Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 word of the year: faith

It's always interesting to see how the year panned out and to reflect upon it once it is near completion. When I think of years, being a recent graduate I think in terms of school years.

So this past year I began my final year of my undergraduate career. I tried to work less, but still break even - that my friends is a daunting task. I shared my room and tutored Pre-Calculus/Calculus coupled with the occasional babysitting. I cut back even more on spending and still try to purchase only what is necessary. My goal in working less was to spend more time with my friends before I moved on with my life and make new friends. I believe I accomplished that through Front Porch events and other extra curricular activities such as Nutrition College Bowl 5 and Wildflower Committee.

I went to Guatemala for a Mission Trip through Students International; which was an answer to my prayers. It was a reminder from God that He was calling me to the field of nutrition and that many could be reached through me because food is universal. Just as Jesus is the bread of life - no one can do without.

I wasn't planning on doing a dietetic internship because I want to do sports nutrition and I need to get my master's degree, but I prayed and applied allowing God to open and close doors on my behalf. I was accepted into Virginia State University the same day the VT shootings occurred. My father was against it, even though Blacksburg is actually really far away. I feel safer here in Virginia than at home [there are 3 new bullet holes in the house at home from a drive by]. I went to camp and coordinated STEP and lc'ed high school camp again. I love those kids so much. It is a challenge to be a Christian role model, living your life set apart for Him and still be perceived as “cool” to 14-18 year olds. Luckily, I don’t care about being "cool" and just try to accomplish the first part and oddly enough, the rest follows. I think people respect you more when you have a strong belief or faith and actually know how to defend it, truthfully state that you don't know all the answers, and are willing to apologize and/or admit when you're wrong [which happens a lot because I make tons of mistakes!].

August rolled around and I didn’t know where or who I was going to live with or how I was going to be able to afford housing/food/utilities. I didn't know a single person in the entire state of Virginia.  I didn't know what to expect.   I tried to look for housing in Farmville where most of my rotations are, but Farmville doesn’t really show up [even on google] for housing. So, I posted an add on Craigslist and got tons of replies - some a little more sketch than others. Fortunately for me, God was definitely at work in this area of my life too and provided a family situation which has worked out splendidly. Now I attend KingsWay Community Church with them in Midlothian, Virginia.

A week before I was scheduled to start my road trip I went down to SLO and visited friends there, mentioned my trip to my friend Melissa… who ended up going with me! So, another prayer answered. God was providing for me in every aspect of my life. I was thrilled and everything worked out really well, the trip was amazing (20 states, 8 ball parks, jumping pictures galore), I have a great place to live, a new church family, and a place to stay in Farmville during my rotations there. Even through being sick for 7-8 weeks here, despising hospitals [and working in them 40 hours a week], and having a police officer hit my car, God saw me through it all. I love having a feeling of joy and assurance of knowing I will be taken care of and that someone loves me. It gives me a confidence and light that no one can extinguish.

Every day I've noticed something new that fills me with wonder and amazement. I am so in awe of everything He has made from the leaves turning brilliant firey red, orange, yellow, and brown to the spider on the sill outside my window. The Virginian culture is like being in another country, but luckily God created me with a unique ability to roll with it and fit in where ever He leads me.

I love listening for His voice in the chaos of the world and having a sense of peace as I wade through life, doing my best to follow the plans He has for me. I couldn’t have planned it better, I know that God is providing and I will continue to trust in Him and allow Him to lead me where ever He wants me to go. I know He answers prayers, but I am still astounded and amazed at how He has been answering all of my prayers, even the quick, short ones I mutter under my breath as I run through the trees.

I look forward to 2008 with anticipation. I know that my goals are becoming more in line with God’s and I am trying my hardest to listen to Him and be available for Him to use me in whatever capacity He sees fit. That is how I want to live my life; that is how I want to be remembered – a faithful servant of Christ in all aspects of life. Thank You God for 2007, thank You for my life.

Friday, December 21, 2007

falling in love

Love.

We were created passionate creatures, to love and be loved.  It's more than you ever hoped for; better than your wildest dreams; consuming your body, mind, and soul.  Just be sure who or what you fall in love with is worthwhile [everlasting or eternal if you will].

The best advice I can suggest is to keep your eye on the One who has saved us.  With your priorities straight, everything will fall into place as He is our guide; the way, the truth, & the light.  It's true what they say:  I love because He first loved me.

'Delight yourself in the Lord & He will give you the desires of your heart.' - Psalm 37:4

happy Christmas friends.  I miss you.

Live for Him, Live like Jesus.  run for life. ~ JSO

-------------
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.

Origin uncertain: formerly attributed to Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907-1991)
Superior General of the Society of Jesus 1961-1984

Double posts in one day again. This was too good not to, everyday I'm filled with joy and reminded how glad I am that I fell in love.

finale

I don't have any more homework or class due in 2007. Wow, I feel so relieved that I'm done with school for 2 weeks. Praise God for that! It seems like the year has gone by so quickly. I feel as though my life flits by as I try to struggle and keep afloat. All I do is homework, homework, homework, work, work, work without getting paid. I know I need to stop and rest in Your presence more, please help me to do that. I would like to create and invest in relationships here in Virginia, I know You want me to do that too. I have more friends now, but none that are super close. I always feel like everyone already has someone to confide in and they always come off as though they don't need anyone else... then I tend to hang out alone and wonder if I'll ever find people. I know I should just suck it up and put myself out there; I guess I try, but not hard enough.

I wouldn't say that I "like" anyone per se, though there is a particular gentleman I would definately not mind getting to know better. I do feel a little too wise though; maybe that's just my imagination. Of course, glancing through my last post, it seems I will be going for a minimum additional 2-years of single-hood. We'll see, God's plan is my plan - I just roll with His flow. Christmas is so soon, I haven't done any Christmas present stuff yet. I REALLY want to play soccer. I wish I was going home so I could play in the alumni game! I miss those girls. That reminds me, I need to get in shape again. I ran about 3-3.5 in 28 yesterday without breaking a sweat. I'm doing a little better, at least I'm no longer sick. Time to go run.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

two more years?

I really think I would like to join the Peace Corps and do nutrition work out in another country for two years, that means I'll be single for two more years in addition to the near six that I'm at. Eight years. Two more full years. It seems like such a small number, but when you put it into 24 months or 104 weeks, it sounds like so much more. It's the best time of my life to do something of the sort because I am still single and I don't foresee any relationships occuring in the near future. I know that once I do get into a relationship, I will want to spend time with them and since I am hoping that my next relationship will be a lasting one - eventually leading to marriage, I would want to invest in it. I know that you can do distance relationships and I wouldn't mind that if I had to. I currently am planning on coming back to the United States when I am through. I do like my home here in Virginia, the people are so nice... although I really miss California weather and my friends and family back home. My heart is torn in so many directions, literally across the country. Maybe that's why I want to go to another nation and see if I fit there too. Maybe God made me to be a wanderer. I would be okay with that, as I seem to make friends very easily, but I do want to wander with someone if I am called to it [obviously I'm hoping it would be my husband and children].

I had a lot of fun at the dance last night, including the drive to and from. We ended up with 8 people in a 7 person van, that isn't that many, but when it's on the way to a formal event, it seems like a lot more. I actually wore a skirt and heels, big day, I know. I love dancing, it's really been a long time. I am so used to Latin and Hawai'ian dancing though, there isn't much hip action to any of the dances we did [swing, waltz, foxtrot].

Well, I have to make up my presentation for my clinical case study. I'm just hoping that I won't have to redo my paper. 45 minute presentations... seem really long, but I know I can fill up a lot of that time just talking about the patient that I chose. One more day of school until break. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

run more ... eat more

That seems to be my philosophy of life. I am running more... I'm trying to do at least 30 minutes 4-5 times a week plus abs and push ups. I'm still trying. I ran on the treadmill today for 3.02 miles and it took me 29:29. It was really slow, but I'm super paranoid about treadmills, I'm afraid I'm going to fall off and hit my face on it and slide off. I was running about 6mph or ~10 minutes per mile for the first mile, then 9:40 then a little faster for 1/2 ~9:31, then I slowed up for .25 (between 10-12min/mile) and sped up again for the last 200 meters ~8:31. I'm trying to work on my speed and endurance, but mainly endurance. I may need to work on my treadmill endurance because MAN IT'S BORING. I can't handle it, I'm literally dripping sweat and staring at a wall while listening to my iPod. I wish it was more city-esque around here. According to the scale here I've lost 1.4# in ~1.5 weeks. I am trying to do it the healthy way. I need to cut out the ice cream from my diet at lunch for work. I had a cookie ice cream sandwich today that was FIVE HUNDRED Calories alone. Ha! I had half a personal pizza too. I need to remember to get the other half and bring it home for this weekend when I'm all alone.

I'm planning on cleaning the house on Friday unless I go out and then the house will be CLEAN until Monday when everyone gets back, but at least it will be clean for them when they get home from New York/New Jersey. Skylar won't mess things up, she just likes laying around being a bum. I need to get my case study done too... it's now due in less than 9 days! Crazy. I need to get it done tomorrow and Friday. Good thing my room is always clean so I don't have to worry about that. I'm trying to stop wasting time. Less internet searching unless I need to for school and more sleeping and homework getting done. I need to be more efficient! I need to work on living up to my motto!

ps. I got offered a job with Aramark at the hospital I'm doing my psych rotation at. Ha, ha. Silly because I hate clinical settings. Too bad, Aramark is nation-wide so I could potentially work for them and move back home to California and still have a job. They are one of the "big 3" food service companies for hospitals/schools. Morrison is also one of the 3, that's what they have in Farmville.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas party uno & Runs

*Dec 2: I totally forgot to write about the Christmas party I went to last Sunday... probably because I was so tuckered out from it! I went with the family and hung out with the chillins. I was spinning KayleySue around and around and I was getting dizzy so I went out into the main foyer-area and some how got roped into being the other bigger kid's "horsey". Remember those days? You'd climb on each other's backs and they would crawl around on all fours? Yeah, so three kids on your back on hard tile floor HURTS your knees like nobody's business. I bet I had at least 100 pounds on my back. Crazy. So I started running around with them on my back piggy-back style which is much easier... but hard when you have 10 kids chasing you hitting your bottom yelling at you to "mush" or something. In all I guess it was good because I got a workout and the kids had fun, but man, I was tired. Am I getting too old for this?

* Dec 4: On Tuesday I ran down highway 15 in Farmville, also known as Farmville Road. Unfortunately even in Farmville icky people honk at you. I was wearing an In-N-Out Burger t-shirt and shorts which I don't think is super attractive, but I don't know anyone who needs to go that way and I definately wasn't in their way. It was breath taking. I ran out to the golf course and it was about 4:30PM so it was getting closer to sunset. Through the bare tree branches you could see the brillant pinks and purples of the sky. It was amazing. I definately need to run in Farmville more often. I am a big fan of running out to the golf course. I'm hoping it won't get too cold for that.

* Dec 7: I went running yesterday with Skylar, the family's dog. I was running around Sunday Park, the park that is aobut 3 blocks away and I saw an older gentleman walking his two dogs. I noticed he was trying to catch up with his first dog because it didn't have a leash on so I slowed down. He got the leash on and Skylar started barking at his dogs and they pulled him. His feet flew from underneath him and he landed on his back! Luckily he landed in a pile of leaves so I think he wasn't hurt at all, just startled with two dogs pulling on their leashes. I was so scared he was injured and angry with Skylar! Why can't she just get along with other dogs! I didn't take her today when I went running for fear of her knocking more cute little old men onto their backs.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

one down...

This is going to be a bunch of random stuff... Finished my whole clinical rotation. 10 weeks done. Bunch more weeks to go. I was driving home from Farmville and I almost stopped to take a picture of the tractors with lights outlining them. Only in Farmville. I pulled my left gluteous maximous! It hurts really bad! Apparently one of the receptionists at the hospital has planned out how many kids we're going to have... too bad I'm not interested and have told him so [I am brutally honest sometimes]. I am tired but I can't go to sleep. I'm not looking forward to entering data into the computer for hours tomorrow. I am looking forward to getting the research project done. I need to work on that and work on my clinical case study this weekend. I have a lot to do. I am glad I can go to the Johnson's care group Christmas party on Tuesday because I will be in Midlo instead of Farmville until January. I wonder what my psych rotation will be like. I wonder if my weight loss plan is going to work. I pray God will take care of all my worries, hopes and fears. I pray that God will move in the hearts of everyone I know and don't know during this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

the last king of Scotland

Talk about intense. I almost threw up during a specific part of the movie. I always feel so moved during movies such as this. I know that they are based on real stories and that is frightening in and of itself. I know that they are made because people should be called into action but I don't know what I can do to help all of the suffering people in this world. I watched Hotel Rwanda and cried, I watched Schindler's List. I can't hold myself together and I want to do something about it. I don't want to be like the majority of the world who watches these movies and then sits on their butts doing NOTHING. It's not just a good movie. 300,000 Ugandans were killed in only 8 years by their own leader! How man people were killed in Rwanda? How many people are being killed in Iraq? How many people will die tomorrow? I watched some of those movies prior to finishing high school and/or college and I told myself, I have to finish school before I do anything because I will be no good to any one right now. Now that I'm done, I'm forcing myself through this internship I really don't want to do because I felt like God was calling me to it. I have been thinking about the Peace Corps for a while now. I want to see what the best way to help with my skills is though, I don't just want to throw myself willy nilly into the mix and do nothing. People ask me jokingly if I want to change the world. I answer honestly, "yes." I know that God uses people and I know that God is using me and will use me. I know that praying and allowing God to use me will benefit the most people. I just don't want people to hurt unnecessarily. I don't want people to die for no reason. I want them to know that God is there and He is real and watching out for them, that there is something better out there. God please help me to do what You want me to do and help Your people around the world. I want to be available and be willing to do whatever You ask me to. Here I am.

snow

It's snowing in Farmville! I ran around outside for a little bit in the snow fall. It's not "sticking" to the ground as Madonna said, but the mini flakes are like microscopic ice balls... It's not necessarily "fluffy"... its not super cold, it's kind of like really light rain because the flakes melt right when they hit you or the ground. So, I now have seen my first snow fall. Neato.

