Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where We Last Left Off

"Palm Kids" flag...the newest addition to the Lake Side Treehouse

We are driving through Hannibal, Missouri. Their water tower has “America’s Hometown” painted on it. I think they painted that phrase to try to convince themselves and others to think of that phrase more than Hannibal Lector, crazed, fictional murderer. Good try team, I still think of crazed, fictional murderer.

Well, I think the best bet right now is to start where we last left off. Profound, I know. After Minneapolis, we went back up to Bemidji and got ready to head to Canada for the Fourth of July weekend. My aunt and uncle have a place in Lake of the Woods (click here for Google map) and we try to go up there with my folks every summer. It’s a lovely, relaxing, fish-catching, blueberry-picking type of place. We also invited Jayson’s sister, Mel, and her fiancé, Mike, to join us. We have spent zero time with Mike, as living in India does get in the way of meeting and spending time with fiancés. So why not go to an Island in Canada to do the whole big brother, protective, checking the fiancé out thing? Perfect. We had a great weekend doing the things we love there, had fun watching Mike dive right into our family of six, and so look forward to standing up with them when they get married in a month.

Congratulations on catching the big one from Auntie Mel and Mike

On July 5 we headed down to Rockford, Illinois, “Jayson’s Hometown” (not necessarily on the water tower, but true nonetheless). I so love the mutual exchange of glad emotions in seeing family and friends that we haven’t seen for at least a year and half, if not upwards of three years. Also in Rockford, I met something that did a number on me. Possibly love at first sight... Our friends the McIntosh’s, who were out of town and graciously opened their house to us, had the washing machine and dryer of my dreams...

Pretty spicy dreams, eh? Anyway. The picture speaks for itself, but I must tell you the best part of the whole washing experience was, when the dryer finished, there was this lullaby like melody that sounded - not the abrasive dying goat/duck bleat that usually transpires. So, I looked at Jayson, with stars in my eyes, while petting the machines and asked him if I could have these when we move back. Pretty please?

On Friday, the 9th, we headed in to Chicago for the little girl mecca that beats all little girl meccas, American Girl Place. With their American Girl dolls in arm, Ani, Sydney, Mary, and Emma (their cousins), shopped and dined all afternoon in sensory overload. It was such a great memory made with all the Palm girls and cousins. Thanks Lorraine for a wonderful day.

On to St. Louis. Saturday, the 10th, through this morning, the 15th. St. Louis houses - among other people - Jayson’s sister, Julie, her husband, Chad, their girls, Mary and Emma, Jayson’s folks, Jay and Lorraine, and (moving in a month to Nashville) Jayson’s sister, Mel. His family are great hosts of fun and cousin frenzy. We zoo’d, we swam, we children museum’d, we partied, we dined and we just always wish that we lived closer. We are so glad that we don’t have to say goodbye, but that we all get to see each other at Mel’s wedding. Whew, goodbyes can be dreadful. Glad not to partake quite yet.

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, is in 15 minutes. If I were to choose to live in Mt. Pleasant or Hannibal, I’d choose Mt. Pleasant.

I am very conscience of the fact that I am not doing any sort of reflecting in this blog. It’s more like a laundry list of our whereabouts. Other than a few moments here and there, we have been all people, all the time. Which is absolutely marvelous and I wouldn’t want to change it. But the all people, all the time thing, does lead me to little reflection, therefore, in this blog there will be no deep thinking allowed.

So, in six hours we are to arrive at my Grandma’s for an overnight stay. We will take her house from a sweet Sunday afternoon drive to the European Autobahn in about two seconds. Six more hours of peace Grandma, soak it up.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jamba Juice and Lake Calhoun

Photos of our time in the States to date...

One day after Jayson and the kids arrived, four families began arriving for three days of camping at Tarrah's parent's house in Bemidji.

We had two birthdays to celebrate right away! Tarrah's birthday cake, June 20

Sydney's birthday cake, June 19

Grandma and Grandpa have had so many special things lined up for the kids. Here's Grandma hosting a tea party for the kids in the treehouse
Root beer, grapes, snickerdoodles, mini-sandwiches, and then tea...what a great time with Grandma!

Ani got her ears pierced. This picture...pre-pierce.

Post-pierce was a bit sad for Ani. But now, she loves having her ears pierced.

I am sitting here in my friends Anna and Eric’s living room. The house smells really yummy. I have shorts on. I was able to go to our home church the morning, The Mills Church. I had lunch with friends. Then we all went to Jamba Juice and Lake Calhoun with a different friend and Anna is currently doing something with puff pastries and brie. My life is really good right now.

Prep for an amazing meal, Anna Schaberg style

Hospitality oozed in our direction while staying with Eric and Anna Schaberg

Playing at the park with the Schaberg kids

Let’s talk about all the things I am wild about as I end my third week in the States (in no particular order, so please do not read into it). Interstates. The Mills Church. Walking paths/sidewalks. My parents. Unending and uninterrupted electricity. Grape Nuts. Watching Jayson watch the World Cup. Long conversations with friends. Going to Sarah’s kid’s baseball/softball games. Berries. My cousin Chelsea’s hand-me-down clothes for yours truly. Cheese. “Camping” with friends. My dad’s fish fry. And let’s go back to berries for a second. I am loving them so much that I am contemplating eating my weight in berries this summer. I will let you know how that fares.

Jayson watching the World Cup - a wonderful pastime for him to unwind and enjoy

Am I sounding a little gushy-gushy about my time in the States? Yes. Will I compare the States to India. No. They are two very different countries and if I try to compare the two then I will do a disservice to both countries. I will say this though, this was my home for 30 plus years and I am absolutely wild about being home. Every day holds something fabulous. I am so thankful.

Has it been overwhelming to be here? Sometimes, but that’s okay. I should be overwhelmed at times. But I am just going with it. Why fight it.

Jayson has been working/speaking for Freedom Firm a decent bit since he got in. Not every day, but enough to feel the weight of the fight against human trafficking as we share with anyone who will listen.

Last Thursday, we started the summer “never ending road trip”. From this point on, we will not be in any spot for more than five days. Other than the fact that I may rename our family from “the palm six” to the “perfect storm”, we are actually quite favorable house guests, being that we live in a third world country usually. We are pretty much wowed by anything that anyone brings our way.

What a Palm family U.S. road trip looks like from the front seat

Also what a Palm family road trip looks like. At this point, Sydney had tried five different "potty stances", none of them quite working.

I am certain that this time in the States is necessary for our sustainability back in India. To revive. To connect. To sort. To drive.

Okay, it’s time to be done, for there is a delectable meal to be enjoyed and wonderful conversation to be had. Cheers for now.