Five months down, seven more to go!
Month five was busy with traveling and when I first started writing this post, I was trying to write about everything we did. Ultimately, I realized it would be better to go into detail in separate posts (assuming that I’ll eventually get around to it).
At the start of the month we took a trip to rural Pennsylvania to visit my family and let C experience some country living. I grew up in an area of small towns, small cities, houses with big yards, long country roads, and a lot of farmland, hardwood trees, and catholic churches. C enjoyed time with her grandparents, great-grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and also met some extended family. I have many dozens of relatives in PA but I really don’t have any close friends there. PA is beautiful in the summer and fall and it’s a nice enough place to visit but I don’t feel like fit in there (did I ever?). I really only travel there because I love my family.
We enjoyed the cooler weather in PA and had a few sunny days. We went to a church festival, a dairy farm festival, and some little league baseball games. I met up with my best friend in Pittsburgh for the U2 Joshua Tree Tour concert. I also did some shopping for both C and I because clothes are tax free in PA and there were better stores than there are in Valdosta. One thing I enjoyed was the quietness of the country… having no trains or traffic noise allowed for peaceful sleeping every night.
At mid-month we were back in Valdosta for less than two weeks. The summer is a rainy time of year. It is already hot and humid, so with all the extra rain, mushrooms start appearing in the yards and in gardens. Everything outdoors smells like mold and fungus, especially when it’s wet. I’m allergic to a lot of molds so my body reacts poorly to this climate in the summertime. It takes about a week for my body to adjust to being back here after spending time away. I won’t even get started on the explosion of gnats, mosquitos, spiders, and bugs…
At the end of the month we took a trip to Seattle to visit J’s family and to let C experience some city living. J grew up in a Seattle neighborhood with houses close together, small yards, stores and schools within walking distance, public transportation, and all of the options and diversity that big cities offer. C enjoyed time with her grandparents and aunt. J has no other relatives in the state but we do have many friends there and were able to get together with some. The pacific northwest is absolutely gorgeous with so much to do and see but it is a high mold area so when the weather is wet, it’s not easy for my body (or my hair) to handle.
Luckily, the weather was dry, sunny, and cool the entire time we were there so we spent a lot of time outside every day. We went hiking, went to the zoo, hung out in Fremont and saw the troll, went to the beach, and spend two nights in the touristy Bavarian town of Leavenworth. I enjoyed dairy-free treats on multiple occasions because those options were available. I love the variety and convenience of everything in big cities!
Both trips were enjoyable and relaxing, each in their own way. Taking these trips so close together made me more aware than ever of how J and I had upbringings that were nearly completely opposite in almost every way. Seriously, the only similarities we had growing up were that we were born 8 days apart, we were both raised catholic, and we were both raised in environments that have a nearly equal very high percentage of cloudy days during the year.
Despite our childhood differences, we somehow managed to find each other (10 years ago this month!) and have so much in common. Perhaps it’s because we both moved away from home at a young age and lived in many other places before meeting each other. I know for me personally that all of the traveling I’ve done, the places I’ve lived, and the jobs and life experiences I’ve had have greatly changed my perspective and ideas about almost every aspect of life and who I am as a person. J has also evolved from who he was when he left WA all those years ago thanks to his long career in the military. Together we took lessons from our own upbringings and life experiences to create our own family dynamic and parenting style that works for us.
I feel that C is a very lucky girl to have two sets of relatives that are so different from each other and that are also different from what she sees at home with us. She will grow up experiencing a wide range of lifestyles, ideas, and cultures that will help shape who she is and who she becomes. What I most hope she learns because of this is that people we love can have different opinions, beliefs, and lifestyles, but it doesn’t mean we love them any less.
Month 5 events:
Month 5 accomplishments:
Onto month six!
“So much of who we are is where we have been.”
~ William Langewiesche