Monday, November 24, 2008

Paella Night!

When Pol was planning his trip to the US, we told him we'd love to have him cook some Spanish food while he was here, so he had his grandma teach him how to make paella.

He talked with her again on the phone after he got here, to get the recipe and instructions down on paper. Though my Spanish isn't great, I was able to make out most of the conversation, which mostly consisted of the words "wait" and "ok," repeated many times as she flew through the steps.

We were able to get most of the ingredients at whole foods (the only time in my life I've bought squid or mussels at the grocerty store). Then Pol took over all the cooking at home and put together a really amazing paella.
Stephanie, Arthur, and Jaisha came over and joined us to enjoy the meal. It tasted amazing - nice work, Pol!

Air and Space Museum

On Saturday, Jeff, Pol, and I headed to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum out by Dulles Airport. It's a different style of museum - it's mostly just a very large hanger with lots of airplanes and spacecraft (including a space shuttle) rather than the typical series of rooms with exhibits.

(And Mom, if you're reading this - we'll definitely go next time you come - sorry we didn't make it out while you were there!)
After seeing the museum, we headed home to rest, and then Pol and I went out dancing with Emma, Beth and Jaisha. (Jeff wasn't feeling great and stayed home to rest.)

Jeff's Birthday

Jeff's birthday was on Tuesday, but since I was mostly out of town and he had a lot of work, we decided to postpone going out until the weekend.
We got a group of people together and had dinner at Dukem - a great Ethiopian restaurant on U Street. Jeff, Sarah (his cousin), Eric, Lindsey, Rachel, Tim, Adam, Pol, Ross, and I were all there. It was a really fun dinner.

Afterwards, a bunch of us headed to Cafe Saint Ex for drinks and more hanging out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Animals, Space, Wine, and Theater...

Thursday was a fun day. I did a bit of sight-seeing with Pol. We started by walking up to the DC Zoo. We saw lots of cool animals - the panda's were napping outside.
The hippo was pretty active and kept swimming around and looking at the people.
After sightseeing, we came back to the apartment to warm up. We ordered Chinese for lunch and watched 12 Monkeys (awesome movie).

Then it was off to school for a GWSS-sponsored event. There was a speaker from Space-X - which was really well done and exciting. Dr. Logsdon came to the event and hosted his annual "beaujolais nouveau" party - celebrating the first 2008 wine to be available.
After the GWSS event, we went to see Brian Kester in "Godspell". I'd never seen it, and didn't really know what it was about, and I really enjoyed it! It was a really fun play - and they were really interactive, so multiple times Pol and I were talking to characters and once we were on stage dancing.

On the Road

Jeff and Pol left Virginia beach on Monday morning and went back to DC (via Baltimore to switch-back cars with Jeff’s mom – we had taken her Prius for the weekend). I stayed in Virginia Beach for a work meeting.

However, I had to drive back to DC for an exam on Tuesday (which I think went pretty well). I also took some time to sight-seeing with Pol – walking from the capital down to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a bright, sunny day, but was pretty cold (32 degrees), and there were some random snow flurries once in a while.
After the exam, it was back to VA for more meeting. Then back to DC on Wednesday. Road trips are fun, but I was definitely ready to turn in my rental car and be done with driving for a while.

Shuttle Launch!

There are only a handful of launches remaining before the space shuttle is retired from flight, and a group of us decided to go down and see a launch while we still could. Jeff, Pol, and I decided that we would drive from DC to Florida, in order to save some money and let Pol see more of the U.S.

It was a long day of driving on Thursday – about 12 hours – and somehow it rained the whole time. I didn’t know a storm could last through six states. Trying to convince Pol that all of America wasn’t dark and rainy, we tried to distract him typical American food. We had lunch at waffle house, where he had his first American breakfast. We did a pre-dinner stop at Dairy Queen, which resulted in us being too full to eat dinner until we arrived in Florida around 9:30pm. We had dinner at Carrabbas, and then headed to Stephanie’s house in St. Augustine, were we chatted a bit with Eric and Lindsey, and then fell asleep even before Stephanie and Arthur arrived from the airport.

