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A holiday     

Posted by Katherine Putnam on July 24th, 2012

“Work? No. Today’s gonna be a holiday.”

Whew! We’re back from vacation. Miss us?

We were blessed with a two week summer holiday filled with visits with our friends and family who are scattered throughout North Carolina, Florida, and Virgina. Surprisingly, I remembered to take my camera; unsurprisingly, I did not take a lot of pictures. So without further ado, and with very little photographic evidence, here’s a run down of the past two weeks:

Chris’s parents arrived at our apartment on Saturday, July 7th, and we relaxed with a cooperative board game and drool-inspiring take-out from Chef Wong’s. (My penny-pincher alarms were already ringing and vacation hadn’t even started yet!)

Sunday was a fairly long day of driving as we traveled to the Asheville area of North Carolina to visit Chris’s brother, Tim, at the camp where he works. The drive felt especially long when we hit a stop-and-go traffic jam. While I was driving the car. The manual car. That’s right folks, I “learned” to drive stick shift for this trip. My car’s old enough that we prefer to use Chris’s for longer trips, and this trip was going to involve so much driving that I knew I needed to buckle down and learn (I’d been putting it off) so I could take some of the driving burden off Chris’s shoulders. And I use quotes for “learned” because I have by NO MEANS mastered the dubious art of driving stick. So getting stuck in a stop-and-go highway traffic jam with me behind the wheel? Not fun. Not fun at all. The best part was that the entire ordeal took place on a the-gradient-is-so-slight-that-you-don’t-realize-what’s-going-on-until-you-start-rolling-backwards-as-you-attempt-to-start-driving-again hill. Yeah. But we lived to tell the tale, and arrive in Asheville, where we met Tim for dinner and a stroll around the downtown area. We then followed Tim back to Hendersonville, where the camp is located, to settle in for our visit.

Monday through Wednesday were spent: enjoying the (surprisingly good) camp food; taking a hiking tour of the camp, guided by Tim; sampling some of the delicious eateries in Hendersonville (a delectable deli, incredible ice-cream, and tasty Thai); hitting up a Hendersonville theater to see Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (so quirky and fun!); and generally chillin’ out, maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool.

Thursday we hit the road again for the trek to Florida. (Chris’s parents left on Wednesday to attend a medical conference.) Frustrations arose on this leg of the journey as it appeared it was taking three hours (or more) longer than it should to reach our destination of Lake Wales. Not to mention, at one point our GPS unexpectedly re-routed us off the main highway and onto the roads of a million tolls. (It was also frustrating that the aforementioned lake contained neither whales, nor Wales.) After arriving at Chris’s gradmother’s, we jumped on Google Maps and figured out part of the problem: our GPS had projected the wrong arrival time from the start. (We still don’t know why it suddenly re-routed us.) Though we admit that getting frustrated at all was an unnecessary waste of emotional energy (what happened to that releasing my frustrations to God resolution?), we figured out that we would have been far LESS frustrated at the drive had we had an accurate picture, from the start, of how long it would take. As it was, we really only missed the projected “shortest time” by an hour or so, instead of the multiple hours we thought we somehow added on.

Technological and timing-related frustrations aside, we spent Friday through Sunday visiting Chris’s family in the Lake Wales area. I finally got to meet his cousin Becky and her family when they treated us to a mouth-watering spread of Turkish food. Said food was prepared for us by Becky’s husband, Serkan. Guess where he’s from? Also present were their adorable daughter, Dilara, and their wee one-month-old, Evren. I did not have the presence of mind to snap pictures of anything prior to Lake Wales, or any of our visits with Chris’s family, but I did remember to pull out the camera when we visited Bok Tower Gardens, where Chris’s grandmother volunteers. We found a few blooms to snap pictures of, for the purpose of someday adding to our flower-collage wall-art, but I’ll spare you those for now and simply show a few shots of the tower and our walk ’round the gardens.


Saturday, July 14th we also took an all-too-brief sojourn in Orlando where we visited with Dave at Downtown Disney. (Disney and booze: not a combination that had ever crossed my mind.) I managed a few pictures of the mind-boggling Lego creations outside the, you guessed it, Lego store, but once again forgot to snap any pictures of people. Whoops.


We see Dave far too rarely, so it was a lot of fun to catch up with him and, of course, talk a lot about movie and television obsessions. And web series. (We’re making “Long Distance,” right Dave?)

Monday, July 16th we took a pit stop at Siesta Key Beach on our way to Sarasota to visit the Bush branch of the Roten clan. Siesta Key is a terrifically beautiful beach and I look forward to visiting it again one day when it isn’t overcast and raining. Ah well. We had a few hours of reading and wading before the rain forced us off the beach.

My darling cousin Danielle put us up for a few days and allowed us to loaf about to our hearts’ content. We spent our time playing with her adorable pup (Rupert, who looks like the cutest little Ewok you ever saw), learning The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, discovering some of Sarasota’s great eateries, and–naturally–talking (a lot). Bless Chris’s heart for putting up with our gab and girly-movies, huh? We get to see my Floridian relations far less than I like, so it was great to visit with Danielle and Aunt Diane, and to see Michael, Amanda, and their spouses for the first time in what felt like forever.

Thursday we spent our last Floridian vacation day back in Lake Wales, enjoying yet another lovely dinner with Becky’s family, before rising way too early on Friday for the drive to Richmond, Virginia. Since I have a (healthy, I swear!) obsession with Young House Love, I looked to their blog for recommendations on where to dine (find their Richmond top fives here). We decided on The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing and were not disappointed. The experience included great food, great views, great service, and great timing (we sat outside, as you can see below, and it started to rain right as we got our check). Maybe one day we’ll get to go back to Richmond for a longer visit and explore some of the other “top five” recommendations.


Saturday (July 21st, if you’re keeping track) we made it to our last stop, Arlington, to visit Adam. We convinced him that it would be the world’s best idea ever to lunch with us at a Bolivian restaurant we found downtown. And when I say Bolivian restaurant, I mean an Italian restaurant that also serves Bolivian food on the weekends. Say wha??? We’re not sure what story stands behind that decision, as the awesome food kind of made us stop caring. For one fantastic meal I was reunited with my favorite part of Bolivia: the silpancho. Everybody say it with me (in the requisite Teen Girl Squad voice): “sooooo good!” The boys each took on the pique a lo macho. (Which is also tasty, but does not tempt me away from silpancho.) We regret that we were too full to partake of any saltenas. Next time?


After lunch we ended vacation with a showing of The Dark Knight Rises which, while flawed, was an awesome end to Nolan’s trilogy. Less awesome was saying good bye to Adam and driving back to real life. Still, I’m square enough to enjoy a return to routine. Vacations wear me out, man!

Now it’s back to real life and, boy, have we jumped right off the deep end. Between ho-hums like car repairs and the excitement-slash-anxiety of looking into a few (possible, tantalizing, too-early-to-even-mention-them-because-the-applications-aren’t-even-finished) job opportunities are bigger shake ups like applying for pre-approval, securing a buying realtor (our wonderful Sunday school leader, Bob), and starting the search for our first home!

Picture me equal parts excited and scared you-know-what-less.

It’s such a big, new, complicated, expensive step, so naturally I’m freaking out a little bit. (Little?) I have to keep reminding myself that God’s in control, to be open to His will (instead drowning Him out with my own desires), and to relax in the knowledge that both our lender and realtor are Godly men from our church who have helped other young couples from our small group secure their first houses. Not to mention, our families are kind of awesome, what with their wisdom, knowledge, advice, support, etc.

Nervous rambling aside, I ask that you please keep us in prayer as we embark on this process!


Katherine Elyse

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