Monday, December 3, 2007

heart stopper

I was going downstairs to lock the door after letting the dog out for the last time tonight... and I saw a monster spider that rivaled a baby taurantula. It had to be as big as a potato bug (the big ones that look like ants but gianormous)... about the length of my thumb which is 2 inches. I killed it with the dog's bone because that was the closest object that I could crush it with without a chance of touching it. I was barefoot so I couldn't even stomp on it. I felt a bad for half a second before Gerd just grabbed her bone off the ground and carried it around. I don't think she even noticed the giant spider guts on the underside of one of the knots... Then I looked for a broom... but there wasn't one so I used a sponge mop and took 5 minutes to brush it's crumbled body off the carpet out the front door. Wow. I'm glad I'm still young otherwise something like that might give me a heart attack. I definately felt my heart skip a beat! Time to sleep. Two posts in one day! I'm on fire... or just really scared of GIAGANTICAL spiders that are crawling across the front room carpet...

circles

...running in circles. Literally. It sounds ridiculous but I got off at the hospital at 6:30PM and it's pitch black. I don't want to drive anywhere to go run because that's dumb. I don't have a gym membership... and that would require driving somewhere to run, which is dumb. So, what do you do in Farmville when it's 30ish degrees outside and pitch black? I ran in circles around the house... inside the house and then I tried outside but I couldn't see... was too paranoid about spraining my ankle and too lazy to get my headlamp. Then I ran up and down the stairs for ~15 minutes in the middle of my run (I jogged backwards down the stairs to try to save my knees a little bit) and then did cool down circles through the kitchen, living room and front room to conclude the ~30 minute workout. I started out my abs and push up series again. This time I am trying to be more conservative. I started out with 200 crunches (always on the ball) and 40 push ups. I do either sets of 25-5, or 50-10 if I feel up to it. The whole workout... I call it my daily R.A.P. takes about an hour right now, but I'm working on getting faster at the AP part, after 4 weeks I will increase to 300-60 and so on until I hit 1000-200 and I will just have to try to maintain. I am shooting for 6/7 days a week, if I get 7 then that's even better. I don't want to force myself to do too much too soon like I usually do. Oh, RAP = run, abs, push ups. I know, it's dorky... yet REALLY COOL. You wish you thought of it yourself.

I have three more days in Farmville, Virginia this year. It seems like 2007 has flown by so quickly. I am really tired and I need to do homework... but I think I am going to go to sleep so I can wake up early and write down all the other information I may need for my case study that is due in ~2 weeks. I'm so glad clinical is almost done.

I have plans with Kristen tomorrow which should be fun and then yoga on Wednesday. Caught up with some friends via phone calls this weekend and still the entire family has only used 48 minutes/550 for this month and it's already been 10 days (we talk SO much! ha ha). Our cell phone bill will be 10 dollars cheaper each month which will add up after a while. Good times! Happy December! Life is good. Praise the Lord.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

modesty

I don't often find myself baffled, but tonight I was. I always thought I dressed modestly, but that was on a different set of standards I suppose. I wear comfortable clothes for the most part: yoga pants, track pants, work out pants, guys' shorts, jeans, t-shirts, guys' a-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops. However, I do wear tank tops that have spaghetti straps, halter tops, strapless dresses (if I have to wear a dress), but I don't show cleavage (partly because I have none, partly because I wouldn't even if I did) or my behind like a lot of people at home do. Here it's a different case. It's the "Bible-Belt-South" and it's quite conservative. Now, when I say conservative, I mean it. The church I go to is cool because they are all into Jesus, but I feel like such a terrible person when I walk in because I am friends with lots of "sinners" being a sinner myself and even though I try I fail so often. I know that's why I need Jesus and I am super thankful for Him. I just feel like I don't measure up to the ideals and standards that are set within the church. Mothers home school their children, or at least 50% of them do, that's a lot-it used to be higher before the church got bigger. These stay at home mothers are home makers, nothing is wrong with that and I wouldn't mind it but it's definately nothing like that in California. I feel like I have to wear a collared shirt and cover everything up all the time. It's weird. Having part of your back show can be considered im-modest. (Is that a word?) Maybe I'm just weirded out by something that doesn't matter. I mean, I usually don't care much about what people think, but I don't want to portray myself as a heathen slut or anything because I definately am not and would not like to be treated as such. I'm probably over reacting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

closing in

Clinical rotations were the only ones I was really worried about...mainly because I hate hospitals and they're the longest!

I am 7 clinical days away from finishing my clinical II rotation! Woo hoo! I have 3 days this week and then 4 next week and I'm done! I feel like I've been at SCH forever, I really like the people, but I just feel sad when people pass away and 99% of the people I see are very sick! I do enjoy the one person who says thank you or appreciates I come see them, but most of them don't care and don't want to see me. :( It's very discouraging.

I finish December 6. I've gotta buckle down and finish up!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

good girls

I remember people thinking I was a goody-two shoes in school. I just did what I was told, what's wrong with that? So now a days, I don't drink, don't swear or curse; I have self control. Why do I get so annoyed when people tell me I come across as a "good" girl? I guess they just mean they think I am person with morals? I don't really know what that means, but I have sinful thoughts just like everyone else. Obviously I try not to act on them, but sometimes I don't always turn to God first. Why are there categories that people are put in? What happened to the middle ground? I like to have fun, I don't like to break rules, laws, or hurt myself or others. You can have fun and still obey God. I like to enjoy myself, do out of the ordinary things. I don't know. Maybe I'm just too sensitive or I am taking it the wrong way. Humph.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

hmph

Still sick. This weekend was very full. I fell asleep at the wheel again. That's bad. I was driving to Farmville Saturday morning for the Diabetes Awareness Day and totally fell asleep. I was up late making my poster, had to get there at 7:00AM (leave by 6:00AM), freezing cold, etc. It wasn't great driving times for me. I think the awareness day was a success though. People liked my poster that I made and there were a lot of people there. That was good. I have a bunch of homework I need to get done while I'm in Farmville.

I'm really tired. Today was fun though, I went to the Bishop's and Shaina made us lunch and dessert. :) Rebecca, Lydia, Jessica, and I were the guests and it was quite delicious. It was fun to hang out with people in a smaller group than at church or Resolved. I think I will eat in a little bit and then go to sleep. I hope I can get well soon. God please help me to be able to breathe again! Thanks!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I wrote this list when I turned 21

It's been over 3 years...how am I doing?

stuff I'd like to accomplish (or do)

1. Tandem Race Across America - who's down?! 2900+ miles biking through 60-110+ deg.F whoo hoo!

2. Haleakala Marathon on Maui without passing out and much faster than P.Diddy did the NY Marathon.

x3. graduate from Poly in Nutrition - yay super-duper-seniors!

I have a lot of new good friends... I don't know if I can quantify them, so maybe I should revise when I turn 25
4. meet a new buddy every month and get to know them really well. (12 new good friends a year!)

I may change this to Masters in Nutrition and personal trainer's certificate
5. get my masters in either Nutrition or Physical Therapy

I need to do this so bad
6. become a member of the sub-5 club and break 18:20 in the 5k

CA/VA down, 48 states, 6 continents to go (MD, NC, DE will be done by May '08)
7. run a marathon on EVERY continent and a marathon in all 50 states.

I think this is a weird goal since I want to do Race Across America... or at least ride my bike across coast to coast so I'll probably get rid of this
8. ride my bike across every state.

I'm getting better... but definately not as good as I was
9. find my baller skills in basketball. (I have some somewhere-I just lost them for a bit)

this one may take a while, and if they become Fremont, I don't know what I'll do.
10. watch the A's win the World Series 5x in a row. die hard Oakland (A's) for life baby! go to every mlb park.

11. get married - first I have to get over my fear of commitment - oh and find a guy who'd want marry me, that might be a slight set back.
12. have 2 or 3 kids, at least one boy and one girl - see above. (and be an awesome mom!)
13. backpack through Europe.
14. visit Jeffery and Jacques in South Africa.
x 15. learn how to surf.

I can play... I just need to get the really well part down.
16. learn how to play the guitar really well.

I need to get crackin'
17. climb every mountain.

This requires getting a pilot's license... I got my bartending license... I guess that's different, plane licensure is really expensive, I rode with Aidan in a 2 seater, that was fun...
18. fly an airplane.

x 19. sky dive.
20. get a super fly job where I can share God's word & interact with people.
21. design & decorate my own house to live in with my husband and kids.

*I don't know if I should set a specific deadline, but before I die I want to do everything! (*if God wants me to).

So I've completed 3/21 goals in 3 years. That's not bad. Some of the numbers will take years because there are so many points! When I turn 25, I will revise my goals and set new ones, for now I can keep working on the ones I've got. I should probably get going on number 11 if number 12 is ever going to happen, ha ha. I just want God's will to be done... and of course have fun while doing it. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

fifty nifty

I am looking at different marathons in various states. I believe I am going to try to do Maryland and North Carolina back to back on March 1 & March 8 of next year. I am also looking at a marathon in Delaware the day after I graduate from Virginia State University. Since I don't care so much about time I am looking forward to this! I never thought I would feel this excited about racing and having terrible times to boot, but I am stoaked. I don't care how slow these races are run as long as I get all the states in.

I would like to be in better shape, at least running shape as opposed to Jill-super-out-of-shape-and-sick shape. So, my plan is to start running now so that I can just pick a marathon and run it whenever I feel like... I guess that's a weird plan, but whatever! I'm a weird person. If I get MD, NC, and DE out of the way, that will be 5 states before I'm 25 and then I still have the whole summer to traverse across the country and run in various states as I go to baseball parks and run marathons. I think that sounds like a fabulous idea. I need to figure out a better recovery plan though. I am so glad I found couch surfing and I have to drive home. I need to coordinate my schedule for baseball games with my marathon schedule and this will be the best trip home ever!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

help!

I am so weak Lord. Please help me to be stronger. My flesh is very weak. I want to lean on You. God please help me to be satisfied with what You've given me. Please help me to be content. Please help me to glorify You through the gifts You've given me. I feel like I am failing You, especially on the running front. I need to get back in shape and glorify You through that gift You have given me. I should have done more in high school... I should have tried harder in college. God please help me to serve others and to use the talents You have given me for Your good works and Your kingdom. God please help me to get well. I feel so sick and am coughing constantly. It's so hard for me to go to sleep. I am having trouble breathing and I know others can hear my coughs through closed doors. God please help me with my life.

ps: Inside Bay Area article for Kim
Daily Cal Article for Kim

Saturday, November 10, 2007

wingin' it

So I ran the Sun Trust Marathon, it was the 30th annual Richmond Marathon, supposedly "America's Friendlist Marathon." I think I'm one of the craziest people I know. I didn't train all summer because my neck hurt. I didn't train when I drove across the country because I didn't have time. I didn't train much during school because I have been really busy and I didn't want to run in the dark. ...then the day rolled around and I did it anyway. I ran more than 1.5 minutes per hour slower than last time and last time I was dehydrated before I started.

Today was ... un-fun, but I finished. I didn't train, I was sick, I didn't know when the race actually started, I started my period last night. I think I may be one of the only people who has ever done that and finished with a smile. I ran with Samantha, she's from Richmond, it was her first marathon... I'm so glad God brought us together around the half-way point, because I don't know if either of us would have been able to be so happy at the end. We pushed each other and encouraged each other. It was good times.

RIP Kim, I ran it for you.

I am a runner.

Friday, November 9, 2007

26.2

again. I wonder sometimes why I like to push myself so much. Maybe it's because I like the feeling of accomplishment, or being able to do things ordinary people are afraid of. I've always wanted to be special, to stand out, it's hard when you're a small little Asian girl I guess.

It's raining outside. It was raining really hard yesterday. I was getting sunscreen ready yesterday and now I have a garbage bag that I will poke holes in for my arms to run in. I think it will be fun to run as a raisin. I have to check in and figure out where to go and all that tomorrow, but I just follow the signs and run with recklessness. Jessi and Katrice are serious about this thing, I feel like an amateur. I think I'm just really, really weird. Nobody else just runs marathons without training for them. Why would anyone do that to themselves? Yeah, I think that classifies as crazy.

So, Kim this is for you. I miss you. I hope that you are in heaven smiling down, please tell Jesus I hope that I don't get more sick, staying the same amount of sick is fine and getting my dot today of all days is all right too, but please keep me safe and from getting more sick during this race. I know that you always wished you could run a marathon and I know you and Jesus will be with me every step of the way.

26.2 starts with one step, a lot of determination... and a little bit of crazy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

yoga-ng

Yoga was really fun. We had to relax our entire bodies for one part and I was REALLY relaxed... and I ripped a big one and I almost started laughing but I thought to myself... everyone will know it was me if I laughed ... so I tried to relax again and then I almost fell asleep, but man-that was hilarious. I wasn't embarassed and it didn't smell, wow, that was so funny.

Oh, and it was cool because I knew another girl there, one of the physical therapy girls goes to yoga on Wednesday and lives in Farmville too. I was kind of shocked that I knew someone there since only 12 people were there and I didn't think I knew anyone in Farmville, ha ha.

In all, my yoga-ng experience was good. It's cool because you get a strengthening feeling when you're done, but you don't get sore! I think I still like pilates more, but it was fun to go with Pamela and see Tiffany there. I feel sleepy now though, my body is more relaxed and I like the feeling of my blood pumping through my extremities. I think I'm going to go to bed soon, even though I don't have to get up at 5:45AM tomorrow, I am still sick so I need to treat my body kindly!

lesson of the day: yoga is cool. (as Connor always says, "cool is better than sweet.")

