Tag: travel

Rachel Travels

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Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.

Our oldest is back in Texas for a 3 week visit. Everything fell in place perfectly for her to spend her 16th birthday there at her best friends’ home so we went ahead despite winter’s unpredictable weather.

Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.
Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.

The first day of the trip was awesome despite the bus leaving an hour late and driving straight through due to snow and ice. She made friends with a girl about her age from China who barely spoke English. She helped her  get where she need to be and do what she needed to do. They watched their favorite shows together (Thor  which they watched in English with Chinese subtitles and Heartstrings- a Korean drama which they watched in Korean with English subtitles). They shared Rachel’s food (there was snow and ice and they were running late so they they didn’t stop at any of the normal stops for food). It was amazing and wonderful and Rue was thrilled that God was clearly in this trip.

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Look at my onion bun!

The second day was HARD. She had a pack of Pocky left for her breakfast and wouldn’t get in till 9:30pm. (I really wish I had bought her a few more buns at the Asian grocery store (I ran in while she waited in line to get check in.) They were running really late still so weren’t making any stops and when they did stop there were only broken machines. At one point the bus broke down. She had a layover in Oklahoma City with no way to get food as the machines were all broken. Finally they got to Amarillo where she missed her transfer and her luggage had gone missing (they think it went to Dallas but so far no one is sure as it hasn’t turned up yet yet.) She ended up stuck in Amarillo, well after the time she was supposed to be in Lubbock, after everything had closed, waiting for our friends to drive an extra hour to come pick her up with no way to get any food and no luggage.

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Waiting and waiting and waiting. She was standing in line for over an hour and a half.

They took her to eat, took her home, found some clean clothes for her to wear, and they all crashed. Today they are heading into the city to the Greyhound station to see if they can track down her luggage and go thrift shopping for some new clothes to tide her over. A friend is sending a replacement for her Bamboo Tablet (which was in her luggage) and she received another pair of headphones as a late Christmas gift. So the big things that were lost (if the luggage isn’t found) have been replaced. Her brother gave her some money for her birthday and she will receive a little more which will help cover the rest of her loss. Not the most fun way of spending your 16th birthday but being with her best friends will make up for it.

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Finally getting on the bus!

We are praying that her luggage does show up and soon since we aren’t sure how much to replace and what to wait for. Regardless it will make a great story someday and she still has 2.5 weeks of time with her friends before she gets to deal with Greyhound again.

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On the bus. Finally.

On the Road Again: part 3

Finally, the rest of the post so I can move on to all the stuff that has been happening since August.

After spending several hours at the Maryland Science Center (and $15 poorer due to the cost of parking), we were off again, this time to spend the night a bloggy friend’s house for the night before heading to another bloggy friend’s house on the way home the next day. I have known Deb for several years now (initially through the web and later through a previous stop on the way home from our semiannual trip to visit another friend.) Her kids are in a similar age range to my own and they all thoroughly enjoy each other.  Also Deb is full of awesome ideas and I love to absorb as much as I can while visiting. 🙂

There was a lot of mommy talk (poor Deb barely got any quiet I am afraid), dress-up and costumes (mostly the girls though they have plenty of awesome boy costumes and the boys got in on it),

Costume
quite a few practical jokes, light-saber and Nerf gun battles galore with some Lego’s thrown in the mix, and of course lots of swimming.
Pool

We had a lovely time and the kids had a hard time leaving.

Visiting friends

Though I suspect poor Deb, who keeps a gorgeous, amazingly decorated, (and CLEAN) house despite having 4 kids and has an awful lot on her plate, was ready for a break.  And isn’t this a beautiful picture  of her and her youngest (okay, not a great picture but I love the mommy love going on in it.)  So thank you again, Deb, for opening your home to us and your wonderful hospitality.  You were such a blessing to us (and my house loves you– you are such an inspiration and it is much better organized and all those little things that I put off have happened since our last visit.  I swear, one of these days I am going to kidnap you so you can help me make my house look nice.)

Visiting friends

We then hopped in the car (it melting out and the one downside of our lovely, wonderful, blessing of a Toyota Sienna is that the air conditioning is meh if anything so 100 degrees was a bit much.)  We headed north, back to PA, were we spent several wonderful hours visiting this wonderful family (I have known Beth online for as long as I have known Deb but as they only just moved to PA from Tennessee and I have never been to Tennessee  this was our first time meeting. )

