Humidity and The White Stripes

I thought I had experienced humidity before, but I was wrong. Boy, was I so incredibly wrong.

Today, it was humid. It was hot. It was hot and humid. I’m afraid to say I now know what everyone was talking about, for fear I’ll piss off the weather gods and it will get even worse. Yesterday, everyone told me today was going to be bad, and I believed them, though I had no idea the extent to which I needed to prepare myself. However, when I left my house at 7:30 this morning, and even when I walked to lunch with my coworkers at 11:30, I was lulled into a false sense of security. This morning was down right pleasant and at lunch, it was a little humid, but it was kinda nice. There was a breeze and everything.

I honestly started to think that everyone was just being overdramatic and needed to calm down. I mean, it’s summer, it gets a little warm, we’ll wish we had this when it is twenty below in January, right? I spent six and a half hours in the office this afternoon and frankly, the warning signs were there, though heed them I did not. The office was hot instead of it’s normal frigid afternoon climate. Clients were visiting the office and they all arrived in our lobby sweaty and out of breath, bemoaning the heat. I still just figured people were overreacting, being the naive Californian that I am.

The universe has a way of making sure us arrogant naive folks get knocked down a few pegs when need be. When I walked out of my office at 7:45 pm tonight,the universe knocked me down on my butt (almost physically too). For the first thirty seconds, I think I forgot how to breath. My shirt was immediately sweated through. My feet slid to the front of my high heels, making it impossible to walk (thank goodness I had my Rainbows in my purse. I now feel the $50 flip-flops have paid for themselves). My ten minute walk to the bus stop was agony, followed by an agonizing ten minute wait for the bus (not only was it hot, some people were “sorting out their differences” a few feet behind me, so I was trying to make sure I didn’t somehow anger them both with my presence, causing them to band together against me). I don’t think I have ever been so happy to get on public transportation before- the bus was beautifully air conditioned. Needless to say, I’m going to trust everyone who tells me it is going to be hot and to make sure I take my sweater off before I go outside.

Besides being swiftly introduced to the joys of humidity today, this first week in Minnesota has been phenomenal.My workload is filling in nicely, I’m learning my way to the necessary places in downtown Minneapolis (work, Target, Macy’s, Caribou Coffee. Like I said, the necessities), I’m making friends with the people I work with and I haven’t had bus issues in a good four days. You know that White Stripes song, “I Can Tell That We Are Going To Be Friends?” That has been playing over and over in my head the past few days. Minneapolis/St. Paul, we’re going to be friends. Coworkers at Broadhead, we’re going to be friends. The MidWest, I can definentley tell we are going to be friends.

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Exploring

This weekend was all about exploring, and boy did I.

Saturday was the biggest adventure for me. I woke up and thought: “Today I’m going to go to The Mall of America.” A couple of people had told me how easy it would be to get to The Mall- all I would have to do was take my normal bus route to downtown and then hop on the train and get off at the last stop. One of my new coworkers, Amanda, was going to meet me there to show me around- sounded like a easy and fun day!

What was supposed to be a hour long trip evolved into a two hour long trip. First, my normal bus was late- not that big of deal, just annoying. Then, when I arrived at the lightrail station, I found it eerily empty. Luckily, an aide was there who explained that the train was not running through downtown this weekend, due to track maintenance. I would need to go back to where I had just gotten off the bus and hop on a special shuttle that would take me to the next lightrail station. After I arrived back at the stop, I realized the lady had not told me which side of the street the bus would be on, nor had I thought to ask. I also had no idea whether I would be going north or south, so I didn’t even have that to guess with. Of course, I assumed the wrong side of the road (well first, I watched the bus zoom right past me as I was standing at the wrong stop) and was shakily informed by a man with little grasp of the English language that I needed to be on the other side. After another 15 minutes of waiting, I got on the correct bus and eventually hopped on the light rail.

This trip took me through different parts of the region- some of the areas were clearly not the best areas. It also took me by Fort Snelling, which made me very happy- now I know how to get there and explore where my Grandpa joined the Army! After about 30 minutes on the train, I finally arrived at The Mall of America. I spent the next couple of hours with Amanda, walking the complete three miles of The Mall, eating A&W and doing some fabulous people watching. Luckily, the trip home was much less dramatic. I even made a pit stop in downtown Minneapolis and grabbed my first Caribou coffee!

