Settling in to North Carolina

This is going to be a quick post because I’m just not feeling very motivated to write. But I know some of you are itching to know how things are going in North Carolina. This post might be all over the place and I apologize for that. In fact, I’m going to break it up into critical pieces of my life right now so it will focus me a bit while I type.

1. House

On January 9th I got the keys to my apartment in Wake Forest, NC. It is awesome! I wanted somewhere that was quiet and relaxing, not in the center of downtown but not in the sticks either. I’m 18 miles north of the center of Raleigh and right along Capital Boulevard which leads straight north out-of-town. It’s an awesome location because I can be to almost anywhere in Raleigh or Durham in 30 minutes. I got a two-bedroom place that faces the small lake in the complex, which is just one of the many things I liked about this community. There are 288 units but broken up into buildings of just eight, four on the top floor and four on the bottom. I’m on the bottom, which I prefer so I don’t have to worry about my workouts waiting up my neighbors. I have a full kitchen, a washer/dryer, and a screened-in patio with a storage closet. AMAZING! I can’t wait to sit out there and watch the ducks float around once it gets a little warmer (although it’s 50 degrees outside today, so that isn’t bad!).

I’m still working on furniture (as I write this while sitting on the floor)… I’ve ordered a dining table and server, as well as a sleeper couch for the second room. My thought is that down the road I will buy a new bedroom set for myself (mine is still a full) and then I can shift my bed into the guest room. I also bought a few lamps and a tv stand, since I got rid of a ton of stuff in California. The next big thing on my list is a living room couch and/or chairs. Ugh. Such grown-up things to have to buy! The community here also has a pool, 24-hour fitness center, free DVD rentals, a car-wash station, a business center with free printing, and valet trash. Like I said, I love it here so far!

2. Job

This paragraph will be short, so I’ll rip the band-aid quickly and get it over it. I don’t have one yet. I’m applying like crazy, but nothing yet. I have taken a few placement tests this week for curriculum developer or content editing positions, so that’s promising! I’m considering looking into a job placement agency to help break me into mid-career jobs. It seems like everything I’m finding is either entry-level, hourly tutoring or non-profit CEO/Director positions I don’t quite qualify for. But it’s only been a week, so I’m still hopeful that the right opportunity will present itself!

3. Church

This has probably been the most exciting part of moving here so far. I have reconnected with friends from The Community Church back in Ashburn, VA who recently moved to Knightdale (an eastern suburb of Raleigh) to plant a new church. I’ve been to a few interest and membership meetings and am really looking forward to getting involved as the church launches. In the past, I have found great churches but never gotten fully “plugged in” because I always felt like leadership or volunteer groups were already well-established with people who had been together for years. The Edge Church will launch on February 22nd and I am already so excited! If you’re curious about the church, check out the website linked here. And get ready for updates on this as time goes on and I figure out where God decides to use me in the church.

4. Volunteer

In addition to work with the church, I have already reached out to the Girls on the Run chapter here in Raleigh. Because my job situation is up in the air, I didn’t commit to coach this season. But I will be helping plan and run the end-of-semester 5k race! I love this organization and how positive and supportive it is to young girls trying to figure out life. And it’s been awesome how welcoming this leadership has been in such a short time. I’ll let those of you in the area know more details soon, but for now if anyone wants to come support 800 elementary school girls and their running buddies on April 11th… let me know!

5. Friends

It’s been cool to see who is coming out of my past to reconnect with me now that I’m in a new place. Karen and Pete have been great to see and I look forward to joining them at church. But also, some friends from college have been in touch and we have plans for future dinners and UVA sporting events. Additionally, some high school friends are in the area and want to get together soon. And I have extended family scattered throughout the region! If any of you are nearby and want to get together, let me know! In an effort not to overdo things, I have not been to any meet-up events or UVA alumni functions that would introduce me to entirely new groups of people yet. I have a few penciled in over the next few weeks, and I’m excited to make new friends… but I’m also excited to be in my own space with my things unpacked and my schedule completely open 🙂

6. Fitness

This will just be a quick teaser, but I started a new fitness program this past week in an attempt to get back in shape after a fairly exercise-free fall. My good friend, and former teammate, Holly has become a Beachbody coach recently and asked me about joining one of her challenge groups. I put it off until now so I could have a TV and DVD player set up to run the program. But I’m excited about it and haven’t hated the home workouts like I thought I might. There is a nutritional piece to the Beachbody program as well, so I am getting back to healthier eating again too. If you want to know more, Holly posts on her blog all the time about her workouts and nutritional habits! Oh, and my half marathon training starts next week which will begin a long few months of running in the cold… Yikes!

