Travel Update – Indiana

Hey all. It’s been a week. Time for a travel update! It’ll be a short one, I’m sorry to say.

I’m officially on the road, after months of planning and hard work. My flights were uneventful. I’ve spent the past week visiting family in Indiana. I met my little nephew… or is he a cousin? I’m not really sure. His momma is the closest thing I have to a sister. I was called “Auntie Hannah” for the first time in my life. Craziness. I’ve never been more in love. I really couldn’t get enough of this chubby little dude. He’s the sweetest, quietest, happiest baby I’ve ever met. His momma is doing a great job.

Now I’m seeing my grandparents for the first time in a while. Life is busy and making it to Indiana for a visit takes a great effort. I’m glad I made it, though. We’re having a good time catching up and making the most of the short visit we have.

Coming here is always so strange. I have a million things on my mind, a dozen big stories to tell. Yet I can’t share as much as I normally do on my blog, because the stories aren’t always mine to share. I try to always give as balanced and realistic a view of my life as possible on Edventuregirl, even when it gets personal. I can’t always do that while in Indy, but I’ll do my best to give you a little window into my brain for now. Here’s what personal stuff I can share:

I feel culture shock every time I visit the Midwest. There is such a culture of excess here. Enormous houses full of stuff, enormous grocery stores, enormous churches. And everyone I’ve talked to so far on this visit has complained of having too much stuff and is worried about how it owns their lives. Everyone seems shocked that I’m traveling full-time again with just one carry on backpack and my fiddle. I’m not passing judgement on whether this is a good cultural trait or a bad one, it’s just different from what I’m used to and I always forget about the “hugeness” of America. I get just as much culture shock coming to Indiana as I do when traveling to Guatemala, maybe more.

I always feel as if I’m in hostile territory while I’m in Indiana. Not with my family, not at all. Everyone is wonderful. I have been so well looked after here. My godmother and grandmother have gone out of their way to make sure I’ve had plenty of sleep and the healthy foods I need to look after my EDS. My family is wonderful. It’s the Indiana culture in general that feels abrasive to me, simply because it’s the polar opposite of everything central to who I am. The popular religious, political, lifestyle, and social views here are the flipside of everything I believe in. I end up biting my tongue to keep the peace quite a bit.

That said, all is well, life is good, and I’m overjoyed to be back on the road again. This time next week I’ll be heading to Guatemala!

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