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National Kuwait Day & Liberation Day

9 Mar

Gulf Road is the main drag along …wait for it…the gulf, it is normally filled with cars, bumper to bumper for the celebrations. Fireworks are creating beautiful displays of color in the skies. Children are covered from head to toe with the green, red, white and black of Kuwait’s flag. Even some cars are covered in the flags. The children carry around an assortment of water guns, spraying into the cars and the people singing and dancing in the streets. This continues for two days. One to celebrate the National day, which represents when Kuwait gained independence from the British in 1961. And second day to celebrate their liberation from Iraq in 1991.

I did not get to personally witness this type of celebration, just like any place in the world celebrating isn’t a cookie cutter event. I must admit I was caught off guard with the invitation to the farm in the middle of the work week. There have been celebrations the entire month, so I wasn’t completely surprised, but Meshari and I gladly accepted.

We packed our bags to stay overnight. I packed my camera and laptop because I still had a few designs to finish, and if work needed me they could reach me.

The farm is 45min outside the city. It’s amazing how quickly and dramatically the landscape changes from huge glass and concrete buildings to tents and sand.

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The quiet was so nice. In the city the constent noise is nothing like a slow moving river, or a gentle breeze though the trees. Some people claim that cities have their own song. Their own music. My experience has given me the impression that this city is just a city filled with cars. People are not talking. There is no music coming from shops or cafes. Vendors are not welcoming you to see their wares. Just cars. Angry honking. Impatient honking. Enough where I have had half a mind to slash every tire in this entire country. Maybe one day I will hear it as a sweet melody… But that day is not today.

So back to the farm, chickens are happily clucking. You can hear goats bleating in the distance. Every other sounds are bird songs I don’t recognize and the wind. Voices of people talking and laughing. It’s a place where all friends are welcome. A place where you can really relax, almost as if time moves slower here.

We played football in the yard and didn’t bother to keep score. Just chasing and kicking. The best kind of sport.

When lunch on the first day rolled around food began to appear. Lamb ribs, chicken, lamb kabobs, grilled onions, garlic and potatoes. Seared pieces of fat that just melted in your mouth. Warm pieces of bread that made perfect mini sandwiches. Colorful salads and desserts. Everything was delicious and delightful. All the food over the holiday was like that. And after all the meals a huge display of fruits and nuts would be placed on the table outside.

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As night fell on the first night we started playing music from one of the vehicles. Everyone was talking and laughing. We enjoyed another huge meal after evening prayer. Meshari and I took a walk, we watched as a man was trying to get, what must of been a new horse, used to the trouble maker of the group. We were at the edge of the desert so night much darker than in the city. And we could see an oil field on the horizon burning. With all the dust and sand in the air the fire looked like something out of Mordor. In the nicest way…

Once we got back most of the women were dancing. The men were smoking shesha and laughing. I danced, a bit of my style mixed with some of the moves the women were showing me. I tried to get Meshari to dance but he didn’t want to. They were saying I must have “arab in my blood” based on how I jiggy down. Throughout the night there was continuous eating, drinking, smoking, dancing, and just good laughs. As some people started to head back to the city, a hand full of us went to one of the large tents to play hand. (It’s a card game similar to rummy…but only by a little bit.) More fruits and nuts were brought out, some continued to smoke shesha. It was starting to make me dizzy, which is why I think I was doing so poorly during the game. It’s was around 1:30am that Meshari and I turned in for the night.

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This holiday was almost two weeks ago. I thought for a long time of how I should write it, what to include and what would be better left unsaid. I’m not one for lying. I’m not one for sugar coating. And I received an e-mail from a beloved friend she wrote…

“Write. Write a lot. Photograph things and post them – don’t edit yourself – be real, be raw and be all of you, even when that can only be true through your blog site – use the blog to rediscover your spirit – and you are not being negative, you are just being honest. There is a difference.”

Meshari and I woke suddenly to doors slamming, and many voice yelling. All in arabic. We sat up in bed, just listening. Was it a fight? An argument? The main voice was so angry I couldn’t quite pin point who was so upset. I started pulling words out mainly because they were being repeated. “Stop!” and “Enough!” We both wanted to go see/help/understand what was happening, but without actually knowing what was being said made the decision difficult. Meshari quietly put himself between the door and myself. The voices left…we whispered to each other…we had no idea what could have made him so angry. All I could think about was how this must be similar to what it’s like to be in a verbally abusive family. I felt very small. If I understood the language I’m sure I would of felt and acted differently…looking back there are so many what ifs in this situation…I felt embarrassed for the man. Being around his friends and throwing a tantrum. Not being able to control yourself and being civil. The voices returned…doors were slamming again, and then all was quiet.

