Ahhh, summer vacation. I look at my friends’ pictures of their travels to places like Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan and the Philippines, and although my vacation wasn’t exactly exotic, I’m very happy that I got to spend three weeks in good ol’ Michigan, USA. It had been a year since I was home, and I was ecstatic to just be with friends and family and do nothing but catch up, eat delicious food and make a few trips to the beach and Chicago.
I got to be with my family, whom I love dearly. My moms are amazing and so generous, and although I wish I could have spent more time with them, I’m very excited that my mom is coming here with her friend, Cathi, in September! I got to see my dad quite a bit, which was really great and felt just like old times when I would see him for Sunday breakfast. I also went to visit my brother and sister in-law at their house, and it was very relaxing to be together eating a homemade meal and drinking good beer, as well as talking and watching some shows together. I got to see Keegan a few other times, which meant a lot to me since he lives over an hour away. Growing up, Keegan and I would talk about how different our lives would be – I would be the one traveling and bouncing around from country to country, while he would get a grown up job, get a house, get married and start a family. Present day: that’s pretty much exactly right. We’re awesome.
I also go to spend a lot of time with my amazing friends. Amy is one of my very best friends, her husband, Matty, is fantastic, and so are their little boys, Cole and Keller. Cole is a spitfire and so completely adorable at three years old, and this was my first time meeting nine month old Keller, who is one of the happiest little babies on the planet. One day we set off for Chicago while Amy’s mom watched the boys, and we ate at Hot Doug’s, a ridiculously yummy hot dog joint.
One of my other amazing best friends, Emily, is now living in Kalamazoo, so I also spent a lot of time with her, which was perfect. We slipped right back into our old groove of living together in Wisconsin and did what we usually do, which is hang out, talk, eat some meals and watch some shows and movies. We also took a day trip to South Haven where we met up with her friend and her mom, took a ride on a dinghy and ate a classic Michigan perch sandwich.
I also got to spend time with two of my oldest and best friends, Katelyn and Kari, as well as with Erica, when we went to South Haven. We ate on The Idler, a boat restaurant, and took some pictures on the beach. Katelyn, Kari and I grew up together and have eighteen years of friendship under our belt. Although we are very different people who lead very different lives, our friendship is strong and unwavering.
My 28th birthday was on August 13th, and on the 11th my moms threw me a party where all my friends and family were invited to the house to eat some delicious dips that my moms made, some sandwiches, and TWO cakes from my dad and Amy’s mom. I got to see so many people, and I really felt a lot of love that day. As a birthday present my moms got me a very nice backpack for my future travels after my contract is done here in South Korea. That’s right, my life will be reduced to a backpack for a few months – that’s really going to take some work and planning ahead as I always tend to over pack.
On the actual day of my birthday I spent most of the afternoon alone. That sounds sad when I say it out loud, but it was perfect and just how I wanted it! I did something that I had always wanted to do, and I went to Choices Unlimited Inc. to visit Patti Nahikian, Psychic, Tarot, Reiki, & Energy Radiance reader. It was awesome! She was very kind and was dead on about pretty much everything. It was a very great experience, and for all you skeptics out there (me included), give it a try and you won’t be sorry. After that I went to Barnes and Noble to do some browsing, got a fancy coffee drink, and then did some shopping. That night I went to dinner at Rustica and had some drinks at The Union with a handful of beautiful friends. I also started the day off by eating chocolate cake for breakfast, so you know it was an awesome day just by that information alone.
Soon enough it was time to head back to South Korea. It sucked leaving, especially after getting used to seeing all of my close friends and family whenever I wanted; however, I was really looking forward to seeing Renee after five weeks of being apart. Once I said goodbye to everyone though, and left my mom at the airport, I went ahead and ran to the bathroom and bawled my eyes out for a minute or two in private. I thought about a quote that always helps when I’m leaving that says, “How lucky am I to have something that makes leaving so hard.” And this is so very true, and I know that I am so very blessed.
I have about six months left in Korea, and I have a lot to look forward to! I get to see my mom in a month and show her around Korea, Renee and I will be planning our backpacking trip for when our contract is up, and I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month in November (exciting and scary!). Then there’s winter vacation, a trip to Hong Kong over Chinese New Year, and finally, seeing my babies graduate from kindergarten. After that? Stay tuned.