Posted in 2016 onwards, Blog

18/08/08-09 Savannah, pt.1o (in which something new is tried)

Day One – in which the road is boring and the audiobook is good


is hot.

I know that seems obvious, but there are not a lot of situations where I am noticeably warm. I stepped outside and the air felt like it was the same temperature as my body, but humid. Every open restaurant door blasted cold air out onto the sidewalk, I’m still not sure if that was nice or disappointing. It wasn’t until the cold air hit me as I passed a restaurant that I really knew just how hot it was outside. I started off in my t-shirt, sun hat, and backpack, but quickly realized that with no real goal in mind, it was way too hot for that much. I needed to find a place to eat, but I wasn’t super hungry, so I dropped some stuff off at the hotel, French braided my hair back, and started again, this time with just my camera case.

The drive to Savannah is relatively quick when you consider how large America is, but it’s also relatively dull when you consider other, nicer drives through more interesting things like mountains and forests. I frequently found myself hemmed in by giant semi trucks, which is not terribly enjoyable in a VW Beetle, but then again I can’t imagine anyone finding that enjoyable. The road was long, the road was actually a boring highway, but I’ve made it to the apocalypse in Good Omens, so I might actually finish it on my way home. I normally do not like audiobooks, but I was so bored, it was nice to have something to listen to on the drive.

Day Two – in which the weather holds and the museums are blissfully air conditioned

Although the weather said it was supposed to rain most of this weekend, it only rained once today and I was safely inside the Davenport House Museum when it happened. I heard the thunder and worried I was going to have to walk back to the hotel in the rain, but what luck, I did not. This was later in the afternoon, so I think whatever rain god minds the south was feeling a little bit guilty about the way I was treated on my trip to Roanoke and decided to spare me the discomfort of being absolutely drenched while trying to enjoy a holiday where it’s possible to walk everywhere.

I didn’t walk everywhere today; really, Davenport House Museum was the furthest I walked since my plan is to go to the other half of interesting things tomorrow. My morning started, as they tend to, a little later than I meant. I’ve taken a much more relaxed view of holidays, where I used to meticulously plan where I was going to go and I’d get up early to get a good start, now I just sort of put things on a map and say “eh I’ll see what I’ll see today” and then just… go. So I just… went to Huey’s for breakfast (eggs Benedict) and then made my way to the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace.

“Are you a Girl Scout?” is the question on everyone’s lips in the house where the Girl Scouts of America founder was born. “Ah, I was, very briefly,” I laugh. “Turns out I don’t like being outside, I don’t like camping, and I don’t have much patience for arts and crafts…” I pay full price for the entry ticket. The tour guide is young and seems a bit anxious. I bet she’s a Girl Scout. She tells us to ask her any questions, like every guide does, except I also hear her answer questions with “I don’t know.” She seems like a summer intern. The house is nice, anyway, I stop for a moment to take a photo of the toilet to the curious looks of the other tourists. I told my friend two days ago that she “needs one of those toilets, you know the ones” and gestured pulling a cord and made a “wshhh” sound. She did know. So I sent her a photo of a toilet.

In my hunt for tea, I found a coffee shop, a honey shop, and an antique shop. The coffee shop had cheap, sad tea that I was not going to pay money to drink, the honey shop was full of delicious goods but none of them were tea and even though it was 90F outside I was on a mission, and the antique shop had a light meter approximately the same age as my preferred camera. So, of course, I paused my mission for tea briefly to see if the light meter worked by comparing it to the one in my phone. “I have a kind of weird request, but I just want to step out into the full natural light to test this $16 light meter, but I’ll leave my $300 camera with you as insurance.” The light meter worked, so I had a more decent look around and found a treasure trove of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and other Stratemeyer books in the back. None of the Bobbsey Twins books really impressed me, but there was a bookmark advertising the store they came from, so I decided I would check it out later in the day.

