I spent my Shavuos in Providence, Rhode Island. I had been there once before for less than a day, so it was time to really experience it. I'm very close with a family who lives there - they have known me since right before I became shomer shabbos, and were actually extremely instrumental in my making that step to become shomer shabbos. Some people you just hit it off with, and keep in touch with. So it was with this family. Over the past eight years, in several different cities, we have managed to keep in touch and see each other on a semi-regular basis. They have really been there for me in crisis, and I have attempted, inadequately I'm sure, to help them out when I could. When I met them, they had two children, the oldest a year and a half. They now have six kids, from ages 10 to infant, all of whom I really love. It was such a treat over Shavuos to snuggle up with these kids, reading them books and cuddling. Because it was Shavuos, I also managed to get some intellectual stimulation out of the weekend. We had several interesting discussions about different topics pertaining to halacha, psychology, history and more. I really liked the community in Providence. It's certainly small-town; I think I managed to meet about half the community in my three days there. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, I was obviously a visitor since they didn't know me, so I was welcomed openly and warmly. To this Alabama girl, it was a great feeling - I guess I didn't know there were communities in the North with the warmth of the South. Guess I had to travel to New England to find out (though according to some maps Maryland is part of New England). I also managed to have meals with a couple other families that I know there, I felt like an honored guest in each of their homes, and it was great to catch up with everyone and see how big their children had gotten. It was a weekend for feeling at home away from home. Semgirl commented to me about how much I travel. It's funny because I would actually rather be in my own bed, in my own house - that's where I feel most comfortable. But I realize how incredibly lucky I am that on any given Shabbos, Yom Tov, or probably any day of the week, I have friends in many different corners of the world who are willing to welcome me into their homes with open arms. I'm so glad I do travel, and that I was in Providence for Shavuos. I think what I learned most was that I really love this family - for who they are, for the friendship they offer, and for making me part of the family. It was a beautiful Shavous.