Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Around the Country in 30 days

Being unemployed certainly has it's advantages. You can sleep in late, wear your pajamas all day if you want to, watch trashy tv at odd hours and catch up on the little things you always swore you'd get to one day. But possibly the best part about the freedom that comes with the lazy days, is the ability to travel.

I began my travels nearly a month ago and have had the pleasure of spending my days with some of my favorite groups of people from all walks of life. To kick start my May adventures, JJ and I boarded an AMTRAK train at DC's Union Station and roared into Penn Station in New York City, NY. It was JJ's first time there and my third visit, and the city was alive and buzzing just as you'd expect. Our hotel was right along 44th and 7th (or somewhere near there) and we were steps away from Times Square and the heartbeat of the tourist attractions. And tourists we were as we drug our tired feet up and down the city avenues in search of Ray's Pizza, the ESPN Zone, Central Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, the WTC Memorial, and a million tiny stops in between.

Two highlights of the trip for our memories (but not for our wallets) were our big nights out. On the first night, we took the subway up to the new Yankee Stadium for JJ's pick where we saw the first ever Yankees vs. Red Sox game under the lights of the new facility. It was an historical game, albeit was devoured by a rainy onslought of downpours and delays which cumlinated in a two hour delay and a 1am closing pitch. But the $20 ponchos and the $8 hot dogs were worth it as we sat bundled together in the rain making a memory as a young, crazy couple out in the big city ready for anything. The second night - was my night.

I was dying to see a Broadway play and although there are many options to choose from, WICKED jumped out to the both of us as something we couldn't leave NYC without seeing. So we bought our tickets and tredged through the rain to see what all the fuss was about. It was the time of our life. It was fantastic, magical, and so worth the money. From the stage design and songs to the monogrammed sippy cups we drank our cocktails out of, it was one of the most incredible experiences I've had and I can officially say, I am now hooked on Broadway. Stick a fork in me...I'm done. I can never go back to anything less.

When our final day in the city had passed, JJ boarded his train back to Washington, DC and I hopped on a plane bound for Atlanta to meet up with my college girls for a Cinco de Mayo reunion at Lake Hartwell. It's a tradition we've relished in for the past few years and one we may not have again as the ring leader of the trip, Spacey, is off to a new adventure in her life - a move to the great state of Alaska. It was a bittersweet vacation, as of course it was filled with gossip and laughs but it was a going away party for Spacey and a tribute to how much we're all changing post college.

There is an unexplainable bond that we share that possibly only the lake understands. We nag and pick each other apart and laugh when we have shortcomings and we are big fans of the "call-out" move to call each other's bluff. But we hug each other even harder, we cry with each other's pain, and we are one another's biggest fans. Our memories keep us together, and our ambitions keep us moving forward. Reunion weekends help remind us why we're the best of friends, and they always stand to make the investment of time and money worth it all.

After nearly a week away I was excited to return home, see my puppy and JJ, and crawl in my own bed. But it was short-lived as we were bound for the road yet one more time. After two long years of working toward my MBA, my graduation had finally arrived and it was time for me to receive my hood in my cap and gown. My parents drove in, my in-laws and friends came, and my husband was by my side - all cheering me on for this accomplishment and milestone in my life. I must admit; I was proud. I was excited, nervous, and glowing with a sense of completion that I had acheived a goal in my life that I always thought I might reach.

To cap off the weekend, I drove another 200 miles to Myrtle Beach, SC to place another stamp on a defining moment in a friend's life - a bachelorette party. Now, much of the details I will omit to keep those involved innocent, but it was a great time of fun, sun, and lots of laughs as we let loose at the beach and toasted to a good friend taking the long walk down the aisle. Heath deserved it...every minute of it! And it was exactly the type of "going away" party you would expect for her single days. From the bottom of my heart I love you, Heath, and wouldn't have missed it for the world! Cheers to you, and the new Mr. and Mrs. Love.

So now here I rest, back home in the comforts of my, apartment, only to find that yet again we have a few busy weeks to come. As the details unfold, be assured you can read it all here, but as a preview, our summer looks to be filled with sports camps, job discoveries, weddings, vacations, our first anniversary, and a new place to call home.

Big doors will open as we close a few small windows, but we're happy, hopeful, and wide-eyed - ready for anything. It's good to be us, good to be breathing. Over and Out.

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