The next morning we saw that the angry man, his family and maid were gone. We went outside and said our good mornings…it was as if it never happened. Ignore the problem and it will go away. We started drinking coffee before I asked “Is everything all right?” From what we are told, and what we all pieced together…the wife had hurt her hand/wrist. She was on pain meds. From what I witnessed she also enjoyed being the center of attention. The mixing of the medication, and shesha was not a good idea. Staying awake into the wee hours of the morning when you should be resting is not a good idea. On top of having a very protective, competitive husband. In a country where you can beat your maids/servants if you want to. PLUS the notion that a gold watch went missing…if it was even brought in the first place, who can say. A formula just waiting to explode. Still uncalled for.

The rest of the holiday was calm. We cleaned the dust off the pouch with many buckets of water and sqeeggy booms.

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We continued to play games and eat. We took walks around to other peoples farms. There was a fair mix of horses, goats, chickens and camels.

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I wanted to find a camel to pet, so we drove out to the main rode. On our way there we found a dead horse just laying on the side of the rode. You can see that there are wires around his back hooves. So either he died and was dragged…or he was just dragged we don’t know.

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As we reached the main road, we could see a trail of dust raising up in the distance. Once we got closer we could see that it wasn’t just one, but two trails of dust. Two 4-wheelers were chasing a horse. And as we got even closer we could make out a man leading a beautiful white mare and the horse that was being chased was her baby. By the time we stopped in front of them the two children 7-8 years old. (little punks) Had gotten one of the 4-wheelers stuck in some loose sand. (Karma is a bitch) But the gentleman stopped and let me pet the mare. The baby kept his/her distance, which I can understand.

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The sun was setting so we had to quickly find a herd if we wanted a chance to pet some camels. And as we were looking for a turn around point, boom camels!

We stopped and asked if it was ok to take pictures. As soon as I stopped walking and put my eye up to my camera, I see a huge dark camel plodding his way over to me. One of the men who were with the herd whips out some bread and slows him down as he still moved closer to me. They didn’t speak any English but is was clear that they wanted me to pet (maybe) his prize camel. He did have a personality that’s for sure. They are just and awesome animal. They are so tall, and their fur is so soft and curly, I love it. The camel kept trying to eat my hand, but growing up around horses and cows, I wasn’t worried, even though with my hand flat he could almost fit it in his mouth. From middle finger tip to the bottom of my palm…so yeah camels have huge mouths.

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We started heading back but before we could a man had also found some loose sand and had gotten his SUV stuck. With an odd mix of english and arabic we lent our pushing power. From the looks of it getting stuck in sand is very much like getting stuck in mud. You want to move slow and not dig yourself deeper.

The rest of the holiday was the same, games, music, food, drinks, more food, more games.

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I started putting small sentences together. “The horse eats grass.”, “My name is Alesha.”, “I am an American.”

And that is that.

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Saturday Lunch

22 Feb

In the states Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter are the big important meals. In addition to Mother’s day and Father’s day. And maybe Birthday dinners.

In Kuwait however, you bet your ass you better be at either Friday lunch or Saturday lunch every week. These meals are huge, normally there are 6-8 chickens, two different types of rice dishes, fish stew and a fish the size of my thigh, in addition to salads, fresh veggies, finger foods and red sauce. Kuwaitis (from my experience) really take family face-to-face time very seriously. Which can be really great, there is always someone who has an answer to your issue, or has at least some insight.

Yet it seems everyone is always meeting up for coffee, weekly men’s gatherings, weekly women’s gathering, lunches, dinners, breakfast…everything really is with family… Which can be really suffocating if you normally are independent. It just feels like you are expected to be present. Actually participate…maybe…but you must be present. An extra face…for example…I can show up to lunch say hello to everyone in turn, sit, and no one will talk to me, everyone will be speaking arabic (which is great because this is where I learn most of my new words) but I’m not included. I will ask how someone is, I’ll get an answer, and the conversation will end. We eat, have chai, everyone will talk more, say good bye and that will be that. 2+ hours of being an extra body. However, if Meshari or I happen to miss a lunch, either of us…we will be asked about it 4-8 times.

