Tummy Trouble


Warning: Diarrhea talk below.

It’s hard to love this place when it’s essentially eating your stomach. I’ve been having a pretty rough time for the last 36 hours, mostly sleeping and laying in my room, running to the bathroom every couple hours. But today is the first day of classes, so we walked 3 kilometers (about 45 minutes) to school this morning and I basically wanted to pass out on the side of the road. Diarrhea tummy and heat don’t really mix too well.

I don’t know how people here deal with the stomach flu or other things that make your stomach unsettled, because the food here isn’t really soothing for my nausea. I’m sure they have soups of some kind, but I had a hard time even venturing out of my apartment yesterday for fear of needing a bathroom and not being able to find one.

Lipton boxed chicken noodle soup has definitely saved me, so I’m not about to keel over from lack of nourishment, and I brought some Gatorade so at least I won’t die here! (It’s not really that bad, I just like being dramatic.)

Anyway, today should be exciting to say the least. Wish me luck!

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God Bless You All (Day 3)


Religion in India is a way of life, and the people here practice it with an intensity I’ve never experienced before in America. We went to a Catholic cathedral today and I was almost in tears because everyone there was so focused on their devotion. It was a truly beautiful thing to see. The churches are crowded at every moment of the day, and people sit in silence in front of the many statues, often touching Jesus’ feet or holding their hands toward Mary. These people seemed happy to see us in their place of worship — at first some of us worried we would be obtrusive or invading their sacred space, but when an old man came over and said kindly, “God bless you all” I felt like he truly meant it…it came from his heart. We took our shoes off at one area of the church where people were sitting on the floor praying in front of statues. I want to capture the beauty of these moments better but I realize I’m failing. Honestly, it was one of the most moving experiences of my life, and it had nothing to do with Jesus or Mary or the church’s beauty. It was all because these people feel their religion so deeply, so wholly, that I couldn’t help but feel it too.

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We went to a Sikh Gurdwara later in the day, where we removed our shoes, washed our feet, and covered our heads before entering. The women sit at one side and the men at the other, and we sat on the floor for most of the time. I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening at first, but I realized the man and woman at the front were wearing clothes of matching fabrics and…we’d stumbled into a wedding ceremony. We were welcomed warmly by everyone, and were given some sort of food at the end of the ceremony which I still can’t really identify, but it was a paste of some kind and tasted amazing. I seriously have no idea what was going on that whole time, but I felt a lovely calm in the room. Everything was so bright and beautiful — the gold, the chandeliers, the light, the people. I’ve learned more and connected more by silently observing for the past few days than I ever did back at home blabbering away with other people.

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What I’ve found most of all is that religion is most people’s support system in this country. When you’re born into a religion, you form bonds with the other people at your temple/church/mosque and are supported for life. If you need food, you receive food. If you need help paying for school, you receive help. If you need a place to stay in another city, often the temple/church/mosque will provide it for free or at little cost. And these people spend an amazing amount of time at their places of worship. We’re lucky in America if people make it to church once a week for an hour, but these people come for hours and hours, often multiple times a week. It truly is the backbone of their lives. And the amount of charity work done by most of these places is absolutely essential in this country, because the amount of poor and destitute Indians is so overwhelming that help from these large congregations is probably what keeps a lot of them alive.

The silent beauty radiating from these places is too much for words, but I think it really has changed my life forever. I’ve been practicing Hinduism for the past few years all by myself, because there isn’t a temple nearby at all, and I think I’ve missed out on the bonds and support I could’ve received. Hopefully someday I’ll find my place, but for now I’ll have to be my own temple. I look forward to going to Hindu temples here, because I know it will fill me in a way I’ve not yet experienced.

First Impressions


…aka a whole bunch of babbling about this beautiful, crazy city. I sent my family an email and figured instead of writing a new post, I’d just post parts of it here (lightly edited for clarification purposes) because I’m exhausted and it’s only 8 pm. The sun sets here around 6:30, so…it’s hard to stay up super late because we feel like it’s so late already.

Jet lag hasn’t really been a problem, which I’m surprised about. My sister always takes like a week to adjust, and her husband does too. Even one of the girls in the program who has travelled extensively said she’s surprised none of us are too jet lagged because usually she just sleeps for like a day or two when she arrives in Europe. So I guess we’re lucky! Or maybe we’ll feel it tomorrow? Haha…who knows.
It’s gorgeous here — I love the trees, they’re super tropical looking. There’s one kind that looks kiiiiinda like a jacaranda but with less blossoms that’s so gorgeous. They have bright orange/red blossoms and every time I see one I feel so happy. :)
I think mostly the weirdest/most different part is all the trash on the streets and sides of the roads. It’s everywhere, and people sit in trash heaps sometimes and pick through it. There’s also a lot of cow dung on the sidewalks that you have to avoid (it smells so bad!) and cows just chill on the side of the road really peacefully. There are donkeys too. The cars barely even slow down when people cross the street, but when cows cross the streets every single car comes to a complete stop and waits for the cow to cross, because they’re sacred here and slaughtering them is illegal, etc. They’re really beautiful animals — I don’t think I’d ever realized how massive they are.
You have to look down almost all the time when you walk because there are often huge holes in the sidewalk and if you fell in you’d seriously hurt yourself because they’re several feet deep and usually filled with icky water. We also live across the road from the open sewer-river thingy and it smells pretty bad but…honestly I’ve already gotten pretty used to the fact that everything here just smells a little bit decomposed. Sometimes I walk by shops that smell like incense and stop for a minute to cleanse my nose :)
Most of the people here are very dark skinned and pretty short, with rounder features than Europeans. They definitely seem tiny compared to me and a couple of the other people in the group, and when we bought a few clothes yesterday I didn’t fit in many tops because everyone here has narrow shoulders and really small chests, whereas I don’t. But the pants are all long enough, and I found a nice tunic. We have to wear a chulidar  (tunic and pants with a headscarf) to the temples, and our heads have to be covered in those. Whenever you buy pants or a chulidar outfit they give you a matching headscarf, so I have two now. The clothes here are so diverse for the women, it’s hard not to stare at the women because they’re all so beautifully dressed and I always want their outfits! Hahaha. Even the poor women typically look really nice in their clothes — appearance/nice clothes are really important to them here. If they have nice clothes but they’re badly wrinkled, etc they’d almost rather not even go outside.
We went down one street today that had more beggars than usual, but there were only like 4 or 5. Usually they have children, too, and they follow you for a bit because they assume all americans are very rich, but unfortunately we just have to walk by. I want to help, but I can’t really do much for them and hopefully they’ll find luck elsewhere. It’s hard seeing the really poor children, though, because you know they’re likely to be poor all their lives. It’s more common up north to see people begging in commercial areas. Here there are some slums nearby and I’m sure those are more devastating than anything I’ve seen yet, but there’s much less poverty here in Bangalore, whereas up north there are more people, less space, less education etc…
There have been a few womens shelters though that we’ve walked by, and a YWCA with free counseling and I think cheap housing for working women, which is really nice. This city is pretty progressive for India, and they have a school for “spastics” as they call them here that I think we’re gonna tour because it’s a pretty big deal here to educate them instead of forcing them to be destitute. We met one man yesterday who is getting his PhD who has a developmental disability and was so lovely, and he goes to that school so we will see him again. He was so happy to see us :) We’re required to do several hours of community service/volunteering here at a non-governmental institution, so I might look into helping at the womens shelter. I’m not sure yet.
Everyone here is so friendly at the university, and they smile a lot when they talk and are typically very pleasant. They also bobble their heads a lot which is so lovely. It’s a side to side motion that is SO adorable and endearing, and they say it when they agree with you or as “ok” or just when they’re talking and want to make a point.
Almost everyone here speaks English, unless they’re very poor, because there are over 20 languages in the whole of India (here it’s kannada) and not everyone speaks Hindi (it’s more common in the north) but people are from so many places that their only common language is English. I’m pretty sure almost all classes here are taught exclusively in English, because we’re allowed to sit in on psychology classes etc, which I think I will do.
Everyone in the program is so happy to be here and has a real passion for India. We all wanted to come here to be outside of our comfort zone, and we all have different things we loved about India that we came for. Our apartment is nice sized, and we have a nice living room (with a fridge in it haha) and a water purifier so we don’t have to boil all our water. We have a bathroom in our room and the shower is just a shower head like a foot away from the toilet…the entire bathroom is essentially the shower, and then you get the whole room wet when you bathe haha. It’s actually really nice. I’ve taken basically cold showers every time so far because it gets so muggy. I think typically people here fill up a big bucket and then scoop water onto themselves, so I did that today because our drain was a little clogged and I wanted to try it. I actually think I might bathe that way a lot here — it was really easy and nicer than using a ton of water to shower.
We live in a “suburb” of Bangalore, Koramangala, and even though it’s outside of the main city of Bangalore it seems so huge. We walk about 45 minutes to the university, but there are lots of places to eat and shop nearby which is nice. I haven’t taken an auto-rickshaw yet but I will soon. That will be a whole new adventure!
I still have to get used to how many people stare at us when we walk around. They just love to look at us…we’re “exotic” which is something I’d never experienced before. I was surprised, though, because people set up stands on the side of the road to sell fruit or shoes, but they never shout out at you to buy their goods. They just sit patiently and wait for you to come to them, which is really nice and less overwhelming.
The cars honk ALL the time, mostly just to let you/other cars know they’re there. People ride lots of motorcycles here and weave in and out of traffic, so sometimes they zoom up on you out of nowhere while you’re walking. But strangely I never feel afraid here. They truly live without fear, and I think I’ve accidentally adopted that. Caution, yes. Fear, no. You just walk out in front of traffic when you need to cross the street, and the cars/busses etc slow down but normally don’t stop. You just have to keep walking at a steady pace — don’t run — and you’re fine. It’s always a minor triumph every time we successfully cross the street, and we’ve gotten really good at it, even on big 4-6 lane streets.
Don’t worry Mom, we’re all ok :) It’s very normal here.
I haven’t gotten sick yet — I’m expecting to, as are we all, but so far it’s been ok. They eat heavy meals in the morning, lighter lunch, light dinner. It’s strange to eat spicy food in the morning, but also really delicious. I had a butter masala dosa (kinda like a rice pancake with mushed potato, onions and spices that you dip in a sauce) this morning. I ate it all with my right hand and was so proud of myself :) I also had fresh mango juice (more like a puree) that was so amazing I thought I might cry. Mangoes are in season for one more week — once the monsoon season starts they all rot and don’t make it to market. I plan to stock up soon because MANGOES ARE MY EVERYTHING.
All my love from India! xo

Between


I guess I can cross “drink a Heineken in Germany” off my bucket list. While I’m at it, I could create a bucket list…

So I’m halfway to Bangalore! I’m sitting in the Frankfurt Airport eating pineapple slices and drinking beer. It seemed like a good purchase at the time. To be honest, it still feels pretty good. People were looking at me strangely for a while and I thought maybe I wasn’t supposed to drink beer in this particular part of the airport until I realized, it’s 9 am here… Whatever, it’s midnight my time and I just flew in a tin can for 10 hours, so I deserve a beer.

I’ve already learned a few things during my short travels, and I thought I’d tell you about them before I pass out in a corner from confusion and early-onset jet lag (that’s a thing, right?):

1. I’m apparently a nervous pee-er. I don’t think I’ve ever used the restroom this many times in two days, much less 12 hours.

2. TSA agents in Seattle tend to be friendly. TSA agents in Frankfurt…not so much. An extremely sassy (and when I say sassy, I mean grumpy) German man told me to leave my sweatshirt and shoes on as I went through security, which then caused the scanner to beep and then I got aggressively patted down. I’m always patted down at airports. I should just expect a subtle grope, at this point, when I travel. In the States, they usually tell you they’re going to use the back of their hands and then they’re really gentle about it, but here the lady (who was really nice, thank god) basically gave my boobs a squeeze and it was a little bizarre. It wasn’t creepy or bad, it was just bizarre. Anyway, screw that noodle-brained man for making me leave my shoes on and causing me to get fondled.

3. Apparently I give off a German vibe. I’m flying on a German airline, so all the flight attendants speak both English and German. Even though their default language for addressing most people was English, they always started nattering on to me in German and I could barely get a word in to tell them I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. Even an Indian lady started talking to me in German. I should’ve made a sign (I’m Very American) and worn it the whole flight.

4. Hot towels are a gift from the gods. I love them, and they love me, and my face loved them, and they loved my face.

5. Children like me. A lot. The little Indian girl sitting in front of me kept playing peek-a-boo between the seats with me. It lasted a really long time, and I didn’t really know what to do because we didn’t speak the same language, so I just kept puffing my cheeks out and waving. I probably looked like an idiot. She didn’t care.
I was also slobbered on by a small German child who looked like he was my offspring and it was both weird and awesome at once.

6. You can tell what people are saying usually, even if you don’t speak their language. Sass and hand gestures are universal.

