Shabbona Lake, today.
Somehow, it has been a week already since the accident. I can still remember all the details like it happened twelve hours ago, though... I have a feeling that will stay with me for a long time. T. and I were both feeling a little bittersweet at dinner last night; on one hand, we know we are so lucky, but it also saddens us that we were not able to continue on. We had been looking forward to that trip for months, and to have it end before it even really began, plus the additional loss of the Yaris... it has been a tough week.
There is one thing we know for sure, though: we've had a nice vacation anyway, just being together. It's actually been a pretty great week! And this is definitely a much better weekend than the last.
Yesterday, T. got a new car--a Honda Civic LX Coupe in black. It's sporty and super fun to ride around in! After we finished up with all the paperwork at the dealership and came home for some lunch, we took the car for a ride out in the countryside. Making our way west, we headed towards a small picnic area south of Rochelle. It's tucked in amongst the pastures and grain silos, a small wayside there in the shadow of the wind turbines. He and I first found it over four years ago, driving around and getting lost and seeing what we could find out there on the open road (one of our longtime favorite shared pastimes).
It was a lovely little stop. We were amused to find traces of snow on the ground; it had been cold that day and I'd seen reports of snow via Facebook, but never viewed any flakes with my own eyes. Afterwards, T. tried out some hills and curves, out there on those quiet and empty country roads, and slowly but surely we made our way back home. We got dinner at a restaurant out by the airport, and I was mesmerized by the patters of different colored light bulbs, directing the way for incoming and outgoing planes. We stayed up late, but not too late--it was Friday night, after all.
Today, we woke up early and went to the car wash. There's a hand car wash place down on North and they did a fantastic job with the Sentra, as well as T.'s new car. Shortly thereafter, we decided to leave and venture out to the western edge of Chicagoland again. He navigated us towards the direction of Starved Rock in Ottawa, but we ended up redirecting and going to Shabbona Lake State Park, which was delightful and a most reasonable substitute. From there, we continued to drive around in the country and get lost... it was a beautiful day, with bright sunshine and lots of white, puffy clouds. Perfect for a long distance drive.
On the way back up towards DeKalb, we found a small empty forest preserve that neither of us had been to before. It was stunning and we crossed the length of it alone, there in the woods and the prairie. By the time we made it back to the car, our thoughts had turned towards dinner, and we continued our drive north and then west into DeKalb--the city of my alma mater, NIU, my home away from home. We got dinner at one of our favorite local joints, satisfying as ever, and took a post-meal course around campus.
It's crazy how much has changed already in the four (FOUR!) years since I graduated, but there is, of course, much that is still exactly the same. I was hit by waves of nostalgia driving up Lucinda, passing by Grant Towers, the townhouses next to the Casey's, where I lived my junior year. No matter where I go, I will always consider DeKalb one of my homes. And in a way, I'm glad things worked out and allowed us to visit today, because it had been a while and I always love coming back. It was such a gorgeous day, and I felt, and feel, nothing but gratitude.
So... soon, life will go back to "normal." Vacation ends tomorrow; back to work on Monday. We'll go out for breakfast, relax, have dinner with family for his brother's birthday. This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life, but also one of the best, in a way. I'm grateful for what I have learned and glad that everything worked out as well as it possibly could have. I am a lucky lady with an incredible husband and a fantastic support system. And I mean...
We relaxed, we ate out, we stayed up late and slept in late (as late as we sleep in these days, anyway), we saw some beautiful sights and spent lots of time together. As far as vacation is concerned, what more could a lady ask for? It certainly wasn't ideal, but it was damn near perfect.