Cory and I flew out to Pennsylvania for a quick weekend trip with his family. It wasn't "just because" or anything like that, but when original plans fell through, we decided to make the best of what was already booked and paid for, especially since he hadn't been back home in almost two years. And boy was his family excited for him to be there!
We flew into Baltimore (for reasons unbeknownst to me - I didn't book any of the flights nor was I in control of any of the plans of what we'd be doing the entire weekend) on Friday (9/11 - no pressure). It had been probably seven years since Cory last flew on a plane, and this was the first time in my adult life that I had flown - the last time was when I was in the 6th grade (talk about a lifetime ago)! We woke up freakishly early (2AM) and had a layover in Dallas. So the first flight for both of us was literally 38 minutes at 5 o'clock in the morning. Ha!
After several more hours and a time zone change later, we arrived in Baltimore where Cory's parents drove to pick us up.
I was so excited to be on the east coast and experience the cool air, beautiful scenery and do what the locals do. However, I had to keep reminding myself that this trip was NOT for me. It wasn't a "vacation" in which we'd do all the touristy things and see all of the big hot spots that the area is known for. Instead, we took care of some errands that needed to be dealt with and then headed back to his parents' house - and arrived 6 hours later. After a stop for Dramamine and stiff legs, we finally reached our destination. And after a quick stretch of our legs, we hopped back in the car to visit Cory's grandparents. His dad's mom had found out from his uncles and was very happy to see him, and it was great meeting her as well. After that visit, we continued on down the road to see his mom's parents - the grandparents he was closest to growing up. They had NO IDEA Cory was home for the weekend. When they saw him walk through the house they were so happy and excited. I honestly can't even put it into words how surprised and ecstatic they were! It almost brought tears to my eyes to see all of them light up, including Cory. It was honestly so heartwarming to experience and sit in on so many stories of his childhood. A blessing, for sure.
After a quick visit with them (it was getting late), we headed back to his parents' house and enjoyed the rest of the evening, and by "enjoyed" I mean that I took a hot shower, ate a few slices of pizza and went to bed. I was exhausted! That many hours on planes and in cars pretty much did me in. The next morning was a home cooked breakfast, and Cory's grandparents came over to join us. I slept in as late as possible and then enjoyed a delicious meal. I feel like that's what I did all weekend - ate, ate, and ate some more. We all sat around afterwards and enjoyed each other's company. Everyone was so excited to be sitting with Cory and talking about his adventures in Texas and to really just be with him in person for a little while.
The entire trip, Cory was bound and determined to go shooting and show me their property on the mule. The only downside? It was pouring rain! But instead of deterring him, it only motivated him more. So, we geared up, grabbed some guns, filled water jugs to shoot at, and headed out. And I haven't had that much fun in AGES! I admit it wasn't the best at first. I was grouchy, it was raining and cold, and I didn't have the first clue what I was doing. However, once we got going and I got up my nerve to actually shoot, it was a blast!
7 shots and 7 hits - beginner's luck or skill? I'd say skill - just sayin! I shot a rifle and a shotgun and didn't miss once! I was shocked, honestly. And proud. Cory was also proud and kept smiling and laughing. We seriously had the best time! It got cut a little shorter than we would've liked by some of Cory's friends coming by the house to see him, so we headed back, dried off, and visited with one of his childhood friends and her family for a while. Once they left, we geared up again, this time with my camera, to take some pictures of Pennsylvania and for more adventures on his mule. It was great to get some alone time with him while we were there and to just talk about how happy he was to be back for a while and to show me around where he grew up. We absolutely had a blast!
*sorry for the photo dump! actually, no I'm not. Every single one of these photos are magical to my photography-loving heart*
We headed back to the house, packed our bags, and headed out back to Baltimore. We had a 7AM flight Sunday morning and it was a 3 1/2 hour drive, so we got a hotel room for Saturday night in Baltimore. We arrived really late (11:30PM) and I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow. The next morning was another early one as we got ready for the day and then caught a shuttle over to the airport. Then, before we knew it, we were boarding another plane to head back to Texas. And just like that, our trip to Pennsylvania had come and gone.
We had zero difficulties with all of our flights except for the last one from Dallas to Austin. It was delayed due to some mechanical difficulties, but we still made it to ATX by noon. After making our way to the car, paying for parking, and driving back to Cory's place, I was beyond exhaustion. We grabbed some food, got back to his place, and I got in my car to drive another hour home. I think it was somewhere around 3:30PM when I finally walked into the door of my parents' house. And then I got sick. Like, really sick. I was in and out of sleep, running to the restroom, and in complete misery for well over 12 hours. I don't know if it was what I ate or all of the traveling or what did me in, but something hit me HARD. And that's what I dealt with all day yesterday.
In all, it was a great trip, and I got to see where Cory is from and lived all his life. It was truly a blessing to see him in his element and experience this past weekend with him and his family. Although it wasn't ideal circumstances, I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I think it was something we both needed and truly enjoyed.