Where to start…? This is a hard one…some much happened. Well, I woke up Wednesday morning at 4:30 am and hit the road. I made a stop in DC to take in the monuments and spend the night before embarking on another 600 mile journey to Providence, RI to visit Brown University.
So this is where I spent the night in DC. A hostel that cost $25 for the night. I shared a room, top bunk no less, with three strangers and no air conditioning in what any sane person would call a tinderbox. If someone’s cigarette ash fell in the wrong place this townhouse would’ve made front page news for torching 18 tourists. We slept four to a room, coed, five rooms on the top two floors, with one bathroom on each floor that we shared (one toilet, one sink, one shower).
I arrived in DC with three hours to paint the town (I had to be awake at 4:30am the following morning). I literally ran from one thing to the other. I saw these monuments: White House, WWII, Lincoln, Vietnam, Roosevelt, Korean War, MLK, Reflecting Pond (to which I ran to and splashed my face with), Jefferson, Watergate, and JFK Center.
When I got back to my hostel I met two great men: an anesthesiologist from Portland and the guy who ran the hostel. I spent an hour in the library with the gentlemen who worked the front desk. We discussed politics, healthcare, and our personal lives. I had a great time and cherish those moments with him. Not to mention he had a dry sense of humor that hit my funny bone.
Afterwards, and by pure chance, I spent a few hours with the anesthesiologist. What a great man! He was in town for two weeks to see everything at the Smithsonian. A doctor at a hostel?! I know…somewhat odd, but so what this guy (my kind of guy). Brilliant mind…no two ways to put it. We sat in the broken down kitchen beneath the light of a desk lamp, in the humidity of a DC summer with an old fan that tried its best.
We talked about philosophy, history, architecture, politics, and our personal lives. If it wasn’t for my pre-sunrise wake up we would’ve enjoyed one another’s company until the wee hours of the morning. Another great American. It’s funny to say, but I love the guy.
Morning arrived to pitch black and the futile attempt to quietly get off the top of a broken bunk bed. I showered in what can only be described as something reminiscent of a fraternity facility – and I mean the old ΠΚΑ house at UGA. As I was leaving I ran into my Doctor friend. We gave each other a hug and he said, “Brad, don’t forsake your wife and kids; you’ve got a bright future, but take care of what’s important.”
And it was off for several hundred more miles.
First stop (after paying a TON in tolls) was NYC. Every time I step foot in NY I feel my patriotism flow through my veins. I love NY!
Next stop was in New Haven, CT to pick up something for my daughter at Yale (she wants to go there) and then I made a pit stop in Newport, RI to visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Talk about a slice of heaven. Now admittedly, this is coming from a guy who has played tennis since childhood. Either way, it’s paradise.
And then it happened…low and behold…I arrived at Brown. I swung by the university bookstore for more gifts for the kids and then I was off to campus. And what a campus!
Brown is beautiful. I’m partial to the University of Georgia’s antebellum campus, but Brown sure gave it a run for the money. Beautiful architecture, impossibly perfect horticulture, and the best weather this guy has felt in months. Everyone was gracious and hospitable – enough so that any preconceived southern opinions on northerners was permanently thrown out the window.
I spent the afternoon in an euphoric haze. You gotta understand this was a dream come true. I hadn’t even stepped foot in a classroom yet and I knew Brown was home. I instantly fell in love.
But, I was STARVING, so I went downtown to The English Cellar Alehouse – about a block or two from campus for a burger and beer. Great food in a pub setting. The house it’s in has to be a hundred years old, which I love. All in all it was a spectacular day.
Day two of this crazy trip was off to a great start – and it would only get better.
Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)