This is the story of my 6 months of studying in Arizona in 2010 and subsequent travels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arizona revisited

Though I've started writing my thoughts in another blog, I feel like this particular post belongs here, in my Adventures-blog. :)

As you know, I rarely let a chance to go abroad pass, especially when the trip includes the opportunity to meet with important people - you know, those who you have the power to make a difference in your life! So when I realised that it was possible for me to go back to Arizona in November, I had no doubt that it would lead to several great meetings!

After graduating, spending 10 days or so in Birmingham for the EPSA congress and 2 days with Alexandra in Oxford in October, in November I got frustrated with the lack of activity at home. But well, that I already covered in my previous blog post. Luckily, I could spend some true quality time with some of my very best friends at my graduation party - maybe I'll write a bit about that later on. Anyhow... November 16th I was off to Tucson, and I was really excited about more adventure! 

Ernie and Marianne's back yard
I'd planned it so that I would have a couple of days free to recover from the worst jetlag, before I was attending a conference about Interprofessional Education (IPE) - the official purpose of the trip! I was staying with my professor Ernie and his wife Marianne in their beautiful house with a garden, where I could relax and enjoy the sun. 

During these first days I managed to meet up with Hillary and Eden, two of my good friends from last year's exchange. We had dinner at Gentle Ben's, with beer battered fries and all - just like good old days! :D Continuing down that path (the good old one), we met up with Jesús, and he, Hillary, and I got a few drinks on 4th Ave... Starting with a margarita on 4th and continuing to Plush, with such great company, I was having an amazing time! That was Thursday... On Friday I met up with Hillary again, had dinner in an Ethiopian restaurant (highly recommendable), and went to a improv/comedy show in the University. Another exchange-activity revisited, and it was great! 

Hillary, Jesús, and me
Back home not too late, I was ready for the IPE conference Saturday morning. Leaving at 6 AM (!), it was a good opportunity to see the sunrise over the mountains, and have breakfast at the conference hotel. Unfortunately the breakfast consisted only of cakes and a bit of fruit, but at least the program was amazing! I think I have to write a separate post about that actually, 'cause here I want to focus on my trip overall. 

So yeah, a great and highly inspiring, but also really tiring program, so in the evenings, after dinner, I just crashed at Ernie's place. Oh, the stay also included a bit of drama, btw, as Ernie's dog ate all my chocolate, which I'd brought for presents from Denmark. And since chocolate is poison for dogs, the poor creature had to be taken to the hospital. Lesson learned - close the door to your room when there are dogs in the house. Unfortunately it happened again (at least it was not my fault the second time), the dog got into my room, and this time ate my stash of stroopwaffles and (wait for it...) my toothbrush. Or well, half of it. 

Tuesday morning, the conference ending on Monday, I went for breakfast with Ernie in Hotel Congress, where I also had breakfast with Hillary last year. The he dropped me off at Aizhan's place, another one of my friends, who was an essential part of my back-to-Tucson trip! Aizhan lives closer to the campus, so during this day I toured around in my "old world" again. I went shopping in Fry's using one of UA's free bikes, and had lunch with Susan in the Arizona Inn, sitting next to the pool, relaxing. 

I had dinner with Aizhan in the Afghan place on University, and then went (of course!) to the Charles Darwin Experience improv show in the Gallagher Theatre - as every other Tuesday night in Tucson! Eden joined me, and it was super fun! Next morning I went to the Rec center to go for a swim. I ended up also spending quite some time on a sun bed there, before going to the public library to buy too many cheap books - but well, when you can get seven books for 14$, I believe its a good investment... A challenge to bring them back to Denmark - but still an investment! ;)

For lunch/dinner I got myself a couple of pizza slices from No Anchovies, and went back to Aizhan's place to pack my stuff, and was picked up by Chuck (or handed over rather, as they agreed it was somewhat like a relay race, the way I'm moving around at the moment!) to go to the Sanford's for Thanksgiving. 

It was SO great to see everyone again! Chuck, Janine, Gary, Rachel, all the pets, and extra guests for Thanksgiving dinner. But well, first we spent Wednesday night making pies; pumpkin, coconut, blueberry, and apple. Thursday morning we started out around 9AM with the preparations, and spent the morning and afternoon cooking and relaxing in the kitchen. The dinner was fabulous, with turkey, stuffing, gravy, white and sweet potato mash, creamed corn, and green beens... UHM! Ate too much of course. And then I had pie. We spend some time playing Apples to Apples, and then I went to bed early!

Janine and Gary taking care of the turkey

Next morning I was treated like a princess as Gary made pancakes for me! Real, American, thick, delicious pancakes served with butter, sirup, jam, and whatever else the fridge had to offer! My favorite combo, and my new favorite unhealthy breakfast, is crunchy peanut butter, raspberry jam, and banana. Try it, and be amazed! 

Then I was off. Janine gave me a ride to the Greyhound station, from where I caught a bus to Glendale (Phoenix) and two city busses to reach Jesús' place. He wouldn't arrive till Sunday, but had given me the key. Today is Monday, and I have spent the last couple of days doing... not much. And its been great! I've been reading and sleeping and watching some TV, talking with Jesús when he's home, baking brownies, walking around the neighborhood, and regained the urge to be productive! I'm getting some EPSA stuff done, and sketched a career action plan... Time to go home soon! :)

EPSA team skype meeting, 8 PM CET = noon for me!