Month: June 2010

Surrounded by J’s

I have been surrounded by J’s the past few days. But they’re all great J’s that I love spending time with, so it’s all good :). Yesterday I met up with Julia after work. She picked me up from work, and we spent the day together. That was an adventure from the beginning to end. I saw her on the street before she saw me; I yelled at her to stop, I jumped in, and we spend off again before the cars behind us could start honking. Then we got to navigate the one-way streets around my job to find a place to park, and try to avoid the parking lots that charge an arm and a leg. We found a $5 lot, and then had to figure out how to pay using the sketchy slot-machine-esque contraption.

ANYWAY, we finally made it to the street again. And then, began the pictures. Julia is an avid photographer, so we walked around taking in the sights and snapping pictures. Met some interesting characters, as well, like the guy in the shabby suit who asked us for money to get on MARTA, as well as our birthdays to tell us our horoscope. We got out of there rather quickly… 🙂 There’s an area right by where I work called The Underground; it’s like a big shopping area, located party above ground and partly below. We got some ice cream (mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone for both of us, mmmmm), and took pictures of the Underground, as well as cool old buildings, birds, people, and whatever else caught our fancy.

After that, we met up with some friends, Jonathan and Jessica, for dinner. We kinda invited ourselves over, but Jessica loves company, Jonathan’s an old friend, we brought asparagus (and Julia cooked it!), and I made the meatballs (which Jessica hates to do), so I don’t feel bad :). We had a great time, just hanging out and talking and laughing in their cozy little apartment. Then we journeyed across the Tech campus to test our mettle against the Tech guys in a game of Ultimate frisbee. Parking was, again, an adventure. Apparently GA Tech likes to remodel buildings during the summer, so alot of streets were closed off for renovation. But we finally got to the intramural fields, and found the regular players who were already there. After playing for several hours, we decided to split; rain was on the way, and Julia had a half hour drive home.

So today, I decided to go to the Georgia Aquarium with an old friend, Jared. The tickets, overpriced as they are, are worth it (every couple of years, at least :]). Seeing such majestic animals up close, watching them interact with each other, knowing that each of them serves such an intricate, needed purpose in the grand tapestry of nature, was humbling to say the least.

In other, non-J news…I went to a Lindy Hop dance on Monday night. It was fun, but I definitely didn’t bring the right shoes. Lindy Hop is a VERY upbeat, bouncy dance; most serious Lindy-hoppers wear sneakers when they go dancing. West Coast Swing, on the other hand, is much smoother, and it’s much more common to wear 3-inch high ballroom dancing shoes with WCS. Well, I’ve been dancing so much West coast lately, I didn’t even think about the change of foot attire. So I tried dancing Lindy in heels; I had blisters all over my feet within half an hour. It was worth it, tho 🙂

Tonight (Wednesday), most of the interns I work with had a potluck in the apartments. We had great fun – there was homemade guacamole and pita chips, duck, egg rolls, chicken, pasta salad, fruit salad, green salad, garlic fettuccine alfredo, and brownies and truffle for dessert. And of course, good people and lots of laughs.

I’ve uploaded pictures of my afternoon with Julia, the visit to the Aquarium, and the potluck onto the end of my facebook album, check them out at:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=174416&id=571111848&l=6ad6478b60

All of my really close friends are far away, as is my family….but even so, God has been so good to me this summer. I love my family and friends dearly, but sometimes I prefer to be far away from them all. Because it seems to be the case that I only make new friends and have new experiences and notice new things and GET OUT OF MY BOX when I’m completely out of my comfort zone. Speaking of comfort, tho, it’s almost midnight, and I have a long day of work tomorrow, so I’m going to snuggle up under the blankets now 🙂

(by the way, if any of you have tried to comment and couldn’t, I think I fixed the security settings so that won’t happen again :])

God, friends, and dancing….mmmm :)

I am so blessed. Like, holy cow. This weekend started off fairly humdrum. I was looking forward to a quiet weekend with little activity. That didn’t exactly happen, but it turned out to be much, much better :).

Friday night, I got a call from a friend from college, Nayu, who graduated in the spring of ’09. She is Costa Rican, and moved back after she graduated, and I haven’t seen her since then. She told me she was in Atlanta for a friend’s wedding; she had to leave the next day, but she wanted to see me before she left! So, I caught up with her in the morning on Saturday. I also inadvertently completed my goal of riding MARTA to a random stop and getting off :). I was supposed to meet her at the Lindberg station; after I had gotten there and walked around for a while, I got a call from her saying she was still a good 45 minutes away. So I went back to the apartment and waited for her there, instead. It was a little frustrating, but I got to find a really cool MARTA station and surrounding neighborhood, so it’s all good. I’m going to try to get back there before I leave. So much to do, so little time!!!