Okay, okay… I said this was going to be short. That’s all for now but I’ll try to write again sooner than later!

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30B430 – Balboa Park Edition

Now that the cat’s out of the bag about my big move back east, I can admit that my “30 Before 30” project has secretly been a “30 Things To Do Before Moving” list. I turn 30 on December 2nd, but I hop in a car to leave California (at least for now) on November 24th. This cuts right potentially critical days off my 90 day project, yikes! But I’ve been making great progress in the last week and have managed to cross four items completely off, as well as two taco shops.
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This post is the Balboa Park edition because last Tuesday I spent the day exploring the greenest space in downtown SD, home of most of our museums. Unlike Washington DC, you have to pay to enter the majority of museums here. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t mind taking advantage of deals offered either. Every Tuesday, certain museums in Balboa are free to residents of SD County. Conveniently enough, the Model Railroad Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center were both on my 30 Things list and are both free on the first Tuesday of each month. So I hopped in the car and headed south last Tuesday afternoon!
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My first stop was the science center and it was full of excited children. They had an interesting exhibit on illusions set up, which I enjoyed walking through, as well as a weather section and DNA exploration. I enjoyed this museum and appreciated that everything was extremely hands-on, but I will admit that most of it was geared for younger children. There were a few IMAX films coming out that looked interesting though.

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From there, I detoured into the Natural History Museum, another free option for the day, and took a quick loop. Stuffed replicas of ancient animals aren’t super exciting for me, they fall into the same category as wax museums for me, but there was an impressive shark hanging from the ceiling! A portion of the museum was closed as they set up a large King Tut exhibit, which looked promising. But I didn’t spend much time there this week. Since I was waiting for X to join me in the Model Railroad Museum, I popped into the Timken Museum of Art. At the risk of sounding uncultured or difficult to please, I have to say that art museums don’t do it for me either, lol. I enjoyed the small museum and even saw a few paintings that were pleasing to my eyes (and understandable to my brain) but again, I’m not sure I would go out of my way to go again 🙂 Luckily after a short rest by the lily ponds, X arrived and we could go see the railroads!

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This was my favorite museum of the day by far. Not only were there many train setups, but each one had elaborate scenes around them. Some were designed to reflect trains and locations in the local area from the past while others were fictional scenes, but I loved them both! We had trains growing up and the smoke pellets brought back pleasant memories. The museum did a nice job of explaining differences in sizes of trains and tracks, as well as describing the history of the museum and its creators. There were conductors operating each section that was being run and the older gentlemen were more than happy to answer questions or explain the layouts. These volunteers were all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their craft, which I always love to see! This museum isn’t overly large, but I would recommend it for all ages and groups. It’s cute and informative and well-done.

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After the trains, I had a few errands to run elsewhere in the city. Then I circled back to Balboa for a musical performance at the Old Globe Theatre. I saw Allegiance here a few years ago and more recently saw a Shakespeare performance in the open-air theater attached to the Old Globe, but I was back for more. My friend, Aswin, has a SD list of his own and on it was to see a performance in the Old Globe. So he told me to look at the upcoming shows and pick one that looked good. I settled on Bright Star, which is a new musical produced by Steve Martin, and added it to my 30 Before 30 list. I’m not sure Aswin was too sure of my choice going in, but he’s a trooper and agreed. We were able to buy $20 under 30 tickets, which allow younger adults to see performances for cheaper on weeknights. All we knew from the quick synapsis was that a soldier was returning from World War I to a small town in America. And there would be singing, lol.

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I won’t spoil the story for those of you in the area who might be interested (you should be!) but I will say that it was an outstanding performance. The general plot was a twisting of stories and tales of various members of the soldier’s hometown. But they were intertwined and told in such a way that at intermission, we had no idea how the pieces were all going to be connected. How awesome is that? And the singing was not constant, but was very folksy when it was happening. The most interesting part to me was that all of the characters moved the set constantly. The scene changes were incorporated into the storyline and everything flowed together. Also, a portion of the live band was on the stage in a house frame on wheels. Again, they went from being in the background just playing to the foreground where they were subordinate characters in the story. Props to Steve Martin for keeping us entertained and engaged throughout the entire performance! And if you live in San Diego, I recommend you check it out before it moves on in mid-November!

As mentioned in my previous 30B430 post , I’ll save all of my taco shop reviews for one big post. I’m down to only two left to try! I will briefly mention that I went to Casa de Bandini last week as well, but I wasn’t blown away. All of the food our group tried was GOOD… which isn’t what I should be saying after all of the hype. So I’m glad I went, but I waste more of your time describing the mediocre meal I had. As a teaser, I’m planning on hitting 3-4 more items on my list within the next week so check back soon for that post!

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