Family Visit – Set Devices Aside

My daughter is going to be a Senior in high school this year. We set out on a road trip last week to visit a few colleges and incorporated family visits in our trip.

My brother Ken and his lovely wife and two adorable daughters live in Maine. I haven’t seen my brother in 3-4 years. I was really missing him and decided to add an additional 4 hours north of one of the colleges we were touring to spend some time with him and his family.

We had such a lovely visit. Ken and his family live a very different lifestyle from mine. They live out in Maine country, we live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. They have livestock, including a laying hen who greets us every time we go outside or arrive back from an excursion, we have a nicely landscaped yard. Their modern conveniences are limited. They have no TV, one or two computers(I think one of the computers is a Raspberry PI), 2 smart phones(the kids don’t have any electronic devices), no microwave and no air-conditioning. Let’s just say we have too many modern conveniences and I do love my air-conditioning.

This is Pollita, the laying hen who greeted us every time we sit outside or when we came home from an excursion. She grew on me.

It’s easy to go into an environment different from yours and start making comparisons and judgments, but I have to say in spite of our lifestyle differences, my daughter and I had a wonderful time visiting. My daughter enjoyed spending time with her little cousins watching them play. My nieces are very affectionate, so my daughter got lots of hugs and kisses and she truly enjoyed that(who wouldn’t?)

We enjoyed the simple pleasure of life that I think so many of us are lacking in our lives right now. My brother made us a cappuccino every morning(he found a cappuccino machine that someone was getting rid of, cleaned it up and it makes the best cappuccino!) We sat every morning savoring our cappuccino and catching up. We ate homemade pancakes, donuts and we had some of the best dinners made from fresh ingredients. We visited Colby College Art Gallery and spent a couple of hours enjoying and appreciating art.

I believe the artist is Alex Katz

One of my favorite things we did was we jammed everyday. My brother plays the banjo, my nieces play the violin(fiddle) and my daughter and I sing. Ken taught us a couple of old-time songs and we made time to practice each day of our visit. On our last night there we performed 5 songs at an open mike. What a joy it was to jam with my family and have the opportunity to perform at a Grange. I have to say we weren’t perfect(although my nieces were pretty amazing) but we made a nice impression and just had great fun.

A smart phone was used here to take this image. My niece was having fun with the photo filters

I rarely looked at my smart phone or iPad the entire time I was visiting my brother and neither did my daughter. We just never really found the need to. We spent most of our time visiting with family and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. I think we could all benefit from taking a break from technology every now and then and just enjoy life.

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