my heart is in ohio

Somehow I made it back to Chicago after what seemed like the longest Megabus ride ever.  Oh well.  I made it, but unfortunately I had to leave my friends back in Columbus.   Let me first say that all my expectations were exceeded and I had a truly A.MAY.ZING. weekend.  Where do I even begin? 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll give you some background to understand why I’m so connected to Ohio.  I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA- living in the same house in Hampton Township since I was four years old.  With high school graduation came my first relocation ever.  Changing my mind in late spring, I decided to go to Kent State for my freshman year (where I met Julie!).  Realizing that Kent wasn’t for me, I transferred to Ohio University for my sophomore year.  That’s really where my love of all things Ohio began.  After OU, I moved back to Pittsburgh with my parents for  a year, with the plans always being to eventually move to Columbus.  I finally landed an AmeriCorps position in Columbus beginning in July 2007, moving in with my friend Tony (from OU).  Overall I loved Columbus.  I was able to reconnect with so many of my OU friends, and my job made it easy for me to make new ones.  I thought I would live there forever, but unfortunately life had other plans for me.  Still, my heart has always been in Columbus. ♥

With Julie’s bridal shower on the agenda for this past weekend, I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to fulfill my Maid-of-Honor duties and enjoy some quality friend time.  With my online class ending on Tuesday, it was the perfect time to enjoy some R&R in Columbus.  After being in Indy for work on Wednesday, I flew into C-bus on Thursday afternoon.  Juls picked me up and we ran around a bit before heading back to her parents’ house.  So I love her parents!  They have welcomed me into their family, and we’ve gotten exceptionally close over the past few months in planning Julie’s wedding.  So we worked on Julie’s invitiations on Thursday evening before deciding that we were in the mood for sushi (at 10 pm).  We headed to Giant Eagle, and tried to rent Where the Wild Things Are at RedBox.  We ended up to Julie’s to eat sushi, edamame, and mangos and watch the movie.  Oh yeah, and I picked up fortune cookies thinking that we could have some fun with those this weekend….boy was I right.

