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So Long Chitown, the Wheat State & The Nasty ‘Nati

Jessy's Creative Invitation

What a whirlwind of travel, emotions, and parties during our last week in the States.

Greg's tolerance to goodbyes isn't so swell...Our dear friends in Chicago kicked it off on August 22nd with an “all you can drink” special at Rocks in Lincoln Park. Ashley dragged Greg out of Wrightwood Tap around 3:30am, knowing the 6:00am cock-a-doodle-do was nearing.

Not our babyWith just 2 hours of sleep under our belts, it was off to the Jayhawker State of Kansas to visit Ashley’s massive family. Hungover and in desperate need of some zzzz’s, we were overwhelmed by the well wishes of the the Miller’s and Rausch’s – around 100 loved ones to see us off. Thanks so much to everyone who showed their pretty face, even from as far as 250 miles away. It meant the world to us! And special thanks to Cathy (Ash’s selfless mother) for all the TLC she put into the event. Dear Tenley (5 days old at the time), we will see you raising hell on 2 feet one year from now.

Splash!It was then off to Lake Wilson for some more Bud Light and lots of boating. Who knew Braden (Ash’s sister) was a masterful backflipper on the Air Chair… don’t give up. Numerous falls at the hands of that same Air Chair, wake skating, and surfing left Greg with a sore back and ego. Golf at dusk didn’t go so well either… Captain Matt’s partner in crime, Brad (Ash’s shy father), sank a putt with his cell phone providing ample light in the 9th hole cup to defeat Greg and Braden. We also spent a lunchhour at Claflin Elementary with Bryce (Ash’s youngest brother ) dining with a table of arm wrestling 5th graders. Had Greg been enrolled there, he would have lost recess privileges for 1 week due to spilling applesauce in the lunch line and spreading the mess around with his flip flop. Our fantastic visit to Kansas was topped off with a special visit with Grandma June – thanks for all the support.Extra sloppy

After the land of Dorthy, we made our way to Cincinnati. The first day was spent on final preparations for our RTW trip then one last home cooked meal. Greg’s mom, Sue, prepared his favorites – beef stroganoff, green beans, pears, cottage cheese with tomatoes, and garlic bread. Random but delicious! To get Greg’s Bengals fix, he stayed up until 2:30am watching a preseason match (don’t think we will see many Bengals games on the road). Who Dey!

The next morning Greg ran errands while Ashley was pampered. Kim (Greg’s sister-in-law) treated Ashley to a memorable day of a massage and shopping, even surprising her with a new dress for her travels. Then Ashley was introduced to Hudy Delight Beer at Poppy and Ma’s. Visiting them always leaves us with a smile on our faces and warmth in our hearts. That evening, Jeff (Greg’s brother) and Kim threw us a spectacular Cincinnati themed send off complete with Skyline Chili, LaRosa’s Pizza, and Graeter’s Ice Cream. The evening was topped off with Crowley’s (Greg’s odd high school friend) pineapple upside down shots and slap-that-bag with Matt (Greg’s cousin).

I hate bugs. Love Texas RangerMatt and Heidi (Matt’s dynamic wife) cooked us brunch after touring their impressively remodeled home. Then it was off to the Cincinnati airport to fetch a rental car bound for Chicago. Our last day in the States was spent with our favorite people in Chicago – the Hendy’s and Waligora’s for apps, beers, and wine on the Chicago River and a BBQ with our IU and KU pals.

We shall miss the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. And as Lee Greenwood sang not so long ago, God Bless the USA.short, tall, short, tall, short, tall

- Greg and Ash

No More Paychecks?!?!

To commemorate my 3+ years, my colleagues pulled their money together and threw me a raging PartA. Well not exactly for me… it really was a pre-arranged summer outing. 

Mojitos with rock candy stirrers (for the ladies), hand rolled cigars, and a cornhole tournament was the order of the afternoon. After Sciascia and I took and an early exit in the 2nd round of the tourney, we turned our focus to the dunk tank. Yup, I even took the plunge.

Then it was on to the Bottom Lounge for some unnecessary shots of whiskey…err… whiskey is almost always necessary! A Houdini disappearance was in the cards by midnight.

It was a great way to celebrate my departure from a firm I greatly admire whose talent boasts some of the best real estate professionals in Chicago. Though it was immensely difficult to walk away from a job I truly enjoyed, the thing I will miss most of all are my former colleagues.

So feel free to send me a portion of your hard earned paycheck, address TBD.

- Greg

Farewell Chicago

Chicago SkylineWe have exactly two weeks before we head out on our 12 – 15 month adventure around the world.  Where has time gone?  We have been planning this trip for almost 10 months and it is crazy to think that it is finally here.  Greg and I have spent the last few weeks running around the city getting the final details put together.  I am happy to say that we are almost there.  Who knew this much thought and work goes into planning a trip like this?  I have to give a shout out to Greg for that…without him I would be completely lost and not prepared.  So thank you Greg for your diligent planning and saving us some serious $$$ along the way!

 
Greg and I will be using this blog as a way to communicate about experiences abroad.  We will post often to keep you updated on our whereabouts and what we have been doing.  So please follow!
 
Greg and I will be spending our last two weeks packing up our apartment, finalizing details of our trip, spending time with friends, and making quick trips to Kansas and Ohio to say farewell to our families.  It will be an emotional final two so I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you to some people:besties
 
Thank you Cate, Melissa, Heather, and Amy for being the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  You have made the last 7 years some of the best of my life.  You have each made such an impact on me and I look forward to many more memories in the future. 
 parents

Thank you to my parents for being so supportive of us and our decision to travel the world.  I am going to miss talking to my mom daily… she is honestly my best friend!  And I am still my daddy’s little girl.  I love you both dearly!

fam fam

 

 Thank you to Kiley, Braden, Bailee, Remington and Bryce.   I couldn’t ask for better siblings.   My life wouldn’t be the same without all of you.  I can’t wait for you to all visit.  Love you with all my heart!

 

miller gang

 Thank you to the rest of my Miller and Rausch family.  I feel that I have the most amazing family in the entire world.  Also, thank you all of you for being supportive and excited about our adventure.  It means a lot to have all of you “on board”.  Love you all dearly!
 

 

Thank you Herb, Sue, Jeff, and Kim Dietz for also being so supportive of our decision, but mostly for being so loving deitz famand welcoming.  I feel so blessed that Greg has such a great family that I love deadietz weddingrly.  Herb, we can’t wait for you to spend the month of December with us in New Zealand.  What an adventure that will be…

 

 

Lastly, friendsthank you to Andrew, Brian, Rob, Ben, Grant, Melissa, Cate, and Heather for throwing us a going away party in Chicago.  You have all been such great friends and we feel blessed to have all of you in our lives.  We can’t wait for Saturday…thanks again!  Also, thanks Mom and Dad for throwing us another going away party in Kansas.  We can’t wait to see everyone and appreciate you rounding up the troops to bid us farewell.  Lastly, thank you Jeff and Kim for throwing us our final going away party in Cincinnati.  You two are so good to us!  It is such a treat that we get three going away parties…we are two very fortunate people :)
 

We are so excited about what the next 12 – 15 months has in store for us.  Looking forward to seeing all of you in the next two weeks!
 
Ash

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