Monday, 16 July 2012

Appearance of a new character, Miami, FL


Hey Guys, this is Lawrence. 

You might know me as a mumbling bubbly Belgian guy, who likes his beer and lives in Miami (where they don't let me drink, which upsets me and usually gets me started on animated rants against America as a whole). 
I joined Sarah and Jessica for the second part of their road trip only this morning but already the noise level in their car has reached new heights (have I mentioned that I have hearing damage even though I'm only 20?) and, as far as I can say, as has Sarah's exasperation. 
Before that they stayed two nights in my family condo in Miami and this morning, armed with my two packs of beer (only the finest belgian ones and a selective few american ones). 
The only purpose of this trip (except getting my older friends to buy me beers and sing along to punk rock as loud as possible) is to get to New Orleans (spoiler alert!) where I can finally practice my finest swing moves in their natural element. 
After that I don't know (forward thinking is not really my strong point). Maybe I will grow to like America, who knows? After all, the country that produced Louis Armstrong and Metallica can't be totally bad, right? But they also make Bud Light, and so shall never be forgiven.
Currently, I took control of the car audio system and single handedly decided of where we were going to have lunch. As far as I can see (not very far) this road trip is going to be pretty good. 
(This post was not written by Lawrence. Any resemblances with existing characters are purely a coincidence)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Social Awkwardness on the Road--Savannah, GA

Hey guys! 

I’ve always considered myself an incredibly socially awkward person. It’s not that I don’t understand the rules of society and regular interactions with other people; it’s just that I can’t adapt those rules for myself without feeling awkward, uncomfortable, and wholeheartedly out of place. I mean, it’s bad. If I see a friend talking to someone I don’t know, I’ll flee in the opposite direction just to avoid that awkward “nice to meet you” scenario. It takes me ages to be able to feel comfortable smiling at an acquaintance on the street, just because I worry that in the 24 hours since meeting, they’d have forgotten my existence entirely and will then judge me for forcing my lips into that half smile, half grimace expression of mutual acknowledgement. This hasn’t changed on this road trip. When a cute boy came to flirt with me at a bar in Savannah, Georgia, I suffered from some half mad seizure of uncertainty and spewed sarcasm at him until he ran away. This is my life. I’ve come to terms with it and have adapted accordingly. I’m proud to say I’m used to it. I’m pretty sure those who know me well are used to it, too.

But I never expected to know anyone who could out-socially awkward me. Sarah is that person. She takes social awkwardness to a whole new and adorable level. Most of it, I understood. She doesn’t like talking on the phone in a language that’s not French. I get that. I barely like talking on the phone to family in my own native language, so that was awkwardness I understand. I mean, pauses in conversation in real life are awkward enough. What the heck are you supposed to do on the phone when that excruciating silence takes over, judging and mocking you with it’s absence of language?

But at least I’m able to tell a waitress when I don’t want my leftovers boxed up because we’re on a seven hour road trip to Miami and taking leftovers with us seems a bit useless in these circumstances. Sarah couldn’t, which was adorable. I even gave her the opportunity to throw it away in the bathroom, but she kept a grip on that styrofoam box as if it contained the holy grail, put it at the top of our iceless cooler, and vowed to eat it at lunch.

I actually think Sarah’s socially awkwardness is helping me with mine. If we were both equally awkward, neither of us would ever be able to phone the front desk for internet connection. We’d likely starve, since neither of us would like to talk to people taking orders at restaurants. When cute boys flirted with us, we’d probably just sit there, saying nothing, keeping our minds in the mental fetal position until they left. And I swear to god, I’d never get into a bar. Any time the bartender asks my birthday to check that I am, in fact, over 21... I immediately reply with “NOVEMBER 9TH” and stop talking. Obviously they want the year, but I think my mind is still paranoid that somehow 1990 was not twenty-one years ago (for the record, it is) and they’ll send for the police. Or worse. Refuse me alcohol.

But with Sarah here, I can proudly announce my birth year, sign, and conditions of my entrance into the world. With Sarah by my side, I can explain I hail from Florida, that Sarah is from Switzerland, that we met in Scotland and are road tripping the East Coast with no problem. I can call the front desk, check into hotels, and even go inside the gas station to pay for gas when the card reader is acting funny.

Because if I don’t, no one will, and we’d still be Philadelphia driving around one of their huge roundabouts because both of us were too damn scared to make a decision on which exit to take.

So thank you, Sarah, for your social awkwardness. I don’t think I’d be able to do anything on this trip without it. You even give me the courage to write this blog post to our readers (if there are any) and beg them to comment, because lord knows we’re both too insecure to have a blog that no one provides feedback on.

xoxo,
SJA

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wilmington, NC

Hey guys! Jess here!

Now look, I hate to say this... but the road trip is cancelled. Right now (at the time of writing) I’m in Wilmington, NC, and I’ve decided I really, really don’t want to leave. Sarah seems to agree with me. We don’t see why there’s any point in continuing this trip now that we’ve found this gorgeous little coastal town. If any of you know me at all, you know I only appreciate mushy gushy expressions of love when it comes to the fictional world. In the real world, any bit of sentimental cheese is far better off on someone else’s plate, not mine, the plate of the Born Romantic slowly turned Imaginative Cynic. But here, in Wilmington, I am fully comfortable saying I am in love with this town and everything in it.


I’m not quite sure why I love it so much. Maybe it’s the quiet harbor sending off a gentle breeze to kill the heat wave we’d suffered through for days. The small town streets with quaint cafes and odd shops definitely draw me in. Or maybe it’s because the small bookstore owner told me they’d hold an event for my as yet unpublished novel.


Contrary to what Sarah might tell you, it’s not because One Tree Hill (Dawson’s Creek, Weekend at Bernie’s, and more) was filmed here. It’s not. I may have watched the show for five seasons, but it’s not like I fangirled over it like I’ve fangirled over Doctor Who or other similarly nerdy programs. It was a typical high school drama that was fun to watch; like the car crash on the other side of the road that you can’t stop watching until another car honks at you. But I CAN see why the show was filmed in Wilmington, at any rate, and I think that’s why I love it.

It’s simply the perfect town, and I don’t want to leave. So I’m just not going to. Sarah and I even have a plan. We passed a small three story building for sale about a block away from the harbor, so we’re going to pool our money and buy it. In order to maintain the upkeep, we’ll be opening a cafe on the bottom floor. Excited? We are. We’re going to call it the Hat and the Umbrella (illustrated by a vignette of a hat and an umbrella). Then, we’ll rent out the second floor to tenants. We’ll naturally live on the third floor, which can look out over the water, and pretty much stay here until we die.

At least that’s my plan. Sarah only needs to give me the rights to the name (which she dreamed up shortly after her love affair with a white hat and my love affair with a clear umbrella began) and then she’s free to roam about to New York or Charleston or where ever her little French (Swiss) heart desires. I’m inclined to stay rooted here, in North Carolina, where, “I don’t want to be anything other than what I am trying to be lately.”



You stay classy, Wilmington. You stay classy.

xoxo,
SJA



Saturday, 7 July 2012

Stage Two: Jersey!

Hey World! 

It’s Jessica here, and I’ve finally got a chance to post something about our trip. Sarah’s been telling you what’s up so far, but I pretty much held her down and ripped this blog post from her desperate fingers with little to no regard for her feelings. This is MY blog post, Sarah. You can’t have it. Because if anyone is going to be writing about New Jersey, it’s going to be me.

Okay, I have two things to say before I start this post.





1. It’s going to be about the Jersey Shore.

2. No, not THAT Jersey Shore.



From what Wikipedia tells me, THAT Jersey Shore takes place in a city called Seaside Heights. And since I’ve never been there personally (and I’ve certainly never watched the show), I can’t say for sure whether or not it bares any resemblance to the places I know and love in Jersey. Maybe it does. Maybe the last five years I’ve spent avoiding this show were a waste, and I was missing out on a delightful program depicting my favorite places in a totally charming and accurate way. Then again, it’s MTV. I highly doubt it.



MY Jersey Shore is something I’ve loved since childhood. My dad owned a popular business in a little small town on the more southern shore called Sea Isle City. It’s a town with a lot of history, both personal and public. My parents met and married there. My brother grew up there. I spent almost every summer (and even a few winters) there. I love Sea Isle with all my heart, from the overcrowded summers to the abandoned winters and every last Shoobie tourist making the lines at Wawa ridiculous. (Side note: A Shoobie is a specific kind of tourist that has been known to wear flip flop sandals over socks. Don’t say we never taught you anything.) I even wrote a novel here, and wrote a bunch of short stories ABOUT here. It’s just a great place, with a lot of great people. I may prefer it in the winter, but that’s just me. There’s definitely more to do in the Summer (BEACH) and plenty of fun to be had (AT THE BEACH). If you’re ever in the area, I recommend checking in out.



I couldn’t quite tell what Sarah thought of it. I know at one point, she said it looked like the cute american seaside town she’s seen on TV. That could only be good, right? I know she saw a yellow school bus and got very excited. I think she even took pictures.



We happened to be in Sea Isle for the fourth of July, so our foodie updates are going to get no more interesting than this: 


annnnnd, this:


annnnd, even this:



Overall, we did a lot of fun stuff in a lot of fun places in Jersey. To get the full experience, you’re going to want to watch the video. It should be posted soon. Stay tuned!

Sincerely,
SJA

PS: As usual, if you like food, probably finer than these burgers and hot dogs, check out our best friend Maria’s blog: HAPPY BELLY.