After 4 months of being on my Fulbright scholarship and sharing all of my daily insights and adventures, this is now my final blog entry. Today I got up at 6.15 and had breakfast with John while Evelyn got their grandkids ready. I was feeling pretty rough with the cold and swollen glands but Evelyn gave me some special medicine for colds and flu which helped. John and I left the house just after 7, took their granddaughter Harper to Dunkin donuts for a donut treat and then on to kindergarten.
John then drove us both into FAU. I went into my office and began to write out the Fulbright report I need to do I then took a walk across campus and had one last look around. I came back to the office and Lincoln came into my office with a special gift for me which is a book called ‘More than a Carpenter’ by Josh and Sean McDowell. Last Tuesday, on my birthday and during the Dean’s reception, I had asked Lincoln if he was a church goer and we had both shared our Christian faith with each other. This was his gift to me as I left, and is the story of a skeptic who came to Christ. I look forward to reading it … and will remember him and Vanessa, his wife, when I do.
I said my goodbyes to Seth, Cassandra, Lincoln and Vaughn which made me feel sad – but so happy I have met them all and had the chance to make friends with all these special people. For those who were not here today, I sent out an email and left chocolates and a card in the office.
John and I drove to Geo, the private company who runs several prisons in the county, to have a meeting. We then drove back to Palm Gardens and bought lunch at a local delicatessen which was really amazing, with so many great sandwiches and salads. we took the sandwiches home and ate them, then we all went for a nap. I lay for a while in my room, then skyped home and talked to Karen and Alan. I then did some work and then went down and joined John and Evelyn at the pool where John and I had a long island iced tea and Evelyn had a gin and tonic. We got ready and went out for dinner to a local restaurant called Seasons 52 – part of the same chain that I had visited with Frank Cullen in Cincinnati three weeks ago. I only realise this when they brought out the same dessert choices – and I had the same chocolate peanut butter torte I had had in Cincinnati! However, the location was so much nicer this time – on the edge of the waterway with boats sailing past. A really special location and great cocktails followed by a lovely meal, as every one I have had with the Smyklas has been. Afterwards, we drove back and John and I had a brandy by the pool. There is something about their house and their company that just makes you feel so relaxed and I have felt this ever since my very first visit here on 4th January.
Tomorrow morning John will take me to Fort Lauderdale airport for 10am and I will get on the plane to Philadelphia, followed by my connecting flight from there to Glasgow. Four months have passed since I arrived here full of anticipation on 4th January. I have had such an amazing time here, full of great times, adventures, learning experiences and also some challenges which I have managed to tackle and deal with. I am now looking forward to being ‘homeward bound.’
Thanks to all of you who have followed my daily musings. I am looking forward to being back with family and back in Glasgow – and to seeing you all in person very soon!