As Ale and I rode away from the B&B with our orange Jersey friends cheering us on, Ale started singing, “IT’S THE FINAL COUNT DOWN” song. I was laughing for the first 10 minutes, but after trying to look at my phone for direction notes and attempting to navigate us through the traffic, I became stressed and slightly annoyed with Ale’s singing. I kept thinking she would stop when there was a moment of silence, but then she would just start over and belt it out again. Haha, looking back at it now, I think its hilarious and I am very glad she did it, but at the time I was about ready to squirt her with my water bottle.
Ale stopped the singing when we got into a bit more sketchy area of Jersey. She’s got the survival instinct thing going on: don’t sing when there is a chance you could be shot for doing so. As we rode, we both began to realize where the “dirty Jersey” joke came from. The nice neighborhoods we started out in changed drastically and all of a sudden we were in a different world. All the buildings and houses looked extremely run down, and the people walking on the street looked miserable. We rode through insane amounts of glass and trash on the side of the road and I think we saw a total of about 50+ police cars / ambulances within an hour. It was quite exciting! Part of me kept thinking I was in a video game or movie because it felt almost too foreign to be real. I couldn’t believe how much could change from turning down one street. Although I don’t think I would choose to ride through that part of New Jersey again, I am very grateful I was able to see what I did.
To make matters a bit more exciting / dangerous, Ale and I struggled to stay together as I navigated through the streets. I found myself separating from Ale at lights and traffic signs that I decided it was safe to go through and Ale did not. Growing up in New York City with taxis that literally accelerate at you if you cross the street illegally, Ale has a much different perspective on traffic laws than I do. I’m always thinking about how to safely and most efficiently get through a light, so I don’t always wait for the green light. I have tried to explain my logic of “cycling rules” when riding with cars, but Ale is a very dedicated traffic law follower, so she continued to wait at the lights and stop signs (probably a safer decision).
We eventually ended up on the bike path near the water with a beautiful view of New York City. We road along the path for an hour or so, stopping to take pictures and then we would turn to each other saying, “ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod, we are ALMOST there!!!!” Meanwhile I had been texting with my aunt (Debi), cousin (Josh), and sister (Lyndsay), as we were trying to meet up for a late lunch before the bridge crossing. We found a huge Whole Foods, and after carrying a gift card from our friends Bailey and Xanthe for over 5,000 miles, we were finally able to use it. It was extremely exciting!
Debi and Josh drove for hours to come see us, and on their way down they picked up Lynz, who had flown out for “work” and was working in the city. It was so so so good to see them all! I had not seen Debi and Josh for several years and it was so fun to talk and hang out with them! My aunt Debi is one of the few people I have in my life, who I can go without talking to for any amount of time, and then when we meet up its like we never separated. She is fun, hilarious, loving, beautiful, and just one of my favorite people. Josh, her oldest son, is also awesome. I had not seen him for many years and I couldn’t believe how mature and funny he was. He has a great dry sense of humor that reminded me of my 16 year old self (which obviously made me love him more J). And Lynz has always been my solid best friend / the person I keep in touch with the most / my advisor on life / amazing person in general, so having her there was incredibly exciting for me.
Anyways, after we ate, I gave my front panniers to my aunt (which ended up being a woopsies – more on that later), and we decided to meet them at the George Washington Bridge. Unfortunately, stopping on the bridge when you are in a vehicle is impossible, so we settled on meeting them at the nearest parking lot along the bike path (which ended up being a popular cocaine snorting hang out).
Things I did know about the George Washington Bridge = there are approximately 100 flights of stairs one must carry their bike up and down to ride across. This would be fine if your bike didn’t have 50lbs of gear, but sadly, that was not the case for Ale and me. We experimented with different forms of carrying the bikes, but then ended up debagging and re-bagging every flight. Annoying. Thankfully, we were both too excited to really care, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. If this had been any other day of the trip, I probably would have needed an ice cream to decompress after that.
