Monday, August 30, 2010

And, in the End, the Love you Take is Equal to the Love you Make...

Well, I said I would write one last blog for this trip and here it belatedly is.

We made it all the way to Maryland and stood on an Ocean all of us had seen all our lives like we had never seen such a thing before. We ran in and posed for pictures and took videos and loaded up our stuff to go get some well deserved dinner. Pacella, being the psycho that he is, insisted on biking to his front door and nearly beat us there because he was racing a car full of lollygaggers.

After arriving at Pacella's house we were greeted with delicious crab cakes. Half of us showered and headed out for celebratory drinks and a walk on the boardwalk downy ocean hon.

The next day we watched the second Lord of the Rings because we're all giant nerds and Mike German, Jesse and I set off for home after an awkward goodbye. I mean, how could it be anything but awkward. All of us didn't even know one another before this trip started. Then we spent two continuous months together and then we all went back to our separate lives. We shook hands and congratulated one another on a good trip well done and off we went.

I called home to let them know we were coming like a good daughter apparently surprising them greatly because our plans had changed so many times people thought down was up and up was down. I very politely with all sorts of sugar asked my parents to add us onto their dinner plans and they ever so graciously consented. I was expected them to throw some extra burgers on the grill or something of that nature. Something easy, but oh no. Not my parents. We show up and my father has cooked an entire turkey dinner: Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, broccoli. Delicious. He told me if I had given him more than 3 hours warning he would have had some stuffing too. My dad makes fantastic turkey dinners.

He also makes fantastic Apple Pies, one of which just so happened to be cooking in the oven while dinner was being prepared.

This is not to mention the balloons and signs and card with a dinosaur and hot air balloons and a mini car painted just like our baam mobile and flowers and chocolates put out by my mother.

So we had a dinner that couldn't be beat and Mike and Jesse after lots of hugs set off for Western Maryland with bellies full and I'm guessing barely a care in the world. Life is hard.

I turned off my phone, shut off my computer and went about visiting everyone within a 2 hour radius of my house. I most especially did not look at anything BAAM related for quite a while.

Well I didn't have long to rest and neither did the guys.

Mike Pacella moved into his new apartment in Baltimore City and has since started his graduate level work. It didn't take him long to get back on his bike (try less than 48 hours) and he will most likely be rather unreachable indefinitely while he works for twelve hours straight doing science and biking like a psycho. I think he's rather happy.

Jesse crow has moved back to UMBC for his next semester. He's working as an Maintenance Assistant putting all that construction experience to good use and apparently UMBC is as ready as it'll ever be for it's new crop of freshmen.

As an aside, have you seen what they've done to the campus? I'm so glad I got out of there before they ripped open the streets with construction plans. Have fun Jesse!

Mike German got back and saw everyone about as much as I did. Consequently, because we have a lot of the same friends we were hanging out the next day... and the day after, but definitely not the day after that.

He had to get all his hanging out and visiting done right quick because Papa Bear is taking over Pennsylvania. He moved up to somewhere, I want to say Bethlehem because I seem to remember being told he was moving to Bethlehem and snorting. Right, so he is now moved in with a nice young couple with a baby. He's only broken glass around the baby once so far, which is pretty good, and hasn't yet ripped off one of their toilet seats, even though it was a near thing.

He'll be studying environmental engineering something or another and saving the world one person at a time with whatever brilliant idea strikes his fancy. He is super happy to be back in school and using his mind again.

As another aside, we are only about 400 dollars away from our fundraising goal of 8,000!!!! We're actually going to do what we set out to do, isn't that neat? A big huge thanks to everyone who contributed including, but not limited to: friends (many of whom don'e have much to begin with themselves), family, churches, Anna Crow specifically (because of her super awesome fundraiser that boosted us up over 1000 dollars), local businesses along the way, and everyone else ever in the whole wide world. We're feelin' the love.

As for me, I got back and had a week of interviews with the Americorps Program, Public Allies. My favorite placement was in Laurel learning how to do casework and organize holiday programs. To my extreme fortune and pleasure they offered me a position as an Ally with them doing just that. I start in October and I can't wait to pretend to be a real person for awhile.

Well, standing around idle didn't really suit me (I use the term standing around lightly, I visited practically everyone I knew in Maryland and attended a wedding). I got rather antsy, so I took off for New England to visit everyone I knew and didn't even know I knew and everyone else in between that I might be able to rustle up.

I started out going to a casino in New York with my cousin Jim, them hop skipping over to Maine to visit Meaghan and her grandmother, now I'm in Connecticut visiting Alicia, a girl I backpacked in the Grand Canyon with. I'll be back when my time or my money runs out. It'll have to be soon because I promised I'd hop skip down to Atlanta to see Mr. David Tatum while I had the time.

Oh the lighthouses are so beautiful. I love lighthouses, they are so whimsical. All I need is a hot air balloon and a cup of tea and my life will be perfect.

Things everyone should know:

The majority of people are good and like you and me. I use good lightly without a capital G. No one is good good good good good. I just mean that most people are not the ones you see on the Nightly News for murder. The reason such people make the news is because they're so rare and interesting. Most people are just going about their lives however they choose to make them and when you show up they talk nicely to you about your travels and sometimes offer you a floor to sleep on if you ask and talk nicely in return.

Which brings me to point number two: most people are willing to help one another out, especially if you're a stranger in a strange land, and as it seemed to me on this trip, the less people had the more they were willing to give, from the kind people who cooked us food in a small town in Nevada to the nice people in Appalachia who drove by and rolled down their windows to make sure we had already been taken care of.

Point Number Three: We met so many people who expressed wishes of traveling like we did. We met a lot of people with a lot of dreams and while life will most definitely prevent some of them as goals and circumstances change, I just wanted to say that the biggest thing you have to do in order to do something like take a renegade cross country fund raising trip or open your own shop or travel to another country, the biggest hurdle is giving yourself permission to do it. If you decide you want to and then actually decide to do it, it's much easier than you think. It's when you build it up so big in your mind as Something For Other People that it becomes something unattainable. You cut your legs off before you even start.

And that's all she wrote, folks.

Signed most sincerely to all who followed our journey,
One Shelly Kessler, nearly a real person and rather contrite for getting preachy (but it's for your own good)

P.S. Don't take my word for it, go and find out for yourselves.

P.P.S. ...and Papa Bear, Snuggles, Psycho and Superwoman went on to have many more adventures.

P.P.P.S. The End