“People are the same no matter where you go..”

Rob and Michelle Patterson moved frequently as a railroad family.  Rob’s twenty-year career took them to Colorado, Texas and Nebraska.  Before that, however, Michelle traveled outside the United States as a trained social worker. She shares some of her experiences here, in her own words:



IMG_9615I went to post-communist Romania in 1999, and worked in orphanages and kids with disabilities.  I lived in Deva, which is in the Transylvania region of the country – but I never met a vampire!  It was a life-changing experience, and the Romanian people in my town were amazing – they became my family away from home.

Being a social worker by trade, I wanted to do something that helped people but on a larger scale.  I also wanted to travel, experience some of the world, and ultimately prove something to myself.  To someone who had barely been out of Kansas, getting on a plane to Romania was the scariest thing I’d ever done.  Once I found out I was being sent to Romania, I intentionally didn’t read much about the country because I didn’t want to find out anything that would make me even more scared!  The war in Serbia/Yugoslavia area was going on very close to Romania at the time.

What I found, however, was a country that welcomed me and had a positive interest in FH000014-002Americans.  Many of the things I was afraid of did end up happening (such as taking the wrong train and ending up in a cornfield somewhere) but I figured them all out eventually and came out a stronger person at the end.  The language was…..rough at first, to say the least.  It’s not particularly pleasant to the ear, and even though it’s Latin based, it has influences of Russian and Slavic languages, which are even more difficult for English speakers to learn.  My great-great grandmother was a linguist, and I must have channeled her because I ended up becoming quite fluent in Romanian.  Most of that is lost now, but I could still get by if I had to!

At first I hated the food, the stray dogs, the filthy city streets, the lack of “personal space”, and the constant stares & whistles at a female foreigner.  I came to love the food, the culture, the beauty of the country, and the people who lived there.  I got to visit many other countries during that time too; my favorites were Egypt and Greece.

Bran CastleI’ve been back to visit just once – it’s expensive and hard to be gone that long when you have kids at home.  One day I’d love to take Rob and the boys there and show them that brief part of my life that will always be near to my heart.  As they say in Romanian, Noroc!  (pronounced “nore-oak” meaning good luck, or cheers).



Kansas Ranks High in Quality Roads

roadWIBW NEWS – Kansas roads are good, compared to other states. The Reason Foundation report released Thursday has Kansas ranked third overall, behind only South Carolina and South Dakota. Kansas is tied for first place in both rural interstate pavement condition and rural arterial pavement condition, and third place for urban Interstate pavement condition.   read more

Truck Driver to the Rescue

Published on Oct 12, 2016

This morning on Wood Green Road, #Wednesbury. Attempted theft and assault caught on dash cam.

“I’m in slow moving traffic and I notice a young boy being held from behind in a choke hold… I first wonder if they are just messing around. However, the 3 lads looked older and then the tall one sucker punches the young lad. I decide to get out. The 3rd lad is trying to steal the young lads bike… by the time I approach I can see the lads are much larger than the young lad… infact 2 were bigger than me… they are easily 18/19 years old. The chokeholder violently yanks the young lad away from his bike by the neck meanwhile the tall one mounts the bike so I sprint over and hit him… I then shove the 3rd guy then turn and take on the chokeholder.
The young lad is turning white and is unsteady on his feet… I manage to get him behind myself and I use my best Glaswegian barks for them to fuck off but tall one goes behind us to get the bike again I presume. So I get the young lad (and his bike) over to my lorry and step in to put the nut on the tall one who continues to be a threat.
Once out of shot (at passenger door) I offer to take him as passenger to nearest police station but as it turns out one of his mates had ran off to get help and so a female family friend arrived soon after and took him to safety… it turns out he was only 15”.