Sunday, October 19, 2008

Geographically challenged

On so many levels...Six months ago I was invited to participate in a panel for an Oral History Association conference on utilizing digital oral history in the classroom. While I've worked on a bunch of history websites and I've presented on some of them at various inservice meetings, this is new territory for me. So it all happened last week.
Add that to the fact that the conference was in Pittsburgh, a four-hour drive from DC. Never been there. Never realized how close Pittsburgh is to Cleveland, where my good good friend Debbie lives. Two hours, my friends! We hadn't seen each other in over a year and a half, and it was the perfect days for Deb to meet me and introduce me to her darling 1-year-old Ethan. We laughed and laughed and laughed--so good for the soul. We watched the presidential debate together and we stayed up late and got up early with Ethan. So so great.
The view from the Incline--supposedly the 2nd best view in America, according to USA Weekend. It was great!

Add that to navigating your way around a new city, one with three rivers and a whole bunch of bridges and exit numbers that have changed apparently several times. I drove in with Sheila from CHNM, and Deb drove in from Cleveland, both cars searching for exit 5c, which somehow didn't exist. Then just navigating around the city for dinner and to see the sites, from the Incline to Oakland (and Deb, you're right--no u-turns around the triangle--it's not the same as a roundabout!). Thank goodness for a combination of googlemaps, a handy I-phone (lucky Sheila's), a hotel map, and street signs.

And who knew an old mining and steel manufacturing town could be so cool? Sheila and I stopped at the Carnegie Mellon Art Museum on our way out of town and discovered ourselves transported to Italy, France, and Greece with all the casts of incredible architecture. So delightful.

There's something exciting and thrilling about finding your location on a map, of knowing where you are. Of knowing where you want to be. Of mapping out the most direct course between the two. Of navigating one-way streets and bridges and construction and traffic. Of recalculating detours. Of being your own personal GPS. Of arriving at your destination. Of feeling like you can plan and reschedule and arrive and conquer and know. And remember that you can find it.

And the Pennsylvania countryside is breathtaking this time of year! All the colors and rolling hills and trees your little heart could ever need...

5 comments:

The Wyler Family said...

so much fun! i want to do it again! minus the nacho cheese fries. :)

Paul and Mari said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! How fun for you!

JJ said...

What great pictures...we definitely need to explore more!

Erin Fast said...

Oh my heart hurts when you mentioned the fall foliage. Oh, I miss that so so much!

Rosander said...

Fun trip! That is so cool that you guys got to hang out! Sure love ya.