Charlie and I kicked off 2017 at Uvita Beach in Costa Rica. We were there with the Herrick family having all sorts of grand adventures: on New Year’s Day we ate star fruit right off a tree, swam in the Pacific and fell asleep to the croaking of howler monkeys. Not a bad way to start off the year, am I right?! This surreal vacation was truly a premonition of the unexpected escapades and milestones my Love and I would encounter throughout 2017.
Greenville, Illinois: Greenville was good to us. While living there, I learned that even southern central Illinois has rich beauty and history. During the long, cold months of early spring, Charlie finished up his last semester of college at Greenville College (which is now Greenville University.) Despite working four different jobs on top of classes, Charlie handled the load really well and graduated with a B.A. in Biology. Two hours after the graduation ceremony, we moved back to Missouri - just because we like to make Life complicated.
Jefferson City | Holts Summit, Missouri: Our time in Missouri was short. Most of it was spent repacking moving boxes and catching up with friends. I got my wisdom teeth removed (woohoo) and Charlie filled out paperwork for his summer job.
Valentine, Nebraska: In June we moved to the Valentine Wildlife Refuge near Valentine, Nebraska. For three months we lived on the edge of Hackberry Lake where a Great Horned Owl and a family of turkeys were our nearest neighbors. We absolutely loved the sandhills, as did our pet pigeon, Pip. Charlie worked on the refuge as a maintenance worker while I explored the hills and experimented with natural dyeing. A lot of my time was spent at Fort Falls – a beautiful waterfall running into the Niobrara River. In Nebraska, Charlie and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary! Time goes by so quickly when you're in love.... :)
Over the summer, we found time to visit the Badlands and the Black Hills. I could write a book about our adventures in South Dakota, but I think the bumper sticker on Charlie’s suitcase summarizes it best: “Hiked it – Liked it.”
Moscow, Idaho: By mid-September, Charlie’s job was coming to a close and neither one of us knew where we would go next. A lot of ideas were tossed around. Wyoming. Missouri. New England. But secretly, we REALLY wanted to end up in northern Idaho. God heard our prayers, because three days before we moved, Charlie was offered a job in Moscow, Idaho. In a whirlwind of packing boxes, saying goodbye to friends and making plans, we hopped back over to Missouri, reorganized our stuff and embarked on the 30 hour drive to Moscow. (Note to self: Don’t ever drive 22 hours in one day. Ever. Again.)
For Thanksgiving, Chaurel made a quick jaunt down to Cedar City, Utah to visit Andy and Kelly. This trip was a big deal for me - I had never seen Zion or the Grand Canyon before! We also made sure to hike through a slot canyon, go rappelling, soak in a hot spring and stop by Craters of the Moon. The West can be so breathtaking and bizarre at the same time!
Now, in the dead of winter, Life has settled a down a bit. I am working full-time at Latah Credit Union and Charlie’s a restoration technician at Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute. Slowly, slowly we are finding community, getting involved at church and becoming familiar with the beautiful Palouse area. Moscow is a town full of hippies (which I like), and outdoorsy people (which we both like). There’s always something exciting going on – concerts, contra dances, community dinners, environmental seminars and festivals. This place has captured our hearts.
All in all, 2017 has been a good year. A full year. I wouldn’t change anything about it. I keep reflecting on the wonderful people we have met, and beautiful places we’ve seen. I’m thankful to our families for being a stalwart support and our friends for their marvelous friendship. May you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
much much Love,
Laurel and Charlie