The OFFICIAL St. Louis Post!

St. Louis was amazing! It’s definitely on my List of Places I Might Move. It wouldn’t be too expensive to move down there, it’s gorgeous, and I might be able to get a job. Might. The whole “getting a job” thing is really difficult right now, but … uh …

I’ll have to visit again to really scope it out. The city itself reminded me of a really weird combination of Green Bay WI, St. Paul MN, and New Orleans LA. … yeah. Things were pretty spread out, and it definitely didn’t feel like a wealthy city. I don’t really know how to describe it, aside from in a strange mixture of those cities. Obviously, St. Louis was not recently hurt by a hurricane, is not the home of the Packers, and isn’t St. Paul, but there were echoes of each of those places in St. Louis. Or maybe that’s my personal history coming out.

I hadn’t realized just how beautiful Missouri is in the springtime – all the trees were blooming, there were flowers, things were green, and it was in the 80s. Seriously. Magnolias? TOTALLY worth it.

Actually, I think that Magnolias may be among my favorite trees. Kudos to anyone who can tell me something about the lore of the magnolia tree. ;D

On the topic of pretty things, I really wish that I had the ability to download my pictures to my netbook, but I don’t. My other computer is currently out of commission (in a very scary way that I’m trying not to think about), but there will be pictures eventually. I’ll try to post them here, but under a cut so they will actually load on your computers.

And I’m too lazy to go picture hunting at the moment. So, I apologize, but … sleepy.

Anyway, on to St. Louis stories!

After my 25 hours of traveling/busing, which I managed to blog about last week, I finally made it to St. Louis. Melissa had rented a car (she doesn’t own one, and the megabus stop in St. Louis isn’t in the best area to wait around for public transit at 5:30 in the morning). She took me on a quick morning drive-through of the city, and we went to a diner for breakfast and coffee. It was truly a diner experience, complete with angry news junkies smoking cigarettes.

Yes, I was in Missouri!

So then came lots of sleeping. Due to the tired. And the traveling.

Melissa had lots of classes on Wednesday, so I borrowed her bike and biked around Forest Park and the Washington University campus. It’s just gorgeous. Seriously, do a google search for Wash U and then check out the pictures. We kinda bummed around that night, but it was great anyway.

Thursday was another gorgeous day. We slept in, I dealt with some work stuff, and then we went out to see the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Ok, first clue that this was going to be awesome? It’s acronym is MOBot. Yeah. MOBOT. ‘Nuff said.

Here’s a link to the Missouri Botanical Gardens Flickr site.

Observe the pretty and be jealous-ified.

After that, we waited for the bus in the Garden District (really pretty housing district around the gardens), and then went for a late lunch in the Italian District. It was wonderful, authentic, and a completely different feeling/neighborhood. After that, she had some homework to do, so we chilled at a cafe close to the restaurant. It’s this really cool place – converted bank coffeeshop. Just gorgeous.

Thursday night we wandered over to a bar where there was supposed to be a local blues/soul legend singing. We met up with Randy, who is a friend of Melissa’s/an acquaintance of mine. Some of you may remember when I went to Shindig and was completely enamoured of the cook, who was a beautiful person and made amazing food? yeah. That Randy. So good to see him! He’s a complete sweetheart!

And the blues singer was amazing. There … yeah. No words. Kim Massey, y’all! Check her out!

Friday was more lounging in the morning, Tri-Ominos, and Buffy. We eventually got our asses in gear and got out of the house, though. Melissa had lots of work to do, so we chilled at MokaBee’s, which is another really cool coffee shop. What can I say? Coffee, cute flirtatious baristas, and beautiful spring St. Louis air? Doesn’t get much better.

Eventually I wandered off to explore the area around the coffeeshop, which was pretty cool. It was one of the nicer areas of St. Louis, right next to Tower Park, which is really cool. At night we went to see Tegan and Sara. All in all, a really fun day.

Unfortunately, I had to leave on Saturday. Lots of travel, much like Tuesday, but this time the layover was broken up by meeting up with a friend’s boyfriend, who was gracious enough to distract me from homework for a couple of hours and get me the hell out of Union Station/Chicago.

So that was a good trip, clearly.

Now I’m just trying to get myself back on track post-break. I have a very short amount of time to write my senior paper for English (this should be 20-30 pages, with at least two different sources each page (so about 40-60 sources, as is standard for the field of English), and … yeah. Five weeks. *aggressive thumbs up* I am a CAPABLE WOMAN, must keep repeating this to myself.

