Travis and I have been in Minnesota for Christmas since last Saturday (a week, tomorrow). I am sitting in my childhood home right now, filling with the scents and sights of everything I love about growing up. *Sigh* it doesn’t get much better than this.
After working Friday, Travis and I pulled an all-nighter to Minnesota from Colorado. It wasn’t as hairy as it could have been, although we did get into a bad enough fight about my inability to sleep while Travis is driving that I thought to myself “This is the road trip from hell.”
I jumped in the backseat though and that helped me sleep better. So after I had a little sleep (the equivalent of an hour over the course of 3 or 4) and had gotten over the fact that I would be tired all day Saturday, the road trip really wasn’t that bad.
At 8:30 AM, we rolled into Minneapolis. I met my 2 good friends, Brittany and Holly, for breakfast at Bruegger’s (oh, how I love their hazelnut coffee!!) while Travis went to have breakfast with 2 of his friends, Nick and Ben. As we first stepped out of the car and felt the brisk air whipping around, we both said “Ah, Minnesota.”
Even though I have been waxing poetic about cold temperatures and snow for many weeks now, it took me only 2 days to realize that I don’t miss those things as much as I think I do. As we walked to church at Bethlehem Baptist’s downtown campus Saturday evening, the wind was bone-chilling, whipping my hair around my face, making it stick to my lips. I could barely breath due to the cold and I instantly felt annoyed that Travis didn’t walk faster to catch up with me. I was definitely NOT waiting around for him in that cold. (Just for a point of reference, I’m pretty sure the temp was near zero without the wind…with the wind, probably somewhere around 20 below zero. Brrrrr…)
The weather didn’t get any warmer on Sunday–walking to the Vikings game (against the Atlanta Falcons, which we got to go to for FREE thanks to a salesman that Travis’ dad works with), the wind was gusting even harder…so hard that it literally takes the air out of you. I can’t even find words to describe it. Frigid comes the closest. As we got in line to get into the Metrodome, I told myself “THIS is why I love Colorado.” It makes me realize how much I love–but don’t nearly appreciate enough–how the weather in Colorado allows you to enjoy being outside during the winter, instead of cursing under your breath at everything and everyone who walks across your path.
Atrocious weather aside, I love Minnesota. I love the snow. I love seeing my old college campus, my old friends, my family. I love seeing roads that I know and passing landmarks that hold memories. And as much as I hate the way the freezing wind can chill you so thoroughly that you can’t seem to get warm no matter what, I do love the way Minnesota makes me feel tough. Not everyone can endure weather like this.
After the Vikings game on Sunday (which the Vikings lost ), we drove up to Grand Rapids, MN, where Travis’ parents now live. Travis’ dad, Al, got a new job and so he, Beth (Travis’ mom), and Matthew (Travis’ bro) moved to Grand Rapids from a tiny town called Nevis (about 2.5 hours apart). They still own their house in Nevis and are renting it out to the Nevis superintendent and his wife, who still own a house down in Minneota, MN. They go to their old house for holidays so Al, Beth, and Matthew can go back to Nevis for holidays too.
We spent a day and a half in Grand Rapids. Whether it’s the aftermath of our all-nighter or just the subconscious knowledge that we’re on vacation, it has been a struggle for Travis and me to peel ourselves off the mattress each morning. Today was the first day all week that we’ve gotten up earlier than 9:00. Travis and Matthew shoveled the foot of snow off the driveway and deck while I read the Bible and Beth watched a made-for-TV movie. We took a tour of Grand Rapids and bought Travis’ dad an ice fishing rod at a store called something like Dave’s Army and Navy. Then we ate dinner with Al (who had been at work) and went to see Yes Man. I thought it was a pretty good movie…not a classic slapstick comedy, but humorous and light-hearted nonetheless.
Tuesday, we headed over to Nevis. The men chopped a Christmas tree down on their property, while Beth and I went to Park Rapids to get groceries. When we got home, she cooked, I read Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella (which I finished in 2 days–it was a good book), and the menfolk rode snowmobiles and worked on the 4-wheeler. That night, we decorated the Christmas tree and then Travis and I went to Park Rapids (again) to visit one of Travis’ good friends from high school, Jesse, and his wife, Emily. We looked at pictures from their trip out to Estes Park, Colorado, in August (we had tried to meet up with them then but it just didn’t work out)–they attempted to hike Longs Peak again (their 2nd time) and made it to the last 800 ft ascent but decided to turn back due to the altitude. Jesse told us that that was the last time he’ll ever attempt that mountain…Emily, however, is keeping the dream alive.
Wednesday, we just bummed around the house…I finished my book while Travis and Matthew went snowmobiling and played Madden 06 on the Playstation.
Thursday (yesterday) was Christmas Day! We went to mass at the Nevis Catholic Church and then Travis’ aunt, Cheryl, came up. We opened presents, played some Apples to Apples, Travis and I went snowshoeing, and then we had our Christmas dinner, complete with apple AND pumpkin pie.
Today, we got up early (6 AM!) and left Nevis around 7:45. We stopped by Travis’ aunt’s and uncle’s house in Blaine and then continued down to Rochester, where my parents live. We go to my parents’ house around 2:45 and have been just hanging out and talking (and I’ve been blogging), waiting for my brothers, Chris and Brian, and Meg (Chris’ wife) and Lindsay (Brian’s girlfriend) to show up.
I have been excited to blog this whole week and only now have I had access to the computer!! But now I am going to stop being antisocial and hang out with my wonderful family.