Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Visiting with a BFF

Monday, September 9, 2013

OLA: Visiting with a BFF

Ann and Carol, showing off their new chunky earrings
Ann, pensive @ Alcantara Vineyard
As you all know, we have finally reached Cottonwood, Arizona which is one of two cities in Arizona we will be staying in for the next 8 months. We will be here for the month of September, October to March we will be in Phoenix, and April we will be back here. We are now officially in Stage 4 of the RV cruising lifestyle, the snow birding stage. Phoenix will be our winter haven and the place where we will stabilize healthcare, payback efforts, and friendships.

The first visitor we had is one of my BFFs, Ann Gatmaytan. She had been in the US since June 23: in LA where her daughter Sunshine and family live, New Jersey where her sisters Ningning and Baby Jing and their families live, Chicago where her daughter Bingbing lives, and now Arizona where her youngest sister Lilybeth and family live.

Ann;s silhouette against the view of the valley
Ann is the beautiful long-time inspiration of the Philippines’ information and communications technology industry. I remember watching how she easily got everyone together, move activities forward, and let everyone feel everything is taken care of. When I was president of the Philippine Computer Society, I made her the Chairman of our annual National Information Technology Conference. I also asked her to join me at IACT where I was Marketing Manager.

aerial view of Verde Valley from Jerome
Dittas, Nini, Ann, and I informally formed WIT, Women in Information Technology, a group of women who decided to meet regularly to forge a long-time friendship that has now lasted for more than 25 years. Even though I am in America, they have kept me as part of this group that is now named ‘Eight in the City’. Aside from this visit, the following people have also done so: Dittas in 2010 (please see ), Jingjing and Ann in 2011, please see ), Ann in 2012 (please see Bill and I have visited them in the Philippines twice 2009 and 2011.

lunch @ Bobby D's in Jerome
BFFs at the Mine Museum in Jerome
Day 1

Bill picked up Ann about an hour and 20 minutes away from our Verde Valley Campground. We took her to Jerome, Arizona, up in the hills where the former mining town once thrived. We had lunch at Bobby D’s and met the Filipino owner of the LOLA boutique. Then we came down from the hills to visit the Alcantara Vineyard right beside our campground. But soon Ann had to rest or she had developed a cold and was not feeling well. So after a dinner of Hainanese slow cooker chicken rice, we all called it a day and snored the night away.

the BFFs seriously bonding @ the RV
breakfast @ the clubhouse
Day 2

In the morning, Ann felt much better.  After hearty breakfasts at the Clubhouse, we just chose to chillax at the RV talking about everything, anything, and nothing. It is what I have sorely missed, the long chats with friends with history. But in the afternoon we developed a little cabin fever and went out for ice cream and a stroll along Old Cottonwood where Ann found her Balikbayan Earrings (earrings being sold in Cottonwood but were made in the Philippines). That evening we just had left-over Hainanese Chicken and watched the Redbox movie, The Place beyond the Pines, in the company of Orville Redenbacher.

dinner @ Fat Willy's in the Viewpoint Golf and Tennis RV Resort
Day 3

Again the day began with late breakfast at the Clubhouse. Bonding Time was quite unique and soon we gave Ann a campground tour of Verde Valley RV Park. After an almost 2-hour drive we also showed her Viewpoint Golf, Tennis, and RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona where we will be staying for six months starting September 30. We ended up having early dinner at Fat Willy’s, the Resort’s restaurant bar and grill. Finally, we went to Barnes and Noble, had coffee and tea, and waited for Lilybeth. She has such a bubbly personality and we can’t wait to meet her husband Mark who will probably click with Bill too!
Lilybeth picking up Ann @ Barnes and Noble
After Ann left, we started resting, planning our new menus (low in vitamin K for Bill), and stocking up. We also activated our memberships at the Cottonwood Public Library and the Cottonwood Community Center so we can have more options for reading and start our exercises again.  And we are now looking forward to a new more settled phase in our life.

bonding @ the patio of the RV
Next week I write about ‘The Five Kinds of Tourists’.