Tuesday, July 2, 2019

We're Going to the Zoo (Nashville Part 5)

My last two days in Nashville, I wanted to enjoy myself as much as possible...

Monday, June 10th

Monday started early as both Elissa and I got up for the first day of her internship.  By the time I rolled out of bed at 6:00 am, she was dressed and almost ready.  I got up to see her off and take a picture of her in her uniform.  Then, I handed Elissa her lunch and off she went to the bus stop for her first day!

I was settling back into bed about 10-15 minutes later when I got a phone call.  Elissa had just realized that she missed the bus.  Apparently, the bus was scheduled for 6:17 am that morning instead of 6:24 and neither of us realized it had changed.  I told her it wasn't a big deal.  Lesson learned.  That's why I insisted that someone stay with her in Nashville for the first two days of her internship anyways... we wanted to work out the kinks while I was still there.  I threw some clothes on and drove her over to the zoo.

I got back to the apartment and was pretty awake at that point.  I ended up laying in bed playing on my phone until about 9:00 am or so.  Then, I was starting to get tired again.  I set my alarm for 2 hours later and went back to sleep.  I must have needed the sleep because I slept through my alarm and woke up closer to noon.

I rolled out of bed and decided to do a few things around the apartment before heading over to the zoo.  I called my Mom and talked to her while I did the dishes.  Then, I tidied up around the apartment a little.  After hanging up with my mother, I used my laptop to pay a few bills online.  Once I was caught up on "chores" I jumped in the shower.  By the time I got out of the shower it was already 2:00.  I got dressed and ready, grabbed the trash and finally left the apartment at 2:20.

I had considered going back into the city, but I really didn't have anything that I wanted to do badly enough to go by myself.  Instead, I wanted to explore the zoo at a more leisurely pace.  We had the membership so it didn't cost anything.  (Plus, I didn't really feel comfortable driving into the city alone.)  I was happy with my plan though.  On the way over to the zoo, I stopped at Hardee's for another cheeseburger.  I had to get one more before I left Tennessee!  It was delicious!

I finally arrived at the zoo just after 3:00.  No sooner did I approach the front entrance then Eliot called me.  I talked to him on the phone for a few minutes while sitting outside the entry.  After talking with him, I took a few pictures of the entrance before heading going inside and making my way to the giraffes.

I had noticed there were benches at the giraffe exhibit when we visited the zoo a week prior.  I had been planning on going back to that exact spot for the past week.  I ended up finding a bench on a side trail in the shade and it looked like a nice quiet place for me to sit.  I ended up sitting there watching the giraffes from my bench for over an hour.  There was a really nice cool breeze that kept coming up.  If I'd known how gorgeous it was outside, I would have gotten myself out of the apartment a bit quicker.

It was so peaceful and relaxing to just sit there and watch the giraffes.  When the breeze blew it rustled the leaves in the trees.  The only thing that interrupted the peace was the occasional zoo guest passing and the train whistle off in the distance.

Eventually, Elissa text messaged me to let me know she was done with her first day and heading towards the bus.  My plan was to head out of the zoo a bit behind her so we'd both arrive at home about the same time.  I sat and enjoyed my little slice of heaven on my bench for a few minutes before saying goodbye to the giraffes.

On the way back towards the front of the zoo, I noticed the rhinos.  The other day we had only seen two but there was a huge group of them today.  I took a quick detour by their exhibit to take a few pictures of them.  Then, I made a quick stop at the gift shop to make a mental list of the things I still had to get before heading back to the car.

I was surprised when I beat Elissa back to the apartment.  I hadn't seen her when I passed by the transfer stop so I assumed she was ahead of me.  I was starting to wonder where on earth she was when she sent me a text.  She had accidentally got on the wrong bus at her transfer stop.  The nice bus driver was going to loop back to her stop, but she had to go through the other bus route first.  I told her it was no big deal and that it was good to learn these things now.  (Neither of us even realized there was another bus with the same number... gotta love public transportation!)  I hung out at her apartment until she arrived home about an hour or so later.

I was excited to hear all about her first day at the zoo.  After giving me an overview, Elissa took a quick shower to clean up.  We had decided to take ourselves out to dinner to celebrate her first day.  She chose a Longhorn Steakhouse not too far from her apartment.  We drove over there and enjoyed a nice meal with plenty of leftovers.

When we got home, Elissa was exhausted and ready for bed.  I bid her goodnight and went into the bedroom to pack some of my luggage up.  I quietly talked to Eliot on the phone for a little bit while organizing my stuff.  Then, I answered a few more customer messages on Etsy before calling it a night and going to bed.

Tuesday, June 11th

Elissa got up by herself the next morning but poked her head into the bedroom to let me know she was leaving.  I was half awake waiting for her text that she made it to the zoo ok, then I dozed off and staying in bed until about 9:00 am.

When I got up, I went straight to work packing and organizing everything that I needed to bring home.  I packaged up the box I was mailing home to myself.  Eliot and I had bought a snow globe at the zoo and I wanted to mail it instead of packing it in my luggage.  Once I had everything pretty much packed, I started in on a few other chores.  I had breakfast and then I did all of the dishes.  I didn't want to leave Elissa a pile of dishes to clean.  Then, I took a shower and left the apartment around noon.

My flight wasn't until 7:00 so I had most of the day to enjoy.  I had decided to go back to the Nashville Zoo for a few hours.  On the way to the zoo, I stopped at the post office to drop my package off.  When I arrived at the zoo, it was packed!  I had gotten there so late the day prior that I got a parking spot right out front.  Today, I ended up circling the parking lot twice before parking in the back parking lot.