We spent so much time busy and talking and talking and talking, well, we forgot to take pictures.  Where Deb is an inspiration (I always come home full of awesome ideas and my house spends the next month getting much more organized :)), Beth is a kindred spirit.  So mostly we talked books, books, art, books, books, kids, books, books, Christianity, books, cooking, books, unschooling, books, and possibly, books.  Her oldest gave his Lego collection over to Issac for the day (who relished some much needed alone time playing), the girls hit it off like that (and are bugging and bugging for another visit), and all the kids headed down to the creek for a long wade and some crayfish catching.  I came home with several amazing books to read (Nourishing Traditions I bought myself having seen it at Beth’s and discussed it with her), Restoration: Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus she gave me (it has changed our lives and our relationship with God– heartily recommend it), plus a creation dinosaur book (Dinosaurs by Design) that we didn’t have for Essie to read due to her sudden fascination with all things dinosaur (we had this one and this one.  Oh, and she sent me home with some raw milk, which we tried, love, (can DRINK!!!), and which immediately spawned a search for a raw milk producer in the area (52 minutes away is the closest but what a blessing!)  I can’t wait to go back and pick her brain about a multitude of things (and as I mentioned my oldest especially reminds me daily that we need to go back for a visit..  Of course now that both families have weekly activities it has been tricky to find the time but God’s timing is perfect and I am looking forward to the next visit (and can’t wait till they can get here to visit us!)

Finding Education in our Vacation: The drive

We are finally beginning to dig ourselves out of the mess and the icky cold thing we seem to have developed so I thought maybe I should share what happened on our trip.  As usual God was totally involved and I have lots of awesome pictures to boot.

Our trip was divided into 4 parts–two visits with one set of friends, one visit with bloggy friends, and a trip to OC, Maryland.  To start we had a 5 hour drive to our friends’ place in Alexandria, VA.  The first few hours were totally uneventful.  We stopped at my grandma’s on the way through where she gifted us with a bit more money for the trip (we already had enough for the whole trip but God knew we would need more.)

Once we got back on the road we drove for several hours without stopping.  Then, just after taking a break at a rest stop we hit trouble.  Traffic was backed up for several miles for over an hour due to an accident.  At this point I gave the kids the camera so they could take pictures of the windmills above.  They then read books, listened to Lord of the Rings on the cd player, and played while we waited for traffic to start moving again.  I decided to save gas and turned the car off with just the blinkers on.  Bad move.  You may remember from previous stories of our poor little car that it has issues, especially with  the alternator belt and the battery dying.  Um, yeah.  Just as the traffic strted moving my battery died.  Now this time I remembered to bring my jump starter.  A nice trucker stopped and helped me get the car off the road then tried to help me jump the car.  No go–the kids had used the jump starter to pump up a giant floatie and I forgot to recharge it.  The kids and I started back to the service plaza asking all the stopped cars along the way if they had jumper cables–finally we found someone who did but didn’t know how to use them, then some others who were willing to help us use them.  Then a tow truck arrived–it seems that the helicopters who were flying over for he accident called in to say that there was a car blocking the road. After everyone made sure it would be all right they went on their way leaving the tow truck driver to help.  The car jumped no problem and the cost was EXACTLY how much my grandma had given us (the driver tried to get me to call around for someone with AAA but since I knew I didn’t know anyone with it and that I HAD the money–I knew God had provided it just for this, I didn’t fuss about it.

We made it the rest of the way with nary a problem.  The kids handled all of it wonderfully and loved seeing how God had provided for us, a wonderful lesson to learn early in life.

Another Update

Update Wednesday: Yeah!  I am home!  God is good.  It was a good trip and now I am thoroughly exhausted.  I have TONS of emails in my inbox to answer plus stuff to do and all I want to do is sleep.  So, off to bed.  Thank you all for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for my friend, things are not all in place yet and she still has some concerns.

Update Tuesday: Yesterday we had a huge storm which knocked out all the electricity, including all the traffic lights, AND my car battery died (car has some issues).  All is good (definitely all God’s timing) but decided to stay another day, make sure the car is all right, and hopefully the electric will be back since all the traffic lights currently have traffic cops guiding the cars and with 6 lanes things are pretty crazy.

It is amazing seeing all God is doing here.  Lots of stories when I get back.

Monday: Well, things didn’t go as planned. My friend broke down an hour and a half out and ended up turning back–very long story. So, instead, I left hubby and the kids and headed to Virginia. And here I am, with no internet access (until just now), having the first vacation away from my kids ever, visiting with my friend, her two year old, and her dad.

Not sure exactly how long I am staying but it is amazing all that God is doing, not to mention how much Spanish I actually understand and remember. (She goes to a bilingual church and has many Mexican friends.:)) Lots of pictures–my camera is full but I can’t upload till I get back to my laptop–which I left at home.

If all goes as planned (planned is a very loose term here–God willing and God’s timing) then I will be heading back to PA on Tuesday morning, if you all wouldn’t mind praying that my car has no trouble (the radiator seems to be having issues but I have lots of water and coolant and all seems to be working out.)