Light meter successfully purchased, my hunt for tea resumed. I found a British pie shop that had twinnings tea, head a mug, and went back to my hotel to gather myself and my purchases.

Advantages of carrying a camera case and no other bags:

  • Can’t fit a lot in it, thus not very heavy
  • One strap, thus not very hot on my back
  • Three pockets, so organized
  • Disadvantages of carrying a camera case and no other bags:
    • Can’t fit a lot in it, must carry everything that doesn’t fit in hands, increasing chances of them being set down and never picked back up
      One strap, makes one shoulder hurt
      Three pockets, everything sticks to everything else and sometimes end up on the floor

    But it was too hot to carry my backpack all day, so I did what any sensible person would do and I had a midday rest when I dropped off my purchases at the hotel. Then I made my way to the Davenport House Museum, which I must admit I chose partially because it’s the name of a character in one of my favorite podcasts. There are a lot of House museums in Savannah and I wasn’t sure which to go to, so that seemed like a good enough way to choose. I really enjoyed the museum visit, but there were no toilets to photograph, so I settled for photographing the wallpapers and the desks. It wasn’t until I was posting the photos to Instagram that I realized I hadn’t taken any photos of the upstairs, but really once you’ve seen one old bedroom, you’ve seen em all. And I’ve been to a lot of house museums. I was delighted to find, in the gift shop, that the company who made a delightful blend of Earl Grey for the Biltmore House in Asheville had made a couple of blends of tea, both for the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace and the Davenport House Museum. I couldn’t resist the tin of English Breakfast, especially when I thought back to my tea cabinet at home and its relative emptiness.

    I did make it to the book shop with the Stratemeyer collections and nearly cried at the original 1930s Nancy Drew’s which were, sadly, way out of my price range. It’s understandable, though, Nancy is popular in a way other Stratemeyers, like the Bobbsey Twins, just aren’t. I was a bit disappointed in the Bobbsey Twin collection, they were all the purple reprints, of which I have many, so not really anything that spoke to me. At a vintage shop in Raleigh, I found some Tom Swift, Jr. with their dust jackets and loved the design of those (space! adventure!), but I can’t remember which one it was I bought then and none of the others in the shop really called to me. There was a Space Cadet one that I really liked the design of, but it was only sold as one in a set of three in the main bookstore, so that may forever be a missed connection. (Unless I go back to the vintage shop tomorrow and buy the one they had…)

    Another good thing about all these gift shops and other cutesy shops in Savannah is everyone is getting Christmas and birthday gifts from here. I was a bit lax in my gifts last year because I didn’t think about them while I was in California and I really regretted it later. So I decided to start getting everyone’s gifts while I was here to take some of the pressure off when Christmas gets near. I don’t even want to think about how much money I’m going to spend while I’m here, so I just keep thinking to myself “three paycheck month.” That, and the fact that these will be very good gifts when I finally give them.

    Posted in 2016 onwards, Blog

    18/02/19: Wow! Well… My bad….

    It’s been a while since I last posted! At first, I thought it had been over a year, but that’s because I only just glanced at the date. It’s been over six months and, well, a lot has changed since then!

    The last time I updated, I had just gotten two part time jobs at two different libraries in two different library systems. I started as a Library Page at Kernersville Branch Library in Forsyth County Public Libraries, which was a part-time, high-school minimum education position in the library system I wanted to work in (my family had been going to Kernersville Branch Library since I was in high school and I fondly remember hating shelving kids books there when I needed to get volunteer hours once). I also started as a Library Assistant at Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro Public Libraries, which was a part-time, I’m-not-sure-of-the-minimum-education-but-it-wasn’t-a-masters-for-sure position in a library system that I’d interviewed in before (I actually realized later that my boss was at that original interview). I liked the location of the first and the duties of the second, but both helped me get my foot in the door for what would eventually lead to….


