So, I am fresh out of college. And maybe not all of you feel this way, but I am sure a lot of you do: work is kind of sucky! Maybe the idea of working all day and paying my own electric and water bills is yay liberating....but the more college life drifts away into the archives
of my past....the more I appreciate and miss the years of scholastic labor!
(in the same way I miss the excitement of reading a good book for the first time....you can read it again or put it away for a while to draw out the conclusion, but it will never have the same pristine, innocent and gratifying quality as the first time you read it.)
That\'s how I feel about finishing college. It\'s a little bittersweet, I rushed through it to get the end, couldn\'t wait to finish and now I
realize how easy and fantastical it was- just like reading a book (or if that\'s not your cup of tea, watching a good movie), you\'re at a safe distance from the real world, but experiencing all the technology, history, politics, emotions, science that exists out there....
Well now I am in the real world. Sort of. In September of 2006 I said goodbye to Maine and Marblehead, my two homes, my family and my friends and boarded a plane for Italy. Since I studied here in 2004 I knew I had to return. Meeting someone I didn\'t want to say goodbye to made it a lot easier to come back.
So now I live in Brindisi, in the heel of Italy\'s boot. My life goes like this (in order of importance): I cook three course meals every day, I have a fervor for saints days (no work, no school, lots of eating and family time and the street festival), I live around the corner from a Pizzeria, a fish market, two bakeries, four butcher shops, a 24 hour coffee bar, and a fruit and veggie market. I integrate all the American holidays I can into these holidays (THanksgiving, halloween). I work part time as a teacher for a school located on the United Nations Logistic Base.
July 25th 2009
When driving through the Redwoods National Park or any redwoods scenic byway, just plain ignore the mileage thinking you can estimate how long it will take. Between stopping to gawk in awe at the giants and stopping to catch your breath from near death from the foggy, unguardrailed cliff-winding, tourist-filled roads, it will take 3 times as long as you imagine. But well worth it. We stopped at the first park office and were told which roads our RV was prohibited from taking- good to know, so I'm glad we stopped and asked. Even the roads which were supposedly safe for RVs seemed pretty risky. We stopped for a look at "Big Tree"- the tallest tree on Earth and then went for a little hike which turned out to be a very long and lonely hike, ... read more
July 25th 2009
Our drive through eastern Oregon to Crater Lake gave a full impression of the hardships that lined the original Oregon Trail. Even today in 2009 the state is made very difficult to navigate through due to lack of signs, constant road work, and rollercoaster roads. The most shocking thing was the change from desert to volcano to near-rainforest weather. The moisture in the air went from non-existent to oppressive. When we approached the park office pay-$10-booth at Crater Lake and I asked if there was camping, I was given a mysterious non-committal response and told there was road work causing delays, the campground was "far away" and I should turn around unless I "really wanted to see the lake". By the girl's tone of voice she didn't seem to suggest I did really want to see ... read more
July 20th 2009
Our week stopover at Israel and Beth's home in Meridian, Idaho allowed us to take a break from the road. But not a break from activity! McCall On Friday we drove north to McCall where Beth's sister graciously hosted us at their timeshare lakeside condo. The temperature was about 15 degrees cooler than in the city and the breeze from the lake was much better than hot asphalt breeze from the road! Beth's brother-in-law and her nephews helped me learn to wakeboard. As I was floating along thinking that it wasn't so bad a deer sauntered over to the lakeside and began to drink- it all became a flash as the boat zoomed through the water and I was yanked up in a most unnatural manner. It probably lasted a second and half before I smacked ... read more
July 14th 2009
Zion National Park wasn't less beautiful or awe-inspiring than the Grand Canyon. It was as if we were inside the canyon so it was a very different experience and a very different kind of beauty. Instead of looking down and across, we were looking up and around. The entry was $25 plus another $15 because we are a camper and there is a very big tunnel that they'd close off to traffic to let us drive through. This soured our entry at first, but after experiencing the tunnel, all to ourselves, it was almost worth the total $40. The tunnel and all the roads are very believably an engineering masterpiece.... read more