Some days I don’t want to see anyone…other days I would like to be around people… maybe it’s because I still don’t feel like they are family yet. Some of them are caring, don’t get me wrong…but I still can’t hold anyone in true confidence. Does that make sense?

I did say I would be more positive didn’t I? I’m being fair…which is MORE positive than being negative…yeah…let’s just roll with that…it is getting better. I have stopped directly comparing my side of family to Meshari’s side. There are more conversations…which is normal…I’m new to them…and they are new to me…anyway here are the left overs of today’s lunch…

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Oswego coming to a close.

16 Dec

This is a bit of ride, so hold tight! Ps. near the end there will be a tiny bit…(kinda) of blood so you have been warned!

My time at Oswego is finally coming to a close. After 7 years, it’s about damn time! My last final was given Thursday, this was my last real scheduled time with my students. It was bittersweet. I even found this gem.

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I laughed wildly as I pulled the desk out of line and slid it to the back of the room. Saying “Not today!” Then the on slot of grading…and grading…and grading…I’m still not done yet. Grading and packing, and packing and moving. Two trips to the storage unit later.Then back to grading, I had to take a break today or I knew I was going to just start looking for every fault instead of every positive in there work.

A nice interruption was a student wanted to take my picture for a project he is doing. I don’t think he has fully developed what exactly he wants to create or do, but he has a general direction. It was defiantly odd being on the other side of the camera.

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My last day official day in Oswego was ohhh so fun filled. It started with grading at home while I waited for Jenilee to wake up. I packed the rest of my bags, and started my last load of laundry.

We planned on going out to breakfast at the Ritz. My car was parked behind hers, and we both had an errand to do, her to the post office, myself I needed to go to the bank. We decided to car pool because we both needed to come back to the apartment anyway. Brush off car. Get in. Turn key. *whaaa* *wha* *whaaa* “Sometimes when it’s cold she doesn’t like to start right away.” Turn key again. *whaaaaaa* *Wha* *wha* I looked to see if I left the lights on. Nope. The engine would just not turn over. I didn’t panic outwardly…mentally I was slightly panicked. I had 4 paychecks that needed to be deposited in the account that had less than $100, with a $138 automatic withdrawal planned for today for loan. I would get to the bank by noon. I would fucking walk if Jenilee wouldn’t give me a ride. That was my solution if worst came to worst. However, getting to campus to drop off my G5 and to pick up student work to bring with me to grade was another matter. On top of getting to Rochester before the huge storm rolled in. On top of, if it was the starter, transmission or what not that needed to be fixed A. how much would that cost? B. How long would it take to fix? C. Did I have enough to pay for it?

Jenilee tried to pop the clutch to start it. She acted as if she had successfully done this maneuver before…apparently not. She said that it had to be something other than the battery. I don’t want to believe her. All I wa$ thinking about wa$ how am I going to pay for thi$?

I added stopping at the gas sation to our errand list. I parked my car and we jumped in Jenilee’s new car. It said it was 8 degrees out. Yeah, a bit chilly. And we headed to the Ritz. Those errands could not wait on a Saturday afternoon.  Post office check. I called my Dad just to ask what he thought and to give him a heads up that I will be running late on my journey home. He said to give her a jump, that it sounded like the cold drained the battery. That was the plan. And if it wasn’t the battery, then to call him back. The fate of my car is yet to be decided, so if this was her final bow, she would be let go. He didn’t want to drive the two hours to get me but he would. To be honest, at this point my car is a death trap. The tires are next to bald, the struts are fucked, and she just started making a new bad sound. I can’t sell her as is because I know, whoever was dumb enough to buy her would surely kill themselves or someone else. I just know how fucked she is so I know how to handle her. (I know it must be so comforting for people to read this.)

Anyway…The Ritz. Cheap good food. Crap coffee which is always comforting. A small town diner with a big heart. I had my normal order. Veggie scramble with peppers, onions, american cheese and wheat toast. I added eggnog french toast. It was a special. Fantastic.

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This meal made me miss Cala. We would spend hours drinking that crap coffee and just shooting the shit.

Next was the gas station. I jumped out with $5 ran in, snagged a Coke, paid and got back in the car. Jenilee gave me a look as if to say “This is important?!” She is a woman of few words. I said “I bet my battery was really corroded last time, so this is just in case.”

We made it to the bank, I went in deposited my checks. I talked with the woman behind the counter, she asked me where I had been. (5 checks) End of semester nightmares and moving. Prime time to ask a few quick questions. All answered, excellent. Jenilee was playing on her phone when I got back in the car. ONWARD.

We opened our hoods, sure enough my battery had a nice little battery acid fro working. I poured my coke all over the sucker. Grabbed a sponge from my car, and cleaned it off, poured more coke to let it set. Now, I would like to comment. Even though my car is falling apart, she has been through a lot, and she carries pretty much everything I need. Food, water, blankets, shoes, extra money …machete …I could live in my car if I really wanted too. Actually, I did for a weekend in Balitmore once…alright off topic. Even though she is a piece of shit…she is the shit! I love her and hate her in the same breath. We have a relationship just like anyone else. I take care of her as best as I can, and she does the same for me. And so it goes…anyway, in the now 10 degree of awesome, we hook up our batteries. Wait ten minutes. Get in my car. Turn key. She starts. I LOVE YOU!!!! YES! We let them run for another 5min then I drive around for another to seal the deal. You know, confirm our relationship.

Load up her up with my bags, and get everything set for Liz when she comes to pick up my shelf. Say “See ya later” To jenilee. I’ll be back in less than a week for my going away/department lunch Friday. Next stop campus. Liz meets me and we grade binders. Easy, easy. Boom, boom. Load one of my suitcases full of student work because there is no way I can get through all their projects in a few hours. I save files and double, triple check e-mails. Everything is squared away in a few hours. Next, dinner? Nope storm is coming in. Race over back to the apartment. Pack my left over food and Clover. And lastly help Liz shove the shelf into her car. I have no idea how she is going to manage to get it out by herself.

Next, the journey home. Normally a two hour trip took close to three. Bad weather, shitty drivers, and shittier roads. Imagine a tiny falling apart car, packed with your all your possessions, your crying cat and yourself driving home. One trip, one last trip is all she needed. I cursed at least every five minutes. I imagined myself dying, getting hit by a massive snow plow. I got pissed after that. A calm rage really, a focused anger. I was jealous of all the big SUVs with their nice tires, the 18 wheelers that never got any muck splashed across their windshields. It’s a really fucked up situation to drive a tiny car in a snow belt. You learn to be very cautious. You realize rather quickly that if anything bad really happens, you will never win. There is no room for error. I listened to Snap Judgement to calm me down. It didn’t work, ass hats everywhere. And the closer to Rochester I got, more of them appeared. I finally made it to my un plowed road. Perfect. So unbelievably perfect. I hoped for the best, drove down the middle, slow and steady. Deer running everywhere. Brake fish tailed twice. Slow and steady. Up hill, down hill, up, down. In the driveway, and park. HUZZAH!

Needless to say, I wanted a glass of wine. But when both your parents are recovering alcoholics, there will not be a wine opener in the house….second BUT…if your parents are recovering alcoholics they may or my not show you what they used to do in the same situation.

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And the cork goes right back in. None of that finishing the bottle non sense.

Now you must be wondering….I thought there was blood…Oh there is…but that happened then next day. Today rather. So stop now, if you can’t handle it.

I dislike doctors. I avoid them at all costs. So naturally when a skin tag of mine started to get caught on my bra strap I knew it had to go. I tried to cut it off myself, I have done it before. A little ice and toe nail clippers is all you need. However, the location of this one on my side under my arm made it difficult to get a clean cut. So today I asked my mom to help. She wanted none of it. I asked again and again. At that point, my brother and Dad had to take a look at it. I got the whole, maybe you should just leave it alone. I told them it sits right along my bra line and is getting pulled at every time I moved. They all saw how red it was so we busted out the exactos. The blade was burned and my dad did the honors. It was a weird feeling, I felt the blade slice back and forth. It didn’t hurt. It was more of a pinch. However, I have a really high pain tolerance…so who knows. I gushed blood from this tiny perfect circle for a good half hour. I kept pressure on it, but whenever I would look to see how it was I would string a leak.

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Until next time!

ps. 26 days!

pss. This is so long I’m not going to proof read…I’m going to bed!

