Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flowers, Friends, And Cultural Immersion

When I started writing on this blog regularly, about four years ago, I had no idea that eventually I would become friends with some really great people that I wouldn't have met otherwise. And I also had  no idea that because of this little blog, I would have the opportunity to meet some of these people in person and get to experience a piece of their daily lives. But then I started to dream about just that -- taking a trip and meeting some of my blog friends in real life. And this past weekend, that dream started becoming reality.
Sam and Rachel on the playground at Cali N Tito's, a seriously delicious 
Latin American restaurant where I ate my first ever fish tacos.

If you're ever going to meet a blog friend in real life, and you are blog friends with Erika, you should really start with her. First of all, she is just as great in real life as she is on her blog and in her e-mails. Our online friendship just continued in person with no awkwardness. Second of all, when she heard we were coming to town, she and Matt invited us to stay with them. After an "That's so generous but are you sure you're okay with this?!?!" e-mail (or two), we did just that. Matt and Erika opened their house to us and Millie graciously shared her toys and books and room with Sam and Rachel. I drove with Erika and Millie in their car, while Erika gave me an awesome tour of Athens and answered all of my (many) questions. Really interesting things such as "Where do you do groceries?" (where I learned about Aldi) and "Seriously, tell me about these college football stadiums..." and "How does health care work?" and "Is Sonic as good as it appears to be?" (The answer is YES!!!).
This is a seriously huge football stadium at the University of Georgia but I was also holding the seriously cute Millie so my attention was elsewhere! Our professional sports teams in Canada have stadiums half this size. And our university stadiums are teeny tiny compared to this.

I appear to have gotten no pictures of Matt but he deserves a HUGE shout out because while Erika and I were checking out the campus, he was driving Dave, Sam, and Rachel around in our car, during which time Sam threw up in the car, and Matt just pitched in and helped clean up. By the time Erika and I got back to their house Sam was crying in the tub with Dave and Matt was reading books to Rachel, which made him her immediate BFF. Thankfully, Sam's stomach upset appeared to be related to a headache and not the stomach flu, and he woke up the next day happy as a clam and with his FIRST EVER LOOSE TOOTH!!!
He is now convinced that Erika's apples are magic and make his teeth loose so now he just needs to eat them whenever he wants a loose tooth. Ha ha ha!

After another amazing meal at Mama's Boy, we headed off to the State Botanical Gardens to look at flowers. Because what else would Erika and I do when we get together?!?!? Besides talk a lot. And yes, it was raining, but I wasn't going to let a little (and sometimes a lot of) rain stop me from seeing flowers.
It is going to be hard to return home to late Winter/early Spring after experiencing the beauty of Spring here.
The kids enjoyed running around like crazy people (half the time without using their umbrellas) and performing on the stage. Dave took pictures and I just soaked in the beauty that was surrounding me.
I love the enthusiasm Rachel is singing with here!

And then we headed back to Matt and Erika's for a game of Pandemic (which I want to buy now), and more conversation. It was such a fun weekend with them and I really hope we'll get to visit in person, and see some more awesome flowers, again. At the very least, Sam is going to want some more of Erika's magic apples!

I will eventually return to blogging about our time in Hilton Head but I also want to write about some of our current experiences so the blog timeline is going to be a little confusing for the next while.

*You can read about Day 12 here.


  1. You are right about "late Winter" when you get back. I am travelling and will be returning just before Easter and our forecast is for snow that weekend. Ugh! Two winters in a row of this - that is enough. Their High School stadiums are on par with some of our professional football stadiums! However, we can still claim Hockey as Canada's sport! Have a great trip back and can't wait to see more posts about your trip. I have not been to Hilton Head but we like to visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina most summers.

  2. Love that y'all were able to get together and wish I lived closer so I could have joined in on the fun, especially after I missed you on your brief Houston "stay!"

  3. Ahhh we had SO much fun!!! Come again soon- we only barely skimmed the surface of the Athens restaurant scene!!!

  4. This is so cool! Glad you got to experience a taste of SEC football. :D

  5. Sounds like you really loved your time with Erika. I think this is such an amazing trip. I am so glad that you were able to do this!

    1. Your turn is next to make a trip over here! :-)

  6. I love it. Erika did a great job showing you lots of Southern hospitality and charm. And you better let it be known that I offered for you guys to stay with us even when we weren't sure where we would be living at the time and amid the chaos of moving and a new baby. Haha! I can't blame you for declining this time but I will expect different next time. ;-)


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