I had planned to go back to the giraffes, but since I spent so much time there the day before, I headed in the other direction.  I went to see the kangaroos and the line to pet one took up half of their exhibit.  I took a few pictures before continuing along the path to the zebra, ostrich and antelope exhibit.

Then, I spent a bit of time at the tiger exhibit.  One of them was sleeping right up against the glass.  I found myself stuck in that corner for quite a few minutes as family after family of small children gathered around to watch and I couldn't get myself back out.  While there, Elissa text messaged that she was on her lunch break.  Eventually, I slid out between a few people and made my way over to where she was eating.

I found her and we sat and talked for about 45 minutes of her hour long break.  She told me about her morning and I let her know my plans for the afternoon.  When her time was up, we parted ways with plans for me to pick her up later in the day.  

I headed over to watch the meerkats for a few minutes.  There were quite a few moving all around though their dirt tunnels.

After that, I decided to make one last attempt at visiting the kangaroos.  Most of them were awake this time.  They had gotten a bunch of tree branches that a few were munching on.  The line to pet them was still incredibly long so instead I stood there and watched them for a few minutes before leaving.

On my way out of the zoo, I stopped at the gift shop to grab the last of the items I needed to get.  Eliot and I both wanted t-shirts and I decided to get us a plush giraffe and zebra to remember our trip to the zoo.  Then, I also bought a Zooper Heroes magnet because it was Captain America and I love tigers.  It was meant to be!

On the way back to the apartment, I took a quick unplanned detour.  The Ellington Agricultural Center wasn't far from Elissa's apartment.  She and Rick had gone over the other day on their way back from trying out her bus route.  She said it was cool so I decided to drive up there to see it quickly.  I didn't have any time to explore, but I did get to see the barn where they keep the horses.

Then, I headed back to the apartment to get the rest of my affairs in order before I needed to leave for the airport.  I stopped at the front office to print a note that I'd written the night before to leave for Elissa.  When I got back to her apartment, I set the note on her kitchen counter along with the extra Merida Disney Princess necklace that I'd secretly purchased at Hot Topic when she wasn't looking.  (She had been admiring it, but put it back since she was going to behave.  When she was looking at something else, I slipped an extra one into my pile of necklaces without her noticing.)

I ate my lunch, which was basically the last of my leftovers of everything that I hadn't eaten yet.  Then, I changed into my swimsuit so I'd have just enough time for a quick dip in the pool to cool off.  When I arrived at the pool by the fitness center, it was empty and I was so excited... until I went to open the gate and discovered it was locked.  The pool was closed.  Then, I drove back to her apartment and tried the pool near the playground.  It was also chained up.  Disappointed, I walked across the parking lot and went back to the apartment.  So much for my last swim in the pool before going home.

Instead, I jumped into the shower to rinse off before changing into my travel clothes.  I then finished packing the last of my stuff into my luggage.  It was all I could do to drag my giant LL Bean bag up the stairs and to the rental car.  It weighed a ton.  Next, I brought up my carry on and backpack.  Finally, I checked the bedroom and apartment one more time before leaving it for the last time and heading to the zoo.

I arrived a little bit before Elissa was going to get out so I sat in the air conditioning and ate the rest of the snacks I had brought with me.  I checked in with both Eliot and my mother so they knew that I was on schedule.  Eventually, she got out and met me at the car.  We drove home through the rush hour traffic, which was busy but not too bad.

I parked in front of Elissa's apartment building and got out so I could give her a big hug goodbye.  I swore I wasn't going to cry, so of course I did.  It was hard to leave her there, but I also knew she was going to have such a good time this summer.  This internship is a great opportunity for her and another chapter that gets her closer to her dream of working with animals.  Still, leaving her in Nashville was bittersweet.

After saying goodbye, I got back into the car, took a deep breath and made my way over to the airport.  I basically knew where I was going but I had the GPS on just in case.  Besides almost missing my exit, I made it there in one piece.  Thankfully, getting to the rental car return parking garage was very easy.  I unpacked my luggage and waited to find out what I had to do.  I was ready to leave the keys in the car like everyone else when I discovered the Hertz guy.  I waited until he came over to check the car over and give me my receipt.  Then, I was good to go!

Somehow, I made it over to the airline check in.  My luggage weighed a ton, but I made it.  Of course, it was overweight, but it was what it was.  I didn't have anywhere else to put it so I just paid the extra fee.  Then, I headed through security and got settled in at my gate.  I checked in with Eliot, my Mom and Nori to let them know that I was there ok.  Elissa had texted to thank me for the note and necklace so she and I texted back and forth for a bit.  Eventually, I boarded my plane and said goodbye to Tennessee.

I slept during most of both flights.  I had a layover in Baltimore that provided me with enough time to go get something to eat.  I opted for Cinnabon since we don't have any back home.  After enjoying my two mini cinnamon buns, it was time to board my plane to Portland.  Before I knew it, I was back on the ground in Maine right at midnight.

Eliot was at the bottom of the Portland Jetport escalators waiting for me.  He took my backpack from me and we made our way to the luggage carousel.  After approximately forever, they finally loaded it so we could get our luggage.  Eliot took me to McDonald's because I was really hungry- even though it was past 1:00 am at that point.  By 1:45, we arrived at our house and my Tennessee adventure was officially over.  °o°

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