Wednesday, September 08, 2004
BEWARE: this is a very long entry.
It is late (for me) and I can't sleep and am curiously hungry. Tonight is my first night in my new dorm room. I cannot decide if I am hot or cold but have definitely decided tomorrow I will pick up some sort of thing to put on top of my mattress because it is as hard as a rock.
So today I moved into my new dorm today. Dad and I arrived in the morning and, after I figured out how to check-in and get my key (thanks to a very helpful group of students), those same students (like RAs but called "Deacons") swarmed my car and took all the boxes up the elevator to my third floor room for me. Literally, I did not have to do any lifting of any of my boxes...I walked up to my room empty-handed. It was so incredibly nice of them (they kept on asking me if that was all the stuff I had--apparently, I am a light packer compared to others who had already arrived) to help move the stuff into the room (this deserves a 21 thumbs up salute!). After puzzling for awhile how to arrange the furniture in the best way, I unpacked all of my stuff and got to situating my room. Longer than it is wide, my room is pretty standard, even somewhat big for an average dorm room. I am at the end of the hall and am now craving the corner dorm room (more square, two windows!) knowing that it could possibly be mine.
Impressions of New Jersey:
- Speed limits in New Jersey are WAY too liberal considering the size and visibility on the streets. I think the normal street speed limit is 45 mph, including those "streets" which are one-lane, curvy and very dark. Then there is Route 1, which is sort-of a freeway, sort-of a highway and sort-of a street. It's big like a freeway (there is absolutely no way a pedestrian could cross it), zoned like a highway (55 mph, although I'm certain people drive at least 10 mph above that), but situated like a street with lots of malls and shopping centers, restaurants and businesses on either side. It is settled--New Jersey residents have lead feet.
- Another weird thing about New Jersey is that they apparently do not like to make turns. Every street is sort of situated to get people who insist on making a turn out of the way. There are turn lanes sometimes where if you're in a certain lane, you absoultely MUST turn. This is not big news to me, but I don't think you'll understand how weird it is until you visit. Even weirder than the lanes are these jughandles that you use to make left-hand turns. I think I am getting the hang of them, although it's different to get used to the fact that if you want to make a left, you must get in the right-hand lane.
- It has been raining on and off today (at times it has even poured). Something totally different for me to deal with is that although it looks cold outside because it's dark and rainy, that doesn not mean at all that it is cold outside. In fact, it is swelteringly hot when it rains. No need to carry a sweater.
VERY belated birthday news:
- Kathryn turned 26 this past August 29th. She shares her birthday with Michael Jackson. FYI, I think MJ's finest song is "Billie Jean," which you may want to remember in case Jenny Smith Trivia Edition 2 ever comes out.
- I turned 26 this past Saturday, September 4th. Several people called me to wish me a happy birthday, which was nice. Overall, spending my birthday driving through podunk towns in Pennsylvania was not my idea of a good time.
- Stephanie turned 29 on Tuesday, September 7th. She also happened to get engaged to Jason Stiles on the same day (yay!). Go to her blog to read more about it!!
- Lisa Gaskell's birthday was/is today (still trying to figure out the weird time difference). To tie her birthday in with current news, on September 8, 1900, 6,000 killed when a hurricane & tidal wave destroys Galveston, Texas, most deadly in US history. Makes Frances look not so bad...
The rest of my trip across the country in 30 seconds:
- Oklahoma City was the last city in which I had access to the internet. Made me wonder if folks east of the Mighty Mississippi had even heard of the internet.
- Dad was very excited about going to a Sonic (America's Drive-In) while on our road trip. I was mostly unimpressed with Sonic, except for the facts that they have great ice, large insects flock to them (I think I have pictures), and they have a pseudo-Amish contingent in Missouri.
- You know you're in Missouri when there are only country stations and every other exit is either a church or an adult bookstore.
- You know you're in Illinois when you see cops all over the place, pulling people over like there's no tomorrow.
- In St. Louis, Dad and I went to the top of the arch. (here's someone else's picture of a view from the top) It was very cool except for the whole travel up to the actual top. Think of a very small, futuristic, egg-shaped pod (without windows, but with small air holes) that they cram four people into. Then imagine yourself in that pod for...let's say 3 minutes as you journey to the top. For me, it was hell because I do not do well in places where I feel trapped. If you can read German, this lady describes the whole event. Aha! Here is a picture of an empty pod, and here is a picture of a full pod.
- From St. Louis, we drove to Dublin, Ohio, which was very nice except for the lack of internet and movie theatres. BUT, they do have a Steak 'n Shake, which has GREAT chocolate shakes.
- From Dublin we drove for ever and ever to get to Hershey, PA, where apparently ALL of Pennsylvania was vacationing the same (holiday) weekend. This made it practically impossible for us to go to the Hershey factory and amusement park, due to the immense crowds.
- From Hershey, PA we drove to Reading, PA, and stayed in the ghetto. I don't think my dad will return to Reading anytime soon.
- In Reading we went to the worst mall ever...so bad it makes the Burbank mall look like a top-tier mall. There we saw the movie Collateral, which I really enjoyed.
- From Reading we drove to Princeton, New Jersey and arrived around noon on Monday. Dad and I went to one of the numerous malls/shopping centers on Route 1 and saw the Manchurian Candidate. I thought it was good, but not nearly as good as Collateral. Then Terrence took a train down from NYC (he's up there for work training) and I met him at the train station and we walked around Princeton. I got a great tour from him and he even bought me dinner at Hoagie Haven (they really do have great sandwiches there). It was so nice to have a good tour guide, but even nicer to see a good friend.
- Tuesday Dad and I went down to Philadelphia and took the duck tour, saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, walked around the downtown area, saw the moon tree and had a cheesesteak sandwich at Jim's on South Street.
- Jenny, 9/08/2004 10:12:00 PM