JaNae and I said that one weekend this fall we must take a trip to Philadelphia. And seeing that the year was almost over, the first weekend of December we decided had to be the day. With just a backpack and a bus ticket, we met at Port Authority on a cool Saturday morning and headed south. The two hour ride was just long enough for some chatting, some studying (JaNae), and some planning of our day in Philly. By the time our bus pulled into downtown, we had our plan of attack -- first to a festive Christmas village set up in the iconic Love Park. Cabin-style booths were decorated with boughs and berries and vendors sold everything from bratwursts, pretzels, and cider to knit crafts and paintings. It was cozy and adorable and perfect for a spontaneous lunch. We took the requisite picture with the Love sign to prove we actually did make it to the City of Brotherly Love, but I was quite disappointed it wasn't bigger .... JaNae laughs but I had imagined a huge sculpture big enough to sit on, not a tiny display that you could almost miss! We walked a few blocks to the Comcast Center to see a holiday display of music and lights, and then meandered back through the city -- in and out of an outdoor skating rink, the Macy's holiday displays, and the Reading market.
Eric and Sharon Kloter, also from Rockville, were in Philly for the weekend so they picked us up downtown and we all met up with Ben and Michelle and Cami for dinner and a night of games. We had to initiate JaNae into Muggins with Uncle Ben (quite amusing -- tensions were high) and play the Wiegand favorite, diminishing whist. The night went way too fast and so did a nice Sunday at the Philadelphia church; and then we were riding our bus into NYC with the sun fading into the skyscrapers. JaNae and I grabbed dinner in Grand Central before catching our respective trains home and back to a regular work week Monday. It was fast and fun and hopefully just the beginning of our weekend travels together!
Last weekend I decided to have a girls night at my place. I sent out an invite telling the Rockville girls to come for hot drinks, Christmas snacks, and talking about what God has taught us this year. I had fun setting up a hot cocoa bar in my kitchen and stringing lights through the garland on my windowsill, lighting vanilla candles and tying gold ribbon around. It was so fun for me to show the Rockville girls my place for those who haven't been over before, and for us to have a cozy and quiet chat about our faiths. I feel that God has taught me lots in this last year, but one that stands out is how He must be my All in All: if I depend on any one, any thing, any place, any church, any job, anything to fulfill me besides Jesus Christ, I will be disappointed. It must be Him and only Him.
Tiera came the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and we had a fabulous day in the city. It was a work from home day for me, so I took my bluetooth and laptop and worked on the train into Grand Central. We found a place in midtown for a fancy three course lunch: for me, a chicory salad, grilled halibut over vegetables, and chocolate cake with salted almond ice cream. It was delicious ... and a ton of fun. (We got quite the looks from all of the other businessmen and/or wealthy older couples dining at the same time -- Who are these young girls and what are they doing here? You could just read their faces. It was quite amusing:). Later in the afternoon we found a Starbucks for me to work in while Tiera went to the 9/11 Museum. We stayed in the city until late evening and then took the train back to my place.
We were invited over to Steve and Jan Moser's for Thanksgiving and no, it wasn't like family, but it was a wonderful day still. They are so great to be around and we even got to play a couple games of Rook. My heart felt full that day; I could see so many blessings - in people, in places, in learnings, in life. Yes, life is full of challenges right now but it is also full of blessings.
Friday we slept in -- we slept, then I made Dutch Babies and we planned our day in Boston. We drove to Riverside and took the train downtown, stopping at Mike's for pastries and then eating them near Quincy Market. Then we walked across the river to Bunker Hill as the lights were coming on over the city. Love love love Boston and it's quaint townhouses and historic buildings. An Italian dinner in the North End and then we headed to the train back home.
Sunday after church we went to New Haven for the infamous Frank Pepe's pizza. We got the recommended spinach, mushroom, and Gorgonzola pizza and it was delicious. We were pretty proud of ourselves for covering so much territory over the previous few days so were glad for a low-key evening in my apartment... sweatpants and Christmas lights on.
Monday and Tuesday went fast, with a brief tour around the office for Tiera -- and some Ben & Jerry's, of course -- and some catching up on work for me. Tuesday when we hugged goodbye at the Milford train station I was just so glad for the places we are in life, that we can do long weekends like this, that we can visit each other and only say goodbye for a little.
Boston Public Market
The North End
Pastries from Mike's
Last month went by in a blur with lots of traveling, family visits, and holiday festivities. So basically the next couple posts are a tour through all the major east coast cities and what they look like this fall.
In the beginning of November, Mom and Dad took the DC rotation and I drove down to meet them. Friday there was a fire drill snafu at work so I ended up leaving around 2 PM for an afternoon drive on the Jersey Turnpike, talking to Tiera and Kendra on the phone and enjoying the setting sun as I passed NYC. I listened to an audiobook as I drove through Delaware and into Maryland with the moon rising. Mini roadtripping solo is actually quite fun. On Saturday we took the metro into DC and walked through Georgetown, admiring the row houses and shops even in the drizzling rain. We stopped at a recommended bakery for quiche, hot drinks, and pastries which we leisurely enjoyed before going to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts to see a play. While we may have gotten quite wet in the rain and we certainly didn't do everything we wanted to, it was a perfect day. You realize as you get older that it's not about doing everything, but doing a few things meaningfully. And same with life.
We spent Saturday night with my aunt and uncle near Baltimore, then Sunday at the DC church - such fond memories of that house. In 2009 our family lived there for a month as the caretakers. Every day Mom and the girls would take the subway into the city and tour museums, visit the zoo, and walk to city parks while Dad worked. Then he'd join us for adventures on the weekends. We saw so much of DC that trip and I have a million memories of sunburns, bunk beds, cleaning the church house, reading books in the backyard, learning all the train stops on the red line, walking the Capital Mall at night, and finally packing it all up and driving back home to Oregon. One of my favorite vacations.
On Sunday we were reminded that it's not about us. Sometimes we want to do the service but not be a servant. We need to be submissive and allow ourselves to be used, and be nameless in that work. That lesson was speaking to me directly. I have such big plans and grand ideas but I need to remember sometimes that God will orchestrate my life in His way, and the work I want to do is all His work - not mine.
Mom, Dad, and I ordered pizza after church and I got on the road soon after. The next time I'll see them is in San Francisco for Christmas!
Baked and Wired -- you must go here if you visit DC! As the line indicates, it is delicious.
Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
View from the roof of the Kennedy Center - if this was a wider photo, you could see the National Mall, Washington Monument, and Arlington National Cemetery.
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.