So as we get closer to our departure day all the last moments and final goodbyes are happening and I don’t feel ready for it. This morning started with goodbyes to two of our friends Mark and Alicia. Scott and Mark met teaching at Lafayette High School and we have hung out not nearly enough! We all get along so well. They have been such great friends and it was sad to say goodbye after a nice Sunday brunch at the Tuscarora Inn:

I am ok with living in a new culture, eating new food, and being in a new place but leaving family and friends behind has been the biggest sacrifice. Tonight we celebrated my Grandpa’s birthday, and while we were all sitting around outside my grandpa looked at all of us and said how blessed him and my grandma feel – to have so much family, so much love, and to be so close is the best blessing of all. It’s nights like these that I am ever so sad to leave. Like grandpa said, I am so blessed:

Getting into the hammock was a challenge!

Much better!

A failed attempt at a family hammock picture!

Notice how in the picture above Scott doesn’t fit, I’m nervous about falling, my brother and mother have no idea that this picture is a failure (or is my brother making that face to further ruin yet another family picture?), and my father is about to fall over – classic! So now the quest for some better family pictures:

Did I say better pictures? Oh well . . .

Well – almost better . . .

Not quite a perfect family picture . . .

There we go! A nice family photo!

When grandma brought out grandpa’s cake she said that it was her most perfect layered cake yet! The cake didn’t split and there were no cracks when the second layer was put on – so we decided that it only took her 83 years to perfect the recipe!! Look at that beautiful cake:

Scott and I are so thankful to be blessed with such a wonderful family. Of course tears welled up in my eyes and do even now as I think about them. Only 10 months until we all get together again and I cannot wait!