Atlanta, GA (January 15-18)
Our first stop of tour was a special one, as our dad's first cousin, Phil Kauffman, along with his wife, Barbara, laid out the red carpet for us in Atlanta. The band embarked from Archbold, OH, crossing our fingers that we would make it farther than six hours before a major setback (like the crash on our first tour!). We had a small celebration once we past that milestone, and we absolutely crushed our 10 hour driving day, much thanks to the Harry Potter audiobooks. Upon arrival at Phil & Barb's house in Carrollton, GA, we released some of our pent-up energy swimming in the Kauffman's 61 degree pool (while it was 68 degrees outside :). It's safe to say this heartily amused Phil & Barb.
The next morning we strode out the door at a brisk pace, and spent the rest of the day chasing Phil around the city, taking tours at the CNN Studio, the Coca-Cola Company, the Civil Rights Museum, and the Georgia Aquarium. We had the honor to get to know another cousin, Deb Young, along with her husband, Jack, better as we toured the city.
A wonderful part of this year has been connecting with relation that we have "known" our whole lives. Spending more concentrated time with them has allowed us to get to know them much better, especially when visiting them in their home town.
On Friday morning, we had the opportunity to see an impressive depiction of the Civil War's Battle of Atlanta, via a cyclorama (an oil on canvas mural that is 360 degrees around, displaying different key moments in the Battle of Atlanta). I won't go into the controversial history of the mural, but I would suggest a Google Search of this cyclorama if you enjoy history. It was eye opening for us to see how much tension there still is revolving around the Civil War in the South; our wide exposure to different perspectives continue to grow as we move throughout the country. Along with this exposure comes a decrease in judgement, seeing the value in all types of people.
Friday evening, the Kauffman's opened their doors to a big group of friends, and we had a wonderful acoustic house concert. Awaiting us after the house concert was the hot tub right out back, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Saturday was our day to rest up from our big days before we played at a beautiful winery called Uncorked. A highlight at this performance was the opportunity to sing with some young cousins (rising stars by the way), Madeline & Vivian.
Sunday morning we left Carrollton with full hearts and full stomachs (having been properly exposed to authentic southern cuisine), feeling supported and purposeful moving forward. We safely traveled 13 hours in one day to Key West, where we were reunited with our father for a couple days!
We are grateful to have been able to spend such quality time with our beloved cousins, and to have gotten to know Atlanta! Much peace and love to all who have read this.