ROAD TRIP! ROAD TRIP!!

So we are back!

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A little over 6,000 miles in all! And thanks to Gas Buddy- we never paid more than $3.39 for gas!

It was about a two week trip so I don’t want to post all of the photos- you all would be looking forever!!! And unfortunately, I wasn’t as conscientious about taking photos with the fabulous* family and friends that we visited- but it is difficult when you are having such a great time to *stop* and capture the moment with a camera!

SO… I am going to share some of my favorite parts of the trip! Other than visiting people we stopped at several Presidential Libraries, Universities AND* World’s largest roadside attractions! 🙂

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

World’s Largest Basketball -Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Knoxville, TN

                                                University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

World’s Biggest Steel Chicken! Marietta, GA

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, GA

16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL

World’s Largest Office Chair, Anniston, AL                                   

                                                                                   

               

                                       

                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mardi Gras Decorations, New Orleans, LA

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library,    Austin, TX


World’s Largest Fire Hydrant! Beaumont, TX

                                                             

                                                           

                                                                           

                                                                                 

                                                                                   

                                                                                       

                     

                                                                                     

 

 

Balmorhea National Park, Toyahvale, AZ

Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, AZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Largest Kokopelli (a Native American God), Camp Verde, AZ                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boulder, CO

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kansas      

Harry Truman Presidential Library, Independence, Missouri

World’s Largest Spinach Can, Alma, Arkansas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Clinton Presidential Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas

There were tons* of other sites that we saw including Central High School in Arkansas and Martin Luther King’s Birth home in Atlanta. It was an amazing experience– something that we could not have done without the people that we visited along the way. We are so grateful to have friends and family that are such kind hosts!!

After about 6,000 miles, I feel as though the biggest lesson to take away is how much everything depends on perspective. Environment such a great influence on who people are and what they believe. And of course environment is not only *where a person is reared but also the people who they are around… I know this seems like a simple lesson but it is a vital piece of knowledge that served as a good reminder before we head out on the *big adventure*.

During the next couple of years, we will have to articulate not only who we are as Americans– and also what America means to us, even if this is not something we clearly know how to say in Arabic- it will be an important piece of our own reflection. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to see parts of the United States that I had never seen before!!!

Who knew how exciting seeing tumbleweed for the first time before would be? (And I am not talking about the *urban tumbleweed* that D.C. has :] )

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starting a nomadic way of life…..

So… still no word from the Peace Corps. Naturally, I am nervous, we are moving back to Indiana in less than two weeks with no recent updates. But, as I have learned throughout the past two years…

“Patience is a virtue”

so, I will have to sit here and be patient. Which means, checking out blogs from other Peace Corps members. Writing emails to current volunteers and just recently returned volunteers, packing, running and planning a smaller road trip!!! Which makes us sort of more nomadic but… its exciting!!! 

We kicked off our sort of road trip to a visit to New York City this weekend, it was really fantastic! A little cold but all in all a great preview of the Big Apple. There is so much to do there and hard to decide where to go and what exactly to do, plus it is a little expensive. So we used this trip as a trouble shoot for our much larger road trip, saving a bit of money when we can but also enjoying what the city has to offer!  We stayed at this small hotel near to the Empire State building! Which, we did not* go up in because it was $22.00 per person, but don’t worry! For an extra $8.00 per person you can get an audio tour! Absolutely NUTS! But we did splurge on an off-Broadway musical called “The Newsical”, which is about current events!!! It was really funny! Except, there were times that Tyler and I were the only ones laughing… kind of strange? And we went to a comedy show! Also, something that is a MUST* SEE* in New York is the new 9/11 memorial, which opened in September 2011. It is, in a word, majestic. As it should be, Tyler said it in a way that summed it all together….

It is a final resting place for hundreds of people” 

The names, the water … everything was peaceful yet very moving. A definite* must see.

But, it was really difficult to keep on track with my training. I finally decided last week that I would be running in a half marathon in Birmingham, AL on February 12, 2012!!! Which is during the first part of our bigger road trip! Luckily, I did not have a big run but it reminded me that keeping in shape and eating right is something that will be difficult during the first couple months of our stay in Morocco. Being conscious of what we eat and being active are some themes that I have seen on current blogs of Peace Corps volunteers. So after the next month or so of training… it will be one of my goals to look into work out videos/dvds that I can take with me- so that excuses don’t catch up with me!!! 

I hope that we hear something in the next couple of weeks from the Peace Corps- but in the mean time… I will be patient while spending time in the city with friends, looking forward to family visits and planning the road trip! 🙂