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

appola

I decided to try a new recipe. Well, it wasn't really a recipe. I made what I have named "appola," I mixed oatmeal, diced apple, a little bit of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and baked it in pans. It's a variation off a apple crisp recipe I made a few weeks ago... but then changed and made better and then tried to make it healthier. I cut out a lot of the sugar and put only a little butter. It's a pretty good snack. I was a fan, it tastes best warm. If you'd like to know the proportions in more detail... let me know so I can try making it again and measure at least one or two ingredients! I kind of eyeball things and taste it to see if it's going all right. I think my first variation was the best. I made apple crisp-ish desserts in muffin tins so they were individual and tasted delicious, I'm sure they weren't as healthy as my appola.

I met the lady in Farmville, she's great! I'm actually really excited to stay in Farmville and do yoga and help her get started running. God is always working in little ways and big ways in the world. Its the cutest little log cabin ever, the key is a skeleton key... I get to use a real skeleton key for a log cabin that was built 100 years ago! It's awesome. It's original too. I'm so excited. I have a new friend in Farmville of all places. I met her sister and her niece as well, they were nice too.

Anyway, I'm hoping I will get my car back on Thursday and drop off my rental Thursday so I can go to Yoga on Wednesday, but I like doing the why weight? class on Thursdays at 4:30pm, and the rental place and English closes at 5pm! Argh. I wonder if someone could pick it up for me? Hmmm... I have the check, I could just sign it off. We'll see, God help everything to work out the way You would like it to! Thanks. I should call Ken too, I will do that and go to sleep. It's LATE! I was at the Jones' house hanging out with some of the girls from church, it was fun, I need to talk less and listen more though! When I get nervous I talk though, I don't like the silence...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hi friends,

I just found out that my friend Kim Hoang passed away this morning at 2:50AM in Oakland, California. She was a passenger in a vehicle, both drivers were cited for driving under the influence. They were driving back home after her 22nd birthday party. If you could pray for her and her family & friends that would be wonderful, the service is in San Leandro, California this Saturday, November 10, 2007. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend, but I am running the Richmond Marathon that day so I will be running in memory of her.

Kim Hoang - resident of San Leandro, California - SLHS Class of '03
November 4, 1985-November 5, 2007

Also, remind everyone you know that driving under the influence is never a good idea no matter who you are or where you are. It's not worth it, call a cab or find a designated driver. Don't let your friends drink and drive and don't do it!!!

NO ONE is immune to car accidents, whether or not you are the one who has been drinking.

I thank you for your prayers on behalf of Kim's family and friends,
Jilly O

Sunday, November 4, 2007

another one

Whoo, the lady from Farmville sounds awesome. I would be staying with her Monday-Wednesday nights starting next Monday. I was so excited to hear from her. God is definately working in my life, one miracle at a time, I can't get over it. I spoke with her on the phone today and she sounded really cool, I'm excited to meet her tomorrow. I don't want to get her sick or anything though, so I am going to drive the beetle to and from the hospital for now. I am kind of excited. God is doing some amazing things.

I hope that I can do something for her or God will use me in some way to pay back all of these generous people who have been helping me out in my life. It's great to know that all of these people are willing to help out others. Thank you God for doing all of this. You're great!

I feel kind of sick, like I have the flu! Argh! I thought the flu shot was supposed to help me from getting the flu... not give it to me. I have been coughing and my stomach cramping and all that. Terrible! Grr..! I hope that I'll be all right the next few days.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Virginia blues

My arm hurts really bad, I got a flu shot today. They burn really bad when they stick you and hurt like a tetnus shot even if you exercise your arm a lot.

I am being cranky, I need to lighten up! Seriously! I feel sore, tired and frustrated. I need to sleep. I miss home and all my friends. I need God to help me out here big time.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dear God,

Please help me to find some friends that are my age or friends that I can talk to on the same intellectual level as myself. I'm sorry I'm tired/frustrated with the role of a "counselor." I feel like I need good conversation with people who are where I am in my stage of life in order to grow more. If You want me to be a counselor I can, I mean I guess I'm good at it, but if it's all right with You, I would appreciate it verymuch if You would place some people in my life I can grow close to.

One day I'd like to get married too, but that's a whole other subject. I figured I'd just let you know.

Have a fabulous day! Thanks for making mine!

love,
Jill

Thursday, October 18, 2007

as usual

Days go by and I find I put off writing about my time here in Virginia. I thought it'd be a good idea to update today because I had a great day yesterday and today. Yesterday I was queasy about going to watch surgeries in the OR. I prayed the whole way to the hospital that God would help me. I still don't like seeing it, but I was able to take it. I want to know what my patients have to go through and how big the wounds are that need protein and what not. The knee scope and carpul tunnel syndrome I saw were very small compared to the open stomach/chest surgeries - I saw the doctors open a guy up to remove his bladder due to cancer, but it turned out the cancer had already entered the lymph nodes and started to spread to his stomach and other organs. I prayed for him in my head upon hearing that. I saw a guy get a wound vac applied to his stomach from a previous hystectomy. I prayed for all the people who were under going surgery and the surgeons and nurses in the rooms.

The doctors who are in charge or the "head" doctor of the surgery receive the honor of choosing the music that is played during the operation. During the wound vac application, I thought the nurse was joking when she said the doctor listened to "gansta rap" and put in a CD. Moments later I was laughing because "Pop, Lock, & Drop It" filled the room and the doctor was bobbing along to the music and the nurse was pretending to dance and laughed and said she couldn't dance (she wasn't able to hit the beats). The scene was almost comical, and then "9mm" came on and the doctor knew all the words. It was hilarious.

Today I took a little break and went up to attempt calling the police department to figure out my car issues. I was transferred 5 times in one phone call and found out at the end of 30 minutes that I was contacting the wrong department. Finally, I was able to reach the right people, told my claim adjuster and was able to find out that I need to get 2 estimates, fax them to the company and I can get a rental car they will pay for. They are 100% liable and are covering everything. I was really glad all of that is almost resolved. I'm going to try to wake up early tomorrow and hit one place in the morning to get an estimate done. If I can get two done, I will, but at least one tomorrow morning before 10AM. I am carpooling with Geraldine to VASPEN. Elizabeth said they weren't fun, but oh well. I have to go for school. I'm hoping for some decent free stuff.

Well, as usual, God always provides and blesses my life. I wonder sometimes why, but it's probably because He loves me, just like He loves everyone else on this planet. He makes time for each one of us and gives us each attention. It's amazing. I was in awe of the sunrise in the review mirror of the car. It was so beautiful, breath taking.

Now, it's time to read some more of the book I got at the Women's Retreat: "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?" and check on how the Indians are faring against the Red Sox, they were up 3-1 going into tonight. Maybe my predictions were backwards. Maybe it'll be Red Sox vs Indians 4-3 and Rockies vs D'backs 4-0. We shall see. I still think the Rockies can take it all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

honor thy mother and father

Everytime I get off the phone with mom or dad I want to cry. This time I was just sad, usually I try to reason or argue with them. I wrote my dad a response to his e-mail and let him know about the accident with the police officer. He called and started yelling at me and telling me how stupid I was. Typical yes. I didn't raise my voice, though it was all I could do. I just don't understand them. I try so hard. Anything I do is wrong. Everything I say has "attitude" and I'm a bad daughter. If I get on the Dean's list it's not enough. If I run the fastest, it's not fast enough. If I win medals or accomplish things, it's not good enough, it will never make them happy.

I guess it's good. If you look at it in another light, at least I can just do things to please God rather than man. I've never been able to please my parents no matter what I did. I've learned to try to please God my whole life. Maybe this is one of those "blessings in disguise" and I don't know it. I feel like I'm a old soul in a 24 year old person's body. I feel like I've experienced much and I am full of knowledge for some reason. Not that I'm smarter than others or anything like that, but I feel like I can look at things from more than one perspective. I know that I'm different than many of the people I meet, but I can still connect with everyone on some level. I guess that's a gift God has given me.

I was discussing this today. We're all the same. Humans are all the same, we have the same essential needs. Those who differentiate "lost" and "saved" bug me a little. All humans need to eat, sleep, breath, reproduce, poop, etc. Every human needs the same things and has selfish tendencies, myself included, the only thing that makes me different from a "lost" person is Jesus Christ. Everyone deserves to go to hell and deserves eternal condemnation, Jesus just provided a way for me to be saved. People have so much in common. I feel like I am one of the only people around here that thinks that. People keep talking about how they feel like there is nothing to talk about with "un-saved" people... it's because they put them into another category, like they almost think they aren't human! It's really sad to me, quite unfortunate.

I feel that way about people who idolize stars too. Everyone is sad about a famous person's death and there is a huge monument... when at least 10 people have died in the time it's taken me to write this blog. Those people matter too! They matter just as much as some person who is in the lime light of our ridiculous star struck-lonely culture. I guess I'm just different or weird. I don't think about the rich and famous more than the people around me, they're just people! Why is our culture so obessed with stars? People are so lonely they think that famous people are their friends and they know more about famous people from magazines and interviews on television than they do about their neighbors. I don't want to be rich and famous, in fact, I plan on being the opposite. I want to go to do missions and help people. I will probably be poor and not make any money. I don't care about money, it's fleeting. If I die, I can't take it with me, but I will have friends in heaven.

Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to say I'm better than anyone. I'm the most sinful person I know because I only fully know myself and my thoughts. I'm just a sinner in need of a savior. Luckily I've found Him. I'm grateful for what God has done in my life and is doing. I am thankful that He has made me strong to with stand much tension and pain. I just hope that I will allow God to use me and shine through me. I pray that He will and I will be completely His to teach and use.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

less is more

I feel so accomplished after I exercise. Even though I just walked a loop around the parking lot to a trail behind the hospital twice and up and down 4 flights of stairs 5x, I feel so much better. The loop is about 2000 steps and there is probably an average of 12 steps per set and there are 4 flights x 2 sets each which is 8 sets total x 5 = 40 sets x 12 steps = 480 steps I walked up and 480 steps I walked down. That's not too bad. I found out that my pedometer doesn't count steps correctly when you do high-knees up stairs but oh well. I'm still trying to get an average of 10k or more steps a day. I exercised/walked for about 40 minutes. That's not so bad. I can feel my leg muscles twitching and I should probably stretch soon.

I have decided to cut down on my portions. I like eating all I can eat at the hospital, but the food is so fatty and I really don't need to eat as much as I do. My eyes are bigger than my stomach as they say. I feel bad if I waste food too, so I need to take smaller portions and not pile it up on my plate. At least I'm only taking one plate now though. I need to eat more salads at lunch too. Less cobbler, more vegetables! I think I can lose 5# by Christmas, that'd mean I would be 140#, and my BMI would still be 24. At least i wouldn't be 145 and wondering how the heck I gained so much weight. Eventually I should try to get down to 135 and even 130, if I run more and eat less I should be able to do that. When I say eat less, and you think "what the heck?" Don't worry, I am not going to eat nothing, I currently eat more than anyone I know here in Virginia. I think I eat more than all the guys I know over here. I need to cut back! California, being able to bike to school and work and every where, run whenever I needed, between classes and what not has spoiled me. I need to get used to not having big breaks and having to wear nicer clothes to the hospital and not wearing running shoes or flip flops all the time. This sucks!

I bounce on the trampoline for 20+ - 30+ minutes instead of running sometimes. I get just as sweaty and my heart is pounding and I get really thirsty... so I think it's a pretty good workout. When the kids are bouncing with me, it's even harder because they steal my bounce and they stop and go and I just keep on jumping/running on the trampoline.

Well, I'm still at the hospital and will be here until 9-ish pm. Great. I think I will read some of the book I got for free, "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye." Sometimes I think I did, or am currently, but God has plans I don't know about waiting for me. I am excited to see what He's got in store. Farewell for now friends.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

baseball

ps. I just have to say, all of my predictions for the Division Series have come true. I'm going to be watching the League Championships with anticipation.

in the end

I feel like God's put me in a situation where all I can do it trust. It's like the song: I put my trust in you, pushed as far as I can go. For all this, there's only one thing you should know. I tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end it doesn't even matter. However, it's different than the song suggests of course. I put my trust in the Lord, I push as far as I can go to the limits of myself and push a little farther, trying to have faith that God will see me through. I try hard, I get far, but in the end - only God matters and nothing else matters. All the worldly things we're trying to do and accomplish don't really matter. The only thing that matters is God and eternity.

I'm trusting God with a bunch of stuff right now:
-I will have the capacity to stay strong and finish this internship on time.
-My car will be fixed and paid for some how.
-This living situation will continue to be a blessing for both myself and the family.
-I can make it to and from Farmville Monday through Thursday for the next 7 months.
-I can survive with few friends and many acquaintances here in Virginia, or that He will provide people to be my friends around me.
-I will be safe and my heart will be protected.
-One day I may have a husband and children, but for now I am doing what I think God has planned for me and trying my best.
-I won't hurt anyone in the hospital.
-Even though I hate hospitals, I can survive this Clinical Rotation and more rotations in hospitals in Farmville and Petersburg.
-I will be able to finish the Richmond Marathon with joy.
-I will be able to get a job.
-I'll be able to get home safely after this is over.
-I will continue to allow God to use me and put me in places I don't really know or feel as comfortable as I could in.

God has done some amazing things. A family I just met a few weeks ago is letting me use one of their cars until I can get my head lights fixed because I have to drive very early in the morning and late at night on Thursday (I won't get done until 9PM tomorrow). I have been safe and all right sleeping in my car. I did get hit by a cop, but I'm praying that their insurance will cover everything, because I was just going straight in my lane. I pray that everything will turn out all right, because I can't afford to pay for it.