Riding across the actual bridge was incredible! I can’t even describe how happy I felt. It was also sunset and was beautiful and I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for the whole experience.
Sidenote: I forgot to mention an important detail. My aunt and cousin had brought us balloons, so Ale and I thought it would be funny to tie the balloons to our helmet. Funny in theory, in reality… not so much. Riding with a balloon on your head in the wind is possibly the worst idea I have ever had. My head got jerked around in every direction and I was terrified it was going to get caught on something or a bird was going to fly into it or something else detrimental would happen.
By the time Ale and I made it to the bike path it was very dark outside. And surprise, I had left my bike light in my front pannier that I had given to Debi. woops. Again, I just tried to stay as close to Ale as possible and she led us down the path. In all of our riding time together, I had never seen Ale ride as fast as she did on that bike path. I seriously struggled to keep up with her. I secretly thought to myself, “what the f, has she been holding out the whole trip?!” haha. I think she was just incredibly excited to be home and see her parents.
When we made it to the parking lot that Debi, Lynz, and Josh were waiting at, a nice couple who had heard about our adventures congratulated us, as I searched for my light and fixed it on my bike. We said our goodbyes and set off for Ale’s house. Later, I was informed that my family members had been waiting in the lot nervously, as the car next to them was being occupied for cocaine use. Haha, sorry guys, just keeping you on your toes.
When Ale and I finally turned off the bike path to ride along her street towards the finish line, Ale’s excitement had consumed her body and she was literally bouncing on her Brook’s sadle (which luckily had springs). We were both singing and making up songs about our arrival, while we laughed hysterically at the fact that we actually biked across the country, and not only that, but did an awkward “S” across in the most challenging way possible.
We finally reached Ale’s apartment building, which was crowded with friends and family who were cheering and taking pictures of us. I think I was overcome with emotion and excitement because I “over-excited-blacked-out” a lot of our arrival. I just remember being shocked to see my cousin Brooke (along with Debi, Lynz, and Josh), and to see how many of Ale’s friends had come out to support us. It was wonderful. I think a highlight was getting my first hug of congratulations from one of Ale’s neighbors (who she had never spoken to), who happened to be passing and heard what we did. He might have been slightly inebriated, and he was almost more emotional about the trip than I was. He jumped around saying, “INCREDIBLE!!! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!”
After the street performance, we all crammed in the elevators and headed up to Ale’s home. It was awesome! We all sat in the living room laughing and telling stories, and then ordered sushi online to really get the party going. Ale and I were showered with flowers and presents and I felt like we were celebrities.
I think my dad called Bob, Lynz, Debi, Ale, and me in order to get in touch with me and tell me how proud he was. It was very touching! He kept saying, “I just can’t believe you rode across the #$%^&*@ United States of America!” haha, I told him that really I couldn’t believe I did that either. He also made a point to remind Lynz to take lots and lots of pictures, because usually he fills that role in moments like this. Poor Lynz was ordered to send video and photos every 30 seconds to keep the rest of the family updated. I talked to the rest of my family later, who were equally excited to hear about my arrival and wanted to know all the details. I have such a wonderful family and I am so incredibly grateful to be part of it!
