Across Five States: Into Virginia

It seemed that the moment we crossed into Virginia, we hit real life. For real. We were stuck in a monstrous traffic jam of people leaving Washington D.C. for the day. So many people commute there, not to mention the fact that tourist season had begun, and so we felt that we were slammed back into reality, along with all the inconveniences it brings. As we sat on the sixty-six highway, we inched forward and began to cruise the local radio stations. We found some good easy listening, and settled in to wait.

The highway was bordered by high walls, and the directions were separated by hedges. We rounded a bend, and suddenly there it was. The Washington Monument. We could see its peak all the way from the highway, jutting into the sky like a beacon, heralding that we’d reached our destination. It was an exciting moment for all of us.

Soon enough we were taking the badly marked exit – Virginia seems to have a dark sense of humor and enjoys luring newcomers into a false sense of security by marking the exit well before it comes and then putting a tiny sign at the actual exit so you undoubtedly miss it – and driving into Arlington County, which was to be my brother’s new home. After some more muddling around with befuddling directions, we reached his apartment and discovered yet another thing about Virginia – the lack of parking, and the importance of tow trucks, which will tow any car that’s not marked by the right stickers placed in the right ways in the right corners of the right window.

This forced our hand. My brother and I unloaded the U-Haul at superhero speed, while my mother guarded it, just to make sure no policeman or tow truck would catch us unawares. Loading the truck had taken the better part of five hours. Unloading it took an hour, and we were drenched with sweat by the time we were done. By this time, night had fallen and we were all ravenous. We piled back in the U-Haul and found a dingy place to eat at, and afterwards found the only U-Haul drop-off spot in the area. It was a relief, seeing that truck for the last time, but we all felt a bit of a pang. It had safely conveyed us across five whole states, and as ungainly as it was, we had become proud of it – especially as we had the coolest U-Haul in the lost because ours had a picture of snakes on it instead of a U-Haul advertisement.

We took a taxi back to my brother’s apartment and, just like that, our move was done. We still had unpacking to do, we still had furniture to buy, we still had a whole county to get to know, but we were done. We’d moved my brother from Chicago to Virginia in two days. We accomplished what we’d set out to do. It was marvelous.

A Love Letter to Chicago

Dearest Chicago,

In the short time I’ve spent with you, you’ve managed to charm me. Quite apart from you keeping my brother safe and sound for four years, you have alluring qualities that are all your own. I really felt comfortable within your limits and amongst your streets, and even though you’re one of the most crime-ridden cities in the United States, your beauty and loveliness still shine on as always.

You started out as a small town and you were officially made a city when you had three thousand residents. A city with a population of three-thousand when you began! Such a number is hardly considered worthy of a town in our day and age. Still, you knew somehow that you would be grand someday, and the same went for the people who lived in your embrace. Each building was built for beauty, practicality and grandeur – all three qualities together, without ever neglecting a one. Your streets were built in such a way that you would be easy to understand and navigate so that everyone would feel welcome to rest their boots upon your sidewalks and streets.

Over the years, you grew outward and became larger and larger, but you never gave up your simple beauties – your lake-front is as bare as it ever was and your river had pathways all along its sides. Buildings were built taller and taller, and yet you still feel spacious and airy, not intimidating or claustrophobic.

Chicago, you are a city of modern beauty.

…And Away Again

I shall post the next part of my ongoing story tomorrow in all likelihood, but I decided to write a short post tonight about my upcoming trip. Yes, another one.

My brother is graduating college, and my mother and I are flying to Chicago next Wednesday to join him in this exciting time. After his graduation, we’ll be helping him move out of his current apartment and relocate to Washington DC where he will be moving. I’ve seen Chicago before, recently even, and it is a marvelous city. However, what I’m most excited about this trip, apart from seeing my brother walk the walk in his cap and gown, is seeing Washington DC, home of the White House, home of our current president, Mr. Obama.

There is something so exciting about going to the hub of the US government – the city is supposed to be amazing, young and lively. There are, of course, the museums and the various memorials and sites to see around the city, but there is also supposed to be a hip and cool music scene apparently. It’s going to be an experience, to say the least.

I shall keep posting as much as I can during my trip, though I can’t promise regular posts – it will probably be like my last trip, a post every few days, sporadically.

Either-Or

Either…

A girl, a young woman really, will walk around the tree lined campus. It is a fairy-land, with gorgeous trees and small, squat buildings peeking around every bend in the twisting paths. The swing-set will be populated with the laughing, the confidant, the oh-so-cool older students. Her classes will be held in carpeted rooms with wooden panelling, in buildings with spiraling staircases and that smell of old wood. Her time will be spent in the tea house with the wood-burning fireplace, or at the small library or in the surrounding town’s adorable cafes. Ventures into the greatest of cities will be frequent and interesting. Her friends will be women, mostly, and her professors will know her by name, by writing style, by her very soul soon enough, as she will pour herself into the unrelenting and fascinating school-work.

Or…

A girl, a young woman really, will walk through the wide streets, entering campus and quad from the very streets of the suburb of the city. Her surroundings will be bustling rather than quiet, extremely collegiate and always full of students, both the young and the old, hurrying from one place to the other. Her classrooms will be small, but not quite so small, and she will learn to read the writings of conquerors and philosophers, of dictators and kings and mere professors of other times. She will be amongst a small group in a much larger place, and her outings will vary from visits to the cafes of 57th Street to tours of the grand theaters and museums. Her friends might be misfits like she’d been and perhaps not so intimidating.

Either… Or…

A girl, a yound woman really, sits and thinks and deliberates. She cannot decide. She must decide.