Friday was launch day. We woke up, had coffee, and then Pol, Jeff, and I headed to Orlando to pick up Matt Carvey from the airport. Though we had decided not to try to do Disney or any of the parks, we went down International Drive to see some of the shops, restaurants, and entrances. We ate dinner outside on the patio (beautiful weather!) at Pizzeria Uno’s. Then we headed off to Damaris’s house on Cocoa Beach. Everyone else was there when we got there – Damaris, Emma, Kris, Eric, Lindsey, Stephanie, and Arthur. Damaris’s house is very cool – in addition to cool artwork, she has an arcade game system, a Wii, and Playstation 3. We ended up playing rock band for hours. Playing the drums is difficult!
Damaris cooked an amazing barbeque dinner – steak and shimp skewers with veggies, rice, corn on the cob, noodle salad, chips with home-made salsa, etc. This was followed by an awesome dessert, which she claims was easy and I’m determined to try (the only ingredients are canned pineapple, canned cherry pie filling, yellow cake mix, pecans, and butter). When we weren’t playing rock band, we had NASA TV on (just like all the cool Friday night parties). When we had about 20 minutes until the launch, we brought blankets and champagne, and walked out to the beach.
The launch was awesome! The first thing you see is the sky lighting up in a half-circle above the horizon. Then a bright oval (the shuttle) becomes visible and lights up the whole sky. You don’t see anything but a ball of fire for quite a while – it’s really bright, it’s almost difficult to look directly at it. After a bit, the booster rockets fall away, and you can actually see them separate from the shuttle. The shuttle becomes a more and more distant point of light, but you can see it for a long time (over a minute).
After the launch, and a celebratory toast, we picked up all our stuff and headed back to Damaris’s house for the rest of the evening. When it got pretty late, we went back to St. Augustine to stay at Stephanie’s house.

Staying at Stephanie’s was great, because that meant we could wake up and have pancakes (Thanks, Eric!), and then head out to the beach immediately after. There’s nothing (other than sand dunes) between Stephanie’s house and the beach, so it’s a short walk. The waves were pretty big, so Pol, Carvey, and I headed right into the water – swimming and trying to boogie board. We were only out on the beach for two hours, but somehow we all got burned. (Except for smart Jeff, who sat in a beach chair facing away from the sun.)
For lunch we drove down to a restaurant right on the beach (called Beachcombers) and had burgers and fries.
Then Pol, Carvey, Jeff, and I went to pick up a rental car for Carvey. Then we headed to downtown St. Augustine. There’s a really cute pedestrian street with lots of shops and restaurants. There’s also a castle near the water. St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish, so there were tons of shops advertised as the “Spanish Quarter” and things like that. Also, the castle (actually castello) was actually a Spanish fort.
Back at Stephanie’s that evening, we had dinner – Stephanie cooked fish, something I have never accomplished myself – and it was very good. We had dinner out on the deck, overlooking the water, which was great. Very nice end for the trip.

On Sunday, Jeff, Pol, and I basically needed to wake up and go. Jeff drove, and after getting to McDonalds just two minutes before breakfast ended (Yay Sausage McMuffin!), I slept for the first few hours until we got to Savannah, Georgia. We had lunch at Huey’s on the Savannah riverfront. It’s such a pretty city – I love all the parks. We drove until we got to Virginia Beach, VA. Anxious to be finished with driving, we held off on dinner and just ordered pizza after we got to the hotel. It didn’t take us long to get to sleep – it was a great weekend!

Pol's Visiting!

My friend, Pol, is visiting from Barcelona for a few weeks, in part due to me telling lots of stories about how many fun things there would be to do in the U.S. He’s been here for over a week now, and thanks to a crazy road trip to Florida, he’s seen a good portion of the East Coast, and has been to over 6 states (and the District of Columbia). He’ll also be visiting Minnesota over Thanksgiving to experience an American holiday (and maybe some crazy Black Friday shopping). So hopefully the trip will live up to my hype.

Pol arrived last Wednesday. It had been quite a trip for him already. He left mid-day on Tuesday (EST Time) and flew from Barcelona to Gatwick Airport outside London. Then he had to find his way from Gatwick to Heathrow in the middle of the night. He got on an early morning flight to Detroit, spent a few hours in the airport there, and finally arrived in DC at dinner time on Wednesday, after over 24 hours of traveling. (I’m sure he’s not looking forward to repeating this process to get home…)

Jaisha, Jeff, and I were there to pick him up with an “I heart DC” T-shirt and an American flag winter hat. That night we took him to Johnny Rockets for his first meal in the U.S. (It’s a 1950’s style American diner with burgers, fries, and shakes.) He had plenty of people there to greet him - Jaisha, Stephanie B, Eric, Beth, Steph Wan, Andrew Jones, Alina, Emma, Kris, and me.