7. Seriously, guys. Everyone thinks I’m German. At this rate, I’ll be making wiener schnitzel for the entire airport before I board my flight.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Oh. Bye!


I leave in 2 days. I don’t entirely know how this all snuck up on me so fast, because it feels like yesterday I was pulling all my hair out studying for exams and suddenly…my bag is almost completely packed (full of malaria pills and anti-diarrhea medications).

I’ve been trying to take mental pictures/videos for the last few days, realizing I won’t see certain parts of my life for several months. The wheat fields I drive past every day. The tree in my back yard I’ve always loved the most. My cat (I’m still thinking up ways to sneak him into India). The sound and smell of nighttime out here. And every time I eat something (tacos, mostly) I think “I’ll miss this.”

But then I remember…I’ve wanted to go to India for so long, and now it’s finally happening. Sure, I’m scared (I’m really, really scared, because there are so many unknowns and my brain can’t keep up with all the possible death/illness scenarios I’ve been conjuring up for the past few weeks), but my fear can’t hold me back this time. My life’s about to be turned upside down, inside out, sideways, backwards. And I’m so glad, because there are a lot of things about the way I passively live my life that I need to change. I’ve got to wake up and smell the coffee, people! I’m forcing myself to be so far out of my comfort zone I’ll probably never return to it. I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

So for now, goodbye! I probably won’t write again until I’m in India (yeeee!), and I’ll probably be so jet lagged my brain drips out of my ears, so get ready for some semi-incoherent posts in the not-so-distant future. Wish me luck!

 

I’m Still Alive


In case y’all were worried, I’m still alive! But I have had an exciting two weeks, so here it goes!

1. I hate faxing. I have spent at least 15 dollars in the past week faxing paperwork to my doctor, my study abroad program office, and the other university I had to be “accepted” to in order to receive credit for studying abroad. I hate faxes. I thought faxes had ended in 1985, and even though my mom faxes stuff all the time for work, I hate it. I hate it because I have to go to the student union, get ripped off by a grumpy asshole who doesn’t even look at my face while we exchange money for services, and…basically, faxing is stupid and I will never change my mind on that.

2. I also hate paperwork. Do y’all know how much paperwork is involved in going to India? From disclosing where my tattoos are located because the university in India won’t allow any of my tattoos to show while on campus to reading about the chances of me getting malaria and rabies while I’m there, I’ve gone through so many documents I’m surprised my head hasn’t exploded.

3. There is a mouse in my house. First it was ants crawling all over my food, and now apparently it’s a mouse. At first, I felt badly about potentially killing it because I have this idea that it’s wrong to punish a wild animal for existing in this space that I have designated as “mine” even though the little mouse isn’t aware of these rules I’ve made up…anyway, it started pooping on top of my fridge and I quickly changed my mind. I am not about to get some sort of disease from this rodent (I named him Ralph and he has a white tummy) no way no how. I am living the real-life version of Mouse Hunt and I will vanquish him. 

4. Guys, there’s still a mouse in my apartment. I think what bothers me most is that I was dusting my living room table and once it was clean I turned away for about 5 minutes before turning around and…is that mouse poo on my table? The sneaky bastard is an acrobat, I swear, and I started screaming at an invisible ghost-mouse for about 3 minutes while alone and waving my arms around like a madwoman. 
What really gets me, though, is the fact that he pooped about 3 inches away from one of my mouse traps, like he was taunting me…

Anyway, I have 4 weeks left in this terrible basement hut and then I’m off to India, where the bugs are no doubt gigantic and where I’m supposed to look out for wild dogs with rabies and not drink the tap water or eat “suspicious” meat, where there are guards outside my apartment complex and where I must remove all piercings except one in each ear lobe before going on campus. Where I will be riding around in 3 wheeled auto-rickshaws and getting the chance to feed an elephant, where I will be working with underprivileged children and taking classes on Hinduism and holy places in India. Where I will meet beautiful people and explore my soul and wear colorful clothes and where I will be so absolutely happy that any memory of this demon mouse will feel far in the past. 

I’m so pleased.

India


So uh…in case you guys were wondering…

I’M GOING TO INDIA.

This summer. Study abroad. INDIAAAAAAAA. Whatevs.

