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Welcome to the Car Ride:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dandylion: “Why do you have so much trouble with that CD player?”

Caulherflower: “I’m just a problem child. It has been this way as long as I can remember.”

Danydlion: “Yeah, well I’ve had a wedgie all day!”

Caulherflower: “I’m hungry and I NEED TO EAT!”

…And thanks goes out to Jack Johnson for the mood music in the background.

(Still wish you could come???)

Georgia: Savannah, George L. Smith, and Okeefenokee!

Sunday, November 29, 2009
The last two nights we spent camping at parks in Georgia.. George L. Smith State Park was our first real camping experience. We arrived at the park around 5:30 pm after calling about 5 others which were entirely filled up (who knew November/December was prime camping season in Georgia and Florida?!) We were exhausted... earlier that morning we departed from Columbia, South Carolina and drove to Savannah, Georgia where we paid $10 to park and walk around the beautiful historic city. It's been such fun just walking around new places and getting a feel for the people and the unique atmospheres.


So 5:30pm... got our campsite, set up Raspberry (the lovely blue tent we are journeying with) and made a quick Wal-Mart run (we've seen 9 Wal-Mart trucks on the road so far, btw). Some apples, bananas, yellow squash, broccoli, green peppers, carrots, animal crackers, a sponge and a pan and we were on our way back to our quaint little site on the water. The plan was to make rice and a stir fry; however, halfway back it came out that we really weren't that hungry and were really just exhausted, so we scratched the food idea (it seemed like far too much effort to either make a fire, which is clearly not our forte, or try to figure out the campstove, which we hadn't used yet), deciding to save the feast for the next day. Instead we resolved to ask our "neighbors" if we could use their fire to heat up some water for tea.

How to meet people 101: share fire.
Such wonderful people they were! We warmed our water and shared some light, easy conversation.. they were a middle-aged couple, camping for a few days in search of some greatly desired peace and down-time away from the regular, working life. The next morning we traded them a couple jump-starts from our suburu in thanks for the flames of the previous night. In the morning, after a run (kendra) and a walk (keturah) we had a nice slow morning of re-packing the car, hot showers, and finally used our camp stove (!!) to make delicious stir fry in our pan and rice in the pot from Pam and Jack (this has turned out to be perhaps the most useful thing we packed, just so you guys know!) We made way too much rice (perhaps eventually we'll get better at "eye-balling" measurements) and ate every last bit of it. By 1pm we were on our way to Okeefenokee!

This time we decided not to take Interstates but rather a smaller route that was said to be more scenic. Not sure we'll ever go back to the interstates! The "scenic route" was wonderfully full of stores and stations that left us feeling like we were driving through an old film..

Arrived at the park and drove around the 66 sites 6 times, finally agreeing upon one that seemed to have access to a good plot of split trees and branches (ideal for a fire?), was fairly secluded, and not too far from the "comfort area".
Our second attempt at fire! After at least 30 minutes of trying sooo harrdddd:
kendra: there's always hope!
keturah: if this fire works i'll be a convert to your pathetic idealism
well friends, the inferno BLAZED for at least 45 minutes! Plenty of time to roast marshmallows and warm chunks of home-made wheat bread smothered in peanut butter! mmm this is the life!

Huddled together beneath our sleeping-bag bed, eye-glasses in place, head-lamps lighting the well-worn pages of our books, we discussed our bowel movements like an ancient couple as fatigue sneakily pushed its way into our tent. Ah, it's good to be young! (?!)
Dead to the world.
Up for a walk around chilly Okeefenokee followed by ORGANIC oatmeal, ORGANIC peanut butter, ORGANIC honey (but we are sooo not "organic" freaks. promise.) Plopped it all in our brand new camping pan, mixed it together and enjoyed a communal breakfast (we're getting used to eating like this). Dang! GoOOOooOD duffel! After breakfast Keturah guided us on a very educational walk through the swamp on a boardwalk. We spotted a real live alligator (oh my) and learned about all sorts of trees and plant life. (Or a real plastic alligator...Keturah swears they make plastic alligators that pop up at the push of a button to appease the nagging tourists. "It only blinked its eyes once in two hours!").

