It's a Christmas miracle!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

For the past month or so, I've been certain I would be spending Christmas alone, with my tripod tree (glorious as it is) and cat. This past Friday, I was graced with Ashley and Joel Selby's presence in my humble abode for the day to celebrate their newly proclaimed holiday...Chelsmas. Their gift to me was both unexpected and delightful...it was a series of many gifts, which consisted of different increments of money, with little notes stating things like, "What could you do with $5?...Get Loulou some treats!"


(Ashley and I in front of my tripod tree and stocking as we celebrate Chelsmas.)

The last in the line of presents was still more money, with the statement, "What could you do with $60?...Come to Parkersburg for Christmas!!!!!"

I'm pretty sure I teared up a bit when I read that. I was absolutely resigned to not being able to make it out there this year, but after this incredible bid towards my presence, I had to at least put forth a valiant effort.

I timidly approach my employer about getting some time off in order to make the trip, ready with tears in waiting just in case I needed the big guns. Luckily, no waterworks were needed and I was rewarded with four glorious days of time off to go spend my Christmas in Parkersburg.

So, after I open the coffee shop bright and early tomorrow (which is actually today at this point, and only four and half hours away...I need to stop this night-owl thing), I will be running around to finish a few thing before I hit the road in the afternoon.

(This is one of my favorite photos I took last year in Parkersburg during Christmas. It's through the sunroof on my car...)


So, a very Merry Christmas to everyone...and safe travels to all of you who aren't sticking at home this year. I'm vowing to start updating my blog more than once a month, so here's hoping I'll stick to it!

ah, winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008
Posted by chelsea 3 comments

Well, I'd say it's about time for another update.

The city is getting to be extremely cold. I was warned about this, and I shrugged off all the warnings, stating I would be fine. In fact, I said I liked the cold...was looking forward to it even.

I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Leg warmers have become my best friend, as have hot drinks and my new coat, but despite all that, I'm still astonished at how numbingly cold it is here. Luckily, there have been some warmer days in the past week, which have given me a much needed break from the constant chill that has seemed to set into my bones.

I haven't turned my heat on yet. Part of that is due to the fact that it's gas and will cost me a lot of money I don't want to spend, and the other part of it is that I'm just stubborn like that. I vowed I'd live through the winter on my space heater and blankets alone, and by golly, I plan on it. I guess we'll see how it goes when February rolls around.

In an effort to keep myself occupied during the cold, since I don't want to leave my apartment unless I have to, I've been doing a lot of arts and crafts lately. I learned how to knit last week, which has come in quite handy during the slow hours at the cafe, and I've been painting a lot more as well. I don't always have the motivation to do artsy things, but it's gotten to the point that I've run out of options, so unless I want to lay in bed all day doing nothing, (you know, aside from working), I find the motivation.

I posted a new album of photos on Facebook from my last photo expedition in the city (since it's gotten too cold for me), but I'll add a few on here for all you (probably down to one or two people now since I hardly ever update) who check out my blog.

I'm in love with the doors in this city...



And the uneven stone streets...



I got my prints (the old ones from my photo show in May of 2007) back from Stone Soup Bistro (they've been hanging up there since I moved) and was finally able to fill my living room wall up and make my apartment feel a bit more lived in. That, paired with my tripod tree (can't afford to get an actual one) and stocking, and it's just downright cozy.

My Muslim bodyguards

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

I felt as if I was living through an episode (or several) of Seinfeld today. First with the waking up from the call to prayer and then at work I had to spend no less than three hours being the go-between for my boss* (a brilliant man who sometimes has difficultly communicating his ideas) and a coffee appliance repair man that talked way too loudly, and then later as I walked back from work I had the most interesting and reassuring run-in with my newest neighborhood acquaintance.

*Side note* Did I mention I have a job working at an authentic French cafe/coffee shop a few blocks away that just opened? Well, I do. I found the job four days after moving here and as luck would have it, was only the second full-time employee hired (the cafe just opened a few weeks ago). I make crepes, Belgian waffles and French sandwiches as well as brew excellent coffee and espresso that is roasted right here in Philadelphia. I love working in a place that feels like it's straight out of Europe.

So on my way back from work this evening I ran into one of the nice men that either works or just hangs out in the barbershop I live above. His name is Adbur and he's a sweet middle-aged Muslim who eagerly introduced himself to me a few days ago after I'd been waving at him every time I walked by the barbershop for the last few weeks.

He asked how my day had gone and told me a little about the festivities that had gone on in the streets while I was away at work and then got very serious and leaned in close to tell me what appeared to be something incredibly important. What he proceeded to say not only surprised me, but delighted me to no end.

I'll paraphrase: "Dear sweet girl, I just want you to know that up and down these blocks are good Muslim people who have taken notice of your move here. Two of them live in your building, and then there is the group of us at the barbershop nearly every day. I want you to know that if anyone ever so much as looks at you wrong, we will be there for you. We watch out for each other, and you are part of our family here now. You may not feel like you fit in around here, but we want you to know that we're here for you, and we'll be here to watch out for you as long as you live here. You just let me or any of us know if we can be of help to you in any way and we will do whatever we can. We all look out for each other, that's just the way it is. You have a blessed night dear, and keep on smiling like you do."

I walked the last half a block back to my apartment with a huge grin on my face and couldn't help but chuckle with delight to myself. If I'd ever had doubts about living in the city alone, they had all just melted away.

I love my neighborhood.

Allaahu akbar

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Posted by chelsea 2 comments

This morning I woke up at 8 am with the sounds of the Muslim call to prayer blaring through my windows. I live right across the street from a Muslim prayer temple and today is Eid ul-Fitr. It's the end of Ramadan, so I'm guessing that's why there are hoards of people streaming into the tiny prayer temple. According to Wikipedia it lasts three days, so I'm wondering if I'll be waking up to this for the next three mornings.

Generally I hear the prayer services each night, but they're not usually broadcast loudly through the streets, so it wafts in my window just faintly enough to lull me to sleep and provide a nice background to my evenings, but this morning was a bit more invasive. I didn't mind too much as it got me out of bed earlier than usual when I don't open the cafe, but Loulou was a bit freaked out and unnerved by the whole thing. Days like today I feel as if I'm in a different country...which I love.

Living on a whim...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Posted by chelsea 3 comments

A week and a half ago, I started pondering Philadelphia.

Today, I moved here!

It seems like ever since I decided I wanted to move, no place, job, idea caught my attention long enough for me to actually begin pursuing it...and if it did, the pursuit usually ended in failure. So, as I started considering Philly, I casually browsed Craigslist one night only to find the most perfectly located and perfectly priced apartment for rent. I jumped on it, and found out yesterday that I got it...and today I signed the lease and moved in!

I'm still a little shell-shocked at how fast this all happened, but it all played out so easily and perfectly that surely it's meant to be.

My tiny one-bedroom apartment is perfect for me and Loulou (who will be joining me Sunday) and the sorry amount of stuff that I own. The kitchen is pretty bare, but the rest of the place is actually looking quite nice now that I've got some furniture in it.

Behold...some photos...

From my door...


Furniture filling it up!


The kitchen, once I had it all clean and organized...


I am those front two windows on each corner above the barbershop...


Cozy little bedroom...

Goodbye Stone Soup

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Posted by chelsea 0 comments

Today is my last day at Stone Soup. I put in my month's notice about a month and a week ago, so it's been a long time coming. I knew I wanted to take some time to myself before I upped and moved my whole world somewhere new, but I have a feeling it's going to be harder to part than I anticipated.

Lately, it's been a highly stressful and disappointing job due to the customers and their overall treatment of the servers and insanely low tips (you would not believe how many seemingly decent and nice people leave less than a dollar these days). I know the economy has a lot to do with this, but I still find it a bit inexcusable. I mean, don't go out to eat if you can't budget for a tip...it's simple! Anyway, enough ranting...

Aside from the bad customers, things there have really been better than most any other job I've had in the past at a place like this. It's definitely unique (mostly organic food...located in a 200+ year-old building...a total of six servers and five kitchen staff), has allowed me to do things I never thought I'd get to do (be a line cook, become a wine connoisseur, work out my leg muscles at work [it's a two story restaurant and I'm always the upstairs server]) and it's become like a family to me. I know that it will take a while for me to realize I'm done there, but I'm sure once I do I'll feel just the slightest bit of sadness.

Then I'm sure that sadness will quickly turn to relief and happiness...and soon thereafter, panic about what I'm going to do next.

