There is the family you were born with and there is the family you choose.
In my case there also is the family that was assigned to my brother during his high school exchange in approximately 2006. He went to Cleveland, Ohio and met a family that fit him to the T. Every since they have been part of our extended family. So it was a given for me to go visit them as Cleveland is on the way between Pittsburgh and Chicago.
Unfortunately, my time with them was short but Linn took me around a bit and showed me parts of their Ohio. It was really nice to spend some time with them and their family.
Our trips included a visit to his favorite pawn shop, much to the dismay of his sons, Amish country with a mandatory stop at White House Chocolates to get amazing fudge – Maple Walnut was by far my favorite -, and other spots.
Following the action packed travel days with high intensity and tight schedules it was nice to have a few calmer days that featured feeding deers, watching bees and family dinners.
Usually I am not particularly keen to spend a whole lot of time close to bees, wasps or other organisms that can bite or sting due to allergies. But watching these busy bees flying in and out of their beehive was very relaxing and my mom probably would have been somewhat proud of me staying very calm when a bee landed on my shoe and stayed for a while. I even took a picture to prove it 🙂
Speaking of food: Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh is hands down one of my favorite places to grab a nice sandwich. So I was quite curious to explore Linn’s favorite sandwich place: Slymans. Now, corned beef is an acquired taste that I do enjoy in limited quantities. The sheer amount of beef on their sandwiches is mind boggling and I could barely finish a quarter of one. It was a nice but stormy day and we attempted eating those monstrous servings while sitting on a picknick table at Lake Erie.
Even if my stay in Cleveland was short, it was great to get a peek into the city that means a lot to people in my family and is home to ‘our American family‘.
I sure will stop by again when I am in the area.