More on my family’s visit to New York following my arrival later to come…
Ale and I really pushed ourselves the second to last day (Tuesday) because we wanted as easy of a ride as possible on Wednesday (the last day). Bob (Ale’s dad) later told us that when he saw that we were still moving (from the SPOT GPS) after it had gotten dark on Tuesday, he thought maybe we were just going to ride through the night. He calculated we would get to their apartment at 3am, so he was preparing to stay up all night. Thankfully, Ale texted him when we eventually found a bed, so he didn’t stay up all night waiting. Before we found a bed, however, we had quite the exciting ride. Living life on the edge up until the last moment…
Ale and I had planned to do an 80 mile day on Tuesday, but for some reason we were taking longer than planned and we were exhausted. It could have been the result of riding on busier roads (causing the heart rate to be uncomfortably high all the time), or it could have been the fact that 80 miles is actually a long fricken way and maybe we should not have been that ambitious. Anyways, after about 65 miles of riding, we stopped at a gas station for some food / bathroom / search of close hotels. At this point it was just about pitch black outside (which is always exciting). We yelped, googled and cheaphotel’ed for 30 minutes on our iphones before we found a Bed and Breakfast 20 miles away. Perfect. We stuffed some bagels down and then got back on the bikes. The road we were on for about 15 miles was actually very deserted which was good and bad: good because that meant the cars wouldn’t hit us; bad because that meant it was scary as hell out there with no other humans around. Also, I should mention that since it was the 16th of October, the organized ambitious households had scary décor all around. There were multiple occasions when I would see a figure far off in the distance and my heart rate and breathing would get faster and faster as I approached and thought of what I would or wouldn’t say to this creepy person out in the dark watching us ride by. Then I would get to the figure and it would be a stuffed witch or a zombie with a pumpkin head. I think my favorite was a dead man raising up out of the lawn. Well played Jersey well played.
With about 8 miles left of the ride, something awful happened, my light ran out of juice. This was a problem for many reasons, the first and foremost = I can’t see without my light. Almost equally important was the fact that my powerful light had become my security blanket at night. I always felt safer with a super bright light that I could shine on Ale’s reflective vest to ensure being seen and not getting hit in the dark. I also decided that my light could be used as a weapon incase shit got serious out there. There were many times I accidentally almost blinded Ale with it, and that was me not even trying (most of the time, haha jk). So I imagined that I could do some real harm if I actually tried to use it aggressively against a bike attacker. (always keep in mind when reading this: I have A LOT of think time, so my imagination flies when I ride) I even practiced stealthily removing my light from my handle bars in one motion and aiming and shooting at road kill or zombies, or whatever my target was at the time.
When disaster (losing light) struck, I ended up putting on my headlight, which was about 1/1000 as powerful as my bike light. I tried to stay close to Ale so I could use hers as well, but I’m just going to be honest here, conditions were not ideal. There were a couple of times I found myself bombing down a hill at about 25 / 30 mph and then I would just completely lose vision from on oncoming car’s head lights. I would remind myself to breath and just pray that I wouldn’t ride off the road. One time I hit a small pothole, which made me wet my pants a little. I then started laughing at the thought of seriously hurting myself or maybe even killing myself on the second to last day of the trip. I could see the headlines in the LG Weekly, “Los Gatos High Graduate Attempts a Cross Country Bike Trip and Bites the Dust Fifty Miles Short of the Finish.”
I then decided that I should stay away from those thoughts, because I strongly believe that your thoughts influence what happens to you in your life. Instead of the slightly humorous morbid newspaper article, I started picturing Ale and myself laughing in a nice room wearing clean clothes and eating dinner. I held on strong to that image until we pulled up at the Bed and Breakfast. The place was NICE. I’m talking way out of our price range and way too fancy NICE A$$ B&B. We didn’t really have any other options, so we just lived it up and called it a “happy last night present.” We put our bikes in the kitchen down stairs after Ale forcefully told the manager we would NOT be leaving our bikes outside. Then we went up to our room, took luxury showers, put on amazingly huge comfortable robes, and ate dinner (subway). We were so excited about the next day and seeing family and friends that we had a surprising amount of energy after a full day of riding. We stayed up watching videos on Hulu and laughing and talking. We then passed out hard and slept in as long as possible the next morning.
When I woke up, I went down to eat while Ale meditated. I brought down my ipad with the intention of mapping out our day. I had promised her I would direct us through Jersey to get to the George Washington Bridge, if she could direct us from the bridge to her apartment. While I was staring at my ipad map trying to figure out the safest most efficient way to the bridge, a young photographer doing a story on the B&B asked if I was a regular here at the place. I just laughed, as every other guest wore a suit to breakfast and I was in my wool PJ outfit. “Um, no, first time here,” I responded. He then proceeded to talk to me about his job and his life and just sat down across from me and grabbed some food.
