August 26th:

I’m sitting at the bar of McGarry’s Pub somewhere in New York City. I want to ask the very Irish bartender where exactly I am in this huge city, but I don’t really feel like being a tourist today. And I’m not even touring – I’m just passing through. My train ride this morning from Albany to Penn Station was lovely. Lovely. I love flying, but I always prefer the train. Amtrak is no Deutsche Bahn, but it gets you where you need to go and gives you a quiet, roomy, scenic ride – most of the time, at least. And at $39.00 for a two-hour ride, I’d rather be on the rails than in the air, I think. But – as a girl who thrives on variety and thrifty travel options – I’m taking Megabus (for the first time!) from NYC to Philadelphia. My bus leaves in an hour, and instead of waiting in the hot sun standing in a line, I ducked into a corner pub, figuring I’d order the cheapest thing on the menu so I could sit and wait in AC.

Well. The kitchen at this pub doesn’t open for a couple of hours… so I’m sitting at the bar nursing a beer, wondering when the last time was that I had a drink before 5 p.m. Oh well – “when in the City” is my adopted mantra for the day. I arrived at Penn Station thirty minutes ago and have already had some of the most interesting conversations of my summer, Including a couple with members of a Ghanaian family I met on the corner of 8th avenue and 31st street, just outside Penn Station. Turns out I haven’t forgotten my Twi :)

By the time I’m ready to leave, I am one of nine people in the pub. I am the only female. There is a $10 minimum… I should probably not drink another beer. I tip the bartender $5 and am on my way.

Summer’s almost over, and it’s been such a whirlwind. In no particular order, I have: slept on couches; picked vegetables from a summer garden; mentored some pretty great high-school students at Duke; gotten lost a LOT; gone kayaking; visited six doctors; preformed a piece of spoken word poetry for the first time; experienced my first-ever car inspection (Dad, your car passed with flying colors); learned how to knit; turned 22 (in Chicago!); danced in a rainstorm in my bathing suit; gone three days without showering (gotta love Asheville); traveled on planes, busses, cars, trikes, a train, and a boat; meditated; filled another page of my passport; weathered a hurricane and a long power outage with my little sister; visited people who really, really matter to me; and met a really, really interesting man named Allen at IHOP at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday.

I feel… full. Fulfilled.

It’s been a busy, wonderful summer. I’m so lucky to have been able to see many friends and family – there’s nothing like dropping in on those who matter most, and to all of you who have graced me with your company (and your beds and showers), thank you.

And now begins the next adventure! In a few days, I fly back to Sri Lanka with Jesse, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka and Elon University. We are so excited for this post-graduation adventure, and we are doing LOTS while there, beginning by representing Elon & the U.S. at the Training for Trusteeship conference in Kegalle in early September.

I’ll be posting to this blog while I’m away, but Jesse and I have also started our own blog that we’ll be updating often, too. That one will have lots more video and pictures! Our link is:

http://storiesfromthedustyroad.wordpress.com/

Thanks for being a follower, dear reader. My next post will come from halfway around the world!

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One thought on “goodbye, summer. hello again, sri lanka!

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