What a fantastic weekend, and what a way to kick off my vacation week! Yesterday was an absolutely wonderful day, spent at my best friend Andrea's parents' house in Ogden Dunes, Indiana. I took the ten a.m. train out -- what a lovely ride it is on the South Shore -- where Andrea met me and we immediately put on bathing suits and headed down to the beach. After lathering up with sunscreen, we spent the next several hours lounging on the beach, chatting, looking at bridal magazines, playing with her adorable niece, enjoying a few afternoon adult beverages, and having a fantastic time. We even got to go on an (extremely fast) boat ride with her neighbors. I can't remember the last time I've been on a boat! It was great. Andrea is the kind of friend who, no matter how much time has passed since our last visit, we just pick up where we left off. She's one of the best listeners I know, and she's gotten me through more difficult times than I can count. I'm constantly (selfishly) trying to persuade her to move back to Chicago, but I'm so proud of what she's done in New York; she has built a great life there. Hopefully it won't be another six months before I see her again!
I kind of fell in love with Ogden Dunes yesterday. I've always known it was a great place to live, but now that Nick and I are seriously thinking about where we want to settle, I saw it in a new light. Andrea's parents' were (are) both high school teachers (her mother is retired, her father is retired from public school but teaches at a private school), and have lived in OD for nearly thirty years. It's a wonderful, friendly community, which was made evident by the giant party on the beach yesterday -- everybody who was there was a friend or neighbor. The houses are adorable and unique (Andrea's parents' home was built by a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1920's), and it is about as far from a cookie cutter suburb as you can imagine. It's not a cheap place to live, but it's cheaper than many of the nicer Chicago suburbs. Plus the sales tax and property taxes in Indiana are much lower. My only concern would be the OD school district, which isn't stellar, but there are a few nearby school districts that are better (Chesterton, Valpo). And it's a one hour ride on the South Shore train into the city. So my new pastime (besides looking at wedding stuff online) is looking at Northwest Indiana real estate online.
Tomorrow I make my second journey in two days on the South Shore, this time to South Bend, where my mom will pick me up and bring me to Fort Wayne (it's the only civilized way of getting to FW via train -- Amtrak is a hot mess). Besides my three hours of teaching today, I am on "vacation"!!! Woot! Nick will join me in FW on Thursday for the wedding festivities, and then we will come back together on Sunday. But between now and Sunday, I will be doing a lot of the following: lounging by the pool at my parents' country club, partaking in adult beverages, visiting a few bridal shops with my mom and sister, hanging out with the fam at home, eating yummy food, and of course all the wedding festivities. My only goal is not to get a sunburn and get rid of my bathing suit tan lines before the wedding on Friday (the dresses are strapless and I've got quite the strap marks from yesterday). Lofty goals, I know. It's going to be a great week.
I'm sure I'll be posting intermittently over the next few days, but if you're on vacation like me this week, enjoy yourself! And Happy Independence Day.
Sarah's Summer Reading Suggestions
7 months ago