Jeff grew up in Southern Ontario and has very fond memories of his years there. As we were so close to his old stomping grounds, we felt it was important to show the kids his ‘history’. His family had a cottage outside of Bayfield, and family friends still own it so that was definitely an important thing to show the kids. We stayed in Port Franks which is a small cottage/beach community on the banks of Lake Huron and close to Bayfield. The camper that we stayed in belongs to Joni, a very close friend of Jeff’s mom. The kids considered it ‘glamping’ (glamour camping), and I can’t disagree! We awoke to the smell of fresh air through the windows and campfire smoke in our hair. We smacked a few giant flies that reminded me of Jeff Goldblum in “The Fly”, but other than that it was pretty luxurious.

The evening before we had a very enjoyable time visiting with more family friends (shout-out to Jack and Pat!) and having great conversation in the setting sun on a gorgeous seafood restaurant’s patio. We saw the cottage where boy-Jeff threw rocks and explored in the trees getting into mischief (we assume), and we walked down to the shore where he spent many childhood summer days. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we all understood Jeff’s nostalgia. Beautiful place.

This morning, after waking up in the camper and quickly making ourselves presentable, we started the long journey towards Chicago. First we were going to pass through Sarnia, which is where Jeff spent his elementary years. After a short drive (and fortification with Tim Horton’s bagels and coffee) we were touring through memory lane. We drove past Jeff’s old house, his paper route, playground, and schools. We discovered that his old elementary school didn’t exist anymore and new houses were in its place. I think this upset the kids more than it did Jeff, as they were particularly disturbed by the potential idea of their history being torn down. Even stranger, was that his other school was boarded up and looked neglected! That part of the tour was a bit sad, but other than that we all enjoyed seeing the important parts of his childhood memories and putting it all in to perspective.

We did the quick drive from Sarnia in to Michigan (like, literally 5 minutes – so weird!) and then started the journey to Chicago. It was a fairly unremarkable drive aside from the last 45 minutes (which should’ve taken 10 minutes), but instead it was bumper to bumper traffic. Bleeeeeccch. Tiring.

But here we are in Chicago! Three nights in one place after jumping around from city to city. We actually unpacked a bit and shook out the wrinkles from our clothes. We had a delicious seafood dinner and are sitting in our beds ready for a sleep – well, except for Jeff who is sitting at his computer doing some last minute studying for his test tomorrow. Our whole reason for being in Chicago is so that he can write his 3 day Diplomate exam, and it is no joke! I have driven this whole time while he diligently studied. Soon he will return to the land of the living and not have a book in front of his face. I must say, he has been pretty chillaxed about the whole thing considering it is 3 years of work on the line. We will all be glad when it is over. Day one tomorrow - he will be sitting in a cold conference room while the girls and I explore Chicago!  :)


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