Hello Y’all

2 05 2008

So I’ve been here almost a week and it’s been heaven and I mean that in a very wholesome way… even though we’re all adults here and very well know that couples can easily find more exciting things to do than play chess… but yes let’s keep it PG.

I told people including D that for this holiday, what I really want is to completely chill out and not worry about any itineraries nor feel compelled to visit any historic and cultural landmarks. So having said that any urge to be productive should be nipped in the bud right? Wrong. I wake up to brew coffee and prepare breakfast (because I want to be useful/productive), I do the dishes then the washing even if there are less than five articles of clothing in the laundry basket (again because I want to be useful/productive) then I go online and research historic and cultural landmarks (why? take a guess!). Then finally I shower and get ready for lunch with D and then get dropped off the shopping centres so I can tick things off my US shopping list. Apart from that, before I actually leave the house I check the cupboard in case we’re out of milk, special K or honey.

I did try to chill out and bum around last Monday but I nearly died of boredom, lying in bed the whole day watching the Style network and HGTV just isn’t my cup of tea. When D got home I immediately informed him that I’ve realised I won’t make a great housewife because waiting at home the whole day will drive me crazy.

But you know, even if I sound like I’m complaining, I really am not, I’m just hmm objectively describing the kind of chilling out I’ve been experiencing the past few days.

It really has been a wonderful week. I recovered from jet lag on my fourth day here hooray, turns out my boyfriend is better than any of the antidote I’ve read about over the net. I’ve met all his work friends and been part of the staff dinner of one of my company’s “friends” hehe. I’ve been to shopping heaven at Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx. And honestly, I don’t think anything can ruin my time here for the obvious reason that I’m with the person who can turn even the crappiest place into paradise for me. Ewww corny haha.





Boston and Cambridge

5 11 2007

I went to Harvard. I went to Harvard under very unfriendly weather and all I got to do was rub John H’s shoe. Crappy!

Just kidding. I went to Harvard and it was awesome. Sweet and surreal. I walked on Harvard grounds people. I’ve always had this fascination with the academe, the coffee-sipping, neurotic, passionate free thinkers. This fascination is probably one of the driving factors why I enrolled in a master’s degree a couple of years ago.

So anyway, I braved the category 1 hurricane hitting the east coast that day and the water getting into my shoes and nearly freezing my toes to frostbite death. I was willing to endure anything just to see Harvard, and yes, if it were a band, I would have been a groupie. After putting on the preppiest outfit I could manage, we headed to the uni of my dreams. While there, we checked out the Harvard Law School Library, the Memorial Hall, we were tempted to sneak into the Annenberg Dining Hall even if it risked getting caught by the university’s police hehe and we rubbed John Harvard’s shoe for good luck. It was interesting to discover later on the he wasn’t actually the founder of the uni and that the statue doesn’t resemble him at all and that the year indicated on the statue wasn’t exactly the year when Harvard was founded. But then again who cares? I certainly didn’t.

After hitting Harvard and photographing everything the rain and winds allowed Bogart to, Kuya Mannix and I took the train (again, because I think there is no better way to explore a city than by taking its public transportation) to MIT to gaze at the Strata building which houses the computer science and engineering departments of the school and was designed by Frank Gehry himself. Gosh it felt so nice to be surrounded by intelligent people haha and I’m such a sucker for geeks, no offense to D.

We then went to Haymarket and had the most delicious Boston clam chowder from the Boston and Maine Fish Company stall in Quincy Market, coupled with savory bacon-wrapped scallops. By this time the winds were getting stronger but we still headed to Copley Square to see the Trinity Church and Boston Public Library. After that we were too cold and tired to continue on so we decided to head home. On the way to the airport I got to pass through the most expensive transportation project in the US, the big dig. Although I’m not sure that little fact will interest anyone but anyway, I just thought I’d include that in this post.

