The past few months have been very busy. I haven't been spending much time on LJ, so here are some highlights.
In late June Gleb and I took a trip to California. It was our first time there and we had a great time. We flew into SF and spent 2 days there - including watching the SF Pride Parade, which we had no idea was taking place that weekend! We also tasted wine in Sonoma valley and visited Google headquarters courtesy of simonff. After a beautiful drive down US Hwy 1 we arrived in Monterey and spent a day enjoying the amazing views along the coast and the high-end art galleries of Carmel. After that we drove south to LA, where we visited museums, then checked out Hollywood and Santa Monica beach. It was a fun and memorable vacation.
In late July, following more than 2 months of research and preparation, we bought a new car, a Nissan Versa. It's white - not our top color choice, but we were getting a good price and decided it's not worth it to pay more just to get a different color. The (massive amount of) time spent learning and getting ready for every step of the process was definitely worth it. In the end we had a stress-free transaction where we felt in control of the situation and were confident that we got a good deal. We bid farewell to our Altima as its lease ended and now have a smaller, cuter and slightly more gas-efficient car. It's a comfortable ride, but not too spacious for tall Gleb. I guess we'll think twice before taking it on long road trips, but it's just fine for me to drive to/from work every day.
This brings us to August...
On the 21st Gleb departed for Moscow, where he will spend the next 9 months doing dissertation research. He will return for a couple of weeks in late November, and I plan to visit him in Russia for 1-2 weeks around February/March. We made the difficult decision that I would not join him on his research trip back in December. As time passed we reluctantly started to prepare for our separation. At first the dreaded mid-August was seasons away, than it was several months. As Gleb was planning his trip and finishing up at the university, the time kept passing until his departure was weeks away, days, hours. Finally, the countdown finished as I drove Gleb to the airport, then went to the office. That afternoon there was nothing more to count down... Now, a month later, I feel that I was able to prepare myself well for our time apart. However, that first week was a different story. I'm glad I can put that time behind me.
Now that we're into September, not only do I feel better, but there's simply not much time to feel sad. I've been keeping really busy, with only a part of the many activities this fall being a result of my intentional planning to stay busy. The highlight of the month was when my cousin from Israel came to visit me in NC as part of his 3-week stay in the US. We had a blast! We drove up to Virginia, where we visited Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and took a cruise tour of the naval base in Norfolk. Back in NC we visited the (excellent) El Greco to Velasquez exhibition at the Nasher Museum and toured Duke campus (it was the first time I ever went inside Duke Chapel). Culinary highlights included apricot-amaretto and mexican chocolate popsicles at Locopops, Blue Ridge Blueberry Wheat beer at Top of the Hill, and an intellectually stimulating restaurant in Williamsburg VA called "Food for Thought" (Their food was really good too, just in case you're wondering.) Now that Dima is gone, my parents and sister plan to visit this weekend, which is very exciting. Other things have kept busy, not the least of which is my involvement with the band (but I will save that for a separate post!) And did I mention work? Returning to the office after a few days in VA I have not found that any of my otherwise kind and thoughtful co-workers decided to help out and do my job for me while I was out having fun and entertaining my special guest. Yesterday I decided to catch up with a 12-hour day (that's not even including lunch, haha) But hey, I will have a day off on Friday and I can relax then.
So that's the story. For now.