So now, the question is...what am I going to do next? Well, that is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. Keep your fingers crossed that I come across some awesomely cool opportunity and am able to jump on it.

As for now, I think I've earned a little vacation time.

[Stone Soup Bistro is the smaller building on the right]

Being land-locked eats my soul

Thursday, August 28, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

Needing a break from life, I hopped in the car and drove to Philly on a whim after work on Monday. I've enjoyed my time off immensely, but unfortunately, I have to go back to reality tomorrow.

One of the things that has been getting me down recently has been the fact that I haven't been to the beach once this summer. For a Floridian with an intense love of the ocean, that's almost heartbreaking. Luckily, for me I was able to spend today on the Jersey Shore, reviving my soul after being away from the beach far too long.

It was my first time in New Jersey and I was not disappointed. Then again, I only really saw their beach, but that was enough for me. It was a soul-reviving trip and I feel refreshed just enough to tackle my double double on Friday and Saturday.

A photo update at last!

Saturday, August 23, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

I should definitely post photos more often than I do...especially if I want to keep claiming to be a photographer. Part of the reason I don't is because I should definitely be taking more photos than I am. I'm working on it.

Tonight I made it out to the county fair to take some shots and blow off some steam from work...
[I now interrupt this blog post to make a very important announcement...*Please tip your servers...it's not our fault if the food takes a long time, and it's definitely not our fault if you choose to be a jerk about it.* Thank you.]

So anyway, I'm happy I made it out to the fair because there were plenty of wonderful photo opportunities.

Behold... (click them to make them larger...it's worth it!)

I loved the sky in this one...




Everything about this screamed, "TAKE A PHOTO!"




Nothing goes together better than sleepy bulls and karaoke...


A year ago today...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Posted by chelsea 2 comments

A year ago today, I moved to Greece.

A year ago today I would've told you that I'd most definitely still be in Greece, living happily in my breezy Ikea-furnished room as an au pair.

It's amazing how hardly anything went as I planned from the moment I boarded the plane to the moment I realized that being an au pair wasn't anything I'd hoped or imagined.

As far as how I went from being an au pair in Greece to a server in West Virginia, well, sometimes I question myself about the chain of events that led me here, but I definitely don't regret any of the decisions I made between there and here. Lately though, I can't help but be caught up in my thoughts, reminiscing about my time in Greece. I may no longer be in Greece, but it's certain to say that my heart most definitely is.

Looking back, my nearly four months there were tumultuous and stressful, but I grew and learned so much from every moment I spent there. From learning how to drive in the insanity that is downtown Athens traffic to spending time on the very beach they used in the movie Mamma Mia! while they built the set, it all feels as if it was a dream that was over far too quickly.

Sometimes it's a hard realization to make, that, no matter what, you can't relive the past. I suppose that's just how things go. We all have experiences in our lives that no one can help us hold onto the memory of, but ourselves, and I'm sure my life will continue on in a similar fashion. I'm certain to be lamenting about some other past experience of my life that I'd like to be able to relive soon enough, so I should just go with the flow and move on already.

Speaking of moving on, I've pretty much decided it's about that time again. I know, I know, I've been here a mere 8 months, but I just can't seem to grasp the idea of settling down quite yet. Maybe it's the fact that Greece has been haunting my thoughts lately, or maybe I just have this alternate biological clock inside me that lets me know when it's time move on. Whatever it is, it's been causing me to feel more than ready to pack my bags, sell whatever extra stuff I've acquired and hit the road.

I've got a few ideas in mind, but until anything is solid, I don't want to be throwing them out into cyberspace quite yet. The most I can really guarantee right now is that it will be after October 11 (when my roomies, Joel and Ashley, get married), and it will involve some serious road-tripping.

Well...here's to a year past and the years to come...

Trees trees and more trees!

Thursday, June 26, 2008
Posted by chelsea 0 comments

Would anybody be interested in a set of those tree paintings I did? I did some more in red and orange and could do them in any color. I'd be willing to cut a deal with you!







Oh the great gyro (yee-roh) debate....

Saturday, June 7, 2008
Posted by chelsea 2 comments

The owner/chef at Stone Soup recently changed the lunch menu, which I'm happy to announce includes a scrumptious lamb gyro thanks to me.

