Whirlwind US Tour!

Radio silence on the blog!  Hey, hey, I’m back from a whirlwind tour of the US where I crammed so much into 5 days, it sort of boggles my mind.  The main purpose for the trip was two more fellowship interviews: one on Friday, 9/5 and the other on Monday, 9/8.  Also, sorry, bad blogger.  I really didn’t take any pictures so if too much text is too boring to get through, I completely understand.

Oh, Japan and your Starbucks specialty drinks.  Yes, American readers, this is a
banana pudding cake frappucchino.  It just makes delicious sense.

I left on Thursday afternoon from Japan and flew into Pittsburgh, connecting through Dulles.  I arrived in Dulles 15 minutes before I left Japan!  Then I made my connection to Pitt where I was picked up at the airport by Karen, one of my college friends.  Yes!  I got to see a friend on this trip!  It was awesome to see her and we both thought it was great that we’ve seen each other more in the last three weeks than in the last 12 years since we saw each other at the wedding too.

We had a mellow evening where we ate big salads and studied.  Then it was off to bed and apart from the standard waking up at 3 a.m. (hello my other good friend, Mr. Jet Lag!), I felt pretty good.  I had my interview and really liked the place.  That was a pleasant surprise since I wasn’t feeling good about the interview before arriving since the welcome emails kept stressing how many candidates were being interviewed.  Sniff, sniff, why don’t they know that they should only want me?!?!?!?  (This is totally a joke!).

Friday night was a little more lively.  I went for a run then we headed out to Redfin Blues for dinner.  It was a beautiful night and we sat along the river.  The restaurant is more about its location than its food, but we still had a  nice dinner.  Then we headed to Salud in Karen’s neighborhood, followed by a nightcap at a nearby bar.

The next morning, I woke up late after waking up in the middle of the night again.  Karen and I went to Cafe Mona for breakfast/brunch where I had a pierogi crepe.  It was so tasty!  A little on the heavy side but I was so hungry after waiting for breakfast and walking up the hill to the restaurant that I was totally fine with it, as evidenced by the fact I left nothing behind!

After brunch, I killed time (and my wallet, ha ha) shopping while Karen was the picture of max efficiency and studied more.  Then we headed out to the airport.  I offered to take the bus but Karen was awesomely kind and drove me.   I was off to DC for a stopover to see my parents and Brady before heading to Minnesota.  My plane was delayed and the metro was super slow since it was only running on one track.  I wish I had known before I got on the train because by the time I was ready to get off and just pay for a taxi, I was in between stations which is a very tenuous exit location.  So, I arrived about 2 hours later than I wanted which I was a little sad about since I had less than a day to spend with my family.  But the second I walked into Mom and Dad’s apartment, sadness be gone!  We had such a nice time hanging out and catching up in person.

Total paparazzi picture of Brady trying to sort out the driveway/car situation
back in her Boston apartment.  She is blue, ba-da-dee-ba-da-bah.

After cocktail hour, we headed out to Gironmo, an Italian place in Old Town Alexandria.  We shared delicious calamari and Mom, Brady and I all had lobster risotto.  So delicious.  Then we walked to the metro and headed back.  Brady and I stayed at a nearby hotel and talked quite awhile before heading to bed.  I woke up around 4 (boo!) and finished The Circle by Dave Eggers.  I also went to the Java Shack, a coffee shack/high school haunt.  The tables looked a little worse for wear but nothing had really changed.

I went back to bed for a couple of hours and then headed out to brunch at The Rhodeside Cafe.  We hung out for a bit and headed to the airport.  I stopped by Pentagon City and bought a pair of flip-flops which were the best purchase of the trip!

I got to Minneapolis on the later side and checked into the hotel.  I crashed and then woke up to my alarm clock.  I set three alarms because I was worried I would oversleep since I wasn’t running on too much sleep.  I had my interview, which went really well and then I went to the airport.  I got a mani/pedi, which resulted in cutting it really close with my flight (priorities).

On the trip back, I got to hang out in two USOs (Denver and LAX).  Yay, my favorite travel lounges!  I even took a shower in LAX.  Then it was time for my flight back home.

On the way back, I was upgraded to Economy Plus.  It was perfect and I am hooked.  I did have one weird experience.  I went to the bathroom at one point and when I came back, something very familiar was around the neck of my next-door neighbor.  It was my neck pillow.  Unfortunately, I never learned “Excuse me, Sir, I believe you stole my neck pillow” in my Japanese class.  I managed to get it back at the end of the flight when I pointed out the difference between “airplane pillow” and my (amazing) “neck pillow” that was not his!  I think he was pretty embarrassed but really sir, we were only in Economy Plus- no way would a pillow that awesome be complimentary!

I’m back!

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