Traveling 70 mph down the highway, cruising with my window down, listening to my dad whistle to music and feeling the hot sun burn my arm. Dark clouds pouring down rain, traffic slowing down to 30 mph and all I see is bright, red break lights that make me inwardly groan. Hazard lights blinking in and out through the ghostly, white fog slowing everyone down more. Tall rock walls on both sides, like a canyon of stone. Beautiful sunrises behind us, lighting the skies up in pink, orange and yellows. The rolling Appalachian mountains that followed us, swooping up and down like a wave on the ocean. A journey may never be perfect, but there is beauty if one looks hard enough for it.
My father and I left Saturday morning at 3:04. I buckled up, pulled a blanket over my head and tried to settle into the tightly packed vehicle. I had a backpack at my feet, a dresser behind my seat and not a lot of room to wiggle around. And somehow I slept through most of Pennsylvania. Maryland and West Virginia weren’t long at all. By that time it was close to 8:30.
I suggested that I drive so my dad could take a break. We stopped for gas and I
began to drive. Virginia is a large state to drive down. It went on and on. I played the Alphabet game (Where one looks for the letters A to Z in order) I got through it once, went backwards (got a little mixed up with GHI because I couldn’t keep straight which ones went first when going backwards) and began from A again before stopping around at the letter J when I decided I had had enough driving.
We stopped, stretched our legs and continued on around 11:30.
Dad drove through North Carolina where we had slow traffic and rain. And then fog on top of that. We were soon out of it and arrived in Colombia, South Carolina close to 4:00. We stopped at my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment. They took us around the University where my brother goes to school. SC is beginning to have their spring because there were some beautiful blossoms that we don’t see until April or May. The four of us had dinner, played a game, and finally around 7:30 or so dad and I went to bed.
At 3:30 it all started again. I woke up, found my dad was already up and after a quick bowl of cereal, we gathered our things and headed out the door. Dad drove and once again I tried to find a comfortable sleeping position. I must have somehow fell asleep for awhile because I awoke to my dad pulling into a rest area in Georgia. I was going to go back to sleep but after doing some jumping jacks outside, I didn’t find myself as tired. Dad drove for another hour or so until I asked if he wanted me to drive the rest of the way. So we swapped.
Where we drove in Georgia, it was quite flat. And swampy/marshy land. We went
from there to Florida and I swung around on the beltway to miss Jacksonville’s traffic. We continued south and about 15 minutes from our destination dad and I swapped again so I could give him directions from the map on my phone. That was interesting because directions here seem to go everywhere and nowhere.
At roughly 11:00 AM we arrived at the home where I will be staying in Summerfield, FL. My boyfriend was here to welcome us, as the family was gone at church. Dad, Devin and I unloaded the van, putting boxes in the house and garage. Afterwards, dad got to meet Devin’s parents, we showed him some chicken coops outside and then he left to return to my brother’s place in SC before it got to late.
Seeing dad leave was a bit emotional for me. I finally figured that lack of sleep, hunger, and a LOT of thoughts on my mind were what was causing buckets of tears. (That may be a slight exaggeration) But Devin let me rest for a bit, then blabber on about everything that was roaming in my head, assured me through my apologies of crying that he was expecting me to be somewhat upset, and after getting everything off my chest, I got myself some food. I felt much better after all that.
I brought some things from the garage over, put books on the shelves, organized my room and began dreaming about decoration ideas. We watched a movie and said goodnight. I woke up today (Monday) with excitement that I was actually living in Florida. It’s still hard to believe sometimes, that I’m no longer states away from my boyfriend but minutes!!
Some thoughts regarding the future. Devin and I are looking forward to what these next days, weeks and months hold. I’m thankful for this time to finally get to know him better in person. While we’ve spent quite of bit of time together in the past, we’ve never spent more then 2ish weeks together at one time. We both want to find a church that leads us spiritually and I dream of a place where I can help in the children’s area. We are excited to explore Florida, there are caves down here, forest land, reptiles of all kinds (including alligators and snakes) and Devin has told me we can go fishing, something I have not done often but want to do with him. And of course we want to relax, watch stars, movies and take walks. There’s a lot we are excited for.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for my dad and I. From what I heard, he was nearly home and will soon be with my family. I am missing family and friends, but with time that should ease. The journey is sometimes messy and hard, but if one looks hard enough, they can see the beauty that is intertwined in it.