sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Big US Update

So sorry I have been a bit slack.  Want to get things updated to what is happening now.
Starting from where I left off, I did manage to spend a fair bit of time in South Carolina.  The huge rain did make quite an impact, but after it cleared out, it was lovely there.  Had several beach days, spent some time down in Charleston, had a lovely visit from Dawn James, met up with my cousin Josie and her husband and just generally chilled out.  Mom and Dad came for a bit as well.
The flooding very near me
Out and about in Charleston

My favourite bit of beach on Pawleys Island

But after a few weeks, I decided it was time to really start thinking about the next job and place to be. And you won't believe it, but I decided it was time to live and work in the US!
First step was to buy a car, so I packed up my things in South Carolina into my rental car and started driving north towards Mom and Dad in Ohio to begin the car search.  I always wanted to see Biltmore in North Carolina, so I stopped in Asheville for a quick visit.  It was cold and rainy, but the place is amazing.  Definitely worth the visit.
The huge house
The atrium - before I realised I wasn't supposed to take photos!
More exterior shots


Then back in Ohio, I began the car search.  I ended up with a pretty swanky Subaru Legacy with all wheel drive.  It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but at least I would be ready to move when I got a new job all sorted.  I spent the next few weeks having several interviews in many different parts of the country.  A few offers later, I settled on a job with an event production company based outside Philadelphia.  The weather was the only real downside, but everything else seemed great.  So I packed up the car with what I could fit, organized the movers to get all of Grandma's furniture (plus a few new things I bought) to Philly for me, and rented a house site unseen (but that I had toured via videos!).  It has been so good to unpack and explore the area.  I joined the amazing Longwood Gardens after a visit at Christmas time.  It is amazing.  Looking forward to spending more time out there over the year.
Christmas at Longwood

I also hit Winterthur - a historic home in the area owned by the DuPonts.  This tree was covered in dried flowers and smelled amazing!

The stairs at Winterthur
Christmas itself I managed to get back to Ohio to be with Mom and Dad.  We had a GoogleHangout Christmas with the sibs in Minnesota and Brock, Amber and Nora in Bellingham.  It was mostly about Nora though.  She had been a bit sick, but opening all her presents seemed to help her feel better.  I bought her that crazy new Elmo interactive thing, which seemed to go over quite well.  We also managed to see Griffin House at the Buckeye Club.  Always nice to see him and in a particularly small place, it was great!
Nora with her new friend
Griffin House
I headed back to Philly and spent New Years here.  Very low key, but watched the fireworks.  Being in my house has been awesome.  I have a spare room for any visitors, and the summer time is going to be lovely!  Very close to NYC, DC, Atlantic City and the upcoming Democratic Convention right in Philly.
I haven't bought a place yet, but it is definitely on the cards.  I have started the mortgage paperwork, so who knows what will happen next.  Will send on info when I do finally buy a place.  But in the mean time, here are a few shots around the rental house.
My house
My wall of photos
I actually pretty regularly buy fresh flowers for my coffee table
And throw pillows!
The spare room - awaiting guests
My new job is going well.  We travel a fair bit in the first quarter, so I haven't been home much.  I even missed the Snowmegaddon that you all witnessed either yourselves or via TV.  I have been to New Orleans, Nashville and Vegas already this year.  But they tell me the travel will die down a bit after March.
In New Orleans I managed to get around a fair bit.  We went early to avoid the snow, so we had a bit of down time.  I walked the city, had some lovely food and even managed to watch the first parade of the season the Krewe du Vieux.  This is kind of the adults only parade and really the most fun one.
My walk along the riverfront
Which led me all over the city
Spirit of Mardi Gras
Highlights from the Krewe du Vieux
The visit to Cafe du Monde for Beignets
In Nashville, we were working a bit outside of the city, but I did manage to make it into Hattie B's for a plate of Hot Chicken, Beans and Coleslaw.  The show was at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel which really was nuts.  The Super Bowl was on our load in day, so luckily we finished in time to watch a fair bit of it.  I had my name in 3 pools but didn't win money anywhere sadly.
Hattie B's Chicken
The huge Gaylord Opryland Hotel

The Super Bowl set up
The snow on my deck when I got back!
Vegas was a bit better as it was actually nice and warm.  We had a massive load in day, but managed to get out and about most nights, including a stop in to see Cirque's O.  I had seen it once before, but it still is amazing.  Highly recommended if you are ever in town.  Some of the other guys went to Ka and had very good things to say about it as well.  We also managed to hit a lovely French restaurant at the Paris and singalong with some dueling pianos at another bar there.
The view from my room at the Cosmpolitan


The Paris
The Mon Ami Gabi
The Piano Bar
I have at least one more trip coming up to Houston so I will get to see the recently relocated there Sara VanAernum.  Mom and Dad are travelling this way for Easter so that should be fun too.
I suppose it seems a bit fitting to be back in the US in 2016 since this is the 10 year anniversary of me starting this blog.  I have been away longer than that, but the documentation of it all started in July of 2006.  Even though I am back, I want to continue to keep it up.  I am hoping to feature some shorter work travels and hopefully more local vacation travel (including east coast visitors!).
More to come in the upcoming weeks I am sure.
Lots of love,
Sarah xo

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