I undoubtedly had a fine day today. It started [rather] early in the morning at about 8am. Jason Looper, Dr. Leake and I met at 9am to have breakfast at a local pastry/bread chain called the Georgia Bread Company. Good conversation and a good hot cinnamon role in my tummy left me with a rather "fat 'n happy" feeling. After a short grocery trip to the nearby Publix, Jason and I met back at VSU to work on a mount for a CCD camera we need to attach to the telescope here and the one out at Kitt Peak. Somewhat analagous to playing with a big Erector Set, Jason led me through the simple task of the mount's construction. I was mainly just hired muscle as I sawed and cut the metal and plexiglass that went into it. Jason put it together. We wandered up and made sure everything fit on the scope. We got it right the first time then got hungry and called it an afternoon.
Then we ate. Casa Maria's was again on the menu and this time I tried some variety of spicy burrito. Not bad and very filling. One thing that was impressive will probably stick with me for a while and is most certainly worth noting here. Out of a total of maybe 15-20 people, Jason and I were the only non-Latino patrons in the restaurant. I guess that coming from the predominently white Northwest I haven't truly experience being a racial minority. Today was that day. I didn't necessarily feel alienated or in any danger but I wondered what everyone else was thinking about us or even if they cared. Altough there was nothing really serious or negative in my mind I was simply fascinted. It's a good way to humble one's self.
"It's got its own weather system." That's just a classic line spoken by the brazingly Scottish father played by Mike Meyers in So I Married an Axe Murderer. Jason, Amanda and I indulged ourselves a bit tonight at Dr. Leake's house for a BBQ. Although last night Dr. Leake and I had no luck in conjuring up some other people to come over tonight was different. Same menu with added fun. The three of us treated the doctor to the aforementioned film and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. After a bowl scrumptious Vanilla ice cream covered in fresh strawberries, Jason and Amanda brought me back here.
If anyone reading this is curious about my opinion of everything I've experienced here, I'll say this: I feel welcomed. Dr. Leake drove four hours to Atlanta to meet me at the airport only to turn around and drive another four right back again. The VSU shuttle bus driver yesterday knew someone was missing on the return trip from the mall so he circled around the mall and checked a second time for the woman. The waitor at Casa Maria's today gave me a kind pat on the shoulder and was apologetic to me for the wait he thought we endured for our food. And people my age have been wonderfully kind and accepting towards me. I guess I'm really fortunate to be surrounded by people with such Grinch-sized hearts. I've had a hard time not making friends here.
Here you have it, tonight's twilight in Valdosta taken from Dr. Leake's backyard.