Wow, it’s been a few months since I made a post. My goal was once a month, and I’ve clearly neglected that; Darn!
At the end of May, we went on a big family vacation to see Chris’ mom and dad. We started off with a long weekend in Colorado with his mom, her husband, his sister, his brother in law, and their baby. We got to see his mom’s new custom-built house, (BIG and BEAUTIFUL), and see our niece for the first time since her birth (we got to meet her the night she was born, how lucky!). The house was just unbelievable, his mom and her husband, Jim, put a lot of manual labor into it. Jim is the main builder on it, and has some hired helpers to assist. We got to see all the kids’ rooms, downstairs, see the layout of upstairs with a beautiful kitchen and fireplace, and walk on the wrap around porch! His mom lives in rural Colorado, close to an Aunt and Uncle from his dad’s side, so we got to see them too (I love them, dearly!). We stayed with them, in their custom built house with an alpaca farm, and enjoyed lots of family time.
Then, we were off to Oregon to meet up with Chris’ dad, his girlfriend, her kids, and Chris’ siblings + spouses + kids. We have two nieces, and we got to meet the eldest for the first time on this vacation! His dad rented a beautiful house on the coast with a gorgeous view of the ocean, and we spent 4 nights/5 days there. We saw LOTS of beaches, relaxed in the outdoor hot tub, and had a lot of fun family meals. Unfortunately, his dad’s girlfriend’s father passed away while we were there. It was not completely unexpected, and there was a beauty in that Oregon was the last state for him to visit, and the family really felt we took him there in his last moments. It was so hard, but I’m glad we were together to help support his family, which is really our family; He was a kind, generous, welcoming man, who always made Chris and I feel like grandkids of his own. Chris’ dad’s girlfriend, Jen, has been in my life as long as Chris has. She is also kind, and loving, and I consider her family. The vacation was certainly bittersweet and memorable.
June was a fairly quiet month for us, though I signed us up to host a foreign student through Compass USA! I got to read through applications, and select a student, so I chose the only vegetarian young man, named Unai. He is starting his last year at school, and hoping to go to university for physics next year. He arrived the last week of June, and stayed for four weeks. He was extremely polite, and a very good kid. We got really lucky in that we were never required to “parent” him – never had to ask him to clean his room, put his phone away, etc. He made his bed everyday, and I had to pry preferences from
him because he was always so agreeable! Part of the program was the students had activities and field trips planned on most weekdays, then the host parents would have weekends for activities. The meeting point for the students was ~45 min away from our house, so unfortunately we had to drive a lot on weekdays bringing him back and forth. We talked a lot on those drives, and it was a great opportunity to get to know him. He never complained, and was always ready in the morning on time! On weekends, we took him camping, hiking, I hosted a small party for my co-workers and asked him to invite friends from the program, and tried to do American stuff. He watched the first Lord of the Rings movie with me, and read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in English. He taught us how to make a Spanish omlet (SO GOOD), and taught Chris and I about responsibility and working together. As a child-free couple, we have A LOT of freedom, and you may be able to imagine what a BIG change it was for our household, even though our student was so easy to host. Thankfully, we worked through the change well, and Chris really stepped up to help out when I needed him. I was gone for Unai’s last weekend with us, at a sorority conference, so Chris handled driving Unai to a friend’s house and managing his whereabouts. Unai and I cried when we parted for the last time; I gifted him the second Harry Potter book in American English, and he gifted me a Nightmare Before Christmas tote he had purchased on their trip to NYC. I was so impressed with how thoughtful the gift was, and how grateful I was to meet him, share my culture, and learn about his.
At the end of July, I attended the national conference for my sorority, Phi Sigma Rho. My attendance was required because I received training for my new volunteer position: Regional Field Director for the Midwest 3 region. That covers 5 university chapters, including my alma mater, Purdue! The main purpose to the role is to me an alumni liaison between the active chapter members and the national organization: holding them accountable to deadlines, national policies, and supporting the chapters with whatever needs may arise, however unique. I have been out of college for 6 years, and uninvolved with my sorority for almost as long. This past year, I volunteered for two committees: Colony Education and National Historical, to start giving back in small commitments. The RFD position was something I applied for, and was selected to hold, and lasts for two years. I thought the training at conference was very valuable, and I got to return to Purdue, where it was hosted! I said goodbye to my favorite bar that is being demolished and closed, and ate Mad Mush cheese stix, two quintessential parts of my life at Purdue. I also met active members from each of my chapters, and especially got to know women from my own chapter! All around, it was a really amazing weekend, and I can’t wait for next year’s convention, in hot Arizona (ok, not excited for the heat!).
In August we threw a laaaaaaaaaaaate birthday party for Chris, who I promised to throw a party for his golden birthday (he turned 28 years old, this year, on March 28th). It was gold themed, and we actually celebrated a friend’s birthday there, as his real birthday was the day after our party! We hosted a beer-Olympics drinking game tournament, and had our guests pair up and declare a country to play for. I made a giant bracket on a blackboard, and Team America won! Consequently, also the team of the real birthday boy (not Chris). It was great to host friends, and everyone enjoyed the gold décor, cutlery, drinks (beer and cocktail), and games! We even had out of town friends come in to visit for the party, it was so much fun!
Now that the university school year is starting, I find myself jumping into Phi Rho chapter meetings to introduce myself. Three down, two to go!
September is Chris and I’s second anniversary month, and Girl Scouts will be gearing up!