8/20/2014

Our Story - Honeymoon Adventures in New England - Boston (1 of 2)

As you may have read in my last "our story" post, getting to New England for our honeymoon was a little bit crazy. After finally arriving in Boston at 2:30 a.m. and crashing into our bed at The Beech Tree Inn, we woke up around lunchtime the next day ready to begin our Boston Adventure!

Days 2: Boston, MA

Since we had arrived in Boston so late at night, our first view of the city was not so exciting. However, I did learn that if you want to avoid traffic in Boston, drive the streets at 2:30 a.m. ;)

First thing we did after waking up was to meander downstairs and meet our B&B host - a very sweet, quiet, small lady with a little voice and a talent at making coffee and muffins. Seriously. She was the best. She gave us a couple city maps and some tips for places to see and sent us on our way full of yummy baked goods and hot drinks.



The weather was a bit cloudy and cool but warmer than we expected for NE in early April. We started off at the Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution Museum.




I'd never seen piers like what we saw in the Charlestown Yard. It was fascinating, and we spend some time walking along the edge and just looking. Northern waterways definitely have a different feel than Southern waterways. And a vastly different smell. I loved experiencing the new scents and sounds!

We then made our way to the USS Constitution Museum that's all about the history of "Old Ironsides," a national icon for over 200 years of American history. It was fascinating to learn about the battles she was in, the transformations she underwent throughout her career, and about some of the more famous crew members during her seafaring years. There were so many fascinating exhibits at the museum, and I would definitely recommend a visit there if you're ever in Boston.




Unfortunately, we didn't get to tour the ship itself since tours were closed the day we were there, but it was still awe-inspiring to see it from a distance.



After touring the museum, we decided to walk part of the Freedom Trail and make our way into the North End of Boston. As usual, I was so focused on the map that I missed one of the most obvious parts of the Freedom Trail until multiple blocks into our walk - the famous Red Brick Trail Blaze. I know, I know. Can't see the forest for the trees.


I totally had a nerding moment when I finally realized it and made a complete, excited spectacle of myself in the middle of a public street. Thank goodness I have such a good-natured husband who simply put his hands into his pockets and smiled at my freak out.  

Boston is beautiful, by the way. I loved the old architecture and the overall feel of the parts of the city we were in. 

 

We passed by the Warren Tavern, the oldest tavern in MA and founded in 1780. Notable people such as Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington used to frequent it. We then made our way up to the Bunker Hill National Monument commemorating the famous Battle of Bunker Hill fought on June 17, 1775. It was a bit shocking to have such open green space in the middle of crowded brownstones, and it was so quiet so far above the rest of the city. We spent a while just walking around and taking it all in. 


We then walked back down from Bunker Hill and crossed over the Charlestown Bridge and into the North End. The North End is known for its mostly Italian American population and its old history. People have continuously lived there since the 1630s! We followed the trail through Copp's Hill Burying Ground, by the Paul Revere House, and to Old North Church where Paul Revere hung his two lanterns warning the Patriots of the British advancement into Boston during the Revolutionary War on April 18, 1775. 


After that, we kinda got off the trail (since I'm known for being distracted and wanting to "go over here and look at this! Oooo! Look at that!") and "got lost" in the North End's Little Italy. It was amazing! We felt like we had stepped over the Atlantic Ocean and ended up somewhere in Italy. Beautiful, olive-skinned women and children dashed in and out of doorways, laughing and shouting something in Italian back to an unseen person standing inside, pasta ristorantes around every corner, and lovely, understated clothing stores tucked here and there. 

We happened upon a WONDERFUL, small Italian bakery called Bova's Bakery. We walked into the door and were instantly overwhelmed by the heavenly smell of fresh bread and a whole display of cannolis and colorful cookies and pastries. 


We're instantly greeted by an exuberant Italian man smiling widely and booming "Whaddya have? Huh? Want some canoli?!? Some bread?!? Get the scali! Fresh! Hot outta the oven!" So we got scali. And Oh. My. Goodness. This bread. Just look at it. 


We got a HUGE loaf for like $2.50, and I was in foodie heaven for the next few minutes as we continued to wander aimlessly through Little Italy. We walked by a cute, little Italian grocery, and as I glanced through the open doorway to look at the rows and rows of sausages and olive oils, I heard a voice calling me.
Bella! Bella signora. Benvenuti! Vieni dentro, bella donna.
I looked back into the store to see a little, old man dressed in a black suit and a grey golf cap sitting on a stool in the corner behind the door holding his cane in one hand and gesturing to us with his other. I usually don't let old men hit on me, ESPECIALLY now that I'm a married woman, but he called me "beautiful" in Italian!!!  I grabbed Levi's hand and dragged him in the store before he could protest too much. ;) The sweet old man kept murmuring about how lovely I was the whole time we walked around, and we ended up buying Italian chocolate and San Pellegrinos from the guys I assume were the old man's grandsons.

