The Great Escape

After we passed the border, we landed in New York State and had a good time visiting with Nelson and Amy. Some of the horse and buggy Mennonites from New York had organized a big yard sale so we decided to visit this big happening. I wanted to buy a bonnet so this was the perfect place to do so. I went for a nice blue one with flowers; it was the biggest I could find. The horse and buggy Mennonites weren’t the kindest Mennonites I ever met (at first sight) so we quickly went to Juniata County, Pa. In Juniata we stayed at the place of the famous whoopie pies, Leroy and Mary’s. After looking at Uncle Leroy and Aunt Mary’s photo on our fridge for some years it was nice to see them in real life.
After I saw the Amish in buggies in Ohio I needed to see the Amish close up and possibly even talk to them. Anna, Joy’s mom, has two siblings which are still living the Amish lifestyle. One of them, Uncle Aden, has a shoe shop. So we went to the shoe shop and visited with Joy’s cousins and aunts and uncles. I asked if I could take photos of the workshop where they repair the shoes. It was quite amazing how they run every machinery with air pressure. We then visited Uncle Aden’s house to find Mr. Aden himself.  He did not recognize Joy, for it was seven years ago since Joy saw her Amish relatives. Uncle Aden was making blueprints for houses and barns and told us all about it- he had a big Dewalt battery lamp hanging above his sketches. After that visit we went on to Aunt Suzie. We knocked on her door and her response was quite the opposite as the minutes of thought that Aden needed to realize who he was staring at. “Mary Joy!” she yelled with her eyes as big as tea cups. We visited with her a little and stepped in the car to finally return to our home.
So there you are! I had some time with  real Amish. And real Amish are real people, they just live without electricity, they drive their their and wear funny heads. But you know what? That is something only few people can do in this world. We are so busy doing our stuff, checking out Facebook and playing angry birds. Sometimes I wish I could just hop into my buggy and milk a cow!


back to the red, white and blue

We were met by the usual warm, courteous border agent which we’ve come to expect on our returns to the USA.  After a few gruff questions he informed us we get to go inside to meet his colleagues, so we had to park the car and take the crosswalk to the station, floor 2.  One of us waddled conspicuously in front of rows of waiting cars and one of us loped along patiently.  After a little wait, another security zone, more gruff personal questions and the elevator ride back downstairs, we were released.  We walked back to our car but halfway there, we noticed a huge German Shepherd was inside our car and all the doors were shut.  Hj’s guitar was on the roof of the car, and a border patrol was doing laps around our little Legacy, signaling to the dog inside to sniff out every inch of our belongings.  We stood awkwardly a few yards away wondering where our place in the world was just then, with that uncomfortable feeling you get watching someone dig through your underwear drawer without permission.  As soon as we were noticed cuddling in the parking lot, we were ordered inside again into another waiting room, while the dog and the lady were joined by several more agents who joined the search of our car.  I suppose they didn’t realize it’s normal protocol in our family to leave cheese and paring knives on the seats, and we normally pack in boxes and baskets rather than suitcases.  I wanted to explain that the underwear left on top of the guitar was clean, it had just lost its way from the dryer.  Hj didn’t think explanations were appropriate, so I could only hope the puppy made it clear what was what.  We were eventually re-released without explanations or welcomes, both of which were promised on a little sign on the wall.  If the Department of Homeland Security reads our blog, I wonder what will happen next time we try to enter the USA.
Conclusion of day 6: “New York Welcomes You” are just words on a sign
Toll paid: 33.90$ at 8 different toll booths
Roadkills: (caused by our red Subaru) 0
Found Bungee straps: 3
Parking fees: $64


Lets do some Photo’s

I am having a hard time to make these pictures look nice and professional.
So I will just make them look a little less professional and write the comments here all at once. Excuse us for the inconvenience and the extra scrolling.

Nom, nom, nom. This is Chicago. This is the bean, in Chicago. We made it to Canadia.
We made it to John and Erica’s farm. We visited Toronto. The end.






The road is long and windy

At the moment I am sitting in the shotgun seat. We just ate a maple flavored breakfast at Tim Hortons and are now heading towards Canadian soil. This road trip is going very well, so far. We are doing the things we love and seeing some great sights. Joy is doing great and Pommy is clearly adjusting to our impulsive life style. Our little red subaru is still damage free and is trucking along. The A.C is slowly dying and the rearview mirror is getting a loose neck but for the rest we can’t complain. We break up our time on the road a lot and drive about 4/5 hours a day.
Yesterday we took our time to visit Chicago and I am glad we did.  Chicago is a great city with lots of nice architecture. It is an old city and for American standards that is quite a big deal. The one thing I liked about the city was that is was a city, a real city. Not like Charlotte that looks like a town with some tall buildings. Chicago is fun and has a big city feel to it. The next big city we’ll visit is Toronto.


The Lost Bonnet

I am almost sorry to once again write you about the Amish. My fascination of the Amish did not go away just yet and actually increased. Now I came up with an idea to write a novel about the Amish, with the title “The Lost Bonnet”. It’s about a boy who is in search of his mom’s bonnet which she lost on a hot day while harvesting carrots.
Anyway, we made it to Michigan. The outdoor wedding was very nice and hot. In many ways it reminded us of our own wedding.
Today we went to church with the Stutzmans. The church is Pentecostal but a good bit of the congregation used to be Amish. As the service went on I looked to my right and saw an Amish family. Right in front of  them was a black boy jumping around. The boy had lights in his shoes and when ever he jumped the lights started flashing. The two Amish boys were looking at him with fascination  and gave him some good staring. Joy actually had a word for the Amish lady and ended up encouraging them a lot. We had a lovely day with most of the Stutzman family and I played my first real American baseball game, which was fun. Tomorrow were heading for Chicago and then Canada is up!

Toll payed: 15.50$ at 5 different toll booths
Roadkills: (caused by our red Subaru) 0
Found Bungee straps: 2
Job offers at a country restaurant: 1
Different ways Hj’s name was pronounced: 7




Road Trip !

I wish I could not be so fascinated by the Amish but i can’t help it, I’m flabbergasted.
We are on this road trip, you see. We left Spruce Pine this morning (May 17th) to cruise (without cruise control) to Canada and back.
Tomorrow we have a wedding to attend and after that it is free for all. The wedding is in Michigan so we broke up the drive and are now in Ohio, Amish Country.
We ate fried chicken and beet-juice soaked eggs with our friends David and Mary at an Amish restaurant. When I asked one of the waiters if it was an Amish tradition to play the same song over and over again he looked at me puzzled (clearly not getting my (hilarious) joke) and told me to ask the lady at the front desk. Anyhow, the most amazing part is yet to come. The (scenic) drive back through the country was where I was so amazed about all the Amish freely doing their thing. Sure, I’ve read about the Amish and even seen some. But it always seemed like a fairytale, something that only happens because of tourism. But not here. We saw kids playing volleyball, having the time of their life. The girls were wearing bonnets and colorful cape dresses. Shortly after that we saw a teenage boy driving a buggy full of hay, wearing long hair, no beard and the Amish head! The roads were filled with big, but simple houses and lots of farms, quite the scene and very beautiful. The first day of our road trip is accomplished. Many more to come– we’ll keep you posted.

Conclusion of day1: Amish are real
Toll payed: 6$ at 3 different toll booths
Roadkills: (caused by our red Subaru) 0
Found Bungee straps: 0
Additions to the family: 1 My sister had a baby girl today!
Toiletbreaks: 3 (Joy used the potty twice at every stop)