Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009-10 Holiday Travels (part 1)

Subtitled: Since I have 20 minutes before my next meeting starts and I don't want to do homework, maybe I should blog....

I'm not sure that this single post will encompass the whole trip, and I'll try not to be too detailed, but here's what I can tell you about my almost 4 weeks on the road between Dec 10, 2009 and Jan 2, 2010: It was awesome!!!! Aside from living in a suitcase the whole time and traveling from place to place like a vagabond, it was really really great and I'm so grateful to the Lord for the opportunity. Here's the story.

Dateline: Thursday, December 10th
I left LA in the midst of finals week, but my course work was complete. I had packed for a 10 day trip to colder climates, leaving some Christmas presents ready to transport to Phoenix in the trunk of my car, and forgetting to both run the dishwasher or take out the few days of garbage I had accumulated. But more importantly, I had picked up some new LA Times crossword books and they, along with season 2 of Psych and season 1 of 30 Rock were packed away in my backpack for my entertainment. I laughed my way to St. Louis, watching Psych, and Matt picked me up. I stayed with Matt a couple days and we were able to get caught up and enjoy some shopping and St. Louis night life - as well as the "Wildlights" at the STL Zoo, which was a fun and funny experience. It was great to have a visit with him.

(here we are at the Zoo)

Dateline: Saturday, December 12th
Matt transported me up to Greenville - and in return, that lucky guy got a tour of Greenville College from my old roommate, Heather, and had the opportunity to enjoy my favorite Mexican restaurant with me, Heather, Jason (Heather's beau), TJ, and Erin O'Hara. Yes, he's a pretty lucky guy alright! Before we went out to Mexican food, however, I got a special treat.... a tour of the remodeled Greenville College Fitness Center!! I was really thrilled that I was there the weekend before it opened to the public, so it was all completed! We had a great time together at Rancho Nuevo in Vandalia - all of us ordered Coca Colas because they have the best fountain Coke there!

(A variety of memories from my trip to Greenville -
hopefully you can click it and it will be bigger)

Later that day I got to spend some quality time with the Filby's and then with Liz Hehman (which was a special blessing, since the Hehman's are now headed to Canton, OH and the fair fields of Malone College). The next morning, I attended church at Greenville Free Methodist, my old church there - it was really special to be there with old friends and worship together. I especially enjoyed the message, which perfectly ministered to me. It was Advent season when I was there, and the sermon was about waiting and our attitude in our time of waiting. Very apropos to my life.

That afternoon was a special treat, too - it just so happened that I was in town on the weekend of the Greenville Football Awards Night, or as they are now called, "The Attaways!" How fun to get to see the Walkers (though it was too brief) and to share in the great season that the football team had that year! I followed up the Attaways with a long visit with Sue Groves and then a relaxing evening with Heather. It was really a great visit to Greenville. I wish it had been longer, but I'm grateful for the time I had.

Dateline: Monday, December 14th
Heather transported me back to St. Louis, where we had a great lunch with Matt before saying good-bye. After one final night in the city, I flew out early the next morning to a visit with the Fergasons in San Antonio.

My time with the Fergs was terrific as always. We had a lot of fun making Christmas cookies, Gingerbread Houses (out of graham crackers!), and a variety of other craft projects. We also had a couple Christmas parties complete with movies, presents, and popcorn off the stove. One day was a "girl's day" where Karen, Andilin, and I had a nice lunch and then some shopping together. Now that Andi is getting older, it is so much fun to get to do things together with "just us girls" - it will be even more fun when Brooklin is as old as Andi is now, and Andi is practically in college! That just weirds me out to think of, but its pretty neat, too. The boys are growing like weeds, and Drexel, who is just barely out of being a toddler is as articulate as any little boy I know. Once when he was upset, he was crying in his mom's lap saying, "It just makes me angry" - which I have to admit I thought was the cutest ever.

A special treat was the arrival of Sarah and Myles from faraway Waco! I had not seen them since their wedding in June, and they hadn't seen the Fergasons since the previous Easter (Brooklin having been sick on the weekend of the wedding). It was really fun to get caught up with them and just have them around. I again wished for my ideal neighborhood, which is filled with all my friends from all over the country!

Too soon, this visit was ending... BUT!

Dateline: Sunday, December 20
I was scheduled to leave on Sunday the 20th in the afternoon and fly back to LA; then I would drive from LA to Phoenix the next morning. However, the big storm back east was wreaking havoc with connecting flights and as such I ended up changing my plans. I stayed one more night at the Fergasons (and what a night it was - at one point we were keeping 11 kids!). The highlight might have been the opportunity to play Apples to Apples Junior with 6 kids 11 and under. It was really fun to hear them laughing about the funny word combinations. It also didn't hurt that I ended up winning.... since the game is completely subjective (and judged "blind"), I didn't feel bad about winning.

(a collage of pics from my trip to San Antonio)

But all good things must come to an end, so Monday morning I boarded a direct flight to Phoenix with my 49 pound suitcase supplemented with a $3 duffel bag I picked up at Thrift town, stuffed to the gills. At each leg of the trip, I had more things than I started with, and was incredibly glad for Southwest Airlines and their "bags fly free" policy!