Speaking of repeating things, I also made it back to the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum this weekend. Nayu and I met another Costa Rican friend, Oscar, for lunch at Atlantic Station. We also randomly saw a third friend, Wade, who had graduated last December. He was with his family and couldn’t join us for the afternoon, but I did get to catch up with him before we left, which was good. So anyway, me, Nayu, Oscar, and some friends from Ellijay went to the MLK museum after lunch. After sending Nayu on her way to the airport (**sniff, sniff**), the rest of us went back to my apartment for a while. On our way to the car we were intercepted by a homeless man asking for money to eat. I really wanted to take him somewhere and buy him food; I was wary giving him money. If I had had only had one person with me, not 4 people who were all hot and tired, I probably would have. But as it was, I didn’t want to drag all of them with me to buy him food, so I gave him a few dollars and prayed he would buy food and not drugs with it. Oscar said I was “too good”. Maybe I was just a pushover. But either way, I felt great knowing that I had done SOMETHING. I can’t ignore hurt like that like I used to.

So anyway, Oscar had to go home; after he left the rest of us watched Jurassic Park 2. My palms are still sweaty thinking about it. Scary movies I do not watch….for a definite reason. Although most people would not classify Jurassic Park in the “scary movie” category, it falls squarely within that genre for me :).

Next day I went to church, yay :). It was amazing!!!! I had been going to a conservative baptist church, First Baptist Atlanta, with a friend of mine. But she couldn’t make it this morning, so I decided to try out a different church that Chris had recommended to me, Buckhead Community Church. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed contemporary worship and an environment like that until I was in it again. And the people there were sooo friendly. One woman walked me through the entire church to show me where I needed to go. I struck up conversations with several people around me. One guy, Kevin, definitely broke the stereotypes about lawyers; he was far too nice to be a lawyer. I told him so. He laughed. I left thoroughly refreshed, and also thoroughly depressed that I only have 2 Sundays left to go there :(. But that’s definitely where I’ll be going next time… 🙂 After I left, I also got thoroughly lost trying to find I-85. I’ve decided it might be a good idea to look up directions both ways in Atlanta, instead of trying to read my directions backwards. That doesn’t work very well when there is a plethora of 1-way streets included in the directions :).

But I finally found my way (apparently, people are much more willing to help when you’re asking them for directions and not money), and made it back to the apartment. In my wanderings, I also happened to drive past the Lindberg MARTA station, the station I went to yesterday morning when I was waiting for Nayu. I don’t know why, but I found that rather amusing, considering my desire from the day before to go back and explore that station. Anyway, I spent the afternoon researching graduate schools and other post-graduation opportunities. A boring, but necessary job, so I did it because I had to :). As much as I’d love to just stay in school and travel on my breaks forever, I doubt I could make a living doing that. So, it’s off to the real world for me, **sigh**. But hey, if I could find a job in Atlanta or a similar place, maybe the real world wouldn’t be so bad! 😉

But to escape reality for a few hours, I went dancing. There’s a popular song on the radio right now called “Your love is my drug.” It’s not a very good song, I wouldn’t recommend looking it up; but the title makes me think of dancing. Dancing is my drug :). It’s awesome to see how much I’ve progressed in the 4 months that I’ve been learning West Coast Swing. The guys there made me giggle tonight. I wore a bright red dress to the dance; it wasn’t very flashy, just simple cotton material with no ornamentation at all, but apparently it made me stand out. I had 3 requests to dance before I got my dance shoes on, and multiple comments on it throughout the night. **Note to self, don’t wear red if you don’t want to get asked to dance….** 🙂

Unfortunately, the drug trip is over, and it’s back to reality for me. Work begins anew tomorrow. But this will be a good week! I’m excited about it, excited about my future, excited about life! To steal the words of a man I danced with tonight when I asked him how he was doing, I’m amazing but don’t worry, I’ll be better soon! 🙂 Goodnight, sweet world….