I am praying that my insurance will all be all right, I'm worried about all this other stuff that has been going on with the DMV processing and all that. It's so frustrating and I have so little time when I'm here in Virginia. I can't have my car registration be cancelled! I can't have my insurance stop! God please help me! God please help me to find a van pool or car pool if that is Your will. I don't mind paying a little extra if I can meet new people and get a ride to the hospital instead of driving every day. Please help me to find strength and comfort in You and please help me to become what You created me to be.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

2007 MLB predictions

So far my initial thoughts about the playoffs have come true, or my hopes really. I wanted the Rockies over the Phillies and the D'backs over the Cubs. Now I am hoping that the Indians beat the Yanks and the Red Sox over the Angels. As long as the Angels and the Yanks get knocked out some where, I'll be all right. I think the Indians will take the Yanks 3-1 and the Red Sox will win over the Angels 3-0.

In the NL Championships the Rockies will take the D'backs 4-3 and for the AL Championships, the Red Sox will dominate the Indians 4-0. In the World Series the Rockies and Red Sox will go to game 7 and the Rockies will win in a thriller 4-3.

World Series Champs for the first time: Colorado Rockies. That'd be sweet. I'm still disappointed the A's and Mets didn't make it to the playoffs this year. That's lame. Ah, I guess next year. Hopefully if the A's keep Chavez he'll start hitting and stop getting hurt. The Mets will still have David Wright, Beltran, and Reyes (I think).

Sunday, September 30, 2007

feelings.

What's the matter with feelings? I am apprehensive to start tomorrow. I hope that I can get to the right place! I am leaving 2 hours early even though it's only supposed to take 1 hour to get there. (6:30am!) That's early. I will probably be closer to 7am leaving here but I want to wake up at 6:25am and then eat and go. I am worried that I will get lost or confused again and frustrated.

I am trying to push my fear of hospitals and give it to You God. I want to do this to glorify You and I hope that I can serve with a joyful heart. I know I have to do things I don't enjoy for the big picture, to get to the goal. I know that You have amazing things planned for me and I want to honor that by getting through this internship. Please help me to go into this with a heart of service and a heart that wants to learn and help the people I may come across.

Please watch out for me. Please help Anita over in Japan too. I hope everything is going well out there. I hope that dad and mom have a safe trip to Japan too. I hope that their visit is beneficial to everyone and that they can be happy when dad meets his grandkids.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

time

I really am a California kid, or at least a West Coast one. My clock says it's 2:51AM, yet I am still awake, not really super tired - like I would be if I was on EST. It'd only about 12 at home. That's my bed time. I am tired, but I should be zonked out by now. It's weird to wake up at 6AM here and run in the morning, I feel extra tired even though I went to sleep at 10PM. I wonder when my body will start cooperating with my brain.

I've been working on my mini binder for my clinical rotations. The organization freak I am has labeled A-Z tabs in the binder on index cards - it's an index card binder. I made copies of important charts I don't already have from our instructor's binder and have been making copies (it's grand that my printer can scan AND copy!) mini size (45%) so I can glue-stick them onto cards. I didn't think I would be using glue-stick this much since I graduated college, heck I didn't think I'd use glue-stick after elementary school but look at me go.

I feel like there is so much information to know. I wonder if I will get it all down. I know God is there to help me. It's great to know you've got back up. I guess that's why I am okay where ever I go, I always know that I've got G-O-D to get my back and that's pretty dang reassuring.

I am yawning now so I need to get to bed. Good night friends.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Soymilk Quiz: Unsweetened.

You're honest. True. Sincere. But above all, you're genuine; there's not a superficial bone in your body. That authenticity shows itself in your clothes, your attitude, even your shopping habits. You either frequent the local farmer's market or wish you did more often. Not only to enjoy the freshest produce but to feel good about doing your part in helping the local economy. You check sell-by dates, read nutrition labels and cook real food with real ingredients. That's why the wholesome, natural taste of Silk Unsweetened is perfect for you and your uncomplicated lifestyle.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

bounce around

I'm caught up with my journals. I like to have my traveling experiences written down, so I can remember what I did, who I met and what I saw. It's good I have five gigs of pictures to accompany my journal too.

I think I may go bounce around on the trampoline instead of run... maybe I should run. Dang. I bounced for 12 minutes earlier today and I was tuckered out. Granted it was hot and the heat is humid here, but still! I should not be tired after bouncing a 5 year old around on a trampoline. I started doing crunches again the other day. We'll see how that works out.

The journals of my trips are super long. I should probably do it daily instead of all at once. If you read them, you must have a lot of time or pretend it's like a book. Then it'll pass more quickly. Don't worry, the entries from here on out should be shorter.

New York, New York

If you’re on the East Coast, you might as well go to New York right? My reason for going: the Mets were playing and I could stop and see Dan and watch a Nationals game in D.C. with him on the way back. Unfortunately Dan had a race but you’ll see what unfolded for the rest of my trip.

-----
Monday, September 10:

Stepping off the Greyhound bus at the Port Authority bus stop in New York, NY, I felt a little wary. It was dark and dirty under the streets. I walked into the station and I had to use the restroom. I saw two men at a table in the middle of the isle and asked them where the restroom was. To my dismay, the man acted as if I had asked him to give me all his money and was really rude. I was not impressed with my first interaction in the city.

I asked a cleaning lady where the restroom was and in her broken English she told me to turn around and walk down the stairs and go to the right. I did so, finally finding the restroom and relieving myself of 7 hours on a bus.

Once I got done in the restroom, I was faced with the challenge of finding my way out of the station, which proved to be a harder task than I had anticipated. I had no idea which way was out and no clue where I was once I got out of the station.

Luckily I have a decent sense of direction and I walked down the street through Times Square and up Park through Grand Central Station to where Rachel worked at UBS. I took tons of pictures, just like the tourist I was. I got to the building and the man at the front desk asked me if I knew what company Rachel worked for and I had no clue, so I called and she came down so we could go to get a cup of hot chocolate and coffee.

After we were done, she took my backpack and I went down to Central Park. It was beautiful. I feel so na├»ve, I feel so lost in wonder when I go to these new places. My small brain cannot comprehend all of the amazing creations God has set before us. It’s funny; many people don’t even see it. They walk by in a hurry to get to their next obligation. I am guilty of this as well, but I am making an effort to slow down and enjoy what God has given to me and created for us to live in.

I took timer pictures in the park, I attempted a jumping picture under one of the bridges but I guess it was too much for me. I couldn’t get the timing down today. It was overcast so having to time it with the delay of the flash was hard too, so maybe I can give myself a break.

I began walking back to UBS and the churches nestled into the huge buildings on the streets were impressive. I wondered though, if that’s what we had become. Have we become people who blend in? Are we no longer standing out on a hilltop letting our light shine? Questions I have asked myself. I don’t want to be one of the crowd; I want to let my light shine! I want to live my life pleasing to God. I want to allow God to use me in whatever capacity He wants.

I got back to UBS and Rachel text’d me and said she would be longer so I went to try to take more pictures inside Grand Central Station. They didn’t work because it was no longer just overcast, but it was getting dark outside.

I went back to UBS and sat on the steps watching people as they passed. I love watching people and wondering about their lives. I wish I could meet them all, but that seems like an impossible task. I saw a police man with a cue tip hat on his head. He looked stern but I would suspect that I would be angry looking if I had to wear a cue tip hat too. The cutest little old man pulling a cart behind him was hunched over and he looked frightened. I wonder if he was afraid of the big city too. I noticed tons of people smoked. I wonder what kind of anti smoking campaigns they have out on the East Coast. Everyone seemed tense and stressed out. They all had somewhere to be. I wonder if they ever just stopped and rested. I wonder if they ever thought about something other than material possessions.

Rachel came out and we took the subway to her place in Williamsburg. I bought a 24-dollar 7-day pass and was hoping that I would get my money’s worth. Little did I know that I would become a master of the subway system in New York in less than an hour.

We went to a Thai restaurant on the way to her place. The food was good and they had a bubble chair that was quite comfortable. The bathrooms were weird though. The sink was outside and they were little stalls or tubes even with a toilet in them. Some of them had screens that displayed what was going on in the restaurant while you were using the toilet. Weird.

We walked back to her place and I met her roommate Carrie and cat. We ended up talking for hours and finally went to sleep quite late.

-----
Tuesday, September 11:

I woke up later than Rachel. She and Carrie had already gone off to work. I remembered it was my mom’s birthday, which also meant post-2001, it was 9/11, the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack and collapse.

I ate some Cheerios Melissa had left in my room when she left. Then I got ready to go outside, I brought the umbrella Rachel had left for me and went outside. The rain was coming at me sideways and pouring so much that I thought I might drown standing. I had rolled my pants up and was still in Rainbows, some of the puddles past my ankles. I thought perhaps I had made a mistake. When I got to the next corner I definitely was under the impression I made a mistake and I turned around. I went back to the door and tried to open it. I couldn’t. I felt so lame.

I decided to just weather the storm and get to the subway station. As I turned and walked around the corner, the rain started to let up and eventually stopped by the time I got to the station. It probably had nothing to do with me, but it was like a sign. God was telling me that if I just stuck through the heavy rain, the blessing and sunshine He would give would be worth it.

I took the subway down toward the World Trade Center stop and accidentally stayed on it too long and ended up going back uptown part way. I got off and jumped back on a downtown train and got off at the right stop. It’s a good thing it’s only one swipe per entry into the station and not per train otherwise I would be swiping all my life.

I got off and took the stairs up to the top, following the signs that pointed to the direction of the World Trade Center. When I got off the stairs the police were telling me to move along. I guess there were loads of people there since it was the anniversary. There were people peacefully sitting there with signs and signs all along the fence around the area where the twin towers had stood. It was crazy to think 6 years before I had been sitting in my car and listening to 94.9 (the dog house in the morning) driving to work and thought it was a terrible prank for them to be playing (the played pranks every morning on the dog house and I thought it was one of them, but a horrible one because people were dying). It turned out it wasn’t and 6 years later I saw the site. Rubble still lay in piles. The towers had taken up a full square block and all the rubble from the buildings was still being cleared away.

It was a sad site. I was wondering about the people’s families and all the people who perished that fateful morning as I walked down Liberty Street. I continued on and people were making their way through the rain hurriedly while I slowly shuffled away from the sight.

I wonder how many people were there to mourn, and how many thought that they should be done. It seems as though we’re only supposed to mourn a specific period of time before we move on with our lives. I don’t know if I could do that if someone I loved was killed. I mean, I would go on living, but I would have the memory and the hope that they were somewhere in heaven hanging out with Jesus.

I continued on down toward Wall Street. I guess I looked lost because a man asked me if I needed some directions. I asked him where Wall Street was and he pointed me in the right direction. I reached Wall Street expecting to see all kinds of stock people and stock tickers every where or stock quotes filling the streets, but it was solom. Most of the people that surrounded me were tourists. I had always wondered why it was called Wall Street. Rachel told me a little of the history behind it. According to Wikipedia the name ‘De Waal Straat’ refers not to a wall, but to an important group of people that helped establish New Amsterdam: the Walloons. The Dutch word for Walloon is Waal. The Dutch, led by Peter Stuyvesant, using African slaves in part, had built a large stockade on behalf of the West India Company. By the time war had developed with thee English, a strengthened 12-foot wall of timer and earth was created by 1653 fortified with palisades. The wall was created, and strengthened over time, as a defense against attack from various Indian tribes, New England colonists and the British. In 1695 surveyors laid out Wall Street along the lines of the original stockade. The wall was dismantled by the British in 1699. Though the original name referred to the Walloons, the French speaking Belgians that helped populate this settlement in the beginning, the name was now easily taken to refer to the wall that had once stood there.

Now that you are up to date on the history behind Wall Street, I will continue with my journey. I walked down Wall Street past the Trump building, the New York Stock Exchange and the bank. I saw the roots of the Sycamore tree that were made into a sculpture as a reminder of 9/11.

I walked down to a subway station and got on the subway toward uptown. I took it all the way to the Bronx and visited Yankee stadium. The new stadium was being built right across the street. It was an impressive sight. 26 World Series had been won in the stadium. The greats had played there. Since no games were being played at home I didn’t get to go inside, but one day I will. I took pictures of the outside and went on my way.

I ended up taking the train out to Shea Stadium in Queens. I was all about the metro system in New York City. I bought tickets for the next day’s game because we had decided it would be sunny and nice weather for Wednesday’s game so we’d go then. I don’t mind rain as you will see.

I walked around and took pictures so Rachel wouldn’t have to follow me while I took massive amounts of pictures of the outside of the stadium. It’s not very exciting to people who aren’t as into baseball as I am. The new Shea Stadium is being built right next door, pretty much in the outfield of the current one. I was so tempted to just stay and watch the game that night as well, but I saw a small line forming and I got into it. It turned out Ed Charles was signing autographs. I had him sign our tickets and lucky for me I had my camera and took a picture with him. He was the 3rd baseman for the Mets when they won the World Series in 1969. They called him “the glider” because he ws so graceful.

After having our tickets signed by Ed Charles I ran back to the metro line and went back to Rachel’s place. I got a little turned around when I got off the green line in Brooklyn because I wasn’t in the Williamsburg part of it. I was all right with my metro map and a phone call and direction from people on the street.

Rachel made dinner, we ate and then went out to get ice cream with her friend Pat, from church. It was good ice cream. We ate it and walked down to see if any of the bars had dancing. It turns out that it was the beginning of Roshashana. I guess I never thought out it, but New York has the 3rd largest Jewish population in the world or something.

There wasn’t any dancing but we did get some really good French fries. I think Bel Frites in SLO is better, but French fries are still good either way. I’m a big fan of fried food.

We went back to the subway station and went home. Pat walks weird and you really have to pay attention when walking with him because he’ll zigzag. It’s quicker but if you’re not really thinking about it, then you’re left alone on the corner and he’s down the street.

We got back and went to sleep, it was a late night again. However, my metro ride total was now up to 7 because I rode it 6 times that day and once when I bought it the night before.

