Anyway, I should probably catch you all up to us and where we are in our "farewell tour". We had a wonderful time in Charleston. I'm not normally a beach guy, since it involves sand everywhere and sitting in one place for a long time, but the weather was perfect and just being able to sit in the ocean and float was pretty awesome. There's nothing like that feeling of going to bed still feeling like your floating in the ocean. We've decided to spend every anniversary we have on a beach somewhere...
Then it was off to our nation's capital. We got to stay with our friend, Matt, who was the most gracious of hosts (and offered to be again, for which we love him). There, of course, our main purpose was to get at least my visa for Saudi. This was filled with crisis after crisis.
First: we have to fill out an online form...fair enough. However, the online form requires a photo that is only 4k-5k. For those of y'all that don't speak computer...that's really freakin' small. Like can't see it small. It is almost impossible to get it that small. I say almost, because Matt somehow figured out how to do that...I think it involved his iphone and several google searches and loads of patience. But crisis #1 averted.
Second: I want to preface this by saying that I checked and rechecked that I had everything I needed to send in my diploma to get authenticated by the Saudi cultural mission. But I am an idiot. I took a look as we were about to head to the embassy...I did not put my transcript in like I was supposed to, but a recommendation from my first 8th grade team leader at HMS. Apparently, my sparkling recommendation was not enough, and we had to take my stuff back to the cultural mission to get my stuff authenticated before we went to the embassy for the actual visa. Now I want to make sure people know how nice the gentlemen at the cultural mission were. It took about 15 minutes and they even walked us out to make sure that we knew where the embassy was. Great guys...crisis #2 averted.
Now, one 90s dance party later, and we were off to NYC. By bus. Behind Mr. "I'mgoingtotalkonmyphoneloudenoughforeveryonetohearbecauseI'mreeeeeeeeallyimportant". Seriously...that was his name...moving on.
Fast forward to the present and I'm writing from Washington Heights in New York City. We've been able to do a lot of cool stuff including going to Brooklyn, which was just as hip as they say. The Brooklyn Brewery was pretty awesome though. The entire experience was made awesome by Eric and Lu. We are staying with them and they are definitely on the list of people I will be missing like crazy when we are off to travel the globe. It is so great to see people that are as smart and as fun as those two. We are able to make horrible puns that we sometimes have to explain (Lu's first language was Portuguese, though her English is just as good as mine) and then discuss educational reform all over dinner. It is also nice to see a couple at about the same stage in their relationship/marriage as we are. It is wonderful to know that you're not the only ones. Whether it's a cute thing or a fight thing...it happens to couples. We were actually talking about that today...how people quit so early in their marriages because it gets hard. Money gets tight, families have issues that seem to pop out of nowhere and every choice has to be made understanding that it affects another person. That stuff isn't easy or fun. But the key is doing that with someone who is worth it. Eric and I are lucky guys. Our wives put up with us not closing the shower curtain or an affinity for really depressing movies about South America. I can't imagine what makes me worth it.
But this brings me to the last thing I wanted to write about tonight...Amber and me. I've noticed that I'm not as freaked out by this whole thing as I probably should be. And I really think that's because Amber and I are going to be okay. On this trip we have been together pretty much every moment of every day since we left and it's been great. We get to continue building on the relationship that we've had since high school every day. This only gets better with things like this trip. I mean between the burping Hertz guy, pizza & halal meat at the Watergate, the great cardigan hunt of '10, and negotiating the NYC subway carrying a laundry hamper, we've got stories. And not just stories, but a shared experience. I always love hearing "he's been with her longer than he's been without her" when discussing older couples. That's incredible. Think of how much they've shared and how they've grown alongside each other. I look at this adventure in teaching internationally as doing exactly that but our way. I don't know about you, but I'm excited.