P.S. What do y’all think of my new blog theme? 🙂

The culture of Braves

A Braves baseball game is not just an game. It’s a cultural experience, an anthropological event that’s a social scientist’s dream come true. From the cued battle cries and periodic CHARGE!!!!, to the attempts (mostly failed) to start the wave, to the random ax-waving (or whatever it is that they do), to the country music playing nonstop, to the life-size tools racing across the field during the seventh-inning stretch (yes, that really did happen), to the overpriced and undersized hotdogs, a home game at the Atlanta Braves’ stadium when they are on a winning streak is an adventure, indeed.

I added some pictures from the game to my running Atlanta album….check them out at
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=174416&id=571111848&l=6ad6478b60

In between every inning, the camera would pan to different random fans in the crowd, and they would show up on the big screen. It was soooo funny. Almost every single time, you would see them show up on the screen acting normal, and then once they realized they were on the camera, they would start screaming and jumping up and down and waving at the camera. Some danced for us. Some showed their Braves’ spirit. All of them instantly perked up somehow once they were on candid camera. It was an interesting look into human psychology…

There were other things, as well, all heavily advertised so we would know exactly which wonderful company we owed the wonderful entertainment to. Budwiser gave us little video clips. Publix gave us a great fireworks show at the end of the game. And Home Depot gave us a race between life-sized screwdrivers, hammers, and wrenches. Still trying to figure that one out….

We took MARTA to and from the game (I loveeeee MARTA. I would marry MARTA if I could :D). I had another breakthrough in public transportation; this time I road the public buses for the first time. For all of the complaining I hear about the buses in Atlanta, I thought they were pretty good. There was a shuttle set up running specifically to and from the game, which alot of people took. Getting out of the stadium was a tricky and crowded business. I was glad to have to companionship of another intern to walk back to the apartment with me; it’s not a walk I would have wanted to make by myself.

But we made it, and everyone is alive, and I had a blast and am really glad I went, and now…my bed is calling me quite loudly. Off to dream-land I go. Well, probably not, since I never dream, but you get the idea… 🙂

Where your treasure is….

…there your heart will be, also.

It’s so interesting to me to see what people care about. I love hearing people talk about their 21st birthday. They have such varied priorities. Many kids want to hit the town and have their first legal drink. Some are excited about getting their permit to carry a gun. Me? I want to fly to Pasadena to see to tournament of roses parade in person. Flights to California, however, are nearly as expensive as the gas to drive there, so we shall see about that. But if the past three years of my life are any indication of how God plans on blessing me for the next three years, I have no doubt that my 21st birthday will be wonderful, no matter what happens :).

I love summers. Those are the three months out of the year that shake up my routine. They get me out of my comfort zone, and make me grow and realize anew what is important to me. Three summers ago, I learned how to be responsible and hold a full-time job while still preparing to go away and live on my own at college. Two summers ago I lived on my own for the first time in a foreign country. I learned soooo much there – how to adapt in other cultures, how to depend on my Lord for everything, how to be content in strange and unknown situations…. Last summer, too, I developed in plenty of unexpected ways. Who would have ever guessed that I would develop in mind, body, and spirit…while working at a carpet company?? 🙂

So this summer, I’m learning how to connect with people and develop my passions. Today, the people I connected with were two little old Chinese men. They were in the train station on my way to work, and asked me, in very broken English, how to buy a MARTA pass. So I helped them figure out the machines until they found what they were looking for. Then, to help them get where they were going, I went farther than I needed to go on the train to make sure they got off at the right stop. I hope that they don’t get lost during the rest of their trip; there’s nothing I can do to help them now. But they were fun to help while I could. It made me about half an hour late for work, but it was worth it :).

Atlanta is keeping me busy. Sunday and Thursday nights are West Coast Swing, Mondays are East Coast/Lindy, and Wednesday is dance practice (speaking of passions… :]). Tuesday night is ultimate frisbee on the intramural fields with some guys who go to Tech. Fridays and Saturdays I try to keep free; they’re usually shanghaied by eager friends :). We’re going to see a Braves’ game tomorrow night…I haven’t been to a baseball game in like 10 years. We’ll see how that goes :). As much as I’m looking forward to the weekend, I must remind myself that it’s not actually here yet. I still have 1 more day standing in my way. So, I’m off to bed for now. Updates on the weekend will be sure to follow. Love you guys!! 🙂

MLK, markets in banks, and big tests

Today was a great day. I’m almost finished reading all of my constitutions, which is quite exciting. I’m finally starting to figure out what I’m looking for; it’s going alot quicker now :). Next week I get to delve into more details and source variation; I’m kinda excited about that….