Oh, Okeefenokee, what a luxurious swamp you are.. and so good to us!
high temp: 68

Graybeard Mountain, North Carolina

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
All right everybody...

I don't know why we are doing this to ourselves: giving you yet another opportunity to point your fingers and laugh, but we know you love us for it, so here goes...

We stumbled upon this gorgeous little town in North Carolina, about 1/2 hour outside of Asheville, called Montreat. They had some good hiking there and we were itching to go camping. It all started out innocently enough with an old fashioned diner breakfast (eggs, toast, hash browns and sausage for only $2.50!), and then...It was a beautiful sunshining day at noon, so, disregarding the time of year, the altitude, the weather at night and probably every other thing we should have thought of, we created this rather true story for your enjoyment. I, Keturah, claim no responsibility for it as it is 3:30 a.m. and I am at Denny's, getting refills of hot chocolate in order to avoid sleeping in the car...

At this point in the post, we had a great video we recorded telling the whole story right after it happened, late in the night when we were likely delirious. You would have had a good laugh, only we cannot get the video to load....And that is why this post is so long coming...we spent a couple hours trying to make it work. Our apologies.
Ok, so what happened:
All was well until we took the road off the trail that three people told us NOT to take. There is no explanation for this except that it is us. Still, after an hour of backtracking, the sun was shining, the mist was enchanting and we were optomistic. We made it to camp around four, excited for our first night of camping! It was going to be dark soon, so we gathered wood. No problems here except that there wasn't dry wood anywhere because a cloud rests on the mountain day and night! But would two adventurers like ourselves let that deter us??? Nooooo. So, until dark (about an hour), we built a dead fire, quickly charred some marshmallows and called it good. So much for the planned bra burning.... ;). Keturah did boil water in the coals though! A succcess! Anyway, being the old people that we are, we went in the shelter, bundled up in our sleeping bags, drank a little wine, smoked a little cigar, ate a little bread, granola, biscotti, etc. I, Keturah would like to give a shout-out to Kendra's unfailing positive attitude because I probably would have been lost to discouragement long before this. Due to our vigorous day of hiking and the darkness, we settled in to sleep. BUT YOU TRY TO SLEEP TO THE SOUND OF SCURRYING MICE AND THE THREAT OF BEARS OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR DURING A HARRY POTTER KIND OF NIGHT ON A HORROR FILM KIND OF MOUNTAIN! The good news is that the bears never got us. The mouse who ate through my sleeping bag cover never got us. Nothing got us on our whole hike back down the mountain in the misty damp darkness.
Ha ha ha...yes, I know...it is very funny. Let me just say that it wasn't just one tiny little innocent mouse. Maybe that is the only one we saw, but I know that it was running back to its mouse hole to summon the red-eyed mouse army to come bite our toes off (and you know it too...)!

Anyway, we found peace in the mountains earlier that morning...that is really all there is to say about that...

Montreat, NC

Here's the setting:

Black Mountain, NC: Information Center. It's getting dark and the two loveliest ladies in the land, most commonly known as Dandylion and Caulherflower, haven't the slightest idea where they will be laying their sweet heads for the night. After a lengthy conversation with Mr. Bob Information from the tourist center, they are directed towards Montreat, a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the moutains where they are told there is both an Inn and a College that might have a place for them to stay. It didn't take long for the two avid travelers to find the Inn. After pounding on the door and tapping on every window they could find, they were finally greeted by the woman who's office light had fed their persistence. She was very friendly and wanted so badly to let them stay at the Inn, but the Inn was closed (probably an appropriate scenario for this time of year) and while she was the director, she was sincerely appologetic for being unable to let them stay in one of her rooms. Madam Director did, however, take the gems on an ever-so-short tour of the place before sending them off into the cooling evening air.

Still without a place to stay, the adventurers wandered across the street to Montreat College. They squinted through the darkness and soon set their eyes on the Student Center. Walking masterfully into the building they discreetly checked each floor and room for an inconspicuous place to lay their heads. It was a bright, cheery place with plenty of waterfountains, restrooms, couches and *gasp* a piano! Caulherflower was convinced that this was it, THIS was the place to spend the night! Dandylion preferred to keep looking.

