Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 Highlights of Spring Break 2010

Once again, The Harrington's enjoyed Spring Break in Ten Sleep Canyon at the Harrington Family Cabin. The break was sufficiently refreshing and relaxing providing great memories, build with great and cherished friends. Here, we report on 10 Highlights of this years Wyoming Spring Break.

Highlight #1:
Being nearly ran over by Jalan Crossland in Worland, WY at the local Blair's Grocery store.

Highlight #2:
The 2nd Ten Sleep Canyon Extreme Croquet Tournament co-designed by Mark and Keivan. Attended by: Mike, Melissa, Mark, Mike N. and Keivan. After three rounds, Mike Harrington reigned all-time Champion. The game itself was highlighted by downward drops, wickets hiding between rocks, a faulty pipeline wicket and for the later games a beautiful snowfall.

Highlight #3:
Fried Potatoes, Eggs, Corn Beef and Cabbage, Pizza from the Ten Sleep Saloon, Biscuits and Gravy, Steaks and lots of Almond and Cashew Butter

Highlight #4:
Not having to work.
Simple. Relaxing. Days.
Highlight #5:
Playing games late into the nate. Countless rounds of Nerts and one ridiculous game of Quelf.

Highlight #6:
Reading. By the Fire.
Melissa finished: The House on Mango Street, Plainsong, Say You're One of Them, The Color of Water, The Emotionally Healthy Church and started Rules of the Wild
Mike finished: Eragon and started Eldest
Mark worked on: No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization and Selected Writings of Dorothy Day
Keivan finished: Catcher in the Rye and started Reading Lolita in Tehran
Mike N. worked on a Pulitzer Prize book
Highlight #7:
Being in Worland and seeing the the temperature was 57. Hello Spring.

Highlight #8:
Sleeping in. Sometimes until noon.
Highlight #9:
Enjoying the great outdoors.

Highlight #10:
Roasting marshmallows and jumping over a fire in celebration of the Wednesday before the Persian New Year.

Stories from the Couch: March 12

For the Harrington's and the Laramie CouchSurfing Community, the 12th has become the day for a monthly potluck. So, when Melissa received a CouchRequest on the 11th from Heather and Rain, she was eager to bring them into the Laramie Potluck mix. Not to mention, the two surfers also dropped the name of a mutual Laramie friend, so Heather and Rain were a sure bet.

As is common, Heather and Rain arrived in Laramie after a ridiculous amount of time driving on I-80 through Nebraska. They faithfully and generously prepared a treat of 'ants on a log' for the potluck which would begin within an hour of their arrival. At 12 after 6 o'clock Larame CouchSurfers began flooding the Harrington's basement apartment where eating and laughter was about to ensue.

Guests and the Harrington's enjoyed a variety of Persian dishes and good ole Southern style catfish cakes, peach cobbler and cornbread. After everyone was sufficiently nourished a group of 12 began an entertaining game of "telepictionary." Participants enjoyed a variety of sentences ranging from "Don' squat with your spurs on," to "I hate doing dishes and houshold chores." Pictures offered equal entertainment often featuring stick figures and/or a crow.

Eventually the evening wound down and the Harrington's as well as their surfers we're able to get some shut eye.

The following morning, Mike and Melissa enjoyed some time conversing with Heather and Rain in a more relaxed, intimate situation. They learned about an intentional community where nut butters are produced and rope sandals are made, the place from which Heather and Rain had travelled. They heard about the plight of buffalo in Yellowstone and Heather and Rain's hope to shed some light on the injustices being conducted. The Harrington's were able to share about Mark's vision for an intentional community in Laramie and encourage these new friends to consider returning and being a part of that process. And, as the 9 o'clock hour rolled around, all four found themselves in need of leaving. Heading for Montana. Heading for Ten Sleep Canyon.

Travel Preparedness: A Four Part Series - Part 3

This week, The Harrington Times was finally able to catch up again with the Harrington's and extract some more information regarding Travel Preparations. This week, Melissa focuses in on preparing emotionally for upcoming travel experiences.

Well, first, I feel it may be appropriate to reach back in our memories a bit to a comment left regarding our last Travel Preparedness post. One reader commented: "in regard to preparing mentally, how does one wrap their mind around being gone for such an extended period of time?" Essentially, you can't. However, we have had conversations about the things we expect to miss out on, things that occassionally happen in a year and whether or not we feel that is something we can work through. So, considering we will be gone about 14 months, we recognize we will miss Weddings, Births, Celebrations and perhaps some Deaths, in some ways this brings the time-span into perspective. On the other hand, a year can end up seeming like a very short period of time, and in the span of our lives, we'd rather take a year or five to explore and experience something other than our norm, knowing that upon our return all that we had missed out on will await us in new stages and seasons, but await us nonetheless. So, in many ways, this is not only a mental preparation, but also an emotional preparation.

Our emotional preparation has also included being intentional in our relationships. Having friends and family over for dinner, meeting up for coffee or to meet newly arrived infants. As mentioned previously, we recognize we will miss out on many things, therefore, while they are within our grasp now, we work a little harder at embracing special moments. Upon hearing the news of a dear friends bringing life into the world, Melissa promptly called in sick and drove 2.5 hours to meet the dear child. Even a year ago as we considered teaching, we thought about the youngest Harrington sister, her upcoming graduation and decided to stay in Laramie so we could enjoy this year, her freshman year, with her as well our other Harrington sister. I've said often that I just want people to know that we're leaving because we so desire to leave and have that experience, not in any way because we don't cherish and love them, our friends and family.

Melissa recently penned this note to some great friends, she recognizes it doesn't so much deal with preparing emotionally, however, it does deal with the emotions of preparing:

It's becoming increasingly real as Mike and I interview with 'placement coordinators' regarding Korea. As we start to firm up plans to meet Doris in Guatemala (our sponsor child). As we firm up places to stay and even have occassional skype conversations with one of our South African CS hosts. As we slowly but surely start packing things in boxes - to sell, to store, etc. It's becoming real and I can feel myself boarding the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies these times, these seasons. I often just want to shout with joy at what is to come, then in the next minute I want to growl at the intimidating amount of crap we have accumulated, then I'm ready to cry and melt down a little in regards to all the wonderful things we are choosing to leave behind. Every time we have Mirhetu in our apartment I think about how he'll adjust and if he'll still holler our names down the stairs or come look for us down here and how long it will take before that wears off and he realizes we've been demoted to funky images broadcast via webcam and skype.

Everything comes to me as a potential 'last' or with a knowing that there will be a 'last' of such-and-such in the next few months as our season of living in Laramie, domestically sees us off into a different world, a different experience. I feel so incredibly blessed by the way God has orchestrated things and that we have the good fortune of travelling with friends: (Mark will likely go to Guatemala w/ us, Abram, Mallory, Ryan and Andrew will be with us in South Africa, Some great friends of ours have family in Asia that we'll likely see and then we have our friends Matt and Jen waiting in Korea with some seemingly great friends as well). I mean, how can you feel like life is going to be unbearable when all throughout the journey we'll be with real live, touchable friends?

So, in a nutshell, to prepare emotionally: we cling to our community and anticipate the one to come. We spend time with local Laramie-ites, have dinner dates with sisters, we become aware of some great long-distance relationships we've established with facebook and other online arenas, and we invite friends to join us in our journey, we look to go where friends are already placed. So when the emotions get the better of us, at least we'll have someone by our side.


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