Two weeks of travel: Part I, Minneapolis and Co

These past couple of weeks, I’ve been traveling in my various “home base” locations. They have both been magnificent trips: times to reconnect with people, times to sit and reflect, times to explore, and times to turn into a science fiction vegetable, and times to get a handle on my life.

I visited the Twin Cities first, going the cheapsie route and hopping on two night-time Megabuses. I’m not a huge fan of the Megabus, but you can’t beat the price, and some earplugs and an eye-cover can fix some of the most obnoxious parts of the trip. All in all, Megabus is what it is and it is what you pay for, and that’s respectable in my book. They’ve been more reliable lately, too; always leaving on time.

Minneapolis was amazingly relaxing, even though I was out with people and doing things literally the whole time I was there. (Except when I was working on my sermon for the 8/17 service.) I had an amazing time reconnecting with old friends, mentors from college, and family. I love that city like a member of my family, no joke.

I took this picture from HuffPost’s “20 Cities you should Visit In your 20s”. Click on the picture to read the article. It’s cute.

It’s the place where park signs are in English, Hmong, Somali (and THEN Spanish). It’s the place where everyone is out at the lake; where there’s Vietnamese restaurants with sidewalk tables, “clubs” that are also Ethiopian restaurants, and you can walk from basically anywhere to a locally owned coffee shop. They just finished the new train line that goes down University, and now we can even refer to train lines by color rather than “the light rail.” This city is changing, and it’s changing for the better–every time I go back I love it more.

I took a small detour on the second day of my trip to visit Lake City and three of my absolute favorite people who are living there. I had no idea that this tiny town was such a beautiful place. It’s got this weird snow-bird charm to it: a little bit of an old-world main street with a Mexican restaurant tucked into an old building that probably was an apothecary; a gorgeous lake with a rocky, dark-sand beach that screams “north woods”; half-storm clouds that run across the sky. Minnesota sky is unlike any other, and it always has been. Even Chicago–flat, gorgeous, and with it’s impressive skyline–can’t make claims on the Minnesota sky. It’s another kind of universe, that sky.

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(Nora and Dahmon, you should know that your son took that picture.)

It was too short a trip. But I had to preach that Sunday, so I took the night bus back on Friday evening, and came back to Chicago Saturday morning so that I could compose and theologize on one of the more difficult stories in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. A story that I don’t like much. Luckily, I’ve heard a few good sermons on it. Thanks SPR. 😉

My weekend back in Chicago was sort of surreal. I still felt like I was traveling, because I was planning to leave on an evening train on Tuesday, out to Virginia to see the other half of the family. This trip was planned to be much more relaxing and contemplative, quiet with reading, drawing and a little bit of visiting. (I promise I have been drawing; I’m just lazy and haven’t been to the scanner. That WILL happen this week, though.)

Now, the train and the universe had a separate plan. More on that ordeal shortly…


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