I would be lying if I said that I did not have some apprehension before every trip to visit my family since the trip is always arduous. Somehow I can think of much better ways to spend nine hours than to be trapped in a metal box at 10,000 feet. That being said, I have always enjoyed each of my trips in the end. Seeing friends and family is always welcome and there is always a surprise or two that awaits me. This trip was no different in that respect, but to get a bit more out of our transatlantic slog, Elise and I decided to not stop at visiting our parents this time around. After our stops in the midwest, we decided to continue westward with my cousin and her husband to tour San Francisco and Napa valley and visit my uncle Al and Jerry.
It was a fantastic trip and I was often reminded of the past while being firmly rooted in the present. Kayaking on the lake with my aunt, father, and brother reminded me of so many family camping trips when we were young. Stopping by the cemetery before going to my uncle’s for a barbecue, I saw a statue of Saint Anthony which he had erected in memory of my grandparents and dedicated to future generations of the family. I was fortunate enough to visit with my favorite teacher and one of the most influential people on my young life as well, fondly reminiscing about her classes and how her stories of travel inspired me while sharing the turns our lives have taken since those days in grade school. Finally I was able to come closer to family that I had unfortunately rarely seen since I was a kid as well as get to know better some of Elise’s extended family. It was great to see you Al and Jerry and thank you so much for taking us around!
It was a memorable trip and though I spent a lot of time reminiscing about the past and thinking of how decisions and experiences so long ago effected who we are today, I am grateful to have shared that trip with my family and friends. Nostalgia and reflection is wonderful, but I am fortunate to enjoy such an excellent here-and-now.