Monday, February 23, 2015

Back in the US of A

So many things have changed since we set our feet back on American soil. I’ll just briefly outline some of those things here in case you might have missed them.

Our first adventure when we got back was the wedding of one of my younger brothers, Koltar. Our whole family loaded up and drove 11 hours to Connecticut for the party. It was glorious. Another well-done wedding and the Granmarkersons (my family) tore up the dance floor as usual.
That summer (2013) I got a job working with Ethan’s older sister, Lindsay, at a non-profit called Elder Law of Michigan. It started as a two-day part time gig that turned into full-time employment. We went on a few short weekend adventures that summer while looking for teaching jobs. While we were hiking the Manistee River Trail, Ethan got the call we’d been hoping for. He was offered a part-time Physical Education position at Dansville Middle School. We were thrilled. It was nearing the end of summer and neither of us had had any luck yet. We were about to start looking in other states, but Dansville saved us. It wasn’t full time, but it was something and either way he was going to gain experience. So by October we were both gainfully employed (and right before school started they added one class to Ethan’s schedule getting him almost to full time).
Around the same time we moved into my Aunt’s house near downtown Mason. It was going to be vacant for a while, so we decided to occupy it for her and start saving for our own place. We have always wanted to stay in Michigan and have always wanted to own our own home. Renting is awful and we were prepared to live with Deena and Steve until we could afford to own a home. Living so close to downtown Mason was great. We loved it. We could walk/run on the paved recreational trail that came within yards of the house and everything was so close and convenient. We spent the winter hanging out with friends and saving as much as possible. I ended up getting a kidney stone right before Christmas - just my luck. It was the worst thing I’ve gone through medically. I had to have surgery to have it removed and then had to have a stent put in to properly drain my kidney. The stent caused more pain than the stone and put me out of commission for about 12 days. It was awful. I hope it never happens again!
In February (2014), we began our house hunt. We looked in Mason first because we love it and would love to live there. But we couldn’t find anything that wasn’t super old or out of our price range. Eventually we opened our search to new-build neighborhoods. We ended up falling in love with the idea of building and decided to go with CVE builders. We had really wanted to build in a neighborhood just outside of Mason, but CVE only owned two lots and we didn’t like either of them. We ended up going to see a model of the floor plan that we wanted in a neighborhood in Holt that was about 3 minutes further than the neighborhood we wanted. We walked through the house and I think it was love at first sight. The house was on a partially wooded lot and had almost everything we were planning on choosing. We put in an offer and it was accepted. We wanted to wait to move in even though the house would be finished in about a month. We needed a bit more savings in the bank to make sure we weren’t totally broke after the down payment.

In April, we traveled to California for my cousin Chelsea’s wedding, which was another success and so much fun. We had a few weekend adventures, but nothing huge, that spring. Then on June 16th we got the keys to the house and moved in. We spent most of that summer (2014) decorating and making the house a home. We also attended my other cousin Chelsea’s wedding and a friends wedding in the UP. We tried to hike Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore again, but the rain chased us out!! We also travelled to Columbus to watch a friend play on his professional soccer team, the Columbus Crew. We didn’t have as many summer adventures as we would have liked, but our main focus was the house. 
We spent the fall with friends and family and didn't go on many adventures or travels. Ethan was coaching soccer and keeping up with college courses he needed to take to become certified to teach health. It was a busy fall. We had Thanksgiving at our house and both our families were in town for Christmas. We really enjoyed our time with them and are lucky to have such great families. 

Keep reading to learn about our next big adventure!

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