Monday, August 17, 2009

Where have you BEEN all summer? (part 1)

No friends, I'm not asking YOU that question, but I have heard that question a lot from various people! Most often the answer is "in the cave", which is what I call the office in which I work. But occasionally my answer is "out of town!" Here is a recap of my trip to St. Louis!

Earlier this summer, after getting back from Waco, my friend Candice said, "Tiff - what if we all got together one last time in St. Louis before Collin and I leave for England?" I said, "Yes." and then the Lord stepped in and provided a time that worked for all of us (Candice, Collin, Matt and I) AND lowered ticket prices overnight after I prayed about it. It was pretty sweet.

(Our last night together; at Ted Drewes)

So on July 29th, I packed up my bags and left LA at the crack of dawn - headed for St. Louis. Matt met me at the airport and we had a great lunch and tour of campus that afternoon. We were expecting Collin and Candice to arrive the next evening. That afternoon we heard from them that they could not be delayed from hanging out any longer and were actually already on their way to StL from Oklahoma City. We were all excited. In the meantime, Matt and I met up with two of my good friends from Greenville College: TJ and Heather. Neither TJ's nor Heather's significant others could make it, but the four of us had a great time eating Italian food up on the Hill. I was glad to see them again, and happy that they got to meet Matt. It only would have been better if they could have met Candice and Collin (henceforth known as the Bullards), too.(Yay for Greenville Friends!)

The Bullards arrived around midnight and it was a great reunion - despite the lateness of the evening!

Thursday, Matt had to work during the day, but the Bullards and I enjoyed hanging out, getting caught up, working on our own things (I had some work to do), and talking about what life will be like when they move to England. Once Matt was done with work, we loaded up into the car, picked up our friend Brittney, and met up with Maura and Marcus Burzota in Forest park. We ate together and got caught up before heading into the Muny to see Camelot. I had told my friends that the one thing I wanted to do while I was in St.L was go to the Muny and if we did it, I would do anything they wanted. So I was glad to get to see a musical, at the Muny and it was fun... but we all agree: Camelot = downer, big time.

Friday, Matt had to work again (getting prepped for RA training) but Candice and I did NOT, so we met up with Britt, and headed to her nail place for Manis and Pedis. It was a great way to start our vacation weekend!! After lunch at Brittney's favorite Creperie (collin joined us), we grabbed Matt and headed for a nice long walk in Forest Park. I tell you people - living right next door to Forest Park is awesome - as I walk around Westwood and UCLA, I miss the parks that I used to live near in Seattle and Illinois. Forest Park is great.

Friday night we went to a great dinner place that had little "bites" - our favorite: Bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese - delicious. Then the four of us met up with Brittney at the Arch waterfront for the tail end of a Guster concert and a really great fireworks show. Afterward, we headed to Failoni's, a really great tiny little bar that Matt and his friends go to sometimes. The owners SING (!!!) live music, karaoke style - I can't even put into words how fun it is. You should go there if you are ever in StL.
(Candice and I at Modesto)

Saturday, we lounged around all morning, which was perfect and totally filled my heart with joy. I love hanging with those three and it was fun to just be there together. It was raining outside and we ended up staying in Matt's apartment virtually the entire day. We played Guitar Hero, made some great food, and eventually met up with Matt's coworkers at the Schlafly Brewery.
("Canoeing" at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens)

Sunday, the weather was nice again and we headed out with Brittney to the St. Louis Botanical Gardens. What a delightful time. The weather was perfect, the company was good, and I love the beauty of nature there. That night the four of us ended up making dinner again, and just hanging out together at Matt's apartment. It was our last night together for a while, and so we soaked it up with good conversation, lots of laughter and a late night trip to Ted Drewe's for Frozen Custard.
(We played Guitar Hero for hours one day)

I had to leave on Monday afternoon/evening. Matt worked in the morning. I packed and we all went to lunch together and then later they took me to the airport. It was a bittersweet time. We had a GREAT GREAT GREAT time together, and are hoping to recreate our fun in England next summer with a visit to the Bullards in Cambridge. But it was also sad, knowing that it might be almost a year before we see each other (together) again.

This is the quote that best describes my feelings about the trip:

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos. (Charles M. Schulz)

For those who want more pics.... here is a slide show from the St. Louis trip and from some early August fun times.