NCSU Check-in

posted Aug 2, 2010, 1:56 PM by Quoc-Anh Vuong   [ updated Aug 16, 2010, 12:15 PM ]
I woke up to the sound of Bảo's bedroom door opened, it was around 5:30am. It was still dark outside, the fainted light illuminated the hallway outside of our bedrooms indicating the basement light was on. The staging area was in the basement, that where we put the stuffs which Bảo is going to bring with him later on today. I woke up, made my coffee and walked by the staging area. Bảo was almost done: the printer, the desk stuffs, clothes, bedding, and also a washing detergent bottle!

We finished packing, and drove off around 8:30am. It's 5hr-trip to NCSU and don't want to have many stops, so we stopped by McD to get our breakfast before get on the freeway. Looked like everyone had the same agenda, the freeway was packed. The average speed was around 30mph, and took us a good 3hrs just to get off 95 onto 85, heading toward Raleigh, NC. The drive on 85 was much better, and I was able to make up some lost time earlier. Glanced at the rear-view mirror, everyone in the van was sleeping, which was understandably, since we were up quite late last night. The highway is a two-lane long, empty with tall trees lined up the side, the view is going to be very nice in the Autumn, I think. I turned on the radio, listened to the music to keep me awake, a Journey's song was on.

We pulled in the parking space, right outside of the Owen Residential Hall and started to unload. A young student approached and asked if we need any help carrying stuffs to the dorm. It was quite a pleasant surprise! We did not have that many stuffs to carry, but we do want to talk and get to know people there, so we had him helped us with a small luggage and walked with us to the room. We learned that he belonged to a Christian group, and just volunteered on helping freshmen moving in. Such a nice gesture, I thought. The hall way was busy with students & families moving in. We met the Residential Assistant, and helped Bảo unpack & set up the room. His room mate, was not there but his stuffs: Two family size luggage, a TV and boxes piling on his desk. After unpacking & setting up the room, we headed to the bookstore to get the text books. The plan was to see if there are any used books, but all required books are new, and we plunged down $380 for books. Afterward, we went to the hotel, so we can check-in. We stayed at the hotel for about 30min, and then I & Thuỵ took Bảo back to the school, which is only ~10min. drive. Huân & Mẹ stayed & went swimming at the hotel. We dropped off Bảo at Owen for him to attend a welcome meeting at 4:45pm. It's a welcoming freshman walking tour, taking the new students to various places & activities. We was driving back to the hotel when Bảo called, and he said that the meeting is actually for Sunday and not today. So I turned the van around, and took him back to the hotel. We relax at the hotel for about an hour before heading out to eat.

We decided to try a well known BBQ place, called The Pit. It's right in Raleigh downtown, and about 5miles from our hotel. As we approaching the place, there are groups of people already waiting outside the restaurant, and we thought that it's going to be a long wait before we can get in. But amazingly enough, as I drove the van around to find parking space, Mẹ called and she already found us a table! Sitting at the patio table, the evening is falling & we watch the train coming from a far. As the day winding down, I had a dark ale and half rack BBQ same as Bảo. Mẹ ordered salad, Thuỵ got meat loaf, and Huan had roasted chicken. But the high light was in the appetizers of BBQ fries & fried green tomatoes, and the dinner's basket full of hush puppies & corn breads. I was looking across the table, with the sunset casting a mild warm glow on our head, Bảo seemed more matured, confident, and determined. The ribs are quite tender and moist, with light smoke flavored. After the first piece, I thought to myself: I don't mind having a full rack next time!

We took Bảo back to the school after the dinner. Much of my surprise, the school is only ~2 miles away from the restaurant. Bảo decided to spend the night with us at hotel instead of dorm, so we wait for him to gather few stuffs at the dorm & come with us back to the hotel. While waiting, I took Huân to check out the First Year College Common building, right across the Owen Residential Hall. It a nice, lighted facility, opens 24hrs with attendant, and a place to go if you forget your dorm key. All packages also arrived there first, before distributed to the students. It also has a full computer lab, and additional meeting/study group rooms. A little further up the building, there was an outdoor movie night at the Witherspoon field, showing Avatar. I was quite happy to have another night with Bảo. We played monopoly and Huan fell asleep in the bed room while we were playing in the next room; as if he felt content & able to sleep alone, knowing all of his love ones are around him.

Next morning, we had (free) breakfast at the hotel. With hot scramble eggs, sausages, bacons, potatoes (top-off with gravy from the Grits & Biscuits). We shopped at Target for the sale and necessary items, and took Bảo back to school. We had Bảo to try the ATM machine, to deposit few checks; but for some reasons, the PIN did not work. We gave up & went to have ice cream instead! :) We then went to the super market, to stock up snacks & dried foods, Bảo wanted to have a tray of cup-o-noodles, even to much of Mẹ's disapproval on the nutrient value. Drove back to the dorm & bid farewell, we had our usual group hugs. It was hard to say good bye, but it was 2:30pm and we went over our planned departure time for more than 2hrs. We knew that we have to part, but it was a trip which no one wants to take. The trip home was quiet, and also long.

We got home around 8pm, ate left over foods and ... very happy that Bảo called. We talked about setting up the wireless router, and tested out the much improved speed afterward by using the Skype video. Bảo indicated that he may accompany the Target runs, which the university bus having a special route, taking students to the nearby Target to shop for last minute forgotten stuffs. We forgot to stock up drinks for Bảo. We all went to bed around 11pm. Lying in bed, I looked over Bảo's bedroom. It was usually lighted with door closed. But not tonight, it was dark and the door was open.

Planning Notes

We are planning for the upcoming trip, taking Bảo to NCSU on August 13th. We was there many times, but did not actually know much of places in the area, so this time we want to see if we can visit to different places, learn more about eateries, and perhaps being impressed as well as entertained of what North Carolina has to offer.

Since we are going to come down there more often in the next 4 years, so we would like to know: