All the Travels

August is here! And this is the first time I’ve been actually able to sit down and write, or have wanted to take a break from life to write, because that’s just how awesome the last two months have been. Consequently, this is going to be a really long post, so hang in there. Time traveling back to June, I’ll start with Seeds!

When we were wrapping up our dialogue sessions, most of the Seeds mentioned that it was hard to talk about their experience at camp with family or friends because so much happened in such a short period of time, and it was hard to describe without basically either saying it was great, or by giving an incredibly long minute by minute account. As I’ve tried to think about what to say about my own time there, I’ve found this is pretty much true. The first week of staff training and preparation felt so long, like there was endless time left to do everything (like jog. Ha.) And then before I knew it we were halfway done with dialogue and I still hadn’t gone jogging more than once and why hadn’t I spent more time in the lake? and shouldn’t we be storming by now? and then it was over and I was left with the conflicting emotions that we had done SO MUCH and that there was also soooo much work left to do. And while I was excited to come home and see Kyle, it was also so hard to rip myself away from Maine, because it seemed like I could really just be me there and take risks and love my work and my cabinmates/cofacilitators and eat lots of ice cream and dream of seeing a moose and wake up early and watch the lake in complete peace. Hopefully in a few years when we’re back from Macedonia I’ll be able to go back again.

After Seeds, I was back in DC for a week mostly being lazy, packing, seeing friends and playing with puppies before taking off on our road trip!

We started in Lancaster PA and camped for a couple nights outside of Amish country at Pequea Creek, visiting Lilitz along the way (which had been voted the cutest small town in America a few years ago, was recommended to us by our waitress the day before, and totally did not disappoint). We ate so much fresh produce, did some vintage/thrift/antique shopping (I got an AWESOME tweed wool coat, Kyle got a saw and hand drill), devoured THE BEST soft pretzels and root beer float I’ve ever had, and just enjoyed being on the road. It was also a nice trial run of our camping gear, since we’re going to be living out of our car for the next month and needed to see what we would actually use or could get rid of. Our final hour of packing DC basically consisted of “It’s not packed yet? Just shove it in the car somewhere,” which is not the best method really.

The real reason for going to PA was to see our friends Andrew and Adeela get married! From the Mendhi Friday night to the wedding on Sunday (which was beautiful and romantic and perfectly stunning and wonderful), it was an awesome weekend. I got to wear a borrowed formal Indian outfit (the official name of which I have totally forgotten), which is the sparkliest thing I think I will ever wear. I loved it. Aside from the festivities, we went to a lake, got chicken pot pie/a $2.95 hot dog and apple pie combo from an adorable village market, made a bonfire, drove along a lot of windy roads, hung out at a lake, and had a lot of wine and whiskey. By the time we left the wedding on Sunday evening to start down the road to Chicago, we were pretty wiped out and ended up spending the night at a Super 8 Motel in Clearfield, a depressing mining town along Interstate 80. At least we had caramel popcorn from the wedding to eat along the way!

The next day we were up and out early to drive all the way to Chicago! We stayed with Kyle’s friend from high school, Corey, and thought we had it timed perfectly to arrive when he got home from work. Except we completely forgot that time zones exist and got there super early. Whoops. So we walked from Corey’s apartment on the South Side to Promontory Point, which has an awesome view of Chicago and where, as it turns out, you can go swimming in Lake Michigan! We didn’t have our suits with us so we just dipped our feet and looked at the skyline, which is exactly what you need to do after spending all day in the car. The next day, we basically walked all over the entire city, and then took an architectural boat tour with the Chicago Architectural Foundation, which was so cool and worth it even though we were roasting in the heat on the top deck of the boat. That night we met up with Corey and another Mak20 to watch Almost Famous in Millennium Park. One thing we noticed all over Chicago was that people seem like they actually take time and effort to clean up after themselves and for a big city, it’s pretty clean, and also that adults are allowed to act like adults and BYOB almost everywhere, including outdoor movies, without being searched as is the norm in DC. Our second day we spent the morning doing some laundry, but made time to take a nice stroll around the south side down to the University of Chicago, past Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, and then drove up to the north side for some delicious deep dish pizza. In the afternoon, we went swimming in the lake and read on the rocks around Promontory Point for a few hours, which made us want to just stop our trip and move there (if not for the winters). That night we went out for pho with Corey, then went back to a bakery we had found for some banana pudding, pecan pie and a fruit tart that we took to eat on the steps of the Museum of Science and Industry.

We’re currently in Minnesota, but I’m going to wait to write about it until Tuesday when we leave so I can include everything all at once. Also this is just insanely long and out of control and now I’m caught up through July so that’ll do. PHEW.

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