July 10, 2015

Forging Westward: Wisconsin

My whole year has been spent mostly flying planes instead of taking trains. This is not a preference, but simply how the chips fell with schedules, prices, and distances. In all, since I landed in Amsterdam last August, I think I've flown on 19 planes (yes, counting the plane changes in the same itinerary), and I've got 4 more to go before landing in Amsterdam again on August 12th. It feels like a lot!

Part of our travel strategy this summer was that by starting on the East Coast, we could one-way ticket ourselves across the country to California. Marc and I split forces in DC, and we will reunite in LA in August. This plan was so much cheaper and less time consuming than picking a home base and round trip ticketing everywhere together.

My summer of 2015 has had so many states and planes! I've passed through New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Idaho, just to finally get to California. That's 11 states (DC definitely counts) in 5 weeks!

How did it work and why did I do it?!

Washington DC to Ohio to Wisconsin

This was the trip of the utmost importance to me this year. When my aunt's job took her and my grandma away from Redding, California, to Madison, Wisconsin, my first thought was, "That's far and inconvenient." I was used to incorporating my fun little Redding Christian School volleyball camp with nearby visits to see them. I didn't know anywhere to coach volleyball in Wisconsin!

But their move gave me the perfect excuse to go to Wisconsin for the first time!

It reminded me of Ohio (which was fitting, since my layover was in Cleveland): rolling green hills, rapidly changing weather patterns, and no fences between houses. Their comfortable home had a large finished basement and there was a park with swings down the street. I was thrilled!

Aunt Denise took time off work to show me around Madison during the 3 days I was in town. Those University of Wisconsin kids have a sweet setup in the downtown! The only major drawback is the winter. But those beautiful homes and gorgeous school buildings all on the waterfront compliment each other well and tie perfectly into Madison's downtown scene.

We went "grocery shopping" at Brenner's, but it was a lot more like snacking on the delicious samples every aisle than actually buying anything! My aunt also made sure I tried the Wisconsin fried cheese curds at Culver's before I left.

Grandma Millie and I had so many smiles and laughs, sharing stories from our new lives and reminiscing moments from Shingletown together. It had been two years since I had seen either of them, and our time together was meaningful to each of us in different, but important, ways.

I'm entering a new season of life where my parents and most of my aunts and uncles are now the age my grandparents were when I was a child. To have the opportunity for a wonderful time with my grandma and aunt was very precious to me, and I'm so grateful the Wisconsin trip was able to happen!

Forging Westward: Idaho is up next!