Many of our parishioners are enjoying catching up with family overseas after all the Covid disruptions. Jo Cotton spoke to Judy Dodwell about her recent travels to visit her overseas family.

Judy and Tony Dodwell have spent the past two and a half years missing their overseas family and the milestones of their youngest grandchild whom they last saw when she was born prior to the lockdowns, and who is now a gorgeous two-and-a-half-year-old. They finally jetted off for five weeks to spend time with their precious family. 

“Getting on the plane and the feeling of anticipation and excitement of being able to see our family again was amazing, and we both clung onto every moment and enjoyed every step of the way.”

The first stop was Montecito, California to visit their daughter Amanda and family, Amanda owns “Viva Oliva” an Olive Oil Boutique on State Street, Santa Barbara.  

It was in the beautiful Santa Barbara area they got to spend time with their grandchildren, 15-year-old twins Andreas and Sienna and 13-year-old Kristian. 

“When we got off the bus from the airport and saw our daughter waving, I was bubbling over with excitement. Then we got to pick up the grandchildren from school and they came rushing up to hug us, it was wonderful.”

Covid scuttled their plans for Amanda to fly with them to their next stop Doha, Qatar to meet up with their two sons Christopher who lives and works as a pilot there, and Kingsley who owns a digital media company in Bahrain. 

Thankfully, Amanda was able to meet up with them four days later where they enjoyed the sights of Doha, dinners out, and exploring the FIFA World Cup sites and stadiums. They finally got to hug their baby granddaughter Kayla, Christopher and Lucy’s daughter. 

“She was very shy around us at first, but I got to do Grandma things with her, like baking and having fun, and she adored her Grandpa.”

Because of the embargo against Bahrain, a normally 20-minute flight took nine hours via Kuwait, where several hours were spent in the transit lounge before flying to Bahrain to stay with Kingsley. Apart from suffering some illnesses due to the dust storms in Bahrain, the hassles with traveling with extra paperwork, having numerous COVID tests, and even missing one flight because of it all, the trip was a wonderful time spent catching up with their gorgeous family. 

The next trip is to celebrate Amanda’s 50th birthday in September at her home in Montecito, Santa Barbara.  

By Jo Cotton