This past weekend I had the chance to go to a mini-conference…it also just happened to be smack dab in the middle of my old stomping grounds. I lived in Northern Virginia (henceforth NoVA) for 6 years – part of elementary, middle, and high school – before moving to Mississippi. Because they’re so far apart, I haven’t been able to visit old friends as often as I’d like. This conference gave me the chance to take care of some academic responsibilities and take a walk down memory lane as well!
I started off by meeting up with some friends from the Mississippi School for Math & Science who live in the DC area and we found some delicious frozen custard from one of my favorite places (you just can’t find it like this anywhere else!)
Then I had to make an appearance at the conference…since that was the whole purpose of my trip. It was really interesting and I actually learned a lot in a short amount of time. We talked about time, interruptions, different ways to make traveling by air slightly less painful, and even how to build a professional portfolio online. I met several people from George Mason University and a few from Old Dominion University as well. They did a great job hosting!
I took a little road trip to my first high school – Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology – to see the construction going on there. When I was there from 2002-2004, it was definitely in need of some revamping, so it’s great to see they’re finally getting around to it! It definitely looks impressive and it’s still just a mass of dirt and construction materials.
…a fun reminder of why not everyone loves NoVA – long lines of traffic. (it turns out I accidentally perfectly timed my drive to coincide with some event happening in the Patriot Center. Whoops!)
I finished out the day with an old favorite – Star Thai’s pad thai. Yum!
On Sunday, I went to Pender United Methodist Church and got to see several dear friends. It was wonderful to see how much like a family they still are to me, and it was crazy because it almost felt like I’d never left. Unfortunately, I spent too much time talking and too little time documenting, so these are the only pictures that I have.
After a delicious lunch with the Munt family (thanks again, y’all!), Mrs. Munt and I made it out to see the after-party celebrating Ginny Atwood’s completion of the Marine Corps Marathon with 3 other members of Team Chris. She ran in memory of her brother and to raise money for the foundation in his honor, the Chris Atwood Foundation (www.chrisatwoodfoundation.org). The purpose is to help struggling addicts in their fight against drug addiction through love, resources and education. Ginny explained it a lot better in a blog post here:
I really recommend reading it if you have a few minutes to spare! When the government shutdown threatened to interfere with Sunday’s marathon, Ginny’s response was that Team Chris would still be running a marathon, with or without the rest. They would run in circles around the Senate and House buildings if need be – because it was going to get done. That girl has gumption and spunk, and I love it. She and the rest of the Atwood family are taking a tragedy in their lives and fighting to make sure that it gets turned into something good. I’m so inspired by them!
I finished out my adventure with a chai tea & cupcake stop to see Stephen Dix in Fredericksburg, VA. It is absolutely one of the most adorable towns I have ever seen. Stephen likened it to my parent’s current place of residence – Columbus, MS, but I’m not sure that even the friendly city can compete with the cuteness of this town.
Overall, it was a successful but extremely tiring weekend. I was so ready to be back in Blacksburg, but now I have to gear up for next weekend’s Raleigh trip and the City of Oaks Marathon! More pictures to come soon…