When senior years knock at the door, does adventure fly out the window?
I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of seniors, in their early and late seventies, respectively. Opportunity knocked at their door and they flew out the window to a new adventure:
Jacques and Marie are, if there is such a thing, your average seventy-year-olds who had decided to retire.
The challenge was this: Neither had any provision for retirement and their total assets were an apartment in a secure complex and two old motor cars.
Marie ran a thirty-year-old dress making business and Jacques a home-based data base management service. Both were wearied with the physical and mental stress of working their respective businesses.
Their children overseas felt it was time for them to retire saying they would offer to support them both until they could reestablish themselves. Their family at home thought it the best way for them to go.
Helped along by families on both sides of the ocean they started the lengthy process of preparing and submitting documentation, along with undergoing of all medical and financial requirements.
The final day of departure arrived all too soon, as the time they were spending with their family at home on a golf estate, (pic on right) they were enjoying.
Family dropped them off at the rendezvous hotel, where four suitcases (their life’s possessions) were lined up on the hotel patio. After registration and allocation of numbers, their bus to the airport was booked.
They settled in the cool of the lounge, savouring an exceptionally flavour-filled burger.
There was a long wait before boarding the bus and also on arrival at the airport. Once more all luggage was unloaded, this time on the tarmac entrance to the departure terminal. This process allowed for a sniffer dog to run alongside the luggage, checking for (they didn’t know what?)
Booking for an assisted passage turned out to be the best thing they could ever have done (more about that further on.) Two wheel chairs arrived with attendants and at the small cost of their self-consciousness, they were whisked to the head of an exceptionally long queue and wheeled along, with their cases, by folks who helped them to have the right paperwork ready and dealt with the check-in clerks, security, and Immigration officials.
They were literally rushed through the immigration, security and positioned first-in-line at the boarding gate. Their International airport (closed to all but repatriation flights) was like a grave yard. Everything was shut down, the lighting dim. Only one food store was open, which served some unpleasant sandwiches for which they paid a small fortune! Finally they were wheeled to the aircraft.
Neither of them had ever been aboard a Boeing 777-300 before and were struck by this huge spacious aircraft. The flight to Dubai was some ten hours and the service
provided by the cabin crew was nothing short of spectacular. Like any economy air travel, sleeping was fitful. A tasty breakfast and a cup of coffee next morning, cured much of their sleep loss.
Dubai was an extraordinary experience. It was light, airy, busy; like a huge mall with upmarket shops selling the absolute best of everything.
Their attendants spoke easily understandable English, were polite and offered a standard of service neither of them had ever experienced. The distance between aircraft exit to boarding gates would have left a fit athlete breathing fast! But their attendants weaved their chairs through the crowds at about 2 kph (fast for wheel chair occupants), showed them what forms were required and when, jostling them ahead; the crowds appeared to be sympathetic to two retirees zooming along in their wheel chairs.
Again they were delivered to the doors of the waiting aircraft to be greeted by the cabin crew members.
Once seated, a rather large person attempted to squeeze in between the two and the window seat, without any success. The person complained volubly and was speedily relocated. They then enjoyed a comfortable flight in two of the three seater row.
The seven and a half hour flight was the same as the previous one: efficient and friendly service where nothing was too much trouble. Much to the credit of Emirates – the couple said it was the best airline on which they had ever traveled. They were literally served door-to-door.
The two disembarked at their new home, where they were wheeled through all the immigration and customs process in a matter of thirty minutes before being presented to their family.
They later described the entire journey as first-class comfort and enjoyment!
Arrival at their family’s home was breath taking. The golf estate is nothing short of
Marie is going to work in her son’s franchise business and Jacques will market his first book to European readers.
When I asked them how they saw their ‘retirement’, they explained that it was not a matter of ‘giving up work’, but rather working with their passions and enjoying these with those they love!
The two have settled in and taken several walks on the estate, plus a tour of the local village where shopping is done and a grandson goes to school.
The weather for them has been fine, temperatures averaging in the 18 c’s. In the apartment itself, temperature is controlled, particularly with the double glazing.
Setting up of the couple’s mobile phones was swiftly accomplished by the younger folk (who are wizards at these things) as was linking to WI-FI for their laptops.
Although saddened at having to leave other family members and special friends behind, Jacques and Marie are excited to move into their new lives here in this beautiful country.
They will live in the hope that one day, all their family members will join them on the journey of their adventure.
What we were thinking about yesterday, becomes our reality today, and today is our only reality – all else is illusion. Bury your fears and live your dreams.
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