Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Story with Pictures!

A Story with Pictures!

For as long as I've known John, I've wanted to travel with him; nationally or internationally, by car, boat, or plane -- just going somewhere. With him.

Late last Monday night, after John got done with work and made the 2-hour trek to Mom and Dad's house, we drove another two hours and stayed at his Mom's house. We got up early the next morning, packed the car, and he and his sister and I traveled to South Bend, Indiana (home of Notre Dame!).

John drove:

Calm down; it's only a Jones' soda.

There was a ton of road construction in/around Chicago, and I'm not going to talk about that, other than that it was very intense, and involved many quick maneuvers (the semis in front of us blocked the road signs from our vision until we were AT THE EXITS), and much rubbing of shoulders and uttering of calming phrases (mostly, "We're going to be okay -- WATCH OUT!").

John grew up (well, his childhood was spent here, anyway) in South Bend, and loves the Fighting Irish. When we got to South Bend, he drove through the Notre Dame campus, so I could see what it looks like:

Then we went on to his aunt's house, were we three were going to spend the next two nights. His aunt, uncle, and cousins were very nice and welcoming, but I didn't feel truly at home until I saw their cat. This is Hermann, the Lion King:

That family also has a cute dog, Madison, who liked lying on my legs:

That night, Tuesday, John and I went out to supper and then drove through South Bend for a while. It's a beautiful town, and reminds me so much of where my family and I lived in Pennsylvania. Even though South Bend is well-populated, there are beautiful trees everywhere, and it doesn't feel so huge.

When we went back to his aunt's house, we looked through family photo albums, which helped me put faces to names that I've heard for so long. Family Research In Action:

Wait. That would be a picture of Family Research In Action, but blogger wouldn't upload it. Maybe blogger doesn't know that it wasn't explicit or pornographic; we weren't researching FUTURE family, or MAKING a family, but looking at pictures. Anyway, on to the next.

On Wednesday, we went to the Notre Dame campus and walked around; here we are at the Grotto, down by the lake, lighting a candle:

Cute? I thought so too; here -- you can see a close-up:

John's sister also took this picture of us, sitting on a bench facing the Grotto; the lake is behind us:

Here's another picture of the lake:

As we walked to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, I asked John to take this picture, which is absolutely stunning (I have a thing for spires against a backdrop of beautiful skies):

We went into the Basilica and were in awe of how incredibly beautiful it is; it's been renovated recently, apparently, and there were beautiful blues and golds and scarlets everywhere. So. Gorgeous. Here we are at the door:

(That's my new coat from the Gap; John was taken aback at first when he saw it, and when I confronted him ["do NOT rip on this coat!"], he hesitated for a second, then said slowly, "It's very...piercing.")

We spent even more time at Notre Dame (are you noticing a theme?) on Thursday; I tried to seduce a guy:

...yet John was still chummy with him:

Undocumented by photos:

I met both sets of his grandparents, and two uncles, an aunt, two cousins, a great-aunt, a first-cousin-once-removed, in addition to the relatives I met at Christmas -- and when we were on the way back, I got to meet his dad, FINALLY. It was so strange meeting him, at last, because I've seen so many pictures and heard so many stories. John's relatives were all wonderful and welcoming and huggy, and it was perfectly lovely. I loved South Bend, I loved his relatives, and I loved being with him so much. Traveling in a car with him is so comfortable; he was, as usual, very affectionate to me, always putting his arm around me, kissing my hands or my mouth or my forehead. We had so many good discussions on the trip; something about the atmosphere of traveling in a car is conducive to talking. We want to go back to Indiana for another visit in May, after he graduates.

The End.

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