My favorite part of summer vacation every year is re-connecting with friends and family. I always head back overseas in August wishing I had time to make one more interstate phone call or entertain one more visitor at the lake or take one more trip to see someone special.
This summer was more chaotic than usual, but we still managed to squeeze in a few meet-ups.
Our first visitor came roaring up the twisty lake road to our house in her new-to-her RV. Jacquelyn popped by Michigan at the start of her summer-long U.S. tour. Read about it on her blog, Teaching and Travelling Around the World. Jacquelyn’s sweet ride included a kitchen, bathroom, beds and lots of little closets. So fun!
We “always” roadtrip across the border to Stratford, Ontario, for the Shakespeare Festival and fun with the Hossacks. Scott, Amy and Blake entertained us despite some dreary weather (no cycling this year, even though we hauled our bikes all the way there). We stayed at Legacy House B&B and enjoyed a spectacular rendition of “Fiddler on the Roof,” as well as a Shakespeare play neither Tony nor I had seen before, “Measure for Measure.”
Blake brilliantly hypothesized that he could launch this bubble rocket higher if he jumped on it from the tree branch. And one of the things I love most about the Hossacks is that they would never discourage such an experiment.
The Hossacks live down the road from Stratford in St. Marys, also home to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. We saw George Bell and Tim Raines get inducted and then whack some balls in a “home run derby.”
While poking around Stratford’s Art in the Park, I saw a kid who looked familiar. Then my brain took in the whole scene, and I realized it was a family we knew in Laos! Moe Moe was our school nurse at Vientiane International School. Small world!
During our stay in Stratford, friends from Istanbul – Aylin and Cagatay – drove in from Toronto for a couple hours. We were so grateful they made the trip although we were disappointed we didn’t get to meet their gorgeous little girls.
On our way back to Michigan, we stopped by London, Ontario, for lunch with another fab family we knew in Shanghai: the Smith-Kellys. Now that we realize how near they are to our lake house, we anticipate plenty of future summer fun!
Just before crossing the bridge back to the States, we paused for drinks with Stephanie in Sarnia. She and I were first-year teachers in Istanbul, so we shared a lot of tears. Dang it, we forgot to take a photo of our little reunion … we’ll have to do it again next year.
Back in Michigan, we welcomed Cami for the Fourth of July weekend – second year in a row! Again, we feel deeply grateful for friends who go out of their way (and swallow their fear of flying) to hang with us.
With just a week left to go, I think we’re done meeting up with old friends. For this summer, anyway. See you in 2014?
As for family, well, they deserve a post of their own. Stay tuned.