Today was a different type of exploring. I again took the bus to downtown Minneapolis where I watched the Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade with Amanda. It was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had- Minnesota voters will vote this fall on the legality of gay marriage, so the main focus was the political messages, not gay men running around handing out popsicles. Surprisingly, I only saw one pair of ass-less chaps. My favorite part of the parade was when one of the gay bar’s floats went by and I was covered with foam. I feel like I can officially say I’ve been to a foam party if anyone ever says I need to go to one before I die.

After the parade, Amanda and I went to a pizza place and had appetizers and drinks (Luce had given us each a coupon for a free appetizer, which we just had to utilize right away!). For two drinks and the appetizer sampler, we ended up only paying $7.00! I then took the bus home and took a much needed nap.

This afternoon, the only thing I really had to do was my Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit. I got about 30 seconds into the warmup and decided I just didn’t want to listen to Shaun T tell me to “dig deeper” or “push harder” today. So even though it wasn’t a scheduled rest day, it was beautiful outside, so I decided I would just go on a walk instead.

As I started my walk, I decided it was high time I explored the University of Minnesota- Saint Paul campus. I mean, it is literally right across the street from my house. I’m sure I didn’t see close to everything, but I did see some pretty cool things. Giant cow statues, experimental gardens, on campus grain silos; it was just a beautiful campus. I included a few pictures of my favorite things:

By the end of the summer, I think I need a picture of me sitting on one of these.

The idea of so much open space on a college campus blows my mind!

I love all the trees around here!

So pretty!

I haven’t been here a week yet, but I definitely feel like I am settling in. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer brings!

Day 1: Check!

Biggest personal triumph of the day: Not getting lost on the bus or in downtown Minneapolis. Yep, I’m pretty proud of myself. Believe me, on the way home, I had to figure out which corner bus stop was mine. Only a minor jog was involved so, go me!

I woke up this morning and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. After giving myself a pep talk to prepare myself for my first day, I set out to catch my morning bus. I got to go on this beautiful walk:

Isn’t it pretty?

I arrived at the bus stop a few minutes early and spent a few moments in turmoil, wondering if I was actually in the right spot. Of course, I was just worrying about nothing- the bus arrived right on time!

Are you my bus stop?

I then found my way from the bus stop to my office. When I walked into the office, I was ready to introduce myself to whoever I saw first and hope they could point me in the right direction. Luckily, I stepped off the elevator and was immediately greeted with a “Welcome, Carrie!” by the smiling receptionist, and about 3 other people within the first five minutes. It was great to feel so welcomed.

My absolute favorite part of the day was the tour of the office. Broadhead isn’t your typical office. The building is a former parking garage, so there is lots of exposed brick, concrete that has been painted with glitter and even a parking ramp at the rear of the office. When we reached the kitchen area, I was informed that there were four carafes of coffee (absolutely no decaf) made each morning. All I would have to do to enjoy it was bring whatever creamer I preferred. At this point, I knew I was going to like it there.

I was convinced even further of that fact when we turned the corner and I saw the soda (or pop, as it is called here) machine, where I could purchase Diet Coke for 75 cents. This is a very bad thing. By very bad, I mean absolutely delightful. I have been informed that every Wednesday there are bagels in the office and the last few Friday’s there have been donuts. So there goes any hope I had of losing weight this summer. I’m going to have to add morning runs to my afternoon Insanity.

Another awesome thing about Broadhead: all their conference, meeting and collaboration rooms are named after 80s Rock Bands. You can’t make this up folks. The biggest and best conference room is naturally called Bon Jovi. I believe Journey, AC/DC and Heart also appear, among many others. Yep, next week I have meetings in Bon Jovi and AC/DC. This is great. There is also a life-size cardboard cutout of Broadhead’s Washington, D.C. based employee. I can’t be sure, but he may have been wearing a pirate hat. I also saw a giant hot dog with a smile. I still need the backstory on that one.

For lunch, three of my coworkers took me to a place called Ike’s, which just so happens to be my Grandpa’s name. The connections in this town to my Grandpa’s family are mind blowing. The maiden name of the HR lady at Broadhead is Isaacson, and her family is from the Sweeden/Finland border, just like my Grandpa’s family (we’re probably related by marriage somewhere along the line). There is a café called the Finnish Bistro about 15 minutes from my house.  One of the ladies I work with is from Rapid City, where my Grandpa grew up. My Grandpa was sworn in to the army at Fort Snelling here in Minneapolis. Clearly, I’m supposed to be here.

