Until last week, I’d only been to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois one time. Savanna (big sis) had never been. Urbana-Champaign is now penciled in our schedules every other month for the next three years, if we had our druthers that is. Savanna and I love Urbana-Champaign, Illinois -- because we love Diana. That is where lil sis is hunkered down absorbing yet more knowledge in her already amply-supplied brain.
Saying good-bye to children (and little sisters) isn’t easy. Doing so is especially tricky for semi-control freaks, like me and big sis, Savanna.
Not only do we want swift access for visiting lil sis, we want assurance that her living environment and social surroundings are spiffy and up to par. Diana moved herself to Illinois which means big sis and I have been bit-chomping to check things out and help her settle in ever since she left Atlanta four weeks ago.
Last week we did just that. Savanna and I broke out of Atlanta gates and flew to Urbana-Champaign for a first glimpse into Diana's new, law school life. We hit the ground running and located the grad/family housing apartment complex where she lives before even laying eyes on her. The building Diana lives in is retro, oozing midwestern academia charm. Of particular note is the green, tree-filled outdoor surroundings where [truly] adorable children play freely. Outdoor noise is filled with kids running and playing, not "partying" nonsense.
Savanna and I scrubbed, swept and exterminated the front porch that leads inside lil sis’s new home.
For the interior, we made a list, checked it twice and headed to Walmart,
HomeGoods, TJ, Staples, Target, Walgreens, and a furniture I can’t remember the name of. Naturally, we went back to some of those places a second time with returns.
Savanna is a blue-ribbon sister who has tended to her lil sis’ dietary and environmental comfort since toddler times.
She made a scrumptious Mexican casserole, portioned it out and froze individual containers for lil sis to enjoy later.
Some things just never change. The kitchen has an adorable window that looks out over green grass, trees, a picnic table and kids running around. The pathway could use repaving but a little uneven walking ground is shameful to complain about when there is so much to be thankful for.
As for dipping our toes in the social climate. We checked out a football game at the UIUC Memorial Stadium (dedicated to men and women who gave their lives in World War I. Their names appear on 200 columns that support the east and west sides of the stadium). Unfortunately UI lost 37-30 to UTSA.
But that didn’t prevent the game from being energetic and full of devoted Illini fans. Triangle park is officially part of the Fighting Illini fan-family now.
Savanna never fails to find fun things to do wherever we go. Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch was cute as it could be. There was apple picking, carriage rides, apple slushies (a lot of apple stuff) and kitten adoptions to boot.
Diana’s digs are by no means “finished.” Jeff and I head that way in a few weeks for additional sprucing. But big sis and I accomplished what we set out to by sprucing up lil sis’ home away from home. Diana can now focus on increasing brain power and Savanna and I can sleep comfortably knowing she's comfortable.
Wait! The most important thing is/was that we rely on promises of God where ever he takes us:
"Behold. I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared." ~ Exodus 23:20
"Behold. I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." ~ Genesis 28:15
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." ~ Deuteronomy 31:8
Psst, Diana: Your brain is your superpower!