So anyway, we only worked a half day today, and then all of the interns got to go on a field trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum. I’m not sure why we did – it has no relevance at all to the program. But, regardless of the reason, I’m glad we did. We spent over 3 hours there, but I could have spent all day there. I’m definitely planning on going back on my own before I leave. It’s an incredible commemoration of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. It also has a little side room dedicated to unsung heroes of the holocaust. Both exhibits were very hard to experience, but necessary. I’m so glad I went. I stumbled across this song after I got back from the museum. Please listen to it; it’s very poignant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ozIpAWShg

As I was coming back from the museum, I was walking with another intern from the program. She walked past the entrance to our building, going towards the Wachovia bank on the other side. I was done working for the day, so I figured I’d keep walking with her and keep her company. We walked into the lobby of the bank, but then I realized she was not headed for the bank at all. There was a little farmer’s market there in the middle of the bank! It has fruits, and vegetables, drinks, snacks, spices, etc, all for really good prices. Quite unexpected, but a delightful little find. Looks like I’ll be doing some of my grocery shopping in the bank next time… 🙂

Well, my GMAT test is tomorrow. I’m not studying for it anymore. I refuse, I’m going on strike. I think my studying has plateaued, anyway; I’m not seeing any improvement in my test scores at this point. So I’m going to a swing dance at Georgia Tech tonight for a few hours, and then getting to bed early. I’m quite excited about both of those things, actually; it should be quite excellent… 🙂

Well, I should go get ready to go. Au revoir for now! Oh, and I want to thank you to everyone who is actually reading this! It’s nice to know I’m not just talking to myself when I write these blogs… 🙂

A new perspective

So, I’ve finally been getting into my schedule. Although we have no set hours, we are expected to work 35 hours a week. So I try to get to work in the morning by 8; I bring lunch and eat it at my desk, so I can leave by 3. For now, I spend much of my evenings studying for the GMAT. I take that test this Saturday, so my schedule will open up a lot in a few days. I can’t wait! I’ve been trying to make myself scarce with my friends in Atlanta, so I can get some studying done. I’m glad I have less than 1 week of being a hermit left :).
I’ve got dances all over Atlanta mapped. I could go every night if I was so inclined, but I’ve decided to exercise some restraint :). So I go to a West Coast dance on Sunday and sometimes Thursdays, an East Coast/Lindy on Mondays, the monthly Georgia Tech dances on Friday, and I practice once a week or so with a friend of mine who lives in Peachtree City. Excessive? Perhaps. But I have to make up for majority of the year, when I’m living either in Albany or Rome. The dance scene is sadly lacking in both cities :(.
It breaks my heart to see all of the homeless people in this city. It pains me to see not only people without homes, but also to see how people with homes treat those without. I have been told time and time again, don’t ever give money to homeless people. I recognize that some people are scammers, and some only want the money to buy drugs or other nefarious substances with it, but I can’t help but think that these people need help. They need help and there is a city of millions in their backyard with the ability to help them, but not the desire…and thus, they spend another night huddled in the corner of an alley with nothing but a trash bag for warmth.
This is a very poignant video, from one of my favorites bands:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJjg1Joag_0

Atlanta, for all its bustle and excitement, is a cold city. I’m really starting to like some parts of it…the opportunities, the adventures, and the activities you can find here are incredible; I’ve never experienced any city even close to this stimulating before. But the people leave something wanting. Sitting on the MARTA, I look around at those sitting around me. There are old and young, rich and poor, businessmen and bums. Many of them have fascinating stories, I’m sure. But they all exhibit the same disinterest in their fellow man. They all sit staring at the seat in front of them, listening to their music, reading a book, or working on the computer. No one talks to anyone. On the street, too; there is no milling, no friendly conversation. It’s all strictly business, and if you don’t have anything to do with how a person is going to get to their next location, good luck getting them to talk to you.
That’s been my mission recently: talk to someone I don’t know every day. Last night it was the teenage guy who works at the front desk of my apartment, who’s trying to graduate from the Art Institute of Atlanta with a degree in drawing in three years by going to school year-round. Today it was the blind girl whom I’ve seen several mornings on the same MARTA train as I. She works as a receptionist in a small family-owned business on the other side of town.
Atlanta has been great so far. Not only has it expanded my confidence and opened my horizons, it has awakened me to the need around me. I cannot be just another pair of silent earbuds on the train or in the street. I want to be something more than that. The dancing is great, the job is great, my friends are great, the opportunities here are great; but I would say that that awakening is the best thing that has happened to me so far :).

