28 September 2008

Summer 2008

As overdue as this post is, I really want to recap my Summer 2008, starting with my return to the USA and ending just before the start of school.

I flew back into Indianapolis on Sunday, 29 June. It was the longest flight journey I've ever had, but more on that in my Australia blog that I've yet to finish. By the way, there's a perfectly good reason why I've not finished the blog yet, and that reason is that I don't want the trip to be over; I'm just not ready for that right now...

So I get in Sunday evening and am greeted warmly by my parents and Adam. I can't put into words the wonderful wave of happiness I felt when I saw them for the first time in so long! They had flowers for me, and took me to the one place I wanted to go upon returning to the USA: Steak 'N Shake. I had a delicious meal, great conversation, great company and an unbeatable, dearly missed milk shake. The evening was a bit sad when I had to say good-bye to Adam: he had a full-time job to attend to, and I was heading up to Anderson to visit with family and friends in that area. In just a few days I would be visiting him in just three days' time, so the first few days back were set for catching up with family.

Monday I slept but not as much as one might expect. I was up around 10a every day of my first week back. I had a lot to do in the next three weeks. A LOT of laundry and packing/unpacking. It really sucked when I realized I'd be living out of a suitcase for the summer after having done so as often as I had in the last half-year.

Mom and I spent a lot of time together while I was readjusting to life at home. I helped out with the daycare (man, I'd missed those little buggers), and we did yoga and ran. Daddy took me to the Texas Roadhouse for our evening together (mmm, cinnamon butter). I had a delicious steak that I'd been craving for several months. It was splendid to catch up with my parents in person. Skype is nice, but it's not the real thing.

Finally, Thursday arrived and I went to Indy to visit Adam! I can't tell you the joy I felt when I was able to spend time with him again. Oh, how I had missed him! That evening we hosted a party at his place, themed around the Fijian drink called Kava. We did drink some of that dirty, tongue-numbing water, haha, and we played beer pong, had some hookah, played some cards, and had a wonderful time. It was fun to catch up with his crew.

Friday was the Fourth of July. Adam and I celebrated with his family at a park. It was a lot of fun: great food, wonderful company, his nieces were warming up to me by then (they enjoyed catching the frisbee I'd toss to them), Adam and I lost at the egg toss right off the bat (in our defense we DID have a broken egg to begin with), and the weather was lovely. That evening Adam and I met up with a bunch of his friends downtown to watch the fireworks. Afterwards we celebrated Ryan Sexton's long-awaited 21st birthday. It was a great evening spent at the Claddagh Irish Pub. It was also the evening that someone snapped my favorite photo of me and Adam.

Saturday morning we drove up to Salamonie to camp with my mom's family. I enjoyed sharing Salamonie with Adam as he'd never been before. My mom and I got a run in while we were there, so that was nice. The weather was fair, and I was glad to visit with Brady, Tiffany and the girls. Hayley had grown up so much, and I got to finally see Lily for the first time - oh, she's a sweetheart! Both girls loved their souvenirs from Australia. I'll never forget when I gave Brady a lighter souvenir, and my realization that he'd recently quit smoking, haha. Tiffany liked the shell earrings I got her, though. Seeing Darin, Barat and their girls was pleasant, too. Gracie was doing so well, and Abby and Lexy were such cute little girls as they always are. And that was my first week back in the USA.

Monday I kept working on packing and unpacking and laundry. Tuesday I took a quick trip up to Purdue to visit with friends up that way. I met up with Nick See for some lunch, then Pirita joined us. We were supposed to see The Wanted, but Pirita had caved in and seen it without me, ergh! Instead, we had Sean over, watched a movie and had a couple drinks. I crashed at Nicks, and the next morning we had breakfast at Christo's. I'd never been there before, and I was very happy with the place.

By Thursday I was back in Anderson. Mom and I ran together at Shadyside with the Anderson Road Runners - SO much fun! I wish I'd ran with them while I still lived in Anderson, but I'm truly happy that my Mom has taken to running as well as she has. She makes me so proud! And now my Dad is into it, too - so good for both of them! What a great way to spend time with one another and socialize and keep healthy! After running with Mom that night we had dinner together at The Olive Garden - mmm! We are suckers for the unlimited soup and salad deal, hehe!

Saturday I had the great pleasure to spend a week at Dale Hollow with Adam and his family. The annual trip is Adam's very favorite, and I was glad to be a part of it. We stayed at Wisdom Dock in a cabin, but most of the time was spent relaxing, having fun, eating and drinking on the boat rigs (we had four boats strung together). The weather couldn't have been more perfect, the water was just right, and we had a blast! Adam and I jumped off the cliffs - that was a crazy fun thing we did, haha! Very thrilling, though! It was a lot of fun to have the pontoon with a slide - Adam absolutely loved doing wild jumps. Karen got some great photos! Ah, what an awesome vacation!

