Washington Trip – Day 6, 7, 8, 9 – Family Reunion

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When originally planning this trip south, the whole idea was to spend some time in South Carolina so Jeff could see his relatives, who had organized a family reunion of sorts. It had been several years since Jeff had seen some of his aunts, uncles and cousins and he was excited to hang out on the shores of Lake Hartwell where he had spent so much of his childhood vacationing at his Grandpa and Grandma Emmons.

With conflicting arrive times from Google Maps and the GPS, we decided to leave early and get out of DC shortly after rush hour, expecting to arrive at the Hilton Garden Inn any time between 6:30 and 10:00pm. Yes, the arrival times were that variant. The drive from DC to SC turned out to be a little over eight hours and featured some spectacular late-afternoon thunderstorms as we were crossing the North Carolina/South Carolina border. As we slowly moved further and further south, the speech got slower and the twang got thicker. Interestingly, we haven’t had significant difficulty understanding the Southerners, rather, they’ve been having trouble understanding us. We suppose it’s because we’ve seen lots of representations of the South on TV—in fact, it’s probably one of the most common “accents” you hear, second only to some variation of British—while on the other hand, these kind and laid back people haven’t heard too much of us fast-talking Canadian folk. As a result, they often raise an eyebrow while stumbling through what we’re saying, but are quick to assure us our accents are just so darn cute. We also ran into the alleged President of the Brotherhood of the Moose, who just got back from Chatham-Kent a week or so ago, in line at a Dollar Store. Yep, the Brotherhood of the Moose—we’re so star struck.

We’ll spare you the details of Jeff’s reunion, only to say that we had a great time relaxing by the water with his family and Clara even managed to acquire a massive bruise in a water tubing accident with Jeff’s sister, Trish. Although we have no video or photo of the wipe-out, we assure you it was totally epic and YouTube-worthy. Aside from that, the only other real Internet-noteworthy moment was the “Hibachi Chinese Food Buffet” which we passed with a snicker every day on our way to see Jeff’s family. We’re so mature.

But more generally, we wanted to extend a warmhearted thank you to all of Jeff’s relatives for taking us in the past few days and tolerating our nerdiness. It was great seeing everyone and it’s times like those where you realize just how important family really is in this crazy world—no matter how long you go without seeing each other, you’re still just as close and feel just as loved. So from all of us, thank you for everything, love you all, and we promise to make sure our paths crossed a lot sooner than last time.

With some quality rest and a ton of good food behind us, we’re feeling recharged and refreshed to face DC: The Sequel, which is good because our agenda is pretty tight. Basically, we’re going to be doing the city up big and hitting every major museum and art gallery we can find. It promises to be an interesting and exhausting few days. We’re certain to have some bizarre and hilarious stories and promise to keep track of any and all important accessibility tidbits along the way.

See you in a few hours, Mr. Obama,

– Jeff and Clara