We’ve been here almost a week and are enjoying getting settled in. We spent our first full day at Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown New Haven watching Auburn barely beat MS State. It was actually really fun to wear our AU shirts around town that day and get asked about the game by random people on the streets. It prompted some fun impromptu conversations, and we had fun explaining that we just moved from there (also made us kind of sad!). The highlight of Charlie’s Saturday was eating at Louis’ Lunch, which created the first hamburger back in the 1890s. The man behind the counter is the fourth-generation grandson of the original Louis and cooks the burgers in the original upright cast-iron grills that produced the first burger. The whole place is the size of our living room, so getting cozy with the other customers and the owner was really easy. I think Charlie could have stayed there all day talking to the people who worked there (one who was a bouncer for Springsteen and wished us luck in raising our future children in this tough world…he should know, he said, since he had to take restraining orders out of his daughter’s past two boyfriends after she broke their noses and knocked out some teeth…yep…).
We also went on a great hike in Sleeping Giant State Park, which is in Hamden. It was a great way to see the beautiful views we’ve been anticipating from the area, and we’re looking forward to going back over the next few months to see how the leaves have changed. At one point, the trail passed a large stone tower from which we could see all the way to the Long Island Sound. In the picture below, we were on a much more difficult part of the trail that overlooked the small river that runs through Hamden. It’s pretty gorgeous!
Charlie began his orientation at Yale-New Haven on Monday, and he says it’s going well (though a little boring since he compares it to the first day of classes when you get the syllabus but don’t actually do anything). He’s off today and looking forward to actually getting into the unit soon and really seeing more of what he’ll be doing. While he’s been at the hospital, I’ve been walking around Yale, visiting its art museum, checking out shops and settling in. I went to the Chamber of Commerce yesterday and got a print out of local ministries that serve either those who are homeless or in need of housing assistance. There are two in particular who work with women and children (one which even has a morning preschool), and I’m really looking forward to learning more about how I could get involved in their work. I’m hoping one of them will have a consistent volunteer need that will allow me to really plug-in to meaningful ministry during our time here. There seems to be a large street population in New Haven, so this is definitely where I want to focus my energy.
Tonight we’re headed back to Pepe’s with three friends Charlie met in orientation. They’re all first-time travelers as well (doesn’t the word traveler totally make us sound like those Irish gypsies?), so we’re excited to compare notes and get to know some new people. It’s been a wonderful first few days, but it definitely feels strange to not know anyone and to be in a place that feels so completely different from home. However, I plan to get a little bit of a Southern fix at a local church’s book club meeting on Monday in which they’re discussing The Help!