    I’m now the Youth Services Librarian at Walkertown Branch Library, which was my ideal job in the county I wanted to work in! It especially helped that, as the Kernersville Page, I went to Walkertown Library once a week to shelve books. It’s been an amazing opportunity, and I’m six months in now! I really cannot explain just how much I love my job. I get to hang out with toddlers, school-age kids, and teenagers while providing them low-stress education-adjacent activities while also caring for a collection of books that I don’t have to buy with my own money.

    I also have the great fortune of having an amazing first boss (and coworkers!). Not too nitpicky, but still great at offering guidance, which I really need and appreciate since this is my first job. She’ll ask me to do something, but let me figure out how to actually do it myself. Sometimes, I’ll have to ask her the best way to do it because I’m not sure how to get something done, but then she knows how it’s been done successfully in the past. For her, our success is her success and you can really tell in the way she runs the library. (I still think my coworker should be able to count my questions in our daily statistics because I ask him a lot of questions and he always takes the time to show me the best methodology of getting something done or offers me his honest opinion, even if it’s not really what I was thinking. Sometimes, I’ll ask him questions just to work through things as a sound board, which he goes along with willingly. It works out awesome.)

    I also have moved out of my parents house and into an apartment 1mi from work and about 5mi from mom and dad’s. Although it’s not exactly where I thought I would end up (FIVE MILES FROM HOME??? I KEEP SEEING PEOPLE I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH????? WHY), it’s a great first-start. It was especially great when I sliced my thumb while cooking and didn’t know what to do and mom and dad were at my apartment within 10min. I do plan to eventually get out of this small town, but for now it’s right where I should be. PLUS, I have a beautiful little cat now! And I wouldn’t have been able to adopt him if I immediately moved to some far-flung place.

    You can’t see it in this photo, but Cleveland only has three legs!

    Hope this is a good update, we’ll see if I can remember to update any other time… I did travel some last year but definitely didn’t blog about it…. My bad! I’ve been updating my Etsy shop again, which you can find a link to in the sidebar.

    Posted in 2015 (Europe), 2016 onwards, Blog

    18/06/16: ConGRADulations and Other Updates

    So this year, my brother graduated high school. It looked like it was going to be a logistical nightmare to get me home for his graduation (not to mention the cost!!), so I booked my own flights back in February, managed to keep the surprise to myself until 3 weeks before the trip (my family is not very good at surprises, we like to be informed), and surprised everyone by showing up to my little brother’s graduation!!


    When I first booked the flights, I thought I would feel not-great about the amount of money they cost, but I actually felt a great weight lifted from my soul because I wasn’t going to miss my only little brother’s only high school graduation.

    Over the course of the week, I saw my grandparents, my mom’s younger brother and his wife, family friends, Danny’s friends, some high school friends, and, of course, neighbors. I also made use of mom’s sewing machine and supplies and made a few gifts (which I can’t post photos of yet, because I haven’t given them) and a dress and ran a bunch of errands.

    1920s dress done!! Too bad my ’20s Brownie is in Ireland. #AprilMakesThings

    A photo posted by Apers (@apparentlyapril) on

    I even ended up with a flight delay of 24-hours (I voluntarily chose to reschedule and go home than to get stuck in Chicago O’Hare for an indeterminate number of hours) that worked out really, really well. I got a post card I would’ve otherwise missed, grabbed the books I meant to bring with me but forgot, and set up my parents website on the exact day mine renewed! Crazy timing.

    Which brings me to the updates!!

    As some of you may know, but probably not, I have a portfolio set up on this website as well as a digital repository set up on a subdomain. Over the next few weeks (hopefully), I’ll be updating the portfolio with info on setting up and using WordPress as well as a few other techie things for my parents, who will be new to the blogosphere. I’ll, of course, add a link to their website when it’s up and functional. Currently, it’s empty.