All in all, I think it was a pretty successful day. I even made it to the grocery story to get actual food (I almost started weeping at the produce section though). I got my Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit in. I unpacked my boxes and finished setting up my room. Made myself some Cheerios for dinner. Yep, today was a fantastic day!

My room from the door. Just look at that green carpet!

My room from the other direction.

You mean you don’t keep your tomatoes, books and iron on the same shelf?

I’m Here!

The fact that today is the longest day of the year doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me. After a long day of traveling, I am officially in Minneapolis. All my luggage arrived with me (still waiting on those boxes though), a new coworker from Broadhead picked me up at the airport and brought me to my house and I spent several hours unpacking my three suitcases as best I could. Soon, I’m going to dinner with my friend Lana and plan on spending the night finalizing bus times and routes, laying out my clothes for my first day and sleeping on a sheet-less mattress.

I’m happy to report that my vision of the house being on a street with lots of trees came true. Trees, ferns and shrubs are everywhere and this whole area just feels lush (that could be the approximately 99% humidity though).

Now that I am here, I still can’t really pinpoint exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve been feeling pretty lonely, relieved to be here, nervous about my first day of work tomorrow and curious about this new area I’m living in. Even though I am scared out of my mind about my first day tomorrow (I know this is normal, so I’m not reading into it too much) and my bus ride to said first day of work, I’m anxious to get there. I want to meet everyone, see the city, figure out what my summer holds. I swear though, if one more emotion manifests itself, I don’t know what I’ll do. Being so overly emotional isn’t something I’m used to so that just adds to the weirdness of the whole situation as well as the perpetual circle of emotion I currently seem to be riding.

Well, there appears to be a thunderstorm occurring outside. For those of you who know me, you know that terror was just added to my list of emotions currently being experienced. But hey, I didn’t go crazy! This is good, very good. I suppose I’ll probably get over my fear of thunder and lightening this summer as well, since it has been implied that they are a nightly occurrence. Boy, this is going to be an adventure.

The Newest Beginning

The day is here. Well, almost. Tomorrow morning, I officially move to Minneapolis to start my internship with Broadhead Communications.

To put it simply, I’ve been a mess the last few days. One minute, I’m so excited I can barely contain myself and the next I’m crying on the couch with my mom. With graduation, moving out of my house in San Luis Obispo, getting back to Woodland, unpacking, helping my mom with my graduation party and packing for my move to Minneapolis, it seems that all my emotions have decided to manifest themselves during the last couple of days.

At first, I was really upset with myself for getting so upset. I expected to be excited, but not upset. When I left for college, I was simply excited- no true worries associated with that move. So why am I so mixed up for this move? I’m sure there are a truckload of reasons, but the idea that keeps popping into my head is the fact that this move is to the real world, not to the safe haven that is the Fremont Dorm at Cal Poly. My parents keep reminding me that I can always come home and that nothing about this move has to be permanent unless I want it to be. Still, it feels like this chapter of my life is over and the next chapter, full of adult decisions and other adult things, is beginning.

There are many things in life that make me tick: reading every night before I go to bed, making copious amount of lists, coffee. One thing that always keeps me calm, though it isn’t the best quality, is knowing exactly what to expect. I have no idea what to expect tomorrow. Sure, I’ll get to the airport around 4:30 am and arrive in Minneapolis around 2:00 pm, someone from Broadhead will pick me up and that’s about all I know. I have no idea what the house I’ll be living in will look like, where my room is, how to get to the bus stop to do a test bus ride before work Thursday morning, what the neighborhood is like, where there is a grocery store or a coffee shop or what the building my office is in will look like. That is a lot of uncertainty for someone like me (I have self-diagnosed myself with OCD, or CDO for those of use who like to alphabetize. I know, I’m crazy. I’m working on it).

I can tell I’m maturing since I am also excited about some of the uncertainty. Not so much figuring out the bus ride to an undistinguishable building, but what the neighborhood and people are like, what my projects at work will be, where my new favorite coffee shop will be. See, I have been working on my crazy!

So, tomorrow I hop on a plane, fly to Minneapolis and experience the newest beginning of my life. I’m sure this California girl is going to have a bit of an adjustment to life in the MidWest (I hear they have these phenomenons called “humidity” and “extremely cold winters”), which I’m sure will result in some fun blog posts!  Wish me luck!