We returned to Indy after quite a fun drive, and that Friday we went to Dick's pool party at the West Chester pool. We started the evening off with a few games of bags. I was doing really well for some reason, haha. Pat let Adam and I try out some Red Hot hot dogs - pretty tasty! For the majority of the evening Michelle and I held the hookah table down with ease while the men battled it out at beer pong. It was a nice, laid back evening with friends.

By Sunday Adam and I were back in Anderson to wind things down before I flew out for my Orlando internship with Lockheed Martin. He and my parents saw me to the airport Sunday, and Jason Brooks, the friend from Purdue I would be living with for the duration of the internship who works in my office, picked me up that evening. There wasn't much settling in to do since I was living out of a suitcase for the next month (by this time I was really looking forward to moving in with Nick Peelman for 6 months).

Monday kicked off my first day of work. During the first half of my first week I did the basic intern/new hire stuff, some orientation and compliance training. From then until the second week I did some inconsistency discovery. I'll admit that it was tedious work, but I did a fantastic job and enjoyed those I worked with. My team was virtual, and so I gained some valuable experience in working in virtual environments.

From the second week and on I did the aforementioned project and a second, more enjoyed project: I coordinated the implementation of a team's resources onto a website. For example, the team had several documents they used, but these documents weren't in a central location. I worked with the website's technical team and the team with the documents to figure out the best way in which to implement the documents, etc. to this website. In the end the team had all of their documents in one place, allowing for better performance, money saved, and positive results all around. Working with people is what I enjoy most and do best, so it was a wonderful project fit for me.

During my stay in Orlando Adam visited me for a long weekend. We rented a car and checked out some apartments I'd hunted, and spent a day at Cocoa Beach. We had delicious pina colada's on the pier - mmmm!! I took him to a favorite restaurant of mine, Bahama Breeze, were we enjoyed a few drinks, a fantastic dinner, and later went on to City Walk for some night life fun! It was a great visit, and, as always, all too short!

The following weekend my mom, grandma and Aunt Dawn visited. Talk about an awesome girls' weekend! We rented a car and hit the beach at Melbourne. We spent a while searching for beach gear: mugs, booze, rafts, a new bathing suit for Aunt Dawn who figured out the secret of packing light: don't bring anything at all! Haha! Grandma brought back a shell pasty, haha, and my mom stated that she was surprised that she could retrieve that information in her current state when asked about a ride in a mall out at a previous residence. Oh, we had a great time. One night we even stayed out until 3am at City Walk, after a detour through downtown Orlando in search for Pleasure Island Drive DISNEY, not the neighborhood street, haha! It was a fantastic girls' weekend!

While I was in Orlando the Summer 2008 Beijing Olympics began. Phelps rocked the world when he broke the record for the most gold medals won for any one individual. What a way to go down in world history! He had some amazing races. I remember one commercial that demonstrated how super-human he is - that guy has a huge wingspan and is just engineered for speed. A human torpedo. I also remember a lot of hype about the age of some Chinese gymnast girls. The American gymnasts did very well this year, too. I loved the phone carrier commercial that had one of the top two American gymnasts as a butterfly; very cool.

When I flew in to Indy on the last Friday of my internship I was just stopping through Anderson because Saturday morning I borrowed my grandpa's Chrysler Sebring convertible to drive up to the Indiana dunes to camp out with Adam and his crew for their 6th annual trip up there. It was a blast! We had Top Dog hot dogs, flew off sand dunes, sculpted Egypt in the sand, played frisbee in the water, drank and gambled at the casino (Adam doubled his money!), and roasted marshmallows. It was a great trip with some great people!

During the next week Adam and I moved ourselves from Anderson and Indy up to Purdue for another semester of school. Adam now lives at College Station with 3 potluck guys who've turned out to be pretty cool. One is quiet and to himself, another is a friendly couch potato, and the third is fairly sociable - Jeremy. He's tossing around the idea of doing a work-study in Australia. Of course, I've told him to go for it a billion times.

I'm now living with Nick Peelman in a house just past College Station. It's really nice to live so close to Adam; it makes things a little easier, especially with having only one car between us right now. Ashes and McKenzie (Nick & Kelly's kitten) have been getting along famously, which I'm very happy about. The kitchen is huge, too, so it's perfect for me and Adam's fancy dinner nights on Wednesdays.

And that's my recap on the Summer of 2008.

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