    I’ve also migrated My Makeshift Kitchen into this website, no more separate URL for it! In light of that, different post types have different headers, which you might have noticed! (Probably not, it was a really quiet change 😛 ) I aim to have header images for the different projects within my portfolio, for the locations in the travel blog section, for My Makeshift Kitchen, and for those that don’t particularly fall under any of the previous categories (which I mentally refer to as Articles).

    Posted in 2015 (Europe), Blog

    23/02/16: Ooops

    Well hello again!

    I know, I know, it’s been over two months since I’ve updated but I’ve been busy! Here’s a brief summary:

    • 8 Dec – Made it home in time for my brother’s 18th birthday
    • 9 Dec – Bro’s BDAY NOW AN ADULT WHAT
    • 16 Dec – Turned in my last assignment… Semester one complete!
    • 20 Dec – Started the trip to gramma&pa’s house!
    • 22 Dec – Gramma&pa’s house!
    • 25 Dec – Merry Christmas! My aunt (mom’s sis) and cousin (mom’s oldest bro’s daughter) surprised gramma & grampa by coming to visit, another cousin (mom’s oldest bro’s son) got engaged, and we had the whole family (gramma&pa, mom & dad, her 2 bros, her sis, uncle’s wife, 3 cousins, me & Danny, cousin’s fiance & her son) all together for the first time in years and years and years! AND IT WAS A WHITE CHRISTMAS!!
    • 29 Dec – Snowed in on the way home. I hate snow!
    • 31 Dec – New Year’s with mah gurrrls + drunk Yoshi’s Wooly World
    • 1 Jan – We didn’t get tHAT drunk
    • 3 Jan – Family “Christmas” movie (we go to a movie on Christmas Day if we’re not traveling, after Christmas if we are) STAR WARS VII
    • 8 Jan – Piercings with mah bff!!
    • 11 Jan – STAR WARS VII with mah other bff!!
    • 13 Jan – Back to Ireland!
    • 27 Jan – Semester starts!

    That’s it in a nutshell! I’ve been working hard this semester because I’m also planning on traveling through Europe as much as I can. Today I booked my first weekend trip, so here’s upcoming plans:

    • 6-8 Mar – Family friends visit Dublin
    • 9-13 Mar – Milan, Italy
    • 22-25 Mar – #MittelstaedtFamilyTrip2016 in London
    • 25 Mar-1 Apr – #MittelstaedtFamilyTrip2016 in Ireland
    • 7-10 Apr – Maybe visit London? (Diff fam friends visiting LDN then)
    • sometime around 4 Jun – Barcelona with Lisa
    • 12-17 Jul – London (HP & the Cursed Child!!)

    I’ve also got a few other weekends “flagged” for travel, so as long as I stay on top of my assignments, I’ve got a big semester ahead of me! Then the summer session where I’ll be continuing work on the group capstone project (like a thesis, but with a group) and that’s done 22 Aug. Hopefully after that all my bffs will come visit me in Ireland and then graduation! Alongside all that, I’m already applying for jobs and hopefully I’ll be working on building a better portfolio of my projects on here. 😀

    2016 is going to be a big year!

    <3 April

    Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

    05/27/12: Second Flight

    Every time I’m on a plane, I try to sit by the window. Luckily, the excuse “I get a little motion sick if I can’t look out and see the motion” usually works. No matter how many planes I’ve been on, no matter how many times I look out the window, I suspect I will never tire of it. I like to look out and see all the same things from a different perspective. This time, though, I’m flying from Chicago to Manchester. As I look out the window, I see nothing but blue with faint wisps of white. It’s terrifying to see nothing, so I glance back at the land line until it’s gone. Luckily, this is the trial run: we’ve made it over the lake. I sigh quietly in my head and glance up at the map on-screen. I’ve got one more longer lake to pass over before the real test comes: the ocean. I’ve flown across the country many times before, but I’ve never flown across an ocean. The thought is frightening and exhilarating at the same time. I have the feeling that this trip is going to be frightening and exhilarating the whole time; frightening because I don’t normally try new things, but I’m tired of staying in my box of safety with my sense of adventure kept cooped up and exhilarating because my sense of adventure is finally free. I’m not living in my books anymore, I’m living in my World. I’m going to experience new things and new places. After all, you only live once.

