The land of the free 1b.

Part two. see part one for disclaimer. LINK

Bussing into Charleston, West Virginia it was dark and late and I was about to be picked up by two of my favourite people in the world, Justin, and the groom. Last time I had seen Justin on this continent was Canada day 5 years previous, and I hadn’t seen either of them on my own continent in two years, but they have both been a big part of my sanity in this world.

Details and days get mixed up at this point. I was sleep deprived and jet lagged at the same time. We drank some very good coffees at different cafes. (i began shuddering anytime I had to order an “americano” the deepest shudder was in London when I ordered a long black and she corrected me “you mean an americano” I almost screamed “NOOOOOOO!!”)

We had some amazing foods, some amazing BIPA’s, IPA’s and some interestingly tasty and dodge other brews. haha. We spoke of deep things. I met heroes, I met beloveds of beloveds. I embraced and almost wept at reuniting with some dudes who have watched me go from a bitter, closed off, dispassionate early 20s Aussie man, to a uber passionate, international home-having, sweet 31-year-old. It is because of John that I adventure through life with a louder soundtrack. it is because of Justin that I learned how to ask for forgiveness of those closest to us and it is largely because of James that I am comfortable with being honest about the worst parts of me. The week in west Virginia filled my heart with warm mulled wine that spread to my outer limbs and had me smiling bigger than I have for a long time. And it wasn’t just because I got to eat smoked meats for breakfast the entire time.

My birthday night I finally succumbed to my jet lag and fell so deeply asleep that I slept all night on a wooden deck. We rehearsed the entrance of the bride, but forgot to go through the vows until James and I googled them curbside 40 minutes before the start time (which ended up being an hour late anyway, which everyone knew because one of the mums is always that amount late 🙂

With no shoes and a recently acquired (in Sweden) unironed white collared shirt I led the wedding through some standard beautiful love stuff, some quirky jokes I made up the day before and some vows we had found earlier. and then we had a cute picnic and played fun picnic games. I met some very sweet people including the funniest new parents and a lady that makes ice cream.

After packing up and driving back to the house we made a giant bon fire and sat around telling our newly married friends why we love them so much. it was perfect.

The next morning I got to know some new friends much better. Shared some missions experiences but also some family thoughts that blew my mind somewhat. I love learning about the family through the eyes of mums. We ate some more smoked meats, James made a dream come true by getting me a Cleveland browns hat. (it a hilarious story) and dropped me and my friend johns house for two days of beautiful reminiscing and city exploring.

For two days I walked through charleston, Virginia. I drew churches and modern buildings. I read some of a book about revolutions and what happens after that. I drank ok dirty chais and met a stranger who makes horror movies and told me that I would love flagstaff when I get there. she was fun. and then I ran into some new friends taking family photos. We had had dinner with them the night before. the wedding attendants were both ridiculously good artists. pure hearted. passionate life givers. I really hope I see them again one day.

and then I had four amazing hours in a car with John, who lovingly drove me to Nashville on a work night and dropped me at two of the greatest people I’ve ever mets house. For two nights I stayed with two lovely people. Id stay up late talking libertarianism and theology whilst playing dutch blitz and drinking solid brews with the man, and then sat in the greatest big room cafe’s ever whilst the lady got her hair cut. and then we talked about HEAPS of cool stuff. we went bowling, watched the only race I saw at the Olympics and then was dropped at another great cafe to wait for my friend Ryan to pick me up and drive me across the country.

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