 

 

Thanksgiving

30 Nov

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I have had a few days to think about the events of this year’s Thanksgiving/Turkey Genocide Day.

Firstly, My sister wasn’t in attendance. She works at a bar and couldn’t take it off. (The night before is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year, think mini new years.) Meshari was missing everything and everyone. We were sending him pictures of his nieces, the turkeys, pie, dominos…pretty much “Hey! We are having a wonderful time without you!” I felt really bad about the whole situation.

My uncle had been harassing me, the good play harassing, about owing him mac&cheese. For our wedding, for a more american dish I asked for smoked gouda mac&cheese. (The food at our wedding was so freaking fantastic! We had Kuwaiti dishes and American classics, and in some cases we mixed American and Kuwaiti to form these food yum wow hybrids.) Either way it was a massive amount of work, all of which my uncle experimented with. In turn, I experimented with my Dad’s homemade mac&cheese recipe. (Sharp Chedder in a butter roux sauce, baked) I used smoked gouda, sharp cheddar and hot habanero. It was a hit! More of it was gone than the green bean casserole! So I know it was good!

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However, I couldn’t help myself from thinking, would Meshari like it? I think he would, he loves spicy foods. Yet, I still wondered and thought about it. I think I focused on that just so I wouldn’t have to focus on anything else…mainly how this is the first holiday without my Uncle Larry. I missed his laugh. There was a lot of crying to say the least…

By the time everyone was heading home after games, I was hugging and saying goodbye to my great Grandma Cooper, she asked me how long I would be over in Kuwait. I told her there to five years…she said “Oh dear I won’t be around when you come back. I’m turning 93 next week.” It broke my heart. I didn’t know what to say so I just word vomited something along there lines of, “You strong, of course you will be around.”

It’s defiantly not how I wanted to leave Thanksgiving.

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I spent a lot of time in the woods, hunting and trying to clear my head. And my heart I suppose. Both have been really heavy as of late. I’m so excited and nervous about leaving…but I’m scared too. What if it doesn’t work out, what if no one will hire me, what if the plane explodes, what if Clover dies in the plane, what if I don’t make any friends, what if I totally lose my shit over something stupid? Say like nutmeg.

Fact: Meshari could not find nutmeg for his sweet potato pie. Just couldn’t find it. I said I’ll be sure to pack some so I can make apple pie and crisps when I come over. I did a little google search. Nutmeg is banned because some believe it is haram. From one of the articles I read “Taken in high doses, nutmeg can be quite intoxicating.”

Should I bring some in anyway and hope they don’t think I’m a nutmeg dealer? I just want to make apple pie! Yet, I know I should respect their beliefs, however…I just wouldn’t offer them pie.

Anyway Venus was beautiful last night.

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Home-Home

18 Nov

When Meshari and I got our first apartment together it was really odd to call it home. We were still both in our undergrad and it was ours. I never thought that my first home would ever be called anything different, but because the apartment, after a few months of living there became “home”, my parents house became know as “Home-home”.

There is nothing quiet like it. The smells, sounds, the constant buzz of movement. Something is always happening. This includes the early am,  Mom could be watching a movie, Daddy could be smoking some bacon wrapped XYZ, Corey could just be coming home from any number of things. Yet, home is really going during White-tail season.  There is always excitement, coffee, hunter stories, predictions of weather, bitching, coffee, more excitement, missing socks, more bitching, smiles, laughter and…of course blood, guts, meat, bone and fur.

As far back as I can remember my family was a hunter family. I learned very early and very quickly that guns are tools not toys. They are made to kill. I believe I was six or seven when I fired my first gun. I don’t remember what it was…some kind of shot gun. Either way my sister and I were both going to shoot but because I was the oldest (by three minutes) I was the lucky one to go first. I had watched my brother, mom , dad and our close family friend Rob shoot so I figured, it wasn’t doing to be that bad. I might miss, but it was my first time. Again…I learned very quickly, guns kick when you squeeze the trigger. For a seven year old, it felt like a body builder punched me in the shoulder. I cried, even though I hit the target, I cried and cried. Needless to say my sister didn’t want to shoot after that.

Anyway, yesterday was opening day of shotgun. The season lasts till December…21st? Somewhere around there. It’s roughly a month give or take, not a lot of time. This is going to be my last season for a while and really wanted to pull my weight. My goal is to do better than last season. I am off to a good start. I took my first doe of the season during the first evening hunt. She was about 80 yards out, a little more than 3/4 turned away from me. One shot. She went 15 yards and was down.

