Tucson sunshine, sunburn, shooting memorial

Thank God I visited Tucson while it was 74 degrees of perfection! Before I delve into the details of my brief trip to the southwest, I’ll take you on a photo tour of the University of Arizona:

UofA campus
Administration Building
Heritage Hill, where I used to hang out in between classes and meet colorful people
University Boulevard

I also visited the Tucson shooting victims’ UMC memorial. I didn’t expect to choke up during the five minute visit, but that’s what ended up happening.





Aside from the memorial, the trip was fairly drama-free. I sat in the sun all day Friday and Saturday. Because my skin had been deprived of daylight and vitamin D for four months, I assumed it would respond well to sunshine, but no. I got sunburned very badly. My chest, arms, and face look like a lobster. Good thing I can bundle up in D.C., no one will ever know the difference. I guess I really was meant to live in Ireland, where my great-great-great grandparents were born.

The sunburn was totally worth the warmth, though. I literally wanted to spend as many hours as possible outside, especially during the early afternoon. I won’t be seeing that kind of daylight for at least another three months, so I chose to take advantage of the opportunity while I still could.

We're a bit too goofy for twenty-somethings, but the rest of the world is too stuffy!

Dinner was fabulous, and I reunited with some of my favorite Daily Wildcat alumni, Luke, Jazmine, and Anna.

You see, Anna and I went shopping Friday at Pitaya, my favorite store on University Boulevard, and I fell in love with this little white dress. Before trying it on, I was well aware that I could not don such a tiny thing in D.C. during winter, but it was far too beautiful for me to pass off as a waste of money (which it probably was, but oh well, I never shop.) So I purchased the white dress, which, if I’m brave enough, I may wear out to the D.C. bar scene sometime in the near future. Who cares about 23 degree weather? I’m one tough cookie.

Much thanks to the lovely Kendra for putting up with me all weekend 🙂 It takes a lot to deal with me for 72 hours straight, but she continues to amaze me with her patience and warmth. As you’ll read below, I’m grateful for all the great people in my life. She’s certainly among them, and I’m lucky to know her.

Most of all, it was fabulous going from THIS:

Wednesday January 26, northern Virginia. YUCK.

To THIS:

Friday January 29, Tucson, Arizona. YAY!

On Saturday, I met up with my former college roommate and longtime UofA friend, Carolyn. She’s coming to visit me in D.C. for St. Patty’s Day, so I look forward to hanging out with her then, too.

Some of my friends were sad I couldn’t spend more time with them, and I definitely felt the same way. Unfortunately my trip was just far too short for too much activity. Plus, I’m not one to linger, as I’ve mentioned before. My father the New Yorker always taught me to move quickly and avoid stalling, so I try to incorporate those orders into my everyday life. Hopefully the next trip will be longer and even more thrilling.

On my flight home, I bumped in the redheaded old man from West Virginia that I mentioned in my previous blog post!

In summary, I became “bff’s for the day” with a West Virginia redheaded grandpa dude on my Thursday flight to Tucson. He sat behind me on the plane and right next to another redhaired lady, so we all speculated that American Airlines conspired to group all redhead passengers together on the plane. I adored this guy, mainly because he reminded me of my dad in pretty much every way possible, so imagine my amusement when I ran into him and his sweet wife on the same returning flight. We soon learned that I was once again placed in the row in front of them, so we proved our theory that the airline segregates redhead customers (I’m being facetious, of course :).

I appreciate familiar faces of any kind, even those I really haven’t seen all that much.

On my flight home, I got seated next to yet another 300-pound person. If you haven’t read my earlier blog post, I sat beside a 300-pound guy on my Dallas-Tucson flight, and the same thing happened on my Tucson-Dallas flight. Like I’ve said before, I find it cruel and pathetic of others to bash overweight individuals, but this was truly uncomfortable. I would never make fun of someone for their weight, but when I’m already uncomfortable and without any room on the plane, the last thing I want is to be pressed up against the disgusting airplane wall and window, both of which have more germs and gross food remnants than I care to count. Thankfully, both of these people were quite lovely and I ended up having a good chat with each of them, but I was definitely feeling a little claustrophobic during those long flights.

On another one of my connecting flights, the man to my left kept staring at me and playing on his GameBoy Color. Not to be overly judgmental, but really, who uses GameBoys anymore? Better yet, what sane 50-year-old man would gain entertainment value from an old school children’s video game? I’m not even sure you can still buy GameBoy batteries or devices anymore. Perhaps that would make a good news piece: Are Gameboys still in production? If not, where can active users purchase batteries? Is eBay stocked up with any of that junk?

All right, I think that should do it for today’s ranting/opining. In a nutshell, I needed to escape D.C. winter for a few days and I succeeded in doing just that. Along the way, I caught up with some awesome college buddies, all of whom reminded me of how lucky I truly am. I’m not perfect, and I’ve certainly encountered some ugly situations, but I have so much to be thankful for. Including this sunlamp, which is going to save my sanity this winter:

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