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Wednesday, September 12:

Again, Rachel woke up earlier than me. I was trying to look up clubs and see where we could go out and go dancing Thursday night but I’m not very New York savy. I ate an omlette for breakfast and headed toward the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free for everyone! I was excited. My tour of the entire city was 24 dollars for the metro card and everything else I did I either walked or was free. It was really windy on the ferry but it was neat to see the Statue of Liberty across the water. I thought about going to Ellis Island but I figure none of my relatives went there, so why should I? Besides I could see it from a distance and admire it for free rather than paying some ridiculous fee to see it.

When we arrived at Staten Island I got off and saw signs that said there was a baseball stadium. So, of course I went to go see it. I tried taking timer-jumping pictures along the shore and there was a 9/11 memorial on Staten Island too. It was beautiful, different but nice. I saw the stadium and went back to catch the ferry again.

This time there was no top deck, which was disappointing. I met a guy from Denmark who I walked toward the Brooklyn Bridge with. He went to the body exhibit. They had it in LA and SF last year. I went to go find out how I could walk across the bridge. It was quite a distance from the shore and I was a little confused, but eventually I saw City Hall and found the footpath. It was cool because it was in the middle of the bridge rather than on either side.

I took a bunch of timer pictures and was pleased that my jumping picture on the Brooklyn Bridge was successful the first time I tried. The sky was a brilliant blue and it looked as though there was not a hint nor chance of rain. I walked across down to the subway on the other side. I took it back to Rachel’s figured out how to open the door and got our tickets for the Mets game so I could meet her at work and we could just hit Grand Central station and take the 7 straight there.

I met her outside work and we went to the game. The train took longer than I expected, there were tons of people on the 7 express. One of the men in the train was complaining that it wasn’t an express train because it was so slow. It was kind of funny.

We just caught the end of batting practice. It was the Atlanta Braves against the Mets, my two favorite NL teams. I was pretty excited. We went up to our seats and ate the sandwiches Rachel got from work and the cookies, which were delightful. I love M&M cookies. When the game started, we ended up switching sections because there were too many people around us.

Eventually we ended up near the front of our section, even though it was in the 400s you could still see. I loved it. The Mets haven’t won since 1969 but they have promise. David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes to name a few.

The Mets had a home run and unfortunately my camera was being poopy and I didn’t get a picture of the “big apple” popping out of the top hat in the outfield. It had the Mets logo on it and the board lit up. The Mets logo on top of the scoreboard lit up too.

It was a good game. Afterward we took some pictures at the bottom and it was amazing to see how fast they cleared out 51,000 people. It was funny because there were stock quotes on one of the scoreboards every inning. A lot of people were fashionably late and trickled in until the 4th or 5th inning. I didn’t realize Shea was so big. Fifty one thousand people on a weeknight! Amazing.

We left and got gelato from Little Italy. They were going to have a festival of some sort the next day. The peach gelato I got was amazing. It’s all made fresh daily in the restaurant or store. I love it.

We went back to her place and my tally for metro rides was 6 that day so I was up to 13. I would hit 20 when I rode the metro to the Port Authority bus station on Friday morning to catch Greyhound to Washington, D.C.

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Thursday, September 13:

I woke up with all the intentions of walking across the Queensboro bridge or the 59th street bridge. I was really excited because it looked so nice when I had a glimpse of it from the 7 train on the way to Shea Tuesday.

I walked down to the Grand Street Park in Williamsburg. It was all right. There were some rocks painted red, some of the rocks had mosaics on them and you could see the Manhattan Bridge. However, there were also couples making out on the benches and tables in the park, which was a little awkward and I just took pictures of thee bridge and moved on. I’m not a PDA fan.

I got on the subway and got up to 59th street and was trying to figure out how I could walk across the Queensboro. I asked a lady and she said it wasn’t that great and that I should take the tram. If I had a metro pass I could use that to go to Roosevelt Island. From the tram I would have a better view of the bridge if that was what I wanted. I thanked her and went up to wait for the tram. I took it across and it was pretty sweet. It reminded me of Disneyland.

I got to Roosevelt Island and the red buses cost a quarter that I didn’t have on me. I went into the welcome center and the lady gave me a map and told me I should see the lighthouse and the old hospital that was in a lot of movies. So I walked down to the southern tip and took tons of pictures on that side. It was a nice view of the Manhattan skyline as all the people as told me. I walked back and took the tram back across to Manhattan. I took the subway back to Rachel’s place and chilled out while I was waiting for her to get off work. We were going to go dancing no matter what that night because it was my last night in New York for a while.

I got dressed (borrowing Rachel’s clothes because I didn’t bring anything nice to wear out, I was just planning on watching baseball) and met Rachel at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Garden. I got the best shroom burger, fries, and black and white milkshake. It was great. I want to go back and get the blueberry cheesecake custard when they have it. I may have to move to New York for a year if I can get a job there.

We went down to 8th street, met a tall, nice, cute German fellow in a store while we were getting gum. We should have invited him to come dancing with us. We passed a bunch of clubs but there weren’t many people out at 10pm in New York. Apparently the “city that never sleeps” is called that for a reason. The bars don’t close until 4am and people don’t start to go out until 12:30am. It’s pretty crazy, especially when you just came from a small place like SLO.

We walked down and were passing the Lotus and stopped to talk to the bouncer. He was pretty funny; his name was David. If you go to the Lotus, you should talk to him. We got in for free around 11:30 and I got a glass of water and Rachel got a glass of wine. We waited till more people arrived and started dancing around 12:30. There were two guys behind us who I thought may want to dance with us but they didn’t make a move. I guess they were content to chill on the side and drink their drinks. After a while people danced with us and finally home boy on the side danced with me. He was a triple major at school in New York, but he was originally from Jersey and going to get his PhD when he was done with his undergraduate studies.

We left around 2:45am and got back to Rachel’s place around 3:30 and went to sleep.

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Friday, September 14:

We woke up around 6am and took the metro. Rachel to work and I was going back to Port Authority station. I felt a lot better now that I had experienced New York and the station was no longer daunting.

I reached the station and found out which gate the bus to D.C. was at. I talked to a lady in line and the bus loaded. I fell asleep next to the window until we got to D.C. Then I got up and it was raining again in D.C. What is up with rain and me getting off buses?

I got off the bus and walked down to the metro at Union Station. I took the red line to the blue line and met Brett, the Amtrekker. He and his friend were going to Arlington National Cemetery and I was on my way to Froggy Bottom. They don’t announce the stops in D.C. like they do in New York and I missed Froggy Bottom the first time around. I went in a little circle from blue to yellow back to blue.

I got off in Froggy Bottom and asked a girl who went to George Washington University where Georgetown University was. I think everyone thought I meant Georgetown because it’s a place that isn’t far from GW. I walked to Georgetown and had to walk another 2.5 miles or so to get to Georgetown. I was really tired at this point. It was a decent walk at least and it wasn’t raining at that point. I got to Dan’s house and put my backpack down and reorganized my stuff.

I immediately left for RFK stadium. This time I used the Rosslyn station in Virginia. So I walked to Virginia, but it was closer than going back to the Froggy Bottom station. I got to RFK and it looked like it was going to rain. I mentioned this to another guy who was getting off the Metro and it turns out he had an extra ticket. He gave it to me because I was rooting for the right team… the Braves, ha ha. It was a good seat too in the 4th row from the field.

He was drinking before he even got in. I think he put Jameson in his Pepsi and was drinking that. I went inside and went to batting practice. It started raining and they covered the in field. It was an omen, the rain was coming down pretty hard, but they don’t reschedule in September!

The game started and it was still raining. They have President racing instead of dot racing in Washington D.C. it was pretty funny, they were those big President mascot looking guys. They’re moving to a new stadium next year so they are trying to pump up the fan base by giving away tons of shirts and free stuff. The people who were the randomly selected ones to receive a trip if so-and-so hits a home run during the game actually won! The Nationals had two home team home runs. They have fireworks when that happens. I was kind of mad that they got those home runs because I wanted to go home.

The guy and I moved to the corner right next to the dug out because everyone was leaving, the rain was coming down really hard and I refused to buy a clear plastic poncho for 5 dollars. What a rip off. I would rather freeze, which I did.

Andruw Jones made a 3rd out catch and threw me the ball when he was coming back to the dug out and a boy from Georgetown University actually put his hand INSIDE my glove and took the ball. I was shocked. I was about to punch him in the face. I asked him, “are you serious? Are you really going to keep it?” and he said yes and kept it for another 15 minutes before the guilt over came him and he gave me the ball saying sorry and that he felt bad.

Later Hubbard, the 1st base coach for the Braves, Andruw Jones and another guy in the dugout would throw me balls, so the guy who gave me a ticket, the boy who gave the ball back to me and his friend and I all got baseballs that night. Of course, we were there in the rain and the game went to 13 innings and lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes. It didn’t even start on time because of all the rain.

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(new day even though it didn’t feel like it!)
Saturday, September 15:

The guy who had given me the free ticket had gotten them from a friend. His name was Cory with no “e”. we went back to the metro and got on the train back to where his car was and I was headed back toward Rosslyn.

I got off and there were no taxis at 1:15 in the morning so I walked back to Dan’s house and called Philippe because it was his birthday, or it would be his birthday in 2 hours. I’m still getting used to the time difference. Three hours makes a big difference.

I got back to Dan’s and it was 2AM. I was going to go to sleep but I was reading the schedule for the Metro and it closed at 3AM and opened on the weekends at 7AM. My train left at 7:30AM so that wouldn’t work at all. I changed out of my wet clothes because the rain ceased or at least was just mist instead of pouring. (There were also deer roaming the front yards around Dan’s house, it was kind of neat, yet creepy by yourself.)

I packed my backpack up fully, locked the front door, and there was no turning back. I had to make it to the metro before it closed. I was thinking about taking a taxi but I didn’t see any until I had already reached Key Bridge and they can’t stop on the bridge. So I was running. I got there at 2:30AM, which isn’t too bad for running through massive puddles across bridges on concrete with Rainbow flip-flops on.

I got to the station out of breath and waited for the train. A freshman from AU, I forget what that stood for but he was from there and he was wasted. I told him I would make sure he got onto the right train to get back to school because we both had to transfer to the red line at the Metro Center station. Turns out he was from Jersey and at the next stop his friend got on and he was from California as well.

We got off at the Metro Center and I waited for the red line in one direction and they waited for the other side. I met a guy from Spain who had been living in DC for the past few months for school. He was going to the Catholic University. I guess that’s what it was called.

I got off at Union Station and said farewell to the guy. I walked over to the Amtrak waiting point and tried to get my ticket from the automated ticket dispenser but it was broken, I guess all of them were. Since it was 4AM, I just went to sleep on the bench with my arm through the strap on my backpack so no one could take my stuff while I was sleeping.

I was woke up around 6 by a police officer who was asking everyone who was sleeping at the train station if they were actually taking the train and making people leave if they weren’t. I went to pick up my ticket since the ticket counter was open now. A lady was in a rush and ended up behind me because she went over to the machines to see if they worked right after I had just told her they were broken. Some people need to learn to listen to people even if they are younger than them. She looked like a busy lady who was stressed out. I had just slept in a train station and I was feeling fine. I think it depends on your outlook of life.

I got my ticket and waited for the train to board. It turned out I was at the wrong spot, the guy told me gate E but it was gate H or something. E was going to New York. I got on and fell asleep right away once I got in my seat. Kelly and the kids came to pick me up at the Staples Mill Amtrak station in Richmond. I was so tired I didn’t even see them waiting for me when I got off the train, I was about to walk into the station and wait for them.

With school starting on Monday, it looks like my traveling adventures would be placed on pause for a while.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Coast -2- Coast Road Trip 2007

I had so much fun. I can’t get enough of traveling and meeting new people. People like hearing my stories. I have a log of everything we did, but I didn't keep a journal. I am going to try to write out some of the out stuff here.

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Tuesday, August 21- Wednesday, August 22:

I drove down to San Luis Obispo and stayed with the Hokits. I had to get my Hepatitis A shot from the Cal Poly health center, which cost me 30 bucks. They are killing me with all of these fees and medicines. I hung out with the Hokits and mostly ate with them and watched baseball. After I got my Hepatitis A shot I hung out with Michael, who as it turns out works at Mo's. I wish I could visit because I love their sweet potato fries. We went to Mondeo because he didn't want to go into work when he didn't have to. I can understand that, but dang I was hoping for some sweet potato fries. They are delicious!

We walked down to the bank and hob. I went to visit Juice at Mountain Air, but he wasn't there. I did see Josh though. I emailed him the picture of the marathon. There was a couch place across the street from Mountain Air and I thought it would be a good idea to try it out... so we did. It ended up being quite comfortable so we just hung out on the couches on the sidewalk for a while. While we were there... someone text messaged me ... "are you sitting outside on a couch?" I didn't know who it was so I asked and it turns out Julie had passed by us in a car and saw us sitting on the couches. It was pretty funny, but maybe you had to be there.

We had stopped at Longs too, so I finally got to sign the golf ball from our graduation tradition that we're starting - going mini golfing for 2.50 at Boomers in Santa Maria. I still wonder what happened to all those pictures Blair took from the time we went to Warren. Oh well, we know we went.

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Thursday, August 23:

I had to wait for Melissa to get done with lab and school stuff so I was packed and ready to go just in case she got done early. We went to Costco once she got out around 4:30pm and bought Cheese-Its, Wheat Thins, Dried Pineapples, Prunes, Kashi cereal, and Granola Bars. Also, we got gas. Then we headed down 101 to hit Pismo Beach to take pictures at the Pacific Ocean. We tried out the jumping pictures and swung on the swings. I lost my bow and had to go back and look for it, and then I stepped in gum... barefoot. Awesome. Weird random things always happen to me.

