Thursday, July 19, 2012


So a couple days after America's birthday I stepped off the plane at LAX, into the welcoming arms of Lady Liberty - a disgruntled security guard who herded our whole flight past customs, past the baggage claim, and out onto the sidewalk. I started humming "Party in the USA". Police dogs were barking. Cop cars were flashing their lights. The whole terminal was evacuated. Nobody told us what was going on, so we ate some bad tacos and wandered back to the baggage claim two hours later. Our luggage was there, along with a dozen pissed-off airport employees who couldn't understand why everyone was so late getting their bags.

If that had happened in New Zealand, the airport would've given all the passengers a cookie and a hug.

After two more red-eye flights, I staggered into Pittsburgh International Airport where my mother and boyfriend were waiting. I piled my luggage on top of Montana and insisted on eating breakfast at the Cracker Barrel.

I hung around the house for a few days, waiting for the swelling in my ankles to go down. I went on a couple runs and nearly drowned in my own sweat. I realized that I was operating under a false sense of fitness in New Zealand. Running ten miles along the cool, clear waterfront is worlds different from running on a Pennsylvanian mountain trail on a humid, 95ยบ day. I feel like a sack of hot mud with legs. The ten pounds I gained from eating cake with full-fate lattes for lunch isn't helping much either.

I spent a day saying hi to people I hadn't seen in four months and catching up with some local gossip.

Then I packed up again. Last Wednesday the parents and I took a trip down south to visit my brother in Athens, Georgia. We stopped off for a couple days in Asheville, NC to take in the Smoky Mountain air. Then I spent the weekend wandering around Athens with the brother while my parents shopped for antique records and whined about the heat.

After a week of eating cheese grits and affecting a Southern twang, I feel just about as Americanized as possible.

So now I have another week at home, and then Montana and I are off again to Colorado for some bike races and altitude training (more on that at his blog here). He's helping me build up another bike to replace the one I sold to New Zealand. Then we're shooting back over to Ohio to start my last fall semester in Wooster.

It's really nice to be back - even if it's just for a little while.

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