Friday, November 16, 2012

Hey, Sailor...

Hey sailor, you need a date?

Language classes are intense. At FSI you can tell who the language class students are because they've ditched the suit, are toting backpacks and have a look of dread about them- probably most noticeable on their "presentation" day. It's not a fun part of the training, apparently. I wish Sean had the time or desire to write a post about it- maybe soon?

Since September I've had to revert to extreme measures in order to get Sean's attention or lure him away from his Bahasa Indonesia books but last weekend our computer decided to burn its guts out, which meant Sean had to leave his brain cave (computer corner) at some point. We had to take it into someone to fix but we sort of knew it was going to be bad news, which is really sad because that computer wasn't old at all, but most concerning to us was the amount of IMPORTANT stuff we had saved on that one. Would it all be lost? We had tons of files that are important plus pictures of our youngest son's birth family (we are very fortunate to have such a thing) and the videos. We saved several videos of him with his birth mom. The thought of losing all of that is unthinkable to us! I have those saved on my laptop as well but each copy lost is one less copy and that's not cool with me. Anyway, we dropped off the dusty CPU at the geek squad (whatever) where we learned that the CPU motor had burned out.   We were like..."Oh, that's why the computer was making that weird electric-ish burn smell last night." Then our guy directed us to buy a case for the hard drive- which worked great! This allowed us to retrieve all those precious videos and photos. But- the bad news was we needed to buy a new computer, the whole thing. Shopping had to be done, asap! Homework assignments were on hold without that computer.

 So, there was my chance for a date! My suami (pronounced Swah- meee /meaning husband in B. Indonesia) had finally gotten out of the house and was breathing real air - and that was all it took, he had broken free from book prison.

Here's where we went..
Old Town Alexandria, Va

Old Town is a beautiful old colonial neighborhood with all kinds of shops and interesting things to see.

This is the Torpedo Factory Art Center which is this beyond cool art palace. Imagine a place that was once an actual torpedo factory, filled with galleries and actual artist's studios and classrooms. It's a very friendly place- it's just amazing! Some of the artists are literally in there- like actually sitting there creating things and they say stuff like- "Welcome, hello!" as you walk into their space. It's incredible. The word incredible doesn't quite cut it... it's just so COOL- you gotta go see it and experience it for yourself.

This picture is of artist Kathy Beynette  (I really enjoy her stuff) who was there on the day we went. The Torpedo Factory is at the very end of Route 7, can't miss it if you drive all the way through Old Town Alexandria.

Behind the Torpedo Factory is a little boat dock and restaurant nook. It's just very quaint and has a great feel to it all. As you can see in the picture, we weren't the only couple taking a break. Looks like she caught her a sailor looking for a date, too!

There were beautiful boats of all types, cafes and street musicians, too. I happen to LOVE street musicians! Our favorite one here was this Asian guy, wearing a Russian fur hat as he blasted out a tune on his bagpipes. What more could you want? If you look closely through the red doors you can see him outside- sans the hat.

I would highly recommend spending a day visiting Old Town. It will take you back in time, sort of... I mean, it's hard to do that when there are so many modern things around, but it has maintained it's charm, that's for sure.

This is O'Connell's where we had a little refreshment break. Then we stepped out to stroll up and down the street a bit before we happened upon this crazy awesome ice cream place called Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream. Loved the ice cream place, we just loved it!

 Can I just say how incredibly different our little adventures are here in the DC area compared to life back on the Tx/Mx border? It's hard to explain just how much our world has changed in the last four months, since leaving Laredo. This is a picture of our old favorite date place- La Posada Hotel, where we would sit outside on this patio to enjoy a margarita and a plate of panchos!

If anyone is close to the Tx/Mx border and misses a chance to enjoy this little spot I sure do feel sorry for them. This place is a treat and should enjoyed regularly. This patio is just out the back doors of the Zaragoza Grill- in case you are wondering :)

And, if Old Town isn't your thing, then I would recommend a visit to Great Falls National Park. We basically went the opposite direction from Old Town, up the George Washington Pkwy and found our way from there. We got there a few weeks too late to see the trees changing, that would have been beautiful but even as it was, we enjoyed being anything other than studying.  

Add caption
Okay, for an idea of the size/scale of these falls and rocks look upward on the left, you'll see a man wearing bright colors standing on a rock. He's a kayaking instructor standing there in order to help a class of newbies make through this maze of terror. Fun to watch from Lookout #2. 

He made it! Whew, that was a lot of work!


  1. We chose to stay in Old Town Alexandria the week during our consultations, prior to heading out to our new post. The picture you have of the horse is right in front of the Hard Times Cafe which has the BEST wings and food EVER and that is saying something since I am not a big wings fan. In fact, when I saw that photo I started drooling. I don't believe the horse is parked there all the time. Did you know that it takes part in all the parades there? I believe "George Washington" rides it as kids form a walking guard around. He throws candy too. Never got to see that, but now I have to go back to O.T.A. to catch a parade and check it out. And get more wings! Glad you had a chance to go and explore. Consider staying one of your times through DC -- so much to see, do and enjoy.

  2. Thanks Nomads By Nature-

    Thanks for the low down on Hard Times Cafe! You all sound like a lot fun, I love reading your blog. You inspires me to write more :) That's cool about the horse, too. I HOPE we can make it to Old Town for President's Day parade. My 8 yr old loves G. Washington!

    1. We are enjoying yours too! If you get to the parade take pictures for us, ok? I am curious to know exactly how that horse gets in the parade. Oh, I answered your great Dervish question in our Turkey Day in Turkey post. I am enjoying blogging a lot - I find it helps to process and record what we are seeing and it makes being here even more real and magical, which I need, 'cause many days are just typical housework, kid issues,dog issues, language frustrations and/or limitations, and trying to keep growing kids fed. Speaking of, there is one day at Hard Times that wings are 1/2 price. YUM and great deal!

    2. Hello Nomads! I did see your answer to my Whirling Dervish question on your recent post. Personally- I've decided that the Whirling Dervishes are very cool! No longer just a little descriptive noun used without really understanding what they are. What you said about their art being a form of worship- really cool stuff. Thank you for elaborating on them. I will try to get to the parade- I hope we do see it. Sounds just like the kind of thing we enjoy. I'll take my camera :) And, we will try to have lunch/dinner at Hard Times while we are there.

      I hope I can get out and about in Jakarta and see tons of Indonesia with the same excitement and pace that you seem to be getting around Turkey! Seriously... you are doing a great job of keeping my interest piqued through all of your blog posts. So far, life in Oakwood is so boring I think I'm about to loose my mind some days. Please... keep them coming!