Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weather Forcast - Sunny, with a High of 81 degrees.....

No we haven't fallen off the face of the planet (that would be a valid excuse for not blogging) - actually this blog was left in the hands of me (Jess) and of course I forgot about it, procrastinated it,  and forgot about it again! So I apologize for not keeping all our friends and family up to date!

So to begin, it's the middle of October and I went to the beach this morning with the little guy I babysit for, Dylan. I had to put sunblock on it was that warm and sunny out!! Nothing like New England weather that's for sure (although a little New England birdie told me it has been quite warm up North as of late)!

Ok so in our last post, we left off with hopes of finishing our apartment and making it habitable - aka finding room for all of my clothes to go! Well we have done A LOT to get this place homey. We finished painting the hallway and bedroom, bought a new dresser with mirror for me (YAAAAYYY!!!!!!),  John built custom shelves in the living room, we bought a double papasan ,(which is currently acting as our couch right now and according to John, sports a "chain-mail" pillow), acquired a free table and four chairs from the family I babysit for the kitchen, and bought a new bike! Phew, lots of stuff and lots of emptying our pockets! Actually, we are bargain shoppers - 6 drawer dresser and mirror for $100! and of course, John is super handy and crafty so we have these great built-in shelves along the entire wall of the living room. They connect like puzzle pieces - literally! Very cool - we did, of course, leave room to mount a flat screen TV which we did NOT have at the time the shelves went in but since then, we bought a nice 32' to fit in it's rightful place!

Apart from all the apartment additions, we have been having a blast (as usual) exploring the city and doing fun and exciting things! We visited Fort Sumter (where the first shot of the Civil War was fired) which is located on an island out in Charleston Harbor. We took a ferry over to the Fort and got a tour of the area and got to roam around on our own. One thing is for sure, the Southern telling of the Civil War revolves around the issue of Slavery whereas the Northern perspective is much more vague! Also, the alternate name for the Civil War down South is "The War of Northern Agression"! Nonetheless, it's great being in a new place and experiencing everything from a different perspective. My EMT classmates have been great in giving me tips on things to do and not to do in Charleston. Good bars, restaurants, slang-terms, local idiosyncracies etc. are working their way in mine and John's daily lives!

We've gone out to eat at a few great places - Poogan's Porch, Muse, Vendue Inn fooftop bar, Tabbuli, and our favorite from our trip in May, Kickin' Chicken. We had a gift certificate to Poogan's Porch and liked it so much that we made reservations for Thanksgiving! Muse was amazing - mediterranean food with a wine bar (our favorite!!). We had a table by the window upstairs and people watched right downtown! Sometimes, with excellent food comes eye-popping prices and that's exactly what John's eyes did when the bill came! hahaha it was totally worth it though and we both want to go back! One other weekend we ended up at Kickin Chicken for a casual dinner, a bucket of beer, and football games. It's true that football is a religion down here - two different games were on (Clemson and USC) in the bar and boy were the people rowdy! It was tons of fun and afterwards we walked all over downtown and ended up at the Vendue Inn Rooftop bar. It was gorgeous! Funny story - we stumbled upon it from the back entrance and we were shown the bar entrance by a very nice bellhop. The elevator to the rooftop has an outdoor entrance and usually, a line. However, our bellhop brought us right up to the bouncer, let us through in front of the other people in line and up we went! What service right?!?! We had a couple very delicious margaritas and enjoyed the skyline view of Charleston. Perfect evening! Pedaling back a few weeks, John and I went out to eat during Charleston Restaurant week. During this week, many restaurants sport special 3-course menus for $20, $30 or $40 per person. It was awesome! We chose to try the Tabbuli grill - yet another Mediterranean grill - and had delicious wine, felafel, and a lemon grilled chicken dish! However, for me, the most exciting part of the night was the ambulance arrival for one of the Chef's who had a seizure. I was completely enthralled! John was laughing at my excitement of course and sure enough, I was mouth-agape watching the EMT's and Paramedics bring a combative man from the kitchen and cart him off to the hospital. Fantastic! It's these moments when I feel like I've found the career field of my dreams (the medical field in general)!!!

My EMT course has been flying by and I have been absorbing every little bit of it! I've completed two ride-alongs in which I essentially "shadowed" the crew on the Charleston County ambulances. I saw some psychiatric, cardiac, motor vehicle accident, and if you can believe it, cat-scratch patients on my rides. Although no "crazy" accidents, I learned a lot from my mentors on those days and took vital signs for most of the patients! Two long 12-hour days later and I'm still interested in becoming an EMT!