Excellent marketing ploy, gentlemen. ;)

We finished up Day 1 of Boston and Day 2 of the honeymoon at The Daily Catch seafood restaurant on Hanover Street in the North End, a little hole-in-the-wall place with almost no seating and even less room to move around. A Boston local, decked from head-to-toe in "Boston Strong" and "Boston Red Sox" gear recommended it, and he definitely did not disappoint. We had the clams linguini, the fried calamari, and more soft and fresh Italian bread. Again, I was in foodie heaven! I wish we had remembered to take a pic of our gorgeous pasta, but alas. We did not. You'll just have to take our word for how beautiful it all was. :)

Next "Our Story" post: Boston to Portland


8/13/2014

Jobs, Conferences, and Friends

My goodness, things have been crazy busy around here. I keep meaning to write another honeymoon post but keep getting sidetracked by everything that's been going on! Last Wednesday, I GOT A JOB! I've been searching for full-time employment for over two years now, so it was definitely a blessing to get the job offer. I'll be working with Georgia Power headquarters in downtown Atlanta, and I start in a week and a half. I'm a little nervous about the urban corporate job since I've never had any job even remotely similar before, but it'll be a challenge. I like challenges.

Since getting the offer, everything has felt like a complete whirlwind of getting the appropriate forms and paperwork completed and returned and getting follow ups scheduled to be sure everything is ready by the time I start. Yet another "new" thing with this job is all the paperwork required to work for a large corporation. I feel like I might as well be signing over my first-born somewhere amongst all the contractual terms. Regardless, very excited to start!

Levi has been working a lot recently. His job is very stressful and requires long hours more times than not. We're very grateful for the work for him but also hoping something lower stress with normal hours will come open in the near future.

Another thing going on that has been keeping us busy is that I'll be teaching at AWANA conferences around the state this month and next month. I've already taught one conference, and I have 3 more to go. I grew up in the AWANA program and have a huge part of my heart reserved for it, so I'm very pleased to be able to contribute to it by teaching at training conferences. For those of you that don't know, AWANA is a Bible curriculum used in hundreds of thousands of churches around the world to teach children, ages 2 through 12th grade, about God and the Bible. I love it. And I love telling people about it. My class at the conference focuses on AWANA International and what AWANA is doing overseas and how individual churches and AWANA clubs can get involved more with the international mission. Two things I love: AWANA and international missions. :)

Last weekend, we drove down to Warner Robins, GA, for the conference there. In the next few weeks, I'll be going to Dacula, LaGrange, and Augusta. It's fun and challenging to go and teach at these conferences but also exhausting. I'll be happy when we have our weekends back.

In addition to the conference last weekend, we also hosted some of Levi's "family" from Lebanon. They're on furlough to the States for the summer, and we were able to spend some time with them on Thursday and Friday. Levi hasn't seen them in person since he left Lebanon in 2012, so it was a true joy for him and them to be able to spend a couple days together. And I liked hearing some more about the stories and the people that made up Levi's life when he was overseas. The plan is to go to Lebanon next summer to visit them in return, but that trip is a bit up in the air now that I've gotten a job. We'll see how all that goes.

The last thing we've been busy with lately is getting more involved in a church in Marietta. We've been attending services for a couple months now and have been going to the young marrieds' Sunday School class for the past couple of weeks. We really like the classes, the teaching, and the people so far. One of the things that has been at the front of our minds ever since we married and moved to Atlanta is getting involved in a local church and local small group and making connections with the people there. Neither of us have any friends in the area, so it's great to meet new people and hopefully form relationships with a few of them in the future.

So yes. All that to say this: life is crazy busy and crazy beautiful. And God is good.

What's been happening in your life lately?




8/01/2014

Friday Fieldnotes

This week's favorites are a bit all over the map, but just go with it.

Death Comes to Pemberley

Photo from BBC and The Mirror
Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie in this period drama by BBC. William Darcy (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Darcy, née Bennet (Anna Maxwell Martin), have been now married for six years. Life is good. Suddenly, Elizabeth's sister, Lydia Wickham, née Bennet (Jenna Coleman), arrives unannounced with a screech of "MURDER!" Drama ensues in this mini-series not yet released in the US. (I watched it on a British site.) Based on a book by the same title.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love period dramas and anything Jane Austen, so this was right up my alley. :) And Anna Maxwell Martin is one of my favorite actresses (Becoming Jane, North & South, Bleak House [lead], and The Bletchley Circle [lead]), so I was happy to see another of her works. I would highly recommend Death Comes to Pemberley and other works AMM is in.

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs


Yes, I've been on a murder mystery kick. Not sorry.

I picked up this little novella on a whim in Barnes & Noble. Tea and murder mysteries are like period dramas and Jane Austen for me. I just can't resist, so I thought I'd give it a try.

It was actually very good! The series, Tea Shop Mysteries, is based around a tea shop in historic Charleston, SC, run by character Ms. Theodosia Browning, an amateur detective. When a man is murdered by poisoned tea at a tea function that she hosts, she just has to get to the bottom of it!

Lots of fun tea references and an engaging story line. I'm definitely planning on buying other books in the series (with fun titles like Dragonwell Dead, Scones & Bones, and Agony of the Leaves). 




Sleeping at Last's "Yearbook" album 


Sleeping at Last has been a favorite band of mine and Levi's for a long while now. Ryan O'Neal, singer-songwriter, producer, and composer is the sole member who creates such beautiful, beautiful music. And this album has been playing on repeat a lot recently.

If you're already a lover of Sleeping at Last or even if you have never heard of it at all, listen and fall in love. Some of the songs are available for listen here, and most (if not all) of the music is available on Spotify.

Seriously. Listen.









Blackberry Sage Tea, The Republic of Tea




The best. Black tea, blackberries, and white sage. Hot or iced, sweet or unsweet - it's my thing right now.

Buy here.