May 22, 2010

David and Juliana's Wedding

As expected, David and Juliana's wedding in Potomac, MD was absolutely beautiful.  The backdrop of forest was perfect, and I particularly loved the alternating greens and blues of the bridal party.  The wedding was outdoors, in both Spanish and English.  Afterwards, dinner was served and there were many speeches by friends and family.  We were lucky to have translators, though sometimes I suspect that we lost some of the turns of phrase in the process.

Because Juliana is Colombian, the cake was specially brought in from there.  Unfortunately, customs suspected it had some nefarious purpose and destroyed it.  Fortunately, it was pieced back together and the taste was unaffected.  All I knew was the cake involved alcohol.  Juliana tells me it's called ponque negro, or black cake I think.

After dinner, we headed upstairs.  There was a dance floor, a room with chocolates made by David's sister along with some coffee, and a fun photo booth.  I had quite a bit to drink, so I can't remember too much about the latter half of the night, but I can say we all had fun.

Once it was time to disperse, all the friends went down to see the honeymoon suite, which was two bunk beds pushed together and decorated.  It doesn't sound like much, but considering we were all sleeping on twin beds from a former Girl Scout camp, it was adorable and romantic.

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*Written 2/14/11 and backposted

May 09, 2010

Philadelphia, I think I love you

Last weekend, DS and I visited Philadelphia to see if I could live there.  As you noticed in the earlier post, I had strong reservations about moving to a big city.  Therefore you may be surprised to learn that I had decided we were moving there on Friday night after just arriving on Thursday.  From the moment I got there, it reminded me of living in Louisville, which I loved.  The city was lacking the crowded, dirty feel I associate with most cities of this size.  I think this has something to do with the decision to not build higher than City Hall until the late 80's, meaning there have only recently been skyscrapers.  That left a lower density, and less of a need to raze entire blocks for building new structures.  As you'll see in the photos, this left the city with lots of trees, and what seemed like entire neighborhoods intact from the Colonial Period.  It was charming, and felt a lot like walking through old villages in Europe.

We arrived on Thursday and walked around the neighborhood just to the west of the University of Pennsylvania.  Then we had dinner at sushi place called Pod, which was very mod.  There were actual "pods" with a single table for 8 or so where diners can change the color of the lights inside.  Behind the conveyor belt sushi bar there was a flat screen tv built into the wall that kept playing a cartoon about a white lion.  As far as I could tell, since there was no sound, the entire show was about the little lion cup running around with other wild animals....  We ended up spending a small fortune on sushi and dessert, but it was so delicious that I don't even care if its not reimbursed.  And as a bonus, it happened to be some sort of charity night, so 30% of our bill was donated helping people who are living with AIDS and HIV.

On Friday, DS spent most of the day in meetings with various faculty members.  I slept in, then strolled around campus a bit taking photographs.  I also discovered that the UPenn Bookstore is really just a Barnes and Noble with Penn paraphernalia, which was nice in that I was finally able to pick up a light for my nook!  (Have I mentioned I got a nook?  Because I LOVE IT!)  We were able to relax a bit, and then were picked up by a faculty member who drove us around the inner city, showing us some of the nicer places to live.  Then we had dinner with him and his wife at Alma de Cuba, a Cuban place that was so much better than I expected.  It turns out Cuban food is actually delicious when you have the resources to do it right.  Poor Cuba...

The first half of Saturday was spent with the Chair of the department, as she lives in the suburbs and was able to give us that tour.  Then we walked from the hotel on the Penn campus all the way to the Delaware River.  We were able to see the Liberty Bell, if only through the window.  Dinner was at some fancy place that was way overpriced for the quality of the food.  By this point we had probably walked several miles, so we took a taxi back.  It was at this point that I convinced DS that we were definitely moving here, so we hiked back over to the UPenn Bookstore and got ourselves some official gear to celebrate!

On Sunday it was so hot and humid that we ditched our original idea to visit the zoo, and went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art instead.  This is honestly one of the best museums I've visited in terms of shear size.  We didn't get to see all of it, but luckily we got there on a free admission day.  It was also the last day of their special exhibition on Picasso, which was interesting, though apparently Cubism is not DS's thing.  I particularly loved the Impressionists galleries, as well as the period rooms, though we had to move quickly through those areas.  I'll definitely have to visit again once we move.  And everyone is welcome to visit us once we get there, which we think should be late July.  So yeah!  My husband will be a Professor at UPenn this fall!!

Photos from the City

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Photos from the Museum
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