Driving South

An assortment of moments captured as we made our way from Philadelphia to Milledgeville:

Wednesday 9:02am: The movers arrived in Philadelphia to help us load our U-Pack pod. We’ve narrowed down our belongings significantly, and with Luke’s predetermined layout, were able to (just) fit everything into the crate.

Luke loads the last of our belongings into the pod

Luke loads up the pod

There goes our little pod - see you in Georgia!

There goes our little pod – see you in Georgia!

Wednesday 6:25pm: Our last night in Philly, we headed back to Monk’s Cafe for Belgian beers and food. Delicious!

Monk's Cafe

Monk’s Cafe

Thursday 12:26am: Road construction continued for the second night this week. We’d sold our a/c units, so keeping the windows open was a necessity. Sadly, the city chose this week to strip and repave our street. Doubly painful, they worked at night when there were fewer cars on the road. Jackhammers, the beeping of machines backing up, and the yells and whistles of the construction crew woke us up throughout the night.

Thursday 12:37pm: On the road! Irritated by the constant construction of Philadelphia, we made a pact to state things we’re thankful for during our year-long adventure here. For me, it was a year to discover what I want to do for a career, to set personal goals, and to continue developing the confidence I need to achieve them. For Luke, it was a year to explore the east coast, take advantage of our proximity to the Italian Market, and have meaningful conversations about our future.

Thursday 7:30pm: Dinner at Evening Star in Alexandria, VA. Good conversation with great friends and yummy food. Nights like this remind us how important it is to make time for the folks we care about, and to make a solid effort to be social in our new town.

Friday 11:02am: Stuck in traffic outside Richmond, VA. Laughed together at the lyrics to “How Many Drinks” by Miguel.

Friday 5:30pm: After a long day of driving, we set up camp at Badin Lake in North Carolina. Luke made a fire, and we played Gin while waiting for the thunder to turn to rain.

Badin Lake campground

Badin Lake campground

Friday 9:02pm: Fell asleep to the sound of rain plopping off our tent.

Saturday 5:30am: We’re the first site to wake up at the campground. We had the showers to ourselves, followed by breakfast and coffee around the fire. Ready for the drive to my parents house in South Carolina!

Saturday 6:45pm: A full homemade Southern dinner at Mom and Dad’s, including baked ham, potato salad, fried green tomatoes, crowder peas covered in hot chow-chow, cornbread, and peach blueberry crumble.

Sunday 9:15am: A full homemade Southern breakfast at Mom and Dad’s, including biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs with cheese and green onions, fresh tomato slices, and cantaloupe. With full bellies, we made the final (and easiest) leg of the trip down to Milledgeville.

Saturday 4:32pm: After unloading the car in our rental cottage on the lake, we drove into the downtown area for exploring. A trip to the grocery store on the way home, followed by settling in back at the cottage.

Relaxing at the lake house

Relaxing at the lake house

We’re happy to be in Georgia, and look forward to sharing more of our adventures here with you soon!


Today completes my second week of classes. I am enjoying my new position, and learning so much from the students and the overall experience.

While work is going well, I admit that the last two weeks have also provided a lot of personal frustration. Things that should be easy are overly complicated – applying for a driver’s license, obtaining a residential parking permit, finding new spots where I’d like to become a “regular.” In my fantasy land, settling into a new city is full of excitement, order, ease, and comfort. The reality has been the opposite, proving the (larger) point that building a new life requires time and patience.

This experience has led me to spend quite a bit of time considering what “home” means to me. I moved around a lot growing up – like a lot, lot. Whenever someone asked where I was from, I would say Georgia. And Georgia did feel like my home long after we moved away. This was almost entirely because of my grandparents. No matter where we lived, we would always come “home” for the holidays, family gatherings, and just-because visits. My grandma’s house felt like the most constant, consistent place I would return to, and was guaranteed to have the best “home” cooking.

When she passed away, my idea of “home” shifted to be wherever my parents were living. They hosted more events at their house, moved less frequently, and always offered me a happy and loving “homecoming.”

Today, home for me is where Luke is.

It is important for me to keep in mind that the temporary frustrations of settling into a strange city will pass, the city will become more familiar – and so will the faces. For now, I am thankful to be greeted at the end of each day by Luke, welcoming me home.

On Being in the Present

With summer drawing to a close, and the first day of school rapidly approaching (Tuesday, September 4th), I can’t help but reflect on what an exciting time we’ve had over the last few months. Highlights from Summer 2012 include:

Toasting my successful dissertation defense at this cabin in the woods:

Photo credit: Luke

Meeting Abigail Washburn after her concert at Millennium Park:

Devouring Luke’s homemade waffles for my birthday:

Visiting family at the lake house in Minnesota:

Going to Pool League to cheer on my husband and his awesome team:

Watching this storm move across the sky at sunset:

Clinking beers with this man:

Photo credit: Luke

Seeing the Blue Angels dive over Chicago:

Photo credit: Luke

Giving Philip Seymour Hoffman a standing ovation in “Death of a Salesman”:

Enjoying Rib Fest with a great group of friends:

Photo credit: Alex E.

Screaming with delight at the Jack White show:

Photo credit: Jo McCaughey

Celebrating every day with Luke:

Luke and I have been making lists of our goals and aspirations for the upcoming (academic) year, both individually and as a couple. My favorite part of moving is always the feeling of a “fresh start” or “re-do” on the parts of my life that seem neglected or unsatisfying.

While looking forward and planning ahead are two of my favorite pastimes, I appreciate the challenge Lisa Sanchez put forth in her recent blog post: “to delight in what the past is teaching me about today and to allow the future, real or imagined, to illuminate possibilities for the present.”*

Here’s to being in the present! Cheers!

*To read the full article, visit: http://bit.ly/NCu3oL