Two months have flown by, and on Monday morning, bright and early, we are leaving Louisville. We go from here to a camp about an hour away, helping out there for two weeks to share with the campers about Asia. We will be living in the counselor's accomodations and eating in the cafeteria--it will be the authentic camp experience! We're looking forward to it!
Our time here, though, has been wonderful. I could summarize it briefly with a bit of alliteration:
We have had such a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends and making many new ones during our time here! We have been so encouraged by those of you who have taken us into your homes, sharing your lives with us and allowing us to share some of our stories with you. What a blessing! It's been great to talk with so many people who are interested in doing what we're doing in the future. We feel so thankful to have a church home here with such quality folks. To those of you who had us (and of course, the girls) over for meals, thanks so much! There have been some memorable moments . . . like the time when Clara Anne took a crayon and drew all over the Joachim's small loveseat (which thankfully had a washable cover) . . . Clara Anne swinging with her daddy in a wonderful backyard hammock at the Ware's . . .Chloe exclaiming over the various dogs and cats we've encountered, and trying to pet them, even as Clara Anne would get scared and try to run away . . . eating "death by chocolate" at the Aebersold's and Chloe asking for more and more . . . putting the girls down for bed at the Janke's so we could play "Settlers of Catan" . . . the Wright boys taking Clara Anne for a stroller ride which quickly turned into "Bumper Strollers" . . . Clara Anne immediately bonding with Jamie Vickers (only 5 days her senior) and hearing squeals of laughter coming from the room where they were playing . . . Clara Anne falling down the back (cement) steps at the Kimbells and now still has a little white scar above her lip . . . the girls taking naps or going down for bed in numerous different homes all across town . . . and I could go on. Lots of memories!
Louisville has also been a place of lots of fun family times! The zoo has been a great family outing; we were just there for the last time this past week, and had a wonderful day together. Our friend Brenda came with us and so we went all out: rode the train, the tram, and she treated us all to a ride on the old-fashioned carousel. A baby elephant was born at the zoo this spring, so he has been fun to watch each time we've visited. Going for walks also ranks high on the family fun list. With the double stroller, it's been pure pleasure to take the girls out on long walks--John and I can talk and the girls can relax and enjoy the scenery. I'll miss the beautiful neighborhood we've lived in here! Other highlights: We made a trip with our friends the Peeks to Huber's family farms; what fun that was! There was a haymow to climb in, goats to feed, a swingset to play on, and even horseshoes to toss at the farm. You can see pictures here: http://www.apeekatthepeeks.blogspot.com. And finally, we went as a family to a Louisville Bats game--they're the AAA club of the Cincinnati Reds and have a lovely, open-air park downtown. We had a great time on Memorial Day Weekend, the girls lasted well through the whole game, even for the fireworks show afterwards! Ok, I have to add one more . . . taking Clara Anne to the public library to read and play (they have this great "castle" built in the children's section where you can go inside and read), as well as going out for coffee with her . . . those definitely qualify as fun family times!
Ah, yes, let's not forget the food. We've managed to hit most of our favorite restaurants, like Qdoba, mmm, love that queso burrito . . . Lotsa Pasta for sandwiches on their fresh ciabatta bread (my personal favorite is the roast beef with smoked mozzarella). . . the Blue Dog bakery and cafe, home of artisan breads and Illy espresso, one of my rare exceptions to the "Starbucks only" rule . . . Tony Boombozz pizza, we ordered a "Steak and Potatoes" pizza with Asiago cheese because it was on special, and it was wonderful . . . Krispy Kreme for that hot, melt-in-your-mouth doughnut . . . Rocky Italiano's across the river which has truly delicious, authentic Italian food and I was served an acre of lasagne . . . Blue Bell ice cream . . . and lately when I was craving Chinese we got some take-out from the Great Wall restaurant in our neighborhood . . . we've even enjoyed KFC on a couple of occasions, it really tastes different (better) than in Asia! Amazing, since I didn't think I would want to eat that at all here in the States, since it is one of our few western choices at our home in Asia!
It may be highly ironic to talk about fitness directly after talking about all of that food, but actually I think I will always remember this time as when I started running. I think that I can officially say that I am a runner now, since I'm almost finished with the 8 week program (just 4 workouts left!), and I hope to continue for a long, long time. So, in hope, I will also count Louisville as a place of fitness since this was where the running began! I am trying to strategize already how to continue this even as our lives are in transition again and we get ready to get back on the road.
So there you have it. We are so thankful for the past two months, but I think we're also ready to move on. We accomplished a lot of our packing today, and after doing some more speaking tomorrow, will load up the car and get ready to go.
Goodbye, Louisville! It's been great!