I was not really in a socializing mood and needed to figure out the route, so I gave short responses hoping he would get the picture and move on, but no such luck. Once he figured out I had ridden my bike across country (thanks to the owner who came in asking if he could get my picture) the photographer had an endless supply of questions… f.
“Oh my God, you rode across on your bike? Did that take like a whole week?” “Did you like run into a lot of rapists and like did you have to bring a gun? Did you sleep or just ride the whole time?” Usually I don’t mind people asking me insane questions like this, but this guy was really annoying me. When I told him that the trip was about 3.5 months, he responded with, “O, why did you go so slow? Did you vacation somewhere for like a month?” I wanted to punch this guy in the face. I calmly explained to him that we went over 5,000 miles and no we did not take a month vacation in the middle. “O, well my friend knows some guy that did it in 5 days, but maybe it’s just easier for guys…” I seriously almost pied him in the face with my cream cheese bagel, but then realized that the bagel was too precious and not worth it.
This continued for a while before Ale came down and I was able to escape. I whispered, “good luck, I’ll be upstairs,” and I literally ran up the flight of stairs to our quiet peaceful room. (every man for himself). Ale told me later that the photographer didn’t ask her a single question and left soon after I did. She laughed hysterically when I vented about his questions and how annoyed I had gotten. She said, “that’s funny, I sat down and started writing in my journal and stared at my coffee and he didn’t even start talking to me.” Lucky.
Anyways, I had successfully picked out a route and had memorized most it by the time Ale finished breakfast, so we packed up our stuff and started to reassemble our bikes. The manager was very friendly and took our pictures as we said our goodbyes and thanks. It was slightly funny that the manager and his female friend perfectly fit the stereotypical “Jersey” look. They were both incredibly orange; the guy had dark spiked hair with every strand in place and was jacked out of his mind, and the woman wore bright tight clothing and had a loud voice that was slightly argumentative.
I kept picturing them interacting with the people we had stayed with in the bible belt and laughed. Our country is just filled with crazy different people. It is absolutely insane to see how much everything changes from city to city / state to state / middle of the country to the coasts. It’s fascinating! Why / how we function as one country, I don’t think I can ever fully comprehend.
Riding into Philadelphia was quite the experience. As Ale and I ran into a couple of roadblocks with construction, we got a bit turned around. We ended up taking a road that gave us a nice tour of Philly’s racially and financially segregated neighborhoods. The road literally led us from mostly white middle class neighborhoods to Latin American communities with Spanish signs everywhere, and then all of a sudden we are in the ghetto. The whole experience of riding into Philly felt like I was living in the documentary I watched freshmen year in my urban studies class. Let me tell you something: it is one thing to learn about racial and financial segregation in cities from a video, but it is a whole different ball game when you are pedaling through the city at 8 mph.
It was fascinating to take note of how the Philly residents reacted to Ale and me. In some areas we rode by unnoticed, in other areas, people literally did 180 degree rotations to watch us for as long as possible. At one red light in a predominantly black neighborhood, a nice man with a few missing teeth about to cross the street asked if I was lost, because I didn’t look like I belonged. I just smiled and told him, “no I’m not lost, just going on a bike ride.” He looked at me like I was a crazy that had recently escaped the insane asylum and told me to be careful. A couple blocks before this, a talkative blond man in a business suit had started up a conversation at a stoplight and within seconds of meeting us had his smart phone out and immediately uploaded a picture of Ale and I on his facebook page. what
Anyways, we eventually made it into Sam (Kelsey Lloyd (one of our favorites from the field hockey team)’s sister)’s neighborhood and stopped to have a hot drink and discuss the craziness we just rode through. I told Ale I secretly wished I had gopro’ed the whole ride and she said we would have been shot, so she was glad I resisted the urge. We then biked the remaining half mile to Sam’s place and were so happy to see a familiar face.
Sam is awesome! She is currently working as a lawyer in Philly and is just a smart, funny, loyal, loving person, so I was very happy to be spending time getting to know her better. Sam also has a beautiful apartment which was a huge bonus. I was very impressed by her place and since her roommate was gone for the night, Ale and I even got a bed to sleep in. It was wonderful! Before we went to bed however, we went to a delicious dinner and then to a Med School frat party. It was hilarious to see how little changed from undergrad to med school partying. There were awkward drunk conversations going on everywhere, bathroom lines 15 people long and I got an entire red cup full of cheap beer spilt all over me within minutes of arriving; I felt like I was back in college.
There was one significant difference with the med school party that I noticed later on that night. When one beyond belligerent guy wondered into the kitchen, he was immediately surrounded by 5 soon-to-be-doctors showering him with questions and instructions. They gave him water and made sure he sipped it slowly to prevent vomiting. They repeatedly asked him questions to make sure he stayed conscious and helped him get into and out of his chair. It was pretty cute to watch and I decided that all of these med school students would make great doctors, even though they were not the best dancers.
The next morning, Ale and I hopped in the car and Sam drove us to Shavertown, PA, Kelsey and Sam’s hometown. We were greeted by the Lloyd parents and were so happy to see them. Their house was absolutely gorgeous with a beautiful yard to match. Susan and Tim Lloyd are wonderful people and we had so much fun with them. I was blown away that I had spent the last couple years having brief conversations with the Lloyds after our games, but I had never really gotten to know them that well. They are hilarious, real, down to earth, loving parents and I was so grateful that I got to know them better.
Susan fixed us amazing meal after meal (favorite food item = pumpkin pancakes), and it was so nice to be around a family dining table again. The Lloyds just have a very warm home and all of them have a great sense of humor, so I was extremely happy to be hanging out with them for a couple of days. AND Ale and I each got our own room with a bathroom (with shower) and towels and even some of Sam’s “normal people” clothing (jeans). It was amazing!
On Sunday morning Susan, Ale, Sam and I drove to the University of Connecticut to see the field hockey game against Stanford. I underestimated the drive big time. Susan drove for 3.5 hours, while we talked and sang along to Pink’s new album. We stopped at Starbucks before the game, and I got my favorite (soy no water chai). Caffeine was probably not the best idea for me since I already had enough adrenaline and excitement at the thought of seeing everyone. I was so excited to see the team and to watch them play, but was also weirdly nervous for the team, and the caffeine just magnified all of my emotions.
It was fun to sit with the parents and catch up briefly during the game, but it was also pretty sad to hear how the team dynamics have changed over the last couple of years. It made me so so so grateful for the teammates I played with and the friendships that our team created. I couldn’t imagine my college experience without my teammates, so it was very upsetting to hear about the internal team drama.
After the game Ale and I went down and said hi to everyone, and we gave hugs and spoke briefly, before the team headed off to the locker room. We then talked to the coaches (who had all had bets on whether or not we would make it out of California) and it was fun to catch up and laugh about our adventure with them.
After the tailgate, which consisted of wonderful food and more bonding time with younger teammates, we piled into the car and headed back to the Lloyds. Again, we sang along to Pink, and talked about the field hockey game and then life stuff. When we got home, Tim had dinner ready and waiting. We had delicious pizza and then talked for a while longer, before heading back to Philly with Sam. It was so enjoyable to get to know the Lloyds better and connect with them on a level that I didn’t ever think was possible. I was so grateful for the opportunity to stay with them and be a part of their family for a few days. Thank you thank you Lloyds!
When Ale and I crossed the border into pennsylvania, I received a voice message from my dad reminding me that I had a great aunt (grandma’s cousin) who was living about 70 miles away from where we were currently staying. At this point in time, Ale and I were planning on racing up to New York to get there by Saturday (the 13th) in time to see a Stanford field hockey game in Connecticut on the 14th. I was a little bit stressed at the thought of taking an extra day to navigate and bike 70 miles to see this relative, but my thoughts completely changed after talking to my aunt, Linda.
Linda and I spoke on the phone for over a half hour as she told me how excited she was about our journey and explained her own plans to hike the east coast greenway trail. I knew three things immediately after hanging up: one, Linda was fricken awesome; two, I loved Linda and would somehow make it possible to see her; and three, I must have inherited some of her adventure seeking traits, because this lady totally got what Ale and I were doing and wanted to do something similar.
Ale and I talked about it for a while and studied the map for even longer. We finally realized that Linda was only 40 miles away from our friend’s sister’s apartment in Philadelphia. This was ideal because Sam (the sister of Kelsey, one of the players on the Stanford hockey team) was driving to the game in Connecticut and had offered to give us a ride. Perfect.
The next day we navigated our way to Linda’s house without too much trouble and managed to find gorgeous desolate roads to bring us there. We got about 5 miles away before we got a phone call from Jeff. Jeff, Linda’s brother, called to tell us there was too much traffic on the route we were planning to take and he offered to come pick us up. I gladly accepted, as we had been biking in the dark for about an hour and the cars were getting a little too close for comfort and seemed to be multiplying. Jeff came with his warm and beautiful wife Karen, in a huge truck, and we piled our stuff in and headed off to a resturant to meet Linda.
Dinner was amazing! Ale and I both ordered huge salads (that we were warned that we would not be able to finish) and were so happy to see vegetables. We destroyed the salads and had a wonderful conversation while doing so. It was so much fun to hear stories about my grandparents and aunts and uncles and distant relatives that I had never met. Linda was so incredibly nice and told hilarious stories about her own adventures, and Ale and I shared some of our favorite stories.
At the end of the meal we all drove back to Linda’s place to unload the bikes. Jeff was so helpful with all of it and I was so glad he was there. We said our goodbyes to Jeff and Karen and then headed off to bed where we instantaneously passed out.
The next morning Linda made us a huge breakfast with potato omlettes and biscuits and cereal. It was delcious! We gave her some tips on gear and camping equipment during the meal, so she could be better prepared for her long walk along the greenway. She then offered to drive us around so that we would better understand our route into Philly. Ale and I jumped into the car barefoot and we were off. Linda raced over the hills on the windy roads and Ale and I both held on for dear life (we were used to riding on bikes at a slow pace and this was a complete shock). Linda laughed at us and continued on showing us historic landmarks and roads we should and should not be on.
The car ride ended up being very helpful and I was able to get us most of the way to Philly without using my phone. So thank you thank you Linda!
I was so incredibly grateful to be able to visit Linda and I am so excited about keeping in touch with her in the future
More details to come, I still have posts about visiting my aunt Linda and staying with the Lloyd family, just wanted to share the news that we are alive and in NYC:)
Ale and I ended up biking in the pouring rain for 80 miles to get into DC on Sunday night to see Bailey before she left. The path we took for a good portion of the ride was beautiful and right by the water. Unfortunately the path was also extremely bumpy (like break the screws in my rack bumpy) and very slippery. There were many wooden bridges we rode across with our back wheels fishtailing at 10mph. Needless to say we were a bit stressed by the end of the ride, not to mention freezing and wet.
However, it was all worth it once we got into the hotel and were able to shower and get warm. Showering is seriously a completely different experience for me now. It is just the best thing in the world. It was also so so so nice for Bailey to put us up in a hotel (nicest one thus far) and take care of everything for us. I was really grateful for that, because neither Ale nor I were in any state of mind to find a hotel and figure out food. Anyways, we put on our nice outfits (wool long underwear pants and fuzzy jackets) and got a cab to meet Bailey for dinner.
