I am currently in Lexington, KY for a mandatory grant training. Those of you who manage grants know that the phrase “mandatory grant training” does not inspire excitement, but rather the exact opposite. Add to that the fact that this particular grant program has 4 simultaneous trainings and two of the others are in San Francisco and Philadelphia (two of my favorite cities in the U.S.) and you can hopefully understand why I wasn’t all that excited about heading on this trip (indeed, if you’ve had the misfortune to have interacted with me at all in the past few weeks, I’ve probably whined to you about it).
Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I am happy to report that my expectations were exceeded. The great thing about these grant trainings is that I get to spend time with my wonderful colleagues from our sister campus, whom I otherwise don’t normally see, as Columbia is a 2-hour drive from Kansas City. We’ve had a great time catching up, talking, eating, and drinking for the past few days.
What I’d also forgotten during my whiny time is the way that traveling can bring you new experiences if you’re
open to them. On our first night here, we found our way to a cute place called Natasha’s Bistro and Bar. After dinner, as we were getting ready to leave, a band started playing. At first, I was ready to bolt as they were young and armed with loud guitars — I assumed they were going to play music I wouldn’t like badly. Nonetheless, we gave them a shot and decided to stay for a song or two. And we were glad we did! It turned out they were a band called Blindside Drop and they played a wide mix of music. All of the band members are 16 years old and from Winchester, KY. The bar was filled with their friends and families from Winchester, who were happy to chat with visiting Missourians to tell us their kids’ stories (the female guitarist was playing with a cast because she’d broken her wrist playing softball, the singer has only been with the band a few months, etc.). They’re a talented bunch and I expect to hear more from them. If you want to keep up with them, you can find them on Facebook. It was a great night and one I won’t forget.
This is already too long, so I’ll save describing the rest of my fun experiences in Lexington for another post. Instead, I’ll conclude with saying that while I’ve had a better time than I expected, learned more from the training that I thought I would, and am sorry for having slandered Lexington as it really is quite cute and has good food, I am nonetheless glad to be going home tomorrow. I may love to travel, but I’m ready to go back to Kansas City to sleep in my own bed and see the kitties. I just hope the mess from the storms in Chicago is cleared up before we have to changed there tomorrow afternoon. But the woes of air travel in a post-911 world are best left for another post.