I am currently sitting in the basement of the Harju residence is Duluth, Minnesota exactly a week after I departed on my cross-country (at least half of it) trek from Boston. First, I headed to Rochester, NY where I reunited with my Mason City friends Paul and LeAnn Nelson and their kids/grandkids. It was great to be able to catch up after almost four years. I stayed Friday-Sunday, leaving Sunday after their church service. My next stop was Jamestown, NY where I caught up with my long-time friends and neighbors Sarah and TK Johnson, their son Sawyer, and their sweet new(ish) daughter, Hazel! In keeping with our customs, we headed to Southern Tier Brewing Company for some beer and pizza. It was great to catch up, even if it ended with a sick kid (more on that to come!). The actual tasting room is gorgeous:
At about 5:30, I left Jamestown and rolled into Chicago around 12:45 to crash on my brother's floor. I woke up at 10:15 and decided I just wanted to make it home, so I ate a quick solo breakfast at Tre Kronor (sorry everyone I didn't call!) and headed out. I got into Duluth at about 6ish, unpacked at the Harjus, and went down to the Brewhouse to celebrate my homecoming. Because my niece Paisley was getting over the flu, I didn't get to meet her until the following day. Anna recorded the meeting for posterity's sake:
She was way more into the Twins game then her deadbeat uncle. So, everything was going great, and then last night at about midnight I started to feel a little under the weather. I took my cure-all Alka-Seltzer and started to think I was feeling better. Au contraire, mon amie. At 2 I woke up, and the flu was on. I'll spare you the graphic details, but I think it's the worst I've ever felt from the flu. I thought about jotting down a last will and testament just to be on the safe side. From about 2-6 I was in pretty rough shape, and I've spent the rest of the day sipping ginger ale, napping, and watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. So, the homecoming has been somewhat dampened, but I think I'll be back on my feet by Sunday.
I realize it's been quite a while since my last post, and more has happened that can be recorded in a blog post that anyone would have the endurance to read, so I'm going to hit on the highlights of the last few months:
1. This semester was perhaps my most academically challenging so far. Having three 30-page papers due at the end of it kept me on my toes, but all's well that ends well, and the semester did indeed end well. It's crazy to think that I only have one more year in Boston!
2. I got to spend a fun birthday in Chicago, even if I almost didn't make it out of the airport (snowstorm combined with a dead battery; I didn't know planes' batteries could die. I was waiting for AAA to come or a plane to pull up next to us with really long jumper cables). One of the most surprising birthday presents came from my sister, Jessica. She had meant to send me the following artwork:
It's a really great picture of Canal Park, which is where Duluthians spend a lot of their free time and where we all worked during high school/college. Instead, she accidentally sent me the following image:
Yep. Instead of sending me a picture of Duluth she not only sent me a picture of Wisconsin, but GREEN BAY! I was on the phone with her when I opened it up, and I think the conversation went something like:
Dave: (stunned silence)
Jess: What do you think?
Dave: Well, if it's what you wanted to send me, I'm not sure what to think.
Dave: You sent me a picture entitled "Green Bay on a Sunday Afternoon!"
It almost ruined my birthday, but after hiding it in an appropriately dark and damp place, I was able to overcome the trauma.
3. I decided to spend my summer in Duluth and Chicago! I need a good dose of the Midwest, so I am spending May and June in Duluth substitute teaching and July in Chicago writing. So, I would like everyone to open their calendars and let me know when and where we are going to be hanging out. My favorite places in Duluth are the Brewhouse, Canal Park, and the North Shore. My favorite places in Chicago are rooftop restaurants, Ravinia, and karaoke bars. So, get busy.
4. I'm also very excited to be taking an independent study on Covenant worship and hymnody from the one and only Phil Anderson, so hopefully I will get up to the cabin soon and begin that. I've already started indexing the Covenant hymnals, which I'm sure makes many of you swoon with desire or rage in jealousy.
Well, I can't look at the screen anymore. So, I'm out. Later.