Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Little Summer Vacation

Hi there! I'm back from my little escape, and here to report all the fun I had. I really have to be honest and admit that there was only one time when I had the urge to get online. Other than that, I enjoyed being disconnected from the world.

Here are a few photos that highlight our trip. After my folks picked us up at the Indianapolis airport (only way to make the ticket price affordable despite a $400 travel voucher for each of us), we stopped off in a little town called Upland, IN. It is the home of Taylor University, my alma mater (and USNews&World Report's #1 rated liberal arts college in the Midwest), and Ivanhoe's. Ivanhoe's has been around since 1965, but since 1965 has developed a list of 100 different shakes and 100 different sundaes. Michael chose #50: the IWU Wildcat #2 (IWU stands for Indiana Wesleyan Univ., a short distance away in Marion, IN). Mint choc. chip ice cream, topped with a whole Kit Kat bar cut up in pieces, and drenched in hot fudge. I had something that used to be on the menu but isn't any longer: an Oreo fudge shake, in the mini size (9 oz.). Soft serve vanilla, blended with hot fudge, and then chopped up Oreos stirred in.

The Ivanhoe's experience was a blatant bribe of Michael so that he would tolerate walking around campus, seeing various buildings and getting a general sense of the place. One of the buildings I hadn't seen is the new Prayer Chapel, a lovely place for individuals and groups to gather and lift up their needs and praises to God. This is view from one of the porticoes toward the south side of campus.

This is a view of the ceiling and opening to the heavens that is in the center of the building. Students pass through it on their way across campus, so it has a section that is open as well as meeting rooms.

After that experience, we went home and relaxed. Sunday was a quiet day. We went to church in the morning, and my aunts and uncles and a few of my cousins came for dinner that evening. We laughed and laughed and laughed! Always good to see everyone. It had been 15 months since we'd been home.

Monday was a down day, with nothing scheduled. It was amazingly peaceful to be at my parents' house! It backs up to a pond and it was so much fun to watch the wildlife: the blue heron that came to eat in the morning and early evening, the ducks and their adolescent offspring, the little robin that was searching for worms for breakfast. The weather was idyllic--70s and sunny--and that contributed to the general good mood of each day. Since we had nothing to do, Monday was game day for me and Michael. I think I played about 15 rounds of Uno, at least 6 rounds of a version of Scrabble called Take 2, and Chinese checkers. We really had a blast! He had unplugged too, not bringing a laptop to play any computer games.

Mid-afternoon my aunt Laura called and asked if I'd like to go see the cool Starbucks downtown. Of course! It's in an old tire store, and the front garage bays were preserved as an open-air lounge area. It was neat.

That evening, my quest for nostalgic ice cream experiences was completed when I went to Zesto. Zesto is an area soft serve ice cream stand that only operates seasonally, and it has the best vanilla soft serve cones bar none! I've been eating this ice cream every summer since I was a young child--a food memory is a strong one, and this one dates back to about age 4, I'd guess--and as you can tell, I was excited to be able to have this treat again. Sorry this last pic's a little blurry; I think Michael was laughing too hard to hold the camera still.

Yesterday we went to a local gourmet chocolate company and toured its kitchens. I didn't take any photos, because I didn't want you to think all I did was eat! Some did make it home for Bob, who stayed behind to work. I also saw my childhood best friend, who is stateside from Vietnam to do master's work for a month. Blessed be the ties that bind...she's a dearheart, and we don't need much time to go deep and share our hearts. Our families have been friends for decades, and I was able to see her parents, as well as one of her brothers and his children. We played bocce in their backyard and chatted in the gazebo.

I'm glad to be home, but a little sad to leave my IN home. Thanks Mom and Dad, for making this trip possible! Gotta hit the hay--the alarm goes off at 3:45 am tomorrow! I'll let you know if my Starbucks is on the chopping block or not. Sure hope not!


Lydia said...


That Starbucks is sassy and the campus and chapel are gorgeous. Looks like you had fun. I still get the shakes when I think about no email for that long! :)

sandra said...

going back to family and places you didn't see for a long time it's what we did too in our vacation to Italy: we met people after 8 years and, except for the kids that are now teenagers, it is nice to see that time does not change people and what they feel for you.