209/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s a few weeks away from spring break and I don’t think my plans are going to come to fruition – traveling to Russia as I just got the go-ahead from doctors but too tight a turnaround for visa applications and approvals 😦 alas, maybe that’s what supposed to have happened. This got me to thinking about other trips that I have taken and today’s share a past memory on Facebook brought forth a picture from a trip 6 years ago. This was a crazy, amazing weekend jaunt to Rome!! Yes, you read that right. As the new teacher leader of a student trip to Europe, I was asked to come to Rome all expenses paid for a weekend to introduce new teachers about the program and to get a taste of where we would be bringing our students. I thought for a moment and then ignored those thoughts and a few months later, was on my way on a red eye flight to Europe. This was also a true test for me – I have never ever been thrown into a situation with total strangers and was nervous if I would connect with people. I got off the flight and a few teachers were waiting for the last couple of teachers to arrive – we were the Canadians. I met Marti and her husband Joey, I met Dolph, I met a few others and we had our initial awkward conversations – hey, brown guy with ultra-blonde hair had to tame himself a little 😉 Then we met the Americans – oh the Americans!! Chuck and Brandon and Ryan and Bennett and Dana – so much fun. That weekend went by so fast but it felt like we were there for a week as we had so, so many adventures traveling in catacombs, drinking copious amounts of wine, dancing into the wee hours, earning nicknames – Passporticus Minimus, exploring the Colisseum (some at night!!), not making meetings in the morning because some of us were a little “too tired” and realizing one of us was not a teacher but a mother of teacher who loved marching (okay, more like singing) to the beat of a different drummer. I made some great friends in those few days and am still in touch with them not only through Facebook but real-life reunions. Teaching instantly bonded us but the love of life was the commonality. To my Explorica group – great memories forever!!