The universe kept reminding me that plans can easily unravel. Expectations, desires, and criteria are bound to lead to unfavorable circumstances if one's mind is too focused on the outcome. However, since I like to look at what fills the glass, it was a good thing that Leonia was out of the way for Jeff and Kelly. Instead, I was dropped off in Albany to chill with my dad and lil' bro for a couple days before heading to Eliott's.
I thought the drive through Pennsylvania would be dull, but since we were heading through the mountains, I was able look down at all of the cute villages that decorated the hills. There were icy ponds and snow lining the roads, so I became a little disappointed that I was traveling back to winter – real winter.
Finally, it was time to say my goodbyes to the Halldorsons. I had officially been with them for two months, and it was certainly a worthwhile experience. I then said hello to my dad, and he brought me out for a nice dinner with my brother. Afterwards, I ran into Petsmart and bought Mambo a carrying case for use instead of her bulky cage.
Coming back to the house I lived in as a child was comforting. I realized it was nice to be able to relax and reorganize before I headed to a new home. I had accumulated too much stuff and needed to downsize. I walked up and down the stairs to the basement until I finally had it just right.
I felt bad that I couldn't allow my cat to sleep on the futon with me because I knew she'd just try to scratch Mambo out of her case all night. The second night, Mambo chewed her way out of the netting covering the doorways. I had expected that, but luckily I was treating my friend Megan to Five Guys, and Lowe's was right around the corner. At first, I tried a technique with steel wire, but realized it would bend too easily and take too long, so I bought chicken wire to cut and sew into the case. Worked like a charm.
My dad was heading down to New Paltz since he has some clients in that area, so I hitched a ride with him to see my friend Liz at SUNY. While she was in class, I went on a hike with her boyfriend, John, who I also knew from high school. The snow wasn't irking me as much, since the contrast between it and the brown of the forest was appealing. John and I talked about his decision to join the National Guard. I don't like to see young men (and women) lured into military service by high paychecks, but it happens. Eventually, he will probably be sent overseas (funny how they “national” turns “international), and all I can hope is that he survives combat. I'd also hope that no one would have to die, but of course the war is being run by a profit-hungry elite that couldn't care less.
On a lighter note, after the hike, we met back up with Liz and her roommate to go out for pizza. Nothing like a savory meal and a seat when a stomach and pair of legs are crying. We did some window shopping and headed back to campus. That night, Liz and I smoked up, hung out with Mambo, and watched Wedding Crashers. My favorite part was when Vince Vaughn confessed his love for the crazy chick. How heart-warming to see her win him over with her odd personality.
At midnight, John and I noticed that it was sleeting. Kelly had told me March meant “in with the lion, out with the lamb,” so I thought it was neat that exactly halfway through the month, it was half-lion, half-lamb.
The next morning, I left to have breakfast with a friend I met in Buffalo who was on break. It was a delicious meal and a fun time catching up with him. He's into neuroscience and psychology, and although he's looking to get a PhD, he doesn't like the character of the field. I spilled everything I've read about shamanism to further open his eyes to the limited scope of the western viewpoint.
It was time to catch my bus to Port Authority. When I arrived, I couldn't find the cheap buses that run across the GW Bridge, the ones I took day in and out when with Cydney. I would ask the employees, but they didn't know what I was talking about, and told me to use NJ Transit, which would go through the Lincoln Tunnel. I bought a ticket to Edgewater, and stared stressfully out the window the whole time to try and figure out where I was and where I would get off. I recognized Main Street and felt relieved.
Walking along the sidewalk, I saw many crossing guards. I thought how that might not be a bad gig. I could stand along the road in a bright yellow jacket and help children cross the road for money? Cool. A Korean man (Leonia is 52% Korean) wanted to know what was in my case. He didn't speak a lick of English, so Mambo helped me teach him the word “sleeping.” I continued on my way. It had been rainy earlier that day, but now it was sunny. I had to shed some layers. I felt bad that I was bringing nice weather because I know how much El likes rain. But of course, I was enjoying the sun. The lamb was definitely waking up.
I arrived at his house. I was a little nervous and excited as well. Max (his brother) answered the door, didn't recognize me at first, but then with an introduction invited me in. I called up El, left him a voicemail to tell him to come home, and he rushed back as soon as he heard. While waiting, I took a nap on my favorite couch in the world and was awoken by a soft touch. So wonderful to be back.
So, for the past few days I've been enjoying myself in the arms of a loved one, exploring the area, and meeting friends and friends of friends. I've talked to El's dad, Miles, about his spirituality and how it correlates to his Christian ideology. I've enjoyed family dinners, getting to know Marisa (Miles's wife) who's from Minnesota, incidentally, and lucky for me, they all like me enough to allow me to live with them until I get my van. It's a really lovely situation – a laid back family, a cozy house, and a romantic, yet open, relationship.
I'll start wandering the roads looking for a job. I want a flow of income for now, so I can pay my way here, but I'll also be working on a book proposal. Watch out! Erica Goldson is about to be published.