Miami!!

What…a…day. Today I went to Miami to get my visa. I checked my watch as I was sitting waiting in the office of the Spanish consulate….and was shocked to see that it was still morning!!! It felt like it had been years since I left Atlanta. I got up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the first MARTA train to the airport. I decided that it would be unwise to try to drive by myself that early in the morning; plus I didn’t want to risk hitting rush hour traffic coming back.

So anyway, there I was in the MARTA station at a god-forsaken hour. I have decided that there are certain hours which should not be marked on clocks…at that time in the morning, no one REALLY needs to know just how ridiculously early they got up. The knowledge is too painful :).

It took about 30 minutes to get to the airport. I’m fairly familiar with the Atlanta airport by now, so it was no stress checking in our finding my gate. Once on the plane, tho, I did breathe a sigh of relief…and then promptly fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until we were taxiing in Miami. Well, the Miami airport is much more confusing than Atlanta, but I finally figured it out. I rode another form of public transportation for the first time today – a taxi. It costs $19 to go 2 miles in a taxi!!!! I was indignant at the blatant thievery going on…but since they had my life in their hands, I decided to hold my tongue :). Oh, and another thing…Miami addresses make no sense. You know how numbers generally go up as you go down the street, with odd numbers on one side and even on the other? Ya, that’s not how it works in Miami. We were passing numbers in descending order, and then they switched to ascending, and then the evens became odd, and then there were just random numbers thrown in there for kicks. Expensive as the ride may have been, I was glad I wasn’t driving :).

I got to the consulate over an hour before my appointment. I debated waiting until my appointment was closer, but I decided against it. That was a good idea, because I waited in line for FOREVER. I waited for an hour before they would even let me into the building. Then another half hour before I got to talk to an agent. Then spoke with me for about 5 minutes, then sent me into another room to wait. For an hour. I felt like I had done a full day’s worth of work by now…and it was only 11:00!! (which is where this story began.) I finally spoke to the visa agent. She looked at all my paperwork, took my passport, and gave me a receipt. She couldn’t tell me, however, if I had everything in order and I would be approved or not. Soo….my fate will now be decided in the next 6 to 7 weeks :(. I’m rather fed up with red tape at the moment.

So I hailed a taxi after I finally finished and had then take me back to the airport. I forgot to empty my water bottle when I went through security, so they confiscated it :(. I had to buy another one after I was through. As I was purchasing it, I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything all day, so I bit the bullet and bought an overpriced, soggy sandwich. Never has such a sandwich tasted so good….I was famished!!

Well, I finally made it to the gate; I was excited because this time my gate was actually in the airport. The last time I flew to Miami, I had to take a train to get to my gate. But alas, my elation was premature. When it came time to board, I realized that we had to take a shuttle from the gate to the actual plane. I wondered at the reason for this – until I saw the plane. It was without a doubt the sketchiest plane I’ve ever ridden on. It only had 18 rows – with only 1 seat on each side of the aisle. I’ve never simultaneously had a window and an aisle seat! 🙂 Now I understood why we had needed a shuttle – the plane was too small to go to the gate! I generally can stand up in the seat area of a plane and not hit my head; my head was scant inches from the roof of this one while I was sitting down! Turbulence generally doesn’t phase me; but our tiny little plane got buffeted around like a toy. I must admit I was rather green when we finally landed.

The last leg of my journey, the return trip on the MARTA, was almost uneventful. We got stuck for about twenty minutes at the College Park station because there was trouble on the line ahead. But while we waited, the operators decided it would be a good idea to shut the train down – lights, air, everything. In Atlanta in the middle of summer, you can imagine some people were not very happy about that :). But I survived, and made it home safe and sound. Now, off to bed for one very sleepy lady! 🙂

