Welcome to Back to the U.S.A.: My Two Weeks Doing Everything Michigan

Costa Rica was wonderful; a chapter in our life we will fondly look back on, but it was most certainly time for us to leave (while still on good terms). The rainy season was beginning to hit full stride, I was aching for comforts of Michigan and quite simply, there was no space left on my body for the hordes of mosquitoes that plagued the house constantly. So off to Michigan, from whom we have been away 5 months, for some recharging until our next chapter.

This is no simple transition, or vacation if you will, it is a systematic process that involves a lot of planning. There is a list of things to accomplish, family and friends to see, and honestly, just a lot of Michigan to soak up.

This is said journey.

We are very lucky to have one of those friends who are not only willing to pick you up from the airport but actually suggests it – and provide you with a bed to sleep in. We were picked up by said friend, the wonderful Jeff, and promptly taken to an establishment in Clarkston, MI for some American grub. The Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen had a vast array of local microbrews (something on my list), great ambiance, and amazing macaroni and cheese (the first of many cheese-centered meals, also on my list).

By this point I, who cannot for whatever reason sleep on planes, had been awake for about 48 hours and once fed was ready to pass out. It sounds ridiculous, it was, but we felt that staying up all night was better than waking up very early for a 3am pick-up for the airport.

After what felt like a blink of the eye we had breakfast with Jeff at The Golden Harvest. Blaring dub-step, stuff on the walls and toys on the tables, this place kicks out one killer breakfast – something many know, as made evident by the every growing line outside the establishment.

Captain Crunch Coated French Toast – served with a generous portion of hashbrowns and meat of your choice

Not only do we have one generous person willing to transport us, we have three. Jeff too us to East Lansing where Nick’s brother and sister-in-law took us from there.

Have I expressed at all how lucky we are to have these amazing people in our lives?

After breakfast, Chelsea and Aaron picked us up and we hit up one of our favorite sushi places: Sansu. When we were living in Mount Pleasant it was not unusual for us to drive the hour (one-way) just to grab a bite, so needless to say this trip was extra special and overdue.

Miso Soup, Salad with Peanut Dressing, Noodles, and Green Tea (not shown: the sushi I devoured)

We ate, we reconnected, and we relaxed, enjoying looking at how far we’ve come since the last time we had eaten at Sansu. The total trip back to Traverse City takes three hours from East Lansing so we made one pit-stop in Mount Pleasant for more reminiscing and gas. The drive back is one we have made countless times and have come to dread but this time we talked the whole way. It felt so good to be doing something so familiar.

The rest of our time:

A day with A+C: TC Farmer’s Market for beach snacks, Mary’s Kitchen Port for gobblers, North Bar for a swim, and Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate for fudgesicles

Hanging out with family and friends, beachside

Radiohead concert at the Palace

Some serious brother-brother, sister-sister time

and unbeatable sunsets

Homemade pizza night with top-notch ingredients from Folgarellis Deli, featuring mom’s favorite wine

Not pictured:

  • Two family get-togethers filled with food, hugs, and reconnecting
  • Glow Bowling
  • Tacos and fruit-cups at Aaron’s soccer games
  • Father’s day BBQs
  • Michigan beer and wine
  • Eating a lot of cheese (oh how I’ve missed you…)
  • Boating and swimming in the Bay
  • Running, tennis, shootn’ hoops, and surprise softball
  • Eating sushi twice in 1 day

Our time home feels like a dream – did that really happen, is it really time to move again? It was overwhelming, but there is no avoiding that, and I don’t think we would have done it differently.

 – Jes


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