Lucky Pen

While walking home from APO meeting tonight, I dropped one of my absolute favorite pens (my blue pen from Island ETC in Galveston) while crossing busy Dayton Street.

I didn’t realize I wasn’t holding it anymore until I had crossed the road, turned around, and saw about seven cars drive over it.

When the light turned red, I strolled to the middle of the intersection, expecting to pick up the sad plastic remains…only to see that not only was the pen still intact but the ETC logo and address was still visible. I tested it, and it still wrote.

I hope this is a good luck sign from God, or that Island ETC will be around forever.

Or maybe they just have awesomely durable pens.

Also, I must mention, yay for a six continent day! Greetings to North America (Canada, USA, and Jamaica), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK and Slovakia), Asia (Israel, Philippines, and UAE), Africa (South Africa and Mayotte) and Oceania (Australia and Papua New Guinea)!


Santa Drives the Bus

Today, I was running late for class (as usual), but I managed to arrive at the bus stop just as the bus was pulling up.

I get on the bus, and as I’m fumbling in my wallet for my bus pass, I hear a voice saying “ya should’ve been prepared.”

I look up, and there’s a rotund man with glasses, long white hair, and a thick beard sitting in the driver’s seat. Wearing a Christmas sweater.

After a double-take, I finally find my card and swipe it, and we take off even though there are several people still waiting at the bus stop. There are several stops in between the stop where I got on the bus and the stop where I get off the bus. Even though the bus isn’t packed by any means, this guy stops for about 10 seconds at each stop before closing the doors, even if it means people have to wait for the next bus.

But otherwise, between stops, he flies. I am in shock. Normally, buses wait for everyone to get on/off, people to get situated, and occasionally stop for the wayward pedestrian. But on Santa’s bus this morning, no prisoners were taken.

Despite leaving my apartment at 9:41, I still manage to make it to class at 9:52, with three whole minutes to spare.

And the creepy thing? I got off the bus in the back, but before I had time to turn around and say thank you, the bus had pulled away. I didn’t even get a picture of the driver, but he looked an awful lot like this bus driver:

I am almost convinced that Santa Claus drove me to school today.

And that’s why I got there early.



So I find myself on the last night of Hanukkah. The festival of lights, the time of the miracles.

This past week has been a whirlwind – travel, drama, grad school, drama, emotions, and drama.

But today…

  • I presented my poster this morning.
  • I read my paper as well.
  • I got my car fixed, and even at a discount for making me wait.
  • I got to rehearsal on time.
  • I got through rehearsal, no script, no huge mistakes.
  • I got to spend the last moments of the last night of Hanukkah watching nine beautiful flames dance to the beat of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.”

It’s the miracle of Hanukkah.

“calling, calling, calling me home…”


Happy Birthday, Bahamas!

Today I learned that it’s Bahamian Independence Day. So I thought I’d use this entry to tell you about my trip there.

It was the summer of 2006. My dad was still in mourning for his mother, so he couldn’t go anywhere. Therefore, I convinced my mom to go on vacation with me. Since she’s not a road trip/national parks/geocaching person, I picked a place where she could focus on her favorite pastime – reading. So, naturally, I picked Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

Day 1: Probably one of the worst days of my life. We get to the airport in Baltimore at 7 in the morning, planning to fly US Airways from Baltimore to Charlotte to Nassau. Several hours earlier, some idiot in London had tried to smuggle a bomb into Heathrow in his shoe, so basically air travel became just about impossible. The security line at BWI stretched all around the airport, and we knew we were probably not going to make our flight. And…we didn’t. Along with 3/4 of the other people on the flight. So our choices were a) scrap the trip and go back home or b) try to get to Charlotte, spend the night there, then get the first flight to Nassau in the morning. But first, the challenge was to get to Charlotte, as everyone else was scrambling and in the same situation. We got on the standby list for the next flight but didn’t get on it. Someone pointed us down to the US Airways Express gate, where we asked for standby tickets for the next flight to Charlotte. At this point I was crying, pretty much destroyed, and feeling like the trip was over before it had even started. Through my tears, I took our standby tickets from the agent for seats 7A and 7C.


