The "Triangle" (Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham) trip was full -- lots of driving, walking, closed venues, humidity...
We started the day early, because we wanted to pack enough in. The triangle is just over an hour away, and we arrived in Chapel Hill around 9:30. Our first stop was the UNC Botanical Gardens -- a request of my mothers. We had a great tour guide named Ina, who told us all about plants native to the region. We explored the gardens for about an hour. I wish I knew more about plants to have been more involved in the tour.
We went to downtown Chapel Hill to look for lunch. Eventhough it was only 11 am, I had been up since 6:30 and was pretty ravenous. We ate at Panera Bread -- good place to load up on your carbs! :o) We had thought about exploring downtown CH a little more, but we wanted to get to Raleigh and didn't know how long it would take us to find our next destination.
NC is a gorgeous state, and Chapel Hill is no exception. It's great to see all the greenery throughout the residential and even in the business districts. Some of the neighbourhoods we drove through looked pretty upscale too, with large custom homes and fantastic yards.
After another stint on the expressway, we got into Raleigh and headed for the State Farmer's Market. Located on NC State Univeristy campus, this place puts 'ol St. Norbert to shame! Lots of vendors selling produce, baking, flowers, crafts and more. If I had been going straight home, I probably would have shopped more. The place was packed with people, all friendly!
When I'd been researching the triangle area for things to do, I came across listings for different Breweries and Brewing Companies. I thought it might be neat to take my dad to one, who likes his ale. The first one I looked up was the Carolina Brewing Company in Chapel Hill, but I soon found out that the location is more of a pub and less of an actual brewing facility. (Later I found out that their loaction in Pittsboro offered tours and tastings.) My computer konked out on me before I could properly research my second choice -- Big Boss Brewing Company. I had a magazine that mentioned the place, and said you could take free tours. After we relentlessly hunted it down (literally), we were disappointed to find out that the tours only occur on once a month, and we choose the wrong weekend. Big Boss bummer!
By this time we were pretty exhausted, and decided that it might be good to check into our hotel by RDU (airport) for a little bit of a rest. We didn't really know what we wanted to do next, but we all agreed that it should be indoors and close by. That pretty much only left shopping centres -- so we picked the Southpoint Street Crossings Mall. It's more of a higher-end centre, big an beautiful with lots to look at! It's too bad we weren't in the mood to enjoy it more, but we mostly just wanted to kill time before dinner.
I wanted to try out a BBQ restaurant for dinner, and found a listing for Danny's near our hotel. Well, after looking and looking for a little hole in the wall (hard to find) place in a business strip, we found out the place is only open from Mon-Fri. Since we didn't have a second choice picked out, we consulted the GPS for our list of options and found Kemps Seafood. We still enjoyed our meal, but it would have been nice to treat my parents to real BBQ while they were in the south!
Back at the hotel, I could hardly keep my eyes open past 9 pm (lame). After sharing breakfast with my parents, I decided that I couldn't put off the inevitable and prepared to leave them there for the airport shuttle to pick them up. My mom was a little concerned about me finding my way to the interstate again (without getting turned around), but I assured her I would be fine. We exchanged some bittersweet goodbyes, and I left. Made it home without one wrong turn! That's a good sign, right?
So now I'm really on my own. Part of me is sad, but a larger part is just ready to get the rest started. I came home and finished unpacking my boxes -- sorting through the rest of the stuff I'd brought with me. Tonight I will do some work for school, and tomorrow I have another orientation. Time will go by quickly, I think, and it won't seem so bad not having my favourite people around me all the time. This is what I wanted -- not to be seperated from all of you -- but to challenge myself to explore step outside of my comfort circle and gain the strength I need for myself, by myself! How very inspriational, I know. ;o)
Just a few not-so-random shout outs to those who have left multiple comments. Sometimes I comment on your comments underneath, so if you asked a question or said something witty you think I'll notice, check there first. I can't comment on everything you leave, but I'll try to keep as best I can. Here are a few I'm catching up on...
Steph -- To calculate from degrees F to C... subtract 32 and then divide by 1.8. I'll probably flip-flop back and forth from C to F, depending on what I'm talking about. And if you think that 29 is cold... It's one of the highest temps that they've had back home all summer!
The apartment is pretty white, which was bothering me when there wasn't much in it. Once I get some stuff on the walls, it will look and feel much more like a place I want to call home. It already does. And my mailing address will be in your inbox very soon. If anyone else wants it, just email me. But remember, once you have it, I expect you to use it! ;o)
Kimber -- Oh, a Smartboard is almost exactly like your description, except so much more awesome! Yes, you can use it as a monitor for your computer, but there are sensors in the board that respond to touch, so your fingers act as a mouse click! You can open and use apps, click on links and surf the web, even type and write without having to leave the board. The words I wrote in that picture were actually "drawn" on the board! It's even more nifty in person. ;o)
Barbs -- Hey... Maybe I will take you up on your poster offer. How It might take care of the starkness. And yes... Feel free to call (or text!) me whenever you need an interupption from your own school prep! :o)
Time for dinner. See ya!
*Waves to Mom and Dad, who will be reading this sometime soon... Yes, all that really did happen. That's why you're so tired and glad to be home!*