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Yes, we all survived our journey through America’s Heartland...just. It was quite an experience, four very long days of being on the road. And we had car problems the entire way which doesn’t make for a relaxing road trip. But, thankfully, no major mishaps. I had visions of being stranded in an Iowan corn field, but that was not to be.
Being back in Michigan, the land where I was bred, born, and raised was an odd experience. Most of my family lives in Michigan and always has. When our relatives arrived here from the Netherlands a couple generations back, they all, on both sides of the family, stepped off the boat and took up residence in MI. My parents still live in the old farmhouse that my father grew up in, that my grandfather helped to build. You would think I would feel some sense of connection to the place, some sort of ancestral tie to that area.
But I don’t.
And I never have. As a young adult, all I wanted was to get out of there. And I never really understood my longing to be elsewhere. It wasn’t that I was trying to escape a tragic childhood or upbringing. Michigan really is a beautiful state with nice, friendly people living in it. Maybe it’s a B thing, but for some reason, I feel no connection to the place I am from.
Except for that Lake.
There is something about Lake Michigan that touches me like no other place on Earth. It is magical to me, more so than any ocean I have been to. I do feel a connection to that Lake that I can’t explain. So it was quite wondrous to spend time there at the cottage. Due to an infestation of zebra mussels, the Lake was the cleanest I have seen it in about 15 years; and although that is not the best for the eco-system there, it made for enjoyable swimming. The sunsets over the Lake were stupendous...and the mosquitoes were quite numerous. They didn’t bother me much but the A’s in the family really suffered. My sons really did go fishing and my oldest caught a beautiful Coho salmon, about five pounds that found it’s way on the grill that night. What a luxury to eat freshly caught fish...
I was able to successfully navigate my way through the maze of chicken, corn, and tomatoes that are always in abundance at my family’s meals, which meant I ate beef at most meals, and some turkey. The only downfall was not being able to find pesto in the grocery store so I did have my brother’s famous tomato sauce on spaghetti (spelt and rice). I was able to drink raspberry leaf tea every morning which helps my stomach accept food easier when away from home. And it was difficult to stay away from wheat. Wheat doesn’t bother me too much if I eat it occasionally, but when I am having wheat every day I really notice my energy level dropping and I begin to feel sluggish and foggy. It is somewhere between a neutral and avoid for me so I avoid it when I can. We did make the mistake of not going to the health food store before heading back home and so we didn’t have any good bene’s for the return loop. We stopped in Omaha for the night and found a few organic fruits and veggies at the grocery store which was a pleasant find on the road.
All in all, it was nice to spend time with my parents, my brothers and their families, but is also great to be back home breathing the thin air again.
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