It’s really high time (literally, I’m trapped in an airplane for the next 3 hours! …hahaha…never mind…) that I fill in some gaps that I’ve left, well, gaping, over the past few months. Per my most “recent” (think loose definition of the word here boys and girls), however untimely, post we re-hashed the lovely experience of my PhD defense. As of May 31st it was official! Dr. Trot has her PhD in something besides finding her own jokes entertaining and bad story telling (it is in chemical engineering to be exact…and yes, this does help explain the aforementioned odd sense of humor and questionable social skills). This information was happily received by moi en route to Princeton, NJ. So what the hell happened between May 3rd & May 31st, you ask? That’s a very good question! Thank you for inquiring! Let’s take just a second to catch you up to this point then, shall we?
So after the defense and after party on May 3rd, May 4th was spent with a monumental hangover and cruising around the Festival of Nations in St. Paul with Dr. Wil, Katie (who was part of a number of irish step dance performances…which, PS, are VERY cool!) and Krsna. Sadly I have ZERO photos of all the fun foods we tried. The only real don’t-need-to-try-this-again was the Tibetan coffee (which I think is actually supposed to be consumed more like a soup) that was made with cream, salt and butter. You could distinctly taste each and every ingredient. BLEH! After the FoN we hit up the Minnesota Historical Society (Katie is a historian here and totally hooked us up…also, fyi, she will totally whip your trail every time in a who-can-recite-more-fun-facts competition…) for a Civil war + Abe Lincoln exhibit.
Very cool! We wrapped up the day with a walk around the beautiful St. Paul cathedral and a stop for coffee. Heading home I was finally starting to feel like a
normal human again!
Ov the next few weeks there were too many celebratory lunches, happy hours and hours and hours… and dinners to recount them all. Let it suffice to sat that it was great spending overdue QT with a lot of peeps that I’m really going to miss Let me also note a couple of particular outings that warrant special attention…
1. Lady’s night at Alma with Ladies A & A
These two have been my friends since before I can remember. Ironically while I have lived within 100 miles of my home town my entire life, both A & A have lived all over the place. Now though, they are both back in Minneapolis, and I’m leaving! Yeesh! Anywho…on one delicious/generous Friday evening, they took me out to a local French restaurant, Alma, for their 5 course tasting menu. AMAZING I had been here once before an am now wondering why the hell it was only once. The place is speedy (let’s be honest / point out the obvious) but it is damn good. After dinner we went to the Marvel Bar for cocktails and atmosphere. This place is totally hidden in the basement if an old building in the wear house district. You have to go in the back, basement door and down a hall to an unmarked door. You open the door…and…SURPRISE! there is a spunky, charming, cocktail bar filled with out of the ordinary. It was a great way to spend the evening with two very above ordinary women!
2. Rooftop wine and sushi
May 23rd was a rough day. This is when it really hit me that I was leaving this MInnesota graduate school ChemE world, that has been my whole world for the last 6 years, behind and starting up something totally new, totally alone and totally far away. I was hit by this ton of bricks as I watched (and video taped, like the very good friend that I am) my close friend and favorite groupie Dr. K defend his PhD thesis. We have seen each other just about each and every day for the last five years. We’ve helped each other with the personal and professional bullshit of work/school/life and enjoyed our successes side by side. AND THEN BOOM!!!! IT’S ALL OVER!!!! Or so that was how I felt.
Maybe Of course I was being a little over dramatic. We all move forward in life (obviously this is a good thing) and we will continue to stay in touch and be part of each others lives as good friends do. Now, what the hell does this have to do with rooftop wine and sushi? My buddy Mr. M and I decided to celebrate the this process of moving forward by doing something that both we (and coincidently Dr. K) have very fond memories of, rooftop wine and sushi at Seven. Two glasses of wine, a nice breeze, agedashi tofu, a summer roll and a winter roll were exactly what I needed.
Never mind that afterwards we strolled over to The Local Irish pub for some Guinness and a dessert sampler platter (meant for at least 4). Waddling home fat, tipsy and happy was fantastic.
3. Smack Shack snack
One place Mr. M and I wanted to go for a special night out before leaving Minneapolis was the Smack Shack. To celebrate my
moving half way across the country to be all by lonesome wonderful post-doc opportunity on the east coast we went out for a very crabby dinner 🙂 We split the famous crab cakes, lobster roll and lobster mac-n-cheese (stop judging, it was delicious) and washed it all down with a couple glasses of wine.
This was sooooo my kind of Sunday night!
In addition to pigging out at every opportunity, I also had to pack up my entire professional and personal life for the 1300 mile relocation. NBD, right? Wrong.
Thanks to my awesome group mates, passing work stuff on went as smoothly as one could hope for. I will miss the Kaznessis group loads though.
Packing up the personal life though…man…that was tiring and expensive! I was quoted between $900 (for essentially a Fisher Price tent) and $3.5K (for what should include restoration services for my items in addition to their relocation) to transport my belongings to NJ. In the end I argued a lower-end-of-the-cost-spectrum company down to $1,400 from their original ~$2K for a 7x8x9 pod to pack all of my precious material items into. Let me just say two things: 1) Dr. Trot has a lot of
shit aforementioned precious material items, and 2) 7x8x9 is the size of a small bathroom! Have you ever tried to move all of our stuff into the bathroom? I wouldn’t recommend it! First of all, it’ll make using the toilet a serious challenge and damn is it a lot of work! Thankfully, I have the world’s most amazing friends and brother and we worked it out. Everything besides the second hand Ikea couch and shitty Target kitchen chairs made it in!
Lady A (from dinner at Alma) even helped me with the cleaning (and may “helped me” read : did just about all of, and a better job than I would have). Everyone was awesome. Seriously awesome!
My final food-and-drink-centric farewell party was at the Loring Kitchen and Grill the evening before I left. I would totally
not recommend planning things this way as it is just that much more exciting to be on an additional self-imposed time crunch during endogenously (ask Google) stressful processes. Again, it was a night filled with totally awesome company that make leaving a whole hell of a lot tougher.
Thursday morning, departure morning, came very bright and early (true to form after a late night of farewell partying). Mr. M and I had the car loaded (precious Bianchi and all), tires pumped, oil checked, kitties off at Miss Kookie-the-Kitty-Sitter’s and were on the road by 8 am.
Truth be told, this is nothing short of a miracle. Subsequent miracles include making it through Chicago with only one Dr. Trot screw up by mid afternoon and then to Callehan’s in Elkart, IN by dinner time. This is my adviser’s family-in-law’s family restaurant, just off of the IN turnpike at exit 42. We were advised to stop in for steak and eggs (M mixed it up and got the Greek chicken) and ask for Kostas.
May the record show that Dr. YK was a very good adviser in this matter. The atmosphere was charming, the food was delicious and Kostas was second to none.
If you are ever making your way though Indiana, in the vicinity of Notre Dame, do take a side trip to Callehan’s. Turnpike…Elkart exit 42. Now we/mostly I were bound and determined to make it to Cleveland by the end of day 1. An extended dinner at Callehan’s + the dark + the rain + the 15 hours since we had left home all conspired to convince us to pull over for the night about half way between Toledo and Cleveland. Over all a
freaking expensive Holiday Inn Express good decision I believe. Dr. Trot, Mr. M and the precious Bianchi all slept like babies.
Day two started a bit later, 10 am, and was only an 11 hour day of driving. Ohio is boring, Pennsylvania is beautiful and New Jersey, for better or worse, is home now. And this brings us back to May 31st – when I, (officially) Dr. Trot, (officially) moved to New Jersey, yo!