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The details of our Michigan trip are slowly slipping away from my brain, so I definitely need to tell you about the rest of our trip!

We left off at the end of the Indianapolis part of the trip. From there, we hit the road for Sandusky, Mich.

Road Trip Conversations

David and I typically have the most unusual conversations while we’re on road trips together. Some are though-provoking. Some are random. And some involve fun Q&A. Here are some of my favorites from the trip.

— What would life be like if we made a different decision/took a different path?
For instance, what if I had decided to go through with my psychology degree? It was the field I was hoping to go into when I was a freshman in college. If I had decided to go forward with it, I’d possibly just be getting out of graduate school (you can’t do much with just an undergraduate degree in psychology). Perhaps I’d still be doing rounds or rotations (whatever they are called in the psych field) trying to figure out what I wanted to specialize in. While I find psychology and mental health fascinating, I know I wouldn’t have been cut out for it. I remember one of my advisers asking me, “Could you counsel/talk to/help rape victims?” The answer was a resounding no. I couldn’t do it. I had been thinking of changing my path to journalism (even playing around with changing my schedule) and this made the decision all the more clearer.
What if David had decided to stay in Texas instead of moving up to Overland Park? We wouldn’t have met.
It really is amazing to stop and think about how the decisions you make affect your life so much. Of course I’m sure there are other littler examples out there instead of changing majors or moving someplace, but nonetheless, it’s still interesting to think about.

— Our longest running (and most random) conversation topic of the trip was about gender and cars. Really? Yes, really.
(Obviously, this conversation is not meant to offend anyone. It was just fun. We know not everyone fits into these categories. OK…end disclaimer.)
It all started when we saw a Jetta. David and I both agreed more often than not we think of them as a feminine cars. Well, the older models could be for guys too because they had harder corners/were more boxy. Then, we talked about trucks and how they are typically for men because they’re big, tough, resilient, strong, and had a lot of power. But, we did note that girls from the country have been known to own trucks, too. Some are die hard Ford people and some are die hard Chevy people. Next up was fuel-efficient/environment-friendly cars. We agreed women were more likely to have these types of cars. Women tend to be more caring and nurturing by nature. They would want to leave a better environment for their children.

— We also had some fun Q&A, including what our superpower would be if we had one. I would like to teleport. I would love to be able to touch anything I wanted to take with me, say David and Dexter, and we would magically appear wherever I wanted to go. Hike in the mountains? Bam. I’d be there. David wants mega mind power. He wants to be able to tell what people are thinking and to be able to move objects with his mind.

Family Time

The best part of the trip was seeing family. We did travel up there to go to David’s grandmother’s memorial ceremony, but it was still good to be together. We see David’s parents here in town about once a month, but it was good to spend a couple solid days with them. I also got to be Aunt Mandy! My nephew, Max, and brother and sister-in-law joined us in Michigan, too.

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Isn’t he the cutest?! He is so well-behaved and fun. I can’t believe he’s almost 6. He was just shy of 3 in the photo above. I wish we lived closer to them, but Madison, Wis. would be so cold and snowy in the winter. No thanks. I can settle for visiting.

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Here’s the family! From left to right: Kyle (David’s brother), Fern (David’s mom), me, David, Richard (David’s dad), Carla (sister-in-law), Max, and Tony (David’s brother). Kyle was the only one who wasn’t able to join us in Michigan. He was flying back from his study abroad trip in South Korea. I can’t even big to imagine that jet lag…

If I had to choose one family moment of the trip I enjoyed the most, it would be when we all sat around and had a round of drinks (or two) in the inn’s bar. Max had water, jeez. ;) We caught up on what we were up to and soaked up each other’s company. I’m really fortunate to have such great in-laws. I couldn’t have asked for a better family to marry into. Some people dread seeing their in-laws. I’m so glad I don’t — that would be awful.

Ila’s Memorial Service

Mandy and David626

Ila was also very special to me. I loved that she wrote and told great stories. I think it’s fantastic she went to college and then helped pay for her brothers to attend, too. I enjoyed having lunch at her retirement home. My grandmother loved her — always mentioning how sharp Ila was. I still can’t believe Ila’s gone. She lived one heck of a life.

And oh was she a planner! With her planning skills and her strong faith, she was very prepared for the end. She handed her son instructions on all that should be done after: what should be said and sung at the memorial service and even what to eat. She also provided a list to the pastor that was performing the service. It seems strange that she would plan all of it on her own — but I’m sure it probably comforted her in a way and she didn’t want to add any additional stress to her only son.

It was a lovely service with people getting up and sharing their memories. The only things that irked me was the pastor said “Ida” a couple of times and said “Clara” instead of “Carla.” I was also surprised how quickly everyone got to the grave site and left after the short reading there. To me, this is a time to take your time. Take a moment to think if you want. To collect your thoughts and emotions. But on the other hand, I understand everyone copes in their own way, so I followed along in support.

Peaceful Michigan

Let’s not end on a somber note. I don’t want that, you don’t want that, and Ila wouldn’t want that. So on to the next topic!

David and I decided that if we had to sum up Michigan in one word it would be peaceful. I’ve only been to the small towns of Sandusky and Ludington which help. The trees are always so green and the sky so blue and the great lakes go on and on without seeing an end.

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We visited Port Sanilac Habor twice! Port Sanilac is about 15 minutes or so from Sandusky. We ventured out there our first night with David’s parents on a tour of the area and then the next night in hopes of catching the ice cream place open (no such luck; they were closing up as we reached the door). It’s chilly there, especially by the water, but it’s beautiful. I tried taking a picture of Lake Huron, just looking out at it (without the boats), but it’s one of those things that you can’t capture. You have to be there in person for the view. Pictures won’t do it justice.

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(OK, so I was happy with a couple of the pictures.)

Why “trip” and not “vacation”?

Do you see how I kept phrasing this as a trip instead of a vacation? Yes, I took take days off of work. Yes, I got to travel some place. And yes, I did have fun. However, I look at this as making the best out of a situation. I enjoyed the road trip and spending time with family. But I wouldn’t have chosen to travel to Sandusky for a vacation. Too small. Too chilly. We didn’t have a real chance to relax. I felt let down when I got home because I was hoping to feel refreshed like a regular vacation would do, but instead I felt tired and worn out and I was immediately pushed back into the grind of daily life.

So, I’m really hoping this hiking trip in September will be a good, solid vacation, one where I come back and people say, “Oh, you look lighter,” etc.

I still owe you all a Hospital Hill recap. I feel so behind. This is a step in fixing that. :)

Again, bear with me. I still have a house to clean for the big ‘ol slumber party after the bachelorette party this weekend. I have started cleaning, but there’s still more to do!

Question for you:
1.  What superpower would you want to have?

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