Entries Tagged as 'Travel'

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Eckers Move East.

If I had been smart, I would have taken out my camera earlier into this process. I would have carried it around with me all summer, photographing the things I love (and now miss) about Minneapolis. On the other hand, I filled my phone with images while I was running around with all the wonderful souls who have put Minnesota permanently on the map of my heart. Still counts.

When we signed the lease for our apartment, it was before Gabe was offered his job, which is how he ended up down here before we were able to move in and I spent our last three weeks in Minneapolis alone packing up our house. I was overwhelmed at the prospect of course, but it ended up being the best thing for both of us. Moving creates so much stress that I honestly think it probably saved us from a lot of pointless, stupid fights. We each had the space and the time to focus on the tasks we had in front of us. All we were able to do from afar was cheer each other on as we dealt with the logistics (Gabe) and wrapped up everything we own in copious amounts of paper (me). Turns out we ended up in the roles that we excel at, so clearly the universe was looking out for us. Also, I pack like I wrap presents…with too much tape, just like my grandma.

When Gabe flew back, all we really had left was to run some errands, load the truck and say goodbye to our home of six years. Ha, I say that like it was easy. Well, the loading the truck part was easy because we have very kind and extremely gracious friends who helped us out. But the saying goodbye. Obviously that was never going to be easy. One of our last nights, we went to Punch Pizza, and I bawled my eyes out on my way home. And I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t about the pizza at all. Because it was mostly about the people and the place and the fact that I had called Minneapolis home for longer than I had anywhere else in my life. But it was a little bit about the pizza too. YOU GUYS. It’s so good.

Right before we left, the day that we were cleaning and finishing everything up, I walked through our empty house and it hit me how important this story is going to be in the grand scheme of our life together. We finally did the thing we had talked for so long about doing. We packed up our life, said “see you soon,” to the some of the very best people the world has to offer, and drove off to something new and completely unknown.

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Our first stop was in Chicago, where we got to see my parents one more time, our pets got to rest (and also be like, WHAT’S HAPPENING), and we got to watch The Weather Channel pretty much nonstop.

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Next, we stopped in Nashville. At this point, it was clear that Hurricane Matthew had other plans for us, so we booked another night in our luxe La Quinta accommodations and spent the following day exploring Franklin/spending time with our wonderful friends Amy and Steven and their two beautiful boys. I mean obviously it would have been preferable for there to be no hurricane at all, but we’d take any excuse for extra time with these folks.

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We made a firm decision to return to Nashville and made our way toward our next destination. The gorgeous drive sort of helped make up for having to leave such lovely people behind.

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Not bad for a rest stop, yeah?

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And then we were on to Greenville. We found an Airbnb there for a few nights while everything in and around Charleston was shut down (including the major highway going into it). Not a bad place to bum around for a weekend. There are, if you haven’t noticed by now, a lot of pictures of our pup. She now shares with Gabe the title of “favorite thing to photograph.” Also, she needed exercise, so we came with us everywhere.

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This is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Thank God for Total Wine (they carry it).

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Chuck got to run free all over the fenced-in acres of our temporary lodging. She was in heaven.

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This is the deluxe riding situation we set up for her in the backseat. Dog hammock, bed, blankets. She was a rockstar the whole way down.

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I just really appreciated the fact that there is a town that exists called Pumpkintown.

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On the way back.

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So turns out our Airbnb is also a certified wildlife refuge, and home to three sweet pups (one of which is a wolf dog named Koia, see below) and four gorgeous horses. You would have thought I had never seen horses before.

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Finally. This photo is probably too small to see, but that sign says: “welcome home.” And it’s one of the first things I saw upon entering Charleston.

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The remnants of almost a week on the road.

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After a long week of trying to figure out where we’re going to fit all of our stuff, we snuck away to the beach and introduced our girl Chuck to the ocean for the first time. She spent a decent amount of time just wanting to play volleyball with these guys in the background.

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More or less the state of things around here.

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The weather has been insanely beautiful every day since we arrived. Like one perfect summer day after another without a bit of humidity. From what we’ve been told, it broke early this year (probably due in no small part to the hurricane), so basically we joined everyone and their brother outside last Saturday, wandering around downtown soaking it up.

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Cool shirts, bros.

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I miss a lot about Minneapolis already, but I fell in love with Charleston hard and fast when I first stepped foot onto its cobblestone streets last year, and those feelings come rushing back every time I unbury myself from all the boxes and unwrapped paper long enough to enjoy it. Unpacking is temporary, I have to keep reminding myself. And this place is pretty damn magical. But I miss the people so much it makes my heart ache, and that is not temporary. That is another new part of life now that I need to get used to. But isn’t it kind of wonderful to have people in your life who mean so much to you that you hurt to be away from them? It’s a glorious kind of sadness, in a way. You can’t have those lows (where you find yourself somehow listening to Rick James and sobbing your way back home last Wednesday) without first having the beautiful highs.

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Anyway, life is crazy. And I live here now.

xo, M.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eight years, news and getting emotional over ice cream (no, I’m not pregnant).

