New year. New Season. New blog.
.......New record for not blogging. My apologies, but I've been busy as all get out for the last two months. It seems like every time I think I've been as busy as I can be, and that it's all better afterwards, I am faced with another, even busier season of life. Speaking of seasons, the Spring season (semester) kicked off with a bang, and has been crazy ever since. Get comfy, this may take a while...
Carolina Campout (January 9th)/UNC Game (January 26th)
The day after I returned to Raleigh, I attended my first NC State sporting event, a men's basketball game. I had a lot of fun, and it really got me pumped up for the evening's activity--the Carolina Campout. Participation in this annual event is the only way students' can ensure receipt of tickets to the NCSU vs. UNC basketball, which is our biggest rival game each year. I signed up to camp with Jess's roommates and their friends; our group totaled 14 people. We put together a large makeshift tent and all huddled together for about 12 hours in the low 20 degree temperatures. There were 4 checkpoints throughout the night, and finally at 6 a.m., we were released. For our hard work and dedication, our group received 3rd and 4th row floor seats to the biggest game of the year!
Jess and I had our technology class from 6-8 p.m. on the night of the game. We rushed out of class to grab some food at Cookout (yum) and headed over to the RBC Center for the game. Although we were a few minutes late to the game, we had a lot of fun cheering on the Wolfpack. Of course, we lost (go figure), but it was still a fun time. Just another experience to cross off my Raleigh life list. woot.
Jeff's Visit/Weekend in Savannah, GA (January 13-19)
Jeff, one of my good friends from Idaho (long-time readers have heard about him plenty of times before) came out to Raleigh for a week in January. Over the weekend, he, Jess, and I traveled to Savannah, Georgia. We stayed with Chris, a very good mutual friend of Jeff and I. Jeff, Chris, and I have worked together at several national 4-H conferences and such; plus, Chris came to visit Jeff and I in Idaho in Fall 2008. Needless to say, it was our turn to visit dear ole Christopher. Anyway, the 4 of us had a great time exploring the Savannah area, and Chris was a great host. Jeff was particularly interested in checking out the campus at Armstrong Atlantic State University (where Chris graduated from, and now works), as he applied to their Physical Therapy program for later this year. After a fun-filled weekend in Savannah, Jess and I showed Jeff around Raleigh for the last day and a half of his time here.
PREAUX LIFE MARCH in DC (January 21-24)
Two days after Jeff returned to Idaho, I headed up to DC for another long weekend. (I sure do have lots of those, lol.) On my way into the city, I stopped to visit with the folks in Youth Opportunities at National 4-H Council. (Tthese people are my former bosses, from when I was a tour guide.) It was fun to say hello to Molly and Freeman, and as always, nice to catch up on the news of what's going on in the world at Center. Afterwards, I met up with Dawn (long-time LA 4-H friend and fellow DC obessant) and two of her friends, Chelsea and Jessenia. Dawn, Chelsea, and I stayed at Jess's apartment in Mannassas, Virginia for the weekend.
The Pro-life March was way way way cool, and I was super excited to have the chance to take part in the event. It's just one of those things that most people back home do at some point in their life, and finally I had my chance. Plus, in all my time I have spent in DC, I never participated in any of the marches, so that is just another thing to experience in the great city that is our nation's capital.
This weekend was pretty much amazing for me in the area of DC tourism because Dawn and I checked off a ton of things that neither of us had seen before. Among these were: the Rose Dinner (a benefit for the Pro-Life cause), the Presidents' Church, ice skating at the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden on the Mall, the Textile Museum, the Real World DC House, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the Franciscian Monestary, and the John Paul II Cultural Center. Oh--anddd we even saw my favorite hometown band, L'Angelus play live in Maryland, too!! Needless to say, it was a GREAT weekend, and I can't wait to see my Sunshine in DC again soon!
Snoweekend??? (January 29-February 1, February 12-14)
Finally--I saw my first snowfall for the year! Even better, lots of snow was predicted in Raleigh, so Jess came over to get "snowed in" with me, and we had a grand time! To my happiness, it actually did snow a decent amount...3-4 inches to be exact, which is more than I'd ever seen in my life. Jess very much obliged my need for snow by agreeing to go on several walks each day with me, just so that I could take it all in. We also had this really awesome, impromptu snowball fight with a bunch of random people in my apartment complex. The roads in Raleigh were so bad that we even had a pseudo-snow-day off of school/work, and the public schools were out for pretty much the whole week.
The second snoweekend, came two weeks later. This time, it wasn't nearly as much snow and the words weren't treacherous. It was a pretty sight, though. I am told that the snow was better for snowman making, but I didn't actually go out and try it. (A travesty, I know!) I did get to go out and ice skate downtown on the 14th, though, which was pretty nifty.
SAAAE Conference in Orlando, FL (February 6-10)
In between the two snoweekends, myself, 3 AEE graduate students, and 8 AEE professors flew down to Orlando for the Southern Region American Association of Agricultural Education Conference. No, Agricultural Education is not even remotely an interest of mine, but here at NC State, I am surrounded by people who live, breathe, and eat it. Why did I go to the Conference, then? Well, Jess and I have been working on a project that involved designing a teen volunteer training and orientation program for the library at which we volunteered last semester. The instructor for our Volunteer Management course suggested that we put together a poster for the conference, and so we did. Since Jess and I are both in Extension Education, we took the trip as a fun way to travel together; Jess had never been to Florida, much less Orlando, so she really wanted to go.
Though the conference was of zero interest to us, we really had a good time with the other two graduate students, and it was an interesting experience to hang out with the professors for four days. Let's just say that I was pleasantly surprised. I'm so not a fan of Disney World but we did get to go on a "Behind the Seeds" tour of Epcot and probably the highlight of the trip was piercing Elizabeth's ears following the Saints victory! (Speaking of the Saints, I would like to take this opportunity to make a small rant about how I have been uber sad about missing such awesome events back home--snow, Saints Superbowl, and Mardi Gras. Ok, I'm done.)
Since Orlando, I've attended another couple of NC State sporting events, had some fun times with friends, and have been gearing up for a ridiciulously busy two months. My mom said that one day, someone asked her if she was sure that I was really in school. To be honest, it probably is kind of hard to believe that I'm really in school with all of this going on. However, I am holding steady in grad school for now. It's still not something I particularly enjoy, but with class only two nights a week (in the very middle, Tuesday and Wednesday), it's much easier to plow through those two days and enjoy the other five.
Ask me how I'm going to manage to write the first few chapters of my thesis with me being gone from Raleigh nearly every weekend of the semester, and I'll tell you that I haven't the slightest clue. However, traveling and doing all of these fun things is what makes me happy and helps me to get through it, so at this point, I truly don't care. In fact, I recently changed a portion of my Facebook profile to say "not-so-dedicated grad student" rather than "grad student with no life," lol. This is progress, if I do say so myself. (You may or may not agree.)
In any case, looking forward, there are lots of great things coming up for me this semester. One of my college roommates, Annie, will be coming up to NC next weekend, then I'm making a surprise appearance in an undisclosed state the following weekend. After that, I look forward to some time in Boise, DC, and Pennsylvania, all between now and the middle of April. It's going to be crazy, and I'll try to stop in and say hello from time to time, but don't get too worried if it takes a while. With that being said...
Catch ya on the flipside,