Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Mother's Day Surprise

I went to Wisconsin this past weekend to surprise my mom for Mother's Day. It was really a surprise for everyone though since I kept my visit a secret for the most part. I only told a few friends, though I sort of hinted at it in my Friday Favorites post from last week with this photo. ;)

My friend Brian picked me up from the airport in Madison and we hung out for a while until he had to go to work.


We had breakfast at Sunroom Cafe (my favorite!) and then we walked up and down State Street and decided to stop for ice cream. I was surprised to see they had vegan options, so I tried the raspberry chocolate chip. It was delicious! (Brian totally refuses to let people take normal photos of him...)

I spent a few hours at Starbucks while Brian was at work, feeling antsy and drinking way too much chai, watching the minutes go by ever so slowly on the clock.
When it was finally time to pick him up, we packed up the car and headed to Racine.

I surprised my dad first since my mom wasn't home, and he was on the phone with a friend when I walked in the door. He literally dropped the phone on the floor before standing up to hug me!
After the shock wore off, we planned out how we should surprise my mom when she got home. I decided I'd hide in our kitchen pantry and my dad would have her sit down and pretend he had an early Mother's Day gift for her.
It worked flawlessly. I jumped out on the count of three and she screamed and cried and squeezed me for a good 10 minutes before letting go. It was a great feeling, and I'm so glad I was able to make her happy!
The rest of the weekend was nice. I saw lots of friends and hung out with my family. The weather was beautiful and I think I made great use of my short time there.


We went out for breakfast Sunday morning at the usual spot. My little brother is 13 and getting taller every day. I was exactly his height at Christmas and now he's taller than me! I don't like it one bit. He's actually coming out to DC next month with school and I'm chaperoning for a day. Can't wait to see him again! (I surprised my other brother that morning; he had no idea I was in town either.)


We all got a little pink that afternoon in the backyard. My other brother (I have four, haha) came over to see me and we sat around and talked for a few hours. It's strange how you can be away for so long, but it only takes a few minutes to feel comfortable again with the ones you love, like nothing ever changed.


I miss Wisconsin. I like it here in DC, but there's a certain normalcy and calm I feel when I'm back home that I just can't seem to find here. I miss how simple it was to get in my car and drive ten minutes to Lake Michigan whenever I wanted. I miss being so close to the water. I miss sitting on the rocks, listening to the waves crash over and over again. I miss driving to the park, reading in the sun, and shopping at the countless thrift stores scattered throughout the state. I miss living in a real neighborhood. I miss how quiet it was at night, and how well you could see the stars compared to here. I miss the pretty green landscape, and sometimes I even miss the snow.
I don't want to say I don't love DC for being just the opposite, because I definitely do; I just know comfort and simplicity hold a huge part of my heart, and a part of me will always long for that kind of life, just as much as a part of me will always long for adventure and a new city to explore. I will be forever torn between comfort and chaos.

Ah, but that is life I suppose, and I don't regret leaving. As my hero Christopher McCandless once wrote, "The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
I come back to that quote often because I find a lot of truth in it. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and moved across the country with no real plan. Even though I may never find the right or best path for myself, I know I'll feel better about my life for having tried, and I'm so happy to have parents who support me every step of the way. The world is far too big and exciting to stay comfortable in one place, don't you think?
Plus, it also makes surprise visits that much more meaningful...

Happy Mother's Day, mom.
Thank you for giving me roots, and for giving me wings.


  1. I can somewhat relate to what you are describing in your post. I lived abroad for eight years. In the end I moved back to my home country. But I also need to be 'torn between comfort and chaos' and therefore I do a weekend away per month and go on vacation several times a year. It's always nice to go somewhere new and then return to the familiar cosy home.

  2. That's wonderful! I've lived abroad since 2000 and don't get to see family much. Am really glad you got to go see them, marvelous pictures!! xx

  3. thanks for sharing all the lovely photos. i have never been to wisconsin, but i am originally from the DC metropolitan area. i would love to go to wisconsin to see the difference. i am sorry you are missing it though. such is the world now though. always traveling, moving, discovering new places, maybe disliking them even. i missed america a lot at the beginning when i moved abroad, but now i feel like THIS (berlin) is home and i would not want to live anywhere else. thanks for sharing that great quote from McCandless!

    xx rae

  4. AWWWW! SO sweet! best surprise ever. I love that quote so much.
    You have FOUR brothers!? crazy!

  5. I share these sentiments completely! I grew up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota and now live in Chicago. The big city can feel a little impersonal at times, but I'm glad I know what the small town mentality feels like so that I can incorporate that in my life here.

    Found your blog through Sheepish Knit and Crochet, putting you in my google reader now :)


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