I had grand intentions of updating this blog from afar but once I got in the air and later on the road I realized, I really need to just be for a week. That of course didn’t keep me from an influx of photos from my absolutely wonderful week long Midwestern road-trip adventure. So here’s a quick recap…
This trip was about people.
I should start by confessing: I don't go to weddings. It's not that I don't like marriage and people's holy matrimony and all that jazz. It's just that when you're 27 you get invited to weddings every weekend and I just don't have the time and travel fund to accommodate everyones nuptials.
So why then did I fly 800 miles north, borrow a car and drive another 3.5 hours to attend one? Because Mer isn't just a friend, she's family. When I moved to Tampa once day after finishing my last class at Purdue I had a few remaining friends down here but essentially, I was on my own. A few months later, Mer moved to Orlando.
We hadn't been close friends in college but she immediately got in touch and you know me, I was happy to plan a visit. We spent the next two-ish years being each others Florida family. We commuted back and forth on the weekends to spend time together, exploring our own cities and each others, and doing life together. I honestly look back and can't imagine that season of my life without Mer and her friendship. She was exactly what I needed.
Eventually, sadly, she moved back up north which I guess was good since that's how she met Nick, her now husband. But for me it was a sad, sad time of saying goodbye. But she helped me through the hardest years and for that I owe her big. So when the invite to her wedding came I thought, I'm going to make this happen.
Oh Mer - I'm so happy for you and so extremely grateful for your friendship.
While in Chicago I got to catch up with my very first college roommate, Alyssa. We were put together by some brilliant person at Purdue in Shreve Hall and we've been friends ever since (though I admit, I wasn't the best roommate on the planet)...
Here are, 9 years later.
I even got to meet her sweet boys - I can't believe she has 2 kids! Ack! This handsome boy is Ethan, her oldest. What a doll he was.
Since I was cashing in all my frequent flier miles for this trip, I decided to make it an adventure and soak up as much face-time with friends as I could squeeze in without falling asleep behind a wheel.
I flew in Friday and Jared picked me up. Ya'll probably know this sweet boy has become one of my closest friends. How is it I adopt all my bff's from the midwest?
He gave up his Friday night to pick me up from the airport and do dinner with me. And then dropped my off at my parents house. They were still on their own road trip adventure down south so I felt like a high schooler being in my high school bedroom with no parents home.
Lucky for me, he also gave up his Monday to hangout with my down in southern Indiana and show me around his families farm and I finally got the pleasure of meeting his family - including his parents and one set of grandparents. I officially love his family as much as he's come to love us crazy Christensens. In my book, there's really no greater friendship honor than being welcomed into someones family. This kid has become one of us, and may his fam will let me do a little bit of the same now.
The remainder of my trip I spent in Seymour, IN with my main girl Meagan and her family. This part of the trip has left me with a vacation hangover. I almost cried in my coffee the first morning I wasn't drinking it beside her, reading my bible, and talking about life.
It's hard to believe that this girl also came into my life 9 years ago during my freshman year at Purdue. But really the last 2ish years have been when our friendship has become overwhelmingly my saving grace in good times and in bad. This girl encourages me, keeps me going, challenges me, and blesses me every.single.day with her friendship. I hope I never have to do a day without her (except when I go on missions trips and have to be sans phone, I guess).
There were fairs, homemade ice cream, dinners out, mornings in, coffee, smoothies, vintage shopping, reading, talking, pool days, and even a girls night. It was a blast. Can't wait to have her on my turf in the fall for a few days. Meagan and Tyler are such amazingly gracious hosts - I just love when I get to go to their house.
I also got to see this long-time friend for a lunch date while I was in town...
Lucky for me Candy now works in the same town Meagan lives in, and one town over from where Jared's family lives. So when I go south I get to see all of these fabulous people at once! We caught up over lunch (delicious mexican, I might add). It was so good to see her.
I can't believe I didn't get pictures of everyone I got to see but I also enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with Jodi, who lead me during my time in Indianapolis youth group - she's amazing. I caught up over Fro yo with Josh, my first college friend ever - from my 2 years at IUPUI when I was technically way too young to be in college (16) - and almost 12 years later, he's still such a sweet friend. Loved getting time with him and hearing what he's been up too. I love friendships that weather time and distance. And I even got a great visit in with my sweet friend Sean who has been such an incredible friend from college through my summers in Indy and now through the 5 years of my being in Tampa. I'm so grateful for his friendship and prayers. He never misses a chance to pray for me and with me - what a blessing. I also got to see my Eric, my dear, dear college friend who lives in the Chicago area now and has graciously stayed friends with me all these years. Loved catching up with him over lunch and seeing his family who will soon be headed down to Tampa!
Whew. So I'm back in Florida and recovering from a whirlwind of fun. I have had a lot on my heart and mind this week so there may be more writing to follow soon. But for now - there's a little snippet of my Midwestern adventure.