I found out today while I was studying for an exam (I may have been so heavily caffeinated that upon receiving the email I had an excitement- and caffeine-induced seizure in the library) and was immediately distracted, so I walked home to shake off some of the jitters. After studying a bit more at my apartment, I made the mistake of taking a study break and looking at some of the documents I was given about traveling abroad/housing info/class registration/plane tickets/visa info/don’t get malaria/this is gonna be a huge culture shock and…

Now I’m super overwhelmed. Super super excited, but also super overwhelmed. I have to constantly remind myself (seriously, every three seconds) that I have time to deal with all the paperwork and that I should just allow myself to be happy I got into the program and now it’s time to study for my test.

YOU GUYS. I’M GOING TO INDIA. I. AM. SO. HAPPY.

This must be what doing cocaine feels like. Except…not? I don’t know, my test tomorrow is for my drugs and alcohol class, so maybe if I was studying I’d know what the effects of cocaine are. Oops.

I’ve gone insane. The caffeine hasn’t worn off yet. To prevent myself from further embarassment, I’ll just stop here, but I’ll leave you with this lovely gem:

There’s an SNL episode in which Zac Effron explains the differences between attending a musical high school and actual college. He talks about a song he made up called “nervous but excited” and that song needs to be written (probably by me) because it’s exactly how I feel about India. Nervous, but excited.

So yeah, click here for the clip of that…

Love you all! Wheeeee!

Goodbye


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The view from Haylie’s apartment. Spectacular.

I’m leaving Seattle and I want to cry. This has never happened.

The Ice is Getting Thinner by Death Cab for Cutie came on my iPod, which doesn’t help since it’s full of tragedy and sadness and practically pulls the tears out of your eyeballs anyway.

I’ve never had a great experience in Seattle. I typically get shouted at by at least 3 people, or a cab driver tries to kidnap my suitcase, or the weather is depressing. This weekend, though, was my island. I visited my beautiful friend Haylie who is my spirit animal, and…the weekend was a dream.

We went to a cat show, y’all. There were so many Maine Coons I practically peed, and I watched a cat judging thing (weird–they’re all number one in my heart) and got stamped with a cat stamp. Every time a cat got loose they’d yell “CAT OUT, CLOSE THE DOORS, DO NOT TRY TO CATCH THE CAT” and it was weird and wonderful, just like the entire show.

Ate the best curry I’ve ever had. Bamboo shoots? Yes.

Pike Place Market: homemade latte flavored Greek yogurt? YES.

Got slightly accosted by a man who pretended to take a bite out of the pastry I was holding. He got way too close to my head and I screamed and jumped, and he laughed and said “I didn’t mean to scare you!” Really? Then he had the audacity to try to hit on me, so that’s apparently a thing that happens.

Saw Tegan and Sara live, which was actually incredible. I don’t know why I was kinda surprised, but I wasn’t really sure that I still liked them. My dad had randomly bought their album So Jealous at a record shop in Seattle and I might’ve fallen in love with them freshman year of high school, but it’s been at least 4 years since I actually listened to them much. They’re really good live, though, and even though Haylie and I sat basically behind the stage, it was still pretty brilliant.

Ra Ra Riot, however, sucks. A lot. They were technically a good band, and the singer has a nice voice, but he’s much too “oh-whoa-ho!”-y for my taste. I don’t particularly enjoy bands with no energy, and even though the violinist and cellist were both sassy and awesome, there wasn’t much that could save the lead singer from being incredibly lackluster. Also, I’m pretty sure the drummer was a wizard and possessed the crowd at one point. Nobody was really into it, and then suddenly everyone was screaming and twirling around in the stands and on the floor, and Haylie and I could only wonder what is this black magic? (I’m pretty sure that’s actually a thing, though, that everyone in the crowd knew about; when the singer sang a certain line, everyone knew to twirl. I definitely prefer to think that it’s black magic.)

And of course Death Cab was brilliant, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less. I saw them 5 years ago in my hometown, then saw The Postal Service over the summer (amazingamazingamazing) and now all I have to do is see Ben Gibbard solo before I can die happy (I mean, I’d love to see The Strokes, but that might never happen so I just have to dream).

I miss Haylie. I miss Seattle. I miss feeling free. Coming home was weird — I was in a coma for the entire flight, and came home and wanted to cry. I think this weekend sparked a bit of an existential crisis, so look forward to some moody “who am I, what am I doing, blah” posts in the future.

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Baby flower children frolic in fields and rainbows. Meow.

Randomly Selected


I’m flying to Seattle today! Yay! I’m going to Bumbershoot, a music festival in Seattle, and I’m also going to (surprise!) an international cat show. My gal pal Haylie and I are going to frolic and make flower chains for our hair and be generally delightful, so look forward to some fun posts about that!

