Ana & Hannah, age 23 (poorly cropped selfie)
My friend Ana and I went to Grand Haven yesterday night. Pizza, ice cream, boardwalk, sunset… what more could you ask for?
We settled on Fricano’s—”The Original and Most Famous Pizza in Michigan” —for dinner. Ever heard of it? Probably not. I bet you’ve heard of Little Caesars…it originated in Michigan…but it’s not something we brag about. So Fricano’s can keep it’s tagline.
One of my biggest complaints about Fricano’s (you know, from the two times I’ve been there) is that they don’t have a Hawaiian option. No pineapple, no ham. They keep it to the basics: sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, anchovy (what the?).
If you were curious, we ordered a pepperoni & green pepper pizza along with a couple Oberons. Which gave us this conversation:
Waitress: “I’m going to need to see your IDs”
Hannah: “Oh, right.” *struggles with wallet*
Waitress: ”Yeah, you guys look pretty young.”
Ana: *gives waitress ID*
Waitress: “‘91, good.”
Hannah: *gives waitress ID*
Waitress: “I definitely would have asked for your ID, you look 18.”
Ana was very proud to look older than me. I blamed it on the t-shirt I was wearing. T-shirts make me look younger.
Ana & Hannah, age 18
Later, after browsing a couple surf shops, we went to Temptations, where we got ice cream in a (mandatory) waffle cones. Ana: Cake Batter. Hannah: Brownie Batter. I didn’t get the Low-Fat Grasshopper because if I’m paying $5.00 for an ice cream cone, I don’t want to be cheated on calories. And no, I couldn’t ask for the Fat Grasshopper. It doesn’t exist.
Not surprisingly, Friday night is date night on the boardwalk. We felt a little out of place with the hordes of couples holding hands. I mentioned Lindsay’s “split em” game, but I couldn’t summon up the courage to charge through couples instead of quickly passing them on the left (which is what we did). Perhaps I’m just a fast walker, but these couples were slow.
At one point, we were in a couples wolf pack. If you weren’t taught about the wolf pack in driver’s education, it’s a situation where you have a bunch of cars driving closely together, taking up all the lanes. You’re encouraged to drive slow until the wolf pack passes, but we didn’t do this in the couples wolf pack. Our mission was to pass these people.
We nearly had an accident when we were in the “passing lane” and a middle-aged couple (We’ll name them Bob and Marie) cut us off. They quickly realized their error and apologized. I said, “Oh, you’re good. Next time, use your blinker… perhaps jazz hands.”
They laughed and agreed that was a good idea.
Ana and I pressed on, racing toward the lighthouse. Unfortunately, we had forgotten about the part in the boardwalk where there’s a 30 foot gap and you’re supposed to take a detour. Of course, everyone else in Grand Haven remembered to take the correct path around this obstacle.
You know when you get off the expressway for a quick pit stop and when you get back on, you have to pass the same semis you did 10 minutes before? Yes, we had to pass the wolf pack again.
Guess what? We caught up to Bob and Marie, and they managed to cut us off again.
Marie: “Sorry.”—*laughs*—”oh hey!”
Hannah & Ana: “Hello again.”
Bob: *grins* “Jazz hands.”
I call this the catwalk.
The sunset was beautiful, per usual. Credit to God. All in all it was a fantastic Friday night with a friend who’s only in town for another week. I’ll miss the fun summer adventures Ana!
- Hannah: well my parents are camping.
- Me: how long are your parents bowling? I mean camping.
This morning at church I leaned over and whispered to my sister, “I am not shaking that kid’s hand.”
I still didn’t shake his hand.
So far this weekend I’ve
1. stepped on the wrong part of my belt. Result: foot blister
2. Dropped my phone on the same foot as mentioned above. Result: bruise on the top of my foot
3. Accidently hit the hot crock pot. Result: blisters on both my hand.
I think I’ve earned the nickname First-Aid back for a while.
Disclaimer: I apologize to those who have a profound love of animals and places that house said animals.
My family decided to visit the zoo today. Side note: My family despises all kinds of animals.
It was a last minute kind of decision. A let’s do something different kind of deal.
We had fun, though.
My mother and I quickly realized the secret of Brookfield Zoo. They claim to have animals. But in reality, they have about six. The rest are conveniently and currently “not in the exhibit.” They think we’re so gullible.
Oh, and then:
But we did get to see a giraffe.
So there’s that.
Other favorite memories from the zoo adventure include:
When Geese Roam the Earth
While you’re eating your pleasant picnic lunch, the geese roam the tables and terrorize the weak. There was a particularly hysterical instance in which two zoo-goers let out shrieks and scampered from their table as the goose let out a squawk near their table. I’ve decided people watching is my favorite.
Black Market Pets
My mom is apparently afraid of bats. Who knew? She was covering her head and running for the exit of the bat house when I noticed a worker walking behind us. So, naturally, I seized the priceless opportunity.
Me: My mom was wondering if she could hold one of the bats. Would that be possible, ma’am?
Ma’am: No, not right now. But I’m sure you could inquire and pay an additional fee for that privilege. (Meanwhile, my mother is incessantly denying her interest in holding a bat)
Billy joins in the effort: She was actually wondering if she could obtain a bat to keep as a pet.
