Hey, only 7 months since my last post. Better than four years, right? Alright, so we left off in June and I told everyone I was planning on visiting Hawaii. More on that later.
Let me start by saying, I didn’t hate 2017. I know it wasn’t a good year for a lot of people, and I’d be lying if I said it was all sunshine and puppies for me, but overall I’m really thankful for everything that happened. Even the not great stuff.
January – I ran the Hot Chocolate 10K at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. Worst. 10K. Ever. Seriously, guys. It was like 14 degrees, we had to wait at the top of a hill with the wind blowing constantly (so a wind chill of ….?) for about 30 minutes before the race actually started, it was a trail run (didn’t know that when I signed up for it), and it was my first totally solo race. I did finish in the top 10 for my age bracket, which was pretty cool, but I have no desire to run there ever again.
February – You’re probably all very familiar with the happenings of February and the Disney Half-Marathon by now, and if you’re not you can read all about it here.
March – My friend Kerry and I ran the Ella’s Race 10K (sponsored by Chick-Fil-A. Hello, free breakfast sandwiches), during which I realized that what I suspected to just be post-half-marathon muscle soreness was actually more than that. I limp-ran across the finish line with a better time than the 10K I ran the previous October. Go figure. Since then I haven’t been running, I’m still doing other strength training and giving it time. My stubbornness means that I don’t want to go to a doctor who’s just going to tell me to do PT, and if that doesn’t work they’ll give me a cortisone injection or have to do surgery. At this point it’s only a problem if I run, so if I don’t run there’s not a problem… Seems pretty simple.
April – Fairly uneventful. Genuinely not sure if we did anything worth mentioning that month. I think we pretty much just worked and enjoyed it starting to warm up again by spending some more time outside.
May – May marked the beginning of summer. Afternoons spent reading by the pool on days off, enduring the happy madness that is Duke graduation, knowing that it’s almost my birthday…
June – I had bought Max tickets to a Glass Animals concert for Valentine’s Day that wasn’t until June, so we finally got to do that. It was a lot of fun, and since we’re officially too old for lawn seats (sitting on the ground for more than an hour at a time hurts) we had actual seats where we could relax. We also celebrated my 25th birthday with a trip to the Asheboro Zoo (I had never been before), tacos, and A UNICORN CAKE. You guys, that cake is one of the best presents I’ve ever received. My friend Lauren, who is a pastry chef/genius that I went to school with at JWU, put together the whole thing. It was nothing short of magical. And delicious.
July – I actually got to see fireworks this year for the 4th of July! This is momentous because it hasn’t happened since I started working in hotels. Technically, the fireworks were on July 3rd, but that’s the day Garner always does their fireworks. I also hosted the 8th Annual Agatha Christie Tea, and helped with my best friend’s surprise baby shower! She knew I was planning one for my visit in August, but had no idea I’d get to see her in July when she visited NC for the birth of her nephew. It was a great surprise and happy tears were shed.
August – Max’s birthday, DC, and Hawaii. For Max’s birthday (which actually fell on Duke Welcome Weekend), we went down to Charlotte about two weeks early to spend the night at the Duke Mansion and go to dinner at Stoke (one of his favorite Charlotte spots). It was a wonderful and relaxing getaway, we felt extremely pampered.
The next weekend I flew to DC, just for fun. Every now and then I get kind of restless, and the job I’ve had babysitting for the same family for the past couple years now allows for a bit more flexibility financially to do that sort of thing. I flew up early Sunday morning, checked in to the Tabard Inn, then found an entirely gluten-free bakery a mile down the road that had eclairs(!), croissants(!!), and doughnuts(!!!). The rest of the day was spent doing a lot, and I mean a LOT, of walking around. I walked down to the White House, over to the Washington Monument, to the WWII memorial, then the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War memorial, the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and back to the National Mall. From there I happened upon the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle, and my goodness is it pretty. Highly recommend this tiny treasure if you get a chance.
After realizing I was sunburned and probably dehydrated I ended up at the only museum I visited on this trip, the National Museum of the American Indian. A friend of mine recommended it because the museum had a limited time display about the Inka Road, part of which ran through Peru. It was fun to see some things I had become familiar with during my time in Peru as a kid and getting to learn a lot of new things, too.
From there I headed back to the Tabard Inn where I enjoyed a great dinner, my wonderful Agatha Christie book, and then some live jazz music in the lounge. After getting ready for bed I wasn’t ready to call it a night quite yet, so I went back downstairs to get some tea and read for a bit. I met a fellow guest of the hotel, and we wound up talking for a couple hours. She ended up giving me a book, which was perfect since I had finished the one I brought with me.
