Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother, May I

Mother May I...please get in a better habit of updating this blog? aMEn.
(Don't ask, everyone's's not just me, heh.)

Anyhoo. I probably could have written here at least a few days sooner than now, but I'm finally sitting down and making myself update before I get ridiculously behind again. At least I know there are few people out there reading my ramblings from time to time (even though it's rare that they comment *hint hint*). Now, a new month, a new goes.

Last week, I had yet another group. I mentioned it before, but to re-cap, we had 5 buses worth of (250) students from rural Masachusetts for a few days. There are only 4 PAs, so one of our supervisors joined in for a crazy adventurous week. Though it wasn't a horrible experience, it definitely was not my favorite, and I'm choosing to block much of it from my memory. (And anyways, I'm not sure that anyone particularly cares about the random events of an 8th grade trip to DC--we all have our own memories of those, right?)

The night that "said group" departed, we had yet another tour assignment--9 buses worth of middle school age future scientists, also known as Science Bowl kids. Because of the size of the group, 3 former PAs were asked to come in and help with giving Nightview tours of the city. As it turned out, only 7 buses were needed, so Nick and I didn't have to give a tour that night. This was extremely fortunate for us because we were scheduled to leave early the next morning for our road trip...and I'd just come off of two other groups nearly back-to-back, and Nick had another group coming in this week. (Thanks Boss, for being so considerate.)


Speaking of road trip, I guess it's about time I dish the scoop on that too. Yes, I rented my first car this past weekend (without underage driver fees, double reasons to say "go me!")...for a road trip to North Carolina and Virginia. The plan was to visit NC State in Raleigh and then head over to Virginia Beach for a relaxing get-away weekend. Thankfully, my housemate, Nick, agreed to come along for the ride...just as long as I promised to get him to a beach before it was all over and done with. I also decided that I wanted the "real" road trip experience, and therefore Nick and I hoarded a bunch of random food from the cafeteria (apples, cereal, milk, and bread) to concoct some crazy meals...rather than spending money on real food for the weekend. lol.

Friday, we left early (6:53 a.m. bus to Friendship Heights) in order to bus and metro to the airport (DCA) in time to pick up the car and leave by 8 a.m. We hoped to arrive in Raleigh by early afternoon so that I would have time to meet everyone in the department and walk around campus before it got too late to hit the road again (beach-bound) that evening. Despite a few crazy moments, we did, in fact, make it to Raleigh in one piece--early, in fact.

There, I was able to meet with the Director of Graduate Programs, Director of Extension Education, a researcher that I'd be working with for my assistantship position, and several students. Everyone was really welcoming and it truly does seem like a family there (which is what I'm looking for). Oddly enough, I could even see myself on campus there, and I found a place I'd like to live if I move up (down?) there.

In fact, people were so nice that a bunch of grad students had planned a night out to dinner with me. Isn't that pretty much amazing? It didn't really work out in my plan, though, because Nick and I already hoped to be in VA Beach by that night. So, I declined...Nick and I bought tee-shirts from the bookstore (gotta add to the collction! lol.) and then got back on the road, headed north(east?).

We arrived in "Vah Beach" around 9:30 p.m., and it took us forever to get a hotel because everything near the beach was either sold out or way to expensive. Finally, we settled on a somewhat-janky hotel/motel that had been recommended by our supervisor who happens to be a VA Beach native. By this point, we were so exhausted that we collapsed into bed almost immediately.

Saturday, we woke up fairly early (without an alarm--yay!), and spent a few hours laying out on the beach. It was surprisingly clean and warm (water, not so much)...gorgeous, in fact. We ate a late lunch and then rested in the hotel for most of the afternoon, because Nick just haaad to see the Kentucky Derby ;-). (He's going to the Belmont Stakes in June.) After the race, we were a bit more rejeuvenated, so we took a stroll along the boardwalk, found an old shop Nick remembered from a previous trip there, and watched a bunch of little cheerleaders run around doing crazy tricks (competetion, anyone?). Along the way, we discovered we were both extremely sunburnt and, therefore, our muscles screamed at us to stop using so much energy. lol. To appease our bodies, we gave up after a bit, and went back to the hotel to watch a really dumb movie ("The Breakup") on tv before falling asleep early yet again.

Sunday, we left VA Beach earlier than expected (around 10:30 a.m.), which turned out to be a good decison. There was an incredible amount of traffic on the road for the entire trip, and it took us nearly 5 hours to go the distance of what is usually 3.5 hours. Bah. We also decided to bring our stuff back to the Center before returning the car so that we wouldn't have to lug all of our stuff on the metro and bus again. Smart idea. Plus, we drove through the familiarity of DC (via Rock Creek Pkwy) rather than getting back on the beltway, which would have taken ages.

All in all, it was a great weekend getaway, and I'm very proud of myself for all such accomplishments--rental car, driving in DC and crazy metro area, road tripping with only a friend and no "adults," etc. As for NC State, I'm still undecided, but I do have a good feeling about the school. I'm really just a very indecisive person and making this huge decision is driving me nuts. Hopefully I'll figure out something...sooner rather than later.


In my last post, I mentioned that summer had arrived? Yeah, well, apparently Mr. Groundhog was wrong or something. It's been rainy and gross for almost a week now, and colder too. Fifities and sixties have returned, much to our annoyance. Hopefully the warm weather will return soon...because I've got some exciting plans for the weekend...hehe.

As previously mentioned, the house continues to drop like flies. Amanda started her new job today (a temp. position with the world bank?) and will be moving out on Friday. Brian finished school and finals, and will be moving out tomorrow, I think. Justin's graduating on Saturday and moving out early Sunday morning...which would bring the house total to...four!?!? We wish. On Saturday and Sunday, 9 of our new housemates will be moving in. These will be the new PAs for CWF (Citizenship Washington Focus); they'll begin training on Monday and work for the program through the end of July. About 5 or 6 more people will also be moving in over the next few weeks, and include the summer RA, other Council interns, and outside individuals. Of course, after Justin, I'll be the next person moving out (3 weeks from yesterday), so there will be lots and lots of turnover in the coming month or so. It'll be crazy, that's for sure.

Also on Saturday, Christy and I will be heading out to the WMZQ Fest, an all-day concert event at the Nissan Pavillion in Virginia. There will be 5 big-name artists and 3 up-and-coming groups too. We're so excited!! Because of the concert, though, neither of us will be around for the new housemates' arrival, which means we've left Nick to hold down the fort and serve as the welcoming committee. A few people do come in on Sunday, though, so I'll probably hang around for that.

Whew! I'm tired from all this writing...alllllllmost done. Today, I'm having a relaxing afternoon out in the house because tonight Christy and I have a Nightview tour. We "worked" (lol) this morning, and will be leaving to meet the group around 4:30 pm this afternoon. Until then, I'm catching up on some e-mails, blogging (duh), washing clothes, and hoping to start cleaning/consolidating my room in preparation for the arrivals on Saturday. Speaking of which, I just realized my clothes have probably been sitting in the washer for way longer than necessary, and I should probably get off of my booty to put them in the dryer. (oops.) On that note, I'll stop here. Be looking forward to exciting new stories as I move into my final days (er, um, weeks) here in DC!

Happy Early Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
:) Lauren