Tuesday, August 30, 2011

14 days & Berea

Two weeks from now at this time John and I should have landed in Philadelphia for staging. It is hard to imagine that we are so close to leaving.

We are making progress on some of the business end to getting ready such as getting a new driver's license so it doesn't expire while we are over seas, extending our debit card expiration dates, filling out some Peace Corps paperwork, getting a power of attorney, and the list goes on and on... We are also making a list of places we want to eat at before leaving, such as our favorite sushi places.

Some of the reality is beginning to hit home as we are having to say our last goodbye's to some people we know we won't be able to see again.

Yesterday I drove down to Berea to meet Kate since we won't be able to make it down to Knoxville again. Although I was sad not to see Michael and Sam again, some "girl time" was long overdue. It has been a while since Kate and I hung out just the two of us and I would love to make it happen more often (once we are in the US again). The day was encompassed with walking around and taking in multiple different venues. First we walked through an arts center, then hiking, then lunch and just walking around town. The hike was my favorite part. Although we were supposed to see a waterfall at the end it was dry but the area was astonishingly beautiful. The walk was typical of Kentucky scenery, with dense trees and rocks and hills.

I then met up with John, Jerry, Zue, Shawn, Amanda, and Rob to have dinner one last time before Rob catches his plane in the morning. We went to the casino for steaks and Shawn had the great idea that we will all meet up again in a little over 2 years to do the same thing. Sadly we forgot the camera. All in all it was a great day!

Derby festivities!

We made it to the balloon glow with Tracy's folks and really enjoyed the show!

Monday, August 15, 2011


We got in around mid-day and Rosco seemed happy to see Tracy. I wasn't too jealous... We enjoyed Jess and Steven's awesome back yard and amazing cooking, then proceeded to spend most of the evening catching up and sharing some beers. Some friends of theirs (Chris and Beth) arrived later in the evening and we drank some Manhattans and talked about a wide variety of things then made plans for the morrow.

The morning began with bagels, thin sliced salmon, onions, and cream cheese (delicious!), all washed down with coffee. We grabbed their three bikes and grabbed a fourth from the Capital Bikeshare! This is a great idea for a city! Then rode to a large, local market and tested food samples from all the fruit stalls and ended the experience with a stop at a Mediterranean food truck.  Next we set off for the capital building and took our pictures just as the rain started.  All four of us were good and soaked by the time we made it to the Hirshhorn Museum.  I had seen pictures of the Needle Tower and did not want to miss the opportunity to check it out.  With the upcoming adventure, we are trying to save our cash so I was trying to decide if I wanted to go in or voice the dissent and move on.  We went in and next thing I knew we were walking among the works.  Jess advised most of the museums in DC are free.  I figured it would be closer to the idea of a donation or something, but absolutely free was unexpected.  Like a child with a new gift I wandered around enjoying the photography exhibits and after a time when we all needed coffee, but it wasn't hard to leave without regrets.  Funny how removing money from an equation can change things.  After caffeinating ourselves we headed to the National Gallery of Art and saw the largest mobile ever created by Alexander Calder.  We spied some good Alberto Giacometti, Dali, Picasso, and many others too.  We grabbed the bikes and headed back to rest up before going to a DC United soccer match!  They smashed the competition and we destroyed some hotdogs!  Good times!

On our last day, we had lunch gathered from the market: pate, olives, two kinds of cheeses, tomatoes, white peaches, two kinds of bread, and some meats.  We ate down near the waterfront and went to the U.S. National Arboretum afterward.  The bonsai exhibit was fascinating and I learned that if you prune back the roots then the leaves take on the small size that I think of when I think of bonsai.  I always thought they had to be specific tree breeds or something akin to that.  We walked through the garden and felt like we were transported to another place far from any city.  Then we were worn out from the weekend and escaped into a flick on the TV.

We said our goodbyes the next day and Jess and Steven headed off to work.  Our next stop was to Baltimore for a free hotel room (Thank you again Jenn!) and some exploring.  We did some shopping and enjoyed an ice-cream by the water front.  It was a day of relaxation and sea food - great clams!  A perfect end to our US traveling.  Now back to Louisville and focusing in on our Botswana planning and international travel.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Sat morning before leaving the Boston area for NY/NJ Ashok, John and I drove to the mountains in NH to do some hiking. This was an amazing hike although the first part of the trail which was supposed to be 2.2 miles felt more like 4 straight uphill. After a well spent day of hiking we had dinner in Boston then hit the road again. En route to Jersey City it downpoured most of the way, at least during my shift driving. We arrived at Chez Hay around 2am and hung out for a little while before crashing.

Sunday morning Rob made an excellent breakfast of french toast.
-went to the cloisters
-el Malacon for lunch
-Cassie dropped us off at Manhattan Mall
-Took the PATH back to NJ
-Watched Louie CK and ordered Indian for dinner.

John & I slept in a bit and had a relaxing morning reading and enjoying coffee. We then grabbed a late lunch and gelato at Chelsea Market and continued the hunt for my size Chacos in a color I like. Although we were able to get John a pair I have resigned myself to ordering them online. Afterwards we met Rob at his work and the whole crew (Amy, Maggie, Rob, Cassie, John, and I) went to watch the movie Airplane in Bryant Park. I can't believe this wa s the first time John had seen it. We then headed to Times Square so Maggie could see it at night.

-John, Rob, and I went to Century 21
-Had breakfast out of a cart on Wall Street
-Took the State Island Ferry
-tie shopping at a street vendor
-Toured the Intrepid and a submarine
-Back to the apt to drop Maggie off at the airport
-ordered Chinese played Monopoly, had a dance off (Kinect), and drank

-Met Nat & Marina for lunch
-Jim for beers at (Old Town, McSorley's & the Birreria rooftop)
-Met Rob at his work then ate at the Hartland. Thursday
-Peace Corps conference call at 10
-Went into Manhattan to shop
-sky line to read and ran into Nat and his dad
-Chelsea garden for dragonfruit
-Gene's for dinner with Rob and Cassie
-Walked around the east Village and grabbed a couple beers
-Home to do a dance off

Friday John left his phone at Taglitalia so he ran into the city while I packed up and we are now on the road to see Jess and Steven in DC.

Friday, August 5, 2011


We made it to the MIT campus yesterday and were very impressed.  The graffiti on the buildings were attempted mathematical proofs.  Our kind of place.  Ashok took us to a wonderful Afgani restaraunt and then the Harvard in the evening and it was still full of people milling about.  We are now taking a Boston Duck Tour! Quack!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bound for the north

So we have started the trip with the destination of Boston.  We spent last night at my parent's house and my birthday was a wonderful day. 

We are in a polish restaurant "Babushka's kitchen" and I am preparing to eat my first pierogi!