Winding Down: Enjoying Fall in Maine

I knew from the beginning  of our Gap Year that we’d start winding down our adventures by the fall and begin the process of making our re-entry back into the “real world”.   As I ambitiously planned out our series of adventures last January, Lee cautioned from the start that he would probably be ready to “settle down again” by October, and would need to start the serious business of getting back to work; additionally, his old job left behind the enticing lure of letting him retain the seniority and benefits earned from his 12-year position if he got a job within the same health system within 12 months of his departure (i.e. before the end of December) – creating a compelling argument to find a new position and get back to work before the end of the year.

The practical translation of that meant that the capstone of our fantastic trip to Scotland and Ireland included him completing online applications for his new ED job on planes, trains, and automobiles (well, OK, will admit I may have completed at least one of them!), and getting interviews scheduled for three ED RN positions by the time we landed back in the US.  While the next few weeks filled up quickly with interviews, offers, job shadowing, and comparing the pluses and minuses of his three offers (of course he got offers at all three, ED RN superstar that he is!), I reminded him that Gap Year was not over, and got his agreement to squeeze in at least a set of small-scale adventures closer to home over the next few months – while also starting some of my own networking to take the first step on my plans to go back to work in health care improvement as an independent contractor.

Luckily, fall in Maine brings some of the most consistently beautiful weather of the year, and we enjoyed some great times, from watching Sam run his first marathon the day after we got home from Ireland…

…to spending a week biking and hiking in Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island.

While things got busy pretty quickly with exploring re-entry into the working world, we still were able to enjoy having free time to visit with friends, including two visits to Providence, celebrating a 60th birthday celebration with my friend Barbara in Providence and getting to spend time with her almost-92 year old mother, Sylvia…

and a second visit with longtime friend Anne completing our Dartmouth Med trio.

Free time also meant time for a fall dinner with my paddling friends…9458E1FF-329C-4F3B-AFF2-AEBC533745DD

… joining Sam & Erica for a wedding of an old family friend…

… and even an oddly balmy fall weekend visit to Peaks Island with long-time friends Dave & Ellen.BC224FAC-B30F-44D5-88DF-01CE7F07F90CThe clear fall days also brought us to one of my favorite White Mtn hikes, Franconia Ridge (up Haystack, over the Ridge & over Liberty, and down Lafayette), bringing an early taste of colder months to come, and some extraordinary 360 degree views of the Whites.

Luckily, the early frost of the Whites prepared us for the rapid descent into near-winter during a weekend visit to Rangeley…

… where we got to make like the kids and celebrate our own ‘Friendsgiving” with Saddleback Lake buddies Janet, Julie, Neil & Kate.

Which, it turned out, was good practice for “real” Thanksgiving, when we had the pleasure of hosting the extended Letourneau clan of 25, including all 10 cousins and even a few “plus-ones” (aka: Matt & Erica – always very welcomed additions!).  Luckily, since our Portland house can barely accomodate dinner for 6, we got to host the weekend at a lovely rented house on the Pineland campus (thank you Betty Noyce!)

And while Mr. No-Fun himself (OK, I might be exaggerating that one) started back at work in mid-November (MMC ED being the lucky winner of our ED RN extraordinaire!), I managed to sneak in a girls weekend in Chicago with Abby to visit my sister, Kathy…5B261203-8F0A-41D0-98AE-F08DB7CC02C2
…followed by a quick trip to Boston for a “Young People’s Dinner” with the crowd of cousins living there – a real treat!

And of course, because 11 months does not a (Gap) year make…  I was determined to get in one last trip: a visit to Norway with my (Maine-turned-German) friend Audrey – because who doesn’t want to visit a Scandinavian country in December?

So… I’ll happily admit that I’m writing this as I sit on the plane headed to meet Audrey in Frankfurt, en route to Oslo where I’ve enlisted her help to get in one more big adventure – hoping to X-country ski (even if by headlight), explore Oslo, and if we’re lucky, maybe even see the Northern Lights.  Because, as I like to remind that hard-working husband of mine (somebody’s got to get the health insurance…!), I’m not done yet!

5 thoughts on “Winding Down: Enjoying Fall in Maine

  1. Flinter, Margaret

    Fantastic. I have SO enjoyed following your adventures this year. You are nothing short of awesomely amazing and i donT say that a lot about people. What zest for living! I think your Grand Canyon descriptions remain my favorite of the year, but this last batch of amazing and relatively local friend/family/adventures in New England followed by Norway is pretty amazing too. Good for you. I did a stint yesterday moderating an all day meeting of mostly insurance execs, orthopedic surgeons, and policy people focused on value based insurance design(go figure how i got roped into that one) and Maine was regularly cited a a progressive state. You did an amazing job there. Do you know Francois de Brantes? One of the people that i have really enjoyed getting to know. I am sure you will be very busy in your new career as a healthcare quality consultant. Are you thinking about going with a firm or just independent?

    Anyway==merry Christmas! I think it may feel just great to tuck yourselves in , back in your own home, and take a deep breath of utter contentment that you followed your dreams!

    Margaret

    Sent from my iPad

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  2. Lois

    Well done gap year! Congratulations to both of you. You were both adventurous and brave and had experiences you will never forget. Enjoy your Final trip of this gap year! I am sure it will not be your Last adventure. Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiences. It was so much fun to come along with you. Love you lots

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  3. Kathy L

    You know how to live girl! More wonderful pics and loving descriptions of good friends, family and adventures. And how could I have failed to realize that you are already on the plane to Oslo?!!!! Have a blast! xo

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  4. So glad that you are continuing to adventure to the very last minute! It must feel good to know that Lee is comfortably back at work and all of the experiences you have shared over your past year will live on, not only your memories but through what you have shared with others. What a wonderful life you have created. Congrats on an adventure well-lived!

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