Granny’s Landing on Fantasy Bay

Where to begin?

It’s been nine months since I left Bali for my first trip back to the States in two years. I’d planned to return to my beautiful home in Ubud, my dear friends, and the amazing Ketut. I’d purchased a round-trip ticket. But as time drew near to go back, I couldn’t. The impact of Covid, lockdown, and ongoing monkey invasions tied my stomach in knots at the mere thought of revisiting that nightmare. The desire to be closer to my family had become the mantra of my existence.

So I diverted to San Miguel de Allende in the mountains of central Mexico where a friend welcomed me and helped me find a home to rent. I signed a one-year lease and settled in.

Needless to say, I had a lot to process. That’s what this blog is about, the process.

I’m astounded at where this journey is taking me and the doors that are springing open as the way ahead becomes clear. And I’m grateful to the bone for my morning practices. The guidance that comes through journaling, yoga, and meditation is uncanny and the synchronicities that accompany each step forward are beyond my imagining.

But backing up just a bit…

After several months in Mexico, I realized how far away I still was from family. To visit me required an international flight and passports. It was the same for me to visit any of them. For those of you who haven’t experienced air travel lately, it has become a brutal undertaking, and although San Miguel is a magical playground for adults, it isn’t set up to thrill pre-school grandchildren. What had seemed a possible long-term solution in theory, wasn’t adding up.

But I was meeting wonderful women, soulmates really, and loving the Tuesday Market shopping excursions where I pawed for hours through hundreds of tables stacked high with clothing of every imaginable description. Vendors shouting “Barato! Barato! Barato!” (Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!) made me giggle, but they weren’t lying! Some tables had signs that read 2 X 50 pesos. That would be two pieces for $2.50 US. For a clothes-loving bargain-hunter like me, the Tuesday Market was paradise. There were US labels with tags still on them, Express, Lucky, August Silk, and Coldwater Creek, to name a few.

To add to the fun, I found Bananagrams players. They were fierce competitors and challenged my abilities to the max.

I said fun. How long had it been since I’d had fun?

I relaxed into the high desert heat and spent days exploring, often with my new friends, but sometimes alone, following mouth-watering scents for some of the best food I’ve ever eaten anywhere. Even in Italy! (Please note – Mexican wine doesn’t compare.)

I felt alive again, yet playing on repeat in the background was the gnawing knowing that I was still too far from family.

By now I knew I would not be returning to Bali. I’d left everything behind, a paid-for house that still had a seven-year lease, furniture, appliances, clothing, jewelry, deep friendships – everything. How could I justify not returning, especially to Ketut. His management of my property and the B&B supported his family.

There was only one acceptable answer. I told Ketut that if he wanted Rumah Jelita, I would transfer the lease to him and hopefully, after Covid it would become a good business again. He said yes. I left enough funds so he could maintain the property until it became viable. (His first guest will arrive in three days. I’m over-the-moon excited for him.)

The issue of my personal items and keepsakes remained. There were hours of hilarious laughter as Ketut and I videoconferenced while he went through my stuff. He’d hold up a ratty pair of flip-flops, “You want this?” One by one my treasures were placed in ‘keep’ or ‘discard’ piles. When the task was accomplished, he took the whole mess to the post office and had it shipped. It took three months to cross the Pacific – or was it four? Doesn’t matter. It arrived intact. Once again, bless you, Ketut.

After putting Bali in order, I finally felt I had the mental and emotional bandwidth to tackle the question, If not Mexico, then where? I put it out to the Universe but in my heart, I knew there was only one place that made sense: Aitkin County, Minnesota. The family farm.

When I moved to Bali I said I would never live in Minnesota again. I told myself I hated winter, navigating icy streets, shoveling snow, no way! And the thought that I would ever make the remote corner of northern Minnesota where I was born my home, well, no. Never. And yet…and yet…

That’s where most of my family has been for five generations – Aitkin County, Minnesota. My sister, Gwen, and her husband have their home on the family farm. My brother has 30 acres adjacent to them. Uncle John and Aunt Joyce live about a mile away and a host of cousins and old family friends are all nearby. My youngest daughter, her husband, and my twin grandsons, now 4 1/2 years old, live in Minneapolis, as well as many relatives on my mother’s side. It’s a 3 1/2 hour drive.

How does black become white overnight? All those nevers turned to nows?

Gwen and I have been emailing back and forth every day for the past two years. When I tentatively broached the prospect of my move she grabbed hold and ran with it. At one point I asked her why she was so excited at the idea of having her older sister living next door. She told me that she and W, my brother-in-law, acquired the farm from our parents twenty-five years ago because she felt her purpose was to create a place of abundance and safety for family and friends in the difficult times ahead. My coming, she said, affirmed her vision. Goosebumps.

