This last week, Nate and I went on a little "vacation" back east, to look at some Graduate programs. Even though we were doing a lot of driving and on the go pretty much everyday, we didn't bring Asher with us, so in my mind, that is a vacation. I even got to sleep in until 11:30 one day (I went to bed really late, ok!) and 10:00 a couple other days, and it was so great! I can't remember the last time I was able to do that. But man did I miss this little guy!
I found myself in awe of every person who happened to have a child, like it was some kind of amazing thing. I thought I did pretty well though, much better than I thought I would do. The couple days before we left, I kept having all these second thoughts about leaving him, and Nate even went so far as to say: "lets just take him with us." Ugh, it would have been sooo miserable with him. I was actually never really very worried about Asher, he is so social, and LOVES playing with other kids, so I had a feeling he wouldn't even really realize we were gone. And I was right, he had a blast with his cousins and his new best friend, Jace. Everyone reported that he was very happy, slept and ate great, and played his little heart out. So that was very comforting, and made it so much easier for me and Nate to be able to enjoy our time away.
Here's a little overview of our trip:
On Thursday, we flew into Philadelphia and picked up Nate's sister's car that she so graciously let us use while she was on a cruise! We drove from there to Newark Delaware to visit with our good friend Josh Probert who is doing is PhD at Winterthur (studying antiques, stuff you would see on Antiques Road Show!). It was so funny when we got to his house, it was such a "single guys" apartment. We had our air mattress, and were getting ready to go to bed, but we didn't bring any blankets or pillows. Josh says: "oh my gosh, I didn't even think about that...we don't have any extras!!!" HA! Now lets be honest, there aren't many girls out there that wouldn't have thought about that, and if they didn't have any themselves, they would have figured something out. So Josh gave us the flat sheet off his bed, they rounded up 2 very thin blankets (between him and his 2 roommates), and then gave me a space heater to sleep next to, which I did end up using. I thought it was so funny. Of course, we were really just grateful to have a clean, free place to sleep! When we came back a few days later, Josh had gone to his Bishop's house to get some nice warm blankets...much better!
Friday and Saturday were spent in NYC! I LOVE NYC!! Although, this NYC experience was much different from my last. What was the difference you ask...driving! Nate and I actually drove into and around NYC! All I have to say is OH-MY-GOSH!!! I have never experienced anything like the traffic in NY. Not so much in the city, but going in and out was absolutely amazing. I can't even describe to you the absolute chaos that is merging onto the George Washington Bridge. Picture going from about a dozen different toll lanes to like 4 actual lanes, all in under a quarter of a mile, with hundreds of cars. There are no rules, there is no ettiquette, it is every man for himself, and if you don't get in there, you are not going to get on the bridge! I have to say that I was quite proud of myself. Once we got into the city, I found an awesome parking spot, right by Columbia University where Nate had his interview, and right next to the subway station. Nate had a really great interview there at the Teachers College. He felt like he really connected with the Professor there, and that she was very excited about Nate's back ground and interests. That night we went and saw the Drowsy Chaperone, starring Bob Saget. It wasn't so much a musical experience (like Wicked or Les Mis or something like that) as much as it was funny and entertaining, but we did really enjoy it.
So, that night, we ended up getting an amazing deal at the Hilton hotel...in Newark NJ! We kept going back and forth on where to stay, but decided that we would rather have atleast one nice hotel for our whole trip, so we decided not to stay in the city. Mistake?! Well, as we were trying to get onto the Lincoln Tunnel that night, we were thinking mistake. Again, mass chaos, 2 lanes each, coming from 3 different directions, trying to merge into 2 lanes (or was it 1?) in a very short distance. Again, there were no rules...what was once 2 lanes from one direction was now about 6, because the people up front were apparently going too slow, so the people in the back decided they just needed to get to the front, so they made their own lanes. It was so great. You'd think that we would be so annoyed, but I think we were so amazed, that we were actually quite enjoying ourselves! The best part, was when you rounded the corner and were finally merged and ready to go in the tunnel, there are 2 police cars "helping" us cars that were already safely merged. In a normal city, the police would have been trying to control and maintain the merging, but not in NY, they just sit back and let you do whatever the heck you want. But then, when we finally got to our hotel and experienced the most comfortable hotel beds I have ever slept in, it was all worth it. Saturday, we did it all over again, except this time, Nate drove. Saturday was the day I slept in until almost noon, so we didn't get into the city until 2ish. We had lunch, met up with Josh, and were thinking about splurging on Wicked tickets, when to our disappointment, we realized that the stage hands were on strike, so all the good shows were cancelled. We were pretty bummed. Then to make matters worse, we decided to go to the Met, and like half of the exhibits were closed for construction. So it was kind of a lousy day in the city. But I think both Josh and Nate would agree that the dinner we had that night made up for everything. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but they are both still talking about how amazing it was. I've never seen two people whose lives revolve around food as much as Nate and Josh...no wonder they've been friends for so long.
Sunday was back in Newark, and Josh gave us a private tour of Winterthur (home of the Dupont family) and LongWood Gardens. Both were so cool...I would take Winterthur over The Met, anyday!!!
That night we drove to New Haven CT (where Yale is located) and stayed with a good friend of Josh's. Monday morning, we drove about 30 minutes to Middletown CT where Wesleyan University is located. It was soooo gorgeous in CT. Freezing, but gorgeous. We loved the campus, but Nate didn't love the program as much as he thought he would. He felt like it was a little snobby. That night we went and saw Dan in Real Life, which we both loved. Such a good family flick!
Tuesday morning, we drove to Providence RI to visit Brown University, which was actually kind of a last minute choice of Nate's, but ended up being his absolute favorite. He even got to attend an Old time bluegrass jam session that evening.
Wednesday, we made our way out to the boonies of Ithaca NY to visit Cornell (alma mater of Andy Bernard from The Office). We had kind of high expectations for Cornell, but I think Nate was a little disappointed, as it wasn't what he expected. But I guess this is why you go visit programs, they can seem so perfect on paper, but it's so important to get a realistic view of what the programs are really like.
That day, we drove back to Newark to stay at Josh's again. Thursday, we packed up and came home!
Ok, so this turned out to be a long overview of our trip, sorry! Overall, we really loved it back east. Every where we went, it was absolutely gorgeous, and of course freezing. That would be the hardest thing about living out there for me. But I think it would be so fun to be so close to all the cool stuff out there. Today, we are leaving for Spokane to visit with Nate's fam for the holidays as well as go to University of Washington to visit the program there. We'll keep you updated!