Less than 3 weeks in our great country and I'm still feeling completely overwhelmed! Luckily I've been able to cross a few items off my to-do list, but there are still a lot of things left to do and a lot of people left to see.
I just got back from a wonderful yet bittersweet trip to Indiana where I got to say goodbye to a lot of my family members. The trip started with a quick stop in Columbia, SC where I got to drive around my college campus and enjoy a nice dinner at one of our favorite hot spots, Harper's! Although I felt really old around those young college kids (I never thought I would say that!!), it was fun to be on campus and remember all the good times I had at USC.
Then it was on to Greenville, SC for a quick overnight stay at my Aunt Peg's house, and the next morning we (my mom and I) left for Mount Vernon, IN where I got to enjoy a lovely lunch and visit with my 95-year-old grandmother (my dad's mother). She played the piano for me – without missing a beat, of course – and told stories about my grandfather whom we all miss dearly. She is an amazing woman and it was a visit I will never forget. I also got to see my Aunt Sharon and Uncle Larry, as well as my gorgeous cousin Anna and her two kids, Rachel and Luke. It was a short visit, but I was so glad I got to see everyone.
As much as I wanted to stay in Mount Vernon for a little while longer, we had to get to Indianapolis so I could see my mom's side of the family… all 67 of them! (Okay, I didn’t get to see all 67, but my grandma recently counted how many immediate, living, blood relatives we have and that was the number she came up with – my big fat Irish Catholic family!)
My visit to Indy was perfect. I got to see four of my aunts and uncles – Carolyn, John, Joe and Joanne – my cousins Chris and Mike (and his adorable family), and my one-of-a-kind grandma who makes me laugh like no other. I love her sense of humor, her loving nature and her spirit. She's my Kindle-owning, cell phone-carrying, kayak-paddling, hip 91-year-old Gram! And she's not afraid to order a margarita at dinner either. :-) Like I said, my visit was perfect. We had some great meals, great conversations, great laughs, and I finally found some winter clothes to buy!
Unfortunately all great things must come to an end, which meant it was time to return to SC and my to-do list. On the way back home, we stopped again at my aunt's house and randomly enough, my Aunt Marnie and Uncle Eddie were passing through town so we got to visit with them too!
So now I'm back in Hilton Head, working on my taxes and language lessons, and wondering if I'm ever going to be ready to leave. I'm still ridden with anxiety and stress, and wondering when, exactly, the excitement will start to kick in. I mean... I'm joining the Peace Corps! On one hand, I know it's my dream come true, but on the other hand... parting is such sweet sorrow. Especially when you have a family like mine.