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She is now a bunch of back straps, tender loins and a ton of burger. We were going to make hot italian sausage out of her but we wanted to have another deer so we wouldn’t have to do all the mixing twice. It’s just much easier to do it all at once, but alas a second deer was not in our sights this evening. We could of killed anything out there if we wanted, but was have rules we follow with all most of the hunters in our area. Population control if you will. Eight points and outside the ears, this allows the younger bucks to grow. No button bucks. These are yearling bucks, normally they are bigger than your average doe, but you really don’t want to kill a young buck.

At this point, we also weigh all our deer. And if you kill something that is under 100lbs, be prepared to be harassed.

Ohhh another thing I wanted to show…I found my bullet. It looks like a spiky flower.

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I’m just reflecting. I’m not going to be able to be surrounded by trees. My idea of nature is completely different from …the desert. And soon, home-home is going to be very, very far away.

 

56 days left….

15 Nov

The semester is rapidly coming to a close! I’m excited and nervous. Excited because I get to see Meshari again to start our new adventure together.  Nervous because I have a TON of grading to do. On top of packing…again, getting Clover all set to go, and prepping for the holidays.

It’s going by so fast.

Meshari and I have started looking at apartments. We have set a budget, and an area to be within. I have found a few places that look promising. One question I have is, there are some complexes that are for “Westerners Only” …that being said…he was raised in the West and I clearly am…so can we live there? Or because he is Kuwaiti we cannot? I’m not really sure as to why they have complexes like this.

Per-made ghettos. And I mean ghetto in the proper definition. Hmmm….

 

 

Scramble to Smooth Sailing

13 Sep

This is a long one kiddies!

I drove out to Ohio this past weekend to visit my sister. It was a 6.5 hour drive so I was pretty excited to get out of the car.

And that’s when the whirlwind started…

A hour before our tattoo appointment we find out the front part of the historic building it is in had collapsed. Their facebook page said that appointments for tomorrow till sometime next week were canceled and would be rescheduled. We took that as our appointment was still good to go, however that didn’t sound right at all. We threw around the ideas of maybe it was a different part of the building, or only the decorative facade fell off.  April called, no one answered. In turn, Ape and I hopped in her car and jetted over. Yup completely closed…

Plan B…What Ape had planned was so packed this was really our only free time, so we went to the next tattoo joint. She had already did recon way before and this place was our second choice anyway so we were comfortable about going there. We just didn’t have an appointment. We literally busted in, said “We want this design, I want it here, she wants it this big here. Can you do it in 2.5 hours? We want to go to the Indians game.” We went through the back and forth of, color, placement, size, line quality, texture. And we were good to go. I was very particular with my placement for many reasons. Just the shape of the whole tattoo is unusual, and I wanted it to fit under my collarbone. Therefore the angle  was very important. Either way we got it to exactly where I wanted it. It took 13 minutes. In reality it took longer for us to get the placement correct than to actually do the tattoo.

Then we were off to grab Eric. (Ape’s Boyfriend, he’s cool) And we are off to Cleveland for the game. The home team won, we had awesome seats. We stopped by the bar April’s roommate works at. It’s an older person bar so it wasn’t crazy in there which was really nice. We played giant jenga, had a few drinks, sang with the performer, played this other cool game…I forget what it was called but it was similar to labyrinth but it was with three pullys and was mounted on the wall. I kept thinking that Meshari would love this, and how he could make it. (And just to be clear April had the best time). After that we went back to the house, started watching a movie in bed and fell asleep.

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Look at these crazy kids!

April had class the next morning so she dropped me off at an arts-y cafe and I worked on some designs. April came back and she had to work on her own stuff so we stayed there most of the day. Working, working, working. The hot chocolate was fantastic, the oreo cheesecake…no so much. It was really nice to be in that kind of atmosphere. Normally I work at home or in my office on campus, which I see is really starting to get static. Hmmm…I should take this into account later.

