Friday, 23 May 2014

Farewell, Dear Readers...

After being read thousands of times by hundreds of people in a third of the countries in the world, I have come to my final post, sitting outside my gate at Dulles International Airport.

This morning I woke to pack up the last of my things, have breakfast and ensure that I had all the necessary paperwork in order. At 1:00pm I left Arlington with Caitlin's brother, Shane, who kindly said that he would drive me to the airport to save me lugging two bags in nice clothes throughout the metro and onto a bus. In plenty of time and running smoothly, I transitioned air side and grabbed a bite to eat before coming to my current chair, looking out at the 747 that will carry me home. 

I have enjoyed writing about my time in America and the amount of attention the blog has received has surpassed my highest expectations. So, it is with a heavy heart that I must bring it to a close at post 233 - not a particularly meaningful number, but perhaps this will give it some new meaning. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and I will return via a new blog once I am home, after a period of rest. It will not necessarily be a day to day account, but I will post the link on Facebook and Twitter (@BJpowell93) when I kick it off. 

So, despite my melancholic tone I am writing this post with a smile, thinking back on all the great times we have had this year. If you had asked me to describe my best case scenario of what this year could hold, it would not have come close to the real thing. It sounds cliché to say that this has been the best year of my life, but I must be trite. I could not have asked for more out of these nine months at Washington College, and I thank everyone here and at home who made it all possible. It is because of all of you that I had the chance to study abroad and that I had so many great times to write about here. 

Once again, I thank each and every one of you for following my international year and experiencing all it had to offer with me as I went: Crickets and routine shakers in the shower, day trips and road trips. Late nights and drunk nights, early starts and lazy brunches. First Fridays and farmers markets, fundraisers and family dinners. Coffee at Sam’s and drinks at JR’s, drinks at O’Connor’s and drinks at the Blue Bird. Drinks at Kent Crossing and drinks at the German suite…sorry, a slight tangent. Snow days and slow days, classes and deadlines. But most importantly, an endless number of amazing memories.

So, dear readers, I bid you farewell.

Mr Powell Has Gone to Washington. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Bite Out In Arlington...

Today, my final day of rest in the United States, was very much as it says on the tin. I spent the morning after breakfast watching lots of 'Suits' and doing a bit of writing. At midday I decided to step out into the 30'C of warm Arlington afternoon to explore the local area. 

After wandering a while, I decided to grab a bite to eat at a nearby bar and grill. So, I took a bar stool in the shade and watched the world go by with a sandwich and a cool pint. 

Returning home I watched some more 'Suits' and read for a while before eating dinner and watching 'The Holy Grail' - the perfect prequel to me returning to Blighty. This evening I ironed my nice clothes for travelling tomorrow and read a while longer. Now, I shall get some rest before the final leg of this wild journey.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

On The Road Again...

Today I bid farewell to the kind and generous people in Montville to begin the final stint of travelling before heading home. This morning I packed up the last of my things and cleared up the bedroom, ensuring that nothing was left behind (touch wood). 

For breakfast Sean and I headed to OHOP (Original House of Pancakes) to meet up with a couple of his friends - I did think it was better than IHOP. We ate and chatted for an hour or so, then it was time to head to the bus stop. There, I bid goodbye to Sean, looking forward to see him on home turf in a month, and boarded the bus into the Port Authority like I did on Saturday.  

It was a much smoother ride in to the city outside of rush hour and the weekend throng, until we hit the tunnel. With the Peter Pan Bus for DC leaving at 1:00pm and our bus still in the tunnel at 12:40pm a slight panic kicked in. But, we cleared the traffic and my purposeful stride took me briskly through the station, and down to the correct gate within minutes of the bus pulling up. 

Once on board I quickly decided that for $13, the properly air-conditioned, wifi accessible bus with power points, seat belts and leg room, made for the best value ride this year - cast your minds back to the aptly named 'Ming In Bus' service at Spring Break.

The ride into DC took four and a half hours, but I've become so used to long journeys that it passed by fairly quickly, and with two seats to myself I managed to get a bit of rest. We arrived in DC slightly ahead of time and then it was three-quarters of an hour on the metro from Union Station across to Arlington. 