Back outside in the damp darkness the brave souls continued to scour the campus. After a few turns they spotted a light on in what looked to be an academic building. Peering in a window they spotted a man.. a proffessor, perhaps? They entered an unlocked door and tapped lightly on the next. Not loud enough. They pounded. The man came to the door. He appeared to be fairly young despite the lower half of his face being hidden beneath a thick brown beard.

"Um, Hi! We're just traveling through the area and are looking for a place to stay for the night. Bob from the Information Center thought there might be a place on campus we could just crash for the night. Would you know anything about that?" (By the way, apparently Bob wasn't as well known as he thought he was).

*Just out of curiosity, what would your response have been??*

He summoned the damsels into his office, offering them a seat as he made some phone calls. Telling them it would be 30 minutes or so before he heard back, the dynamic duo retreated to the other part of his building where they had spotted a chapel of sorts, complete with *gasp* a piano! Caulherflower played this beautiful grand in the empty chapel.. it was meant to be.

The bearded man returned and said, "I talked to my roommates, it's cool with them if you come back and stay with us for the night. We have an extra room. It's not heated, but you can stay there." He was quite expressionless and nonchallant, but seemed a bit fond of the idea.

*Here is where storytelling mode ends*

How to describe this fella. He was probably in his late 20's, working in the Journalism department of the college. He was well read and probably quite smart, but also rather quiet and a bit.. hmm..
(note: we've been given permission by by Michael, Scott and Julie to write whatever we want to about them.. how fun this will be!)
So Michael..
We followed him back to their house, which was about a 2 minute drive from campus. It was a tiny little home surrounded by other tiny little homes, though it was pitch black out by then so we couldn't really see much of where we were. In the front room we were met by two dogs - a pug and a black lab mix. The pug, as we would quickly discover, made constant snorting sounds.. almost like he was snoring, but ALL the time. It didn't seem to phase Christy and Scott. Michael thought it was disgusting. We found it pretty odd and a bit gross as well (sorry guys!). In the small livingroom area we sat with Michael for a bit and discussed Annie Dillard, Donald Miller, and Thoreau (quite a combo, huh?). Michael, though quiet in demeanor, had no problem keeping the conversation flowing. He shared some stories about hiking and road trips with his dad.. an interesting fella, this Michael.
After not too long Scott and Christy, who are married, arrived home. Scott works at the college as well and Christy coaches volleyball for the college. She was tall and blonde and had a strong, beautiful sense about her. Scott seemed like a pretty laid-back, cool guy. Christy made pasta for dinner in her small kitchen and we sat around on the couches eating dinner and talking about...

--whether it's okay to just pop in on people and rely on others to house you and take care of you
--is this "sharing life" thing (as Caulherflower likes to put it) something that people should do more often or is it imposing??

(we would like your input on this as well as we both have our own ideas)

So we all talked about this for awhile and then we went for a walk around Montreat.. following Christy and Scott into the dark woods without so much as a second thought.. but they seemed like the kind of people who probably got over their axe-murdering phase in college and by this time it was feeling pretty normal to be with them... they were so welcoming and un-phased by us being there that it just seemed normal. Back at the house they taught us how to play Mexican Train, a dominoes game... and then we all got tired and went to bed. In the morning everyone was gone by 7. We grabbed our pillows and hit the road in pursuit of The Lookout (photos on greybeard mountain post) as soon as we got up.

And thus ends what became perhaps our most adventurous endeavor up until that point in the trip. The whole thing lasted about 12 hours total and then poof! It was over. But perhaps this is what life is about.. encountering people and sharing ideas and perspectives and then moving on, not owing each other anything but grateful for what was shared during the time, however short or long, that we had together. We'll always look back on these three fondly and remember them as the first people on our journey to show us extreme kindness to the point of taking us into their home for a night though we were complete strangers.

To Michael, Scott and Christy, a sincere and heartfelt: THANK YOU!! :)

North Carolina

Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22
A nice, lazy morning in NC with Peg and Paul. Keturah found an espresso machine and tried her professional hand at reviving it after years of unuse. It did her soul good to have her hands on a steamer! Uncle Paul dug up a bunch of great books for us and we chatted and drank coffee for a few hours before shooting down to Fort Mills, SC for church at Morning Star (Rick Joyner!! Except he wasn't there..). Kendra will be writing more on this later but it was, in one word, refreshing. After church we followed Conscience (our GPS) all over Charlotte looking for a coffee shop with Wi-Fi and ended up at that Faithful Chain: Panera Bread. An hour or so later Madame Kiki Neale and her mother met us! Kiki was Kendra's French teacher in middle school. It was as though no time had passed.. she was just as funny and stimulating as ever and sent us on our way with a miniature bottle of Lysol to scare away all the bad guys.

Monday, November 23
A lazy morning with the house to ourselves. Kendra made more bread at 7am, probably waking the whole neighborhood with the rattly bread machine. Explored the area with individual jogs and found a whole lot of dead ends. Did some laundry and decided to head a bit West to Asheville, a city apparently full of people like us. Now this we had to see! We had our first Spanish CD lesson on the road.. "Es un coche!"

About 10 miles from Asheville we saw a sign for Black Mountain claiming to have "Visitor Information". Deciding we qualified for such a place, we took the exit and found ourselves in a little room full of brochures with a stout, white-haired man named Bob. Bob spoke slowwwlyy and carefullyyy and told us allll abouttt the places we should most definitely see on our journey. Keturah ate it up while I, Kendra, sat rather fidgety trying to take notes on everything he was saying as I tried not to notice the slow but sure progression from light to dark outside the window. By the time we departed we had about 30 minutes of daylight remaining. And thus begins an adventure *dundundun*

Aberdeen and onward!

Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19
Aberdeen, MD ---> Mary Tingley, her husband Steve and their kids hosted us on Post at Aberdeen Proving Ground for a night, and what a night it was! We stayed up well into the night laughing laughing and LAUGHING with Mary in the kitchen... clutching our stomachs, rolling around on the ground, we laughed and laughed and laughed some more! Ah, it felt so good.. so cleansing and freeing and healthy. Everyone needs a good laugh for no reason at all every once in awhile. Thank you, Mary. We still talk about that night with sincere fondness..

Friday, November 20
Maryland was beautiful in the morning. Worked out on post with Mary, re-packed the car in a more strategic fashion, and hit the road en route to Richmond, VA to see Miriam and her daughter. We arrived just in time to help her move into her new apartment and set up her Christmas tree!

Saturday, November 21
Drove through the night to Kendra's Aunt Peg and Uncle Paul in North Carolina. We got in late but were met with open arms, enthusiasm, and big bowls of popcorn! Kendra got so excited about the prospect of making homemade bread the following day that she couldn't sleep that night. It's the little things that make life life, yeah?


To the two absolutely beautiful, bright-eyed women I just encountered in Panera in Richmond, VA: Thank You. We collided at a time when I really needed the re-assurance the two of you just brought me. I am truly better for having met you and shared that hour of life with you. By all means, follow this journey and live it with me! I'll think of you fondly every time I treat myself to this delicious coffee. :)

This morning my wonderful Traveling Companion looked at me and said ever-so-quietly "Be free, Kendra". At the time my insides were swimming with a number of thoughts and emotions but later when I sat with a cup of coffee and my book of empty pages I realized just how deep those words wanted to settle inside of me. For the last 3 years all I've really wanted is to be free. Free, free, free. I've ached for it, longed for it, caught glimpses and had slight tastes of it that have sustained me through the confines of the life I was living and now, NOW! Now here I am and finally, I am free in the greatest sense of that word. I am free from obligation, free from any place or time schedule. Free from any people, any mind-sets, any group or function or... anything! It's taken me two weeks to finally be able to ease into that; to look these circumstances I now find myself IN in the face and realize wow, this is it! This is what I've been longing for all these years! Me with dirty feet! Me with a wind-whipped face! Me with fresh conversations, fresh perspectives, fresh experiences all dancing through my own limited view of what this life is. I'm realizing that as much as this trip is about encountering, as I wrote previously, it's also about discovering the Beauty I've always believed in. Despite the heartache and brokeness I've bore wittness to time and again, I still believe in Beauty. And I'm realizing now that without the ugly stuff, beauty would have no force or power at all. The beautiful needs something to be contrasted with. That's what makes it so beautiful, makes it something to be sought out and desired... a fairly simple thought, yes, but allowing this to sink in changes the way I see so much...

Two years ago a man in a cafe asked me what I wanted more than anything else in the world. I thought about it briefly, sighed deeply and said so quietly, I want to be free. I meant that more than I could have meant anything else. Circumstances have changed since then and my heart has certainly grown and been re-shaped a number of times, but that simple truth remains: I long to be free. I have this sense inside of me of what that will feel like. There have been brief moments and occassions on which I've felt it, and such rich moments they've been, but they've always passed as the pressures of life have rediscovered me. But this is it. I'm taking a deep breath right now (really, I am), breathing in the reality that right here, right now, I am free. The possibilities are endless. There's nothing I have to do or can't do. I am free to breathe in deeply as this person I've become and, as I exhale and swirl into the fullness of the God of the Universe, to begin walking in all that I know myself to be, as limited as that knowledge may sometimes be.

Diwali (Keturah)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
What do we do as humans to remember what is important to us? We celebrate, we create days where our devotion to one another, to religion, to our beliefs climaxes. We have birthday parties, holidays, remembrance days...We loose ourselves into our humanity through music and movement, through drunkenness and joy. I had the opportunity to witness that in the context of the Hindu celebration of Diwali.

My experience of India and the Hindu religion is limited to the school's textbook version. I have always labeled it as a place that might be cool to see, but my reflections stopped at Gandhi and Mother Teresa. However, unexpectedly, a night of Diwali drew me into this remarkable culture vociferously. The bright warm colors glowed in candlelight that was dancing to the tinkle of bracelets and shiny things adorning the beautiful Indian dresses. Starting out rather calmly, the participants performed all the usual rituals, sang the ancient songs and danced steps well known. All of this was interesting from an objective standpoint until an Indian man came forward to light candles and blow a seashell as a horn. I am sorry, but I cannot remember the purpose of his action. Even still, the look of rapture that took hold of his face, as if emerging from beneath his skin, made me hold my breath. He was involved. He was engaged with his beliefs. He was communing with Something. He was experiencing his religion. I stood in awe and felt a pull to understand his assurance. Diwali was more than an idea to him; it was truth.

Diwali is the Hindu celebration of light's triumph over darkness, thereby also known as The Festival of the Lights. Such a vein is following me wherever I go, it would seem. Earlier in the day, I saw a series of paintings depicting the power of light trumping dark. A fundamental idea in the Christian religion is light always being stronger than darkness. The positive thinking movement stands on good winning over evil. Even Cinderella and Star Wars are based entirely on this idea. And I wonder if what we are all looking for is some escape from the drudgery and pain of life. I am not trying to be a bummer, but as glorious as life can be, we cannot deny its inevitable sorrows as well. So, we draw courage from the battle, from our fairytale heroes' strength to win every time. We exalt what is good and pure in hopes that we and our world will became as such.

This may seem like an obvious idea, but it also seemed to coincide with another track of thought I have been running on (usually out of breath). Perhaps humans are fundamentally the same. They have the same emotions, the same desires, the same questions. Thus, it could be that their religions and philosophies are fundamentally the same as well. Don't shoot me. I am not saying I am a unitarian or a communist or a peace-and-love hippie. What I am saying is that we all value the same things: love, relationship, peace, fortune, etc. And we celebrate what we value. Religion is one way of doing that, of exalting those characteristics so high that they remain unadulterated by ourselves. Each culture simply seems to have a different way of expressing that. So, perhaps there is one God. Perhaps God is Allah, Spirit, the Universe, Jehovah, Vishnu, the wisdom of Buddah. Perhaps we just call him different names. Perhaps different cultures choose different aspects of God to celebrate and so we think their God is wrong. But maybe it is all God. It would make sense to me that on a planet as diverse as Earth, filled with people of different colors and cultures that God may need to deposit Himself in a various forms within these cultures, so that their people might understand who He is. Let me try to break it down...People all have different personalities. As much as we can learn from each other and grow, we will always remain within the limitations of our own personality. i.e.: As much as your wife wants you to be organized, you will never be as organized as her if it is not in your nature, although you may improve. On the scale of culture, the West is very intellectual, time and task oriented. Africa is much more spiritual, people and event oriented. It is okay for these cultures to always remain different as long as they can still learn from one another and grow, to a degree, in their weaker areas. In the case of religion, some sects of Christians go to church on Sundays and do good unto one another. In India, religious people meditate and burn incense. Perhaps God is all of these things, but each culture can only hold so much of Him. For example, when you put all the people together in the world, you have a fuller picture of what a human being is. When you put all the cultures together in the world, you have a fuller picture of what people are and what they can do. When you put all the religions together in the world, maybe we have a fuller picture of who God is.

Churchgoers are probably thinking this is blasphemy and the rest of you are rolling your eyes at all this talk about religion. But the truth is, as much as I am on a road trip and I am discovering the United States of America, I want to ask that question as well. Who is God?

I would love for you to post some thoughts, arguments, ideas, etc. I am very interested to hear from you all...

Boston --> Princeton Junction, New Jersey

Monday, November 16, 2009
~ We left Halifax late morning and arrived in Princeton Junction at dark, in time for an Indian dinner with Jeff & Melissa Chamberlain, cousins of Kendra.

~ The next day, we walked to the train station, where we boarded "The Dinky" en route to Princeton. A "bubbly" tour guide, who was pretty excited about the campus cuisine, if you know what we mean, led us enthusiastically around a quarter of the university. The architecture was absolutely incredible, 18th Century Gothic with vines crawling up the sides. It was also homecoming weekend, so lots of old men came to the Princeton-Yale game (which, NO, we did not see...) dressed to a T in their tube socks and short white shorts. We didn't take a picture so that we wouldn't rob you of the image in your mind right now. We snacked at a fruity yogurt place that could have used some serious redecorating which we humbly took it upon ourselves to redesign. The pomegranate machine was broken. The mango machine was broken. Our hearts were broken. We carried on. (Did we mention already that this trip is all about the food??)

I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it - he had real nostrils! I am sure they haven't been picked in a long time either....

~ While walking around the town, we found a poster advertising a Diwali Service, the Hindu celebration of light's triumph over darkness. Check our individual posts for our personal takes on it.

~ Sunday was another day of walking! We hopped on a train into NYC, where the buildings and lights shocked us into reality, but soon we both felt pretty at home. The trick was probably some time in "nature" at Central Park, where we spent most of the day. A couple of goofy guys playing drums and cello around a busy fountain drew us in for a good amount of time. We also witnessed the aftermath of a man proposing to his lovely lady on a bridge in the park. The tears said it all. The last picture is St. John's Cathedral, one of the largest in the world. It was absolutely beautiful. We thought it would only be fitting to attend church in Times Square at the Times Square Church. You can see our separate posts on this as well...

~ Monday: Did you know it costs $500 to fix leaky transmission lines??? We do.

~ Jeff & Melissa took us out on Monday night to a beautiful restaurant, where they treated us to some more firsts...calamari, raw tuna, chocolate torte...delicious! Back at the house, their sons, Andrew and William entertained us with a fabulous puppet show, preceded by commercials - you can't even escape them in play these days! We definitely overstayed our welcome here, but we send a big thanks to the Chamberlains in Jersey!

These Days (Kendra)

Saturday, November 14, 2009
I always said when I finished college I was going to sell my car, buy a hippie van, and drive across the country.
What actually happened was this:
I finished college, moved home, went to Africa, and spent months on end wrestling with the culmination of all that I had become and the frustration of how that person was supposed to fit into this world.

After 10 months of wrestling, it is time to move. I realize many of you who read this may have no idea who I am. In these personal entries I am going to try to be as honest and vulnerable as I find myself able before an unknown audience. I hope you'll enjoy following, I hope you'll leave comments when you feel so compelled, and I hope you'll allow both Keturah and I the freedom to experience what we experience in our own ways, regardless of how that may appear on the surface.