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I may have told this story here before. There was a moment right before I married this man, eight years ago, when I stood completely alone. All my family, the wedding party, the guests, they had left to make their way to our ceremony site. And there I was, standing outside the suite where I got ready, waiting for the convertible to come back and pick me up. In that moment, without anyone or anything to distract me, I lost it. All the feelings and the nerves that had been building and bubbling up to the surface for the past eleven months burst out of me all at once. I was terrified. This day we had planned for, that in my infinite 22-year-old wisdom, I felt I was completely and totally ready for, was here. I was about to pledge to spend my life with a man who I loved and who loved me, but the full weight of FOREVER came crashing down on me and I couldn’t handle it. Imagine if you will the sweet proprietor of our venue, Cathy, driving back to pick me up and seeing me in the midst of an emotional meltdown. Now I know that she hadn’t hosted many weddings, and the ones she had were mostly for close friends and family. I was basically a stranger to her. But there was something about this woman, who claimed she could see Gabe’s aura the first time she met him, something otherworldly, yet very connected to the earth in this way that’s difficult to describe. At least that’s how it felt at that moment, when, upon finding me in my, uh, state, she knew exactly what to say. Honestly, I think she’s just one of those intuitive, wise, good-with-people people. But on that day, she seriously felt like an honest-to-God angel.

She got out of the car and hugged me and I apologized for sobbing all over her, and she told me something that I’ll never forget. Something I come back to time and time again when I think about that day when I made the decision to hitch my wagon to Gabe’s forever. She told me that I loved him. That I knew that to be true. She said that when I stood at the top of that aisle and saw him at the end of it, I would know that everything would be ok. And she was right, of course. I saw him waiting for me to join him and everything else didn’t really matter anymore. The wedding of it all, if you will. Being with him, that’s what mattered.

The reason I come back to that is because good LORD you have to. This business of being married is not easy. I find tremendous comfort in the fact that even though we have done a lot of changing over the past eight years (mostly for the better), underneath it all, we’re still those same kids, one of us not even old enough to drink, who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Regardless of whatever life throws at us, or whatever we throw at each other, at the very heart of this life we’re sharing is the truth that we chose each other that hot, August day in the middle of the plains of Minnesota, and together we can do anything.

And do anything we will, because finally, after eight years of plans almost coming to fruition and then falling apart at the last minute, we are leaving this place where our life together began and heading east. To Charleston, S.C.

This fall, on our own accord (looking at you, New York), we are packing up our Minneapolis life and driving toward the ocean until we can’t go any further. We’re starting again, for no other reason than that we can. And even though it is a frightening thing to move your life to a place where you don’t know anyone, we’ll be ok. Because, as Gabe reminds me over and over when I start to head into meltdown territory yet again, we’ll be together. And who knows, after talking about moving for so long, we could actually do it and then hate it. But we are so much stronger now than we were after one year of marriage when we thought we’d move to Raleigh, N.C. and put Gabe in school with no reciprocity. And we’re even stronger still than we were after 5 years of marriage, when we had a life in New York completely planned out and got the news that, we’re sorry, we cannot accept you at this time. Those dashed hopes have forged something greater, a better and more solid foundation on which our marriage is built. We’ve continued to come together when we could have fallen apart and I’m proud of the hard work we’ve put into our relationship thus far. Even if it doesn’t turn out like we hope, we’ll be alright. We’ll look forward to the next thing together, whatever that is.

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This is a very dark picture of the skyline.

 

Last Friday, I went over to the downtown Izzy’s to pick up a few pints because Lemon Basil Sorbet and Chocolate Cheesecake don’t come around nearly often enough in my opinion. Little did I know it was also their 16th birthday, and everyone got a free extra Izzy scoop, so naturally I couldn’t leave without eating some there and then. While I ate my ice cream, I walked up to that random hill in Gold Medal Park and sat and stared at my favorite view of the Minneapolis skyline. The Guthrie, the Gold Medal Flour sign, the Stone Arch Bridge. My relationship with Minnesota has been pretty complicated, as I’ve written about here before, but it hit me right then (maybe it’s because I was eating the new flavor, Dessa’s Existential Crunch?) that without even trying, and despite my yearly winter grouchiness, Minneapolis has become home. Without a trace of irony or reservation, I can say that I truly love this place. I love the people in it and I love what it has come to mean to me. There I was, sitting on that hill, getting ready to cry into my ice cream (crap, this post has just become a series of stories about times when I cried, hasn’t it? oh well, my name is Megan and I cry a lot.) because I finally got it. The point of all those times things didn’t work out and the reason why we’re ready to make it work now. Minnesota and I had to work out our shit. I had to tear down the walls I had built up around my heart and let it in. So I sent out my silent prayer of thanks to the Mississippi River and to Izzy’s Ice Cream, to the Riverview theater, to the countless nights spent running and walking around our amazing neighborhood, to Minnehaha Falls, to summer days spent on lakes and at cabins, to the snow and the cold and how it makes the warmth even sweeter, to Hola Arepa and the best cocktails around, to the beautiful souls that have come into my life because of this place, and to Owatonna, because without it, I wouldn’t have Gabe. I ate my ice cream, I let a few tears fall down my face and I sent out my love for this place into the ether. I thanked Minnesota for who it has made me.

And now I’m ready to let it go. Maybe not forever. Who knows? But I’m ready to find out who I am, who Gabe and I are together, somewhere new.

Here goes nothing.

xo, M

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