Couchsurfing Spring Learning Moment 2016

May 15, 2016 | Trip Recaps | 0 comments

Day 1 • May 13, 2016

To kick off today, we enjoyed the free breakfast, packed, and took a Lyft to Washington DC’s Union Station. We are great travel partners, so packing and getting there was no problem! Union Station was busy, and our train to Raleigh was on time. Coach class was very comfortable, and the seats reclined very far back! The ride was relaxing, and I enjoyed a chicken parmesan panini from the café car. We left DC at about 11:00 AM, and arrived into Raleigh at about 5:00 PM.

Upon arrival, Natalie, a friend that I made off of the couchsurfing website, picked us up at the train, and we headed for the Governor Morehead School for the Blind for the sharing concert, which is the first concert in this music festival. Sam and Natalie enjoyed chatting with my former music teachers from Perkins, and even though the pizza dinner was technically for the students participating, because of southern hospitality, they gave us some as well! It was so cool, because they said “you won’t say no to pizza!” For those that don’t know, this Music Festival happens every two years, and it comprises five or six schools for the Blind on the east coast, and each time, each school takes a turn hosting this event. This time, the participating schools included the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind in New Jersey, the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, the New York Institute for Special Education in New York City, the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore, and of course, the host school, the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh! Because the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia arrived late, the sharing concert started about an hour late. Nevertheless, it was great. Each school did one or two songs, depending on how many groups they had. Some were handbells, there were a few band songs, some Chorus songs, and the Maryland School for the Blind performed a rap that they wrote about the school year, this festival, and the Baltimore Orioles.

After the concert, it was about 10:00 PM. We drove to meet our awesome couchsurfing hosts, Jen and Sarah. They have an awesome condo with a patio and two comfortable couches. They took us to a party in Durham, which is the next town over. It was a friend’s birthday, so we went to a party and met some great people. The Indian food was good, too, and I enjoyed this spicy type of Indian snack with rice, vegetables, and other stuff. On the way back to Jen and Sarah’s, we stopped at this North Carolina fast food place called the Cookout, and the burger and fries were amazing. At this point it’s about 12:30 AM, and I’m looking forward to a full day in Raleigh, great barbecue, North Carolina beer, and the Music is our Vision Combined Festival concert, where all of the students do the same music together!!

Day 2 • May 14, 2016

Nighttime photo of the North Carolina State Capitol building in Raleigh, NC. The North Carolina State Capitol is the former seat of the legislature of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Currently housing the offices of the Governor of North Carolina, it is located in the state capital of Raleigh on Union Square at One East Edenton Street. The cornerstone of the Greek Revival building was laid with Masonic honors by the Grand Master of North Carolina Masons Simmons Jones Baker on July 4, 1833.

A photo of downtown Westerville. Westerville is a northeastern suburb of Columbus. The population was 36,120 at the 2010 census. Westerville was once known as "The Dry Capital of the World" for its strict laws prohibiting sales of alcohol.

Today, we slept in until about 10:00 AM, and I tried a Raleigh soda called Wink! It’s so awesome that I even bought a bottle to take home. At around noon, Sam, Jen, Sarah, Natalie, and some other people went downtown to walk around and grab lunch. We ate at an awesome barbecue restaurant called Clyde Cooper’s, and the hush puppies, chicken, and pork were awesome! It was awesome to experience food that you can only get in North Carolina. We then wandered around and checked out various cannons that were used in the Civil War, the Capitol building, and other Raleigh landmarks. We also visited the Videri Chocolate Factory, a big store in Raleigh, and enjoyed free samples of various types of homemade chocolate.

At about 6:00 PM, we all went back to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind for the big Music is our Vision Music Festival concert! Man, was it great. When I was involved in these festivals, it wasn’t as big, because all of the schools just did songs together. This time, all of the schools did all of the same music together, but some of the schools did their own music as well! There was a combined Orchestra, Handbell Ensemble, and Chorus. Not only that, but there was even a 20-minute break, something else that was not in the cards when I was in these festivals. All of the music was super, and everyone really enjoyed it. After, to celebrate, we went to a few bars in Raleigh and enjoyed a few homemade beers on the patio. It’s hard to believe, but this Southern Spring Learning Moment 2016 is almost coming to an end.

Day 3 • May 15, 2016

Outside photo at dusk of Raleigh-Durham Airport Terminal 1.

Outside photo at dusk of Raleigh-Durham Airport Terminal 1.

Today, I was up at 5:00 AM, and arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at about 5:45 AM. The Jet Blue flight, believe it or not, was full for so early in the morning, and left on time. I got to Logan at 8:30 AM, got an Uber, and got home at 9:30. What an amazing time!!



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