The frustrations and fun of Atlanta

Atlanta is such an annoying city. How many cities do you know of that charge less money for parking the longer you are parked? One parking lot charges $13 if you leave before 3 pm, $5 if you leave after 3 pm…I discovered this the hard way. Every other street is named some variation of Peachtree. And it has such a huge plethora of 1-way streets!! The entire city is made up of the stupid things. Some are 2-way streets, but only for certain vehicles, like buses. Oh, and my personal favorite: 2-way streets that don’t allow you to turn both ways at the intersection. There are definitely cars going both ways, but if you are not lucky enough to already be on the street that you want to turn onto, you’re only allowed to turn one way onto it. Say what???
So anyway, I decided not to take MARTA yesterday; instead, I drove myself to work, since I hadn’t bought a MARTA pass yet. After discovering the insanity of the parking garages in Atlanta, I quickly remedied my error and bought a MARTA pass. Unlimited rides for the month of June, woot! I think I’m going to go joy-riding on MARTA one of these days, and just get on a random subway and get off at a random stop and walk around and see where it takes me (with a friend, of course, mom, I wouldn’t dare to go alone :P). After I got ripped off in the parking lot yesterday I need to make the most out of my MARTA pass… 😀
I came back from my first day in a blur. The morning was just general orientation stuff; they showed us the library, set up our email accounts, got us access cards to where we needed to go, etc. After lunch we were supposed to meet with our mentors. Mine was nowhere to be found. Others on the floor swore they had seen him today, but alas, he seemed but a phantom to me. Finally I found him in the break room talking with a fellow co-worker. We talked for about 5 minutes, until he had to leave for another meeting. In those five minutes, he told me what he expected of me this summer. He’s working on a paper analyzing how some federal countries’ refusal to follow accepted fiscal policies may not be meant to obstruct fiscal decentralization, but instead are a way to preserve the union and prevent ethnic fractionalization. Soo….my job is to find all the constitutions of all the federal countries in the world, and analyze them to find things that support or contradict this hypothesis. I also need to research the political science and legal sides of this issue, and the related research that has already been done in those fields. He told me all that in 5 minutes, then said he had to leave and he would catch up with me in a week or so to see how I’m doing. Whew! I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed right now :).
I have no set schedule, although I want to get here early so I can leave earlier. I’ve woken up around 6:00 every morning anyway…although a lot of that was probably nerves, which I’m hoping will settle down soon :). I took the MARTA subway to work this morning. I live only 4 stops away from work…I found myself wishing I lived farther away. It was exciting, in a strange sort of way. I guess it’s just the thrill of figuring out how to navigate a big city by myself. It’s great to see that I actually can 🙂
In the 3 days that I’ve been here, I’ve found the IKEA store, 2 parks, a Barnes and Noble, a Regions bank, a grocery store, the MARTA station, the Fox theater, CVS, Shakespeare’s tavern, plus a few fun hole-in-the-wall places that I discovered while exploring on my lunch break with one of the other interns. The actual job is still freaking me out, but I’m learning. I have another meeting with my mentor tomorrow afternoon where I’m hoping he will give me a bit more direction. **crosses fingers**
Well, I’m off to do some GMAT studying :(. Can’t wait til that’s over! Talk to you soon! 🙂

Day 1

Well, I made it to Atlanta today!!! My brother was already planning on coming up the same day, so he came up a few hours earlier and scouted the place out for me. So when I got there, it was pretty painless to move in. I signed my life away (my needed my signature 12 different times), waited a while to get the right paperwork, then Chris and his friend Julia helped me load my stuff into the room. I unpacked completely in 20 minutes….that has to be some kind of a record!!! I love traveling light :). Many hours later, I still haven’t met any of my roommates :).

So, after throwing my stuff in my room, we went off to find somewhere to eat. We found a little hole-in-the-wall Italian place (with French waiters, it was great :])…we also found a Regions bank (necessary eventually), a Kroger (rather urgent), and a Barnes and Noble (exciting!!!) Then we returned to do some scouting, so I could figure out where the heck I’m supposed to go tomorrow morning….the instructions I received from the place where I’m working where not particularly helpful. So I found it, and got a very detailed map of the surrounding area from the ex-marine who worked at the front desk of my apartment – he made sure that it included the closest tanning salon, laundromat, clubs, opera, and three closest malls….apparently all the essentials for a girl of my age :D. So anyway, it looks like I’ll be riding United States public transportation for the first time in my life tomorrow.

For dinner, we met up with a friend of mine, Katrina, and feasted on high-class IKEA dining. Then we horsed around for a little bit (the link below will take you to pictures of our fun :]).

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=174416&id=571111848&l=6ad6478b60

I was going to put pictures of my apartment in that album, as well, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. My bed is calling me… Adieu for now! I’m sure I will have more updates soon :). Love you all and miss you tons!