Before school vacation.

Well, I’m in Missouri. Independence, Missouri — Just outside of Kansas City, about as far as I live from Seattle at home in Washington.

Some of the friends that I met in South Africa summer of 2008 have stuck around and become some of my closest friends. Mallory has come to Seattle a couple times to hang out, but I had never been to Missouri to see her. In February she’s leaving to teach in Japan for 14 months, then when she comes back to the U.S., she’s planning on moving out to Washington. I wanted to see her life in Missouri before she left, so here I am. I got here yesterday and will be staying with her family until Monday.

Today we’re going to explore downtown Kansas City… shopping! There is a long list of food and restaurants that I need to try while I’m here also — Cracker Barrel (southern restaurant/gift shop), Sonic (“America’s Drive-in”), Chick-fil-a (a must-try in the midwest), Irish tea (not midwestern, but a staple in the Flippin household), and real Southern sweet tea.  Saturday we’re going to the Renaissance Festival in town — jousting, seeing the King and Queen, sword fighting, food. “Tons of Renaissanc-ey type things,” says Mallory. I will visit the “Mecca” of Mormons — a Mormon temple where the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints believes Jesus will come first at his second-coming. Can’t wait! It kind of looks like a space ship. I’ll also get to meet Mallory’s friends, coworkers, and church family.

The weather? Perfect. It’s in the low-mid 70’s all week. Weather that I can survive! Neighborhood? Also perfect. I reminds me a little of Lynnwood – Lake Stevens area of Washington. Suburban, but not overcrowded, and not undercrowded, no clone housing developments. Out of all of the states in the Midwest that I’ve visited so far (and all in just a year!) I’ve come up with this Midwest math:

Missouri > Illinois > Wisconsin > Michigan > Indiana. I like Missouri. It’s wonderful to be here!

Side note: I move out in 8 days! Move-in weekend is packed with informative sessions, social events, an outreach opportunity in Seattle all day Saturday!, and shopping at 1am at Fred Meyer! Can’t wait!!


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