Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend in NYC

So as the title of this post suggests, I spent Memorial Day weekend up in New York on a mission. Two missions, actually, though one of them was Andrew's, not mine. We went up on Friday so he could check out an apartment he's interested in for when he moves up there later this year. Then we met up with Laura, who I hadn't seen since...I guess February for Adam and Corky's birthday thing in Hoboken, for happy hour. I wanted to go up to say good bye to her (sniff), and Andrew needed to go for the apartment thing, so our forces combined with the end result being a really great weekend. Ok, it was mostly the forces of the firm he's going to be working for, but still. Saturday we went out to Long Island for some grilling at Laura's place, and Kaitlin (henceforth refered to in this blog as "Shirt") and Jim came for one last good bye. The whole afternoon was so relaxed, it could have been any afternoon barbequeing on the roof of Pennbrook or something back at school. Eventually we had to say good bye though, and needless to say I was a little down about it. I'm gonna miss both of them like crazy!

Andrew and I spent the rest of the weekend just kind of exploring the city. I had never really done the whole New York thing (despite passing through on numerous occassions...and drinking copious amounts of wine there...and facilitating photo shoots with bongo-playing homeless men...and...ok I'll stop there), so Andrew got to show me around. I'm so jealous he's moving there! He says he's jealous I'm going to Africa, but I think he's just saying that to make me feel better. :)

On the subject of Peace Corps, I just had my flight to Atlanta booked. This whole moving to Africa thing is starting to feel very real. Tomorrow is my last day of work, and I can't say I'm disappointed about that, but it just means that my departure is swiftly approaching. Eek!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Four Weeks and Counting...

I've officially hit the one month mark! I got my staging package about a week ago and finally had the chance to look at it the other day. In less than four weeks, I'll be flying down to Atlanta to meet up with my fellow RIM (Republique Islamique de Mauritanie) volunteers for two days before leaving for Mauritania. I'm starting to feel genuinely excited, despite my anxieties.

On a different note, this past weekend was quite eventful. My brother had Prom Friday night, so I went with my parents to see him and his girlfriend off for pictures and such. Being in that environment again was a little surreal. It's hard to believe that my own Prom was five years ago! Everyone looked beautiful, of course. (I helped pick out the tux!)

I spent the rest of the weekend with Andrew and his family, who flew in from Seattle for his law school graduation. He had a barbeque at his place Saturday afternoon, which gave our parents a chance to meet and hang out for a little bit, which was pretty cool. There was a graduation gala at the National Building Museum Saturday night. The place was stunning. Tables were laid out in the main atrium (which is huge), along with buffet tables for food, multiple open bars, and live music. Needless to say, it was a good night (complete with dancing!), up until the part where Andrew, his sister and I left to go to the bar and I realized I had left my ID at home. Whoops.

Graduation was Sunday down on Georgetown's main campus. Very nice and actually pretty short, since they split the class up into their first year sections. One guy took his little baby up with him to receive his diploma. Adorable!

All in all, it was a pretty busy weekend. Slightly hectic at times, but I'm really glad I got the chance to meet Andrew's family (and friend) before I leave.

Things are actually going to be hectic from now on, as far as I can tell. I'm heading up to New York this weekend to say good-bye to some friends. My schedule for the next few weeks (basically up until I leave) is a little overwhelming, but at least it's all good stuff. I'm just trying to see as many of the people I care about as possible, trying to soak up every last bit of the familiar and the comfortable before I get thrown into the unknown. It's so tempting to get a little mushy here, but I'll resist. Suffice it to say that I will miss everyone here very much, and while I may not have the chance to see every last one of you before I leave (or spend as much time with you as I would like), I'm thinking about everyone and I will miss you all very much!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A New Generation of Erasers!

I just found out that Robert Rauschenberg died the other day. I wasn't overly familiar with his work, but Andrew and I happened to catch an exhibit of his prints a couple months ago that impressed me. Back in the 50's he erased a drawing by Willem de Kooning, a well known Dutch painter, and called it art. He talks about what he was doing with that piece and why in this interview. Interesting insight into the mind of an artist.

Monday, May 12, 2008

James: Published Author

James is having an article he wrote on adjusting to life in China translated and published in a Chinese newspaper! Woohoo!

Kick Off

So I decided to get things started a little early to give everyone a chance to get used to the whole blogging thing (myself included). First time blogger here (aww), but also just slightly nervous, getting more nervous by the day and feeling the need to release some nervous energy.

Chances are if you're reading this, you already know that I'll be leaving in June for the Peace Corps. I fly to Atlanta June 18 for staging (more on that to follow) and leave a few days later with a group of other PCVs for
Mauritania. Woohoo! At the moment, everything about this still feels very far removed. I'll be working (albeit part-time) through May 30, which gives me a couple weeks to get my act together before I leave.

I haven't done much in the way of preparation so far, but I did buy my first hippie skirt in China! First of all, if you didn't take the time to browse the link above (shame), you should know that Mauritania is a Muslim country. Needless to say, I'll be making a few wardrobe changes this summer, mostly involving ankle length skirts. Current volunteers have recommended having most of your skirts made after you arrive in Mauritania but bringing at least one or two to get yourself started. So, on my recent trip to China, I happened to stumble across an Indian store that sold exactly the sort of skirts I was hoping to find for my upcoming West African adventure. Go figure.

A little bit on China, since I know I haven't been the best at keeping people updated: I went to China for two weeks in April with a friend of mine, Nicole, from high school. Her brother lives in Beijing, and two friends of ours (also from high school) are teaching English in Shanghai. We spent a few days in Beijing visiting Seb, Nicole's brother, after which the three of us took a train to Xi'an (southwest of Beijing) to do some sight-seeing. Seb left us at that point, and Nicole and I went on to Shanghai to visit Julie and James. China was amazing, but it was even better to spend all that time with good friends, especially since I likely won't see them for a while.

Once I figure out how to post pictures on this thing, I'll put a few up from the trip. In the meantime, things are going to be a little crazy between now and when I leave, so there will be lots of fun things to post about. Hope you enjoy!