Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bye Friends

Can I just take this opportunity to proclaim to the world (or... to the one or two people who actually read this) how much I love my friends?  Specifically, the friends I made in college and one I made before.

So our "goodbye tour" kind of started back in April when we went up to see our friend Chris in NYC.  Chris is in med school and currently doing rotations at a hospital in Brooklyn.  I've known OF Chris my entire life, at least since starting elementary school.  We went to the same church, same elementary school, and same high school (not the same middle school though).  He was a year ahead of me so we didn't become friends until my sophomore year of high school.  However, since becoming friends in 10th grade, we have remained incredibly close.  Aaron met him through church and school in 11th grade, and they pretty much hit it off as good friends from the start.  In fact, Chris was Aaron's Best Man in our wedding, and I would probably have had to make him my Maid of Honor if he wasn't the Best Man.  It's pretty much impossible to NOT like Chris though, and anyone who doesn't like him must just hate everyone and probably has a very sad existence.  Ahem.

But anyway, I expected to see him again after our trip to NYC before actually leaving for China, since his family lives about an hour from where we're currently living, and I figured he'd be back down to see them before July.  However, it's now exactly three weeks out from our departure date, and I still have no idea if we'll be seeing him again.  I hope we do, but, either way, our trip up to see him in NYC was just plain awesome.  I would recount it, but that would make this post even longer than it will probably end up being, so here's a picture from that trip:

I am so glad we got to take this trip up to see him.  We had been putting off going to NYC for years just because of how expensive it is to stay there, but knowing that we were about to move out of the country and knowing that Chris was living up there made us finally make the plunge, even though we had the added complication of having a 7-month-old accompany us.  But everything with Chris is so much fun!

So that was in April.  We held off on any more trips until the beginning of June, where, so far, we have taken two trips (and won't be taking any more until our journey to China begins).  Our first June trip was to Virginia Beach to visit our dear friends (who are Augie's Godparents), Bibi and Eddie.  We didn't actually go to the beach for more than 10 minutes, which is probably good since this is the reaction we got from Augie in those 10 minutes: 

He doesn't like the sound the waves make.  Maybe when he gets older!  So we spent our day there at Eddie's mom's house, and Augie got to swim in her pool, which he loved.


Augie had a great time visiting his Madrina and Padrino.  We had a great time too, and it was very sad to leave them knowing that we probably won't see them again for at least a year.  On average we see them about twice or three times a year, so we rarely go more than 6-months without seeing them.  But this time it's for longer.  I'm hoping that by the time we get back to DC, they will have moved up to the DC area since a lot of Bibi's interests lie in government-type work.  Aaron has known Bibi since high school, and I got to know her when I transferred to OU.  She's truly a special person in a great way, and she picked out one of the nicest people possible to be her husband, too.  We met Eddie a few months after they started dating, and we really had no problems accepting him as a friend, he is so funny and so much fun to be around.  Definitely can see how they ended up together, they are a perfect match!  So we love them both a lot (as evidenced by, if in no other way, the fact that we made them our son's Godparents) and hate to say goodbye to them for over a year.  But it is what it is.

Our second and last June trip was to Dallas this past weekend.  We did not bring Augie to this one, which sucks since these friends haven't met him yet, but it would have been too hard to have him with us.  We have four main friends in Dallas who we met in college.  Listed in order of meeting them - Josh, Sergio, Derek, and Heather.  These are the people we spent most of our time in college hanging out with and partying with.  Sergio and Aaron lived in a house together in Oklahoma, Josh stayed at this house often because there were many parties there and he and Sergio are best friends.  At one time or another Josh and I almost lived together (as friends, I was dating Aaron all through college), but unfortunately he ended up having to move back to Dallas before that could happen.  Derek, Aaron, and I met on a college mission trip our Junior year, and Aaron and I convinced Derek to move into this house (where Sergio was still living, but unfortunately Josh had already moved back to Dallas at that time).  Derek introduced us to Heather (his girlfriend at the time)after the mission trip, and Aaron and I went out often with Derek and Heather, and we all partied together very often.  In fact, Derek and Heather were both in our wedding as a Groomsman and were Josh and Sergio as ushers.  Later on after Aaron and I had graduated, Derek and Sergio moved in together, and then all of last year Derek and Josh lived together.  So the six of us are very interconnected, and very close friends.  I'm just as close with the guys as Aaron is to them, if not closer.  I've just always had an easier time making friends with guys than girls, which I hope does not get me into any drama one day now that I'm hanging around a lot of married people!  Everything is totally platonic though, always has been.  Making friends with Heather was easy though, which is why I know she's a very awesome and special person, and one reason why I value her friendship so much.  It's not always that easy for me to make friends with girls!

So our reason for being in Dallas this past weekend was Derek and Heather's wedding.  I think I mentioned this was happening in earlier blog posts.  Aaron and I were in this wedding (as were the other two friends, Josh and Sergio).  It was so beautiful, I am honestly made of stone but this wedding made me cry a lot.  I didn't shed a tear at my own wedding, but this one had me bawling for a few minutes.  We also had so much fun hanging out with our friends.  We always do though.

