Lying on the beach in Sandbridge I rolled over under the shade of my beach umbrella to look out at the ocean and dig my toes in a new patch of cool sand. A lanky man in swim trunks with an uneven tan stood next to me and my group of college girlfriends as he filmed the slowly moving waves and the steady trail of dolphins making their way South. He narrated his film for the folks back home: "Here we are in Virginia Beach, Virginia!" and as a group of fins broke the surface he sighed and said "Do you see those fins - this was worth the 12 hour drive!" My friends and I turned to one another and raised our eyebrows. That's a long way to travel for a couple of dolphin fins.
I returned to Virginia Beach, Virginia for one month for my brother's wedding after living in Mali, West Africa for two years doing work as an environment volunteer with the Peace Corps. I flew into Dulles airport in Washington, DC on June 12 where my mom, brother and sister-in-law were waiting for me and I didn't stop moving until my sister dropped me off again at Dulles airport July 12. Two years of missed birthdays, holidays, lunches with friends, concerts, weekend trips and hugs from my family and friends made for a lot of catching up to do! I felt privileged to be home and attend the bachelorette party, bridal luncheon, rehearsal bowling and to be a bridesmaid in the wedding with my sister Lindsay.
After the wedding I headed North to Boston with Dad, Sheri and Lindsay to tour Tufts University and visit my best-friend from college, Marija. While in Boston we ate scrumptious food and toured the city including a visit to the Boston common gardens, the seals at the aquarium, Paul Revere's grave and some shopping. On our way back down to Virginia Beach we stopped in New York City to see James Taylor and Carol King live at Madison Square Garden where they performed songs I've heard all my life to a sold-out crowd of 20,000.
Back in Virginia Beach I spent the 4th of July with Mom and John where we snuggled on our couches after the neighborhood parade and picnic and watched the firework shows on TV live from DC and Boston. We beached it the next day and I enjoyed watching them both turn different shades of pink from under the shade of my umbrella. Mom, John and I spent our evenings eating delicious dinners and I spent my days exercising with Memaw and then meeting Mom for lunch.
Looking back on my trip I think of that man on the beach and the dolphins recorded on his family video. How quickly one month goes by but how much I was able to do. A beautiful wedding, concerts with family and friends, lunches with favorite teachers, celebrations and delicious meals. Thank you to everyone who made my trip home so special - this was more than worth the 12 hour flight!