Two weeks ago I read the book The Fault in Our Stars. I was supposed to save it for our North Carolina beach trip coming up in a week, but surprise! I couldn't stop myself from reading it. I also couldn't stop myself from sobbing through most it. Two kids with cancer fall in love and The Fault in Our Stars is their story. Is that the worst or what? It's very well written with some beautiful characters and contains this gem of a quote:
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."
I'm very glad I read it. But now I have nothing to read on vacation except scientific papers and goodness knows how much I hate reading papers (much to the detriment of my graduate education, I'm sure). So...got any book recommendations? I've got $45 in Barnes and Noble gift cards, so what's worth buying? Or checking out from the library?
Last week our friends the Pratts came and stayed with us, and it was so lovely! We love it when we have visitors because we do a lot of sightseeing that we wouldn't have gotten around to otherwise. While they were here we finally made it over to Eastern State Penitentiary, Valley Forge, the Masonic Temple, Fireman Museum, and Washington, DC. We also ate at a million wonderful restaurants. Highlights include Indian food (best chicken tikka masala I've ever had) and pizza in DC, the most incredible hummus at Zahav (Gordon Ramsay reference), awesome stir fry noodles and bbq beef skewers at Sampan, salted caramel budino at Barbuzzo, hazelnut gelato at Capogiro. Basically food is my favorite thing about Philadelphia.
When our tour guide at the temple found out we were Mormon he asked if we wanted to see an old Book of Mormon. Of course we said yes, so at the end of the tour, he brought out this Book of Mormon from 1842 and just let us take it into the library and hang out and read it. It was awesome.
Valley Forge was also really lovely. It was ultra hot when we went (okay, it's been ultra hot since mid-May) but you know, an air conditioned drive from spot to spot made it not so bad. Touring the prison was also really cool. They just hand you an audio guide and let you loose on the prison, which hasn't really been renovated much and is sort of falling apart. Cool! Not literally though, because no renovations = no air conditioning.
A side note: I think air conditioning is one of the greatest things ever invented.
Going to DC was also a lot of fun. Aaron and I had been before and Sara and Kyle were going to stay for a few days, so we weren't too stressed about trying to see "everything." We did see a bit, though: cemetery at Arlington, Natural History Smithsonian, Holocaust Museum. We probably could've seen more if I hadn't made everyone spend like an hour in the minerals exhibit at the Natural History Smithsonian (sorry guys!). It was so awesome, though. So many pretty crystals and rocks and chemical formulas to go along with each of them!!!!!! I think that's a theme that needs its own post: On the Recurrence of Pretty Inorganic Compounds in My Life.
Anyway, we loved having Sara and Kyle stay with us. I think I've said this about a million times, but Sara is basically the most thoughtful and tactful person I know. I'm so glad we became friends through the shared agony of an undergraduate degree in chemistry.
Over the week of the 4th of July, Aaron's family came and stayed with us. It was a blast. We were exceptionally patriotic, visiting Independence Hall/Liberty Bell in Philly, Gettysburg, and Statue of Liberty/9-11 Memorial in New York. We also ate a ton of delicious food, including Sabrina's for breakfast twice and mine and Aaron's newfound favorite restaurant in Philly- Barbuzzo. I could go on and on and on about their salted caramel budino (= Italian pudding?), but I'll spare you. The best part of their visit was definitely the Coldplay concert, though. Coldplay was Zach's favorite band so it was especially meaningful to us.
That flag was really tricky to put up. A needle and thread were involved.
If you go to Sabrina's, you should get the stuffed French toast, modeled by Rachel here.
The 9/11 memorial is really beautiful, with all of this water pouring into a giant abyss, like a million tears (Aaron told me that was cheesy).
The ferry to the Statue of Liberty is way overpriced.
We ate all the peaches and blueberries we picked without having to freeze anything! So much delicious cobbler...
someone stole our recycling bin (it has our address written on it in big letter/numbers so...),
we found out we live a block away from a methadone clinic,
the one thing I thought was successful about my research for the past 2.5 months is actually a failure.
The good news is...
I parallel parked for the 3rd time!
There is an excessive amount of cheese in my fridge!
Sara and Kyle are coming to visit on Saturday!
We have been having such the best time with Aaron's parents and sister this week. I'll probably write up one of those itinerary posts sometime that everyone loves to write but hates to read, so too bad for all of you!
We just got back from seeing Coldplay and srsly guys, it's like I'm 13 years old and and fangirling. Majorly.
i <3 chris martin!!!! xoxoxox
That was really the main point of this post.