Dustin and I recently returned from our trip to the East Coast, where we met family, rekindled friendships and toured some of the most important cities in our country.
We started the trip in North Carolina (mentioned in a previous post), where I met some of Dustin’s family. It was an interesting experience for me because of the stark contrast between our families’ cultures. All of Dustin’s family lives close together, within walking distance. So, from what I gather to be a less-than-unusual occurrence, they were getting ready to have a grill-out with a bunch of friends. We arrived pretty late, so we couldn’t stay very long, but the time we did spend there was fun and exciting.Then we stayed in Cary, North Carolina with my former roommate Leslie and her husband Nate. They showed us around The Triangle of North Carolina. We had a fantastic time! Dustin and I would love to move to the area some time in our lives. The weather, the beautiful landscape and everything, was just so attractive to us. We both really liked Chapel Hill because it reminded me of Ann Arbor (the blueberry beer helped), but the entire region was just so fun.
We also went to the Outer Banks to get a little beach action before we went back to landlocked Indiana.It was perfect beach weather and we came in on the day when most people were leaving so we had plenty of room to spread out and relax. Shelley had never seen the Atlantic Ocean, so this was an opportunity for her to see and experience the vast blue.
We left the Outer Banks to our next stop— Washington D.C. I’ve been to DC a few times for various reasons, but neither Shelley nor Dustin had, so we spent most of the time going to tourist spots with our friend Joe. For me, the trip was more about spending time with friends. We stayed with my friend Lisa for most of the week then stayed with our friends Emily and Joe the last night. My favorite part of the stay was on Lisa’s birthday when we all met up at Emily and Joe’s for a taco night, drinking margaritas and playing Bananagrams all night. It reminded me so much of the great nights we’d spend together in college.Our time in DC was timed perfectly with the Nationals-Reds series in the city, so our last day in the city was spent watching a fantastic baseball game at Nationals Park, where the Reds beat the Nationals in an extra inning. If Dustin and I end up living someplace near a professional baseball team, we will probably be season-ticket holders.(Except if it’s in Boston, then Dustin can go to the games and I’ll be traveling the New York for Yankees games.)
Our last stop on our trip was in New York, where we spent a few days with my family. Again, Dustin and Shelley had never been to New York before, so we spent some time in the city going to tourist spots. We also saw the show American Idiot on Broadway. The show was great! It was a rock opera of sorts, featuring Green Day music from the album American Idiot with some additions. I’m not sure I imagined the same story when I heard the album, but it was still an interesting and compelling show.Dustin got to meet some of my family while we were in New York, mainly my grandma (who he has met before), my aunt Valeri, her daughter Mia, her husband Greg and my uncle Mitchell. It was exciting for me to see them all, especially my cousin Mia because she is growing up so fast. The last time I saw her was when she was one. That was a little more than two years ago. She’s so fun and full of energy and smart! Some of my favorite moments from our vacation are from talking to and playing with Mia. Before we left, my grandmother gave us our first engagement gift— a Chanukah menorah that was used by my great grandmother Frances and probably her grandmother too. For those who don’t know, I was named after Frances, so this was an especially meaningful heirloom for us to inherit.
It’s strange how different our families are, but how many of their values are the same. Both of our families seem to value the idea of taking care of each other when they need it. The way this is done might be different, but the idea behind it is the same— unconditional love, someone who is there in your time of need, and someone you can count on when things go wrong. I also think that the differences between us and our families will work well as we figure out how we will live and how we will be as parents. Both the city life and country life have their strengths and weaknesses, and it will be interesting to see how Dustin and I weld these two lifestyles together.