Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Last Visit

Mom came down for her last visit to Columbia before we move. It was a busy visit, with packing up the house, having several social engagements, and my goodbye party at work. But I enjoyed having her here.

I think it's appropriate that she is helping us move out of the house, since she helped us move into it 4 years ago. As we were packing up I asked her if she thought she'd be helping me move out so quickly, and she said "no."

Sorry, mom. I know you love this little house.

So now we've got most of the stuff out of our house. And with a little luck maybe the next step will be selling it. Anyone?? Anyone??

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goodby to STSM

Tomorrow is my last day at work. It's not quite real to me yet. But I know I'm going to miss it. I think it's rare to find a job that is such a natural fit as mine has been for me. And because it was such a natural fit, I feel like I was able to excel at my job. I've only been there for 4 years, but I've done a lot of professional growing up over that time. I've learned so much about myself and about where my professional passion is. I truly am grateful for the experience.

My job has been my identity for so many years, I know I'm going to be a little at a loss about "who I am" after I'm no longer there. I fear I will feel useless until I am back at work again. So here's hoping that I can just hang in there and "go with the flow" for the next year until I am working in a job again.*

I also work with a great group of women. I feel blessed to have been able to work side-by-side with these women who are all amazing, smart, strong, beautiful, funny, vulgar, quirky, and a little bit crazy. Thanks, ladies, for all you've taught me. And, more importantly, thanks for putting up with my crap. I'll miss every one of you!

*Even though we start MKLM soon, we'll be in school essentially for the next year. It will be 3 months of training in NY, followed by 3 months of language school, followed by 2-3 months of language practice.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday Get-Away

This Saturday we went with a group of friends on our 3rd annual Lake Jocassee get-away. The weather was beautiful the first year we did a trip like this. Unfortunately, year two was a total freezing cold wash out (though we had interesting adventures none-the-less). So this year we prepared a little bit better and brought sweaters and pants on the boat.

The day started out chilly and overcast, but it warmed up enough for most of us to get in the water. It was still not as beautiful as it had been on year one, but a definite improvement from last year!

As always, great friends, great food, great times.

Brian and baldman catch up
Brian and Chris catching up

Mr. Dell steers the boat
Our fearless captain

the feast!
The Dells always provide us with a feast for lunch!

swimming and hanging out by the waterfall
Out of the boat to hang out at the waterfall and swim

The men in the waterfall

under the freezing waterfall!
Playing in the COLD water from the waterfall

in the middle of 2 waterfalls
Nicole and I hiked up to the top of the first waterfall

getting in the water after our hike to the waterfall
Getting back in the water. See if you can spot the snake!

Nicole taking a cautious look at the snake behind us on the logs
Keeping a close eye on the snake behind us

on the top of an island
On a different set of rocks, Nicole and Chris set out to explore.

checking out an island

baldman and waldie
Enjoying a bit of the afternoon sun.

loooking back at the mountains
The beautiful mountains in the distance

You can see my whole set of pictures from the trip here.

Dogwood Dell also has his pictures up on Flickr.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

AC Situation

After 2 nights of no AC, it is now fixed. It took the guy less than 20 minutes to diagnose and fix it. Luckily, when we listed the house for sale we signed up for a home warranty service, which covered most of the cost of the repair.*

Last night was so much better than the night before. The house was in the low 80's so I slept a lot better. That may explain why this morning I said to Chris that I was actually enjoying having no AC. It was nice to have all the windows open and experience the fresh air for a while. I'm still appreciative of having working AC, though. ;)

*A big THANK YOU to our friend, Margaret, who reminded me that if we had a home warranty it would cover the repair!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Goodbye party

Our sweet friend Carrie is organizing a goodbye party for us! If you've not already RSVPed to Carrie, send me an email or comment below to let me know you're coming!

(Click on the picture to make it bigger.)


Our air is out and I want to cry. It was 110 with the heat index today and I guess our system lost the battle. It's now 87 degrees in the house, 4 degrees warmer than when I got home from work. We're going to try to deal with it tonight so we don't have to pay overtime fees.

I know, you might ask "How are you going to live in Africa if you can't spend one night without air?" 2 things:
1) I'd like to soak up all the air I can get now before we're without it for over 3 1/2 years.
2) Where we're going to be living, the average temperature is more in the 80-90 degree range. And it was WAY over that in Columbia today.

*****UPDATE: It's now 11 PM and it's 89 degrees. I'm really hoping it doesn't get any hotter! The "air conditioning" is off and we've got a bunch of fans going (thank you, Myers). I failed to mention earlier that last weekend the motor on our box fan burned up and the ceiling fan in our bedroom is off-balance so it's making an annoying scrapping sound so we aren't using it. This is just an uncanny number of temperature-comfort-related coincidences.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

4th of july weekend

I'm a little behind in posting our pictures from the 4th of July weekend visit from Chris's sister and brother-in-law. This was Erica and Fuzzy's last visit to Columbia before we move. We'll see them again around the holidays, but by that point we'll no longer be living in here. As the number of our remaining visits with them dwindle it gets more and more bittersweet to see them because in the back of everyone's minds there's always the thought that we won't have this for 3 1/2 years while we're away.

That being said, we mostly put aside our sadness and concentrated instead on how great it was to see them and we enjoyed the little time that we had with each other! We ate brunch at the all-local farmers market, went tubing in the Saluda river, ate delicious food, and enjoyed each others' company.

Here are some of the highlights:
tubing on the saluda river
tubing on the river

fuzzy digs the pig
erica digs the pig
What visit to Columbia would be complete without a trip to the Pig? Both Erica and Fuzzy dig the Pig.

walking around downtown
Hamming it up in downtown Columbia.

Grilling in the back yard

Monday, July 04, 2011

my fair city

Now that it's coming close to the end of my time living in Columbia, I'm really finding myself appreciating what's great about this city. And I also have been getting a little weepy at the least expected moments.

When Erica and Fuzzy visited last weekend we went to the Main Street Mast General Store for the first time. I know it's just a store and I really am not one to love to shop. But ironically, I found myself getting emotional when I was in the store. I think it's because it's a sign of a change in Columbia, a change which I've seen slowly unfolding over the past 8+ years that we've lived here.

When we first moved here, there was very little in the way of local produce and good food was hard to find. I remember shopping at like 3 grocery stores before I could even find feta. It was considered a "specialty item." There was definitely no local farmers markets, other than a few vendors that went to street fairs in downtown. There was also very little going on in terms of outdoor recreation. The Riverwalk was open, but the Greenway wasn't as sprawling as it is today. And whatever cool "scenes" that were happening in this city were mostly disparate groups that operated in a niche of their own with no cohesive whole.

Now, there's definite change in the air and I really love living here. Not only do we have an awesome local farmers market (within walking distance of our house) and the Greenway, but we've got tubing and kayaking on the river, roller derby, neat shopping areas. We have a crap-ton of awesome Indian restaurants. There's a sustainable farm in downtown. We see neat festivals making their way through Columbia now. And there are some neat musical acts coming out of here (or so my husband tells me. I'm not really a music follower. But I trust him on this.) It's just a great place to be.

So, although I definitely look forward to the changes that are coming, I think it's important to take a look at what we're leaving behind and what we're giving up. I'm sad to miss the continuation of these awesome changes and will be bummed that we're no longer a part of that change.