While eating our dinner and watching the movie, Juls opened her fortune and immediately broke into hysterics.  It read- Colors, colors, colors all around you.  Enjoy them.  We laughed for at least 10 minutes, so loud that her parents came out from their room to see what we were on.  And then they started laughing.  It was that kind of laughter that caused you pain, but well worth it.  It was one of the many great JK moments of the weekend, soon to be followed by our bonding over the movie that we build very high expectations for.  So someone please tell me what was going on with the writing/ producing of Where the Wild Things Are.  My favorite part was when the bird-creature’s arm got torn off and he says, ‘That was my favorite arm/wing.”   And then he sticks a snowman-stick arm in his side for the remainder of the movie. Yeah, I don’t know. 
Okay, Friday.  We woke up early to begin our day at All R Friends– which is Julie’s mom’s Adult Day Care program.  I took a volunteer day from work to assist them with this fantastic program, which is for adults with disabilities.  It is really difficult for me to explain completely what this day meant to me.  I am grateful for the opportunity to meet them and they truly touched my life.  This is the kind of work that I’m meant to do, and I was reminded of it on Friday in spending time with these A.MAY.ZING. people.  We played kickball, did crossword puzzles, went to CiCi’s for pizza, and then….we went back to the church to meet the most adorable puppy in the entire world!!
His name was Xaiver and he is a Shih Tzu- Chihuahua mix (aka a ShiChi)…who would have thought that combination would make something so f’in A.MAY.ZING.  I couldn’t find a photo that appropriately revealed their cuteness but here’s a video so you can see for yourself- ShiChi puppy.  Xavier was exactly the kind of puppy I’d want, and even better is that this mix stays fairly small.  In saying that, we inquired if there were any more puppies available, with my every intention being that I would take one home with me.  Julie also fell in love with the puppy and we hoped that we could adopt puppy siblings- hoping that Ken, her fiancee would permit it.  How could he not!!??  Unforunately there were no more puppies, but to be honest I think I found my breed.  I cannot promise that there won’t a little puppy in my apartment soon, especially since I’ve already stared picking put names- Addison (Addie), Ellie, Aidan, Aniston (Ani), Wrigley…
Okay, so that was Friday during the day.  After AllRFriends, Julie and I drove around Westerville to find me some caffeine.  Unfortunately there is not a Starbucks on every corner (point Chicago), but we found one by the mall.  Afterwards we ventured over to Cosi to get as healthy of a snack as possible.  It was such a gorgeous day so we sat on the patio.  We were just having more JK fun when one of the workers came out to keep us company (?).  Yeah, I don’t know.  I’m telling you, there’s something about me that attracts guys from Ohio- another reason to move back.  After Cosi we headed over to Bed Bath and Beyond to play with the registry gun.  Juls and I were already so tired from a long day and week, but after 2 hours in that place we were zonked.  However, I had plans to meet up with my friend, Kristin, and I really wanted to see her before I headed out of town.
Being the always carless girl that I now am, Juls drove me over to the restaurant to wait for Kristin.  Now let me rewind a second.  Kristin is a friend since my OU days- one of the Lancaster girls (along with Ruth, Sarah, and Carrie)- and we got very close when I lived in Columbus.  We were Double K Trouble; however, unfortunately we had a rift in my relocation and have finally got things patched up.  So this was our first time seeing one another since all the issues (that I caused…long story).  It was so great to see her.  I’m attending her wedding on May 15th in C-bus (a week before Julie’s) and I really wanted to see her before then.  We had a great time and I’m just so glad I got the chance to see her during this trip.  Kristin dropped me back off at Julie’s after dinner.
Even though we were both exhausted, Juls and I chatted for a bit before going to bed.  We always have such great talks, and feel comfortable talking to one another about anything and everything.  She is the (only) reason I have no regrets going to Kent State.  For those of you who don’t know us, Juls and I lost touch when I was at OU.  I always thought about her, especially when I traveled to Columbus, and believed that we’d eventually reconnect.  When Facebook became big during my senior year of at OU, I searched and searched for her- but no luck.  When I moved to Columbus, I decided to look her up again…and found her!!!!  Our friendship has gotten stronger since, and now I’m her Maid of Honor.
Saturday…we woke up around 8 am to go for a 4- mile run and do a 15-minute intense ab video.  Since I was missing my Fit Chicks Bootcamp class with Barbie, I figure that this was an adequate substitute.  After our workout, I took Julie’s car out to pick up my Starbucks, deciding on the way to pick up her bridal shower gift at Target.  Oh Target!  How I missed you!!  The Targets in Ohio & Pittsburgh as SO MUCH BETTER than the ones in Chicago- no question.  Since Juls wouldn’t get her own, I picked her up a yoga mat for her workouts.  Having to literally drag myself out of Target, I head back to Juls’ house to get ready.  The shower was fine, and I finally got to meet some of her other friends.  Afterwards a few of us went back to the house to hang out and talk Bachelorette Party- which will take place in Chicago the weekend of April 23rd.  Guess I’ll have to do some spring cleaning before then. 
Julie went out to dinner with Morgan & Laura, providing me with the opportunity to spend some time with my friend, Jen.  It was another great night out for me.  After dinner we went to kill some time at the Target in Easton (!).  If you don’t know what Easton is then I’ll assume you’ve never been to Ohio.  Easton was my favorite get-a-way during my OU days.  I’d escape there with Phill or Jackie on an occasional Saturday.  But when I moved to Columbus, I’d frequently head over there with the girls for some retail and/or Barnes & Noble therapy.  I miss those Easton days so much.  Anyways, while we were in Target, we ran into Jen’s dad!!  Now like Julie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson welcomed me into their family while I was living in C-bus.  I adore them.  I hadn’t seen him since I moved to Chicago so this was a truly, A.MAY.ZING. treat for me.  Unfortunately Mrs. Mac was out of town, but I’m looking forward to seeing them in May when I stay with them before Kristin’s wedding. 
After Target, Jen and I got a few drinks at Bar Louie and just caught up.  We’ve stayed in touch since my move, but it’s also so nice to talk about things in person.  Jen took me back to Julie’s afterwards.  Like the night before, Juls and I stayed up for a little bit talking.  I wish we lived together or at least in the same city.  Or friendship has really become so effortless!  Like many of my friends, she means the world to me.  I just want them all to be happy and I’m so glad that Julie is!!  It doesn’t hurt that her fiancee, Ken, is fantastic…wait…he deserves an A.MAY.ZING.  I’m so happy that they found one another.  They make me want what they have. 
I was so sad to see today come because I didn’t want the weekend to end.  Julie drove me to the downtown bus stop after treating me to my Starbucks breakfast (A.MAY.ZING.) and we said our goodbyes.  It’s easier to say goodbye to people when you know you’re going to see them soon.  The Megabus stop was near the Arena District, which isn’t too far away from my old apartment.  Sitting there, waiting and waiting some more for the bus, I was having flashbacks of my time in C-bus and thinking about if/when I’ll be back.  I talked to Julie about it this morning and how my priorities and views of life are changing.  I mean I couldn’t imagine not being in the same city as her when she has kids- which may not be too many years away.  That’s just one of the things that makes me want to move back to Columbus, and I do hope that it’s in my future plans. 
Okay, I’m rambling here which isn’t a surprise since I’m exhausted.  But let me say that our bus traveled down High Street towards OSU to pick up other passengers.  We rode right past my apartment on Buttles, which was bittersweet.  Part of me felt like I just left, but now being back in Chicago it feels like ancient history. 
I miss living in Columbus so much, but the truth is that I still have no regrets about moving to Chicago.  I have grown so much from moving here that I’d do it over again if I had to.  I just keep my fingers crossed (pingers, for Darlene) that I’ll end up back there one day.  Since my OU days, Ohio has felt like home to me.  And with this weekend as evidence, it always will.  ♥ K

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