I've just returned home from a crazy/busy/delightful/memorable whirlwind visit to PA. For those of you not from the blessed state: Yes, people from Pennsylvania call Pennsylvania PA, and we will continue to do so, even if no other state does it. Mostly, I got to see a. family - people who will love you and be connected to you forever, if only because you're related somewhere back there and b. old friends - people who knew you back when you did incredibly embarrassing things because you were to little to know to be embarrassed, and they love you anyway.
I love visiting Western PA (Fayette County, particularly), because there's family everywhere! They might be my grandmother's brother's wife's cousin's grandchildren, but we're still related! (Okay, I don't think I met any grandmother's brother's wife's cousin's grandchildren, but it approximates some of the family connections in Fayette County). I got to see all my Martin cousins in PA (talk about having a blast! Every time we get together is a great time.), my uncles and aunts, several 'somehow' cousins (a "somehow cousin" - you're somehow cousins, but it's complicated. Yeah, I made that up.), a great-aunt, and a great-great-aunt. I wouldn't mind settling in Fayette County sometime...
... but there would be competition from Eastern PA - where so many old friends live. We visited sooo many old friends, who have known me/my family since [before] I was born. As we drove allllll around our old stomping grounds, I was looking back and forth, back and forth, looking to see if I saw something I recognized. Sometimes I recalled the place(s) perfectly, but other times there was only a vague impression of a memory, and, of course, other times I drew a blank. It was thrilling to see so many old friends - friends my age, and friends who treated me as their own children. I realized my old habit (started by my parents) of calling my older old friends "Uncle" and "Aunt" was as comfortable as it ever was. I guess if I think about it, it's a little new for my "Uncles" and "Aunts" to be more like friends than secondary parents... Not that I mind. ^_^
So, the week was great. I loved getting to see family, old friends, and everyone else, and now that I'm older, hearing "We pray for you every day" means far more than it ever did before, especially since I'm preparing to move abroad. There are some things on the trip I doubt I'll ever forget, but I won't put them on public record for now. ^_-
For those of you who are new readers, and the old readers, too, feel free to comment (translation - DO!!), it helps me to know who actually reads this and encourages me to write more.
Signing off for now,
PS If you happen to notice that Penny Book and MJ both contribute to this blog, it's because they're both me. ^_^
PPS It's my birthday tomorrow! Twin digits!! Thanks to those of you who already said Happy Birthday!