Thursday, January 4, 2024

A year in PA

While we were in PA for Ian's schooling, can we really ignore that we chose PA for the Hershey Bears?  The Bears are the farm team for the Washington Capitals.  Since the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 they've struggled.  Last year they didn't even make the playoffs and this year isn't looking too much better.

You can get a Master's through the State Department at a ton of different schools, but there's a special relationship with the military schools - the Army program in Carlisle, the Navy program in Rhode Island, the Space program in Alabama, several schools in DC, etc.  Obviously the DC programs are the most popular.  After all if you're already in DC, then there's no move required.  The last time we considered the Master's program our sights were set on Carlisle because of the Bears, and this time it didn't change.  Moving for a year is a hassle no matter what, but in return we had one of the best years of this Foreign Service career.  Ian made some fast friends, he did exceptionally well at school, we loved living in small town Carlisle (rent was 1/2 that of Arlington), and we had a year of watching 20+ Hershey Bears games all the way to the Calder Cup final (the Stanley Cup for the AHL) and a game seven overtime win for their 12th Calder Cup.  It was so nerve-wracking I couldn't watch and instead heard Ian's shouting from the living room.  The final was played in California and we didn't go to the Giant Center's 1a.m. watch party, which, well.. do we regret that?  Not really, kind of... maybe.

The Bears are on a tear again this year, so while we struggle watching the Caps lose over and over again, the Bears are the bright shining star of hockey.  As of this post, they've had two 9-game winning streaks are are leading the AHL league in pretty much everything, with players in the top five of every category from goal scorers to shutouts.  

Hershey isn't that far (~7 hours), and if it comes down to it, I'm thinking there's a trip involved when the Bears are in the playoffs.


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