Monday, January 23, 2012

Alabama Birmingham

Good trip to Birmingham, except for the wet ride over and back. Will interviewed for two different Honors Programs at UAB. His first interview wasn’t until 3:20 pm Central Time, so we didn’t leave home until after noon. Will felt one student in the first Experiential Learning interview (his first option, the one Kara is in) asked odd questions. Others he talked to agreed. Will thought the second interview went much better.

After dropping off Will, I stayed parked next to the building and watched the crowd disperse from the basketball game at nearby Bartow Arena, while reading my book and snacking on Cheerios. Later I bought a drink and drove past the baseball field. There were people in the stands, so I checked out the action: a baseball clinic for high-schoolers.

After the interviews Will was a little discouraged, and very hungry. We drove in the general direction of the hotel. We headed toward Flip Burger at The Summit, a tony shopping center on a hill. Traffic was jammed with shoppers trying to be cool. I took a turn that inadvertently exited me from the shopping center. We looped around and returned to my first choice: Blackwells, which turned out to be a pub / sportsbar. I had a chicken salad salad, and Will’s pimento-cheese burger looked above average. Afterward we crashed at the hotel. The Courtyard worked out fine, though the bed was too soft (for me) and the lobby coffee was bad (Will).

Sunday morning after stopping by McDonalds we attended the nearby Church at Brook Hills. Will had heard its pastor, David Platt, speak last year at the 2011 Passion Conference. We sat with three of Kara’s friends. Afterward we met Kara and two of the friends for lunch at the UAB dining hall. Not surprisingly, college hasn’t changed Kara. In addition to making straight A’s, she’s active in RUF. She stills doles out the occasional high-five.

Next was the president’s reception for UAB Scholarship Recipients, at “The Club”, a private joint on the mountain overlooking UAB and downtown Birmingham…not far from the Vulcan statue. Unfortunately, the great view was obscured by the overcast conditions. The Club was a pretty big place, and it was filled with students, parents, and faculty. The Honors Program’s Admissions Director knew Will, based on his friendships with Kara and our family friend Jordan Stephenson, who used to work in UAB admissions. We saw a family that had attended the Church at Brook Hills. A different mom asked Will about his homeschool experience: she had heard Will talking before yesterday’s interviews. We had a nice chat with them. The UAB president spoke, then introduced UAB’s first Rhodes Scholar, a young man who also works for Teach for America.

On the way back to Atlanta we stopped at the Nike Outlet, and Will finally cashed in my Coke Rewards certificate for new running shoes. By the time we got back on the interstate it was raining, which made for a fun drive home.

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