Of course Ái Nhân knew at some intellectual level that the United States is a huge country, but she found out at a more visceral level by hard experience during the butt-numbing ride that took her to Ohio and Indiana during the week of her spring break.
(Be sure to click on each photo so you can see the photo full size.)
It took two days to get the the Cincinnati area, and that meant we went into areas of the country that are very different from deep south Texas. For instance, there are no tulips or daffodils this far south - the winters don’t get cold enough - so that meant Ái Nhân got an introduction to wild daffodils on the side of the road.
I am convinced she will wear that camera out!
It was a time to introduce her to family, and in our case, that means our son Keith, his wife Misty, as well as Zach and Ely (the two kids still at home) and our oldest granddaughter Dani and her husband Mitch. The only person we didn’t see was granddaughter #2 - Brie is in the Army.
But the star of the show - and the thief of great-grandpa’s heart was our great granddaughter. Now two years old, Miss Angella was the recipient of Grandma Cindy’s skills. The doll was store-bought, but the doll quilt was hand-made. Such is the sentimental value of quilt that part of it was made from the same batch of cloth that Cindy had used to make Angela’s Mom a dress back when she was a little girl.
Though a very busy family, it was great to sit back and talk to my son (and solve the problems of the world as we enjoyed a cigar), but also to talk family stuff with my daughter-in-law. As I have said many times before, if I’d had a chance to pick my own daughter-in-law, I would have picked Misty. She is someone I love deeply. I had a chance to talk to Mitch as well as he goes through the process of acclimating himself to civilian life after time in combat in Iraq with the Marine Corps. As the only other member of the family who has had green tracer come in his direction, I wanted to take extra time to be sure he is okay - and if need be, to talk out anything he needed to talk about. And of course, I am so proud of Dani - she is a great Mom, and now has decided to be a student again by going back to college.
But a week’s spring break is not much, so after too short a time, we headed north into Indiana to spend the night with some wonderful American friends we’d had when we lived in Việt Nam. Silly me - I didn’t get a photo, but the Kimball and Gavilanez families know that it was ever so great to see them again and talk over our mutual love of Việt Nam and its people.
Two more long days on the road - and dealing with a little motion sickness to boot - Ái Nhân was happy to be back home - as were we all.
But - - there is a lot more of America to see, and I look forward to her traveling more of this wonderful country and meeting more of the family as well.