From Ohio to Delaware


I came to Delaware because I missed the ocean.

The morning I left Ohio, I woke up to find another layer of snow on the ground, and wistful flakes drifting from the sky. It was beautiful, but I was terrified to drive in it. So I lazily packed up the rest of my things, drinking tea in front of the fireplace at intervals, and just waited.

The snow stopped, but my driveway was still slippery with slush. My landlord, who lived upstairs while Carita and I lived downstairs, pushed some of the slush off with his little lawnmower-sized snow plow, and then drove my car up the steep driveway for me. “You know,” he said, as I prepared to leave, “our boy’s camp needs a secretary.”

I thought this was the sweetest thing to say. Even though, at this point in my life, I don’t want to be a secretary, I understood the statement as “we wouldn’t mind if you stuck around longer.”

The roads weren’t slippery but there was snow beside the road. When I stopped to get gas, the snow began in earnest again. I bought donuts and a cheeseburger and terrible gas station tea. And then I just stood in the snow with my head tilted back and looked. It was the most magical event. The huge flakes floated down but I didn’t feel cold, or like it would get in my eyes. Space and time felt warped. Like how it feels when a train goes by and suddenly you feel like you’re the one who’s moving, zooming along at an impossible speed.

It was a lovely drive. Snowy, but it never stuck enough to get slick. I was tense and nervous, though.

Over the mountains. The snow made a haze which caused each individual mountain to stand out from the one behind it, stretching away from me in pale and paler lavender. It was twilight, so the whole world was purple, with black tree skeletons silhouetted against the sky.

My cousin Annette lives in Lancaster PA, and I decided to spend Thanksgiving week with her and her family. Justice, her oldest, became friends with me as soon as I went down to the basement and played basketball with him, but her younger daughters were a bit shy of me at first.

That evening, Liberty, the 4-year-old, stuck a cloth basket upside down on her head.

“What a beautiful hat!” I said. “May I try it on?”

She let me.

“Oh, I’m so fancy, in this beautiful hat!” I said in my own interpretation of a fancy accent.

Liberty was delighted. “The queen! The queen!” she said.

So for the rest of the week I was The Queen. “Where’s my queen?” Liberty would ask her mom, when she wanted to play with me.

Matt came up from DC on Wednesday evening, so that was nice, seeing him again.

The drive from Lancaster Pennsylvania to Dover Delaware only takes a few hours, so I spent Saturday morning with my relations, before zipping down the Delmarva Peninsula. It began to rain. The hills of Pennsylvania flattened out. It almost felt like Oregon.

Arriving in Dover, I stopped at a coffee shop, where I planned to meet my new roommate Angie and our mutual friend Janessa. They hadn’t arrived yet, so I went ahead and ordered my tea.

“That’ll be 2:50,” said the cashier.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, happily handing over a $5 bill and two quarters and getting three neat bills of change. “Do you guys not have sales tax here?”

“No, we don’t,” said the cashier.

“It feels just like Oregon! We don’t have sales tax either!”

She smiled politely.

Angie and Janessa arrived, and I had a fun afternoon of meeting my new roommate and hanging out with an old friend.

I’ve been in Delaware less than a week, but it oddly reminds me of home. The weather has been more mild and Oregon-like, and I’ve already driven to the ocean twice. And the Mennonite community is just much smaller, more Oregon-sized.

But it’s like the teeny tiny quaint version. The entire state is smaller than my county back home. And Dover feels like a small town even though it’s the capital of Delaware.

Even the ocean seems little to me. Which is a bit weird. Obviously I can’t see with my naked eye that Japan is further away than Europe. But maybe it’s because the beach isn’t as extensive, or because there aren’t as many waves. Or maybe because it’s so much quieter.

