I don’t know where to begin–other than chronologically.
I arrived in the US of A on April 1st at 11:59 pm into Nashville, TN. I stayed at the home of another traveler, a dear sweet individual, Ruthie Lyman, whom I’d only met briefly in Hawaii, when she was winding down from her two year’s of traveling. It was wonderful to stay at Ruth’s as my first “re-entry” back into America, since the adjustment back into daily reality of the USA, can be shocking on lots of levels.
But Nashville from Salvador, Brazil?!! =)
My time in “Nashvegas” as Ruthie calls it was tons of fun, we sailed, I got to get some health checkups taken care of, I met her dear step-mom who has won her battle with breast cancer, and made some wonderful new aquaintances.
Interesting enough, the weekend I arrived my dear niece, Anjeanette, was in from Ohio with her husband, Kevin for a weekend getaway from the kids. We had a blast going “honky tonking” with Ruthie as our tour guide that Saturday night. But to beat it all the first place we sat down at had “Brazilian Billy” playing country and western. How’s that for some good serendipity?!
A week flew by and it was time to go on down the road to my family in Ohio…
I rented a car and did the drive up on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It felt great to be on the road driving through such lovely countryside. It was springtime in full bloom! Gorgeous. The drive took me through Kentucky where I noticed National Parks signs for Abe Lincoln’s birthplace and decided to make a little detour on my way up. I was really glad I made that stop, it was fantastic to see and also relate it back to the place I’d just left behind, Salvador, Brazil where 15 million slaves had come through it’s port over the years….
I arrived in my dear sister’s home in Dayton, Ohio late that evening. It was great to see her again even though it had only been 2 years since my last visit. We spent good time together, going out to eat dinners, catching up on everything and just being at her home. Luisa is struggling with some health issues, but I have faith she is going to get better, since she’s definitely eating healthier these days (I was a bit of a bad influence though). =)
She was definitely my second sunny spot on the road…
Mi Hermana (my sis)
But time was starting to slip by, I had tons to do before heading on the road again, for the second leg of my journey. Plus I needed to meet the newest addition to the Rettig family, my niece, Eliana.
It was great to spend some time with Anjeanette and Kevin and their beautiful, beautiful family (yes I am a bit biased as well). AJ & Kevin are doing an awesome job raising 3 fantastic little people, Carsten, Arabella, and Eliana, ages 5, 3, and 1 and a half.
I arrived at their place on my birthday the 16th of April. AJ, Sis and I all went out to dinner for a “girls night out” when we returned to their home Kevin and I went back out for drinks at a local tavern. It was great! We had some great conversation and stayed till we were good and ready to go… All in all a wonderful birthday shared with family.
The next day we all went to King’s Island together. It was so much fun watching the kids on all the little rides. I took a ton of pictures that I will cherish forever. Then to top it all off, Anjeanette said she’d stay with all three kids while Kevin and I went on the Double Dragon rollercoaster! Turns out AJ’s never been on it yet–if I’d known that ahead of time I would have insisted on her going.
My weekend with them flew by…
Again such sunny spots in the road of life.
I had so much prepping to do at their place for my next leg of my journey, that I sadly felt I didn’t get to spend much quality time with everyone. But time was moving forward on my departure and other destinations before leaving the country again, that it was like cramming for midterm exams. I had to get my hotel reservations lined up, eurail pass research done, destination research, on and on…
Everyone was great about it though, even though I was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all, but when my two weeks in Ohio were coming to a close I had gotten everything somewhat addressed, so I could finally take a deep breath and enjoy what little time I had remaining with them. Luisa and I indulged on Earth Day getting massages at a wonderful retreat-like place called Harmony Farm.
So with lots of love in our hearts, some precious moments shared, I flew out of Dayton for Washington, DC. I had never been to our nation’s capitol and oh my goodness am I ever glad I made that trip!! =)
During my two weeks of cramming in Ohio I didn’t take much time to research my accomodations in DC, such as what part of town it was in, etc. I’d found a decent deal at what looked to be a b&b more than a hostel–was that ever misleading. Fortunately though I’d also contacted a dear, sweet couple I spent 24 hours with in Valparaiso, Chile on New Year’s day. We were all staying at the same b&b in Valparaiso, called La Casa Azul, where I met Melanie and Shiloh.
Shiloh had proposed to Melanie on New Year’s Eve in Santiago, Chile. When I met them I instinctivly sensed something was “up” and just came right out and asked Shiloh, “Did you just get married?” he replied, “No, I asked Melanie to marry me last night!” he blushed big time! =)
Sunny spots all around me again…
What was supposed to be just one night’s stay at their place turned into my entire 5 days in Washington, DC.
Melanie & Shiloh certainly know the meaning of hospitality and graciousness. We had a couple of fun nights out for dinner and this photo is at one of them, called MeNyu. Great food, even better conversations and just a nice time all in all. My last night in DC we ate at a Latin cuisine place I had discovered, along with their friend Bob, called Sabores, which served feijoda a very typical Brazilian dish, that has it’s roots in the African slave traditions in Brazil. For my Louisiana friends it’s an even better, meatier version of red beans and rice. Yumm!! We had caipirinas in honor of my last six months in South America, the owner gave us a wondeful bottle of Cava sparkling wine from Spain and we didn’t want the night to end. Great time & memories.
I need to say something though about my impressions experiencing our nation’s capitol for the first time in my life. What an AMAZING city DC is in every possible way. The design of the city, all the fantastic monuments in rememberance of our countries heros, our soldiers in wars long ago and not so long ago. I was so taken by it I had to call a friend and thank him for what he does for our country. And yes, Freedom is not Free.
We live in the first country on the planet to ever be a decomocracy in the New World. The statistics I read said by the turn of the 20th century there were a dozen, now there are over a hundred. We are blessed to be American.
I left DC the next morning for my final stop on my stateside whirl, for the wedding of my cousin, Jason Jacobo to Laura Boyd.
The sunny spots turned into an all out GLOW by the end of the weekend!! =)
I met some relatives for the first time in my life. I saw some of my favorite relatives again, I discovered a whole new wonderful family in Laura’s as well. What a fantastic weekend it was. I really should devote a whole new blog just to the wedding in all fairness, but I have so much to catch up on still for Pollyroger that I feel a bit overwhelmed again. So instead I will close with this picture of the sunniest spot of all–two people who have come together and made wonderful worlds collide, Mr. & Mrs. Jacobo.
Jason & Laura