California and Chicago… and farewell America

Leaving Bend is never easy. There are just too many wonderful people – both friends and family – to say goodbye to. It seems it would get easier over the years, but it never really does.

This year, however, we followed up our farewell Bend with a 5-day road trip to California… so that definitely softened the blow! 🙂 We loaded up my parents Subaru with Andy (my brother) and Kelsi and set off for a few days of exploring and a few days of visiting with family.

It was an awesome trip through Redwood National Park and all four of us ran around “wow-ing” at the majesty of the forests filled with massive trees. We stayed our first night in Eureka with friends and then continued on to San Francisco where we visited Alcatraz, strolled around China Town, Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown, and stayed the night at YWAM San Francisco.

On our third day we drove to Santa Cruz for breakfast, walked around the boardwalk and downtown area, and then continued on Highway 1 through Big Sur and the Pacific Coast to Southern California. It was a spectacular day and we had great views out for miles over the ocean. After dinner with friends Brian and Carmell, we spent the night at my cousin Ryan’s house in Huntington Beach.

The next day we spent in Huntington Beach with family enjoying warm, sunny weather for the first time in what had felt like weeks! Our fifth and final day was Easter Sunday, which we spent in San Clemente going to church with grandma at a beautiful outdoor service where seven different churches gathered together. It was another stunning day and so good to be outside as much as possible. We then had a big Easter feast with more cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and extended family, complete with an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Our road trip went far too fast, but nonetheless it was a great five days together. Ryan and I flew out early Monday morning and Andy and Kelsi drove straight back to Bend to be home in time for work the next day.

From California, we had a 2-night layover in Chicago where we braved the cold, windy city! Despite the return to cold, cloudy weather, we had a blast. Chicago now rates as one of our favourite cities (and I’ve been to lots of cities around the world!). We love the varied architecture and just the overall feel of the city. We did some shopping, ate deep dish stuffed pizza, rode the ferris wheel and did a few other touristy things. Oh yeah, and we stayed in a beautiful hotel thanks to a generous supporter who wanted to bless us! It was a great two days and perfect way to finish our time in America.

We said farewell to Chicago and the USA and flew out to Europe via a quick stop-over in Dublin (which also came about due to catching the cheapest flights we could get our hands on!). In Dublin we walked the city, marvelled at massive old churches, ate Irish stew (well, Ryan did at least), and we even sampled some of the local pride and joy: Guinness. It was great fun to be in Europe together (Ryan for the first time) and to be able to have a little stepping stone to begin adjusting to the new time zone before landing in Spain where we will spend the next six weeks on the Leadership Development Course.

Now… we’ve landed in Spain and have unpacked our bags for the next forty days. (That alone feels fantastic!) The LDC has just begun and we’re learning our way around a new city and culture and base, friends and co-workers. More about the LDC in our next blog…

Wanna see more photos of this trip? Click here on our facebook link.

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