Life has been really busy. In August, I had finished organic chemistry and went on a camping trip in Shenandoah National Park with my parents and my boyfriend. It was my boyfriend’s first trip in a while, and he really enjoyed it. He had had some negative experiences in Boy Scouts, and I was glad that we got to spend time with my parents and re-introduce him to camping. Particular highlights of the trip included encountering deer near our campsite, hiking an easy mile of the Appalachian Trail, and listening to a ridge runner talk about her experiences hiking the Trail from both directions.
By the end of August, I had started taking medical terminology and abnormal psychology classes, and I am enjoying both. I also started precepting to be an Attendant in Charge at my rescue squad. I am excited about the possibilities of additional leadership and responsibilities. My boyfriend and I have also been taking more dance classes and practicing together. He is new to dancing, and I am not, but we are hoping to compete at some point together. Come September, I had gotten the opportunity to interview at a physician assistant school. Unfortunately, I did not get accepted, but the interview experience was a good experience overall.
Most of October was spent focused on schoolwork. On Halloween weekend, I attended a major ballroom competition called DC Dancesport Inferno without a partner. Most of my TBA experiences were great, especially since most of the time, my former partner, who had turned professional, was willing to step in as a last resort. The only negative experience I had was during the standard rounds, when I told my TBA person (not my former partner) that I couldn’t follow certain figures. He proceeded to lead them anyway. He also thought that he could alter my step length and frame within five minutes. Overall, I was pleased with my dancing despite my lack of consistent practice with or without a partner and despite lack of recalls. I also had some fun! I did get recalls and placed during a 3-person standard and smooth fun dance, though! It is still so inspiring to watch the more advanced dancers.
A few days later, my second nephew was born. So far, his temperament is unlike that of my first nephew. The newborn is a lot more quiet than the 3-year old nephew is. It made the second bris even more jarring than the first one because the baby went from quiet and context to wailing. Next up for me is finishing up my fall classes, interviewing for another PA school in December, and traveling to Israel on Birthright with my boyfriend! Hope everyone else is doing well!
I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. Taking organic chemistry and putting together applications for PA school will do that to me. For those interested in travel, I wanted to give a quick trip report on our trip into Abingdon, VA. My family and I stayed there to do the Virginia Creeper Trail. It’s a bike trail that starts at Whitetop Mountain, goes to Damascus, and ends in Abingdon. We stayed at a place called A Tailor’s Lodging.
On our first day, we were fortunate enough to be in town on the one day of the year the city puts on the Plumb Alley Day. It is a fair with lots of vendors. Although most of the stations are personal yard sales, the proceeds go to charity. That night, we saw a play at the Barter Theater called Educating Rita. It was a two-person show that was executed well. The next day, we biked the Creeper Trail in the morning. We were only able to get to Damascus, but the scenery was incredibly gorgeous. Parts of the trail intersect with the Appalachian Trail, and since it was the right time of year for thru-hikers to pass through this part of the trail, we saw a few of them. The one caveat to the trail is that there are lots of rocks on it, and not everyone is safe when they pass you. However, I’d still highly recommend the trail.
The next day, we traveled to Grayson Highlands State Park, which offers several lovely hiking trails, some of which intersect the AT. We hiked the Twin Pinnacles Trail, which leads to the highest summit in the park. The visibility was very far, and the views were amazing at the top. The trail is considered a moderate trail.
We went to two amazing restaurants on the trip: 128 Pecan and Wild Flour. We went to 128 Pecan for lunch and Wild Flour for breakfast. I had an amazing challah French toast platter. Unfortunately, we were unable to go to any more restaurants because it was Memorial Day weekend. I have heard that there are many more incredible restaurants in Abingdon.
