Blogs from Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, North America


North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids January 23rd 2013

On that 2004 cross-country one-way road trip I’m always talking about (just mentioned again in my January 20th blog), after weleft our disposable car in Omaha, Nebraska, we raced across Iowa to the Bridges of Madison County – trying to get there before sundown. (Again – a story for another time.) With that theme in mind, I was happy to find out about the Bridge of Kent County, the Ada Covered Bridge, built in 1867, across the Thornapple River. It’s 14 feet wide, and 125 feet long. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to covered bridges, but I’m not alone. There is a “National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges”, which publishes a World Guide to Covered Bridges, a quarterly magazine, and a newsletter ( And, for me, it’s not because of the movie (“Bridges ... read more
Ada Bridge
Ada Bridge
Ada Bridge

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids October 22nd 2012

We’re finally done with the hard work of building and moving and decorating our new condo and are enjoying the fruits of our efforts. We are proud of the work we did installing wood flooring (with the expert help of cousin Colleen and “her man” Craig, and son Aaron), installing ceramic flooring in the master bath, repairing vinyl siding and many odds and ends. Our talented Builder Tim did great work and met the goal date of 3 months. Then we got to move in our possessions from “storage.” After 5 years of dirt and grime it was a dirty job. We lucked out that nearly everything we stored was still usable and in good shape. Our sons John and Aaron, and grandson Cory and girlfriend Megan along with a number of friends helped so much. ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids July 23rd 2012

“The Journey Begins” Who would have imagined Jenison teachers planning and executing a Fine Arts Camp in Beijing China? It all started with a phone call in the summer of 2011. A Jenison alumni contacted the offices of Jenison International Academy (JIA), inquiring about our school for a friend that lives in Beijing. This began the journey. What started as a personal inquiry proved to be much more as weekly correspondence developed with this parent in Beijing. It was discovered that parents all over the world have similar goals and aspirations for their children…What if we could bring two cultures together through educational experiences? In February, a team from China, including an elementary principal and educational consultant, came to visit and tour JPS. During their time here, they were able to meet staff, students and parents, ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids July 19th 2012

Four teachers, a principal, and one incredible journey. Making final preparations for our trip to China, I don't think any of us can believe our departure date is so quickly approaching! In just two days our team from Jenison Public Schools in Jenison, MI will leave for Fengtai, China (part of greater Beijing). Here we will be teaching a fine arts camp to 28 fourth through sixth grade students of Fengtai First Elementary School. Let me introduce our team. Grant Carmichael is our music teacher who teaches at both Bursley Elementary and the Early Childhood Center. With his 6'6" stature and musical prowess, he will no doubt wow the students of Fengtai! Grant has always viewed music as a global language, and this perspective will certainly inform his teaching approach while in Fengtai. Tobi Hoeker is ... read more

I just wanted everyone to know that I did make it home safely! :)... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids April 25th 2012

Although I am not planning on actually traveling until 2013, a trip like mine needs a lot of thought and preparation, especially if I am planning on going by myself. This is a general introduction for what I am planning on doing, and why. Over the past few years, there have been a lot of changes in my life, and I have grown immensely as an individual, and have figured out what a few of my passions in life are. One of these passions is traveling. In April of 2009, I traveled to Unguturu, India and volunteered in a children's home, until the end of July. Although my trip was cut short (I was supposed to be there for a year), I can not begin to list all of the things that I took away from ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids April 21st 2012

Jo and I arrived safely back in Detroit Thursday night, and now it's back to the grind ; ) Thanks for tuning in!... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids September 7th 2010

08/30/2010 - 09/06/2010: Grand Rapids, MI: Week 2 of our "vacation", another Country Inn & Suites and we are missing the motorhome with our own bed and comfy recliners. Our summer weather suddenly turned and we had a cooling off that felt very much like Fall. We packed only summer clothes so had to shop for sweatshirts! Our first tourist stop in Grand Rapids was at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. Very interesting. We then went on to Heritage Hill, one of the largest urban historic districts in the US. It consists of 1300 hundred private homes, representing over 60 architectural styles, and dating from 1849. We took the self-guided walking tour which covered many blocks and highlighted 37 homes. Beautiful homes, huge trees, brick streets. We had a great afternoon walking around. The final tourist ... read more
John Ball Zoo lake sculpture
Brown Bear

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids August 18th 2010

Visited Countries Map It's not like I've never traveled...I've been to a fair amount of countries outside the United States. It is the face that I wont have my family there with me or another tour group that is starting to make me nervous. For the first time I will be "on my own" (except for the study abroad helpers, my host family, and others-- but who's counting them). The packing ugh, I never knew how hard it was to try to fint stuff into a bag and make it weigh less than 50 lbs. I mean I'm trying to carry enough stuff to last me through December, and this is an area that has hot and sunny days to cold and rainy days. I think I finally made it though with two suitcases both under ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Grand Rapids December 5th 2009

Leaving on January 1st! Arrive in Melbourne, Australia January 3rd~ and the journey begins!! ... read more

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