31 August, 2010

3,000 miles in 10 pictures

Steve and I at the Grand Canyon

Beautiful Colorado
Marissa and I in Denver
Omaha, Nebraska
The Freedom Rock in Iowa
Galesburg, Illinois where we visited Kevin
Cincinnati, Ohio
Knoxville, Tennessee
Savannah, Georgia

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind

Day 4

States: Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois

Distance: 406 miles

Destination: Peoria, Illinois

We left the farm early and headed east to Iowa, which was surprisingly beautiful. Like Nebraska, it was filled with corn, but instead of being completely flat, there were rolling hills, many creeks, and scattered trees. We stopped in Adair County, Iowa to check out “Freedom Rock,” a large boulder painted as a memorial for American Veterans. The artist repaints the rock every Memorial Day with new brightly colored scenes. After walking around the rock a few times and signing the guest book, we ventured to the capital city of Des Moines where we stopped for lunch and an oil change. We then drove to the quaint little town of Galesburg, Illinois, where my friend Kevin (who I met and travelled with in London) currently lives and attends Knox College. We hung out for about two and a half hours, during which Kevin gave us a little tour of the town and we grabbed dinner at an adorable Crêperie. It was wonderful hanging out with Kevin again, since I haven’t seen him since December! After our visit, we drove to Peoria, Illinois, where we spent the night with an awesome girl named Heather. After just two days in the Midwest, I think I had already fallen in love with the region.

Day 5

States: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee

Distance: 574 miles

Destination: Knoxville, Tennessee

We woke up really early and drove straight to Cincinnati, Ohio, passing through Indiana on our way. We stopped in Cincinnati to try some Skyline Chili, which was honestly a bit disappointing. We drove through Kentucky and on to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we spent the night with some friends, Kayla and Luther, who showed us around the city! They took us to the Knoxville Convention Center and then to a couple of traditional Southern establishments: Krystal and Waffle House, which were both delicious. After dinner, we went to the old part of town, which was adorable and quite eclectic. We went to a big brewery with live music where we played pool. Luther was my partner and I’m disappointed to tell you, we lost twice, once because he scratched on the break and once because I got the 8 ball in the wrong pocket! What a tragedy! Regardless, our night in Knoxville was the most fun night of the entire trip!

Day 6

States: Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia

Distance: 427 miles

Destination: Savannah, Georgia

We woke up early and returned to the old part of Knoxville to get coffee at Old City Java, which reminded me a lot of Chapters in Newberg! We then drove to Asheville, North Carolina, which has been nicknamed “The Seattle of the East.” We took a short break at a charming little bookstore, which did in fact live up to our expectations of this faux-Seattle town. We then drove through the Great Smoky Mountains and into South Carolina. The mountains were beautiful and had evergreen trees mixed in with tropical trees and vines that flourish here because of the humidity. We listened to some more Harry Potter on CD and I took a nap before finally crossing the state line into Georgia!! We spent the night in Savannah at Steve’s Father’s house, where I will be staying until Friday morning when I make the final leg of my journey to Atlanta!

So wow, I just drove over three thousand miles, passed through fifteen states, and am now on the opposite side of the country. This trip was quite an adventure and I saw a lot of beautiful scenery. I had no idea how gorgeous our country is! I love the Midwest and I love the South! During my trip, I had a lot of time to think, to reflect on the past four years, and to prepare for the year to come. I read Leroy Barber’s “New Neighbor” and was comforted to hear the stories of many Mission Year members that have gone before me. I have met many people during my journey and almost all of them think I’m absolutely crazy for moving to South Atlanta for the year. Perhaps I am crazy! I’m nervous and I’m scared, but I’m also excited and ready to go, for I know this is where God wants me to be.

With love, from Savannah

P.S. I’m working on uploading photos right now and will post them very soon!

27 August, 2010

oh beautiful, for spacious skies

I am currently writing to you from Omaha, Nebraska. Let me give you a little post-London update to explain to you how I ended up here.

After returning home from London for Christmas break, I headed back to Newberg, Oregon to complete my last semester at George Fox University. I nannied throughout the semester, studied occasionally, learned a ton, and discovered a passion for gardening and desire for creating a self-sustainable home. I graduated on May first with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in International studies. I lived in Newberg for most of the summer, working for a woman named Leigh who owns a bed and breakfast near campus. I helped turn over the bed and breakfast, gardened, and did all sorts of odd jobs. The summer was absolutely beautiful and helped me to realize how much I love Oregon!

In the beginning of August, I packed up my car and drove home to San Diego with two of my very dear friends, Dan and Brett. I spent two weeks at home with my friends and family and then packed up my car again, this time for a much different sort of trip.

Beginning in September, I will be living in a poor neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. I will spend a year there, living in intentional Christian community with four other girls, volunteering at a community service site in the community, and spreading the love of Christ by building relationships with my neighbors. But more on that subject later… I decided to bring my car to Atlanta, and why not explore my country on the way? So, on Wednesday, my friend Steve and I left San Diego and headed East for a six-day road trip through fifteen states.

Day 1

States: California and Arizona

Distance: 611 miles

Destination: Grand Canyon Village, Arizona

We woke up early, finished packing up my car, and left San Diego around 8:30am to drive across Arizona. We stopped in Kingman, Arizona for lunch at In ’N’ Out... the very last one along our route. We kept driving and discovered that Arizona has been holding out on us; regardless of its dry and dreary edges, the heart of Arizona is absolutely beautiful, green, and filled with trees and wildflowers. Our first destination was the Grand Canyon, which was beautiful and exactly how I expected it. It is big, dry, and looks just like every picture you’ve ever seen of it. We walked around the South Rim for a while before continuing on for another hour to the tiny town of Cameron, where we spent the first night.

Day 2

States: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado

Distance: 593 miles

Destination: Denver, Colorado

We woke up at 6:00am to prepare for our longest day of driving. We stopped at the four corners, which was a fun little detour, even though New Mexico made us pay them $6 to be there! (New Mexico is by far my least favorite state!) We found out that Colorado is absolutely gorgeous and I now understand why everyone loves it so much! It reminded me of Oregon a tiny bit, but is much drier and grandeur. We made it to Denver around 7:00 and met up with my friend Marissa who recently moved there to attend University of Denver for her MSW. It was wonderful to hang out with her (and her cat Shadowz)!

Day 3

States: Colorado and Nebraska

Distance: 543 miles

Destination: Omaha, Nebraska

We left Colorado this morning and drove across the entire state of Nebraska, which can only be described with one word: CORN! The entire state is simply fields and fields of corn. Needless to say, the drive was quite boring, so we listened to a couple chapters of Harry Potter on CD. We took a short stop at the State Capitol Building in Lincoln and then finally made it to Omaha, where I am now. We are staying on an organic vegetable farm with a girl named Terra and two guys named Matt, one of whom recently moved here from Portland to help out on the farm. They’ve been extremely nice to us and recommended some fun places to hang out in downtown Omaha, so we checked it out. They have a really awesome Indie music scene, although I was bummed to find out that one of my favorite bands, She & Him, are playing here tomorrow night! We’ll just barely miss it! Regardless, Omaha is awesome!

Much more driving tomorrow!

From Omaha, with love