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Knotts Island, NC

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Reunions

I spent the first week of June in Virginia Beach, where, as the post title suggests, I got to meet up with quite a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. I stayed with BJ’s parents, which meant lots of meet-ups for coffee/lunch/dinner with her and her mom (and occasionally the rest of the family). She also kidnapped me for a day, which we spent at the ranch. Definitely no complaints there. :)

There was a fair amount of running around that week, trying to fit in as many meet-ups as I could. Definitely worth it, though. I got to catch up with a friend of mine from high school who I hadn’t seen since 2002. We’d more or less kept in touch on Facebook, but it was nice to be able to talk in person again. :) I also got to see some family friends who I’d last seen 4 years ago.

However, the most unexpected and most heartwarming reunion for me was with my childhood best friend, Sophie. I’ve known her since I was six years old, and despite having mostly grown up on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we’d stayed close up until my second year of college, at which point she pretty much dropped off the radar. Then, after a decade of radio silence, I got a message from her on Facebook, and we got to meet up for lunch one day:

Besties reunited :)

Besties reunited :)

Other noteworthy incidents from my stay include going to church with Dale and Diana (she’s the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Knotts Island, North Carolina) and getting drafted to sing in the choir. I was also introduced to The Big Bang Theory (I’d heard of it but never seen it – surprisingly pretty funny), and was thoroughly entertained by the cats:

vroom vroom

All in all, my visit went by far too quickly. The trip back was, thankfully, uneventful, and my luggage arrived with me. I did need a nap when I got home, though.

And so concludes my account of my epic trip to (and across) the United States. Hope you enjoyed. :)

Charlottesville

We stayed a few days with Aunt Susie and Uncle Dan in Charlottesville, and I think I can safely say we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I hadn’t seen any of them in four years, so we had a bit of catching up to do. It was a little disconcerting to see how much Will and Matt had grown; I’m pretty sure Will at least will be taller than me next time I see him. On the flip side, their being older meant we actually have some things in common now. Namely, Will is now a huge Doctor Who fan, which pleases me greatly. :D Sandrine was amused to note that we have the same “geek-out” face. Well, I have been saying for years that Will is basically a male version of me, so really, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. And Matt is a male version of Sandrine (which she does not bother to deny).

Our visit was filled with errands, video games, ONE episode of Doctor Who (Will and I managed to behave ourselves), soccer games, a visit with Grandpa, and a trip to the Green Valley Book Fair (where I managed to not buy ALL the Doctor Who novels). Good times. :)

Will's soccer game

Will’s soccer game

Matt's soccer game

Matt’s soccer game

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Yes, it says Stargate Lane

Yes, it says Stargate Lane

Visiting Grandpa

Visiting Grandpa

Uncle Dan, Aunt Susie, Matt, and Will

Uncle Dan, Aunt Susie, Matt, and Will

After our 3 days in Dallas, Sandrine and I met up with her friend JulieAnn and drove down to Montgomery, Alabama, where we spent the night. On the way, we drove through Louisianna:

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We saw sights like this:

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And this:

Proof that we were indeed in the Bible Belt ;)

Proof that we were indeed in the Bible Belt ;)

The next morning, Sandrine and I went with JulieAnn to the barn where she worked and helped with the morning chores (yes, we really are horse freaks). After a hearty breakfast, we headed back out, this time toward South Carolina. We stopped in Birmingham, Alabama for lunch, and I finally got to meet my online friend Tina, who is just as awesome in person:

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That was the high point of the day. Shortly after we got back on the road, the sky started looking like this:

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And soon after that, we found ourselves in the middle of a torrential downpour. Then we got stuck in rush hour traffic in Atlanta, and to top it all off, for the last 20 miles or so, we had to deal with a trucker who seemed determined to run somebody over. Did I mention it was still raining and pitch dark by this point? Yeah, we were really happy to finally make it to our friend Michael’s house.

We stayed two days in South Carolina, which we mainly spent unwinding. I got to meet Michael’s mom and sister, and one evening we were all invited to dinner with the grandparents (who are lovely people, by the way). Michael also took us to one of his favorite places: a French bakery/café, owned by an actual French lady. Naturally, she was very excited to have French customers, so much so that she forgot that Michael doesn’t speak French. :P

The rest of the visit went pretty much like this:

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Sandrine and Calamity Jane, Destroyer of Tennis Balls

Sandrine and Calamity Jane, Destroyer of Tennis Balls

I told her to sit, and as soon as she saw the camera she posed

I told her to sit, and as soon as she saw the camera she posed

"Get outta my spaaace!"

“Get outta my spaaace!”

Sibling rivalry at its finest. ;)

The final leg of our epic road trip went very smoothly. Aside from one very brief shower, the sky was clear:

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And we made it to Virginia with no trouble:

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The next leg of our epic road trip was driving down to Dallas, Texas. It rained most of the way down, and the whole time we were there, so I only got a handful of pictures.

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We spent two days in Dallas catching up with our friends. We even got to attend a Messianic church service, which was pretty cool. :)

"I'm gonna get your nose!"

“I’m gonna get your nose!”

Sandrine and I with our host family

Sandrine and I with our host family

Rainbow Falls

Our next stop after Pike’s Peak was Rainbow Falls. Or, as the locals call it, Graffiti Falls. Again, this is something I’d like to see again on a sunny day, but until then, enjoy the slightly grayer version:

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Pike’s Peak

After the Garden of the Gods, David took us up to Pike’s Peak, which I’d been wanting to visit for years. As you saw from my previous post, it was overcast and drizzly that day, but once we got above the cloud cover, the view was amazing:

Crystal Reservoir

Crystal Reservoir

Bigfoot!

Bigfoot!

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We only got about 3/4 of the way up the mountain; the rest of the road was still snowed in. Still, I wasn’t complaining:

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