Friday, August 13, 2021

Summer 2021 Recap

 As I mentioned in my previous post about my early summer road trip, 2021 has certainly been strange. In 2020, I think we expected things to be different and limited, but now in 2021, I think we had hoped that this pandemic would be over by now. But over a year later, I am getting ready to begin my third school year in this pandemic (end of the 2019-2020 school year that ended remotely, all of 2020-2021 school year which we did in person, but many schools did remotely, and now the 2021-2022 school year which many schools are going back in person but we are finding the same restrictions need to be in place as last year). 

This summer was fun and full, but I think my attitude at the beginning of the summer was: "whoo hoo! I'm vaccinated and survived a pandemic!" and by the end of this summer I'm just trying to take advantage of things as as much as I can before things get shut down for the fall and winter again (because people aren't getting vaccinated like we should and are still fighting masks after a year and a half!). My attitude has definitely shifted as I get ready to head back to school next week and deal with the realities of teaching in a pandemic AGAIN. 

On the bright side of things, though, I did get to do a lot more this summer because I am vaccinated and it was nice to feel "normal" for at least maybe a month or two :) 

I made sure to hit up all of my favorite places this summer. First up- the NCMA in Raleigh for their Art in Bloom exhibit!
Next up, I took to the mountains of VA for some thrift shopping, wine, and an eco-spa Air b n b!
Above: thrift store finds and below, Eco Spa and Winery out by Standardsville, VA

Norfolk, VA has become a summer staple for me. Below are some pics from the latest exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk. 

Above: Artist Auz Miles and below, artist dkane (@auz_can  and @_dkane)

Have to stop at the beach when down in Norfolk. This happens to be Buckroe Beach.

Then I went on my Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee road trip which you can read about in my last post, but I started in Memphis and ended in Jackson, MS. I did a lot of Civil Rights and Blues stops in between.
Above: Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum, Below: Stax Museum both in Memphis, TN.

Came back to VA for a couple of weeks to hang out with friends and win trivia! 
Then it was on to Ohio for my annual trip, this time to celebrate my parents' 70th bdays and my 40th all together. We had a "luau" for extended friends and family- many of whom we hadn't seen in over a year.
I also stopped in Pittsburgh on the way to Ohio and went to the Andy Warhol museum for the first time. 
I also did some weird Atlas Obscura things while in PA and OH. Below is Randyland in Pittsburgh, PA.

Some weird while I was in Ohio- the town of Wellington, OH turned into Blacksmith for a Netflix movie while I was there. And below is Other World in Columbus, OH. 
It was back to VA for a minute to again hang out with friends and hear some live music. I had gotten to hear some in Mississippi, but it was nice to go to some shows in VA again. Below is South for Winter which I got to hear on a rooftop in Richmond! Also went to hear Lucy Dacus and Bright Eyes in Charlottesville (not pictured). 
Next, I made my annual Philadelphia trip to see one of my best college friends and celebrate her partner's birthday. We played "Heads Up" on the patio...
Then I went up towards Allentown to see another college friend and his new house. We went to a winery as well :)
Then it was BACK to Ohio for a cousin's I am with my sister and my cousins....
And finally back to VA to finish summer the way that it started- with some art and some wine. 
Above: Alma Thomas exhibit at Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Below: Lost Planet interactive exhibit in Virginia Beach.

Above: Early Mountain Winery outside of Standardsville, VA (literally close to where I started my summer vacation) and below: Stone Mountain Winery with one of the best views I've had at a winery!

I am most grateful that I got to see so many friends and family members this summer. After a year of being separated and not able to travel, I was grateful to do all that I did this summer. I am hoping and praying that we do what we need to do (get vaccinated! wear masks!) so that we can eliminate this virus. The 2020s are off to a weird start for sure. 

Spiritually and personally/professionally,  I have been continuing the projects that I started in 2020. I've been continuing with my podcast, Seven Mile Chats, because it connects me with others and feeds me spiritually to hear others' takes on Scripture. I'm also continuing to blog and create social media posts for The Holy Ruckus and Live Today Well Collective. 

I continue to journal and pray about the Mass readings  and most recently the ones about Moses and the Israelites in the desert have really hit home. We perhaps feel like we've been "wandering in the desert" of this pandemic for 40+ years. God has still provided us with things along the way, but we need to do our part. I am trying to focus on the abundance that He has given- health, job, survival and even some thriving in this pandemic- and not grumble and complain as much as possible. We will see how long that lasts as the school year begins :)

Grateful for the things we have been able to do in 2021 even though it continues to be a weird year. And very grateful for a blessed summer in the midst of our second year of a pandemic.