So here I am, sitting in my room in Pittsburgh. I left Utah on August 8 to make the drive east. What a long drive! Since I left in the afternoon I only made it to North Platte, Nebraska. That first day's drive wasn't too bad. But it continues to amaze me how big this country is. In the paraphrased words of Robert Michael Jack, "This country's ... way too big!" I couldn't figure out how to work the bureaucratic system of signing in to the state park campsite, so I gave up and ended up sleeping in my car in the church parking lot. Sunday I made it to somewhere in western Indiana. I splurged and stayed the night in a hotel (queen bed was nice after a night in my driver's seat). Then Monday I came in to Marietta, PA. It was nice to finally be done with driving. But I was pleased with the fact that I did it in 3 days. I was also pleased with the fact that all of my possessions that I had out at college fit into my trunk and backseat. It rained so much the whole trip though. And I'm talking driving rain with some hail mixed in. Probably about 50% of the trip.
So, I spent a few days with my family in Marietta. One day Jon, my mom, and I went geocaching. It was a tricky find! I also went and biked on the trails that I grew up biking on. That was fun. It was amazing that they all seemed pretty much the same. I was kinda impressed with some of the crazy trails we went on. I also crashed and ended up "fixing" my wound with a bit of superglue. Another day I hung out with Mark Hershey, met his girlfriend, and ate dinner with his family. I also took a day and went up to NYC with Sharon, Anthony, Mary, and Barney. We saw Central Park, the Apple Store, Ground Zero, The Phantom of the Opera, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty from afar, and ate Pizza! It was a lot of fun, even if I was a fifth wheel. The next day the gang and I went to Hershey's Chocolate World which was also a fun touristy thing to do. My family also went over to the Kollers' and had dinner with homemade ice cream. Our family was old school and had a hand crank which outperformed their robot cranked one. We were done in half the time. Chalk another win up for humankind.
It was great hanging out with my family. Jonathan was doing well. He was about to start his new job. Benny is all grown up and commutes to Baltimore every week to work on a natural building project he has been hired for. Mom was commuting to Philly 4 times a week to work cataloging her plants at the museum. But being under the impression that my orientation started on August 20th from an email back in January, I took off on Monday to head to Pittsburgh.
I was disappointed to find out that the toll road from Pitt to Lancaster is 13 each way plus a 4 hour drive. Avoiding the toll adds another 50 minutes, but I guess it might be worth it. So I may not be dropping in on my fam as much as I anticipated, but it is a lot closer that Provo was.
So, I made it into Pittsburgh and spent the first couple days moving in. We live on this old cobblestone street a block away from the school. Which is pretty sweet considering most people live a 30 min commute away. It will be nice to save that commute time each day, get free wireless from the school, and be able to run home during the day.
I really like the house. It is an old brick house but it is big enough. It's got 4 rooms. For the first time in 6 years, I have my own room again! I put up a rod for my clothes, bought a cheap desk from IKEA (I almost typed it iKea... stupid Apple nomenclature). We've got a gas stove which I am excited about but still getting used to. It is weird to be able to switch burners instantly, turn off a burner and not have to worry about moving the pot, and just the sheer heat of the range. The political order of our kitchen is mainly free market with communized milk, spices, and baking needs. I've suggested 304's rule of eminent domain as well. I've also used the African items Sarah gave me to decorate the place.
My roommates are awesome. Brandon moved out yesterday so I only met him once. Aaron works at a bank and always comes with stories about banks getting hit or cased. He's great. He gets together with some of the guys in the church locally and convert the upper level of the building minus the chapel into a blood bath of NERFdom. Basically they have all these NERF guns and play capture the flag or other games. They turn out the lights, set up a blacklight, and set up barricades. You respawn in the lobbies if you were curious. They've even modified some of the guns to give more punch. Mike told me that on the electronic guns they just remove the resisters to kick up the power. Interesting. So that is what we ended up doing on Tuesday night towards the latter end of game night which happened instead of institute.
Sean's great too. He's a third year at Pitt Dental. He's been dating a girl in Provo who is now moving out next week so that will be cool for him. Sean's the ward mission leader and so he's really active with the missionaries and meeting people getting active again or who are checking out the church. I almost wrote investigator but I still am not comfortable with that word being used in conjunction with the church.
But anyway, these guys are great. They are both neat, wash their dishes, are really sharing, and are willing to help you. Sean helped me get a bed and get my room set up. He also volunteers at an old folks home (what is the PC term for that?) each week on bingo night, so Aaron and I went with him last night. It was a blast! The seniors were great. They were ribbing each other and joking around. They really liked us coming and told Sean to "Bring the boys back next week!" I need to find some places to volunteer out here.
Yesterday I tried to go for a bike ride. I got to the bottom of the street, realized my GPS wasn't working so I wanted to try other headphones. I biked back of the very steep hill, switched headphones and then went back down. After a short jaunt on the cobblestone with my road bike I tried to hop the curb, crashed, and wacked my wheel out of true. So I walked back up the hill, got in my car, and went to the local bike shop. But I am pretty excited that there are mountain biking trails in a couple of the city parks. I think I am gonna check them out today!
Other than that I haven't been up to much. I read the interesting Wikipedia article on Aldi Foods. I'm not sure why, but I found it really fascinating. I think that is exactly how I would set up a grocery chain. So streamline and efficient. I've also been researching how to set up a Linksys router as a repeater to boost my school's WiFi signal. I ordered one online that has dd-wrt installed. It should be interesting if I can get it to work. I'm a little skeptical because it uses WPA2 Enterprise. We'll see. I was going to get cable internet, but you really can't beat free internet. Right now it is in and out because the signal is weak.
So, that's about it. Sorry it is a boring post. If you are in the Pittsburgh area and would like to come to my White Coat Ceremony, it is Aug 31 at 3pm in the Scaife Hall Auditorium 6 at Pitt.
I'm really excited to be out here. I miss my friends. But I am excited to make friends out here and start on the road to being a dentist!