on road trips and summer breaks, part I

I hated long car rides as a child. To be fair, I was an ornery child and found fault with a lot of things, but long car rides were high on the list. (The only time I grew to bear them was after we bought a minivan with a pull-down TV for me to hook the Nintendo to.) I also loved to argue as a child. Especially with my parents, about anything and everything. (The reason for which dad is still convinced that I was born to be a lawyer, a point that, incidentally, I continue to argue with him about to this day.)

In short, I was a menace on family road trips. That was difficult for all involved, as dad loved taking us on road trips when we were kids. Though, I realized later that it was not so much the ‘taking us’ as it was the driving itself.

I was born to argue against him on law school; he was born to lose himself on the road.

It’s ironic then that as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown to love the road. Trains, buses, cars. All bring with them a sense of inner peace and comfort in anonymity, watching the world with fingers pressed to the glass without thought of being watched in return. I love driving, especially. I forgot how much, too, after living in the city with my car parked at mum-and-dad’s a hundred miles away.

So when L suggested that we take a summer road trip upon her return from Mexico – during one of our many gchat dates a few months ago – it took little convincing to get me to agree. (Dad would’ve been proud.) An epic trip, we decided, since it would be the last bout of free time either of us would see in a summer. Three weeks, from Canada to the border of Mexico, stopping for barbecue and old friends along the way.

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new cities, uncertainties, and flourless cakes

I’m the type of person that prides herself on having her shit together, so to speak. Typically level-headed, rarely emotional, a stoic wall of realism and rationality. So the last few weeks have been a rather unwelcome change in my routine.

It’s as though the world is resting on a different plane; a mirror of reality tilted a few degrees past the point of comfort.

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Turkey was a month ago, but it feels a lifetime away. I haven’t had as much time to dwell on the loss as I feared, though, since my days following arrival back in the States were spent flying from city to city; transporting crates of furniture and boxes of a life haphazardly printed on coffee mugs and pages of unread books; catching up with family and old friends; trying to assemble a picture of the upcoming months from puzzle pieces cut like shards of broken glass. It has been exciting and nerve-wracking and utterly overwhelming.

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toronto & montreal…

…or, “A Study in Walking Many Kilometers from Restaurant to Restaurant.”

I have been noticeably absent from the blogosphere these past few weeks, seemingly having left this poor old thing by the way side in abandonment. But this is not so, dear readers, for instead, I have been frolicking up north, traipsing about mid-70 degree weather with not a care in the world save how little time I had to spend in the company of good meals and good family.

So now, to make up for my absence, I will give you an extremely extensive, food-filled account of my adventures in Canada. Read at your own discretion.

I’ve been to Canada before, though my previous forays into the country only ever extended as far as a minivan with the parentals in Oakville, pawing at the outskirts of Toronto. My aunt and uncle live in town, and all three of their children – cousins much older and wiser than myself – were there this time around (which, actually, is an astounding feat).

This summer saw a trip made to the same house, but under much different circumstances: most notably, the absence of the parentals. Yusra, Mus and I made the trek this year (in the same minivan, of course, though now with an iPod jack so I don’t have to spend a good 3 hours of my time sitting in the passenger seat with the laptop overheating my lap, running through a pack of blank CDs to keep the merriment going as we drive 80mph on the interstate – true story). We were in Oakville for five days, alternating between exploring the town and Toronto, before making the 6-hour drive east to Montreal. A short week abroad, but a welcome change amidst a monotonous Virginia summer.

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