I’m not sure if I was more excited for the wedding day or the surprise honeymoon. And still, it’s a toss-up. We had an amazing party, filled with great people. And then, I did what every bride should do–I let … Continue reading
As I follow a rhythm of prayer outlined in this book, I find myself excited to get in bed and pray the last prayer. Reflecting on how I’ve journeyed through the day, I love this particular reflection question: “When did I … Continue reading
I’m forever grateful my parents had the adventurous spirits to get us out of Chicagoland and discover the world through the National Parks. We “camped” in a BIG motor home. Like, we had a lot of beds. And a large … Continue reading
This was not my first trip to Mexico. Nor will it be my last. I have family in Texas, so I’ve even driven over the boarder a few times. During which, boarder patrol stopped us and asked many questions about ME. Because when I go to Mexico, I don’t come back looking like the rest of my family. I turn much, much darker. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a gringa.
Seriously. Did you know that Grand Rapids, MI only gets 84 days of sunshine a year? That’s worse than Seattle. And FAR from Mexico. I love Mexico.
Mostly, I think I love Mexico for the people. And because I sit around developing working theories about everything in life, here is my theory about why the people of Mexico are so nice (including many Mexican immigrants here in Grand Rapids that have become some of my favorite people):
We’ve been studying customer service and surveys at work. So, I was thinking very profoundly when I was given a few surveys in Mexico. But, let me admit here. I crumbled. And lied. I couldn’t tell them that their Mexican food wasn’t as good as the last place. Or their music. You see, we became instant best friends with our wait staff..and sometimes bus drivers…and people on the street. The people of Mexico inspired something in me–an inability to say anything negative.
It got me thinking. How did this culture of smiling, hard-working, family oriented people arrive at something so different from American culture? Did the beautiful environment breathe art that breathed life? Or something different?
This is why I travel. To meet people. To observe how to become more un-American. Oh, right, and for more days of sun. One more, then (the view from our $67 a night Westin room- thanks to hotwire.com)…
I’m entering into the season of my job that has me working most Sundays. And so I CRAVE days “apart”. I yearn for the next vacation. But if you follow my blog or facebook, you realize that I’m one of the most vacated people alive.
Here’s my philosophy. Vacations help me remember who I am. I’m still desperately trying to determine how to live my daily life with rhythm despite a job of many colors and the passionate pursuit of volunteering and social excitement.
Days apart define the rest of my days.
I love what Eugene Peterson says about sabbath and vacations in an interview he did with Peter Santucci:
For more on my trip to Bali, Indonesia, see this post. Life-altering.
Just waiting for the next holiday.
No, not the one with hearts and valentines. I don’t celebrate that one.
I’m Irish. I love the one, true, dye-your-river-green-Chicago holiday. My favorite of the year.
I was reminded of it last week when I braved the ice and snow to get to the West Michigan countryside for Fenian’s, the “Best Irish Pub in Michigan.”
Wednesday is their Traditional Irish Music Session. And musicians come from far and wide for an Irish Jam.
photo by Grand Rapids Magazine, September 2006 (but it really did look like this when I was there)
Right there in the little town of Conklin. Irish Fiddles and Penny Whistles and everything. It’s almost like Ireland. Ah, Ireland. I miss you.
Don’t you love how music unlocks our memories? It’s a good thing that penny whistle player I know travels with me. She really is the best in Ireland and Michigan. You should hear how many people ask her to join their bands…
I’ve just returned from a backpacking trip in Canada. It was spectacular.
When you’re in an environment like this, you can help but become a bit of a purist. We were very careful to cook our food with a stove that burned only a little white gas (best for environment). We ate all our meals on boulders on the beaches. Breakfast where the sun rose:
We spent many hours cooking, pausing to give thanks, sharing our meals, and then cleaning up to leave no trace. We burned much of our waste, packed out the rest, and washed our dishes with biodegradable soap in the lake.
Of the entire trip, the mealtimes were some of my favorites– the shared meals and shared work. It’s so weird, I can’t even seem to turn on my dishwasher at home…but I’ll be the first to pump water to purify, get the stove set up or do the dishes when surrounded by beauty!
Speaking of beauty- check out my lovely un-showered, un-made-up friends!
Here we are with our backpacks on as we are all ready to hike out at the end of our four days in the “interior” of Lake Superior Provincial Park. (Yes, there were more than just meals, so I will write another post on Canada.)
But I did come home and recycle everything I possibly could this morning. After this experience, I’m more energized about protecting our environment. Now if only I were energized to do the dishes piling up…
I had to get a new passport this year. And since I love passport stamps, I’ve gone on some awesome trips in ’09. But nothing compares to being in Bali, Indonesia. It was during February of 2002- the Year of the Black Horse- Chinese New Year.
Home-base was Taiwan. I moved there in ’01 with my buddies from Taylor University- Chris (Mitch) Mitchell & Derek Rust. We taught English to the cutest Taiwanese kids. And we found adventure with Amy, our new friend from New Zealand. So the four of us decided to ring in the Chinese New Year on Bali Island.
We have stories like you wouldn’t believe. The pictures can’t even begin to describe what we encountered. Oh, to be young and invincible again…
Amy, Derek & Mitch- thanks for the journey! The whole experience was life-defining for me. You challenged me to embrace things unknown and I will forever be different.
pictures by Christopher Mitchell
If I had time and an expense account for a hobby, mine would be photography. What would yours be?
I love the digital age because I can take 300 photos and not waste film. Then, with two clicks on a computer, I can print my own art. Or, with another two clicks, I can create a video of my Ireland Trip. Enjoy views of Dublin, the Dingle Peninsula and Glendalough. Oh, Ireland…