After dinner we headed to 18th Street lounge for drinks and live music. We stayed until Pol was about to fall asleep on his feet, and then headed home. We still needed to pack for our big road trip the next day…

Monday, November 10, 2008

November Book Club Meeting

We just had our second book club meeting for our newly formed DC book club. It was a really fun meeting. We read the book "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." It's an epistolary novel (all made up of letters) about the Channel Islands during and after World War II. Generally people enjoyed the book. It was an easy read and had some really interesting themes, but didn't go into much depth. The characters were fun, but also a bit one-dimensional. To fit the theme, Stephanie, who hosted the meeting, made a baked-potato bar for dinner. Overall a very fun night.

For the next book club meeting, we're reading "Under the Banner of Heaven: The Story of Violent Faith" by Jon Krakauer. It's more serious than our last couple books - its a non-fiction book about an extreme sect of the Morman church. Should be interesting...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm 25!

Yesterday was my birthday, and I had a really good day. I slept in, then spent the next few hours relaxing on the couch watching bad TV (wife swap, super nanny, etc.). For lunch, Jeff and I ordered way more pizza than we needed, which tasted great. Then it was back to relaxing for the afternoon.

Around 8pm we met up with Stephanie, Adam, and Kate for dinner. Dinner was at Chi-Cha lounge, which is a cool restaurant/bar on U St. that serves Andean food. I had empanadas and an avacado salad - the food was really good.
After dinner it was off to Adam's Morgan for drinks and dancing. We went to Meze lounge. The weather was really nice - probably in the 60s, so we sat outside on the patio and had drinks. Emma, Beth, Jaisha, and Brian joined us while we were there.
When it got a bit later, we headed upstairs in Meze for dancing. Meze plays international music, so it was a fun mix of American and European pop music, Arabic techno, and all sorts of other stuff. Other than at Black Cat, it was my first time out dancing in DC, and I really enjoyed it.
After leaving Meze, we decided to head to Lucky Bar near Dupont Circle. This bar was also a lot of fun, and we mostly hung out with chatting with friends.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Wins!

The election has been called. Obama will be the next president of the United States of America! I just watched his acceptance speech on TV, and it was pretty inspirational. (I'll try to add the transcript when it's available.) I think this was a great election with two really impressive and respectable candidates, and I'm happy with the outcome. There is yelling, honking, and screaming all over DC. It's 12:30am and we can still hear tons of noise through the window. Seems like the whole country is excited! Obama's Acceptance Speech, November 4, 2008:
"Hello, Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. Watch Obama's speech in its entirety »

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Voted!

Though I'm going to school in DC, my permanent address is still in Minnesota, so I filled out an absentee ballot and sent it in today. They actually only count the absentee ballots if the difference between the total number of in-state votes for each candidate is less than the total number of absentee ballots, which basically never happens, but whatever.

Just wanted to show that I'm participating in the civic process and encourage others to do the same!

Happy Halloween!

I had just gotten back in town the day before Halloween, so Jeff and I didn't have much time to work on costumes and things. We decided to have our own Halloween party instead.

We went out to CVS and picked up some candy. (We knew kids probably wouldn't come trick-or-treating to our 9th floor apartment, but that just meant we'd get to eat it!) Then we went on to Whole Foods to pick up icecream and drinks, grabbed some Chinese food from Yum's II (only a block from our house!) and headed home.

We live in an area with night life, so during our errand-running we saw a good number of people out in costume, which satisfied my desire to see other people's Halloween creativity.

Our Halloween party mostly consisted of us sitting at home, not in costume (though I did wear an orange T-shirt and black shorts, and the orange and black striped toe-socks my dad got me), had our Chinese food, and ate the candy we had bought. Jeff finished an entire bag of candy corn.

We watched a few episodes of "Mad Men", a TV show that's gotten really popular, and that many people, particularly my mom, have told me I should check out. It was good, but I want to watch a few more episodes before I really write about it.

And that was the holiday!

Aircraft Carrier Visit!