We hopped back onto 101 and we were on our way! This is real. I remember thinking we had a long, long way to go and we were only getting 230 miles out of the way. We got to Pasadena and Mark came out to meet us. Melissa was like, "is that your friend or some random creepy guy?" or something like that. Mark hugged me and picked me up at the same time. I think he's been working out, ha ha. I wish I could hang out with him more. He's so cool. Josh and Mark P. said hi and stayed on the couch while we went out to get some food. We stopped at LO Times - Lougie Ortega's (I'm not sure about spelling). I got a mahi mahi fish taco and then we went down to the yogurt place. I forget what it is called but their Oatmeal Cookie yogurt was amazing! I just tried some of Mark's. We saw city hall and I wanted to go look at it so I asked Mark to stop. He thought it was a church, but it turns out it was just Pasadena's city hall and Pasadena is also the home of Jackie Robinson. It was a perfect start to our baseball road trip we were about to embark upon.

We didn't get back to Mark, Mark and Josh's until almost midnight and both Mark and Josh had gone to sleep. I was kind of disappointed because I haven't talked to Josh in a long time. Mark slept downstairs on his old bed and we slept on his gianormous, fluffy bed.

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Friday, August 24:

In the morning I woke up and packed my stuff. Josh and Mark were up as well since it was a work day. Mark told me to put our stuff in the car and run out the garage because the door needed to be locked. So, we had some cereal, I washed the utensils while Melissa took a shower and then we packed up and ran out the garage.

We drove out toward Ontario where Mark and Josh used to live 3 weeks prior. We stopped for gas and then rolled on toward Arizona. Unfortunately, the a/c didn't work, but I guess 35mpg was all right. I wonder how much gas we actually saved by not having a radio or a/c. I wanted to see Joshua Tree but we decided we should just get going. We stopped in Surprise, Arizona where Melissa's cousin lived to cool off and take a break from driving. Then we met up with her cousin, cousin's boyfriend at the game. Melissa hung out with her brother's best friend for awhile across from the stadium at a bar called Sliders, but I wanted to watch the first inning to the last, so I went inside and got a free t-shirt from the D'backs. It was a good game.

Apparently in Arizona they have everyone and their mom move there because it's cheap. It was 110 degrees in Phoenix though, I don't think I could stand that forever. It was cooler inside the covered park and they didn't open the top because it was so hot outside. It was 10 dollars for parking in a gated lot. I got the tickets off ticket marketplace at they were $17.60 for two so that was nice. They were originally 22-dollar tickets (each) and we got a good view of the field from where we were. The Cubs and Diamondbacks fans were loud and the sound system was amazing. They would start chanting "Lets Go ..." for their team and all I could make out was "blahhhh" so I decided to say "Let's Go Oakland" just to add to the randomness of it all. The Cubs beat the D'backs but the D'backs starting pitcher Owings hit a homerun in his first at bat. His batting average was .288 at that point which is pretty good for a pitcher!

While at the game Melissa's cousin's (Ashley's) boyfriend told us about Tent City. For people who get caught drunk driving, they send them to Tent City for a month ... they stay in Tent City for an entire month... basically in the desert in a tent. They can't work, they can't really do anything, but apparently it's an effective way to get people not to drive while intoxicated. We thought that was a brilliant idea and they should implement it across the country. People should have to pay for a plane ticket to the desert in Arizona and lose a month's pay while they stay in Tent City for a month. Maybe then people would learn drunk driving is stupid.

We got outside and hit the road again, this time headed toward the Grand Canyon. I was really tired so I only made it from Phoenix to Flagstaff. Melissa wanted to go to a hotel and even though I really didn't want to spend money on one, I agreed to go look for one. So we went around and the three we tried and all the others around were completely full! We didn't understand what the heck was going on in random-small-town Flagstaff, Arizona. We saw a bunch of RVs and U-Hauls in the Wal-Mart parking lot across from one of the hotels so we slept in the parking lot between an RV and a U-Haul that night.

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Saturday, August 25:

When we woke up, getting a better night’s sleep in the car than in Pasadena on Mark’s fluffy bed pleasantly surprised us. We were afraid to open the door for fear of the Arizona heat... but when we did open the door, it was cool outside and very nice! So we got up stretched and went to a gas station for gas and the bathroom to wash up a little bit.

We got back on the road toward the south rim of the Grand Canyon again and made it there... but it cost 25 dollars to get in! We asked the lady if they had day passes... which they didn't. She was not amused. 25 dollars gave us a 7-day pass, but we were only going to be there for an hour or two. So we went up to the canyon, took tons of pictures... jumping pictures even though Melissa didn't think it was the best idea, I thought it was brilliant. Then we went to ask directions to get to the 4-corners... and we had to go back into the Grand Canyon area so we went back and along the way they were doing controlled burning so we waited... I pee'd in the trees at the Grand Canyon because I had to go and I couldn't wait an hour or more to get out.

We had an escort to take us through the burning area and of course being tourists... we had the windows rolled down and took a bunch of pictures of the fires on either side of the road. Melissa's bag was open... so her clothes and towel smelled wonderfully of campfire icky ness. I was taking pictures while driving, which I'm sure was a super safe, brilliant idea. I seem to be full of them.

We passed the Painted Desert, but none of my pictures could do it justice. I drove around 80mph toward the 4 corners and we got there much later in the afternoon than we had hoped. Around 4pm rather than 2. We paid the 3 dollars to go see the slab and took pictures. I of course jumped and lay down with a limb in each state.

So, now I'd been to Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. We took timer pictures by the signs "Welcome to 4 Corners monument" and "Welcome to Colorful Colorado." Then we bought gas at the first gas station (it turned out to be Ute Mountain) and I asked Melissa to drive because I was getting tired. I had already driven half way down California and all the way up Arizona in the past few days.

We headed up toward Boulder, which is REALLY far from the southwest corner of Colorado. I don't know if I'd attempt that again. I had been drifting off every now and then while we were driving there. The Rockies looked pretty majestic at night. It was really cold when we passed through them. I had to get out my sleeping bag and get inside it because I was freezing. We stopped for gas on the way there in Fairplay, CO and the pump was weird, it wouldn't pump gas into my car, it kept stopping, so we switched pumps and the next one worked fine. I was really tired so I didn't really know what was going on. It's a good thing they do credit card purchases pretty much everywhere and leave their pumps on 24 hours.

We finally got to Iris' at 2AM! Fortunately it was a Saturday night so Iris was still awake. I still think it's weird that Arizona doesn't do daylight savings time because it'd be too much effort... so we lost an hour on our longest day of driving from Flagstaff, AZ to Boulder, CO.

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Sunday, August 26:

We woke up and I had been looking at tickets for the Rockies game the night before, but they have a bunch of 4 dollar seats out in “The Rock Pile” in the outfield, so we figured we could just get a bunch of those.

Iris went to church that morning. So, Melissa and I rode down to the outside mall by the bike path near Boulder Creek. Boulder is SO nice! We went to Central Park in Boulder. The tire on the folding bike I was riding was flat so I didn’t really like riding that much but it was beautiful. All of these in shape Boulder people kept passing me and I felt slow, I wanted to tell them... I have a flat tire! I can actually ride! but they were zooming past us.

Iris came to pick us up and we folded the folding bike and put the other bike on top in the back of her car, the wheel of the bike was in my face in the back seat. We stopped by the mountains and hiked up a little bit, mostly took tons of pictures and then had to run back down and head back so we could go to the Rockies game.

We met up with Pogue at a Noodle place or something in Boulder and then all drove to Denver to leave Laz (my car is named Lazarus) at Tony’s place. We hopped in Pogue’s car and Iris in hers and went to the game. Parking was only 5 dollars and we got our tickets from a scalper for 15 dollars for 4 of them, cheaper than Rock Pile status.

The game was a good one, Rockies vs. Washington Nationals. The Rockies dominated 14 to 5 or something. The view was amazing. I was so excited. You could see the Rockies from the top and they had a purple row of chairs in the 3rd deck that signified the “Mile High” point – the point at which you were exactly one mile above sea level. They’re all about the mile high city in Denver. Everything is “Mile High” this and mile high that.

Iris left early because she had some prior obligations but Ash, Melissa and I stayed until the end and went down to the bottom. We had missed the first inning, but fortunately, none of the good stuff happened until we got there. We saw another home team home run, which was awesome.

After the game we went to see the Denver Nuggets stadium and Denver Broncos. I was going to climb onto one of the horses… but the metal burned my skin when I touched it. I figured that would be a bad idea. We had to run down from a parking lot up the street from the stadium because there was some event going on or something and the parking lot was closed. It was a very nice stadium though.

We went back to Tony’s house and hung out there while we waited for Ashley Larson to get done with work and come into Denver. Then we all headed out to dinner at a Thai restaurant. It turns out that Jeff Garcia had moved to Boulder as well, so he met up with us after we ate dinner and Pogue dropped us off back at Tony’s. She was tired from staying up late to play Apples to Apples until 3 or 4 in the morning. So, Tony, Melissa, Larson, Jeff and I hopped into Tony’s car to get gelato and hang out. It was kind of nice that everyone else drove so we didn’t have to.

At the gelato place, I tried so many combinations before finally making my decision. I can’t remember what I got because I tried so many of them. I was a big fan of the key lime and blueberry though which is was Melissa got. The guy at the gelato place was really nice and gave me a demo of his CD. I was excited.

One of Larson's friends came to hang out with all of us and we walked around downtown Denver and sat and talked. We finally went back to Tony’s and went to sleep after all of that.

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Monday, August 27:

We woke up and after Larson went for a run, she came to pick us up and take us to Red Rock. It was beautiful! The amphitheatre was huge. (She was tempting me to come move to Boulder after I'm done in Virginia, it'd be so amazing to live there. I think I might be able to live there even though there is no ocean.) At Red Rock there were people running the rows and up and down. I really doubt I’d ever want to run at the time they were running, maybe early in the morning or in the afternoon, but not at 12 noon! That’s just ridiculous! We climbed on some of the rocks and took pictures really quickly because you’re not supposed to. Then Larson dropped us back off at Tony’s. We had packed our stuff prior to going to Red Rock so we hopped back in the car got some gas in Denver and set out for Wichita. There were crazy cops that scared me in Colorado, they put their siren on and pulled our right behind me, but ended up pulling over the guy behind me instead. There were tons of semis on the road and they drove fast! Probably about 80-90mph, which seems so dangerous to me.

There was one semi that honked at us when we passed and then kept trying to get in front of us so I ended up speeding away at 95mph because it was a pair of creepy guys in the cab. I think they were just looking out for California girls.

I saw a sign that said “point of interest” so I figured we should go… so we did. We kept going on even though the sign said one mile… but we didn’t really see much interesting. Melissa told me the story about children of the corn, which freaked me out so we locked the doors and rolled the windows up some. We took pictures of the sunflower fields, which could have been a point of interest if they weren’t all saggy from being so heavy with sunflower seeds.

On our way back we saw the sign “point of interest 1 mile” it had been off to the side. So, we decided to go. Turns out it was amazing! The Wonder Tower in Genoa, Colorado is a place to be! The little man was one of the cutest things ever. I love him. It was only 1 dollar to go up to the tower and the 22 rooms of things he had. He had the funniest little jokes like “a stool sample” was a small stool in a film canister. He had the most random things too. People were weird back in the day. There were all kinds of animal penis bones and stuff. If he wasn’t a cute old man I might have thought he was a pervert. He had collected 24 thousand or so arrowheads and made them into really cool pictures. You could see SIX states from the top of the tower: Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. It was pretty awesome. I didn’t know that you could do that anywhere.

We went up to the top of the tower went to all of the rooms and met some very nice people from Alabama who told us a few places we should visit when we went to Tennessee and Alabama. We didn’t think we’d be there long, but we ended up staying almost 2 hours. It was a wonder-filled experience! I recommend it to anyone.

We continued to Kansas and got there and went to a tourist information center. I looked through a brochure and saw big stuff was in Kansas. I saw a mini model of Buffalo Bill and a buffalo and I pointed to it and asked the people at the desk “where are the big ones of those?” Melissa laughed at me and the lady gave us a map and told us where to go. I asked if there was any other big stuff and we were told there was a giant Van Gough painting so we decided to go there too. We went to the giant painting and it was of the sunflowers, of course since Kansas is the sunflower state. Then we went to the Buffalo Bill statue and it was in Oakley where the world’s largest prairie dog resided. I wanted to see the world’s largest prairie dog, but it was almost 7pm! I didn’t want to wake it up, so we got gas and left. I mean, it would probably be sleeping at 7pm right? (Later when we reached Mark's we looked up the world's largest prairie dog, and it turns out it's some big paper mache looking thing and not even real. I was so mad! That's false advertisement... and we could have seen it ... paper mache animals don't sleep!)

We kept on driving toward Wichita and I went to pass a car and they got behind me and flashed their high beams in my window and sped off. How rude can people be in Kansas? Don’t drive slowly if you’re going to be mad when people pass you right?

We got to Mark’s and his roommate is never there so we took over his side of the room. There are TONS of beetles and bugs in Kansas! Gross! I got bitten up and it was not super exciting. My legs were all swollen and red.

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Tuesday, August 28:

We woke up and Mark showed us around campus a little bit. We got free Wichita State shirts… they were ugly and scary. I would never wear it. I should have given it to Laura. Oh well. I took millions of pictures and Mark used his campus dollars to buy us lunch. We stopped by the Indian statue that supposedly is something big in Wichita and took pictures on the bridge. Then we went back to the baseball stadium at WSU and took pictures there under the “passage way.”

We dropped Mark off for a meeting with a dorm person and got gas, came back and picked him up and then I drove to Kansas City, Missouri for the Royals game. They were playing the Detroit Tigers. The tolls were outrageous! I paid 6.50 on the way there and 2.50 on the way back. I was shocked! I mean, really, 9 dollars for tolls? Crazy. We paid 8 dollars for parking too. Luckily when we got there, a man was giving away a free ticket so I took that and went in. Melissa and Mark were waiting for her cousin outside and I went in. They were giving away free shirts. I got a Travis Buck Medium shirt and went down to the 100 sections where the free ticket was. They were okay seats, but I wanted to sit in another spot, so I sat down in section 107 in the first seats in the second partition. I was talking to some guys from there and they said they always sit in different seats at Royals games. There were no scalpers there… because they couldn’t make money off of selling Royals tickets. I thought that was pretty funny.

