Thursday, May 21, 2015

Family Time Part 2

This past month has been a whirlwind of visiting family. Since we are married, Sally and I have twice the family to split our time with than most Peace Corps volunteers. We started our adventures out by traveling to Ohio right after we quit our jobs to visit with my extended family. It was really great to see everyone, and what a lot of people we saw! We started out visiting Grandpa Jack in Circleville, as well as Uncle Dean, Aunt Wendy, and Lydia. We then traveled to Columbus and visited with Matt and Alex, and got to see the ever traveling Josh too!

Sally and I took some time out of our family schedule to visit the Columbus zoo (which multiple Ohioans told me was the best zoo in the country).

We then caught sight of Olivia at OSU, and traveled to Mt. Vernon to see the rest of the Bauer side of the family: Gandma and Grandpa, Uncle Eric, Aunt Molly, Madeline, Claire and Aunt Meg.

Our next trip that took us to my side of the family was a short weekend to Virginia. There we were able to see Uncle’s Ralph and Boadie in Richmond. We spent a wonderful day visiting with them and seeing the sights before returning to Birmingham.

Finally, this past week we traveled to Houston and visited with my parents, Mark and Amy, and my sister, Hannah. It has been great visiting with my side of the family, and it was hard to say goodbye to my parents when we left Houston. My childhood dogs Merlyn and Mr. Wiggles are also in Houston. The first reality of how long we will be gone is the knowledge that both of these dogs will probably not be here when we come back. We got to see Hannah one more time yesterday when we gave her a large portion of our furniture and my last snake, a ball python named Fred. Saying goodbye to Hannah seals the deal for me. I have no more blood relatives to see before we leave town in a few days. The reality of the time that Sally and I will be gone has not truly sunk in for me. I feel I will miss my family more as the time passes. Right now, it just feels like we will not see them for a while, so no tears are shed. 

Now a quick note on these next few days which will be organized chaos as we move out of our apartment and pack for the biggest adventure of our lives so far. Peace Corps wants us to pack two checked bags weighing 50 lbs each. One of these is to be a winter bag that will not be available to us until we finish training in August. The other is the bag we will have with us during Pre-Service Training (PST). We are also allowed standard carry-on bags.

No doubt the joy is in the journey, but there is also a great deal of satisfaction in reducing everything you need for two years into a hundred pounds of stuff. The simplicity can be very rewarding. The trick will be making it all fit and meeting that weight requirement. Wish us luck!


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