Monday, September 21, 2009

southernisms 101 -- aka "hymns and sweet tea"

You know you're in the south when you have to differentiate your choice of teas. You can't just say "tea" in a restaurant (or even a fast food joint). You have to say sun tea, hot tea, or sweet tea. It's just one of those things one forgets about when coming from the west.

Another is the fact that when you ask someone how they are, they actually TELL you. At Waffle House, we heard all about the server's long day and her other job. At Cracker Barrel, we heard all about a vacation one of the ladies went on. Even at Walmart, you get the full story and not the western "good, how are you?" that comes so naturally. I LOVE it! It just makes your day wonderful, getting to know people you've never met and share in their lives, even if it's only for thirty seconds.

The last is the music. I was listening to the radio, and they bleep out the funniest words. In Sacramento, the radio stations hardly ever bleep out a word, but here, they can't even say the word "drugs" without getting censored. And they listen to gospel music everywhere! I went to lunch at a Chinese buffet with one of my new coworkers and they were playing worship music! I don't think I've ever heard blatantly religious music in a public place before, other than a religious family-based establishment or religious store of some sort.

Welcome to the south!

searched and sworn in

Today was interesting, to say the least. I really can't wait until we get settled and don't have to be running every second of the day!

I'm still in the process of getting my military ID, so every time I go on base, I have to be searched and allow for the car to be searched. It takes a bit of time, but it's not a big deal. BUT, our registration tags hadn't arrived by the time we had to move, so it looks as if the registration has expired, so each time I try to get on base, they call the MP's (Military Police) on me and I have to go through background checks and they double search the car. It's crazy! I'm sure it's something I'll look back on with amusement, but it's really time consuming now.

On a good note, though, I found a house I LOOOOOVE! It's got a huge backyard for Seamus, a modern kitchen, and an awesome, very southern, front porch! I'm hoping we qualify for it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

day 4 (and 5)??

It's been a long couple of days.

Yesterday, we went to see the St. Louis Arch and then left Missouri, excited at the prospect of coming back someday and exploring St. Louis quite a bit more than we were able to on this trip. We drove through Indiana and Illinois, and then stopped in Louisville, KY if you didn't know...some lunch at Spaghetti Factory. It was by far the biggest (and probably nicest) OSF I've ever been to, though the food wasn't nearly as good and we're used to. It was amusing, though, so have the option of iced tea or sweet tea to go with our meal.

We left Louisville and traveled through West Virgina, which took FOREVER; Virginia, which was full of fog and rain; and finally entered North Carolina at around 2 am. We drove down to Spring Lake, which is right outside the base, and crashed at an icky, smoky hotel. Don't stay in Spring Lake if ever you come through here! (Well...if you do come you should stay with us anyway, but you get the picture.)

So after two hours of sleep, we got up this morning and met with a realtor. We were able to look at a few houses and neighborhoods and have pretty much decided on Sanford as our town of choice. Then we recouped at Waffle House (which, I have to say, is just as yummy as I remember it being years and years ago! It was the only thing I really missed about leaving the south as a kid...and Ben loved it too, so I'm pretty sure we'll make it a weekly weekend-breakfast habit) and then it was off to the airport so Ben could fly home in order to finish his last two weeks of work and packing up of the house.

I was able to check in at the base lodge at Fort Bragg (MUCH better than the lame hotel from last night) and am about to eat dinner and then crash for the night.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

Pictures from the trip, and from around NC, will be coming shortly!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

day 3

First, let me tell you that google maps is not accurate when you're planning for long road trips, and it will ALWAYS take you longer than the amount of time it tells you it will.

We saw some interesting things along the road on Day 3.

In Colorado, we saw a man spray painting the grass along the highway to make it look green. In Kansas, we saw Truckhenge, a garden of trucks (and boats as well) in a dry creek bed. It was awesome, and pics will be coming soon! In Missouri, we saw the converging of about 10 highways and freeways all smack dab in the middle of downtown. (The city all lit up was beautiful.)

We tried to go by the Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington, Colorado, but apparently a bunch of the roads were closed off and it just would have taken too long.

We finally stopped at Andrea's around 1 am (we crossed through another time zone) and got to catch up with her a bit before catching up on some much-needed sleep.

Today is the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Spaghetti Factory in Louisville, crossing through 7 states, and finally, our arrival into North Carolina!

Friday, September 18, 2009

day 2

Day 2 was a long one.

We started from Elko in the morning, excited for the drive ahead. It's funny, because the landscape along the drive was actually pretty nice. Nice, of course, for the Nevada desert, but still, not nearly as bad as we were expecting.

Then, we crossed the border. It was just funny that, as we were starting to really enjoy looking out the windows, Utah came along and ruined it. We crossed the border, and all we could see were miles and miles of salt flats. There was even a rest stop a mile in with an overlook so one could view all the ugly salt flats. It seems amusing that they build an observation tower for that, but none for Pacific Coast Highway or even 80 across Donner Pass, both beautiful roads. But I digress.

From Elko, we continued onto Salt Lake City, where we stopped for lunch at Spaghetti Factory. (Some of you know the story behind the restaurant..for you others, I'll put that in another blog. No time here!)

After Salt Lake, and even a bit before it, was a much prettier drive than the first part. We passed through some gorgeous mountain areas, hit some rain and fog, and got some awesome pictures of it all! I still don't have a card reader, though, so the pics will have to wait.

We reached Denver around 2 am and crashed. Again, we took a while and found a cheap motel that ended up being pretty nice, except for the roofers, who decided to wake us up by pounding on our roof at 7 in the morning.

So, we're on to St. Louis.

Some sites we hope to see today: Truckhenge and the Kit Carson County Carousel (and of course the Spaghetti Factory in St. Louis)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

day 1

Well, we arrived in Elko late last night. We had planned to get at least to Salt Lake City, but circumstances just didn't allow it. We got a late start, since Ben had to work, and then had a late lunch with family in Reno and dinner with a friend in Winnemucca. Then there was a TON of construction the whole way. By the time we got to Elko, we were exhausted from the long days we've had so far this week.

After an hour of searching (We finally drove to a Starbucks parking lot and used their wi-fi instead of driving around too much longer) we found a decent motel we could afford. I'm not sure why Elko has so many expensive hotels. Even the Rodeway Inn was around 80 bucks. Ben hypothesized that since it's the last major stopping point on the way to Salk Lake, but also going North to Boise, it must get a lot of
cross travel.

We finally found the Budget Inn, which was only $49 a night, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was a pretty nice room with a comfy bed AND air conditioning (We haven't had much luck in that area lately...)

So, after a not-so-long sleep, we're about to head back out onto the road. We're hoping to make it as far (if not a bit further than)Denver tonight.

Pictures to come soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

all the craziness


I have to let that sink in for a minute. Things have happened so quickly, that I almost feel guilty for spending the time to sit down and write this. I do need a break from all the craziness though, so this is how I'm spending it!

For those of you who haven't heard yet, we are moving to North Carolina. Tomorrow. Wow.

Here's the story if you haven't heard it (if you have, you can skip this next part!) I had an interview on Thursday with three principals of Department of Defense Schools. Prior to the interview, I researched the schools I was interviewing for, and found out that one of them was named after a man who was stationed in Somalia with my dad. It seemed like it was just too much to be coincidence that such a position would have finally arrived. Even better, several other teachers at this school had spouses or other relatives who were there at the same time also. Awesome, huh?

The principal let me know that they had to make their decision that day, and that HR would be getting back to the person they hired sometime within a week or two.

So yesterday (only 2 workdays after the interview) I awoke to a phone call saying that I got the third grade position and would start the next Monday. So here we are two days later, in the midst of frantic packing and planning, and we head out tomorrow! Ben and I finally get to do the cross-country road trip we've been planning for years, only without a lot of the fun stops we had planned to do along the way.

Pictures and road-trip (and house-finding and teaching) stories will soon commence as well!

I never thought I'd say this, but goodbye, California!