So I started an entry about our trip to the States just after Christmas but, frankly, it was boring. So rather than go into much detail, I’ll do a quick summary.
Spending time with my family in DeMotte was wonderful and weird and difficult and all those things that family are. It was treasured time together as “just us adults” before the first grandchild arrives in April. We’re still navigating the dynamics of having added brothers-in-law (and a sister-in-law to be) to the family, though. And one thing the time with them made me realise is that especially now that we live in London, I can be such a snob – I live in the big city and I’m so sophisticated and cosmopolitan. I need to watch out for that.
The three and a half days in Nashville were as wonderful as they could have been. Arriving at Trevor and Jenna’s felt like coming home. And being loved and cared for by the Hendersons and Darks was just what I needed. We had a totally rockin’ New Year’s Eve party at the Hendersons’ and a wonderfully chilled New Year’s Day at the Darks’. And adding Steve to the number of dear friends that we so eagerly anticipate seeing on visits to Nashville was a joy beyond words.
I could have stayed in Nashville much longer, but other friends in Grand Rapids were awaiting our arrival there. It was wonderful to see those friends, but being in Grand Rapids was weirder than weird. Even though we had been gone for seven months, it didn’t feel like it had been that long, but in the meantime, people’s lives had moved on and so much had changed. I’m glad that we got to see as many people as we did while we were there even if all the running around to see them got a bit mad. I hope that future visits will be more comfortable, when we’ve been away longer and we feel more like visitors than people who have just been away from home for longer than usual.
The last two and a half days of our trip to the States was spent in Chicago where we had the great delight of meeting up with our dear friends Kate and Nathan for lunch. They moved from Grand Rapids to Philadelphia in August of 2006, and we had debated whether to try to fit in a stop in Philly on this trip in order to visit them. In the end we decided that it was too much to squeeze in, so imagine our delight when we discovered that they were going to be in Chicago that weekend for a wedding. We rearranged our plans a bit in order to get to Chicago in time to meet up with them before their flight out. It was just a treat to see them. It was also delightful to spend a bit more time with my sister Dana (5 1/2 months pregnant at the time!) and her husband Pete. We’ve imposed on them frequently over the years since they live in the fabulous Chicago neighbourhood of Lincoln Square, and we’ve always appreciated their hospitality.
Perhaps the best part about the trip was coming home to London. I realised how much I have totally fallen in love with this city. I love living here, I love working here, I love being surrounded by tall buildings and big green parks and people – always so many people! – so many of whom don’t look like me or talk like me. The energy and the rich diversity and the incredibly history – all of it has completely captured my heart and imagination. My life in Grand Rapids was great and my time at Calvin shaped much of who I am today. But I’m so glad to be a London girl now.
My photos from our time in Nashville on Flickr.
James’ photos from our trip on Flickr.