I made it to North Dakota!
I flew in around 6:30pm and was picked up by my cousin Jade, whom I'd never met before. My mom decided I needed to "bond with my family" on this trip (...why else would I be here) so she arranged for me to "bond" with Jade by having her pick me up from the airport. We didn't even know what each other looked like. My mom said to me before we left, "she studied abroad. You guys will have tons in common". Because apparently all people who study abroad are alike, haha.
Before I left Seattle I checked her Facebook, tried to memorize what her face looked like, found out that she was just a few years younger than me, and that was it. I mean, she's family, so I knew it would be fine. I was only a teensy bit nervous.
Jade showed up and kind of looked at me from across the parking lot and we both kind of did a "...are you Jade/Kristina?" thing, then laughed, and from there on out it was pretty okay. My mom was right. We got along well. I guess people who study abroad ARE alike.
Jade dropped me off a bit later at my grandma's house; Grandma lives in a retirement community though she has her own little house area with a garden. She was over at the neighbors playing cards when I arrived, so after saying goodbye to Jade, I headed over and settled in for an evening with the old folks.
I haven't been to North Dakota in two years (last year I was on roflcoptour during the annual family trip), so the look on my grandma's face when she saw me... it made this whole trip worth it. Right there. One look. Worth the ridiculous amount of money it costs to fly into the tiny airport in Bismarck.
I had a lovely time tonight. I hung with my grandma and her friends Lyle, Bev and Marion. They taught me how to play Rummy 14, which was actually a pretty fun game. I was doing really well at the beginning (they chalked it up to beginner's luck) but then I got one lousy hand which set me back to second to last place. Bev made a German Chocolate cake, which was delicious, and they kept making fun of me when my phone went off (though I swear, more than half text messages were just from my mom).
Grandma's got me sleeping out in the living room on the pull out couch tonight, and tomorrow we are meeting up with my mom and dad who are already in town but spending tonight at the casino because August 27th is their 23rd wedding anniversary.
I actually have no idea what the plans are for most of this trip or which relatives I am going to be seeing, but I am incredibly excited for all of it. I've been so homesick for this for so long; it's nice to finally be back.
Flights taken: 21