In the past three weeks, here’s what we’ve been up to; we packed up and sent off our pallet for its 8-10 week journey to Wombourne, hiked 55 miles of the Appalachian Trail (check that out here), had Scott and Derek in town, had dinner with half a dozen friends and family, hosted Kelsey and Eli, sold a number of items we won’t be able to bring, and began packing our suitcases.
While the Trail needs its own exploration, here is a brief summary of everything else in (mostly) chronological order.
On June 1st, Jessica and I moved everything we were packing in our pallet out to our curb, stacked it up, covered it, and waited for it to be picked up. Toward the end of the day, a truck arrived and drove it away to the shipping terminal to await its journey across the Atlantic on a ship. Currently, we are waiting for notification that it is on a boat, but it was a wonderful relief to have a majority of our stuff on the way and (believe it or not) out of our control.
It was only fitting that Scott and Derek should come out and visit before our grand departure. I was thrilled when I discovered that they were willing to make the trip and additionally excited when they coordinated to be here at the same time. Over several days we had a number of great conversations, drank some good coffee, read some poems and short stories (How much land does a man need, Derek?), hiked Wet Beaver Creek, and played some games. It would be hard to pick a favorite moment, but I think our conversation about Beauty might be it.
I appreciated their company greatly. I also noticed how we all have changed and matured since our many gatherings over the years. As I was looking back in my photos, I noticed how we met together almost once a year during college: in Tulsa, Seattle, or Los Angeles. Over that time, we have grown much and even though our callings have taken us further away instead of closer together, I take great comfort in our ability to maintain our friendship through it all.
In the past week, and the week or so ahead, we have had or have scheduled several dinners with friends, family, or members of our church. The goodbyes have started in earnest now as our neighbors and family have between them made sure that we have something scheduled every night of June. We will see how the month ends, but I think Jessica and I have only had one day without something scheduled in the evening.
As a part of this, Jessica’s sister Kelsey and her fiancé Eli flew in yesterday to spend some time with us before our departure. We hosted them at our apartment last night, and much of the next few days will involve hanging out with my in-laws as we enjoy both their added company and the fellowship of the Grays and the Steins.
And there is more to do. We have a accordion list of to-dos that grows and shrinks each day as we check off items (ordering pounds, contacting donors, buying a new mattress for England) and new things pop up (get internet, pick up more insulin, and figure out how to fit everything else in our suitcases).
As we look to fit everything that we did not put on our pallet, we have 4 suitcases, one hiking backpack, two smaller backpacks, and a violin. I am not looking forward to navigating airports. Right now, in between our social engagements, Jessica and I are trial packing to see what all will fit and if we need to get rid of anything. If so, summer clothes will be the first to go.