Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Great East Coast Tour

Shalom, y'all!

So it's been awhile... let me update you on my goings ons from the past couple weeks.

The theme of this post: how UNC basketball gets you so high and then kicks you in the gut, taking years off your life in the process

First of all, I'm in the middle of the second week of my two week-long Spring Break. I know- crazy. When am I actually in school? Between our week long Reading Week, some added snow days and two weeks off for Spring Break, it might seem a little ridiculous, but trust me--we're still cramming the work in, it's just getting piled into less days...

I started off Spring Break Friday before last singing in chapel. We have Eucharist every Friday morning, and typically a student group organizes the service, this time it was YBS (Yale Black Seminaries). My friend Leonard decided to organize some praise singing, and with my camp background I was more than happy to participate. It was a lot of fun, and the guest preacher that day happened to be one of my former Teaching Fellows from Dean Townes' class, Rev. Dr. Jennifer Leath. She was fantastic. Afterwards I quickly ran home, Elise and I rapid-fire cleaned the house, I ran a quick errand, and then we hit the road to D.C. Elise was going to see her bestest bestie Jackie, who lives in D.C. but goes to grad school at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. They met their first year at Georgetown as roommates and lived together their entire undergraduate experience. Elise and I came out unbelievably lucky, sailing through the Bronx, across the George Washington Bridge, and down the New Jersey turnpike in record time with next to no traffic. We even stopped at a WaWa for a late lunch.... for those of you who don't know what a WaWa is, it's like a Lenny's meets a 7/11.... except better. And with hot, delicious cookies. It's one of those things that the northeast just does better... *GASP*...

Anyway, got Elise dropped off at a friend's house, and I braved some traffic over to Chrissie's, with whom I was spending the weekend. Chrissie is a sorority friend from UNC who now works for Bank of America in DC and lives in Roslyn, right next to the Arlington National Cemetery. She had a DELICIOUS veggie pie in the oven, so we spent the evening eating her home cookin, drinking a bottle of wine, and catching up.

Saturday, I got up on the earlier side and went for a run. I ran past Iwo Jima and the cemetery, then down along the Potomac. It was great--I could see such sights as the Washington Monument and the weather was crisp enough and shady that it made for a delightful excursion. Came back and Chrissie made us some coffee, cheese grits, and croissants for breakfast. We took our sweet time eating (... and chatting...) and finally around noon were cleaned up and headed out to the Smithsonian Museum. I happen to love American history, so we spent a little bit of time in the National American History Museum. I saw the original star-spangled banner, went to see Julie Childs' kitchen in order to make mom jealous, and visited the original Woolworth's counter from the Greensboro sit-ins. I'd written a paper in college about the racial stratification of Greensboro for an AfAm class that I took right around when then opened the Civil Rights' Museum in G-boro, so I found the last exhibit particularly interesting. It was warming up and by the time we finished exploring (and, let's face it, people-watching), we decided we were museum-ed out, and went to Dupont Circle where we found a Starbucks with a latte and blueberry muffin with my name on it. We met up with some of her UNC in D.C. friends (there's this whole crazy network of them) who were doing a St. Patty's Day pub crawl... I know, St. Patty's day is tomorrow, and this was a week and a half ago. Apparently, everyone REALLY likes being Irish... so we crawled a couple pubs with her capital friends, then ended up at this bar called Public where literally a hundred+ UNC fans gather to watch games. Now, in case you'd forgotten, this was the fateful day of the SECOND re-match against Duke. I hate Duke with a fiery passion that burns within the very environs of my soul, and I wanted this one, and knew we were capable of clenching it.

Roy's boys didn't disappoint.

I won't comment on the ebullience and sheer euphoria of being in a bar with a crowd that had swollen to two-hundred fabulous blue-clad creatures. I think your imagination will paint a picture closer to the truth than my words can ever describe. It was epic.

The next day, Chrissie and I were lazy getting ourselves together, chatting ONCE again and drinking coffee. Chrissie made muffins and I probably ate four of them, along with a thing of my beloved greek yogurt. I cleaned up, and after a sad goodbye, was on my way further south. I hit some gross, rainy weather, ate more WaWa, eventually getting to Durham.

Backstory: one of my closest friends from back home in Tennessee is Sean. He grew up in Memphis and went to camp with Elise and me. He graduated last December from the University of Tennessee with a degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. He took a job in Durham about a month ago as an assistant manager of a hotel, and he knows absolutely no one. So I went to his new place in Durham, picked him up, and we went and met Kassi, another sorority friends, for pizza at this place called Brixx. We checked out this couple brewery in Durham before dropping Sean off, went and met up with a couple of Kassi's work friends who were playing pool (Kassi is a manager at this restaurant in Chapel Hill named Spanky's were we spent a lot of time in college- I have a t-shirt and glass with the Spanky's logo to prove it), and ended up at some Sunday night dance party. Exhausted, we got a good nights' sleep, and spent a lot of the next day running errands. Kassi, Sean and I had lunch at this new Italian place with Lo. Lo also graduated in May with Kassi and me and now teaches at a public school in Durham. After dinner we went bowling. Let me tell you, you see some interesting folk bowling, no matter where you are. It is a veritable visual cacophony. On top of that, I was bowling pretty average--a 95, a 105, 103... and then I bowled a 149. Sean, on the other hand, bowled a 44. He apparently decided to show Durham what terrible really looks like.

