Sunday, July 20, 2008

Monticello, UVA and the Masonic Temple

I dropped Adam off at the airport not long ago and I find I have no motivation for anything other than sulking right now. It's been such a fun, relaxing and perfect week. Now sitting here alone with chores to do and errands to run feels like waking from a dream. It's not like we didn't do any chores or errands while Adam was here. We replaced light bulbs, went to the grocery store, got work done on the car, scrubbed the bathroom and did laundry. But somehow it doesn't seem like a sad reminder of the monotony of life's necessities when we do it together. Maybe that sounds like a nauseating romance novel, but it's true.

All I can think about is that it seems so senseless that we are separated. That he's in Hawaii and I am here. Why? For what? For my career? It's in my power to change the situation. I feel like I'm standing at a crossroads. Down one path, I can see my life if I stay here and keep investing in a DC career. Down the other path is... what? I don't know any alternative right now. I have some ideas of what it could look like, but nothing is clear. And so much it seems like I have to keep on this path in order to secure success and happiness on the other. But is that an illusion? If I'm being completely honest, it's fear that keeps me here. Fear that I will close doors or miss out on opportunities. Fear of failure - that I might be giving up. So here I am. Alone in this city,
waiting. Trying to trust that the universe will nudge me in the right direction at the right time. Even though I despise my choice, if I can see no alternative then it must be the thing for now.


Yesterday was relaxing and lazy. We worked out, laid around and went to church. But we were busy on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday we drove down to Charlottesville to tour Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home) and the University of Virginia. Monticello was awesome! Jefferson taught himself architecture and designed the house himself. It's really well preserved, and full of all the original furniture and books and scientific instruments that fascinated him.

The house is on top of a hill so all around are views of the rolling hills and valleys. We actually had really nice weather while Adam was here. It was hot but not too unbearably humid. Below the house are several gardens where they still grow different plants and vegetables, which you can buy at the gift shop. Jefferson grew all different kinds of vegetables and fruits.

Two long porches stretch out on either side of the back lawn from both sides of the house. You can see views of the valleys below from both porches. All around are gardens making a big oval lawn behind the house in between the porches.

This is another view of the back of the house from farther down the lawn. You can see some of the flowers lining the path around the grass. Jefferson was enamored with ancient Greek and classical architecture - hence the domed roof and the columns on both the front and back of the house.

There was a big fish pond on the South side, which they kept stocked so the fish would be fresh. Another interesting feature was an ice house. When the rivers froze, Jefferson would have his slaves and employees go collect huge chunks of ice and store it in a cistern on the North side of the house. Surprisingly, the ice lasted through the summer.

You approach the front of the house by a long path through a tunnel of trees.

It's easy to imagine pulling up in a horse-drawn carriage! Life must have been much more uncomfortable back then.

After Monticello, we drove into Charlottesville's downtown area and then over to the UVA campus. Jefferson built UVA and the center of the campus is still preserved exactly how it was built. Along both sides of the "lawn" in the center are student residences - I guess it's a big deal to get selected to live in them. But there are no toilets inside, you have to go outside to use a community toilet!

Then on Friday we toured the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. It's this huge temple that houses a museum and tours of several rooms where the public can learn about Washington and Freemasonry. It was interesting to learn how much a secret fraternity has affected the history of our country. One out of three Presidents has been a Mason. Washington is the most prominent and well known. Ford was the most recent. The museum houses some of Washington's personal effects, which were neat to see. We learned that Washington probably died prematurely. He came down with a severe sore throat and the doctors bled him, which was customary at the time and typically resulted in the loss of 80% of a person's blood volume! That's what killed him.

This picture is in the York room - the Yorks are one of the societies within Freemasonry that focuses on Christian history and artifacts - this room looked like part of a French castle complete with suits of armor, stained glass and a sword from the crusades!

This is a view inside the main hall on the ground floor - full of marble and these HUGE granite columns that weigh two tons each and are solid pieces. Behind us is a statue of George Washington.

That's it for now! It's getting close to 8:30 so I should find out what time the grocery store opens and get done with the drudgery. Hope you enjoyed the pics!


Anonymous said...

Hi - you guys look great! And thank you for the cake recipes. I'm just waiting for the next birthday to make that Kahlua one...


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time. :)

I don't necessarily believe in signs, but the only thing I can tell you is that you are 1) a very talented person that could make a life for yourself anywhere. And also? We can make mistakes. If it doesn't work, you can get back to your old life. Nothing worth having is without risk. :)

Hang in there, dear!

Adam said...

You look great in those pictures; I have the hottest girlfriend ev-er! Why are we 4800 miles away from each other again???