Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Few More Friends to See

After my whirlwind tour of Washington DC was over I hopped on a plane and made my way to Minnesota. Lucky me, another experience with the domestic airports I enjoyed so much the first time around. This time I was even luckier because I got to connect through Atlanta, which a few of my Korean friends were greatly confused by as it's nowhere close to being on the way.  On top of that, after I politely traded seats so a brother and sister could sit together, I ound myself next to a talker. Getting any reading or napping done on this flight was not an option, oh well, at least he shared his lovely joke about TSA: "Thousands standing around", now that I could agree with.

Welcome to the mid-west 
As I waited for my friend Brian to pick me up from the airport I was graced with even more intelligence from some soccer? moms.  Just looking at this woman made me want to punch her in the face so when she opened her mouth? Well let's just say we were both lucky Brian pulled up.  Did I mention I'm sometimes quick to judge? It was close to dinner time so Brian and I made plans to meet up with Chris and Rachel, two good friends from La Crosse who now live in St. Paul.  I finally got my hands on a delicious burger and some good beer, thanks Minnesota, I know you'd be good for something.  Rachel made a good joke about our 'double date' reunion but then we all realized we'd never actually done that in college, unless Keystone and Taco bell counts? I'm glad we've grown up a bit...

The next day was spent being a tourist (kind of) and exploring the city, while at the same time trying to squeeze in some times with more friends from La Crosse.  We spent part of the morning at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which after numerous visits to the cities I've never actually seen. So yes, I got my picture with the spoon and cherry, I can now sleep peacefully at night.

4th visit, finally did the obligatory tourist pic
For lunch I made plans with some of the La Crosse --> MN crew, how nice of them to squeeze me in on their lunch hour! :)  Again I kind of forgot that all of my friends back home grew up and got big boy/girl jobs while i'm out exploring the world.  I met with Kristen, Diller, Bryon and Luke who conveniently work downtown.  Actually Dave doesn't, but he loves me that much that he made the drive to meet us.  It was good to see everyone and get the chance to catch up on each others lives.  I guess the cafe really wanted to make us feel at home, as we walked through the line to pay for our lunch there was a La Crosse coffee mug sitting on the counter. At first I thought nothing of it thinking I was actually in La Crosse but then realized we were just a bunch of La Crosse Alumni in MN, weird.

When all my grown-up friends had to get back to their day jobs Brian and I made our way to the beach, i'm telling you my life is rough. Now if you're reading this from anywhere other than the mid-west your first thought is probably, "Where the hell is there a beach in Minnesota?", but to those ignorant beings, Minnesota is the land of 1000 lakes, pick any they all have a beach. We opted for Lake Calhoun, mostly because Brian lives a convenient 5 minute drive away from it. Aside from sweating buckets I got a little reading done and did some quality people watching.

After the lake we went back for a quick shower before making our way South, with the ultimate destination of Hoban, a Korean restaurant in Eagan MN.  "You can take the girl out of Korea but you can't take the Korea out of the girl" sure this is true, but also I just wanted Brian to see what Korea food was like. Before dinner we stopped by a local farmers market, hoping to buy some fresh fruit and maybe some other snacks for our drive back to Wisconsin the next day.  Mission failed, I guess they sell out of all the good stuff early in the day, it was still cool to check out and a gorgeous area to walk around, enjoying the mid-afternoon sun. God I sound like a 60 year old woman. So you may be thinking that I hunted for a Korean restaurant but actually this came from a recommendation by my friend Peter, who is actually Korea but says i'm more Korean than he is.  Anyway the restaurant did not disappoint, the food was authentic, Kimchi passed the test, and prices were reasonable.  Good to know should I ever find myself in Minnesota and craving some Korean.

Japchae so/so, Pork yummy
After dinner we weren't really sure what to do next but then Brian half jokingly suggested the Mall of America. I laughed and then realized I had not yet bought any presents or souvenirs for my friends/students/teachers back in Korea so yeah, that was a great idea. This was another moment of culture shock as we had to "rush" through the mall seeing as it would be closing in one hour - 9:30, for the Mall of freaking America, really!? Anyway after some successful speed shopping we found ourselves staring at the attractions placed in the middle of the mall, mostly for children's entertainment. Brian told me about the trips he used to take as a student and his favorite rides, which got us thinking....should we do it? Which is how I found myself on the log chute, awaiting a possible soaking at the end.

Contemplating the rides
Just like that and my fun in Minnesota had come to an end, Friday morning we were up early and on the road headed back home (well for me anyways).  The drive went pretty fast in my opinion, but maybe that's because I could listen to music, read, study Korea or nap while Brian drove. I did offer to drive but I guess he doesn't trust me behind the wheel.  Also helping to break the 6 hours up was our stop in Madison, one last friend to squeeze in! Luckily Megan had just moved apartments and therefor had the day off and was willing to meet us for lunch.  Her boyfriend Ben joined us so we once again found ourselves in a flash from the past double date setting, this time in Madison - but where are the 2 story beer bongs and flip cup? I was happy to see Megan and get caught up on her life, which is sounding more grown up by the second, scary. I would've liked to stay longer and spend some time in Madison but I had a party waiting for me back home! Not to mention a pile of laundry and lots of packing to be done.  Clearly running myself thin is how I work best, Sunday/Monday had all the time in the world but got nothing done, the rest of the week however time was of the essence as I crammed in many people, places and of course food.  Side trip: success!

Where are the mountains?!

No comments:

Post a Comment