A few ending notes:

  1. If you’ve noticed something different about my blog, I did turn ads back on. But I’d like feedback from you…so if you see sketchy ads, or if it makes your page run slow or weird, please let me know. My email is (Also, remember that you can always install an ad blocker. If I didn’t mention this, someone would be sure to point it out in the comments, haha.)
  2. I have a fun holiday-related blog series coming up. I’d like to blog every other day from December 12 to January 9. So if you have any fun holiday related blog post ideas, let me know! My ideas so far include:
    1. Gift guide for single brothers (or uncles, nephews, etc)
    2. Guide to prepping a guest room for holiday guests
    3. Maybe some fun fiction
    4. Cozy winter/Christmas themed books/stories
    5. My own holiday adventures

Let me know if there are any winter/Christmas/New Years/Holiday posts you’d love to see!

14 responses to “From Ohio to Delaware

  1. Marian Zimmerman

    I would say eye level makes the difference on how big the ocean is


  2. I have surely enjoyed your travelogue! I also live in Delaware, in Greenwood, south of Dover. There’s a Mennonite community here as well. When your mom was in Lancaster Co. several weeks ago, my friend, Doris, and I took a road trip to meet her. 😊 She was worth the trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes yes to fun fiction posts!


  4. ❤ Loved this one! Well, i like all of them, but for some reason, this one just feels so cozy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love following your year of travel!!


  6. The ads don’t bother me. They always show things I have searched for previously or something very similar.

    Regarding blog post ideas. I would love to read a post on your holiday food traditions. Or one about creative ways you can turn something into a fun experience when holiday expectations don’t turn out as planned.

    I’m enjoying all the updates of your experiences living in different parts of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you could “slip” out of Ohio without slipping on the highways!


  8. I would love to see a list of your favorite and least favorite Christmas songs!


  9. Welcome to the Delmarva Penninsula! This follower of yours lives here too, south of you about 35 miles near the famous little town of Greenwood. Come visit us sometime!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for the post!

    I must admit I find the number (as opposed to the presence) of the ads a bit overwhelming. They are displaying over the top of your header, down a lot of the side (with a break for your sidebar) and at the bottom: four or five (depending on exactly how you count) on this one page. I feel it rather detracts from the personality and distinctiveness of the blog when there are that many, particularly the ones at the top and above your own sidebar. The pictures on the ads haven’t all loaded, though I’m not experiencing problems loading the blog at present and my connection is unusually slow. It isn’t showing me anything off-colour, though.

    I realise this is a bit weird given I haven’t turned ads off on my own blog: they are its default condition and I do mean to deal with them at some point.


  11. Hi Emily, I enjoyed meeting you at the Holmes County book signing. I’ve thought of you often and wondered when you’d be off to the next state in your journey. ☺️
    Wishing you well in all your endeavors. 💞 Kate Troyer

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If you are visiting the beach near Dover, the waves look smaller than ocean waves, because they are NOT ocean waves. They are the waves of the Delaware Bay. For reasons of my own, I love Pickering Beach right there next to Dover, even though it is dirty and it is the Delaware Bay. If you want to see ocean, you’ll have to drive south to Cape Henlopen or Rehobeth. I recommend Cape Henlopen near the town of Lewis. At the narrowest point of Cape Henlopen, you can see the Delaware Bay on one side of the cape, and then walk a minute or two across to see the Atlantic on the other side of the Cape. The ferry is also a nice experience.
    I’ve never lived in Delaware, but my Grandparents did and many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins still do. They are Old Order, and are not the ocean-going type, so I was astonished to discover the beaches 15 -20 minutes from my grandpa’s farm, knowing that he may have never once gone to the beach in his life! Here I had been going to see my family in DE all my life, and it took me until I was nearly 40 years old to realize that they lived close to the beach! I should have known, because I remember the sea gulls flying along behind my grandfather as he plowed his fields with a team of horses.
    Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling at home there. Enjoy!


  13. Maybe this is a bit late to reply to your request for Christmas blog ideas… have you ever had an “un-ideal” Christmas, maybe one where it didn’t feel like Christmas because of recent tragedy, or that family couldn’t make it home, or, because of circumstances, you couldn’t celebrate the way you usually do? If you did I would love to hear about it. This year our family is celebrating Christmas in the garage, due to flooding on the first floor of our house and the remodeling that needs to be done. I would love to hear ideas on how to make Christmas special even though we can’t make it a traditional Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

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