If I had to live in the US, I would probably choose to settle in Boston. Because it’s a university town like (note: Harvard is actually in neighboring Cambridge, not Boston) Melbourne, it has a different kind of vibe. OK so I probably need more than two nights to really review this city but because of it’s proximity to Harvard, it has already won 95 points for me hehehe. Another great thing about Boston is the fact that my close relatives are there, it was a bit sad to say goodbye this morning because I don’t know when I’ll be seeing them again, but I’m thankful for the chance to spend time with them.

So there you go, one item crossed off from my list of things to do before you die.





I Heart New York

5 11 2007





DC and Virginia

2 11 2007

Richmond, VA was the first stop in this four day holiday. I flew in late Friday evening from Chicago in the smallest plane I’ve ever ridden, coupled with the most memorable turbulence I’ve ever experienced since I started riding planes. I spent the night at Jason and Normie’s tastefully decorated period home. Richmond is a quiet town with well-preserved buildings and homes. Normie’s apartment itself is an old Victorian home converted into a condo. My favorite spots in this city were Shockoe Hill for its cobblestone roads and its hip establishments, Monument Avenue for the Victorian houses lining it, and Carytown for the pretty restaurants and the stores which were housed in old-style structures as well. I liked Richmond because it has character and because I’m all for vintage, no matter how loud the wooden floors creak when you walk on them at night hehe.

On Saturday morning we had brunch with all the Pinoys who used to be with Acn like me and then drove to Washington, DC to marvel at the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, walk the long stretch of the reflecting pool and just basically be in awe of the city’s architecture. OK so maybe I was a bit more impressionable than everyone else in the group but I couldn’t help it. This leg of my holiday was generally fantastic but there’s one thing I learned about being in a relationship and exploring new places… it is inevitable that you will experience moments when you wished your significant other was there with you, whether to remind you that your mouth’s been gaping open for too long or maybe just to share in your amazement. It sucks, it’s corny but it is inescapable.

Anyway, the long walks we took in DC and the bouts of misery I experienced pining for my D were rewarded by a sinful dinner at Kababayan restaurant, a Filipino grocery store and eatery (I think only Pinoys use this word) 20 minutes outside of DC. We had all the Pinoy food you can find in your physician’s list of food to avoid. Because we were famished when we ordered, we were of course mindless when we said yes to the inihaw na liempo, bbq chicken, lechon kawali, pork sinigang and pakbet. It was Pinoy heaven at its finest and most cholesterol-laden.

After spending a night in DC we drove to New York and spent two nights there. That will be an entirely new post because I think it is a crime not to allot it a separate blog entry. New York is definitely a place unlike any other and I’ve been telling everyone since I came back that I love love love it, and I don’t need a shirt to remind me that and I will definitely go back in a heartbeat given a chance.





midway

26 10 2007

I am halfway through my stay here and time is running fast. I’ve grown to like working here, I like the work atmosphere, it’s simple, it can get busy but you are able to do your work with no dramas at all.

I enjoy the food scene too, if there is even such a term. Foodies will liken this city to heaven with tons of choices, there’s American, Italian, African, Mexican, Japanese and Indian food, all of it good.

The music scene is not bad as well. Last night I even had the chance to see Van Halen in concert with its original vocalist, David Lee Roth. I’ve never had to study a band before actually watching them live but this time I felt I had to, I didn’t want to be a poser banging my head to musicians I knew nothing about. So day 1 was spent reading the wiki page Cads sent me and day two was spent ironing clothes to their you tube videos. The concert itself was OK, though the sound system was deafening and could have used a bit of tweaking. I liked the solos better because I could hear them better. I’m not very technical when it comes to critiquing music but Eddie Van Halen was very remarkable when he did his solo. Fans of the band will probably have more enthusiastic reviews of the concert and the band though, but yes I do recognize how important Eddie’s contribution to the music scene is.

And the best thing about going here is probably that I’m able to spend time with friends I never thought I’d see again.

So tomorrow I fly to Richmond to visit Normie and meet up with Ila and Ryan and then drive to New York.  Then on to Boston the next weekend to visit family and finally see Harvard (I used to dream of taking graduate studies there) and then San Francisco where I’ll spend my birthday and last weekend in the US before I go home.  I’m excited and I know it’ll be tiring but as one of my friends said before, I’ll have enough time to sleep when I die hehe.