July 13th 2009
The GRAND CANYON today. But first, a stop in Winslow, Arizona, along historic Route 66 to see the famous "Standin' on a Corner" park. The town was charming and all the people we encountered both passing through and stationed there were very friendly. Israel asked one guy if Vincenzo could pose on his Harley and he agreed, adding now's the time to buy them. We made sandwiches and sat across from the famous corner and people-watched. We didn't know how far we'd make it given our 200 miles behind schedule start and the fear of a traffic jam at the Grand Canyon. We thought we'd camp before the Grand Canyon, get up early the next morning and head north to Utah. When we arrived in Flagstaff at 1:30, a mountain top university town about 2 hours ... read more
July 13th 2009
Today I turned 25. At the International UFO Museum and Research Center the ticket seller asked me if I was turning 16. And I got carded for trying to buy an alien lighter for Vincenzo. Apparently you have to be 18 to purchase one. The museum had a lot of newspaper clippings and things to read so Vincenzo had a blast. The accounts of the initial 1947 Roswell crash were my favorite part because they seemed the most unaffected. The best was when the guy who found the crash site and brought his findings to the army ended up with a brand new truck and kept his mouth shut. Then we drove through Albuquerque to Laguna Pueblo. It was not what we had expected- the historic pueblo was centered around a mission church and there were ... read more
July 11th 2009
We stopped for American breakfast in town and Vincenzo ate 1 out of 3 pancakes. The landscape is much different and the heat is starting to get drier. We stopped in Historic Fort Stockton to check out the fort- the largest statue of a roadrunner was just a bonus. Hunger took over and Israel asked some guy working on a house where a good restaurant was. The guy looked at him blankly so Israel said, "OK, where would YOU eat?" and he gave us directions to La Rosita, even though he told us the wrong name. He must eat there often. It was very pink and decorative and there was music that Israel deemed a propitious with regard to the food. Then we went to the fort and took advantage of the interactive display. The fort ... read more
July 10th 2009
We got up early early to arrive in Houston by midday, about 350 miles. Sad to report that I saw no alligators throughout all of Louisiana or Eastern Texas. I saw a black floating scaly looking thing in the water, but I'd be lying to myself if I said I was sure it was a gator. Maybe a log, or maybe a dirty gator. I did see a whole bunch of armadillos, squashed like tires and one completely upside-down, feet sticking up in the air. The name of the game from New Orleans to Houston on I-10 is scary scary bridges. To leave New Orleans going west there is a bridge that spans at least 30 miles of swampy rivers and bayous. In a camper, frightening. There was another one that seemed nearly 90 degrees vert ... read more
July 10th 2009
We made our fastest trip yet, 320 miles in about 6 and 1/2 hours, including 3 gas station stops and 3 rest stops. The last rest stop in Mississippi before entering Louisiana has free wireless! The only state after Maryland that we found that nice amenity in. Upon arrival in New Orleans, I didn't even have time to panic about finding the RV park in the French Quarter because there were many strategically placed signs to help me find it very easily. Since we only had a few hours and I don't know my way around at all, I thought to find a riverboat and go for a ride along the Mississippi River. The receptionist at the park office was very helpful and even called the boat to see what their menu was. She drove us ... read more
July 10th 2009
Today's drive was much more enjoyable for the pilot. We left I-95 after an hour and have been taking state highways through Georgia and Florida that provide interesting scenery and velocity changes to keep Vincenzo from falling into a monotonous drone. The intermittent downpours also spice things up a bit. The navigator's day is nearly fulfilled at having spotted a wild boar grazing in the “soft-shoulder”, an armadillo whose vital signs were questionable, a fox the size of a gazelle fleeting across the road, and many flocks of white herons. I still want a 'gator but I can wait till Friday when my AAA book PROMISES me a gator sighting. We were warned against swimming in the swampy water at the Florida Caverns State Park campsite because of the gators, but I was dubious of their ... read more