After five days in Rockville with Elizabeth, it felt incredibly weird to do laundry and refold my clothes into my suitcase. This first week was definitely more fun than fundraising (although I did make four new connections!), and everything in my experience told me that I ought to be going home. I worried a little, while fitting things back into my trunk, that I wouldn’t have the emotional energy to continue.
But then I got up at 6:30, fought the DC traffic, and escaped into the hills of Virginia. The open road brought all my excitement back. I miss hanging out with Elizabeth, but I’m really excited to keep going. It certainly helps that my eight hour drive was through steep hills covered in trees, some of which were just beginning to change colors. It was absolutely beautiful, and I was reminded why I had decided to have a road trip, and not just fly to see people (plus, obviously, the expense).
I got to Spartanburg, South Carolina at 3:00. I got some one-on-one time with Stephanie, who is now married, pregnant, and waiting to move overseas to be a missionary. She is flying through all Adult Stages, and honestly, I wondered if we were too different, now that it’s been five years since we were college friends. But one lesson I’m learning, both during this road trip and during my time back in Peoria, is that I have always had excellent taste in friends. Everyone is still so delightful, and Stephanie is no exception.
We caught up on each other’s lives, then we went to the grocery store. We fell back into our humor and excitement, and when we returned home, her husband Paul joined in. I’d only barely met him at their wedding, and oddly enough, they weren’t able to have meaningful conversations then. Tonight, though, I got to know him, and one year too late (plus it’s none of my business), I happily give my approval of him. He’s interesting, funny, and kind, and he and Stephanie seem to really enjoy each other.
I have to say, though, that Paul REALLY won me over when he suggested we watch LOST while eating Stephanie’s chicken curry. He meant it as a joke, but Stephanie and I starte reminiscing about our LOST parties and favorite episodes, and there was nothing to be done. We did, however, agree not to watch season 1, because then it would be too easy to fall into the LOST abyss.
After one episode (“The Constant” with Desmond and Penny), they took me to downtown Spartanburg for toffee ice cream. We walked around, learned some Revolutionary War history, and returned home to watch two more episodes of LOST. I forgot how unceasingly dramatic everything is! And with every moment we watched, there were details I’d forgotten. So….hopefully soon I’m going to start a blog series about rewatching LOST. Because then it’s kind of like work? And I don’t have to feel guilty?
Eventually we called it quits to go to sleep. I won’t get to see them much tomorrow morning, and I’m sad that our time together was so short. But it’s hugely encouraging to realize that Married Stephanie is still my friend, that Husband Paul is pretty cool, and that I’m confident future hang outs will happen.
States Visited (4): Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina
Total States Visited (10): Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina