Friday, July 24, 2009

Madison to Minnesota

Cora and Bird in Madison, Wisconsin

Joshua and Eli at Lake Michigan.

Isaac checking out our new tent.

Joshua in front of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music

After several excellent days in Oberlin we drove to Sturgis, Michigan for our first night of camping. On the way we made a stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan where we visited with an old friend of Joshua's from Oberlin that he hadn't seen in over 20 years. Susan and Rob and their two boys greeted us with a wonderful lunch outdoor lunch of homemade pizza and blueberry cobbler. We all had a delightful visit. Once Eli settled in to feeling comfortable, he even played some football with the boys.

After that we drove to the Warren Dunes State Park on recommendation of the Ritchey family. We learned that it is important to arrive at the campgrounds with plenty of time to set up camp, make food, clean up food, and do so all before the mosquitoes arrive. Unfortunately, we learned this the hard way, by arriving late and hooking up with the mosquitoes just as we were sitting down to eat.

It was a bit of a rough first night of camping, but when we woke up and put away the tent and all of our things, we drove over to the dunes, which were just beautiful and right next to Lake Michigan. It made the rough night worth it. We wished we could have stayed at the Lake all day, but we had a lot of driving to do and stayed only a little while.

After that we had a long driving day from Sturgis to Madison, Wisconsin. We arrived in time for dinner at the home of our friends, Bird and Tom. We had known these lovely people from Japan and hadn't seen them in sixteen years, when our oldest children were newborn babies. It was great to reconnect and also meet their other two children, whom we had only seen pictures of before. We loved staying with this great family in their beautiful home right on one of the two lakes of Madison. They were all so warm and generous.

While in Madison I got to visit with my childhood friend, Kira, whom I hadn't seen since high school. Kira made us a delicious feast for lunch. It is amazing to visit with people who you know from early on in your life and then see them so many years later. What a thrill to meet her beautiful family and hear about her life for all those years that I missed.

Isaac and Joshua took a tour of the University with Emmett and Tom. Apparently it was quite different from the Oberlin tour. No surprise there, given that the University of Wisconsin is ten times bigger than Oberlin, among other huge differences. I am so glad that Isaac is getting this chance to check out different schools and see what the college thing is all about. It will be fun to show him schools when they are in session in September.

This morning we had breakfast in Madison with our friend Andrew (that we know from Oberlin) and his wife and twin boys. We ate a great breakfast place called Lazy Jane's Cafe. Again it was so great to connect with old friends. Catherine took us to her house and around the neighborhood. Madison is so sweet! What a lovely place. We are looking forward to going back there.

The rest of the day involved driving to St. Paul, Minnesota where we are currently. More to say about that next time. Time to get to bed. I am exhausted.

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