A little bit about myself as it relates to this trip:

I am drawn to the extreme. I am compelled by the ridiculous. I get jittery when I think about possibilities, potentials. Hearing about someone else's experience makes me ache.. I want to experience it myself. I know enough now to know that unless I do, I really cannot claim to know anything at all about whatever it might be. Reading books is good, but they only make me want to experience what I've just read on my own. Seeing photographs is good, but they make my eyes and my insides itch to be in it myself. I've been called curious, which is probably true. But my drive really doesn't come from curiosity or a need to be in the know. What I need is to understand. This need for experience undoubtedly stems from the desire to live an authentic life. Forming opinions, desires, dreams even from someone else's experiences lacks a degree of authenticity I don't want to live without. How can I speak of someone as a statistic, of a country as a shape on a map, of a people group as a stereotype or a study?

I'm taking this trip for many reasons, but the greatest of the many is that I might encounter: myself, my country, my fellow Americans, and my God. To zip from coast to coast in two weeks would entirely defeat the purpose of this trip. I must go slow. I must take the time to absorb and reflect upon every conversation, observation and experience until each one has settled deep inside of me. I must take pieces of America with me as I go, and I must find a way to leave pieces of myself in the form of blessings along the way. I need to be more in-tune with myself, with the air, with the sounds, with the Spirit, with my God. Separated from any "group", any responsibility, any obligation, any specific place, what will my heart feel? What will I long for? Where will the winds of the Spirit blow me? And how will I respond? I need to find this out.. because when I'm home I long for home, when I'm in Africa I long for Africa, when I'm at Brockport, I long for Brockport. (etc. etc.)

But I have a feeling God has something to say to me that boundaries have rendered me unable to hear and I cannot bear the thought of missing it any longer.
much, much more to come..

New York --> Boston

Friday, November 13, 2009
We left around noon on November 9th and drove straight to Halifax, just south of Boston, arriving around 6:30 p.m., where we stayed with Kendra's uncle, David Chamberlain, until November 13th.

During the last four days...

~ Wine tasting with Expert David Chamberlain...cheddar cheese and oyster crackers never tasted so good!

~ Waking on Tuesday with a View...

~ Kayaking on Monponsett Lake in the morning hue...

~ We climbed Plymouth Rock in record time and spent the rest of the afternoon transferring all of our belongings into the 2007 Crossfire (stick shift, six speed, convertible and 3.2 liter long-stroke Mercedes V6 engine! We drove in 50 degree weather with the top down and the seats heated!). You can decide which event was more interesting...

~ Lobster/Martini Night...Mmmm!

~ Wednesday, we took a train into Boston for a nine hour personally guided walking tour of Boston. We walked the Freedom Trail...follow the yellow brick road! (oops...or the red line...). Stopped for a cafe fix at Equal Exchange Cafe (I miss you guys at the Z! The foam on my Spicy Hot Cocoa was wanting...). Walked across the Longfellow Bridge in freezing cold wind to Harvard. They let us in! or maybe we just made ourselves at home. ;) Walked three hours back to South Station between sparkling city lights, munching granola out of Ziploc baggies!

~ Thursday was Ducksbury Beach, where we saw real Atlantic surf! We ran like free little birdies barefoot, weaving in and out of the salty waves, until we realized it was thirty degrees with the wind chill. When the rocks stopped hurting our feet, we knew it was time to get some common sense and find our shoes.

~ Another illustrious evening of stimulating conversation, good wine and fine international cheeses...Keturah can cook! She made an apple pie from scratch (after only two phone calls home). But we didn't have enough flour, so we substituted a Maple Syrup and Pecan Pancake Mix that expired a few years ago. Just enough subtle flavor - it made the pie! Also had to use a wine bottle in stead of a rolling pin. And Kendra baked squash (also after a phone call home) in beautiful autumnal bowls. This trip is really all about the food.

~To conclude our last night with Uncle David, we participated in his home tradition. At the beach, we gathered heart rocks for his & Janet's collection and in exchange, we each got to pick one from the rest. Thanks for letting us take a little of you with us. Our stay with you was meaningful beyond words. We will think of you often on the rest of our trip! <3>