I ended up sitting by myself for 3 or 4 innings before Melissa, Mark and her cousin Kevin came down. They had been sitting up in the top and couldn’t find each other. The game was a good one. We saw another home team home run and the fountains were pretty sweet in the outfield. The mascot was a lion with a crown built into his head. We got a picture with him and it was hilarious because after Mark took the picture, the lion looked like he was thanking God for getting to have his picture taken with two girls.

After the game we walked across the way to the Kansas City Chiefs stadium. Unfortunately it was really dark so pictures didn’t turn out that well, but oh well. I drove back to Wichita while Mark and Melissa were semi-sleeping because it's not too comfortable to sleep in my car,especially with our tons of stuff in it. It was a long drive, I thought I was going to fall asleep while driving, but luckily we made it and went to bed. There was a big bug on the floor so both Melissa and I slept on Mark’s roommate’s bed. It was smaller than a twin bed but some how we managed.

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Wednesday, August 29:

In the morning we woke up around 7am and packed all of our stuff. We went to eat breakfast with Mark in the dining hall. The food was good and we got to make our own waffles! Yay! I miss that from the dorm days at Lighthouse for breakfast.

I drove down into Oklahoma City so we could see the Oklahoma City Memorial. Then Melissa drove down to Dallas to see the JFK Memorial stuff. A little man gave us a “tour” of the JFK stuff. There was a group of people who made a living that way. It was interesting to learn more about the conspiracy theories behind JFK’s assassination. I tend not to get too caught up in things like that though. I believe that there are conspiracies like that and I am sure that was one. I always think about the fact that people around the world are dying every second… but nobody really remembers them as they go through their daily lives. It’s really sad. I wish I could do something about it, but I digress.

We went from Dallas to Arlington, Texas and followed the signs to the ballpark parking. We saw one that said $15 right next to one that said $12 to park. We asked the girl what the difference between the two parking lots was and she said, “well, ours is two dollars more, but you can park behind the trees over there.” So we said, “uhh right, we'll go there” and went to the next lot. We were wondering if there was closer parking and apparently there was but the guy at the next parking lot was hating women that day and was frustrated with us when we asked about parking. He muttered about how complicated girls were when we were driving off. The next guy we saw when going out of the parking lot was apathetic about life. We drove over to a restaurant parking lot and reorganized all of our stuff. There were some cops in the lot, otherwise we may have considered parking there for the game. They were looking at us and pointing at us as if we were dumb enough to park there and let them ticket or tow us. We drove off and parked in a lot just across the bridge from the ballpark, much closer than the trees and the other lot for $12 as well. The lady directing traffic was really rude and let everyone else go before us even though we got there at the stop sign first. I think she was just angry because she had a mullet. I’d probably be mad at the world if I had a mullet too.

We got out of the car and went over the bridge to the park and bought our tickets, which happened to cost about the same as the parking. We walked around the stadium and eventually up to our seats. They have some pretty sweet baseballs at the top and you can see the Six Flags theme park from the top of the stadium. There was the cutest little usher helping us and walking around at the top. We took a picture with him and moved sections over. I asked a man to take a picture for me and he took a picture of himself. Then he laughed and took a picture of me.

The game was kind of boring so we decided to see if any of the players were cute... one guy came on the screen and Melissa asked me "what do you think of him?" and I said, "he looks really... interesting." Interesting is a good word. I use it under circumstances just like that all the time. I got it from my sister. She used to say that all the time, I don't know if it's the same reason as me, but hey it works right?

We didn’t get a picture with the mascot at the Rangers stadium. However, I am looking forward to going to Chicago. There was a really cute White Sox fan (the Rangers were playing the White Sox) there when we moved down to the second row of thee bleachers because nobody was there. It was kind of pathetic how few people were there.

I was going to go over to talk to the guy and Melissa was kind of shocked and I got nervous. I never really think of it as that big of a deal because it’s just talking to them, it’s not like it’s a big thing just because they’re cute. So I chickened out and didn’t, but man, next year, Chicago here I come.

We were so tired from driving the whole morning and then the game went into the 12th inning and we were just wishing someone would win. I was still hoping the White Sox would win, because I really don’t like other teams in the AL West.

They finally finished and then we set off toward Houston, Texas. We ended up sleeping in another parking lot in Corsicana, Texas. It was a Russell Stover’s Candy parking lot. In the middle of the night we heard the loud engine of a truck roar and park next to us, but there was nobody getting out of the car. We thought it may be security to come tell us to leave, but no one ever came and the parking lot filled up again.

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Thursday, August 30:

We woke up in the morning; it wasn’t as great waking up in sticky Texas as it had been in Arizona. We went to a gas station, filled up the gas, washed up and got back on the freeway. When we were getting on, there was a huge puddle that the cop in front of us slowed down to drive through and then we were back on the big road and on our way to Houston to watch the Astros. Jackie was coming to the game with us, or so we thought, so we got to Houston, paid $15 for parking and $40 for 3 tickets. You can’t bring food into the stadium! Not even water bottles. You can go in and out as long as you scan your ticket in and out, but that’s still pretty ridiculous.

We walked around, took some pictures and sat down in the bottom. We never went to our actual purchased seats here either. I enjoyed sitting in the bottom. It was the Astros verses the Cardinals, which was cool because we would be going up to St. Louis next to watch the Cardinals play the Reds at home.

The Rangers had ruined our streak of home-team homers, but the Astros didn’t disappoint. When the Astros hit a homer at Minute Maid Park, the train in the outfield rolls forward and the lights flash. It was a good game even though Jax didn’t get there until the 8th inning.

We took some pictures at the bottom and then went out to Jackie’s car since it was closer than ours. We took more pictures outside on the big balls outside the stadium. Some guys from Jersey invited us to lunch but we went to Beaumont instead of sticking around in Houston. When we got back to my car I almost had a heart attack. I think my heart skipped a beat because my trunk was open part way. I jumped out of the car freaking out and to my surprise and amazement… nothing was gone. Everything was still in my trunk exactly as I left it and everything in my car. I was shocked. There were so many people passing by and we were gone a really long time in a big city. God was really watching out for me on this trip. Lazarus must be a transformer.

It took about an hour and a half to get to Beaumont from the stadium and then we chilled in Jax’s hotel room until Pat arrived and we went to dinner at an amazing seafood restaurant. My salmon was amazing. Jax paid for our dinner, which was really sweet of her. She's flippin' awesome. We went out to a bar in Texas where old people play pool and dance. It was pretty hick, something out of an old movie perhaps. I guess it is real when they show those scenes. We were playing pool and a guy who was 36 or something put his quarter down and played with us. I was told in Texas that pool was like sex. It was pretty hilarious. I was kind of shocked that he was telling me all this stuff about how I needed to “feel it” and “go with it” and all that… but I guess it’s Texas; they are definitely a different breed out there.

I did clear half of our balls in one turn, which was pretty good. The guy was just giving us a chance before the end. It turns out he was actually an amateur pool player and he used to weigh 280 pounds 6 months earlier… but he lost all the weight at his new job and was down to 180 or something like that. I don’t know why he was telling us his whole life story but it was pretty interesting.

We danced a little bit and then went back to Jax’s and slept. Jax and Melissa shared a queen-sized bed and I slept on the other one. My awesome mosquito bites keep me moving at night. I think they were getting bigger at this point.

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Friday, August 31:

Jax went to work so when we woke up, it was just us. We packed all of our stuff and set out for Melissa’s uncle’s place near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Pat had warned us about the bugs… they were TERRIBLE! I could barely see out of the windshield because I had killed so many “love bugs” on the way to the tourist information stop. We saw a sign that said no swimming because there were crocodiles… no joke, they really have big crocodiles apparently.

Then we stopped at a gas station and cleaned the windshield and got gas. On the way to her uncles… it was a huge down pour of rain on us and I couldn’t really see out of the front … even though all the bugs had been cleaned off. Once we got there, the weather lightened up a little and her Uncle Fred and his wife Gloria took us to an all you can eat restaurant for dinner. It was good, kind of like Hometown Buffet. I had 3 plates and a bunch of dessert. Everyone else ate much less than me, but that's normal.

Afterwards we went back and Melissa and Uncle Fred went to go talk to one of his neighbors while Gloria and I put witch hazel and anti itch stuff on all of my numerous gianormous bug bites from Kansas. (Did I mention that I hate Kansas?) We got back on the road and stopped at the capital. It was pretty sweet. The names of every state and when they became a part of the United States were on the steps of up to the doors. Afterward, we headed toward Jackson, Mississippi to our first couch surfing experience.

We visited the Mississippi tourist welcome center, but it was really dark by the time we got there so we couldn’t take good pictures. We kept on going and arrived there around 9:30pm. Rob was our host and he took us to a neighbor’s house where they had wine and good conversation. It was fun to meet Rob’s friends. We went to Bill and Liz’s house and two others were there: Elizabeth and her husband, but sadly I forget his name and it's only been 3 weeks.

Then we went back to Rob’s house to go to sleep. We each got our own room and a bathroom for just the two of us to share. It was amazing. We decided we loved couchsurfing.

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Saturday, September 1:

We got up and Rob was out running. We had Kashi cereal, which we bought from Costco in California and I ate that with orange juice because I forgot to tell Rob I was lactose intolerant. It wasn't that great, orange juice is not meant to be eaten with cereal. Rob did his masters of divinity at Duke so he was a big Duke fan, he had a banner in the bathroom and a mug and all sorts of random Duke stuff.

Rob took us out to the capital building of Mississippi. I saw this big old bell… of course I decided to ring it and it was LOUD! I was a little scared. I tried to quiet it down, but it wouldn’t and I guess it didn’t matter because I didn’t get in trouble or anything. The people who were there were taking pictures as well I think they thought it was funny because they were laughing.

I jumped around and did the usual climbing. I think Rob thought I was weird. We went over to the park and walked a little bit down the Jackson historical walk. It was very interesting. Mississippi was the 2nd state to secede from the union and the eagle on top was facing away from Washington, D.C. in blatant defiance. They also changed their state flag to have the confederate flag in the corner. It was interesting to get the history behind the capital, I’m glad Rob took us. He also took us to Mill Saps where Bill was a professor and showed us his church because he is a Methodist pastor in Jackson.

We said our farewells and headed out to Graceland. We got up there and paid 6 dollars to park and then the tours of Elvis’ house were $25 a head! So, we made up our own tour of the gift shops from all of the different parts of the tourist attractions. We were taking pictures and being dorks in the shops… until we found out we were supposed to take pictures. Then we were stealthier about it. Ha ha. It was pretty funny. I did tons of jumping around outside of Elvis’ museums. We went over to Heartbreak hotel of course. Since we weren’t paying for anything we figured we would walk in like we owned the place to see the heart shaped pool. We took pictures outside and were trying to get an ariel shot when we came across the “Burnin’ Love Suite” which we thought was hilarious.

We went back to the car quite pleased with our Graceland tour and massive amount of pictures. Then we left Tennessee, took pictures in the corner of Arkansas and headed back to Missouri. We didn’t have a place to stay in St. Louis so I was texting people and calling them to see if they knew anyone there. It turns out that one of Kevin #1's friends since elementary school was going to school in a little town north of St. Louis. So, we went out there, got a little confused, but not too bad and almost squished because the lane ended suddenly and Melissa got confused. We decided big cities were not for us.

We got to Liz’ school and went back to her place to drop off our stuff and then went out for a little bit to a wine bar. I was shocked people could smoke indoors in public places and got light headed and felt sick. I think my asthma was kicking in. I had to get up and leave and sit outside on a bench down the street to try to clear my head but it wasn’t working so well. The moon was really cool that night though so I spent a while looking at that and trying to get a picture before Melissa and Liz came back outside to head back to Liz’ place.

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Sunday, September 2:

We got up, packed up all our stuff and went back to her school. We took pictures at Hogwarts (one of the buildings on her campus looked like Harry Potter’s school) and then Melissa and I said farewell and headed toward the subway. When we got there, I realized I had forgotten my A’s hat. I didn’t plan on coming back to Busch Stadium anytime soon so I ran back to the car about half mile and back to the subway station with 30 seconds to spare. I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever run in flip-flops. I didn’t think I would make it, but fortunately I did.

We took the subway over to the stadium to buy our tickets, only standing room was left. Those were 13-dollars a pop and then we went to go to the Arch. We were planning on going up. We got there and I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous signs. They said things like “Arch this way. Ooh, ahh, gee!” We got to the booth and I was going to buy a ticket to go up but the wait was 5 hours already and we had a baseball game to go to! It was $10 to go up anyway and we just walked over took a bunch of pictures from the outside and then went back to the stadium because I saw that they had free ice cream of some sort on Sunday.

We went in and got free popsicles and signed up for free stuff (I got a blanket, Melissa got a shirt) at a booth and I did a little “tango” dancing with the people there in the kids zone. It was fun. We got a picture with Fred Bird, the Cardinals mascot and I got a picture with the penguin from the popsicle brand too! I was stoaked, he had a Christmas/where’s Waldo hat on kind of like Poof, but not really.

We were in the standing room section and I totally fell asleep in the box behind the yellow line while waiting for the game to start. I was so disappointed that there was no batting practice, but at least there was a good reason. There was a walk for kids to walk around the field who had muscle dystrophy I believe. So that was cool.

The sun was getting hot and large people were sitting in front of me so I was sad, but there was a cute lemonade guy who kept passing us at least. He had the greatest eyes. A man was walking past us asking if we wanted a pair of tickets in the shade. It was like Jesus coming to us and giving us shade. It was awesome. They were $33 seats behind home plate. So we went up and sat there. It was nice and cool up in the shade and we had chairs. Not to disappoint, Ankiel hit a home run for the Cardinals so we had another home team home run. I was stoaked. The only team that had let us down so far was the Rangers.