Unfortunately though, the vast majority of our patrons have been pronouncing it jih-roh, as opposed to yee-roh, which is how it's supposed to be pronounced.

I've found myself in a pickle, torn between wanting to take the easy route and pronounce it incorrectly as they do when I repeat back their order, or doing what I know in my heart of hearts is the right thing...which is pronouncing it yee-roh when I repeat it back.

As of yet, I haven't had the ability to swallow my pride on the subject, which causes a bit of confusion on the part of the guest. This has caused some problems when my tables insist upon not only mispronouncing the word multiple times over, but then actually trying to correct me when I say it back differently. I get so frustrated that I almost wish she hadn't put the gyro on the menu in the first place...and it's only been a few days!

Today in fact, I had an old woman get quite mad at me when I wouldn't say jih-roh. We went back and forth, "Jih-roh...yee-roh?...JIH-roh....YEEE-roh....no no no, it's JIIIIH-roh." I lasted a minute or two in this awkward exchange until I finally sighed and said, "Listen, you can say it however you'd like, but I've lived in Greece and as it is a GREEK sandwich, I'm going to go ahead and stick to my guns on this one."

And then the poor old woman got a startled look on her face and said, "JIH-rohs are Greek???"

Another awkward moment...

Friday, May 23, 2008
Posted by chelsea 0 comments

As a server, I come across all sorts of people with all sorts of attitudes. Luckily for me, I work in a place that generally attracts good-natured people, and I often get to strike up interesting conversations with them while I serve them.

Yesterday, for instance, I was serving a nice man and his friend, and about halfway through the meal he inquired about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I told him that for now, serving was what was paying the bills, but that I hoped to get back into photography as my way of life in the near future. He asked about college, leading me to tell him that I'd gone to Harding. His eyes lit up as he announced, "My brother went there!"

We talked a bit more, and I asked him why he hadn't gone there as well, and he made a slightly sarcastic comment about Harding being the "Christian school gone wild." I laughed, shook my head and replied, "No way, that's Pepperdine!"

That's when he stopped laughing and said, "My daughter goes to Pepperdine."

Oops.

Behold, the secret behind the ring in the toilet...

Thursday, May 15, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

May marks the fifth month that I've lived in Shepherdstown. I didn't honestly know how long I was planning to stay when I moved here, but when Ashley and I stumbled upon the perfect, recently-remodeled-with-all-new-bathroom-and-kitchen-appliances, apartment above the bakery on the main street, I knew I'd be staying at least six months when I signed the lease.

Up until about two weeks ago, Ashley and I had gone the entire time living here without ever cleaning our toilet.

Before you get to thinking I'm just too disgusting a person to ever read my blog again, our reason was this...our toilet just never got dirty. We would clean the outside, but the actual bowl never did get that tell-tale ring indicating that it'd been a bit too long since you took a brush and toilet bowl cleaner to the pot.

Well, just before I went on my trip to Arkansas, I decided it was high time to clean it, regardless of the lack of ring inside and bought some cleaner and a brush.

A week and a half later, there was a ring in the toilet.

So, what I'm suggesting is this: toilet bowl cleaner is a complete and utter hoax that actually causes the ring in the toilet to appear on a regular basis, therefore creating a constant need for more toilet bowl cleaner.

I'm shocked and appalled at this new discovery. This is worse than the one where all the greeting card companies created Valentine's Day.

I want our old "uncleaned" toilet back.

Back in the saddle again

Thursday, May 8, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

I was able to go horseback riding today. It was supposed to storm all afternoon, but instead we were graced with partly cloudy skies and beautiful weather. I've never taken my camera with me because I've always been worried about it getting jostled around too much (and there's always the possibility I'll become too distracted taking photos that I fall off the horse and land on my camera...damaging it beyond repair), but this time I took my chances and it was so worth it...

David's horse has a gorgeous blue eye...



Barn kitty!



The woods were lush and green...and with the speckled sunlight coming through it was just perfect!



I feel like this should be a still from some movie...

Go figure...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Posted by chelsea 0 comments

I got a phone call from a friend today back in Shepherdstown, telling me that Hillary and Chelsea Clinton would be making an appearance across the street from my apartment today.

Not that I would ever really want to see Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, but sheesh, of all the exciting things to happen in our tiny little town of 800 people while I'm away...it had to be something newsworthy and photoworthy.

