Josh and I moved in to our first apartment in Grand Forks after driving through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. I think I drove about two hours and Josh drove the rest, but we had a good time. The first night we drove all the way to Missoula before stopping, and there we stayed at a sketchy motel called The Ponderosa Lodge (lodge makes it sound fancy and nice right? Wrong.). I made Josh check under the beds for bodies (nothing found) and park the car near our window so we could check on it periodically. The next morning we said good riddance to the PL and moved on through Montana. We stopped in Butte, Montana, where my Poppy was born and family history exists. Back in the day my family owned the Anaconda Mine, but Marcus Daley got my great great grandfather drunk and made him sign the deed so that Marcus would own it. When we went to the visitor’s center in Butte, there was a wealth of information on Marcus Daley, but none on my family; however, we did find out that there is a mine called the Steward Mine, but we know nothing about it. I will have to investigate further on that one.
We stopped in Bozeman for pizza at the Mackenzie River Pizza Company. Delish. Seriously, if you’re in Bozeman, make a stop and get the Rancher pizza with a side of ranch. You won’t regret it. At this point, we start calling B&Bs and hotels near the Montana/North Dakota border to see if we can get a room for the night. After a few phone calls we found out that every hotel between Glendive, Montana and Fargo, North Dakota (look at a map) was 100% booked. Apparently workers from an oil company have consumed many of the major hotels because they are installing an oil line across the state. Or something of that sort… involving major construction, many workers and lots of time. Not to mention that the flooding and storms on the western side of ND and the complications from that. Finally, someone directed us to the Historic Olive Hotel in Miles City. What olives and hospitality are doing together, I don’t know. The hotel was old, but less sketchy than the Ponderosa. Still, the drive there felt a bit too much like a horror movie for me to feel totally at ease. Ok, I’m a little paranoid. Anyhow, clearly we made it through the night and the next morning we made our way to our new home.
So first, as we enter into the western side of North Dakota, we stop for lunch. I say, “You know, we should stop at Applebee’s. It’s Katie Krouchick’s favorite and I miss her.” So we stop at Applebee’s and order some food to go. I order a Cajun Chicken Fettucine and Josh went with the classic Oriental Chicken Salad. We’re on the road, eating our food. And you know, mine’s ok. It tastes pretty good, but a little too much cajun, not enough cream sauce. Whatever, it’s cool. I eat it. About 20-30 minutes later we decide to make a rest stop. As we’re pulling up, I’m not feeling great. My stomach is super tense. We pull in and I tell Josh to go in without me. I just want to sit because it’s painful to move. As soon as Josh leaves, it’s like I’m having a seizure in my stomach. I’m not even kidding I tried to get out of the car and I thought I was being stabbed right in the abdomen. Not even kidding you for a second. I’m yelling for Josh even though I know there is no chance he can hear me, but I for some reason I felt like I needed to do it. Writhing in pain, I somehow haul myself out of the car, while this old man and his yellow lab puppy are giving me weird looks cause I look like freaking quasi modo sauntering toward the restrooms. All you need to know is that I think it was the weirdest case of food poisoning ever. We’ll skip over some unnecessary details, and say that eventually Josh had to come into the bathroom with me and help me out to the car (that’s love). I think the whole process of getting out of the bathroom took about 20-30 minutes. We got back on the road and I’m leaning over my pillow towards the dashboard – the only way I could feel some sort of relief. But every time I felt the tiniest movement in the car, my body was in agony…but over the next 30 minutes it slowly went away. Josh thought I was going to explode and he wanted to take me to a hospital. Honestly, I did too but I refused to go there. But hey, it went away right? Oh, yes I did call Applebee’s and let them know what happened. And no, I’m never eating there again. At least not the cajun chicken fettucine. Which was a new menu item, by the by….
Other than that little incident…
As we drove through North Dakota I experienced a pleasant surprise in her beauty. It’s different from Oregon – no rolling hills, no mountains in the distance, no pine trees covering the horizon. But there are many farms filled with round bails of hay, and more sunflower fields than I have ever seen in my life. It’s definitely flat, but I appreciate how much the flat terrain allows me to see the immense blue skies. The skies really do look bigger since nothing obstructs the view. Oh and there actually is a town called Home on the Range. It’s real. The temperature is mild, sunny and around 80 degrees, and so far there is almost always a moderate breeze rolling through. Except right now. I’m looking out our living room window and seeing a gray sky. Looks like a storm might pass through town.
Speaking of our living room… currently all of our furniture is in either New York or Oregon. We had to move to North Dakota at the end of August in order for me to start school, but Josh doesn’t start with the Air Force until the beginning of October…meaning they won’t move our belongings to Grand Forks until Josh officially begins working for them. Therefore, no couch, bookshelf, coffee table, etc. for another month or so. The only furniture we have is a strange end table we found in the garage and blue chair that was left behind by a previous renter. Other than that we have books sprawled out, and two sleeping bags zipped together to make one sleeping bag,…cause we don’t have have a bed yet either. Ha. It’s a work in progress. I am pleased to say, however, that the kitchen is well used in and stocked with food and cooking paraphernalia. Our bathroom, too, is put together. We’re living on love right? It’s been nice these few days, being able to settle in together before I start school. It’s amazing how this space already feels like home – it felt natural. I take it as a sign from God, confirmation of all our decisions in the last few months. Also, our garage shares a parking lot with the Newman Center. Not only do they have a college community, but the church there is actually considered a parish, one filled with many young families none the less.
As we encounter this beautiful community though, we wonder if we’re called somewhere else. There are several other parishes in Grand Forks and we are trying to discern if our gifts are needed in another parish. We are eager to get involved and serve the Lord, however He may wish. For now we will attend Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Newman Center parish) and Saint Michael’s as the Lord lights our path closer to His will and Heart.