John has been STILL having a great time teaching those 8th graders! Besides the minute and frustrating administrative and technical hiccups that come with all jobs (especially in a middle school), his students have been doing really well with the material John has been molding their minds to learn. He is more  ahead in the curriculum than the other teachers and the Principal just raves and raves about him! I don't think any of his co-workers can say that John is under-achieving in any way shape or form. He has even gone above and beyond and started a 2-day-a-week before school session for the kids who need to be challenged more in their classes (John teaches a basic math course and Algebra 1). I mean, John doesn't prefer the mornings by any means and here he is sitting with 13 year-olds for an extra hour a day! What a champ! ;)

In addition to his full time job - John's started a tutoring business (business cards and all) for a little bit of on the side jobs! Geesh! It makes me exhausted just typing it and of course makes me think I need to get more things on my table (besides delicious meals that I'll be cooking wiht my new Kitchenaid Mixer---thanks MIMI and POPPY!!)!!! One of mine and John's favorite stories about the ridiculous 8th graders has to do with a student handing back in a test for partial credit. John will allow his students to make up any work that was answered wrong for partial credit. But, he gives 1/2 a point for trying a problem regardless of accuracy. So, this one boy handed back a recent test with his new answers to earn a few more points. However, when John looked it over, EVERY single answer for EVERY problem was written by the student as "1/2". He thought that John writing 1/2 next to the answer he got wrong was his way of telling the kid the answer!!! Absolutely hysterical! One thing's for sure, 13 year olds are pure entertainment.

PHEW --- lots written already --- but there's still more! Ok here it goes quick:

     We've visited the Aquarium downtown (lucky duck John gets in for free as a teacher) and felt like little kids again walking around looking at fish and a sweet albino alligator named Alabastor.
     We spent many days biking downtown (well individually since we only bought one bike) and checking out the farmers market in one of the parks downtown that is held every saturday. Good food, art and gifts are under tents and it's free to everyone! We've biked down to the waterfront and harbor, checking out sunrises, sunsets, and lightening storms!
     John went to Columbia (state capitol) with the 8th grade - 425 students + 18 teachers + The City = CHAOS! They visted the state museum and checked out some of the state buildings and toured the city a little bit - very cool!
     One week of running around, LOTS and lots of moolah, and headache later, I finally registered my car in South Carolina and got SC license plates!! Exciting to be a resident (or on the way to be) but sad to throw away my Mass plates :(
     Lastly, I just got back from a weekend trip to Mississippi visiting Christina! Had a blast checking out the city, USM, hanging with her friends, and going out dancing (at least for a bit and at a CRAZY country bar hahah). It was great to see her and get some girl time in (no offense John ;) hehe)

So I wrote a novel. Hopefully it isn't too much to read in one but thats what I get for waiting too long to update the blog! Now it's time for a jam shesh with wine, music, and John on the guitar - one jar of wine corks down, many more to go!!

Love you all and miss you like crazy!
Jess and  John

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week two!!!!

 Another week has flown by down South and I (Jess this time) can't believe it's September already! The weather has been great and we've been working on getting the apartment set up and enjoying the city. We FINALLY bought a mattress and bed frame! Bye-bye air mattress - I sure won't miss waking up on the solid wood floor every morning! We found a great re-sale company called Tidelands in Mt. Pleasant that sells overstock, returned, and somewhat disheveled items. Got a queen foam mattress and frame for $180!! (mom was proud haha). We also acquired a beautiful black desk through tidelands that is now holding John's computer! Over all the apartment is looking great we just have two rooms and two closets left to paint from that hideous yellow, ugh its gross. I'm not sure why anyone would try and attract tenants using this color its a mixture of vomit and urine (this is John writing at this point in case you can't tell)
     Our experiences in the past week have been AMAZING!!! I can't tell you how much I am loving my new job, the people and the city and how happy Jess is with the family she is nannying for and actually beginning her EMT course. My position with Cario Middle school has been great they are very supportive of new teachers and are very receptive of my teaching and learning styles. The kids are also great and motivated to learn the material and go above and beyond in their math learning capabilities. Fan-freakin-tastic!!! haha
     Story time: while we were out in downtown Charleston on Saturday afternoon we had an interesting time walking around, window shopping and people watching (they are hilarious) needless to say I was walking and people watching and Jessica was window shopping and more window shopping. After we walked for a good three miles downtown and back to our car. A shorter african american man approached us carrying a hammer... yes a hammer. He wanted to sell me the hammer for two dollars so he could buy a sandwich. Regardless of how desperate someone is they should never approach anyone asking for money and wielding a hammer. After saying that I already had a hammer (which I do its very nice) he insisted I should buy the hammer and he lowered his price to a dollar. Knowing that there were no McDonald's close by and that a dollar menu is near impossible to find in that area I just told him I would buy him a sandwich because as everyone knows that dollar that you give someone for a sandwich inevitably becomes a bottle of something. So I walked with him (and his two friends that had come out of nowhere) down to the corner store (which had no sandwiches) and bought him (and his friends) a frozen Pizza. After assuring me they had a way to heat the pizza I went back to jess who had locked herself in the car and was sure that I had been mugged or beaten and left for dead in some ally. Moral of the story: I have three friends in downtown Charleston that owe me a pizza one of these days haha. Great times in the south... :)
     Oh and we went to great restaurant the other day. Basil, its a Thai restaurant that seems to be pretty popular most nights of the week. Great food, amazing Mojito's and lovely cooks that you can watch while you eat (through this glass bar that you can sit at, they look like mice in a cage) anyway great time. I think that next week we are going to try and get a bite at S.N.O.B. (slightly North of Broad) which looked alright  and is called snob, who wouldn't want to eat there it has high class written all over it.
     As for the apartment hopefully we can get the bedroom tackled within the next week and maybe the closets as for the kitchen its on the list but will take a bit to get to. I'm really hoping to install shelving in the livingroom soon as we really need some more surfaces to put all of our things (ie Jessica's things) on. Hope all is well in the New England area (specifically Chatham, Durham, and Auburn!!!) and that hurricane last week didn't leave too much of a lasting impact.