We met Bailey at a pizza place and she had our food waiting for us. It was so amazing to see and hang out with Bailey again. She is just a very bright and wonderful person to be in the presence of, so the combination of her and a pizza topped with veges I had forgotten existed, was just incredible. Ale and I traded off telling stories and hovering over our pizzas as we inhaled it. Melanie, Jeff (more Los Gatos friends) and Bailey were all interested and asked questions and congratulated us on our journey. It was very fun and I was so happy to be hanging out with familiar faces.
That night Bailey, Ale and I called Xanthe (other best friend still in Palo Alto) and had a long conversation about our trip and then life, and laughed and talked for hours. It felt like we were in college again and I can’t even describe how good it felt to be reunited. It made me very excited about going back home and reconnecting with friends. I am so lucky to have made such wonderful friends at school that continue to amaze me.
The next morning, we got up and bused to Georgetown with Melanie and Jeff to have a fancy brunch. It was definitely one of the nicest places we had been to on the trip. Ale and I laughed at the fact that every other person in the restaurant had on a trendy outfit and we were still rockin our long underwear and socks and sandal look. haha woops. Anyways, throughout brunch Ale and I had a hard time adjusting to the fancy things and had many awkward moments. One of these moments included Ale finishing the buttering process and then proceeding to stick her knife in my face as she began to stuff hers with toast. I just looked at her and then waited for her to register that we did not need to share the utensil and that she had literally almost buttered my face. We laughed secretly about this for a while and now use it as a reference on how its going to be hard to adjust to “normal” life after this trip.
At the end of the meal, we got up and walked around Georgetown a bit before heading back to the hotel to pack. When we had a brief moment together Ale whispered, “wait, we are going to eat second breakfast right?” I told her that the fancy breakfast was child’s play and I would probably need some more calories within an hour. She looked like a giant weight had been lifted off her head. “Oh thank goodness!”
When we got back to the hotel we packed everything up, said our goodbyes, and then I dropped my bike off at a shop while Ale shipped our camping equipment home. We met up at Bean (aka Madeline Rose)’s house. Bean is one of my best friends from home and is truly one of the most awesome people in my life. I could not talk to her for weeks, or months and still when we see each other it is like we never stopped hanging out. She had a sign made congratulating Ale and me on our arrival and lots of carbs ready and waiting. It was perfect!
We first went out onto her roof and sipped tea while we talked about our trip and new updates in her life. It was so so so nice to be able to just relax and enjoy each others company while staring at the colored leaves and confused people walking by below us. We then got hungry (surprise), so Bean led us down the street to a cute bar sort of restaurant with great food. We talked and laughed for hours there. I think that was one of my favorite moments of the visit. It is just so easy to talk and listen to Bean. She is the type of person that livens up any conversation or situation.
After our appetizers that turned into dinner (we ordered way way more than planned), we met up with one of Ale’s Stanford friends and had dessert at a delicious vegan place down the street. The drastic difference of food quality from the middle of the country to the coasts still baffles me. I could not believe how amazing every meal I had eaten that day had tasted. I was so so so grateful to not only be with old friends, but to also to be eating such good food with them. Conditions were perfect.
Later that night we all went back to Bean’s place and played a scrabble like game called “Banana” or “Peal” or something like that. We were joined by Ray (another good friend from home also living with Bean), and two more roommates. As most people know (or anyone that reads this blog), spelling and grammar are not my strong points, so I was awful at the game. I repeatedly asked Ray, who was sitting next to me, if this or that was a word. Ale, Bean and I struggled to keep our composure as we all lost every game. We laughed hysterically at the fact that we all didn’t like the game, because we could not win. By the end we were attempting to trade letters so that at least one of us could be successful. Soon we gave up and turned to funny youtubes before we went to bed.
I was so sad to leave Bean, which seems to be the pattern every time I hang out with her. It was such a good visit and I am so grateful we were able to stay with her and her wonderful roommates. She sent us off with a goodie bag full of healthy snacks and biking directions (from her roommate) on how to get out of the city, which were literally the best gifts she could have given. So THANK YOU BEAN!