I'm not entirely sure what Kassi and I did with the next day (I know I got my car serviced at Lloyd's and spent some quality time at my old study spot called Foster's.... studying; we also worked out at her sweet gym), but we went to Lo's to watch Glee that night. She also made us tacos-delicious, and vegetarian friendly.

At this time, I would like to share a couple of anecdotes from the conversation:
Our group of church friends from college (which includes Lo and Chrissie) email each other every Tuesday with an update. I'd written this particular Tuesday about going bowling Monday night and what a wonderful time I'd had, and somehow at the end of it, wrote, "Allah Akbar," which, in Arabic means, "God is great." However, Lo is skimming the highs while we're watching Glee and suddenly looks up from her iPhone emailing and goes, "Allah Akbar? I don't remember him being there!" Funny, Lo. That's what you get for having an iPhone.

Also, this happened:
(Pursuant of a conversation in which we attempted to understand Michael Jordan's psychology)
Lo: I guess I understand that... I mean, what do you do if you're Michael Jordan?
Kassi: You Space... Jam.
Me: I totally thought you were just going to stop at space. I mean, yea, if you're Michael Jordan you conquer space--the final frontier.
Kassi: With Bugs Bunny.

That night, I gave up Facebook for Lent. It's amazing how much more productive and focused I am.

I had breakfast the next day at The Weathervane with Tammy, my chaplain from college. I hadn't seen her since last May, so it was great to catch up. True to form, we breakfasted for over two-and-a-half hours. I usually sample their pancakes of the day (one particularly memorable meal I had blueberry and mango pancakes--absolutely fantastic) but this time around I went for the french toast. It did not disappoint. I swung by Spanky's and said bye, then went to Ash Wednesday service at the Chapel of the Cross (one of my two favorite worship spaces in the continental United States) then hit the road to Charlotte.

I arrived at Elizabeth's house in good time. I'm using her name now, because from here on out I will refer to her as I actually call her: E Pfeif. It's a construction of her first and last name, and rather than write her full name here in this blog, I'll leave it at that. Tedder drove down from Winston-Salem as soon as she got off work at the hospital where she's a nurse, and came down to join us for my visit Wednesday night and all day Thursday. We immediately fall back into our usual routine of talking about.... God only knows what. Random stuff.

Another backstory: Spring Break of junior year, Tedder, E Pfeif, Alden, Patrick and I hung out the first weekend of Spring Break in Chapel Hill to go to the Duke/UNC game, then headed to Tedder's grandparents' beach house in Myrtle Beach for the week. We slept, cooked, and watched basketball alllllll week long. The ACC tournament, the Big East tournament, the Pac-10... and on it went. Thus, it seemed only all too appropriate to spend my time in Charlotte watching the first round of the tournament. We didn't actually watch the Tar Heels--just everybody else. We made time to shop at Home Goods for Tedder's new condo and we also went out to see E Pfeif's church and office. E Pfeif moved back home a couple months ago to take a job as a youth minister at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church. So for the time being, she lives with her parents. We call them "the roommates." E Pfeif's roommates are awesooooooommmeeee.... they made us dinner both nights and were incredibly gracious. The roommates really know how to cook. Big shout out to them for being the picture of hospitality and for making me feel so welcome! Thank you thank you thank you!

We also had a visitor the two nights I was in Charlotte--my sorority friend Victoria. She teaches ESL in Gaston Co., is working on her master's degree, and also works Sunday at Crate and Barrel. However, because I was in town, she cleared both her Wednesday and Thursday night to hang out with me. It was awesome, and Vivi, I just want you to know how much I appreciate it and loved getting to see your face.

After an early morning goodbye, I hit the road to Nashville, and once again made great time. I had an appointment to get my hair did that afternoon with Miss Trisha, who has done my hair my entire life. We had a great catch time catching up, then I went home to hang out with the parentals.

This is getting long, so I'm going to hit the highlights of Nashville:
- manicures and pedicures with Mama on Saturday
- Nashville Woman's Club Fashion Show at the Hillwood Country Club and seeing Aunt Sissy as a model
- church at St. George's on Sunday and going to dad's Sunday School class
- work, work, work, work, work
- watching Lost with Mama (I got her into the show, and she's slowly working her way along)
- eating good food cooked by dad
- sleeping with Shelby in my bed every night
- skyping with my sister
- running
- sleeping
- honky tonkin with Christy in downtown Nashville (although unwanted male attention that refuses to be deterred is NOT fun)

Things that were not awesome: the ACC Championship game. The entire NCAA configuration. Seriously? You wanna put us in there with Kentucky, Syracuse AND Ohio State?! Oie. I had to take a nap after the championship game just to feel better.

And now we get to today. After saying my goodbyes, I hit the road for Greensboro. Got stuck in some traffic, but made it to Tedder's condo safe and sound. Catherine, Chrissie's sister who lives in Winston-Salem, came over for dinner, and we had a great time catching up. Tomorrow, I'm headed back to Chapel Hill to see Laurie, my favorite professor from undergrad, and some seniors who were on Spring Break when I was there last week. And then Friday it's back to New Haven.

I have seen so, so many wonderful people this break that I feel uncommonly lucky. Thank you to everyone for your hospitality, love, re-arrangement of schedules, and entertaining me on this trip. It's been awesome.

On a final note, I just watched my first episode of Modern Family. It was epic.

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