Maine is known as Vacationland for good reason!
Midsommar is a Swedish holiday celebrating the solstisc/midsummer. Complete with our flower adorned hair we watched people decorate the majastang, maypole, the 'little swedish dancers' perform their dances such as Danse al ering, and then joined in dancing around the majstag ourselves. This year there was a band and dance group that came all the way from Ourst, Sweden to dance and perform which was awesome. Usually my mom calls the Swedish dances but this year she didn't have to since the real swedes were here to do that.
Right after Midsommar I went to DC for YES Abroad's Pre-Departure Orientation which I detailed in the previous post. It was so great to be with all the YES Abroad Scholars. :) Then after I returned home, I started working at a summer camp set beautifully on a lake. Working there was really fun and I enjoyed meeting and getting to know the other counselors but it was hard since it was an overnight camp and I knew there was so much I needed to do to get ready to go to Ghana. I knew I would be away for a year and I wasn't expecting to start my away time so soon. After the summer camp, some of my family from Virginia came up. It was great to spend time with them around Maine, from our house to the cottage they rented on a lake to the Clam festival that has become a tradition to attend together. I love being around my relatives and especially love playing board games with them.
On the 4th of August, I went to my first concert. It was the Gentlemen of the Road's first stopover which happened to be right in Portland, ME on the Eastern Prom! It was the most spectacular thing ever to see my favorite band, Mumford & Sons live. And best of all, we got there so early we were in the front!
The next week was taken up by my church's Vacation Bible School which we call Summerfest. My mom runs it every year so I have been volunteering each year since I was too old to attend it myself. It was great to spend a week volunteering, spending time teaching children, and being around the people I have grown up with in my church.
After Summerfest ended on Friday, we packed our bags and headed out on a family road trip to visit our family in Chicago. It was extremely exciting to do so since we hadn't visited them for 4 years and the last 2 visits had been for my grandparents' funerals so we hadn't visited for an happy occasion in many, many years. My aunt and uncle had both bought property this past year so it was really exciting to see their new abodes. We stayed with my aunt in her new house in a beautiful suburb that had an amazing Polish bakery which Melody & I went to during a morning run-Great idea, right? We jampacked our visit with so many exciting, amazing things. We went to "Little India" and had a delicious Southern Indian meal at a restaurant and then walked around for a couple of hours, soaking in the atomosphere of this part of the city and I even bought an awesome Indian top.
|"Little India"-Chicago, Illinois|
|The Art Institute in Evanston which my Grandma painted at|
|My Dad and his sister, my aunt, Laurie in front of the Art Institute|
|Lake Michigan with the Chicago Skyline in the Background|
|My Family <3|
The next day, we visited Lincoln Park Zoo in the morning and had an amazing lunch of Falfel, which is probably my new favorite food. We then headed to downtown which I was so excited for since I had never seen Millieum Park. It is exteremely amazing! There is an aMAZing ampetheather there and most importantly that is the location of the Cloud Gate or as the locals call it, the bean. It is soo cool! We then walked down the Magnificant Mile and boy, it really is magnificant!
Sadly, the next day we had to embark on the two day journey back home. On our way home we took a different route, this one skirting Lake Erie. We were hoping to find a place to get to the water and sure enough we did! It was splendid! I had never seen Lake Erie before and it kinda looks like the ocean!
The next day we took a detour to see Niagara Falls! And we also visited a family friend in Vermont.
The next day my cousins arrived from Virginia. The next day we visited Maine's most famous lighthouse, the Portland Head Light, and then that night I had my going away party. It was so strange to say goodbye.
The next day we headed to the beach. I ended the day by having a lobster. Thursday, I turned 18. I'm now officially an adult which means I can vote in the next election-even though it will be through an absentee ballot I am so excited to do so. I started my day in the best way possible; with breakfast and coffee with my dad at the village store just like old times. When I was young, my dad and I would have the Saturday routine of going out to eat for breakfast, going to the library, and the dump which actually is a redemption center but I grew up calling it the dump and I cannot shake that habit.
My cousins left yesterday morning, forcing another goodbye and now I am writing this post. I have 10 days left before I leave. Time to get packing!