Ma’am, either oblivious to our jests or playing along jubilantly: Oh, that’s not possible here. Although, I’m sure you could find one on the black market.
To which my entire family dies of laughter and walks away.
Maybe zoos aren’t our thing, but we find fun other ways…
A couple of weekends back, Eric and I went to visit Kath in Pella. I’m just getting to this post now, but it was a gem of a trip.
Some of my favorite memories:
— Applebee’s Dinner
— Late night volleyball and falling in the sand
— MangoTree fro yo and tours backstage
— Seeing KP!
— Bakery visits
— AdventureLand wave pool fun and riding rollercoasters five times in a row and blacking out (right, though, Kath?!) and that late night ferris wheel ride
— Pizza Ranch and the coma resultlng
— Skipping rocks on the river by the railrooooooad tracks (but really, skipping rocks. Or rather, failing to skip rocks)
— Walking the trails and pictures by the bridge
— Foreign Food culture shock
— Touring Vermeer
Creating memories with these two is a deep privilege of mine. They encourage me to laugh harder, think more meaningfully, and live a little more fully.
My dad was gracious enough to accompany me back to Oklahoma this weekend to retrieve the remainder of my stuff as I won’t be returning there next year. Thank heavens he came. Otherwise I’d be there all summer cleaning and packing and being slow. So, as with all journeys with my family, this one included some funny stories and a few memories I’ll likely never forget.
There was this little story:
Riding Into the Sunset
On Friday night, I’d been invited to a little get together to say goodbye to some of my fellow first grade teachers. It was practically on a farm and I was promised I would be able to ride while there. All the teachers were saying they wanted to see me on a horse. I swear, they have very distinct city stereotypes. I’ve ridden a horse before, people. Still, they were insistent that I ride off into the sunset as a cliche ending to my time in OK.
I guess I’d forgotten how much I loved it. What a beautiful horse.
Then, we toasted to new beginnings and happy endings and exciting adventures and I lost track of what else. The moonshine was splendid though. Homemade, even.
Afterward, we talked for a long time while waiting on dinner. Their husbands were cooking hamburgers. Friends, we didn’t eat until ten p.m. It was dark outside. We had to light candles in order to see the food. To this day I’m still unsure if that’s a cultural thing or what. At that point my dad was getting antsy as we still had a bajillion things to do before leaving the next day. So, I basically ate and ran. What a fun night, though.
The next day we had to clean the entirety of my apartment as my landlord was coming over to check me out. The whole thing felt like Room Checks and I was having serious flashbacks of Latisha and leaving the AC plugged in and I basically hated the whole process. Except for this little story:
Couches Don’t Usually Fly
So I had very little furniture in my place last year. Three pieces, actually. A bed, a reclining chair and a couch. They were fabulous. Until, that is, I had to help my dad move them out to the dumpster because my landlord was “not in the moving furniture business.” Problem is, I lack any kind of arm muscles, so I was pretty much useless in this situation. Oh, and the couch didn’t fit through the door…
Solution 1: Cram it through the door. Obviously not an option
Solution 2: Cut it into smithereens with a saw. I would still be there now, finishing the job
Solution 3: Take off the legs of the couch and cram it through the door
Solution 4: Push it over the second story railing and drag it the rest of the way to the trash facility
Didn’t help that it was pouring rain. Just another reason to hate precipitation…
So, after a long morning of cleaning, we finally left for home around noon. Trouble is, it rained ALL day. Needless to say, in my family, travelling elicits funny stories and this last trip from OK was no exception.
There was that time we stopped in Walmart to avoid the rain for like an hour and bought $10 bathing suits for the hotel that night. Disclaimer: They’re ten dollars for a reason…
Or when I accidentally threw my toothbrush away and had to use my finger for the remainder of the trip. Until we got to the hotel and I was given a cheap cardboard one. #seriousproblem
Despite the never-ending rain throughout the day, the sunset that night was gorgeous. I’ll never forget those Oklahoma skies.
My dad kept telling me to take pictures of the ‘red clay’ there and the oil rigs and the cows. ‘Cause we don’t have cows around here, apparently, right dad?
And then that moment when we stepped onto the elevator in the hotel and it smelled like someone had just taken a dump in there. There are nasty people in this world.
Or when we went swimming that night and the hot tub was TOO hot and it made our eyes burn. And the pool was sticky.
And then the next day when we stopped for lunch at this little diner and my dad was texting and his milkshake ended up looking a little bit like this:
Also, that restaurant kind of smelled.
Anyway. I guess as it’s probably my last Oklahoma post, I’d better include:
The Cliche Part (I’ll try to keep it brief)
Moving four states away wasn’t easy. I knew that back in August when I left and I’ll stick to that story now. I’m not sure many people could transition in that way and return home unchanged. I’m a different person now because of the culture there — the funny and the oddly uncomfortable — as well as the town itself, the hospitality of many, the 21 children I grew to love, and the people who carried me and encouraged me and changed me. I don’t regret much from my time away and I know that I’m a stronger person and a better teacher because of my experiences there.
Oklahoma has been good in so many ways. Goodbyes are always difficult for me and this one was no different. There is much to be missed about those faces and that time in my life, but I think I’ll choose to celebrate the joys of it all instead. Here’s to a brand new start, a new year, and endless opportunities for growth and meeting wonderful people. Because those are becoming my favorites anyway.