Roots (II)-A A +A
The Iron Maiden
Thursday, August 14, 2014
ILLINOIS, USA – The first time I visited this country, it was winter.
And so for a month, I was mostly stuck at home since it was too cold to go out and too risky to be on the road. What made winter bearable was spending Christmas and New Year with my immediate family after almost ten years apart during the holidays.
But I have always dreamt of seeing more of the US and with this my Ate Cherry and I planned this vacation. As early as February, my Ate Cherry filed for a vacation and was granted 12 days. It was around this schedule that I filed for my leave as well.
The day after I arrived here, we embarked on a road trip.
First stop, Culpeper, Virginia, where we were received by family friends. Over dinner and then the following day over breakfast, they warned us about the heavy traffic we should expect when we get to Washington DC.
Thankfully, traffic wasn’t that bad. And we made it to Seafood City at the DC marina just in time for lunch. Best oysters I have had in my life. More than this, I love the city for its rich history and the monuments built in honor of this country’s notable historical personalities and events. The White House, however, at least from the outside, isn’t all that. But DC was great all the same.
Next stop, Ellis Island Immigration Museum and Lady Liberty in Liberty Island. These may be accessed through ferry which we took from New Jersey. Then it was New York City the following day.
Then Boston, Massachusetts. It was stormy when we got there. This did not stop us from going out to sample its nightlife and we ended up in America’s oldest restaurant, Union Oyster House, which opened its doors to the public in 1826.
From Boston it was off to Vacation Land and Pine Tree State, Maine.
True to its moniker, crossing the stateline into Maine, different species of pine trees accompany travelers along the highway. Maine is called “Vacation Land” since it has a temperate climate and a variety of activities to engage in, whether this is nature tripping or shopping or food tripping.
The road trip is definitely one for my books. A bestseller.
Most of the summer was spent here in the burbs just spending time with my family since it was in 2012 when I last saw them.
And then it was time to on one more road trip. St. Louis, Missouri to see its famous gateway arch. But apparently, one of the highlights to a trip to this city is Pappy’s, the famous barbeque house. The ribs were, indeed, excellent. I had to get myself two bottles of its sauce.
Before we reached Missouri, we took a side trip to Springfield, Illinois. This is where President Abraham Lincoln spent 25 years before heading off to Washington DC as the country’s 16th commander in chief.
Lincoln, I assume, among all the presidents have the greatest influence on this country. I felt him, I saw him in every state I have been to. Having read many of his speeches, it is easy to see why.
Does a land give birth to man? Or does man give birth to a land?
I have learned to love Lincoln Land because I have seen how my family has strived to better their lives here and how they have thrived. And when I go back to the Philippines, I know that I will miss it sorely. But not as much as I will miss my family. I know that I belong here in Illinois as much as I belong in Baguio.
On the other hand, I will go home ready for this special project SunStar Baguio will undertake soon. I go home with a renewed appreciation for the warm people of my birth land and its beauty. And also I miss the team. And I miss the Commander.
Lincoln in his address in Springfield before going off to Washington DC said: “Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To his care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
Until my next visit, Lincoln Land! God bless you!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 15, 2014.