John and Jess

oh and by the way we looked it up and the average high temperature in Charleston in January is 60F...just saying

New Bathroom!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week one...

     So at the end of our first week we find ourselves sprawled on our blow up matress (yes we still have to buy a real bed) looking at our ALMOST furniture-less apartment haha. friday we bought a disheveled looking dresser that was missing a few knobs and looking like it came out of an abandoned building and in need of a little TLC. $50 and two days later we have a beautiful looking white dresser with two kinds of silver knobs. Fantastic! We now have one piece of furniture WOOHOO!!!! haha. Oh and our living room is finished being painted a lovely sky blueish color. Now time for the other 4 rooms plus two closets.
     Work wise we are both doing great! I started my first week of real teaching (meaning I'm now getting paid...well in three weeks I'll get paid hahah)!!!! It was great so far the kids are really polite and well mannered (its still the honeymoon period with them so hopefully it doesn't get too bad) they all complete their work except for a select few who I'm sure I will get to know really well :). As for Jess she began her nannying position with a wonderful southern family taking care of two amazing young boys who are hilarious. After helping her for an afternoon I can safely say that they are two of the best behaved children in SC maybe in ME too haha. She also started her first week of her EMT course which has been a little harder than she thought at first. She actually has to read and maybe even study a little haha. I don't think she realized what she signed up for....no she did but it will take a little work. Over all we are doing amazing and I can only hope it keeps getting better and better!!!
     Story time: so friday night there was supposed to be a hurricane. We didn't prepare ourselves at all despite school closing and people in downtown charleston boarding up some windows. Turns out we had about an hour of rain and maybe gusts of 30mph....we thought we were going to die haha. Actually we went out to dinner to this little place called Toast (actually its a tourist trap haha) but we LOVE it because there are BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS!!! can you say buzzed?! :) we walked down to the water and had a fantastic evening it wasn't even windy. The only downside to the evening was Jessica's blisters she had from her recently repaired shoes...6 inch high heels insane. how anyone can walk around in those and not fall over is beyond me. Anyway time for dinner and getting some school work done hope NE is amazing as always!!

-John (and Jess but i wrote it) :)

Here is the dresser :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On the Road

Today was an epic journey! We left Maine at 8am but of course didn't actually get on the highway til 9 haha. The first few hours went by quickly and soon we were waving goodbye to Maine and counting the "Welcome To _____" signs. Funny enough, we realized we wouldn't be seeing many of these states for at least 4 months (our poor mothers are probably crying reading that sentence -- love you!).

We made it to Ashland, Virginia when we couldn't stand our numb butts any longer. Camped out in a Holiday Inn, instead of sleeping we are blogging. Why? 'Cause we are still college students at heart and can't go to bed before midnight on principle. Also, we figured this was easier than sending a thousand individual notes to a million people about our Charleston adventures! Needless to say we are excited and anxious to get to Charleston and off of Rte. 95! Empty apartment with no furniture -- here we come! 14 hours from now (12:06am) we will be pulling up to our driveway cheering for joy and doing our happy dances :)

Now time for bed! Busy day tomorrow!