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