The Sextons are my Lexington family. They have taken me in their home, treated me as their adopted son, invited me for countless Thanksgiving meals, Christmas and Easter dinners and various outings. They have also taken care of my mom when she came down to visit. When I returned back to the States after my ‘self-deportation’ they put me up in their home for an entire month until I found my feet and got settled.

I know my life in Lexington would be much more isolating and challenging if I didn’t have them in my life. I can count on them for absolutely anything and I only hope one day I can return back their kindness and generosity.

I met Sharyn at church when I first arrived in 2001. She was in charge of Religious Education at St. Patrick’s and also organized a Young Professionals event where I met one of my best friend’s Amy. A couple of years down the road, she asked me to volunteer teach Sunday school which really made me discern my beliefs, opened me up to various faiths, and made me grow spiritually by challenging the status quo. We became much closer since we started to see each other more often while I volunteered for 7th grade Sunday school. Her husband Mike is retired Navy and worked for VMI for many years. He is the sole reason I can drive a car with manual transmission. Without practicing on his old blue truck on their hills I would still be stalling. I’m just glad he was patient with my slow learning process.

Sharyn, Mike, Sharyn’s parents (the Porters), and I went out to our favorite restaurant: Southern Inn. Sharyn and I are big fans of an Old Fashioned so we enjoyed a drink together to toast to both our travels and talked about the future, my family and theirs, and mutual friends.

Food was delicious as usual. Can’t really say much more than good things about the Southern Inn. It is my choice of fine dining in Lexington – even though there are other alternatives. I go there often and am always left very satisfied. Quality food and quality service is just the norm – and I think I take it for granted sometimes.

For my Spain travels they gave me a small but very important parting gift.

Sharyn watched the movie The Way and thought it would be important that I am well prepared for the winter-to-spring transition in Apr-Jun in Spain. The road to Santiago goes through different transitions and different altitudes and possibly weather changes, so it would be best to have a fairly light thermometer handy. Yes, it reads in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. And it does say Blue Ridge Mountain Sports so I definitely have a little reminder of Ol’ Virginia during my travels… and who knows what conversations a Blue Ridge mountain keychain will strike up. It is a very small world.