The next morning I walked over to Georgetown, where I spent the day exploring some neighborhoods and having tea/reading at the Four Seasons. I finished the book my hotel friend gave me, and then found a bookshop where I bought yet another book (oops). My flight left at 9pm, so after a forgettable dinner (really, I don’t remember where or what it was) I ended up at the airport. My flights in and out of DC were entirely uneventful, until I got to Raleigh and a storm had caused a bunch of flights going to Charlotte to get re-routed to RDU. This resulted in my plane sitting on the tarmac for almost two hours before we got to a gate. Needless to say, I was very happy when I finally got home around 1am.
Hawaii. Hawaii carried over into early September, but I’ll keep it all here to make things easier. Between an early morning departure time, no delays, and time zone changes I was able to get to Honolulu by 1pm local time. The friends I was visiting, Evelyn and Austin, picked me up from the airport and promptly took me to lunch. Being able to stand, stretch, and not eat airplane food was fantastic. They showed me around a little bit, then took me back to their place so I could clean up and relax a little. The week went by in a blur, I may write a separate post a la Disney for a more complete look at everything I did while I was there, but the main reason I visited was to throw a baby shower for Evelyn. Her amazing and wonderful friends who lived on the island were the ones who really made it all possible, and I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of it.
The thing about being best friends with someone for almost 14 years is that you’ve talked about a lot of things. Boys, growing up, what you’re going to do in college, getting married, having kids…. Actually getting to be there for each of those milestones is indescribable. Your best friend only has her first baby once, how could you not be there for at least part of that? I’m beyond grateful that I was able to go to Hawaii (which would have been fun in and of itself) and spend an uninterrupted week with my best friend (I think the last time that really happened was probably summer camp in 8th or 9th grade).
September – Much like April, this month was spent pretty much just working. I don’t think we did too much. Oh! I spent a good chunk of September recovering from a nasty cold/sinus infection I came down with shortly after getting home from Hawaii. I blame recycled airplane air.
October – For our second anniversary we went back to Charleston, where we spent our honeymoon. This time we stayed at the Francis Marion hotel, which provided a highly convenient location from which to explore. While there we went back to one of our absolute favorite restaurants, Pan e Vino. They have gluten free pasta that they make in house, what more could you want? Other than the beef carpaccio with truffle cream sauce special, of course… Out of the three nights we were in Charleston we ate there two of the nights. No regrets. We also went to the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston and Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in the harbor where we got to explore the USS Yorktown and the USS Clamagore, a Cold War era submarine. Maaaaan, the people that work on submarines are a special breed. I could barely be inside that thing for the 15 minutes it took to go through it and it wasn’t even underwater. We also ate at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
November – One of the perks of working at the Washington Duke Inn is that sometimes employees are able to go to Duke basketball games. Max and I were able to go to the Duke vs. Furman game, which was really fun. I had never been to a full basketball game before, so Max says I got a little spoiled going to Cameron Indoor for my first real game. I’m not going to disagree with that. We were also able to spend Thanksgiving with Max’s family for the first time ever as a couple, which was really nice.
December – December was a busy month for us, like pretty much everyone else. The first weekend in December we went to visit Max’s grandparents, we had a great time spending time with them and getting to do some skeet shooting. The next weekend we drove to DC with my parents to go to the National Air and Space Museum out by Dulles airport. We drove in on Sunday and it was really fun to go back to the gluten free bakery that I found in July. We also drank way too much coffee, had some good pizza, and enjoyed the fireplace at our hotel. We also walked over to a few of the memorials in the evening and got some nice pictures. On Monday we drove straight over to the museum and spent the entire day there until we decided it was time to get home.
The weekend after that I finally got to meet Austin and Evelyn’s baby! We spent Sunday just hanging out at Austin’s parents’ house, and then Monday we went on a food tour of Durham. Much tasty food was consumed and a great time was had by all. The next weekend was Christmas Eve/Christmas, which we were able to spend with my family for the first time. It was really wonderful to have everyone all together. The weekend after that was New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day/Second Christmas with the other side of the family, which was also a lot of fun and wonderful.
I really wrote this end-of-year post for my own benefit. Looking back and seeing everywhere I was able to go, the things I did, and the people I spent time with is a great reminder of how truly blessed I have been. I’m grateful for everything I was able to do in 2017 and I look forward to seeing what 2018 holds.
Until next time…