My Life in Buffet

23 10 2007

Little by little I’m beginning to realize what my manager meant when he said his time here in the US was a welcome break from everything going on in his life. It is nice to get away from everything, to take a step back and see where your life is heading. Sometimes all you really need is a few quiet weeks to keep still.

***

If I were to write a story about my stay in Minneapolis so far, it would be called MY LIFE IN BUFFET. It has been one buffet after another which gives me a heavier (pun intended) reason to go to the gym. But I’m certainly not complaining.

Minneapolis is a city worthy of any foodie. It will forever hold the honor of being the city to introduce me to the joy of Indian food. Oh yes, the lunch buffet at Bombay Bistro was a very pleasant surprise, and cheap at $11. I’ve been there twice just this week.

The sushi bar at Ichiban is tasty but I think I’ll stay away from anything with seaweed from now on. And it is a bit steep at $30, but it does come with a free appetizer, drink and dessert and the fun of eyeing your food from several persons down and wishing no one will take it from you. And the resto gets points for using boats to carry the sushi instead of the plain conveyor-belt like contraption.

Last Friday when I finally met up with Consi and got introduced to the love of her life, Mark, and finally saw the famed Mall of America. (It is big and that’s all I can say about it) I got a chance to taste typical American fare again, this time at Ruby Tuesday. Apart from my friends, the salad bar and the strawberry iced tea made the very long wait time worth the hassle and the sirloin steak I ordered is worth a mention but I would have preferred the blue cheese served as a side dish.

While I sound a bit ambivalent about Ruby Tuesday, I’m definitely very happy with the Cheesecake Factory. It is, without a doubt, cheesecake heaven. And because heaven is meant to be shared, we decided to order a different flavor each so we can pass the cakes around the table have each person taste what the other has. I’m known as a sucker for everything sweet so I loved everything but I would probably choose Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake as part of my last meal on earth (putakte ang drama).

So there you have it, my life in buffet…





7 Days Later

15 10 2007

My sleep cycle is beginning to normalize thank goodness. Now I wake up at 5am, as opposed to the ungodly hour of 2am when the whole of Minneapolis is still sleeping. I have started a routine of going to the gym from 630 to 730 in the morning and it has helped heaps in sleeping better and taking away homesickness. My first few days here I was a wreck because I felt disconnected and lonely.

Time is just a concept I know but boy was it a big factor in my initial misery. D has been a great source of support while I was adjusting, even though I nearly drove him over the edge once with homesick drama hehehe. As embarrassing as it is to admit it, but there were nights when I cried like an 8-year-old child longing for home while spending summer away in a strange land.

I’m getting used to living here, Cads has taught me how to take the skyway to and from the office, for the price of a coffee haha. And I’ve also learned to walk quicker now while on the skyway, because I don’t relish seeing dozens of displeased people behind me waiting to overtake my slow pace.

Again, thank goodness for friends.

***

My foodie side is feeling satisfied as well. The Sunday brunch at the Marquette Hotel is a nice way to spend your last morning of the weekend. Rock bottom is OK as well, D recommended the Titan toothpicks but among the stuff we ordered I found the Tuscan Smoked Chicken most memorable. Lobster ravioli at Maggiano’s is orgasmic and hmm I had walleye fillet at Hell’s Kitchen BUT for some reason, I found the ketchup more worthwhile haha, well the bacon’s good as well.

***

And I’ve experienced US shopping, which has been raved about by almost everyone I know. I’ve been to Southdale to get some stuff from Victoria’s Secret and to Albertville (their outlet mall) to finish most of my personal and pasalubong shopping since it’s always good to start early. I told myself I’m all shopped out but I’m allowing myself a couple of more trips because I need to take advantage of the zero sales tax on clothes here =)

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Yesterday we went to Duluth and blessed with a beautiful sunny day, checked out Lutsen Mountains, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse.

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Whew not bad for my first week eh?