While on our traveling sabbatical we have encountered the best people. As you know, life is all about people. We have discovered that traveling is fun when you meet new and unique people. Join us for part two of our People Stories Continued.
If you missed Part one: People Stories Blog here is the link.
Visitor Center People Stories
When we arrive in a city we usually stop at a visitor center to find out what to do and what to see. We have had a couple of great interactions besides the normal. In Hendersonville, North Carolina the guy at the visitor center desk had said he was from Maple Grove, Minnesota. He then related to our experiences and gave us insights into the area. We had fun talking to him.
In Huntsville, Alabama Visitor Center, we talked to the ladies for over 45 minutes and they told us everything about the area. They even answered our odd questions. We had a fun time at that visitor center. They even had a selfie booth where you can choose pictures for backgrounds. Now that’s a great idea.
Sadly, starting mid-march the visitor centers were closed and the main thing we could do was bike, hike or drive, so we had to find out own way without people.
The New Host
We signed up for an Airbnb that only had one review. We were only planning on staying one night. It was in a sketchy neighborhood which is what my kids would say. From our research, we could tell we would be safe with eight churches in the area and a newly remodeled place. The Airbnb host was also a counselor.
He messaged us back and thanked us for taking a chance on him. We had some kinks he had to work out during our stay with him. One was a failed hot water heater. Oh well, the astronauts in the space station take sponge baths. We extended grace to him and gave him a list of suggestions to make his place work out. In return, we got a new experience and an inexpensive place to stay.
We Talked for Three Hours
Another of our hosts was a single mom. She loved to talk and yes even more than me. Actually, she was a lot like me in how we think and was even an Enneagram 6 like myself. She told us about the area and all the places we needed to go. She loved chatting with her guests, so much that we talked with her for three hours straight the first two nights.
We were able to have in-depth conversations about our faith, churches, family, struggles, hopes, and dreams. It’s hard to leave these places when you spend over a week there and make such intimate connections. But life must resume and go on. We will always pray for one
The Bird/Dog Lady
This Lady was in her later 70s and had been doing an Airbnb for the past three years since her husband died to help with her bills. She was brave to be creative in her finances. I know she is braver than me.
We had a great time with her. Since she was a dog trainer, bird lover, a gun educator, past scuba diver, and motorcycle rider you know she is adventurous and takes risks. She has 8 birds that happily sing in the morning and a very big 11-month-old well-trained puppy.
She said we could use her washer and dryer but her dryer didn’t work very well. It took three hours to dry a load, but we could hang them outside. I suggested Rick could look at it.
As Rick and I were praying that morning I asked God if he could show us how to fix her dryer. The guys from her church were asked to fix it but never came. Later that day on a hike I told Rick that he should check the lint in all of her vents. It could be plugged up like another time he had fixed
In the evening he looked at her dryer and found out the lint had been building up for 20 years and the venting went up out the roof, not out the front of the house. He took a whole garbage can of lint out of the tubes. Tip: Clean your dryer vent tubing. The dryer worked after he cleaned everything out. She was so happy to use her dryer.
I loved to tell stories and she loved to tell stories. Seemed we were telling stories all night long for over a week. She was so sweet, she even made Rick a birthday meal with peanut butter cookies. She asked us to hide them in our room so she wouldn’t eat them, but then would ask us to bring them out for dessert!
Once again it was not by chance we stayed with her. God knew she needed help. He knew we needed to talk about faith with her and he knew she needed company.
The Single Autistic Guy
We arrived at a home in the evening before the host got home. We needed to make supper and started to cook. When he arrived home, we were in the kitchen making our dinner. I told him not to worry about anything. We would have his kitchen cleaner than when we came.
Truth be told. We left it cleaner than when we came. We found a loaded dishwasher to the max with dirty dishes so we started that up and washed a few by hand. The next day I found some dirty dishes in the oven so we washed those. Everything else was tidy.
I knew he was a highly functioning autistic when I saw all the books, calculators and formulas on the kitchen table and from our conversations. When we went to bed at night, I opened the bed which was nicely made and discovered the bedding in the wrong order. Instead of the flat sheet next to the fitted sheet, it was between the blanket and quilt. We needed to remake the bed.
We gave grace and knew we had a nice place to stay and gave him a hand in the dish/kitchen department that weekend.
Teaching English Story
At one of our week-long stays, we were abruptly awakened at 5 a.m by a guy next door, who was only staying one night. It sounded like a cell phone but later realized he was doing a skype like video call. He said, “Good morning, how are you, Jimmy and Jennifer”. “Did you get your lesson done”?
At that moment I realized this was not a normal phone call, but he was teaching English as a second language to kids in China. This guy had the perfect expression, was motivating and talked really loud and he was ready to teach really well at 5 a.m.
I told Rick he will either be done at 6 a.m. or if not he will be teaching until 8 a.m. I started listening to his lessons about meanings of words, and ways to say things. He even went through a riddle in the workbook they were using. I hit Rick and said, “what’s the answer”? He said, “the guy was bald”. See, he was good and sucked me in too.
I nodded off to sleep, after an hour we heard him start a new kid and lesson with Cindy in Japan. At 7:45 a.m. Rick woke me and said, “I think he’s almost done”. At 8 a.m. he ended his education and now it was time for me to get up.
We left that day before he left. At least I now know how to teach English overseas with an online company. We told our host about it and she said, “he had asked if it was okay.” She suggested he go to another area in the house to teach, but unfortunately, he thought it was fine.
My take away. It was only one night. So we gave grace. If you go to an Airbnb please whisper if others are sleeping and you are near their bedrooms. We must consider others more than we even realize. Oh well, now I laugh at this story.
Learning About Grace Story
One couple asked if it was ok for them to repair their roof while we were staying with them. They would start working on it at 7 a.m. We said it was no problem. They also had 3 dogs and 3 cats and wild horses they fed. The cats and dogs just wanted to hang by us most of the time.
They were hearing our crazy stories about funny experiences we had along the way and were quite amazed we put up with a few things. We told them everyone lives differently and we have to extend grace to others. No one will ever live the same way you do. We were thankful for places to stay.
They loved it and said we hope you can extend grace to us for our roof and animals. We laughed! Of course, we did. They loved it so much that one day when they were talking to each other on the phone… He was upset with a driver on the road and she said, “you need to give him grace”.
In the end, they learned about giving grace to others. This is the same grace Christ gave us by dying for our sins. Grace was given to us as a free gift we did not earn or deserve. We just need to ask God for this forgiveness and gift of grace.
Brandy on the “Our Town” Show
Our Final story takes place In Laurel, Mississippi. We were in the furniture store talking to the owner. He looked up and said, “here is someone you should meet.” He introduced us to Brandy and her daughter. Brandy and her husband were going to be on the “Our Town” HGTV show on Monday.
We talked with Brandy for an hour and she told us about the area and how they ended up moving to Laurel, MS and getting an “Our Town” home. If you want to know more about that story see the blog: A day in Laurel, Mississippi. We loved her story and I love the fact that I made a new friend that day when I least expected it.
We were finally able to watch the show she was on. Brandy and her husband are on the Our Town show Season 4 Episode 7. They are the couple from Alabama.
We loved hearing her story and how God directed them to move to this area. We hope God directs us in the same kind of way to the city he chooses for us.
We hope you have gathered some great people stories from a distance this past month. I know its been hard not hanging out with people. I have totally missed it the past month and have realized that this traveling sabbatical was all about the people along the way. It has been quiet and we don’t have many new stories to share since we are not staying with people or meeting
Hugs to you all from a distance and when you can hug others, appreciate it!
How will you appreciate your people more when you can see them again?