- Diners: Some of my favorite moments occurred in the small, down-home places we stopped for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast once. We were often half-dazed from the first half or full day driving, but it is wonderful to arrive at a place where you are clearly one of the few customers who is not a regular. One of the best places like this was called Penny's Diner, located in Rawlins, Wyoming. The wind was incredible, and we found ample warmth and sustenance inside the "stretch" Airstream-like trailer they had fashioned into a classic diner, complete with classic EARLY 60's (probably even a few late 50's) Beatles songs. That was definitely one of the best strawberry milkshakes I've ever had! Needless to say, my "cholesterol-healthy food watch" went on hiatus for the 7 days on the road...
- Rolling hills, a.k.a. Wyoming: Driving through Wyoming is really like nothing I'd ever driven through before. The amount of unadulterated, snow-covered hills was stunning and refreshing to see. We even happened to notice a man on his horse with his sheepdogs, herding. Glimpses like that into what used to be more of a "normal" life certainly refocus your perspective on what is really "hard" or "challenging" in our day to day!
- Les Misérables, audio version: Encouraged by my dad to look into some audio books for the trip, I immediately thought of Les Mis, since it is a book that I never got around to reading despite having many close friends who had read it practically yearly. Thanks to the arrival of the blockbuster movie in theaters last month, I felt an urgency to get it listened to on this cross-country journey. After purchasing a decent version (though not in the original French, as I'd hoped--iTunes, international copyright laws, or some combination thereof made it impossible to find a version on my phone) I began that audio journey on Day 2. I still have at least 10 hours to listen to! Should have looked into a slightly abridged version; I knew it was long, but heaven help you if you are easily bored by battle or cultural accounts that go on for literally hours on end. I am fascinated by much of it, but after the 6th hour of driving definitely wished I'd been able to find an alternative version! Needless to say, that is still a "listening in progress" and I haven't yet gotten to see the movie. C'est la vie, as it were.
- [Relatively] happy and well-behaved kitties: Taffy and Mater were troopers, despite their Day 7 meltdown in the litter box. We got them a travel crate that was really more suited for a small lab, but I wanted them to have as much space as possible for the 3,700 mile journey. Thanks to "Daddy" Michael, they were blessed also with a literally Portable Potty--a quadruple reinforced cardboard box bunjee corded to their crate (it opened on three sides so they had access anytime) and containing a water container and small litter box. Getting them to and from each hotel room, while a bit of a production every evening and morning, quickly became routine. The Day 7 meltdown I referred to really just solidified for us all that we HAD to get home that day, or else there were going to be much bigger fish to fry...
Overall, it was a pretty smooth moving experience. I don't really look forward to having to move again in the next year or two to a more permanent home, but we will take that as it comes, when it does! What a blessing it was to have both of our families to help us unload the trucks the day after our arrival to Camano. We are done with the bulk of the unpacking, and all that's really left now is for Michael to figure out what to do with all of his extra Army gear and where to put his tools in the garage. It is truly wonderful to be back on Camano, and to be up the street from my parents in my grandfather's house. That being said, my parents and I have some work ahead of us to completely clear out the rest of the storage areas that they hadn't yet gotten to since Grandpa's move to assisted living a few years ago.
Michael started work with his father, Erik, this past Monday. I think that aside from being completely exhausted by a totally new job and a bit of a commute (1 hr each way...which isn't really too bad when one lives on an island!), he is one happy camper! It seems like practically all he's talked about the past year or so has been how many days he has left in the Army and how long until he gets to do what he wants and feels God is calling him to (which happen to have been inextricably intertwined, as you may guess!). We are very lucky to be so close to both families, and I'm so glad to no longer have to worry about how many hours are spent with everyone, like we used to have to do on our two week visits on holidays. I've come down with a bad cold the past few days, so haven't been down to visit Lynnwood since we first arrived, but plan to do so more regularly starting next week. Of course, I'll also be looking for work, so if you know anyone locally (Camano to Stanwood to Mount Vernon to Smokey Point would be the general perimeter, I think.) please let me know! At this time, I will likely be seeking out administrative or leasing positions, though certainly teaching opportunities would be amazing. That will almost for sure be something that I have to seek out in person, though, and that probably would take a little more time. I am continually asking God to help me to stay open to what He has ahead for me, since this is such a huge transition for us.
If any of you would like our new address, please let me know. Blessings to you & yours!