Although, taking photos of Nate and Erin Copeland's precious daughter Kate was definitely worthwhile.



I need to get back into the groove of taking photos again...seriously.

Artsy fartsy

Saturday, May 3, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

As per request of Brooke Condolora, I am posting two photos of my tree paintings hanging up in Stone Soup. I took my camera to work today to document a bit of my life here in Shepherdstown. Sometimes I feel as if I don't exist in Shepherdstown because I haven't been taking as many photos as I used to. It's disheartening. I vow to change that when I return from Searcy.





Well folks...that's all for today! (Two posts in two days...a record!)

It's about time I updated...

Friday, May 2, 2008
Posted by chelsea 1 comments

On Sunday morning, at a bright and early (and probably highly unpleasant) 5 am, I'll be hitting the road and making the trek back to Searcy. According to Google Maps, it's 962 miles, taking about 15 hours and 33 minutes...we'll see how accurate that time is when I get there.

Despite not actually having enough money for gas at the moment (hopefully serving tomorrow morning at Stone Soup will grant me some good tips), I'm really looking forward to the trip. It's been a long few months, with work seemingly taking up every free moment of my time. Granted, it could be a lot worse if I were sitting behind a desk in a cubicle working M-F at a 9-5 job, but sometimes it does get monotonous, even in the restaurant world.

There's not a whole lot new going on in my life. I did a brief stint as a line cook at Stone Soup, and although I was really enjoying it, cooking 55-85 meals to order by myself during a shift was a bit on the stressful/exhausting side, so I'm back to full-time as a server. I do feel as if I learned a lot of really valuable information while I was cooking, so now I'm pretty confident when it comes to maneuvering around a kitchen and whipping up a semi-gourmet meal with a scantly stocked pantry.

Tonight I learned the secrets of opening a bottle of champagne (I had a table purchase one and as we're a "fine dining" establishment, I had to do a proper wine presentation at the table); hold the cork and push down while turning the bottle slowly. Miraculously, my first time opening a bottle of champagne didn't leave me covered with the fizzy drink or a black eye (which I was fully expecting). It's amazing the things you can learn in the restaurant industry.

Stone Soup also serves as a regularly changing art gallery. When we have no artists to display work, we collaborate and choose a theme and all the workers and any of our artist friends produce work to hang on the wall. This past month's theme was trees and I painted four tiny wood blocks with simple white birch trees on a green/blue gradient background and detailed them with pen and ink. I had a lady comment to me how much she loved them and when I told her I'd painted them, she asked if she could buy them. I of course said yes, and we agreed on a price of $75. I'm still a bit flabbergasted that I sold four tiny pieces of wood for that much, but hey, it's art, right? A few weeks later I had another table comment on them and after they found out I'd painted and already sold them, they inquired about having me do a similar commissioned piece for the same price. Makes me wonder why I haven't quit work and become a full-time artist...haha....although, Shepherdstown is kind of a rich yuppie town full of older people who have nothing better to do with their money.

Alright folks...there's your update...someday I will be better at keeping up this poor excuse for a blog!

April Fools pranks never get old...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Posted by chelsea 0 comments

So this might have been one of the the funnest and effortless pranks I've ever pulled on anyone. For less than 24 hours I had my Facebook page saying I was married and displaying the photo that I posted on here as my profile picture. My blog also feeds to my Facebook notes, so people were able to read and comment on this post there as well.

I had quite a few frantic wall-posts exclaiming "What???" and "Wow, um, congratulations!!!" or other similar things. It was definitely entertaining to keep checking back to see how the reactions progressed. Somewhere in the middle of the night, the general public began to sniff out an April Fools joke and I was called on my bluff. But hey, it was fun while it lasted, right?

Anyway, no worries folks, I would NEVER up and get married to someone I've been dating less than two months! Yeesh! So yes, I've been dating someone, but no, I'm not anywhere close to getting hitched, nor will I be anytime soon...so rest easy everyone...no crazy eloping yet.

I think I need to renew my resolution to keep up with my blog from now on. Yes, I think that's a great idea.

Honeymoon in Greece...here I come!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Posted by chelsea 2 comments

I'm married...eeeee!

another year older

Sunday, February 3, 2008
Posted by chelsea 0 comments

I was definitely planning on being a lot better about keeping up with my blog, but the weeks just flew by and I continued to be lazy in my updating. I could promise that this will be the last time, but we all know that's not true.

