• Heather O’Neal


I am sorry to say that my trip to Nepal this fall with five trekkers has been canceled due to the extenuating world circumstance. The days have been hard for everyone. It is especially difficult to cancel our trip during a time when it would be so glorious to escape to the high Himalayas and forget about everything except ones relationship with nature. It is always strange to be reacquainted with the newspaper after a long trek. Oh well. Politics in Nepal haven’t been so great either. Thus is life.

We have rescheduled our trip for spring 2002 (March-May). The Of Global Interest Random Acts of Kindness Fund ($407 to date) will also wait to be spent at that time. Sean Swarner is planning to climb Mt. Everest ( I am organizing two base camp support team treks as part of this expedition. Let me know if you would like to go. I will write more about the spring 2002 trip in my next Adventure Journal.

I hope you are doing well. To lighten the burden of our nation’s crisis, I am sending the story of Antonia. I wrote it a few nights ago when I couldn’t sleep. It’s a children’s story about a young person who is very special to me. I met Antonia with her mother at one of my Nepal talks a few months ago. While Antonia was here, she fell in love with my little house. She is 7. Since I also operate a bed and breakfast, she wanted to stay one night. The following is the text (only words no pictures) from the artist’s book I created with the pictures Antonia’s mother gave me. Karin, a long time friend, encouraged me to send it to you.

Antonia, Her Friend, Lilly, and Her Surrogate Aunt, Heather A Slumber Party at the Eighth Street Trekkers Lodge Bed and Breakfast A TRUE STORY (Antonia is 7, Lilly is 8 and Heather is 35.)

Antonia learned that Heather offered an overnight child care service at the little bed and breakfast on the corner of Eighth and Washington Streets in Ann Arbor. Since it was a little bit expensive, she decided to earn the money ALL BY HERSELF to pay for her and her good friend, Lilly, to stay one night at the Trekkers Lodge B&B.

WHEN Antonia and Lilly arrived, they greeted Heather and made themselves at home in the guest room at the Lodge. Their luggage included one stuffed puppy dog, a baby doll and blanket for the baby, their swim suits, a violin, a hat and two slumber party suitcases.

To earn the money to stay at the B&B, Antonia started her own company. She called it Happy Birthday Hula Hoop. (Think of her the next time your friend has his/her next birthday.) For $6 ($1 goes to charity) Antonia will play Happy Birthday on the violin while whirling a Hula Hoop! Antonia also sold rhubarb from her garden, earned some money at the fair, and her grandma even gave her a few dollars for her birthday. Finally after several months of hard work, Antonia called Heather at the Lodge. “I would like to make a reservation for my friend Lilly and me to stay at the Eighth Street Trekkers Lodge Bed and Breakfast,” she said.

While at the Trekkers Lodge, Antonia and Lilly played and played. First they had a facial using the Beauty Queen Mask recipe (egg yolk, honey, almond oil, and vitamin E oil). After the facial and after a palm reading session they put a jigsaw puzzle together. It was a picture of Ernie and Burt.

Antonia and Lilly’s favorite thing to do at the Trekkers’ Lodge was to play in the attic. They played in the attic for hours. Then Antonia came down wearing Heather’s grandmother’s jewelry collection. Antonia was dripping with sparkles and luxurious gems. She was beautiful! There were many things to look at and play with in the attic at the Trekkers’ Lodge. Antonia and Lilly even pondered the world’s mountains, streams, rivers, prairies, lakes, cities, deserts, valleys, rain forests and oceans while exploring the rock garden in the attic.

Later, after pizza in the living room and a jazz session playing African drums, Antonia and Lilly took a dip in the Mermaid BathTub. (Heather was wondering why they had brought their suits.) They swam with the bubbles, the seashells and the funny plastic seaweed for hours. They were two mermaids in a mini ocean!

Then after drying off and after a few hours playing in the dollhouse and after baking Heather’s favorite cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, Antonia and Lilly were back in the attic. There was a lot to play with up there. To get to the attic Antonia and Lilly had to climb the ladder that pulled down from the ceiling in the room of the Lodge that Heather called the Everything’s Art Gallery.

Before they went to bed and after the disco music, dancing and laser light show (which even had Frederika the CAT dancing), Antonia and Lilly and Heather drew drawings on their hands with henna powder from Nepal. Heather said many women in Nepal and other parts of the world decorate their hands and feet with it. After it dries and is washed off, it leaves an orangeish-red stain that lasts a week. Antonia drew a butterfly on her hand. Lilly drew the sun on her hand. And Heather drew a big design on her hand.

The next morning after drawing pictures and playing in the attic and rearranging the furniture in the dollhouse, the three friends, Antonia, Lilly and Heather, ate a big breakfast at the dinning room table. They ate crepes which are thin, big pancakes with butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, strawberry jam, vanilla yogurt, and pecan pieces. (Everything was sticky after that.) The three of them talked about food, love and romance, and best friends. Everyone had a good time at the slumber party!

Brought to You by : Happy Birthday Hula Hoop AND Overnight Child Care Surrogate Aunt Slumber Parties An Additional Service at The Eighth Street Trekkers Lodge Bed and Breakfast A Division of OF Global Interest LLC Serving Your Need to Experience the World Heather O’Neal

P.S. Antonia gave the Of Global Interest Random Acts of Kindness Fund $7. She would like me to give a blanket to a poor family in Nepal.

P.P.S. When I asked Antonia what she is saving her money for now, she said, “A trip to Nepal!”

P.P.P.S. After writing this story, I thought even the most evil person in the world would have to smile. If only all of us could look each other in the eye with integrity and understanding and fascination. We CAN live together. Thank you for reading.

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