So you know how I’ve been kind of a whinny mess the last few posts? You’ve all been very polite and not mentioned it…but it’s okay, I can admit it. I’ve complained about our pace of travel, the rain, the bugs, the pollen, the nagging feeling that we’re on the wrong side of the country, even the extreme slop of our campsite! And…I never even wrote a follow up post about the remainder of our time in Charlotte because it would have been nothing but more whining (the traffic! the constant rain! the absence of good hiking! wah, wah, wah). But here’s the thing. Despite all this incessant complaining, deep down I’m actually quite happy. You wanna know why? Family.
While it’s no secret that we’re in love with the western side of country, the fact is that all of our family lives in the east. The decision to come east this year was a direct result of our desire to reconnect with our family, some who we hadn’t seen in years. Over the last 6 months we’ve visited with more family then we have in the last two years combined. Since October we’ve seen nearly all of our immediate family members, and as we continue up the east coast this trend will continue. In the last two weeks alone we caught up with my cousin and her currently expanding family, spent a night with my dad and Katherine as they passed through on their way north, and then last week went back to my mom’s house for an entire week of family time, including a 3 day visit with Tim’s mom who flew down to be with us.
Tim was able to take a few days off work, and by some miracle the rain stopped and the sun came out allowing us to get out and enjoy some gorgeous North Carolina weather. We walked on the beach.
Went out on the boat.
And visited the North Carolina Aquarium in nearby Pine Knoll Shores.
One day we drove over to New Bern and toured the gardens at Tryon Palace. New Bern itself is a pretty fascinating port town full of history and stately old houses. We didn’t have time to see it all in a single visit, and choose to focus solely on the renowned gardens that surround the reconstructed palace and historic homes. Even though it was a little early in the year for some of the flowers to be in full bloom, it was still gorgeous. I, of course, took way too many photos. I tried my best to whittle them down to a reasonable amount for sharing.
After Carol left and Tim went back to work I had two more days to spend with my mom. We did things like plant flower pots for her front porch, sort through a giant box of embroidery thread that I just inherited from my grandmother, made homemade pizza, and went strawberry picking.
Strawberries in North Carolina are not only plentiful this time of year, but they are also incredibly cheap. I picked an entire flat for only $15 and ended up with 8 quart size freezer bags that I somehow shoved into our tiny RV freezer.
Throughout the week I couldn’t help but feel grateful that this lifestyle allows us the freedom to travel around and see our families. So the next time I find myself feeling down about the persistent rain, or annoyed by the bugs, I am going to to remember this week and all the wonderful family time we’ve had this winter. And I’m going to remind myself that happiness is sometimes less about where you are, and more about who you are there with.