One by one, we were ticking off our to-do list in California.
Visit the Sierras?
Go to the beach?
But one of the main goals of our trip was to see as many of our dear friends as possible. Moving out to Montana/North Dakota has been full of blessings and was definitely God's plan for our families---I have no doubts about that at all.
It just was too bad that in order to do that, we had to leave so many special people behind. I tried...I really did, but somehow none of them wanted to move out with me so I wouldn't have to miss them. Better they miss THEIR friends than I miss mine, right?
Oh, well. Nobody's perfect, and we love each other anyway. After all, isn't that what friendship is about?
My friendship with Ingrid can be measured in decades. As in plural decades. I don't know how that can possibly be true for such a sweet, young thing as myself, but it is. I look forward to being batty old ladies together, terrorizing our children with our lack of social inhibitions.
It will be fun.
Uncle Carlos...Uncle Carlos...Uncle Carlos...
What can I say? The man is crazy! Buuuuut, since our family is crazy, too, he fits right in.
Old friends are amazing, but you can't have old friends until you make new ones. Devon and Annalena decided early on in our visit that they were destined to be great friends and spent every spare minute together from then on. I've even heard a rumor that since our trip certain mothers had to ban face-timing since it was using up all their minutes....
Rosie started coming to the Escalon church when she was only 12 (if my memory serves me correctly). Now she's 23 and I'm, well, turning 35 in four days. It was wonderful to sit face-to-face and have a good girl-talk again. Though maybe I am edging a leetle bit towards the matronly side of "girl"....
Sharing a meal with old friends warms the heart and feeds the soul. Especially if you are doing it at King Tsin, the most amazing Chinese restaurant in the world! Our souls were VERY well fed after we were able to go out to eat there with a group of family friends It was a wonderful evening of good food and great companionship.
The kids got to spend an afternoon hanging out with old classmates while I had a delightful time chatting with my friend, Debbie. Debbie was one of their teachers back in the old days and has always been a great friend and teammate. It wasn't always easy, coaxing my kids to learn, but the staff at the school never gave up on them---or me!
Cousins are our first---and best---friends and these boys have been through thick and thin together. They've faced down challenges that most kids never even have to think about. And they did in their own goofy, crazy style. Believe me, they share LOTS of stories!
I'll forever be grateful for friends like Elba, who stood by me through thick and thin. Our family went through a lot of tough times over the years and I needed friends who understood what I was going through. Elba, and a handful of others like her, were always ready to lend an sympathetic ear when I needed to vent. Not only that, but they would roll up their sleeves and pitch in, doing what they could to help.
And she's still at it today, too. Elba let us take over her house during our visit and kept a gracious demeanor throughout the overwhelming onslaught of voracious teenagers, luggage piles all over her home, and even her entire septic system failing. The lines were plugged with tree roots, but there's no question that our enthusiastic water usage tipped it over the edge!
Of course I haven't listed everybody here---just the ones I had good pictures of! My life has been so enriched by my many, many wonderful friends that there are far too many to write about here. Just know that I cherish every one of you.
You have truly left your footprints on my heart.