Thursday, August 16, 2012

Almost into a daily rhythm

Well, we've been here for about two weeks, and we've almost settled in to our daily rhythm.  Right now our pattern consists of a combination of the following: wake up, eat, beach, pool, eat, sleep, beach, pool, read, park, beach, eat, beach, pier/dock, beach, beach, beach, beach...  Interject some time for Kelly and I to do work on our virtual school jobs (which includes contacting kids and parents, holding chats, grading, and so forth) and you have a pretty good idea of what we do everyday.  So far we aren't tired of the beach, so this pattern suits us well.

Liam's routine on the beach is to pick up something new, put it in his mouth, eat all the sand on it, and then move on.  It looks like this stick is the next victim.

In every single photo of Amelie, she is running, jumping, or moving.  She is non-stop action, mainly because she loves the beach and everything a three-year old can do on one.

We do miss certain parts of Athens already.  If I had to sum up Gulf Shores in one phrase, it would be "tourist (redneck) trap".  Therefore, it is almost devoid of any type of identity or culture of it's own, unless you call condo-on-condo, fried seafood, and souvenir shops as identity.  The food culture, the coffee culture, the beer culture, the music culture, the townie culture, none of these things exist here.   I just assumed that everywhere was like Athens in that these cultural elements would be recreated in their own local fashion.  This includes Athens Church, too.  The lone church we've visited just didn't have passion for excellence that Athens Church has, and it's own parishioners informed me it doesn't get much better in the area.  I guess because we've been in Athens so long that I just took it for granted.  And this is more than an observation.  I've talked up the locals, looking for decent breakfast places, bakeries, locally roasted coffee, anything, and they either look at me like I'm an idiot or agree that I'm going to have to get out of Gulf Shores for anything like that.  Luckily, the rest of the Gulf is ripe with history and culture, and we are just a short ride from towns like Fairhope, AL and longer rides to places like New Orleans.  Also, I think that some of these places might exist in Gulf Shores, but I might have to just look extra hard for them.

 Fried oyster sandwich from Sea 'n Suds. Just about everything was fried, but low prices (for the area) made up for fairly generic menu.

Beignets from Cafe Beignet.  This is definitely regional food and was made famous by Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.  This place was the perfect example of a breakfast place that would be worth revisiting if they had any atmosphere at all (or even coffee that was good).

We've had a lot of transition.  Up ending our lives, selling everything, changing jobs, moving, making new friends...the list goes on.  But it's fun, it's exciting, it's energizing.  We are loving being on a schedule that looks different everyday, in a place that is new, with a new setting and environment just a few months over the horizon.  There is no monotony or boredom except for that which we choose to create or allow to exist.  We feel like we are starting a chapter in our story that is exciting, that people will want to read, that our kids will want to tell.  Not that we were unhappy or tired of the previous chapters.  We loved writing them as well.  They made us who we are and got us where we are.  However, now the story has taken a turn that is more in line with our personalities, and we are excited to be a part of whatever happens next.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Made it to the beach, almost settled in

Present update

After several more hours in the car than any of us could take (I blame the Uhaul trailer and traveling with kids), we finally made it to the beach on the evening of the 1st of August.  The furnished townhouse we rented seems to be in pretty good shape.  After pushing around and moving furniture to accommodate kids, cribs, and six months worth of our stuff, we seem to be settled in.  We're surrounded on both sides with water, with the Gulf on the front side of the house and large lagoon with private pier on the rear side.  Plus, we have a pool for getting whatever sand just won't come off in the outdoor shower.  Our place is definitely a rental, and has the wear and tear to prove it.  But our landlord has already sent repairmen over to fix any issues we've found.  The next six months here should be incredible!

We haven't explored much in the area because going to the beach everyday just hasn't yet gotten boring.  Sand here is really white and clean, a very fine grain, and squeaks when we walk on it.  The weather is very fluid and changes rapidly, as we learned on day two when a lightning storm rolled in way too fast for my liking.  The water itself has a decent amount of seaweed, and I've already stepped on a stingray (who decided he'd save stinging me for a later date).  However, once I navigated through the wall of seaweed, the water cleared up decently.

Amelie and Liam have loved the beach, and Amelie has already declared that this is the best place she has ever lived.  Shell finding and sandcastle building seem to interest her the most right now, but the pool is a close second.  Liam ate so much sand the first day I began to wonder on the physical limits his belly could take.  At what point does it just turn to concrete?  He has no fear, healthy or otherwise, of anything, so the natural hazards of the beach have placed him and us on the opposite sides of the excitement spectrum.

Work is picking up with the beginning of the semester approaching.  That, coupled with the busyness of moving and trying find time to intersperse some beach fun, has left us too swamped to care about taking pictures.  Thus, pictures are limited for this post, and all were taken via iPhone (so quality is limited).  Future postings will hopefully be more picture fruitful.

 First night we got here

 We've eaten a ridiculous amount of popsicles so far.
The dock/pier off the back of our place.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The past, the present, the future...(a warning)

The biggest problem with waiting months (years, decades, millennium, etc.) to update your blog is that you have a whole lot to tell the world.  And we have done and planned a lot in our lives in the past two years.  Enough plans, ideas, and dreams even to warrant the occasional retrospective blog post that will allow readers, friends, and family to understand how we got where we are.  The difficulty with trying to reminisce and write events and ideas that got us here is that there might be a great deal of embellishment, exaggeration, and hyperbole, as we remember the past how we want.  I'll try to keep it straight, but no promises.  The beauty of a blog is that those who have traveled and plotted with us can comment and let everyone know how far the truth has strayed.  That was the first warning.

Now for some housekeeping regarding reading future posts.  Of course all posts will be tagged letting the reader know whether they are reading about a present update, a past anecdote of planning for the present and future, or future plans or arrangements.  But just to make sure there is no confusion, I will make sure that there is some type of header that denotes the post type.  I am sure this is confusing (hence being warning number two), but all will be made clear to those who stick around to hear the tale that sent the Walkers wandering...