I've been in Shepherdstown, WV for about a month now, and I'm absolutely enamored with it. It's such a beautiful and quaint European-esque town with so much character...how could I not love a place like this?

I live above a bakery, which I also work at, and my other job is at a tiny little restaurant that serves mainly organic and very gourmet dishes. They just put out a new menu (it changes with the seasons) and the owner/head chef added an entrée called "Athens" just for me. It's great how personal my job there is. I've really gotten to spend a lot of quality time in the kitchen, soaking up whatever I can from the cooks.

Last week was my birthday. I'm the ripe age of 23 now, which doesn't seem very epic at all, but I realized that I do feel quite accomplished for my age. Not in the way of success job-wise or anything, but in the way of achieving my goals in life. If things continue the way they are now, hopefully by the time I'm 33 I'll feel exactly the same way about my life.



Instead of a big hokey outing for my birthday, I kept a fairly low profile, which was great. I worked in the morning at the bakery (where they surprised me with a tiny German chocolate cake) and came home in the afternoon to a bathroom decked out with all the trimmings for a relaxing bubble bath, courtesy of my lovely roommate Ashley. The tub was surrounded by candles, with a kettle of hot water waiting for me to brew my choice of tea, accompanied by a platter of goodies ranging from raisins to lavender cupcakes. I couldn't have been happier to come home to that.



I soaked for quite some time in pure bliss, relaxing as the tension left my body. I even nodded off for a moment or two, and probably would've taken a short nap in there if I hadn't been awakened by the smell of burning hair. I reached up and snuffed out the flames, only to be left with a small chunk of blackened strands in my palm. The damage wasn't horrible, and after I brushed it out, there was no noticeable indicator of my short time ablaze. The next bath I take will most assuredly be accompanied by candles at the foot of the bathtub.



The rest of my day was spent in preparation and then in enjoyment of a beautiful Greek dinner that Joel and Ashley cooked. I managed to convince Ashley to try her hand at Moussaka (one of my favorite Greek dishes), which turned out even better than some of the times I'd had it in Greece, so hats off to her. The evening was topped off with a spiced Masala chai cake, decorated with my name written in Greek.



I really couldn't have asked for a better birthday, especially for being in such a new place. I'm really looking forward to the coming months as I get to know this place and its people better.

What goes up...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Posted by chelsea 3 comments

So I've been absolutely horrendous at updating my blog in the past few weeks. I'll go ahead and blame it on the fact that I've been knee deep in all that comes with moving to a new place, getting settled in and finding jobs.

Despite those excuses, an update is long overdue, so here I am...updating at last.

I'm officially a West Virginia resident, voter's registration card and all. It took a few days to get all of those official things out of the way, but while I was doing so, I managed to land two jobs, score an amazing apartment (conveniently located above one of the jobs and about thirty feet from the other one) and settle into a nice routine that makes me feel as if I've been here for years.

Despite being fairly well settled into our new apartment, we're lacking quite a few essentials in the way of furniture. To remedy this, Ashley (my lovely roommate), her
fiancé Joel and I decided a trip to Ikea was in order. As we were preparing to pile into Joel's truck, I felt a distinct "plop" on the top of my head. Telling myself it was just an acorn, I instinctively grabbed at my head and realized that it was, actually, a fresh batch of bird poop that had landed so precisely in my carefully parted hair.

Screaming in horror, I held out my hand covered in poop and started jumping around yelling "Ew ew ew ew ew!" in an embarrassingly girly display of disgust. I'm not proud, but in my defense, the bird poop was not the usual white goo, but a ruddy brown mess not unlike apple butter. We retreated to Joel's apartment, where I meticulously picked the gunk from my strands and soaped it up with shampoo until I was certain each and every speck was removed.

Attempting to leave for a second time, we ran for the truck, covering our heads for fear that the birds would want another go at it and aim for all three of us this time around. We did make it out safely and poop-free, and later, as we were enjoying our plates of Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries, we came up with all sorts of deep and meaningful explanations for the bird pooping on me. They might have been a bit far-fetched, but we all got a laugh.

I have a lot more to update about, specifically my new apartment and jobs, but I'll do that in the next few days as to not overload you all in one post.