Before I was even certain myself, Gwen had spread the word. Then, as I was researching freight container homes a cousin offered me a cabin. All I had to do was build a foundation for it and have it moved. My next chapter was unfolding effortlessly, which has always been the case when I’m in the flow listening as the Universe clears the path ahead.

My 180-day visa expired in May. I found a woman to sublet my home in Mexico for a month and I flew to Minnesota. When I saw my gift house for the first time I had one word for it. Potential.

For three weeks Gwen and W and I, augured holes for 6″ x 6″ x 8′ posts and worked our sorry, seventy-plus-year-old tails off building my foundation. We contacted a house mover and made arrangements. A representative from the electric company came out to the site and, ouch! Running new service from the pole to my home was pricey but essential.

If potential described my new home, torrents of glowing adjectives tumbled from my mouth when I settled on a building site. Words like serene, expansive, majestic, peaceful, nurturing, verdant, unspoiled. This is my view to the northwest…

Soon, building materials were being delivered by Home Depot…

W kept a close watch overseeing the delivery…

Gwen and I took turns stabilizing the augur while W manned the controls. The foundation was in progress…

Just getting to this point felt like a major accomplishment. This is my view to the east…

The three weeks with Gwen and W gave me a peek into what life might be like for this new – maybe final – chapter.

I arrived just in time for spring planting. Gwen loaned me a pair of overalls and a straw hat. She informed me that I could have as much garden space as I wanted and they would share all they produced with me as there was always an overabundance. (The mask isn’t mandatory – it was the only protection against the nasty biting gnats!) I set about relearning how to plant seeds.

In the midst of the excitement, the goddess Freya arrived. It turns out that was a very fitting name for this fur-bundle of love.

I’ve never seen Gwen so smitten!

Hardly a day passed that some relative or friend didn’t stop in for coffee and, I’m sure, a chance to check out what cosmic shift had occurred to bring Sherry back to the farm. Gwen and I baked goodies to have on hand for those occasions. I asked if frequent coffee klatches were a normal occurrence. Gwen assured me that, true to our Norwegian heritage, they were.

Then, the witching hour. Come 5:00 in the afternoon, all work ceased. Out came the wine and cheese and several hours of cozy chit-chat and DPQs ensued. I love that about my sister and brother-in-law. They know how to contemplate, deliberate, theorize, and examine to death a Deep Philosophical Question. They not only know how, but they enjoy it as much as I do. We agreed that even after I’m living in my own place next door, 5:00 is sacred together time.

One of my last evenings there, we were sitting in the screened porch staring out at the sea of green meadow undulating in the breeze. My father named this farm Willow Island for the clump of weeping willows clustered between the house and the barn. A few years ago, I dubbed the meadow between the house and the forest Lake Imagination. Now Gwen and W are happy to tell anyone who asks that they have Willow Island Farm on Lake Imagination.

My house will overlook a different field. Gwen wanted to know if I’d thought about a name. As I pictured myself sitting on my front porch gazing across the landscape, the answer was there. “It’s Granny’s Landing on Fantasy Bay,” I said. “What else could it possibly be?”

We laughed and after a quiet moment she said, “Sherry, that’s perfect on so many levels!”

So it is. All of it. And once again I find myself manifesting a dream.

There have been times lately when I’ve looked in the mirror and asked myself, “Who are you? I don’t know you!” A five-year-old, blue-eyed imp with bouncy blond curls looks back at me and says, “You’re little Sherry Grimsbo, and we’re going home.”

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rickerw
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 06:51:57

    I like this new turn in the road for you. Seems right, back where you belong.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Anonymous
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 07:04:57

    Color me inspired!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. stevecastley
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 07:30:07

    The Covid years have been a reversal of ‘never’ for many of us. I was never teaching again, but I am. Your reversal is all part of necessity and growth. Enjoy your next chapter. Hugs. Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. W
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 07:30:18

    Ah, my sister

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Monica Broechin
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 07:31:03

    I just love your writings- I wish you all the best vibes,peace, and happiness! There is always travel for our wandering hearts!!! Good luck!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Anonymous
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 08:53:25

    Beautiful piece and welcome home!!…SL

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. gypsyqueen2022
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 09:28:18

    Hi Sherry its been sometime since i last saw you in Bali and reading your story am sure you caught up with Alex in Mexico. Lovely to hear that you are with family again. My journeys have also taken a turn and i returned home then spent some time travelling Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Ended up moving to Melbourne Australia during Covid now heading back home to Perth and next year OS. Never know may see you when i eventually get to the states.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 09:51:28

      I did meet up with Alexsandra a few times – was great to see her again. You’ve been on the move! What is your plan for coming to the U.S?Or is it a destination for some time in the future? Thanks for your comments and best of luck to you in your travels.