As my mom prepared to head home and the flight was about to depart, I went up to the gate agent.

JACOB: “Excuse me, sir, we have standby tickets, but they have seat numbers on them. What does that mean?”

GATE AGENT: “These aren’t standby tickets…these are tickets.”


So I go over to my mom, telling her to hurry up and get on the plane. Even though the plane was tiny, it got us there. Unfortunately, our flight to Nassau had left without us. We went over to the US Airways Special Services desk, which was, incidentally, right next to the gate.

JACOB: “Excuse me, sir, but we were supposed to have been on the earlier flight to Nassau. Is there a way we can get a hotel room tonight and tickets to Nassau in the morning?”

SPECIAL SERVICES AGENT: “I can get you to Nassau tonight.”


SPECIAL SERVICES AGENT: “We’ll have to switch your airline and re-route you to another city, but yeah, we’ll have you there tonight.”

So, that’s how we ended up in Fort Lauderdale a few hours later. And a few hours after that, we took a 9 PM flight on Bahamasair to Nassau – the last of the day.

We got to our hotel at about midnight, and the couple in front of us in the check-in line had checked their bags and had only the clothes on their backs. We looked at each other and were glad that we had held on to our bags the whole time, so we went on up to the fifteenth floor and hopped into bed, thinking that our ordeal was over….

Day 2: …And it was. We woke up to a sunny, beautiful Nassau morning, and took a cab into town for breakfast. It was early enough that we had the town to ourselves. We walked down towards Prince Rogers Walk in search of food and saw a small sign in the marketplace reading “SWISS CONFISEUR.” Inside was a Bahamian lady behind a counter, making pastries. It cost us $2 dollars for two  apple turnovers, and $2 for two fruit juices. We ate at a tiny table behind the cafe, overlooking the beach. We agreed – it was the best breakfast ever.

Our tour began at Rawson Square, where we saw the Bahamian head of government and the library. Behind that was the Governor’s Mansion, which had a geocache hidden in the fence, and that’s how we ended up on that tiny piece sidewalk with traffic whizzing by us in both directions as I stuck my hand under the fence and got the cache (see: previous post on geocaching). We then went up to Fort Fincastle, and walked down the Queen’s Staircase. In the Straw Market, I bargained for souvenirs while Mom was…less than happy. We ended the day by going to the Ardastra Zoo and Gardens, where we got to walk around among the animals and get our pictures taken with a parrot. I also got to feed fruit to these small, brightly colored tropical birds (finches, I think). We also stayed for the flamingo show, where the flamingos marched around in a circle and I got to go in the pen and run around with the flamingos WHICH WAS AWESOME. Also, Starbucks in Bahamas is expensive.

Day 3: Saturday = relaxing day. I got Mom to jump in the clear blue water with me and watch as tiny fish swam around our feet. Then, I left Mom on a beach chair under a palm tree while I went snorkeling just off the beach.

Day 4: I begged Mom to let me swim with the dolphins, so we got on a boat to an island where I did just that while Mom took pictures and was surprisingly cool despite just having a) taken a boat, and b) landed on a tourist-trap of an island in the middle of summer. But, she agreed with me, IT WAS AWESOME.

Day 5: We said goodbye to the Bahamas, and our ride home was pretty uneventful, Nassau-Charlotte-Baltimore. Well, not too uneventful – Mom finished all that she had brought to read on the trip on the first flight of the day, so she spent the second flight being bored.

So that’s the story. My favorite part was when, after the trip, Mom actually admitted to enjoying running all around town with me. Unlike our past family vacations, where Dad enjoys wandering around, I obsessively planned the trip and our route around the city so we always know where we were, where we were going, what we were doing, and how we were going to get there. We haven’t taken a trip together since.

So…Happy birthday, Bahamas!