 Josh, Sergio, and Aaron

Derek, Heather, and Me

If I could chose to live in one place in the world, I would chose Dallas or as close to Dallas as we could get (I was really hoping that we'd get posted to a border town, but I guess it's safer that we didn't), just because of how many close friends we have there.  I'd seriously move there to be near them, that is how much they mean to me.  I think Aaron thinks similarly but doesn't like to think about it since it can't happen.  I hated saying goodbye to these guys, but I'm told that at least Derek, Heather, and Josh will try really really hard to come visit us in China.  So I hope that works out.  Either way, it's going to be at least a year before we see these guys again, which is longer than ever in the past (usually we see them two or three times per year).

It really sucks to be in long-distance friendships with basically all of our close friends, but I know that is a reality of the Foreign Service.  I just wish we hadn't had to start that reality 2 years before joining; we've been doing this since graduating from college, so we're really pros at this and had plenty of time to grow tired of it before A-100 started.  But we do love all of them, including the ones I didn't mention here because we didn't get to see them so they didn't fit into my "Goodbye Tour" theme.  And we can't wait to see them again, in 1 or 2 years.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Wow.  Is it really June?  I can't believe how quickly the months have gone by.  It seems like time was really dragging for a while, but now it's picking up at 4x the speed.  In exactly 5 weeks, we will be packing out.  In 5 weeks and 2 days we'll be heading to Seattle, and in exactly 6 weeks (and a few hours) we'll be boarding a plane in San Francisco headed for Guangzhou (via Shanghai). 

Mentally I'm as ready as I could possibly be.  However in most other aspects, not so much.  We have taken care of tenants for our apartment... well, the lease isn't signed yet, but they seem committed.  I'm going to assume that's going to work out, because I try to be optimistic (hopefully I didn't just jinx myself).  We will need to sell my car soon.  Maybe we can start that process after our trip to VA Beach this weekend.  Oh yea, and we'll need to categorize our crap and start packing.  Ugh, didn't I JUST do that?  At least I'm not pregnant this time.

Of course, finding the time and motivation to do all this will be the challenge.  We literally have something planned for every weekend until the weekend before we move.  Not that I need to save this stuff for weekends, but some of the plans for our weekends are going to take some prep time during the week, so that's where my motivation to prep for China is lost.  For instance, this weekend we're going to the beach.  Augie doesn't have a bathing suit yet, so I need to get him one.  And I need to wash clothes and pack for that.  Next weekend we're going to Dallas for our friends' wedding, so I'll need to unpack from the beach and repack for Dallas.  After that, we're not traveling again until we go to Seattle, so I guess it's safe to say that very little China prep will be done before we go to Dallas.  Hopefully the pressure of being less than a month away from leaving will be a good enough motivator for me/us by that time!

At least this past weekend was a pretty good and relaxing one.  Yesterday was Aaron's birthday, so I arranged for my parents to watch Augie on both Saturday and Sunday nights so that we could have a nice baby-free weekend.  (Sidenote: I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my parents live in MD during the summer and AZ during the winter.. anyway, they are back in MD for the summer so they're only 45 min away.)  Saturday night, we ate dinner at Macaroni Grill (trying to hit up some American chains before we go to China), which I always enjoy, probably my favorite of the Italian-food chains.  Then, we went to see "Date Night" with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell.  I thought it was pretty good, definitely worth seeing.  I'm not sure it's worth seeing in a theater, but quite honestly, I only think action movies w/ crazy special-effects are worth seeing in a theater because of the big screen (I generally don't like to spend $11/person to see a movie if it's not worth seeing on a big screen...).  Although, one could argue that "Date Night" is an action comedy.  Anyway, I love both Tina Fey and Steve Carrell  so I'd definitely watch it again (at home).

After the movie, Aaron decided he wanted Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for dessert.  And he decided he wanted to go to the one in Clarendon.  But he parked in Ballston, thinking that it was in Ballston.  So we walked for about 45 minutes between Ballston and Clarendon (which isn't so bad if you're not wearing heels like I was...I seem to frequently make bad shoe choices).  At least we walked off some of our cheesecake before eating it!  The cheesecake was great, of course.  We did take the metro back to Ballston, my feet were not going to take another 45 minute walk back.   

On Sunday, we got up and went to church.  Then we just relaxed until about 4, when we went to see another movie, "Iron Man 2."  Before having Augie, we weren't frequent movie-goers, we'd usually see one in a theater every 6-8 months.  We've always rented a lot of movies, but rarely did we actually go to the movies since it's so freaking expensive.  Anyway, now that we have a baby and are barred from taking him to the movies (or at least, it's not something I'd ever attempt, I can't trust him to be quiet the whole time), we go see as many movies as we can fit into the time that he's being watched by my parents.  So we went to see movie #2, "Iron Man 2."  I liked it (of course anything with Robert Downy Jr. is great).  Aaron said he was disappointed and liked the first one better.  He said he liked "Date Night" a lot better than "Iron Man 2."  I don't know, I think he got his hopes up too much and expected more out of it.  I thought it was entertaining enough, so I am glad we saw it.

After the movie, we went to the other place we can't go with a baby - a bar!  We met up with a few people at The Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring, which is a bar w/ a great beer list, decent food, and good service.  It was a really good time, and I'm really glad people were able to come out.  I hope we can go back to that bar before we leave, but I am not sure it will be possible. 

Yesterday, on Aaron's actual birthday, I made him a cookie-cake (which ended up being more icing than cookie, but the icing was really good so I think he forgave me).  My parents brought Augie back around dinner time.  We had Filet Mignon steaks for dinner, made on our electric grill, followed by the cookie cake for dessert.  All in all,  I think Aaron was pleased with his birthday weekend (it was much better than last year, I have to say).  I know I had a good time!