Over the past three years, I've been in various places: the south suburbs of Illinois; northern Illinois just by Iowa; Denver, Colorado; Bemidji, Minnesota; and more recently, Barcelona, Spain.
In the last week of October, I had no idea where I would be living: would I go more to Ohio with my parents? Try to stay in the south suburbs of Chicago or move to the city? Or would I try to live in Denver with my sister? The answer: none of the above.
I got hired on the fly and was asked to move to the Twin Cities. I'm living in St. Paul, learning, exploring it, and coming to really like it here. I imagine I'll go to other parts of the world sooner or later. Imagine me on a plane, on a bus, or a hippie van if you will. This is one rooted writer waiting in transition for the next part of her life.
"Quick—name your best and worst Valentine’s gift ever."
Flash back to V-day morning, pacing down Van Buren Street on my way to work. Typically as I approach the plaza by the Harold Washington stop, I encounter the same students on their way to the American Academy amid the blur of dark-coated pedestrians, along with the same bundled up vendor with an orange vest and a news cart. I find it bizarre that I can never say hi to these people despite the fact that I see them every day, despite the fact that they have become a part of my daily routine.
Today of course, no one is selling the paper. Instead there is a man in his early to mid twenties, who is pointedly trying to get a survey population; I can tell by the way he swerves into my field of vision, positions himself so that by the time we intersect, the questioning is already happening. All this before he says a word. Oh no, I think, why do surveyors always have to stop pedestrians who are clearly in a rush to get to work, and more importantly: why do I always fall for this? Why can’t I just selfishly walk past them, instead of getting overcome by a pang of guilt that somehow obligates me to stop and listen? Okay, get on with it. What are you going to ask me?Read more