After two weeks of travel, Rebecca and I are now back in Austin. We enjoyed the laughter, food, and time spent with family and friends, though we are also happy to be back in our own space (however temporary that space actually is). Perpetual plane-travel is exhausting.
We spent one week with Rebecca’s family in Ohio, again savoring the moments with our nephews Ethan and Luke. In the month or so since we left them they have grown tremendously! With that growth comes abundant energy. We went sledding, built a snow fort, and danced to Christmas music. Some great memories were made. I even built a plane and helicopter with them out of lego-like toys. I may have enjoyed the creations more than they… actually, I told them not to touch them because I was so proud of them…
In addition, I was amazed to find that my nephew Ethan was interested in my book and wanted me to read it to him. His parents were quite amused that he was listening so intently to A Fundamental Practical Theology. He even took notes in the margin for me (just like “Uncle Michael”).
Rebecca and I finally went ice skating, too. We lived in Chicago for three years and we never went ice skating, which we both regret. Thankfully, we were able to spend some time with Rebecca’s brother and his fiance in Akron where there is a down town ice skating rink. Truth be told, it was not the most pleasant experience for our ankles. I was sure that the skates were made with the express intent to cause pain and suffering so as to ensure that no one would steal the skates. I gave them back after less than an hour of skating.
Christmas day was enjoyable, but brief. Rebecca and I packed up our stuff and headed to the airport for what would become quite the travel ordeal. We stayed at the airport hotel that night and left for Louisville the next morning. Unfortunately, there is not a direct flight from Cleveland to Louisville on Southwest, so we were routed through Baltimore–yes, one of the many east coast airports plagued by the snow and ice that weekend. So, of course, after waiting for several hours for our connecting plane to arrive from Norfolk, the flight to Louisville was cancelled and we were stuck in Baltimore. My father made the experience bearable and, in the end, somewhat enjoyable, by using some of his hotel points to put us up in the Embassy Suites.
We were able to leave the following morning and made it safely to Louisville. We enjoyed a second Christmas celebration with my family, playing lots of cards and sharing in good food together. During our time in Kentucky, we also went apartment hunting in Lexington, building up our excitement for the future move to Kentucky where Rebecca’s next rotation will be. We found an apartment we liked. Now, we just hope it will be available next month when we actually make our way to Lexington.
We spent valuable, life-giving time with my long-time friend Brian and his wife Rachel. We enjoyed breakfast at Wild Eggs in Louisville, and learned a new card game with them: Wizard. We shared our new found love for Wizard with my family, who also liked the game. So much so, in fact, that my parents surprised us all with a set of Wizard cards for each family sub-“unit” (Phillip and Shannon, Michael and Rebecca, and one for themselves). Rebecca and I now have a nice, even more diverse set of games that travel with us on our adventures.
We celebrated New Years with our friends Kirk and Brennan in northern Kentucky. I found a restaurant in Covington, KY to try: Europa Bistro & Cafe. We discovered a wonderful, intimate restaurant with great food! The cheese cake was some of the best I have ever had.
By the end of the trip, however, Rebecca and I were travel-weary and, to be honest, low on patience with one another. In addition, the stress of travel and constant motion left our bodies fatigued. The sickness Rebecca battled over the course of our holiday travels eventually infected me, and I am just now starting to experience the achiness, congestion, and horse throat.
So we were ready to get back to Texas, move into our new extended stay room (we down graded to a smaller, cheaper room), and enjoy a little time away from the intensity of social interaction. We vegged out last night and watched disc 1 of the Harry Potter series of movies (a Christmas gift from my mom).
We are thankful for the hospitality, generosity, and flexibility of our families. We look forward to being closer to them in the future. And we also anticipate the chance to enjoy their company without the craziness and fatigue of long travel. For now, though, it is time for rest.