My college town is small, conveniently located between a wheat field and another tiny town. But! There is an airport here (it’s an international airport, but the only thing international about it is the large amount of foreign exchange students getting ready to board my flight).

I hate flying. I get incredibly uncomfortable and nauseas while zooming a jillion feet above where I’m supposed to be (the ground) and typically have some inner ear issues. So I always come very prepared: everything in its baggies, laptop easily accessible to pull out, shoes easy to take off, no knives or explosives (I know this is surprising to you since I love to live dangerously). The TSA agent at the front of the security line (there is one terminal and one security line in this airport, which is perfect for anxious flyers like me) complimented me on my organization, which was hilarious and adorable and really nice all at the same time. And then I was selected for an “extra security screening” as I walked through the metal detector.

I got a pat down, y’all! And it was honestly a rather pleasant experience. Hold up, before you get the wrong idea here, it was pleasant because the lady was so nice. She explained everything in detail (back of the hands while going over my butt, thank you very much) and…I don’t know, it wasn’t uncomfortable like people always say it is. Everyone complains about TSA agents, but I think today I might’ve fallen in love with all of them (at this baby airport anyway).

But even in large cities they’re usually at least pleasant. I flew out of Maui a few years ago and the guy told me my name was beautiful. In Oakland, they were the happiest TSA bunch I’ve ever seen — I felt like I was in the midst of the Seven Dwarves.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: I was randomly selected for a pat down and it seemed like I’d won a prize or something. So cheers, TSA, you’re doing it right!

Forget It, Cappy. It’s Just Chi-Town.


Chloe and me at the Bean. Yay Chicago skyline!

Chloe and me at the Bean. Yay Chicago skyline!

“Do you wanna stop viiiiiiiolence?” sang a man with long black hair on the street corner, waving a pamphlet in my face and doing a little leap/jig. That’s Chicago, now characterized in my mind by amazing food and crazy people. And train travel.

I took the train across the country and visited my family north of the city before heading to Lincoln Park to visit my girlfriend (okay, best friend, but we might as well get married) Chloe, where I embarked on a culinary tour of The Windy City. Bagels. Noodles. Waffles. Repeat. (Lather and rinse if you’d like.) I don’t think I’ve eaten so well in my life.

Day 1: Got on a train from Arlington Park to Chicago, where the conductor (whose name was surely Marshal, though I have no proof of that) grumped at me about my suitcase, then whistled while he walked away. Who yells at someone to move their suitcase while it’s being moved, then cheerily whistles three seconds later? Were you a prison warden in a past life?

Arrived and was picked up by my ladylove, and we walked to the elevated train (kind of like the light rail, if you live in Seattle…we don’t have those where I come from). We jumped on and the train started moving before I was prepared, so I flew about a foot sideways and was thrown into a glass partition, yelling, “Blahhhhh!!” and then saying (awkwardly and loudly), “Welcome to Chicago!” because I’m a doofus. When we finally found a seat, I got mean mugged by a homeless woman for the entire ride. She wouldn’t even break her stare when I made eye contact with her, so I just sat (mostly) quietly for the rest of the ride while she murdered me in her mind.

Sat in the library while Chloe went to class and witnessed the most lovely foreign couple be in love and wished I went to DePaul, because library.
I can’t even remember what we did for the rest of the day, so that’s good.

Day 2: Woke at the crack of dawn (11) after Chloe got back from class and we took a train to some loop (the West Loop? Who knows. So many loops.) to eat at Little Goat Diner. We got on the wrong train, so we had to get off and walk through Sedgewick, which is super cute building-wise but super sketchy people-wise. Some scary man looked us up and down and said, “Mmm, I like that” or something. A guy sneezed on my face as he walked by. I’m not kidding. I honestly don’t how it happened because I have PTSD.

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Napkin holder at The Little Goat!

Finally got to the restaurant. First, it’s absolutely adorable and I love it and want it to be my personal restaurant. Second, GARLIC BREAD AND TOMATO SOUP. Third, Cinnamon roll, be my husband. That is all.
We moseyed back to her apartment before heading out once more to an amazing Italian restaurant that started with a Q (I’m so good at remembering this trip…I’ll bet it impresses you) where I tried veal for the first time (delicious) and fell in love with our waiter, who looked like Tony Parker.
Went home and watched an episode of Dance Moms because we’re awesome and Abby Lee Miller is scary.

