Ann Arbor Reunion

The final week of August I went to Ann Arbour to reunite for two days with my international “family” that I lived with for a three months in DR Congo and Uganda last fall. We got to know one another very well during that time because the insecurity led us to pray daily together, address deep questions, and make difficult corporate decisions. I was so excited to have this opportunity to see them all again, and all in the same place to boot! I came home to see my folks and pick up the van on the 23rd and then the following morning I drove to Windsor to spend the night with Mike and Katelynn (this is not before having to drive all the way back to Toronto because I forgot to bring my passport with me!). It was nice to be able to stop in on the way since Windsor is rarely on the way to anything. It was also nice to see Melody who has already grown so much and is adorable as ever! That evening I shared in a delicious BBQ that Mike and Katelynn hosted for the colleagues in Mike’s research group. The next morning Katelynn and I took Melody and went for a walk along the river where the Detroit skyline can be seen on the other side. Then I continued on my way to Ann Arbor.

Katelynn and Melody

Every time I travel to the US there seems to be a good story. This time was funny because I got a full vehicle search including my bags. I guess a girl driving alone in a minivan might not be normal behaviour? The questioning went like this: “Where are you from?” “Toronto.” “Where are you going and why?” “To Ann Arbour to visit some friends.” “Where did you meet these friends?” “I met them during some time I spent in Africa.” Then I had to go on to explain what I was doing in Congo and that lead to the question of what I had been doing more recently in Nepal…. etc. etc. I should have just told them that I was going to check out the University of Michigan or something!

I made it to Ann Arbour and we had a fabulous two days together. Even though Jon and Kate and their kids had only been moved in for one week in their new apartment, they once again opened up their home for us. Here are a few memorable moments from the visit:

  • Getting delicious soup at this amazing little indoor food stand called ‘Le Dog’
  • Walking around with the whole gang and getting the tour of the town and the campus
  • Getting treated to a breakfast of pastries from the ‘Pastry Peddler’
  • Enjoying Jon’s coffee in the morning just like old times
  • Playing a hybrid football game outside with the boys
  • Discovering that there is such a thing as fairy doors that are somehow a fad in Ann Arbor. They are these tiny little doors that storefronts sometimes install and hide little trinkets for children to go and find.
  • Walking the campus with Lauren and Jessica and visiting the architecture and music schools and catching up on life.
  • Eating at a cuban inspired restaurant called Frita Batidos. I had a fish frita with tropical slaw and french fries on top, and a coconut cream batido (milkshake). Yum!

City bus

The legal research library at UofM. I wish UW had such inspiring spaces!

The legal research library at UofM. I wish UW had such inspiring spaces!

El, the lawyer to be (he pulled one of the books off the shelf and started gingerly flipping through it)

El, the lawyer to be (he pulled one of the books off the shelf and started gingerly flipping through it)

In general it was just really great to catch up and see where everyone was at. It was also really cool to hear how the different projects are going with the UCBC community in Beni. In the eight months since I was there, the solar panels finally arrived (they were a long time coming), a business idea for a coffee company called Café Kivu became reality, and the Sharing the Land project (mapping land conflict) has taken leaps and bounds and is opening up to more partnerships and funding to increase the scope. It made me wish I was there to be involved in all of these exciting initiatives! On the morning of the 27th we said our farewells and I made the long drive home. One journey would move right into the next because the following day I caught a plane to London to attend my first ever conference! That will be for my next post!

Fairy door?!? I want one!

Fairy door?!? I want one!

3 Responses to “Ann Arbor Reunion”

  1. Re the last PIC comment – you and Jen both, I’m thinking.

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