Once again, I have been greeted with maximum warmth and generosity as another family has opened up their home for a random Brit to crash in for a couple of nights - mistake number one: they showed me where the tea is. I chatted with Caitlin's brother and sister and ate, before meeting her parents. Unwinding for the evening, I am looking forward to a lazy day tomorrow to fully recoup before the final flight on Friday.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A Day At The Seaside...

Yesterday was a very lazy day spent writing a lot and playing the piano. In the evening after dinner, Sean and I met up with Lindsey at the local diner for a snack before she heads home to Utah. So, I managed to tick of two things I have been neglecting in the states this year; diners and loaded potato skins. 

Today we headed down to the seaside on what has been the warmest day since we arrived in New Jersey. It was a great last day here with very much a holiday feel, enjoying the warm sand, boardwalk food and dipping our feet in the chilly water.

Arriving back in the afternoon, the rest of the day was spent sorting out any last bits, including printing my bus ticket for tomorrow down to DC. I also loaded up some books on my kindle and finally opened the mini bottle of Southern Comfort that has been on my desk all semester - a toast to a great year and another excellent and much appreciated stay in Montville. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

First Communion...

Today, after a Granata-size breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs and toast, we dressed smartly for Sean's cousin Jessie's first communion at his church. We arrived at the church by midday and the service then took about an hour and a half. 

Afterwards, we headed to Uncle Joe's for some food, drink and it gave me one last chance to thank the extended family for hosting me and giving me yet another new and fun experience during this year abroad. 

We came home early in the evening where I played piano for a while, caught up on blogging and, you guessed it, began hungrily eating through the third season of 'Suits' - twelve to go...

Nosing Around NBC...

Yesterday was an earlier start as I made sure that I had everything with me I needed for my last visit into NYC before I head out for DC on Wednesday. Sean drove me to the bus stop with my holdall and I took the bus into the city and the Port Authority. From there, I took the metro a short way and finally walking to Sutton Place, where my godparents were staying. 

After a quick catch up in the room we walked down the street to the local patisserie for some food and a drink before walking down to the river. There, we caught the ferry across to Williamsburg in Queens to see the food markets. Walking into the district we passed through the brewery quarters, stopping off for a drink in a local pub. 

We continued walking down to the Williamsburg Bridge, which we crossed to get back to Manhattan. Taking the metro I travelled as far up as Rockefeller Center to meet up with Jack, a new contact who works in a studio at NBC. I had a great tour around the studio before finishing up the day at an Irish pub a short way from Times Square for a couple of hours. From there I walked the short way back to the Port Authority, where I caught the 8:30pm bus back to Montville.

Friday, 16 May 2014

A Little Fall Of Rain...

Today our spell of hot, sunny weather was broken by a day of near continuous rain and downpours. However, after getting ready for the day, Sean and I drove to the nearby shopping centre and spent much of the time inside, so we only had to brace ourselves to and from the car. 

So, after several bank stops on the way, we grabbed lunch and did some clothes shopping. I, after many years of service and many back-handed remarks this semester, decided that the pairs of capris have had their day. We made a stop at American Eagle so that I could get a couple of new pairs of shorts in the sale for the upcoming warm days and, with any luck, some sunny weather when I get home. After that, we spent time getting Sean business clothes for his internship in Ireland.

All done with shopping the afternoon was still young, so we headed across the car park to the cinema, where we spent a couple of hours watching the new 'Godzilla'. Now, I'm not usually hyped by disaster/monster films, but I think it is well worth watching. And, not to sound too pseudo-intellectual, some of the shots and sequences were really impressive and effective. 

Following a drive through sheet rain to Montville, we ate dinner and then sat down to 'The Great Gatsby', which I haven't seen since almost exactly a year ago to the day, which is also when I began working on the current book project. I did indeed do some writing and caught up with a belated post for yesterday. I finished off the night with some more book and the final episode for season two of 'Suits'. Only the third season left and with no way of watching the episodes when I get home, I have a week to hit sixteen episodes - more than doable.