- Terrorists: They want to kill me to make a statement.
- Black men: They want to rob me or kill me.
- White men: They want to kill me while they're shooting up a movie theater or a school.
- Hispanic men: They're all talking bad about me in Spanish, although they probably don't want to kill me.
- Syrian refugees: They all want to kill me.
- Travel outside the U.S.: I'm going to get killed.
- Travel inside the U.S.: I'm going to get killed.
- Rest Areas on the Interstate: I'm going to get robbed or killed.
- Bacon/Deli Meat: They're going to give me cancer.
- GMOs/Artificial sweeteners/Additives in my food: They're all going to give me cancer, too.
- Having Thanksgiving dinner with my boyfriend's family
Lucky for me, though, all of my worrying was in vain. Kyle's family lives in a small city between Flint and Detroit: his mom, stepdad, and sister in one normal house with two normal dogs and a normal catt; his dad and stepmom in a different normal house with a different normal dog (and no cat).
We left Raleigh on Tuesday afternoon and were in Athens, OH by midnight. After spending an uneventful night at a cheap hotel with a poorly-working heater and freezing cold bathroom tiles, we were on the road again, finally pulling into Kyle's mom's driveway around 4:00 in the afternoon. I was feeling kind of nervous but hoped no one could tell. That evening, his stepdad took us all -- Kyle, his brother, sister, mom, and me -- to a restaurant called Mr. B's that I'd never heard of but enjoyed. (I was also bowled over by the fact that every single person in the restaurant was white; it was like being back at Milligan College.) I was also impressed that no one started any controversial political conversation while at dinner, as is wont to happen at dinner with my family. After eating, we went to visit Kyle's dad's for an hour or two, getting back to his mom's house just in time to eat popcorn and watch "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" in preparation for Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving itself was super relaxing and really comfortable. More family came over: grandpa, stepbrother, and stepsister with their spouses and kids, as well as Kyle's brother's fiancée, so there ended up being 14 of us in total. It felt like Thanksgiving when I was a kid: rowdy, lots of conversation, kids running all over the place, and of course dishes and dishes of delicious deliciousness! My Southern sensibilities told me I should help cook or clean up, but I hardly lifted a finger. (I'm sorry, family.) And although there was no Monopoly marathon afterwards, we did play a good game of Apples to Apples over Rice Krispie Treats and chocolate pie. I also hit it off with Kyle's 7-year old niece; we played kitchen and read some Dr. Seuss.
Friday was a lazy day at Kyle's dad's: we arrived around 11:00 a.m. and stayed until almost 9:30 that night, listening to the cold rain fall outside and watching football and HGTV inside. Kyle's stepmom had decorated for Christmas, and with the fire going, the mantel decorated, and a candle burning, it felt just like it. It also helped that after dinner I wrapped up in a blanket and enjoyed some coffee and Bailey's with a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. There is so much to be grateful for!
Our last full day was Saturday. Kyle's niece and I spent the morning playing in the freezing cold Michigan weather (which I could only stand so much of) before Kyle and I took off to visit his dad one more time. Later, at my request, Kyle took me on a tour of the city he grew up in (Lapeer, MI,
population 8,884), complete with visits to his previous houses, schools, and hangouts. Around 5:00 we drove down to Novi (no-VYE, not no-VEE) to meet his friend G for dinner. Then it was back to Clarkston and time to get ready to go back to Raleigh.
I'm not sure what I expected from Thanksgving with someone else's family 800 miles from home, but it all turned out great. I guess now that I don't have to worry about visiting Michiagn anymore, I can start focusing my worries on something else . . . like what we'll be doing for Christmas!