We left after the game on the metro and went back to the car, I was hoping I didn’t get a ticket, so thankfully we didn’t since it was Sunday. We set out for Nashville, Tennessee. We drove into Illinois because that’s the way the road went. We stopped in Metropolis and took pictures with the giant superman statue. It was pretty exciting. Then we went through Kentucky and took pictures at the tourist information center.

We finally got to Tennessee but had no place to stay so we passed through Nashville and stopped some where on the way to Alabama and slept in a S’honeys parking lot. Apparently it’s not S-Honeys like I thought it was. It is Shoneys. I don’t know what that means, but oh well.

We thought it would be better than sleeping in the Best Western parking lot because there were less lights and less people walking around. Luckily we were still safe, thanks to the big G-O-D I say.

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Monday, September 3:

So, we woke up, re-organized, went to a gas station near by to fill up (we were in Franklin, TN) and cleaned up. We hit the road and headed to Alabama. We got there and the welcome center had a huge rocket, big stuff! We were pretty stoaked. We took pictures and went down to Birmingham, Alabama but decided not to stop. We were on our way to our second couch surfing adventure. The guy who we were going to stay with was a Cal Poly graduate two years older than us. It was a pretty exciting, rare find. We stopped in Talladega, Alabama by the racetrack and got ice cream. We had to get ice cream earlier in Mississippi and Texas for breakfast because it was good. In Mississippi they have drive-thru Baskin Robbins, but that was no good for me because their chocolate blasts have coffee in them, so I had to turn around and go back in to get a chocolate shake. Melissa drank the blast because she likes coffee but I almost puked when I tried it.

After stopping, we continued to Atlanta and for some reason Melissa was driving into another big city. I need to not get tired by the time we go into a big city, my bad! I probably wouldn't do much better. We don't like big cities. I think I mentioned that earlier. There is way too much traffic and craziness going on (well, if you have to drive, they all need really good public transportation like New York). We got to AK’s place and just hung out and rested for awhile. It was nice to just breathe and not be driving.

We discussed ways to get to the game, public transportation and all that and went to sleep.

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Tuesday, September 4:

The only plan we had for the day was to go to the game. We got up, went out to the car and noticed that there was a tow away time between 5-9pm. We thought that was ridiculous and decided to just drive to the game instead of taking public transportation. I got a little confused on the way there but we found it and got parking for $10 and our tickets for $4 each. We were there 3 and a half hours before game time. The gates wouldn’t open for another hour so we took tons of pictures with all the retired numbers and statues in front of Turner Field on 755 Hank Aaron drive.

It was great, there was live music being played while we waited for the gates to open and we were some of the first people inside. We got a picture with the mascot “Homer” and he played a huge drum. We made signs because they had big signs and markers for fans to make. I wrote “California to Atlanta – Go Braves!” with a tomahawk on it. And another one saying, “we live for baseball!” with a tomahawk on it. We got on the biggest jumbo-tron I had ever seen in my life with our awesome signs. It was pretty much amazing.

We finally made it to batting practice! Of course we were there hours early, but it was great. We got to see the Braves at batting practice too. Yates, #33, threw me a ball and I was so excited! It was my first MLB ball I had caught myself and it took me from California to Atlanta to get it. I brought my glove across the country and with me to almost every ballpark and I finally got a batting practice ball in Atlanta, Georgia from the Braves. We were there so early that we got to see the Phillies do batting practice as well. I got another ball for Melissa and we were happy campers. The guys were jerks though, they were making fun of the guy who threw me the ball because I was an Asian girl and he was Asian. People are so dumb, I was really mad.

The game was good and I spoke with a guy whom I thought was cute from a distance, but when I talked to him, he was just all right. He was from Dallas, Georgia and was in the military stationed in Fort Worth, Texas. He was at the game with his dad which was cute. His last name was Kensly (spelling is questionable), which was a tip off that he was in the military (he introduced himself by his last name) when he asked for my name. I felt better after just talking to him because I had wussed out in Texas and didn’t talk to the Chicago guy.

The game was okay, Chipper Jones did hit a home run, so we did have a home team home run, but the Phillies won, which was disappointing.

Afterwards, I realized I didn’t have my keys even though I looked through everything and I freaked out. We went down to the lost and found and they weren’t there either. So, we went out to the car and when we got there I was again… shocked. In Atlanta, Georgia of all places, my car keys were sitting on the hood of my car. No one had opened my car or taken anything. I thanked God a hundred times over for watching out for us. It was literally amazing.

We went back to AK’s and watched Happy Feet. Then we went to bed.

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Wednesday, September 5:

We woke up and packed our stuff and rolled out. We had to get to South Carolina and then up to North Carolina in the same day. We were planning on going to Myrtle Beach because it’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. So, we drove out and went to Columbia, South Carolina. We went to visit the capital building and it was pretty sweet. There were 6 stars on the south side of the building where cannon balls had hit the building during the Civil War. I find stuff like that so interesting! I need to e-mail Uncle Bob and Auntie Brenda.

After we looked around the capital (luckily the spot I found to park in had a half hour on the meter so we didn’t have to pay), we set out for Myrtle Beach. It was hard to figure out where to stop for beach access, but eventually we did and it was worth it. It was so cool to see the sun not set over the ocean. That’s the way I’ve seen it my whole life and it seemed so backwards. It was beautiful, just like everyone had said and the Atlantic Ocean has warm water. The sand was so nice and smooth. I took a bunch of jumping pictures and timer pictures. It was great.

Then we set out for UNC where Laura goes to school. We took all these small roads to get there, it was a little confusing but we finally made it to the big highway and felt safe again. We got there and didn’t really know what to do about parking so we ended up moving the car at 1 or 2am, I can’t remember but I know I was really tired from driving from Atlanta up to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It was 6 dollars to park for the day, so since it was already the next day it worked out well. We got back to the dorm and slept on an air mattress in Laura’s dorm on the floor.

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Thursday, September 6:

We woke up and Laura had to go to class, so we took the Duke-UNC bus out to Duke and had our own mini tour of Duke. It was pretty fun sitting on the bench. I was narrating for the people as they passed by. The homies who stopped in the middle of the field really wanted tater tots, I know it. We walked around and took more pictures before remembering the botanical gardens. We were almost there… when I fell into a hole. Not just a hole in the ground, but one of those holes that is covered by a concrete cover, like an electrical hole or a water hole that is covered. Usually people don’t fall in those! I guess I’m special, because both my legs fell in! I was scraped up to my knees on both legs and the skin on my right big toe was ripped off. It’s a good thing I was ninja turtle toeing it that day because it may have been worse than just the top few layers of toe skin being ripped off.

We walked around the botanical gardens and my toe was really hurting the whole time! We went back to the bus so we could get back to UNC and meet Laura for lunch. We were going to get free shirts but unfortunately didn’t sign up the first time during the rush of lunch. I was very disappointed. We did get free food in the awesome cafeteria because Laura used her meal plan to swipe us in. She wasn’t happy about the Duke bookstore picture, but we did go to the UNC bookstore and take pictures in UNC stuff too! I ate a lot in the cafeteria there. I even took three bananas to eat later. It reminded me of the Lighthouse too, but better. They had really good pineapple smoothies.

We then went to the bookstore and were looking for a sweatshirt for Melissa’s brother and were walking around to the store on the street that had UNC stuff for sale, they didn’t have it so we walked back to the bookstore and then waited for Laura to finish class. We walked over to the baseball and football fields and got to the amazingly huge UNC basketball stadium. Michael Jordan played college ball inside! Luckily a custodian was walking by and let us look inside, we were so lucky, God was so good to us on this trip!

It was HUGE! I was so impressed and jealous all at the same time. I wish I went to a big sports school. Maybe for my masters I will and I will get all into the sports teams. At Poly I went to a few games, mostly baseball but that was only because there was no pro-team to go to.

We walked back to the dorm and then packed up our stuff, put it in the car and headed toward our final destination. Virginia here we come!

We arrived in Virginia quickly and took pictures at the sign at the welcome center but headed onward instead of going inside the center. I figured I would be living here so I wouldn’t really be a tourist after awhile. When we saw Petersburg, we stopped at Virginia State University where I would be going and took some jumping pictures there. I should probably rep my school, but I am way to lazy to go to the bookstore after class. I always get tired by the time class is over.

Then we headed on toward Midlothian where I would be living for the next 8 months. I wasn’t sure what to expect. One of Laura’s friends was from Virginia (Mike) and he was familiar with Midlothian and he had never heard of Port Ridge Terrace… so I emailed Kelly again to make sure that I had the address correct. Luckily I found out I didn’t and it was actually Court Ridge Terrace. So, I wrote down the directions and we got there and had dinner – chicken, green beans and bread. It was good. I was excited. I love food.

I organized all my stuff that we had just taken out of the car and piled in the room. I hate being disorganized, so it was god to get that out of the way. Melissa slept on a cot in my room and I slept on the bed that one of the families in the church had provided.

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Friday, September 7:

We woke up late and had decided to head out to Baltimore to watch an Orioles game. We didn’t even know who they were playing. It took a good 3 and a half hours to get there because of all the D.C. traffic. We parked in a far lot for $8 but it was neat to see where the Baltimore Ravens play too. I saw more Red Sox gear than Orioles and it turned out that the Orioles were playing the Red Sox, which I was super excited about. We had made it to Camden Yards, Babe Ruth’s dream.

We had to wait for the ticket office to open, but we were there early too. It didn’t open until an hour and a half before the game, but they still had student tickets left. So, we got the student discount tickets for 6-bucks each and went in. They have a side street attached to the park and you have to have your ticket before you can go into the side street. They have all kinds of stuff there. We got more free stuff. I am not signing up for credit cards before, but I got a Braves, Orioles, and Cardinals blanket before I found out signing up for credit cards ruins your credit. Good thing I didn’t sign up for the Texas Rangers one! I don’t even like them! That was a pretty funny moment too. The guy was probably shocked I was so honest. I guess a lot of people are, but I can’t help it, honesty is something built into me! (I said something along the lines of, "actually, can I get my paper back, I don't even like the Rangers, I would never wear the shirt anyway and I really don't like those weird backpacks." I didn't say it to be funny, but looking back, it's pretty dang funny. He gave me my paper back.)


We walked around the park and I was hoping to get a ball but I was carrying so much stuff. At least we got to see the Red Sox batting practice. It was pretty awesome, they hit so many homers. We got a picture with the Oriole’s mascot, we didn’t even know it’s name, but oh well! Then we went up to our seats.

Once there I scanned the crowd and there were no guys I found attractive which was disappointing. Some people sat behind us, and I guess the people were with a girl who was a self proclaimed “baseball expert” and they were from another country and needed to have everything be explained to them. They didn’t even come until the 2nd inning, who does that? Melissa had to go to the bathroom and the girl was explaining and I quietly packed all of my stuff away and impatiently waited for Melissa to return so we could leave!

Once she got back we moved to the next section and sat in front of some kids who looked like they were in high school. We settled into our seats and to my utter dismay, they were super dramatic and bragging about their party experience. Wow, as cool as they were, we decided to move again to the section no one was in. We sat by ourselves in peace in the empty section for 5 innings. It was glorious. There was a fight on the field because the pitcher almost hit the batter. I was so excited I don’t even remember who the batter was anymore. I was yelling “fight, fight, fight, fight!” Both benches cleared and both dugouts! It was awesome! The people in the dugouts had to run across the whole field because they were in the outfield and I was laughing so hard. I got a video of these little ant guys running across the field.

We took more pictures and the game was pretty good. It was weird because the fans were yelling “Yankees suck!” even though there were no Yankees to be seen. I don’t like when people do that. It’s strange. If they are there, okay whatever, but if they aren’t even there, what the heck are you doing. There were more Red Sox fans there than Orioles fans.

I think I got a bigger kick out of the players fighting and pushing each other around because I’m from Oakland, but also because before the game started there was a thing on the jumbo-tron thanking Oriole’s fans for being the most well mannered or something. It made it that much funnier to me when the players were about to duke it out.

The Red Sox won and there was no home team home run, so that was sad. We walked out and I wanted to get a picture with the statue of Babe Ruth. So we went that way and took more pictures and walked back to the car.

When we got back to the car we sat in traffic behind a car that had a UCLA sticker on it. I was really tempted to hop out of the car and ask where they were from. We got back on 95 South and headed back to Richmond. We were really hungry and Melissa’s plane didn’t leave until 6AM so we went to an IHOP and had some food there. I got a funnel cake special. It was funnel cake with strawberries, hash browns, and scrambled eggs. I think there was milk in the eggs because my stomach was hurting really bad and I had some awesome diarrhea that I had to stop at a gas station to relieve myself of.

After stopping to use the restroom, we continued to the Richmond Airport, which isn’t really much of an International Airport once you’ve been to big ones like SFO and LAX. I dropped her off by Delta, which would take her back to Oakland so she could watch the Giants play the Dodgers.

I drove back to Midlothian even though I was really, really tired from the past two weeks and it was already 3:30am when I dropped her off. I got back to the house and was so relieved to just sleep… but the door was locked. Kelly had given me the key to unlock the bottom, but not the dead bolt on top. So I just went back and put down my back seats since I had no more stuff in my trunk and fell asleep in it like the old days. I was so beat it didn’t even make a difference if I was in my bed or not. I used the free blanket from the Orioles game for a pillow and I keep a blanket I got free from Citi bank in my trunk so I was good to go. Around 6:30 Kelly knocked on my window and let me in the house apologizing profusely, but I really didn’t mind. I went up stairs to my room and was sad, but a little relieved I didn’t have to drive anymore for a while.

My road trip had finally come to an end, but my adventures were just beginning.