Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.” - Wallace Stegner

It is Sunday evening before Mass - one of my favorite times to relax and unwind and think about the both the past week and the upcoming week. Last week was exhausting. Even though it was just a four day week, my days were jam packed with emails, phone calls, and cases galore. When I returned home from work each day our site supervisor from the Augustinian Volunteers was waiting in the apartment for our monthly site visit. Site visits include individual meetings, community meetings, prayer, dinners, and other logistical things. We take turns each night cooking dinner for the community. On my night I did pancakes, home fries, and fruit. I think one of my personal goals for this year is to become a more skilled cook. I can make all basic dishes but I have not ever spent the time cooking more elaborate meals. Maybe I will make my favorite Cameroonian dish for my community one night - it's jasmine rice with a tomato-based peanut sauce and fried plantains. Yummm.

On Thursday night Hannah, our site supervisor, got us pizza and then we went out for frozen yogurt! It was also a new episode of Big Bang, so no complaints here. I am beginning to really enjoy Thursday nights because it's the anticipation of the weekend lingering and just one more work day to complete. Fridays are casual at VIP too, which is always a relief as my laundry begins to pile! On Friday I went to the Department of Records at City Hall with a coworker to learn the process of recording deeds, as I will have to venture there by myself on Tuesday to meet an attorney and client to record her new property deed. For lunch two of my coworkers and I went to this acclaimed hot dog restaurant called Underdogs. They have 22 varieties of hot dogs and if you grab a menu you can get a punch each time you try one of the varieties. If you order all 22, you get your name on the wall. There were some interesting choices, but a lot of them contained spicy ingredients, so I think personally I'll just stick to Underdogs in a non-competitive nature, haha. I should mention that two of my coworkers are currently pregnant so it is really funny listening to their unusual cravings. Hence, they were the ones who introduced us to Underdogs, just two blocks away from VIP. I got the California Dreamin' dog, which is a grilled hot dog on their signature roll complete with tomatoes, avocado, and a lemon twangy mustard. Their fries are delectable as well. I might just have a new favorite hot dog joint!

California Dreamin' hot dog

On Friday night I passed out early (exhausting week!) and spent Saturday morning cleaning and relaxing. Then around 3:00 my community members and I ventured to Linvilla Orchards in Media, PA. It is this picture-esque location in the suburbs with over 300 acres of everything from pumpkin patches, to apple orchards, to cider doughnut stands, to caramel apple vendors, to several indoor farmer's markets, to handmade Halloween and Christmas decorations. There is even a petting zoo and playground for children and fun hayrides. We had a blast exploring and taking Fall photos. We each got a pumpkin and even though mine was just a little over 10 lbs, my arm muscles are sore from carrying it back to the car! We then went apple picking and found unique spots to take pictures. It was a nice escape from the city for an afternoon :)

 Before pumpkin picking!

 Me in the pumpkin patch

 Philly community in PumpkinLand

 Caroline giving Katharine a boost to reach an apple
 Our potential Christmas card photo

 I got the apple! :)

To top off a splendid day, we stopped at Wawa on the way home for dinner. This has been on my bucket list for some time now, so needless to say I was quite excited! People in both PA and NJ rave about the wonderland that is Wawa. It's similar to that of a 7/11 or any other mini mart at a gas station. HOWEVER, the cool part of Wawa is the store is known for their delicious food options. You place your order at touch screen computers, print a receipt, pay the cashier, and then return to the food spot and your order is processed quickly and accurately. I decided on a chicken cheese steak sub complete with lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, mayo, pesto, salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese. I also got a fresh, warm chocolate chip cookie and a hot chocolate with chocolate drizzle and whipped cream. What a perfect ending for a cool, Autumn day.

Fully immersing ourselves in the Wawa ordering experience...

This "Fall Harvest" weekend was just what I needed to rejuvenate before a busy work week. I am so excited to carve our pumpkins and continue in this Autumnal festive spirit.

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