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  8. Paula Wong
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:04:01

    You write beautifully. Much as we would like to keep you here in SMA, I love your transition/evolving and reconnecting….perfect, right order. You are where you’re supposed to be. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. Anonymous
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:04:28

    Absolutely love reading. You are such a great writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 21:58:12

      It took time to be able to write this one, to know if I even wanted to write it or just disappear into the icy northern tundra never to be heard from again! But I felt I owed this story to the people who have been following me for years. The wonderful responses have warmed my heart. Thank you.

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  10. Sandra Dee Borg
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:09:58

    Oh, be still my heart. Goose bumps at your ending….be still my own heart. Love and blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. Diane Struble
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:15:29

    Hi:  I did not know that you were back already and starting to get situated.  It sounds like all is going well.  Welcome home. Diane

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:02:56

      Hi Di…I was in Minnesota, but am now back in Mexico. I still have several months on my lease although the same woman that took my house while I was away this time is taking over the last 3 months of my lease. I’ll be back in MN around the first of October to get the house winterized and liveable. It’s very exciting!!!

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  12. Anne Erez
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:26:21

    Wow, wow and more wow! What a change but a very appropriate ending (?) to your travelling years. I envy your family’s closeness and the magical spiritual pull of familiar roots and I know you will sparkle in this next phase of your life. Good on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:04:51

      I doubt there will ever be an end to traveling for me. It’s in my Viking DNA!!! But establishing a home base where I have roots and family felt very appropriate for this time in my life. Thank you for your wonderful comments!

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      Reply

  13. greygeckos
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:42:25

    That is such a beautiful story . What goes around comes around . The circle of life – enjoy the next chapter .

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. greygeckos
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 13:48:00

    It is amazing the twists and turns life takes us . Enjoy the latest adventure . It’s been fun reading about all the things in your life over the last ten years .

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Shane McRae
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 14:01:19

    How wonderful for you. Just perfect. I’m convinced it all came together because you were going with what the Universe had in mind for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:12:11

      Ah Shane – my beautiful Bali forever friend. There’s no way I would have considered returning to Minnesota had not the Universe intervened!!! I love you, my dear. I hope that hip heals quickly and life becomes pain-free and ever more joyful.

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  16. ReAnn Scott
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 14:43:32

    I am glad I could be of some assistance with your acclimating to San Miguel. But it is time we both change directions and look where new roads will lead us. Wishing you happiness and finding a warm pair of long underwear to keep you snug during those not-forgotten cold MN winters to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:16:25

      Gwen has a list of ‘must haves’ I’m to acquire before winter comes in force! I guess not just any long underwear will do. She’s very specific! Thanks again for being the most superb welcoming committee of one I’ve ever experienced! The iconic view of the Parrocchia from your rooftop is imprinted on my memory for all time. Thank you and happy trails to you, dear friend!

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  17. rosemary donnelly
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 19:05:52

    Hi Sherry, I have followed your adventures since Italy a few years ago. Your writing always delights me, but something more… it is the truest rendition of the third season of life that I have ever read. I am reminded of Dorothy, who after the adventures in Oz, understood that home holds a deep, healing beauty. This is my wish for you. Thank you for sharing your life with such elegance and grace… Rosemary

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:20:11

      Ah Rosemary…there is no place like home. Judy Garland clicking her ruby red slippers – that was the movie I watched the first time I ever saw TV. My Aunt Ann and Uncle Harley had the first television set and we were invited to come to their house and watch The Wizard of Oz. I was mesmerized.

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  18. gigicullins
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 21:55:21

    What an amazing read this post of yours is! In one way it truly surprised me, but then again, I completely understand it. I’m so happy for you Sheri! Enjoying your family will truly be wonderful, I am sure. Looks like you found your little piece of Heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:24:22

      I’ve shocked many people many times, but this move has shocked me as much as anyone! And yet… I know with every fiber of my being that this is what is called for at this moment in time. What an adventure! What a journey it’s been to bring me back to the beginning. Thank you for your part in it. We had some memorable, even pivotal times in our design studio. I drove past IMS while I was in Minneapolis. It brought back so many memories… Take good care of yourself and Tom. I know you do, and best to you both, always.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  19. Nicola Scotcher
    Jul 18, 2022 @ 13:09:36

    So enjoyed reading your finale Sherry and to hear you have family close around you in a beautiful setting…Granny’s Landing….and the wonderful gift you have left with Ketut. Loved hearing how you trust the journalling, yoga and meditation to guide you and to settle you back ‘home’.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. writingforselfdiscovery
    Jul 18, 2022 @ 19:52:44

    Thank you, Nicola. Everything is working out beautifully. I was thinking about you the other day wondering how you’re doing. A Whatsapp update would be lovely!

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