This past weekend was one of those incredible moments that I will always cherish. A family reunion was planned for my aunt’s side of the family in Roanoke, Virginia, and not only were her and her husband (my mother’s brother) going to be there, along with their two kids (my only American cousins – the rest live in Hungary), my father and his wife, and my sister and her husband were also coming – essentially, the closest thing to an American family reunion for me in about 15 years. Needless to say, I had been looking so forward to this for quite some time. And it turned out even better than I could have imagined.
I flew into Roanoke on Friday evening and stayed at my friend C-Lo’s place. Since I love hanging out downtown, we met a good friend of hers there, where we proceeded to dance all night to Michael Jackson songs. We then headed out to the reunion early Saturday afternoon. As soon as I pulled up, I realized I didn’t recognize anyone, and then I saw my uncle and I knew I got the right place. It was so great to see my uncle and his wife again after 8 or so years (when I went to visit them in Colorado). I then spotted my dad and his wife and my sister and her husband. Unfortunately, her kids couldn’t make it. After thoroughly enjoying catching up with my cousin, who is three years younger than me, we ate, talked and waited for his sister. And waited…and waited. Apparently, she decided to fly into Raleigh, North Carolina and drive up to Roanoke, a 3 hour hike. She ended up missing an exit or three, and family troops were sent out to find her. But luckily, she arrived in time to enjoy the reunion. Since she’s only 8 months younger than I, we go wayyyy back, and I always love hanging out with her. I was particularly excited that she was going to stay with C-Lo and I Saturday night, so we could spend more more catch-up time together.
After the reunion, my dad and his wife, my sister and her hubby, and my 2 cousins went to check out C-Lo’s beautiful house, situated on a mountainside with gorgeous views out front and out back. We then headed over to the Wildflour Market and Bakery for a tasty dinner. Afterwards, we all headed up to Mill Mountain to watch the sunset and view the city from above under the star, a giant 90-foot illuminated star that was built in 1949. This earned Roanoke the nickname “Star City”.
The majority of us got together the next morning for breakfast, with my aunt and uncle joining us too. After saying our goodbyes, C-Lo, my cousin and I did a few hikes at Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Huddleston, which is about 45 minutes outside of Roanoke. I was here once before about 15 or so years ago (back in my Virginia days). It was great to go back and experience this beautiful park again. It was then time to part ways with the gals and head back to Florida.
This was such a great trip and it was so wonderful to spend it with my family, especially my Colorado relatives who I rarely get to see nowadays. I can’t wait for the next reunion.