Dear Linde, You’re almost 8 months old. I’ve neglected writing your letters. We’ve been busy with work, vacation, and the holidays, and it always seems much harder to write these than it actually is. The last couple of month have … Continue reading
A couple weeks ago my sister Sara, and her fiance Mike, came to town from Chicago with the purpose of spending some time at my family’s cabin. Through some miraculous coordination, we worked it out so the whole family could … Continue reading
Luang Prabang, Laos is a magical place. Young monks clad in orange robes saunter along the misty sidwalks, while visitors on bikes amble the streets in search of which wat they’ll tour next. Though it is touristy and backpackery, it … Continue reading
So in Minnesota we have cabins. In some places they are called lake homes, and summer houses in others. I’ve been going to them as long as I can remember, but we never had one we could call our own. Though some of my favorite memories are of summer nights playing Hearts at the cabin on the lake, this was always cabins rented for one week each summer. We could leave our personal stamp, or even leave behind a bag of marshmallows for ‘smores at our next visit.
This Summer that all changed with my parents purchase of our very own cabin. It’s on Leech Lake (yes, it’s actually full of leeches, we’re slowly overcoming the fear), close to many of the rented cabins, and it oozes with a sense of timeless lakeside bliss. My Mother is so happy about the place I think she might explode. I know she’s wanted this for many years, and you can see the joy in her eyes every time she speaks of it.
It doesn’t have running water, and the loo is an outhouse, but I love it there. It’s quiet, it’s beautiful. It doesn’t have WiFi (or 3G), but it’s grounding. It’s the only placed I’ve slowed down enough to read more than a page of a book in at least a year. It’s a place where my sisters and I were brought together in a way we haven’t been in years. It’s where Joe and I celebrated our Mini-Moon after our wedding last month.
The lake is overwhelmingly georgeous. It sparkles. Bald eagles regularly swoop overhead, and the sound of the loons is indescribable other than it sounds like Minnesota. The sunsets are stunning, every night.
It’s my family’s cabin. We’ll spend summer days there for many years. My kids will call it “the cabin,” and in their eyes it will have existed since the beginning of time. In my mother’s eyes it will exist until the end of time. Hopefully true.
I had a great 2 hour phone conversation the other night with a friend that is so special to me. Though our conversations are increasingly rarer, and we unfortunately rely too heavily on the FB for our life updates, I will forever consider her one of my best friends.
It all started in September 2001. Though this month lives on in the memories of many for one reason, but I am lucky to have a thousand more positive associations with it than the one negative. It was at the Hotel du Monde in Paris’ 11th arrondissement on September 13th or 14th. I can’t remember exactly. I had just arrived for my semester abroad from a week with friends in Germany. 9/11 just happened, but with the exception of CNN World on TV in the background, I was incredibly distanced from the situation. I arrived late, and missed our first group meeting. I made my way to our apartments to find my new classmates absent, out exploring the city. I settled in, and laid on the bed staring at the ceiling. I looked at the bed next to mine, and hoped for a roommate I could at least get along with. I contemplated the experience that lay before me, so unaware of how good it would actually be.
Hours later, she arrived. While much of this is lost to a blur of jet lag and kir, I know two things. We stayed up nearly the entire night talking like twelve-year-olds who just discovered the telephone, and we never looked back. Though I was unaware of it until a few weeks later, there was one minor deal breaking moment. I let it slip that I was in a sorority, and Regan said she second guessed our entire brief friendship at that moment, but being the person she is, she kept an open mind.
Six weeks in Paris and Six weeks in Florence passed in what was simultaneously a moment and a lifetime. We traveled back to Kansas to construct what is the very complicated post study abroad existence. Regan, myself, and the rest of the Dirty 7 +Spikes (another story for another day) melded our new relationships with the old, and formed some pretty solid friendships.
We laughed, man, did we laugh. We cried, we planned. We partied, sometimes a lot. We had outrageous adventures. One time we tried to take a tour of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Yeah, it’s a working federal penitentiary, they don’t give tours.
Six years ago, I moved back to Minnesota. Leaving Regan broke my heart. I knew things would never be the same. They aren’t, but that’s okay. Every time we talk I am amazed at the similarities in our lives, and our outlooks. We’ve arrived at such similar spiritual conclusions. We’ve used the powers of attraction, visualization, and positivity to create amazing lives for ourselves. Every time I talk with her, I’m floored by the things she is doing, living her wildest dreams.
She inspires me. She challenges me to be more positive, more understanding, more patient, more grateful. She introduced me to The Four Agreements, a book that changed and continues to change my life. A couple of years before she got married, I was telling her how inspiring I thought her relationship was, how they just worked so well together. She gave me the best relationship advice I’ve received to date, and I try to remind myself of it every day. “Just be nice to each other, and don’t say mean things to each other,” she said.
I feel so for that time in Paris, where we built a relationship that will last a lifetime. I hope everyone is lucky enough to have a Regan.