it to the shuttle in time for our 6:00 pm ride to The Villages. By 8:30 pm, in the dark, we exited the shuttle just in time to see the SpaceX shuttle launch from Cape Kennedy in the night sky. That was exciting.

Now, we’re situated in this gorgeous place, well-equipped with everything we could possibly need. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll share details of our new temporary home in this fantastic retirement community of The Villages.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 1, 2012:

This was the type of knife in our bin when we went through security in Barcelona, which was not our knife. A terrifying situation ensued. For details, please read here.