Sunday, June 22, 2014

Midsummer Eve, 2014

We spent this special Swedish holiday with a friend in a cabin by a pond, in the middle of the woods in southern Indiana. No running water, no electricity, no internet and barely phone coverage. The bathroom consisted of a shovel and a short walk into the woods, meals were cooked over an open fire, and when it got dark, it was *DARK* as in, thousands of fireflies against a pitch dark forest and an open sky, with more constellations than I could count. Absolutely gorgeous! Such bliss!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Atlanta, GA - Warsaw, IN in four easy steps

We arrived late at our booked hotel, somewhere in Nowhere, TN. I think our GPS said it would take 4 hours from Atlanta, but the trip was much longer and difficult due to heavy rain, traffic, hills and darkness, not to mention a fussy baby who didn't want to sit strapped into a car seat. The hotel was great though, with a large room, big beds, and a hot southern breakfast, including biscuits and gravy!

The next day we drove for about an hour to Nashville, TN where we stopped at the Antique Archaeology store, because my little group of American Pickers fans wanted to see it. Lots of cool stuff there! We left the store around lunch time, looking for a place to eat, and ran straight into a restaurant called Jack's BBQ. It was really good, with a homemade BBQ sauce bar, and when we later looked it up online, it turns out it's famous!

 After Nashville we continued north and arrived at the Mammoth caves in IN around 3 pm, just in time for one of the last caving tours of the day. Large caves, some beautiful spaces and great tours, but if you've recently visited caves in Greece, Italy and/or the Jeita grottos in Lebanon, you'll find the Mammoth caves a little less exciting. Hum. It was a fun stop, in any case, and made our last drive of the day, to Louisville, KY, easy.

In Louisville we stayed at the same chain hotel as in TN, Comfort suites & inn by Carson, and the hotels were pretty much identical, with a nice pool, great breakfast, comfortable rooms. The next morning after check-out we headed over to the Louisville Slugger museum and factory downtown for a tour and a visit. My little baseball crowd was in heaven for a few hours, and we even left with a new baseball bat, personalized, despite my protests that we had more things than we could take with us already.

After a late lunch just down the street from the museum we got in the car and drove the last bit from Louisville, through Indianapolis, to northern IN. The stops and comfortable hotels on this trip made our transfer so much easier, and even fun. On to new adventures!

Good bye, Atlanta, GA! We will always love you!

Our time in Atlanta was limited to the term of my husband's fellowship - 9 months, to be exact - and that enjoyable appointment ended in May of this year, along with the income it generated. This meant that we had to leave (since our landlord annoyingly insisted we pay him rent for living in his house, and since that's not really possible without an income) and make our way to more generous souls up north - parents - who let us stay with them over the summer, to enjoy some family time before our return to Lebanon in August.

Leaving Atlanta was hard. We immediately fell in love with this city when we got here last year, and  leaving its amazing grocery stores, great restaurants, fantastic hiking and nature, fun and active homeschooling community, challenging baseball league, awesome sites and attractions was so very sad. We even still had some things on our Must-dos list, such as visiting the CNN center.

It was also difficult, as in, physically challenging. Even though we had not accumulated very many things, knowing we would be leaving in a van with space only for our most personal belongings, cleaning out a house takes time and a lot of work. We managed to sell most of our furniture and some things on Craigslist, at a garage sale and to people we knew. This itself was a lot of work. Whatever was left was brought to Goodwill in two or three rounds. When all the big stuff was gone, we cleaned out the house, one room at a time. A lot of garbage bags were filled up. It's amazing how much stuff we had that could not be given away, but that is still useful, which made me feel bad to just throw away; a lot of spices and dry food, half full containers of shampoo and such, half full jars of food, etc. In all the chaos I also managed to take the car to Meineke and have it serviced, to make sure it would make the 750 miles without incident, and my husband finished up some research at his work. We also had a good bye party which included a lot of Southern treats and pool play, because if there's one thing I've learned through living the way we do, it's that saying good bye to people properly is important, and even though it's sad and makes me cry, I feel much better about leaving a place and friends if I've said a good farewell.

It was Friday after lunch that we mopped the floor one last time and closed the door to the house that had been our home for the past 9 months. I might or might not have held back a tear. The kids barely fit among all the stuff in the back, sitting on blankets among little boxes, bags, containers and other things, and William's guitar blocked my rear view, but slowly we pulled out, driving past the baseball field one last time to say goodbye. Our GPS brought us right through Downtown Atlanta and Friday afternoon traffic (Thanks!), which meant we got a very late start, but we didn't mind much. The last two weeks had been hard, and we were finally on our way again. On to new adventures!

...and we're back!

Dell fixed my computer, faster than they had said they would, which meant I was able to take on a Mammoth job last week, which meant that I wasn't able to write much. But hey, I'm here now! Stay tuned for an update on our transfer to a new location and the general state of our lives.