I haven't had the chance to write this week, but its for a much cooler reason than just being busy with homework. From Monday until Thursday, I was at sea - aboard the U.S.S. Eisenhower aircraft carrier.

Getting to the carrier was exciting in itself. I drove to Norfolk, VA, and then at 5:30am, headed to the nearby Naval base. From there, we (I was with 6 other team members from the project I work on) found the waiting room for our plane.

We flew over on a COD - Carrier On-ship Delivery. It holds about 30 people, including the pilot and crew. The passengers all sit facing backwards. There are exposed buttons and ropes and things inside, and no windows. You have shoulder and belt straps, which you understand the necessity of when you land.

You get on and off the COD through the back, which opens up kind of like a spaceship - with one part of the door becoming a ramp. The ride for us was about 2.5 hours, but since you can't move (you're strapped in pretty well), you can't hear (because its loud and you have ear plugs and protective head phones on), and you can't hold anything (because it would fly out of your hands when you land), you basically try to sleep during that time. Before we landed, the crew told us to sit straight up with our feet flat on the ground and heads flat against the chair. They said they'd yell just before we landed.

The landing is pretty exciting - here's a summary of what happens, if you're not familiar with carrier landings. The flight deck on a carrier is much shorter than a normal runway. At commercial airports, you usually get a runway 6,000 to 10,000 feet long. On a carrier, you have about 1,000 feet. It's not long enough to allow you to brake on your own, so they put in arresting wires on the deck and a tail hook on the plane, this way, when the plane hits the deck its tail hook catches the arresting wire, and and you are brought from 150 mph to 0 in just a couple seconds. The plane has to keep its speed really high as it lands, because if it misses the arresting wire, it has to take off again right away (called a bolter).

From the inside of a COD, you have no windows, so you feel the plane maneuvering around, hear some faint yelling by the crew, and then hit the deck hard and then stop within a couple seconds. You're pressed against your seat by the G forces. Then the plane taxis to where it needs to be, and the back of the plane opens up again, allowing you to see a flight deck and ocean to the horizon. It's very cool.
We ate lunch not too long after we landed, and then spent the afternoon of the first day watching flight ops - one of the coolest things to see on a carrier. We went to the flight deck and stood nearby as planes flew onto the carrier and either hooked an arresting wire or missed and took off again. (We were watching training flights.) I've took a great video of one coming in. Then we went forward on the ship and stood between the two catapults.
Another carrier lesson, for those unfamiliar. Earlier, when I mentioned that you don't have enough space to stop on your own on a carrier, you may have wondered how they have enough space to speed up and take off. They don't have enough room for that either, so they use steam catapults to shoot the planes off the deck. (Really - the guys that direct flight ops are called "shooters".) This allows them to go from zero mph up to 150 in a couple of seconds. We stood between the two catapults, which were alternating shooting jets off the ship. At any given time, we were about 30 feet from a navy jet.

After we finished seeing flight ops, we started our three-day tour of the ship. It seemed like we talked to many of the thousands of people on board - people were really friendly and happy to give their opinion of the systems they work with and life on the ship.

The purpose of the visit was to learn about these things, since I am part of a team working on the design of the next class of aircraft carriers - the CVN 21 class. We were in rooms on lower decks some of the time, watching operations and training, and also saw rooms in the tower, up to 10 decks above the hangar bay. We did lots of walking down hallways and climbing up and down ladders.
Each day we were on board we got up around 6am, ate breakfast, and walked around seeing things, talking to people, and learning about the ship until about 9 or 10pm, so we definitely took full advantage of our time on board. We saw the combat direction center, the bridge (where we talked to the captain), went outside next to a missile launcher, then climbed down a ladder where you could stand underneath it. We sat down with the XO in his office and talked for over an hour. We visited damage control and then watched a simulated fire drill in the hangar bay.

Another one of the cool things that happened while we were on board was a RES - replenishment at sea. A cargo ship comes up alongside the carrier (as close as 140 feet), and lines are thrown across. Then fuel and crates of materials are sent across. In the short time we were connected, 700,000 lbs of fuel were transferred. One incredible thing to see was the complete lack of relative motion between the two ships - even though they were both speeding along, it looked like you were at a pier.

On Thursday, we pulled into port in Norfolk, VA, and walked off the ship. It was a pretty unique four days!