Next up was rugby practice! (This is where the weird looks started happening) Ape didn’t get a chance to tell everyone I was coming so they had a bit of a surprise when they would see me…then see april on the field, or the pitch if we want to use the real vocabulary, and then see me in the bleachers again. I met one of the players who is in charge of their fundraising project, which is a Calendar Girls-ish theme, but with sports. And it looks like she will be contacting me so I can do the layout. I just hoping this happens in a timely manner and doesn’t turn into a big mess. *Crosses figures* Okay, so I watched and learned a bit of what happens in rugby. To continue Eric made home made spaghetti sauce  and it was friggin’ amazing! Granted we were eating at 10pm but it was still fantastic. We stayed up again and talked.

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The next day we had breakfast at this awesome place. I forget the name because I’m a terrible person but they had carrot cake pancakes! You didn’t need syrup they were that good. We then headed off to Cleveland again. ANIMALS!!! ZOO!!! Yup, saw koalas, cheetahs, tufted deer, the fastest wild horse spices and the typical zoo animals. No otters this time. I really liked what they did there. They set up enclosures with more than one species. Example they had this miniature antelope and these odd black and white monkeys together. Instead of each animal getting completely bored they interacted with each other in the enclosure. Granted the antelope wanted nothing to do with the monkeys, it kept both parties engaged. Mom called me and said that MetLife still had me listed on her car insurance, even though I had talked to Progressive 3 weeks prior and set everything up. Either way I started to panic… I had a 6+ hour drive and if they were going to drop me and I got pulled over I would be so fucked. PLUS because NYS is awesome….They would fine me for not having insurance for any duration of time. My car was back in Akron and I had none of my papers. So I was on the phone in the middle of the zoo sorting it out. Meanwhile all I’m thinking is “Now they know I’m in a pinch and will screw me over with a higher rate.” Luckily they did not. (Thank you Progressive!)

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For those who don’t know ^^^^ This one is Ape.

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And this one is me.

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Full day at the zoo complete we jetted off to the Beer Haus. April had to work 5-close (3-4ish) She wanted me to meet a bunch of her regulars and to try their goat cheese macaroni. I sat in a little front lounge that no one ever uses so I set up my mini base camp and worked on so more designs for a few hours before I could delight in the macaroni of the cheese. I had the chance to eat with a gentleman by the name of Don. He was nice. I felt like his heart was heavy. He had just finalized his divorce and from the sound of it learning how to be completely independent again. I could defiantly relate to him, on a much smaller scale. My partner is just away…I could not imagine what it must be like to invest so much time, energy and love…to watch it fall apart. However, I didn’t hear the whole story. Maybe they grew apart, it may not have been spiteful or cold.

Ok let’s keep this gravy train moving!  Saturday…early 8am…remember went to bed at 4. Rugby all day. All day. In the sun. Nap. Sunburnt. Played Pandemic, which is super fun by the by. April doing the deal!

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Sunday was Cedar point! It was tons of fun! I hadn’t been to a theme park in six-ish years. I felt like a little kid. So many roller coasters! And they had some classics, such as my personal favorite “The Scrambler”.  (That was our second ride.)  Ape lost her phone on the Mavrick…it has 2 or 3 upside down parts. So during one of them it slipped out of her back pocket, hit the kid directly behind her. He tried to catch it. It landed in the bottom of his cart. Then after another flippy part it flew out and shattered against a seat and landed finally in the water below. The phone really wanted to die. We still had fun, it took Ape a little time to get over it but after I asked her if she had insurance one it, it got better. I was with her when she got it and I remember saying to her “You go a lot of places and  do a lot of stupid things… I would get it.” That’s when she was “Ohh yeah it was like $10 extra bucks a month or something.”

So it’s Sunday night we are on our way back from the park, we left a bit later than we wanted because a couple rides were closed due to wind. We wanted to hit up as many as we could so we raced to ride them before the park closed. But that meant I would be getting home even later. So it was roughly 10:30 when i said my good-byes with large coffee in hand. For the 4.5 hour drive. I was so tired. I listed to “Snap Judgment” which kept me awake but once I hit Buffalo I was really starting to get disengaged. I texted Meshari and we talked a bit and that woke me up for the last 45min to my parents house. I rolled in at 3:30am I was driving a bit slower because I was getting annoyed with how my car shakes at 70.

The next morning I spent the morning with mom after she got out of work. Then made my way back to Oz to teach.

Now I’m finally settling and settling in. I have no big plans this weekend and I love it, besides game day on Sunday. And no…not football. Board games because playing a game is so much cooler than watching one.

Phew…sadly it took me all week to write this bit by bit…I need to do daily posts…