I’d found a 3-leg ticket for the price of an Amsterdam-Sao Paulo round-trip through BootsnAll (FYI, their customer service is useless in case you really need help). So after sweating my butt off in Brazil and gaining weight thanks to the junk food that comprises modern Brazilian cuisine, I took off to the US of A, where record low temperatures were driving friends to jump in joy when temps hit 23F. I wondered if facing the Polar Vortex was a good idea after all.
But New York City is so worth it as are my friends! On my first day I wasn’t feeling too well (asked for a doctor during my flight – turns out I’m iron-deficient) so I spent the beautiful sunny Sunday at home, save for a trip to my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s. New York’s still the same in that it changes constantly, the poor are constantly being pushed out by rising rents, and crazy and/or weird people are always around to keep things in the City real.
I attended some classes and workshops to fine tune my English, good linguist that I am. Working on my English also involved visiting one of my favorite museums, The American Museum of Natural History, private events and all thanks to dear friends! Then it was off to Connecticut for more studying and a road trip through the Northeast. Boston was nice, especially as I was traveling with a dear friend who had lived there during college. But Vermont… Oh, wow, superb! What a great vibe up there, though not so much in Montpelier, the capital city, where people seemed a bit stuck up.
In Montpelier my friend and I went to Morse Farms for some maple syrup tasting. Yummy! We were going to go snow shoeing, too, but my toes threatened to fall off my feet if I put them through any more walking through snow – we had earlier gone for a walk in the park, which was covered in more than a foot of snow. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anyone to help us with the community skis that were hanging behind the 5-foot high snow mound, but how cool is that: community skis! Vermont is all about community. How lovely!
Once back at my friend’s place, where I had my own beautiful room and easy access to the living room’s fireplace, I attended anthropology classes as well as a theoretical massage class. Then I ingested lots of American junk food. LOTS of it: donuts (2nd dozen free!), crap cereal galore, chocolate, Peeps, bagels and cream cheese, Nutella pizza, beer, potato chips, muffins. My stretch jeans turned into stretched out jeans.
Back in NYC it was on to burgers and wings at Jackson Hole, which would more aptly be called Jackson Shithole because they screwed up the burgers and wings big time. Like, no, guys. Really, stay away. But nothing a box of instant Mac n’ Cheese can’t fix. And a frozen burrito. And I would have topped it all with some Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s if they weren’t bloody expensive now! I used to get them 2-for-$5 but now it’s 1 for $6. Screw that, I took comfort in Trader Joe’s imported-from-Holland stroopwafels.
And so, ignoring any talk of cholesterol problems, I boarded the United seats-for-midgets Airlines flight back to Amsterdam, where the friend I’m living with had, per my high-maintenance request, trimmed the effing rose bush that stands right next to our house’s entryway. I hope it dies.