We spent three days in Indiana at Nate's parents' house. Dan and Melody are so gracious and always seek to give us such a welcoming space. Their friend had offered use of their lake cabin, just about 30 minutes out of town, and we spent a whole day there. It was perfect weather and we spent the majority of the day playing on the Lily Pad, a totally new lake toy for us. There were lots of laughs at getting the adults to fall into the water on it. Canaan tried kayaking for the first time on his own and loved it. We saw a new determination and risk taking come out in him. We didn't imagine he'd be comfortable on his own but he went so far we had to set a rule that he had to stay in our sight line. His muscles were tired the next day because he went out over and over again. Dan hooked worms and made sure each of us caught a fish. Mine died as Nate tried to unhook him so we spent several hours monitoring the dead fish in the water. Two kids from next door swam over and their mom later brought us zucchini brownies to thank us for welcoming her kids. We grilled brats for lunch and had soup for dinner before heading back, tired and replenished from the day.

We went to Dan and Melody's church and had a chance to reconnect with people there. It's a small congregation and I always love that they really participate in the messages so they ask questions as we go. We hurried home from church to watch the World Cup final, with devastating results for everyone but Eden who was cheering vigorously for France in between trampoline jumping. We also went over to the Tickel's house to meet with our supporters and again they really do want to know what we do here and what we imagined would be a 10-minute official talk followed by mingling turned into an hour long talk. They ask insightful questions that cause us to get below the surface and that can be rare. Nate and I spent a morning at the outlet malls, zinging thru stores, ringing up a credit card bill, filling up the car trunk, and most importantly, slashing item after item off of our list of things we needed to buy for the kids for the next two years of living in Quito. Dan and Melody graciously took this time to soak up their grandkids, which made our work so much easier. The kids had a blast going to Melody's school playground and buying items at the dollar store. It was hard to leave and even as we pulled out of the driveway, Canaan started crying and expressed how hard it is to feel like he just gets comfortable and gets to know family and then has to leave them again. It was such an insightful, Third Culture Kid moment. I expect we'll have many more as they get older. 

I've come to enjoy roadtrips in the US, where freeways are wide and gas stations abound. On our way home we stopped off and hit up a Salvation Army and H&M along the way, scoring some great sweatshirts and indoor soccer shoes.







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