Sorry to not have posted in so long. I never updated on the third and final day of my Orlando trip. My brother and I went to the Orlando Museum of Art. The main exhibit we saw was the ancient Aztec art. I love how detailed it all was, especially the pottery vessels. On the way to the exhibit, we passed by the African exhibit. I loved the patterns on the beadwork and the clay pots. We also saw the Baroque paintings. Because my brother covers exhibits quicker than I do, we covered a lot more of the museum that I usually cover. That night, we went to his ping-pong meetup group at the Central Florida Table Tennis Club. I realized that I’m better at ping-pong than I thought I was. For dinner, we went out to a place called Hawkers. It is an Asian street food restaurant.
In other news, my life is really off balance. I am really doing nothing much besides studying for my classes, preparing to retake the GRE, planning classes for the summer and fall, and preparing to apply to PA schools. Well, my mom and I went to the Richmond Ballet’s New Works festival in which choreographers who have never created works for the ballet do so for the first time. I really wish that it wasn’t like this, because I feel like I have a one-track mind. It is also counter-productive when I have no substantial breaks to look forward to.
Last night, I was so tired, I went straight to sleep. My brother and I went to Typhoon Lagoon today. It is a Disney water park. I had a lot of fun there. One of the best rides is called the Crush ‘n Gusher. It’s like a mini water slide roller coaster. For those who want more down time, there are several sandy areas with lounge chairs to relax. The only real kitschy part to it is the beachy music, which is probably true of many water parks.
Last night, I met four of my brother’s friends at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe. It is a German restaurant. I had been there before, but it was fun to see my brother’s friends try the food for the first time. Some extras we ordered were a cherry Schnapps that frankly tasted like cough syrup to me (the apple Schnapps is much better) and a piece of Black Forest cake that was heavenly. Unfortunately, the entertainment was not there tonight, and it is much better with the entertainment. For those who want to go there with entertainment, reservations must be made two months in advance.
Last night, I flew to Orlando. This morning, my brother had employment business to take care of. Then, we headed to Bok Tower Gardens, which were about 1.75 hours away from Altamonte Springs.
This is the top of the singing tower. Carillon bell concerts are given every afternoon at 1 and 3. This particular concert was given by a guest artist, and you can pick up a program for the artists and compositions being played. There was a viewing area where you could see the artist playing the carillon in the tower. He would even bow at the end of the pieces.
Other highlights of the gardens included a window box to the ecosystem, an endangered species garden solely native to Florida, and the Pinewood estate.
Fountain at Pinewood estate
For dinner, my brother and I met one of his friends at a restaurant called Hash House a Go Go. The portions there are huge! For the sake of variety, though, all three of us each ordered a dish. My brother’s friend ordered a fried green tomato stack, my brother ordered a stuffed burger, and I ordered penne with fried chicken. To top it off, they start you off with gigantic biscuits.
Tomorrow is Typhoon Lagoon!
I’m writing this post because I would love to have some ideas from you! My school schedule has been hectic because all of my tests for both of my classes are always on the same days! So, I am very much looking forward to going to Orlando, FL for spring break in two weeks to see one of my brothers. What I would like from you is ideas about cheaper things to do in the Orlando area. Disney is out of the question: I don’t have the budget for it anymore. I’ll give you a list of things I’ve already done in Orlando to avoid repeats and to give you guys ideas of things I like:
Disney: Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
Wekiwa Springs, kayaking and swimming
Seeing the manatees
Walking around Winter Park and the boat ride
Walking around Sanford
Lake Eola park
New Smyrna beach
Islands of Adventure
Please comment! Thanks!
The weekend after Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This time, we went to the American wing of the museum and saw late-19th century to early 20th century. What is great about the Virginia Museum, or at least the part of the museum we saw, was that was that at least part of the works were from artists who were either born in the area or who had lived in the area at some point in their lives. The artworks also ranged from light, impressionist-type paintings to more bright, abstract works and dark colors. For your viewing pleasure, I’m posting some photographs, and for the ones who are really into it, the descriptions of the artwork.
Of course, these photos are only a fraction of my photos, and my photos are only a fraction of what we saw. What we saw is only a tiny fraction of the museum! The great thing is that the permanent collections of the museum are free, and we have a lot more to see! For more pictures and more advice on what to do and see in Richmond, VA, comment, and I will be happy to talk and send more photos!