    The map has been replaced by a movie. I miss the map. It’s 8:59p Chicago time. The sun set half a movie ago, but if I press my face really close to the glass, I can just barely see where the sun disappeared off to. I hope the map comes back, I’d like to see where we are.

    A better movie is on now and I can write in the natural light from my window. Chicago time: 11:43p. After a brief nosebleed, I’m back to normal, but wishing I had a bottle of water. Midnight in Paris is playing now and I love this movie. I wish I could go back to the 1920s, too. I want to wear ‘20s dresses and meet the Fitzgerald’s. I can look down and see the clouds out of my window now. I don’t know how close we are and I don’t feel tired yet. I guess it’s only 10:50p in Colorado, but I’ve seen the sun set and now I’m watching it rise. I guess that’s what happens when you travel against the set and rise at over 800 m/h. I wonder what this sunrise looks like down on Earth. I bet the sky is awash with color and you feel surrounded and enveloped in the reds and oranges and pinks. I bet the clouds are beautiful, too. Midnight in Paris is a great choice for movies to play on an airplane, particularly one from the US to Europe; it’s a reminder that anything can happen in a new place, but you should always remember that someone there is as full of longing for another place, another age as you are.

    As we fly over Ireland, it starts to sink in. “I’m going to live there” I think to myself. “Only for a semester. I doubt I’ll want to come back. I haven’t even gone and I already know I won’t want to leave.” It looks so different from where I’ve already been. Even from up here, it looks different. The lines aren’t as straight and they seem to have shadows. I can see the highway, that looks about the same. We’re near Manchester now. I can see the countryside and I think it’s finally setting in: Europe. I’m going to be in Europe. My life is a series of trips and this will be the biggest one yet.

    I forgot to mention the man next to gramma and I. He’s from Leeds and was in Chicago for business. He’s a couple years younger than my dad, has a nine-year old daughter, and worked for a company in Statesville, NC until they aid they were going to transfer him to the US. He’s very nice and let me see his new Kindle. He even got napkins and was very helpful when my nose bled.

    Unfortunately, the plane from Manchester to Istanbul was delayed by a few hours; fortunately, the man I sat next to was very nice and had traveled a lot. He told me about Istanbul and Ireland; he explained how time was standardized and why British Mean Time is used as 0. We finally took off very, very late and arrived in Istanbul very, very late. We then had to wait in a very, very long line to get our visas before waiting in a very, very long line to get our passports checked. After that, a quick trip to the hotel before a brief walk and food. We finally ended our long day with a couple of appetizers and a couple glasses of wine (yes, I tried some; no, I didn’t like it).

    Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Summer 2012 at my Flickr page!

    Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

    05/26/12: Graduation

    Whew. It’s been a long day. My cousin Gillian graduated from high school today. The ceremony took place up in Red Rocks Amphitheater, a really cool place up in the mountains that hosts a lot of concerts in the summer. It was the perfect weather for a graduation, too. The sun was shining, it had warmed up, and the mountains were beautiful. And let’s not forget the gorgeous red rock formations. The graduation ceremony was punctuated by three songs sung by graduating students and one by the chorus. The songs were a nice break from the speeches and the students were very talented. Overall, the ceremony lasted an hour and a half (which was still long enough for me to get sunburnt), which was pretty short for 200-something students receiving diploma cases, speeches, and musical acts. While I was sitting there, I was thinking about my other cousins and all of our graduations. In order (speculated years *, missed, attended): Tim HS (2007*), Tim Uni (2009*), me HS (2009), Carley HS (2010), Mikaela HS (2011), Gillian HS (2012), mom Uni (Dec 2012), me Uni (2013), Carley Uni (2014*), mikaela Uni (2015*), Deane HS (2015), Gillian Uni (2016*), Danny HS (2016), Deane Uni (2019*), Danny Uni (2020*). That’s over ten years worth of graduations if we get 4-year degrees and no one goes to graduate school (which I probably will at some point). None of this is pertinent to travel (unless I travel to the graduations), I just thought it was interesting.
    Tomorrow we leave for Europe, which is extremely exciting. I don’t think it’s quite set in yet that I’m going tomorrow. Our first flight to Chicago was moved from 2p mountain time to 12:30p mountain time, so we have a longer layover in Chicago and we have to be at the airport earlier. So after we get to Chicago, we have a connection to Manchester, UK before flying to Istanbul, Turkey. Hopefully, things will go smoothly and our luggage will arrive when we do (knock on wood).

    Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Summer 2012 at my Flickr page!

    Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

    05/24/12: Bolder Boulder Books

    The last time I visited Denver (last summer), I was with my family (mom, dad, and little brother) so my uncle decided it would be neat to take us to the artsy shops in Boulder known as Pearl Street Mall. This time, my gramma, my cousin Gillian, her gramma, and I went to the Dushanbe Tea House up in Boulder. The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House was a gift from Boulder’s sister-city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The tea house was assembled by local Boulder constructions workers directed by Tajik artists. It opened in 1998 and has been in operation as a full-service restaurant ever since. After waiting for our table, we were seated at a Western table [as opposed to a Tajik-style table] next to one of the fourteen hand-carved columns that were carved in Tajikistan. We had already looked over the lunch menu while waiting for our table, so we were more interested in the tea menu. After trying the house Chai, everyone except me decided to get a glass of it. I decided to try one of their black teas (although I did drink quite a bit of the sample cup of Chai); after perusing their selection of black and flavored-black teas, I decided to get the Passionfruit Peach Black Tea to go with my Tajikistan Plov: “a traditional rice dish with carrots, onions, chickpeas, and spices with grilled beef, tomato-cucumber salad, dried fruit, and flatbread”. Both teas were delicious and the Plov was really good (I was splitting it with gramma, so the meat was a little over-done for my tastes). Nothing could beat the atmosphere, though. Even though we got there after 1p, the place was packed with people. There were some tables that got table cloths and vases of flowers (presumably for reservations) and some of those tables were quite large. The ornate ceiling and beautiful walls make me wish I had gotten more photos.  Next time: take photos like a tourist. After we left, I requested we go to the Boulder Bookstore on Pearl Street. Last time I was in Colorado, I didn’t get to go very deep into the store [although I did find a book that I had been looking for for 5 years or so]. This time, I explored all three floors and left with a guidebook to travel in Greece and a wish for more books. Although, I guess I always wish for more tea and more books.

    Interested in photos? You can see all of them from Summer 2012 at my Flickr page!


    Posted in 2012 (Europe), Blog

    05/22/12: First Flight

    With my face pressed against the glass as if I am a child on my first plane trip and not a 20-year old that has flown somewhere nearly every year of her life, I imagine the plane as a great bird. As it sharply angles to turn, I imagine the wings are piercing the sky and clouds as if they are the water and the Earth is the clouds. The Earth comes into sight again and I imagine it as a map and I its cartographer. I like to look at the houses and the farmlands and think of them as their own people, as if they are what is alive on this planet. Each house has its own personality, even the ones in the sprawling neighborhoods where each house looks about the same. The longer the driveway, the richer the house wants to seem; unless it’s a farmhouse, then they just want to fill the dirt on either side of their driveway with crops and life. I see a plume of steam and imagine it’s a train going up around a mountain (knowing full well it’s some sort of factory on the lake). We finally touch down and it’s as if the plane heaves a huge sigh of relief. It takes us where we need to go and I like to think it feels like it’s done a good job when we make it safely.