I didn't mention in my last post that the end of June I took a trip home to the States, returning to Guatemala oddly enough on Independence Day. Below you'll find an overview of my time in both North Dakota and Chicago...
One of my best friends from back home, Tanner, got married to the wonderful Amy and I got home just in time to go celebrate with old friends :)
The cake cutters. Oh yeah, that cake had no idea what was coming.
The beautiful couple.
Me dancing with the lovely Lucy.
North Dakota at its finest!!! I know we probably all love our home states and believe with foolish pride that we come from the best part of the US...so I won't go in to my long and prideful description of ND's wonders, but see for yourself some of the great open spaces, animals and good people. Below is a view from inside Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Buffalo!!! We pulled in to a lookout point and from afar I totally thought it was a statue...really it had wondered in to the parking lot and was thoughtfully cutting the grass in front of the visitor's center.
Taking a walk around the farm on a gorgeous summer's day.
Me and some cousins at a family reunion...how I loved showing this picture to people in Guatemala- for once I'm not the tallest!
Being away makes it hard when you have friends back home raising kids (they grow so fast!) It was super fun to hang out with Jana and her cute kids (who knows where they got it from, hehe).
This picture is from a talk I gave to kids about life in Guatemala. I loved their questions: are there killer lions there? do you eat real food? I wish I could take them with me to see it all!
Bismarck is home to the Superslide Amusement Park, which offers a variety of attractions, our favorites being mini golf and the slide featured in the background. No visit home in the summer is complete without a race down! I'm pretty sure I would have beat Kaela had it not been for my skirt...
Jana and I having fun exploring Fort Lincoln State Park. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather spend a romantic sunset with...wait a minute. Oh well, we had a good time exploring the cementery (the headstones give causes of death such as froze to death, drank himself to death, gunshot, or typhoid fever) and climbing around on the old military blockhouses.
Hanging out with the 'rents.
My brother Matt and I biked to the lakefront for a sunny picnic...yay for summer!
The afternoon included a walk through the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Conservatory.
Bachelorette Party for Jess! So great to reconnect with the old crew from IWU.
So Jess's wedding included many Indian traditions (since her husband is originally from there). Here's her hand soon after she had the Henna artist work on them (up to her elbows! 3 1/2 hours)
Beautiful bride :)
Part of the wedding ceremony. Her sister is to left, in a sari just like the rest of the bridesmaids. The officiant is seated to the left. He would explain parts in English but mainly did the ceremony in Hindi.
Another part of the ceremony where colored dust was put on top of her head.
"I now pronounce you man and wife!"
Kellie!! We met many years ago in a freshman Spanish class (we had an amazing corner, right kellie? jajaja).
Erika and I met in Miami when her study abroad group passed through and I came to visit friends of mine who were staff. A year and a half later we randomly met up again but this time at a bonfire in rural Illinois (Jess's mom's house). Such a small world! Some of you may remember that both Jess and Erika came to visit me last August in Guatemala.
Sarah and Tiff made the drive up from IN to hang out and catch up. Here's us enjoying the afternoon walking around Bucktown and the Ukrainian Village.
Danielle joined us soon after. We were roommates all four years in college until she got a new one (her husband). We have such good memories together and of course keep making new ones!
Great Cuban food for dinner. I even got my favorite- vaca frita! Tastes way better than it sounds, hehe. I have such great friends....here the jungle is only missing Steph and Yue'e.
I also have great brothers! I unfortunately didn't get a picture with Brad this time but here I am with Matt before taking off.
And that's all folks! Now I'm back to daily torrents of rain, lots of black beans, tortillas, washing my clothes by hand (I think I washed every day at home in the washing machine just cause I loved how easy it was), world cup final fever, traveling in camionetas and learning new things around every corner.