Day 3: Ate at Jam & Honey. They have a jar of nutella on the table “just in case.” Needless to say, they are my kind of people. We ate waffles and bananas and yum. A little girl was eating with her mom next to us and she told me she was getting pancakes, and since I don’t know how to talk to children, I said, “Wow, you’re going crazy!” because that makes sense. I wanted to die a little, but she was preoccupied with her doll and children are weird anyway, so they don’t care when adults are. …I’m an adult.

Went to the Mac store because duh I love makeup and it was the professional store, so makeup artists go there to get their supplies. They have every pigment ever, so you can mix specific colors and…I died a little bit, I’m not going to lie. I could live in that store.
Then we went to Lush, which doesn’t exist where I live, and I bought soap that’s called Sexy Peel, because puns are the best. I also basically got high off one of their colognes because it smelled like man. Chloe and I were almost embarrassed, because we just wanted to get boyfriends and spray it on them. It smelled like a woodpile and man. Man man man. Also, it was called Breath of God, so that’s kind of amazing.

Ate noodles in curry sauce at Flat Top. Died inside because I was so happy.
It was raining, but all I’ve ever wanted to do was go to The Bean, so we trudged our way across the city (when I say trudged I mean walked and took a train, and when I say across the city I mean several blocks) to that cute little reflecting piece of awesome, and we took lots of pictures. We asked a couple sorority girls to take our picture with the city in the background, because I feel a strange connection to anyone wearing Greek letters. They cut The Bean out of one of the pictures…connection lost.
A homeless man asked us for change and when we kept walking, said, “You look wonderful today,” to me. I honestly couldn’t help but say, “Thank you” and laugh as I walked away. He chuckled heartily in the background. Very heartily. (Somehow that sounded foreboding…it wasn’t supposed to.)
Ate bagels for dinner because Barack Obama likes that bagel shop and it’s a few blocks from Chloe’s apartment. Besides, bagels are always acceptable, and they steam them there! Whaaaat?

I was so glazed and so infused.

I was so glazed and so infused.

Day 4: Woke up, put on my new makeup (yes yes yes yes) and went to Argo Tea, where I drank the most delightful black tea with honey and lemon, before heading to Glazed and Infused Donuts. Three words: Crème brulee donut. Once again, I died of food-induced happiness.
Then, as if donuts for breakfast didn’t make us want to have heart attacks, we got deep dish pizza. It’s Chicago, y’all, and apparently that means you have to eat pizza that immediately puts you in a coma.
I got on a plane today and headed home. I miss Chloe, and I miss Chicago (which is surprising because I don’t particularly like cities…but Chicago is delightful if you ignore the dirt).

A few random quotes/situations:

Chloe: You can be my wife but I don’t know if I can share you with all the black, homeless Chicago men that find you attractive.
Me: You noticed that? It happens to me in Seattle, too.
Chloe: They were responding to whatever you were putting out. At least you’ve found your niche market in the romance department.
(I don’t wanna brag, but I do have a way with the homeless fellas. Meow.)

Me every 5 minutes: Something gross just hit me in the face.

Chloe: Oh, there’s the skyline!
Me: Cuuute! …Wait, did I just say that?

A couple Bob Marley lookalikes in Sedgewick: Man, we can rent scooters and ride the shit around that place. (Because that sentence makes sense in English).

A very-nearly toothless, scrawny white man walked onto our train, but another guy was trying to get off and they shuffled around for a second trying to get around each other before Toothless in Chicago mumbled loudly “Fuck you, outta my fuckin’ way,” then sat down across from and staring at us the rest of our ride. He answered his cell phone at one point and just yelled, “mumble mumble fucking mumble” before hanging up and getting out a packet of cigarettes. He kept slapping it against his hand and I was just praying he wouldn’t light up (if he had, I may have been forced to murder him because I was tired and I don’t like cancer)…and then we got off. More like fled, really.

Everyone was dressed in green and at least slightly drunk by about 11:30 a.m. because they all think they’re Irish and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was today. Fun times ensued, but I am neither 21 nor still in Chicago.

Chloe sang a Mariah Carey song to me in a cupcake shop last night, so that memory will just have to stay in my mind until the next time I see her. I’ll miss you, boo!

Cheers, muffins, and Happy (almost) Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all! Apparently we’re all Irish at heart, or maybe everyone just likes to drink.