I also have even less time to finish up loose ends on my internship. Good lord! That’s terrifying! I haven’t done anything for that in a long time … uggggggh.

But on the up side, then summer’s here. I really have no idea what it holds – Marcela told me this year is particularly competitive for collaborative research, so I’m crossing my fingers REALLY HARD that I can get it this year. After assessing my financial situation, I need to make at least $2,500 this summer. At least. And not spend any of it.

So … here’s hoping that works out! If not, it looks like it will be a summer of lots of reading, probably Summer of Solutions if I can’t get research. (But I’m not doing both again – that was far too hard on me.)

Sleeeeeepy. I think, because of the traveling, my bedtime is now a super bizarre, early, 10:00. This could also have something to do with the fact that I’ve been fighting illness this week. Sleeping lots is good for that.

I feel a feminist post a-brewin’, as well as a post about potential post-school plans, and some poetry. But those will have to wait until a time that is not now.

But soon, we shall meet again over the Intarwebz.

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Days of Travel, Nights of Waiting

This was written last night in Union Station, where I didn’t have wireless.

Location: Union Station, Downtown Chicago

Time: 7:15

Today has been full, but fantastic.

I’m officially on my way to St. Louis! Got on the bus at 6:30 this morning, bound for Chicago. Tim was wonderful enough to drop me off, which I’m really glad of, because the whole “finding the bus stop” thing was really weird. I was expecting there to be more signage, but there really wasn’t any. The only clue we had that the bus stop existed was the band of travelers sitting/standing outside on a street corner with luggage. I didn’t feel comfortable just joining them, so we drove around the block, and by the time we circled the block again, the bus had pulled up.

Ok, so here’s where I give a plug for the Megabus. If you haven’t considered taking the bus before, I would urge you to do it. The whole trip (four bus rides total, Minneapolis-Chicago and then Chicago to St. Louis, and in reverse) was $65. It was originally $50, but I decided to change one of my bus tickets so I’d have more layover time in Chicago. And I know that you can get tickets for much less.

I'm not kidding about the "adorable" thing.

Anyway, the bus itself is absolutely adorable. It’s this big, dark blue double-decker. Absolutely sweet. For the ride to Chicago, I sat on top in the very front. Prime seats, let me tell you. The view was amazing! Downside: The air conditioning doesn’t quite reach up that far, so I would suggest dressing in layers and/or choosing the seat with the view when you’re driving away from the sun (less transfer of heat through the window).

So all in all, the actual ride was a fairly good experience, if a stiflingly hot one.

Though that hasn’t been a huge pain in the ass. Getting off the bus initially I was super cranky (which I am chalking up to the problem of No Coffee Yet, Dammit). I immediately went in search of a coffeeshop where I could access the internet, get a cup of joe and a cup of water. Of course, because this is downtown Chicago, that ended up being a Starbucks. Meh.

After I checked my email and realized that I didn’t need to spend much time online, I decided to get outside and enjoy the lovely day. It was absolutely GORGEOUS today, even if Chicago was living up to its name of the Windy City. So I sat outside for a couple of hours, alternately people-watching and reading.

Then there was dinner, which was nothing special.

They let me sit here for hours. Love love love.

And now I’m writing from Union Station in Chicago. My bus to St. Louis leaves at 11:55, so I’ve got quite a lot of time to kill before hopping on again.

Chicago is slowly growing on me. The other times I’ve been here haven’t been amazing (not bad, mind you, just not amazing), and so I have kind of had this “meh, Chicago’s alright” attitude.

Clarification: Wicked was pretty sweet. But that wasn’t because of Chicago. That was because of Wicked and having wonderful friends.

Anyway, the time I’ve spent here today has been pretty cool. I think it’s because I really wasn’t expecting anything, so my expectations of the city couldn’t be dampened. I also feel fairly safe here, at least for now. Perhaps that has something to do with living in a city now, rather than living primarily in a rural town. I know how to keep myself safe, basically. I also have much more appreciation now for what a city has to offer, and I have a better understanding of how to kick around in a big city.

In general, being able to be independent in a new place makes me a Very Happy Camper.

I can’t wait to see what St. Louis has to offer! Melissa is adorable, I’m so excited to see her. I’ll probably wander around a lot tomorrow too, since she has class rather a lot on Wednesdays, but hopefully I can shower and yoga it up. As happy as I am right now, I know that I’ve been eating horribly lately and that plus the travel is making my body feel rather toxic.

Ok, getting back to my book now. More updates soon, I promise!