Sunday, July 13, 2008


Time is a funny thing.  Sometimes you cannot believe so much of it has passed, and sometimes it moves at a snail’s pace.  Friday night I was talking with a friend who is going to Hungary this fall, and I realized that it has been two years since I was preparing for that same semester abroad.  Two years!  No way!  It seems like it just happened sometimes.  Other times though, like today when I was looking back through my scrapbooks from my time in Hungary, it seems like it was all a dream or something that happened in another lifetime.  I was a wide-eyed nineteen-year-old when I went, and while I’m not all that much older and wiser now, sometimes I feel like that carefree Emily is hard to find these days.  I’m often consumed with thoughts of grad school and what my post-college life will look like, and I just want to take a step back and stop worrying about it all. 

All these thoughts have made me sort of grouchy today, so I’m taking a self-imposed time out.  Your benefit, I guess.  I’m not sure why I’m out of sorts…just one of those days I suppose.  I’ve had a great weekend so far; nothing upsetting to lead to my dark mood.  Friday was my six-month anniversary with my boyfriend David, so we went out for dinner - our first time!  We’ve been long-distance for about five of our six months, so it’s not so odd really that we wouldn’t have gone out to dinner before, and it made the evening that much more special.  My grandparents had given me a coupon for a nice restaurant here in Grand Rapids, and we took advantage of it and had a delicious meal that was generous enough to provide a second (and, in my case, likely a third) meal.  It was fun to get all dressed up and go out.  Most evenings we usually just stay in and make our own food and then hang out with either my or his housemates. 
Saturday morning we hit the road again, this time headed only two hours south to the Michigan/Indiana border.  My brother Greg and his wife Mary were high school friends who got married; my brother’s best friend also married a girl from our high school, and the four of them took a vacation together this summer.  They were on their way home on Saturday, and their route took them through Elkhart, IN at lunchtime.  Since Elkhart is only two hours south of here and I hadn’t seen my brother and sister-in-law since Easter, and have no set plans for when I’ll see them again, I took advantage of their proximity.  David hadn’t met my brother and sister-in-law yet, so he bravely accompanied me to meet up with my family at a Fazoli’s in Elkhart.  With only a few minor “adventures” on our way (missing a turn and creating our own route rather than turning around, and forgetting the actual address of the restaurant), we were able to see Greg, Mary, and their friends (who I also knew in high school) for about two hours.  It was so enjoyable to see them, and I for one felt very grown up, meeting my married brother for lunch in a location foreign to both of us.  You raised us right, Mom.  Look how well we get along now! 

David and I wanted to break up our return trip a little bit, so we stopped at St. Julian’s winery in Paw Paw, MI, which we had seen just off the highway on our trip up to Grand Rapids from Iowa last weekend.  We’re both 21, and in our abroad semesters we both enjoyed visits to local wineries, so we decided to check out Michigan’s self-proclaimed best.  The wines were quite good, and the price was even better: six samples and a tour, all for free.  Our winetasting was not the luxurious, laid-back experience we both remembered from other countries.  We stood at a counter and were a bit rushed by the wait-staff.  “What would you like for your next sample?” as soon as each two-sip sample was done.  They did have a lot of customers to serve, though, so I can’t complain too much.  And besides that, our tour more than made up for it.
Keep in mind that my summer job is to give campus tours.  I have received extensive coaching on how to be an effective and engaging tour guide.  The St. Julian’s tour guide clearly received no such teaching.  We were never told his name, he spoke as though his job, his customers, and indeed his entire life had completely bored him, and he never told us where to go (not even as much as a “Follow me, please”).  It was entirely comical.  The utter boredom with tour-giving was compounded by the fact that he spoke in a valley-girl-esque continually rising tone.  It was more like he was asking us “These are the holding tanks?” and “This is where we add carbonation to the sparkling wines?” than telling us.  David and I could not stop laughing, so we stayed to the back of the tour group, which also allowed us to take some photos.  They will probably give you as much information as our uninformative guide gave us.
“These are the barrels.”

“2007 was a really good year.”

After taking advantage of the free wine-tasting and tour we felt as though we really should buy a bottle of wine, so we checked out their sales list against our personal list of wines we had liked and chose a bottle each.  It’s always fun to watch Michiganders attempt to find the birthdate on my Iowa driver’s license and David’s Oregon one, but since this was the third time we’d been carded in the hour we’d been there, we just pointed to the appropriate spot on our licenses to speed up the process.  Home, where my housemates, homemade pizza, and games awaited us, was starting to sound good.  A glitch-free hour of driving brought us safely back to Grand Rapids.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 07/13 at 04:46 PM

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