I feel I ought to begin with some sort of explanation for why it's been three whole months since I've graced this poor blog with a post. There are a number of reasons...
1. The Pilot and I moved! The B-course (F-16 training) in Phoenix ended, and once more our possessions disappeared into a mountain of cardboard boxes and brown paper. We stuffed what was left over into suitcases and took off for South Carolina! Glory hallelujah, we decided to ship my car so that we wouldn't both have to drive 2,000 miles, and that turned out to be a splendid decision (though the our car-shipper apparently didn't have his trailer license updated, and my poor car almost ended up impounded somewhere in New Mexico... fortunately it all worked out, and we got a nice discount.)
2. Related to reason #1– I find it very difficult to write in the midst of disorder. I am not exactly OCD, but when my house being in chaos or my life is in the midst of major transition, I find it difficult to sit down and form thoughts on the page that I would actually want someone else to read.
3. I have also been struggling with writing in general (not just blog posts) and questioning whether I am a writer, whether I was ever supposed to be a writer, what being a writer means, and if writing is what I ought to be doing right now. I have had a convenient list of excuses for the past year and a half for not pursuing writing in a disciplined way (...I had to finish school...my brain was fried from finishing school... we were going to move again so wait till that was over) but now I have run out of excuses.
4. I realized that I have locked myself into a certain expectation for my posts on this blog, and I further realized that I will not be committing treason if I allow myself some variety. 80% of my posts on this blog have been essays/meditations on working out my faith into my life. I enjoy writing those kinds of posts, but in order to write them there are certain requirements: first of all, something has to have happened to inspire that kind of reflection, and then I have to achieve enough perspective and distance from that happening to write intelligently about it. I also have to feel comfortable with other people reading about it. Lots of things have happened to me in the past three months to challenge me and grow me in my faith, but I'm not yet at a space where I want to write publicly about them.
5. At the same time, I've been jealous of some of my blogging friends who use their blogs to write about the things that happen in their life, but not necessarily in a reflective/meditative way. I have friends who, like me, live far from their families, and who often use their blogs to give their families a more intimate glimpse into their lives. Tonight I awakened to the fact that there is no rule that a blogger can write only one type of post in her blog, and that much better than limiting myself to writing only reflective/meditative/essay-type posts and thus writing very little, I ought to just write what I feel like writing (like newsy posts!) That might seem painfully obvious, and I can only say that when I'm thinking about writing, the mind games I play with myself are often painfully ridiculous.
So, to waste no time, here's a short narrative of our move (with pictures!)
My friend Angela and her husband Pete, who was a couple of B-course classes behind my Pilot, were gracious and lovely friends who let us move in with them for the last five days in Phoenix, so we could empty out and clean our house. Angela and I met each other after I moved to Wichita Falls, and we got to spend seven months drinking tea together and deepening our friendship in Phoenix.
Pete is going to fly with the National Guard in Wisconsin. At the moment it's not unheard-of for an active duty pilot to do a 3-year assignment with the Guard, so I have fantasized about that happening to us so that Angela and I can live near each other again and spend long afternoons over tea and conversation.
With high hopes (and a feeling of "just-in-time" as the Phoenix temperatures crept up towards 115) the Pilot and I commenced our long trek across the country! The best part of the trip was being together in the truck. We listened to a lot of music– as the DJ for most of the trip, I took turns indulging each of our eclectic musical tastes. The Pilot is fond of up-beat pop music and down-home country; I mixed it up with bluegrass-Celtic crossovers, my "wailing woman" music (as the Pilot calls Florence+Machine) and my "anemic" music (as he dubs artists such as Joshua Radin and Coldplay.)
After three days on the road cruising through New Mexico (mountainy and beautiful), Texas (icky), and Louisiana (so many trees!) we arrived in Jackson, Mississippi for the day I had been eagerly awaiting for several months– the reunion with my younger sister. Maggie and I had not seen each other in over a year, and really we hadn't had any quality time with each other since before the Pilot and I got married. So short though it was, we made the most of the day we had!
The best thing about sisters is that no matter how long it's been since you've seen each other, you can immediately be as wacky as though you were still living in the same house!
The Pilot was an excellent photographer... and he obligingly held our purses while taking our "aren't we just disgustingly cute?" picture.
Maggie played us a preview of part of her senior recital– Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. As I watched her hands, powerfully belting out some of those excruciating chords, I was awed not only at her skill, but at her humility. I'm not just being a bragging older sister– my li'l sis is talented! But she's also the furthest thing from full-of-herself you can imagine.
After we bid Maggie goodbye, the next stop on our (nearly) trans-continental journey was to Atlanta, to stay with the Pilot's parents. What fun to celebrate his birthday with them!
Our plan was to drive up to Sumter the next day. Since I was the one who picked out the house, we thought it would be nice to arrive the day before closing so that the Pilot could see the house in person before we signed away our lives for it. But a mysterious stomach virus inflicted itself upon the Pilot and we ended up spending an extra day in Atlanta in an UrgentCare and the ER. We were both so thankful that it happened while in Atlanta with his parents, who knew where to go and took excellent care of us– it would have been so much more miserable if it had happened earlier on in a city where we didn't know anyone.
Given that hiccup, we managed to arrive in Sumter two hours before we closed on our first home...
... the Carolina Cottage!