This is AJ. He’s nearly two and he says, “Oh snap! Mariel’s back in the US errybody!”
I wasn’t going to post a Tourist Tuesday today, but the one thing I should know by now is that every time I come back to the US and see people, everybody wants a shout out. So here it is, part 1 one of my adventures back in the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia).
Ryan and I arrived on Friday and immediately went to CVS so I could buy giant bottles of Dayquil and Nyquil and so he could get a Gatorade. We marveled at the coldness of the Gatorade and the large size of everything. We then walked over to a nearby Mexican restaurant and got the most giant basket of chips, which they refilled when we ate them all. I love America and the refills. Speaking of food – we have been eating well. We went to Bon Chon, which is a delicious Korean fried chicken place. I have never tasted crispier skin. Amazing. I also bought Tagalongs from some Girl Scouts outside of the super market. I would’ve bought more but, I didn’t have any more cash – and then I found out Ryan was holding out and had more cash. But, it was ok because we also have Berger cookies, which are super fudgey cookies made in Baltimore. And yesterday my friends gave me a bag of crab chips – so to reiterate, I’m eating well (and by well I mean I’m eating tasty, not healthy).
Now I have done some other things besides eat. The main reason I’m here this week is for my best friend Mala’s wedding this coming Saturday. Her bridal shower was this past Saturday because her first one got snowed out. Needless to say, I was glad her first one was canceled because then I got to attend! Unfortunately, I behaved like a food blogger and only took pictures of the food at her bridal shower and I took no photos of people. Oops. But, the shower was really lovely especially because I got to hang out with Mala and catch up with my college friends Jackie, Kim, Lynn, and Norma. It was fun to tell old stories and hear new stories about babies and houses and running half marathons in the rain. I also tried on my sari for Mala and she and her sister helped me pin it. For the actual wedding, I’ll be sure to take picture of the sari and not just the food. Speaking of food, on Sunday we had brunch with my parents. We went to a nearby diner and my dad had French toast with bread that was an inch thick! It was astounding.
Yesterday I drove to Maryland to spend the day with my friends Emily, Emily, Kelly, Lisa, and Rachel. They are my oldest friends and I’ve known them for over twenty years. We went to my friend Emily’s house, and it’s her son AJ who is at the top of the post. I won that kid over pretty well thanks to all my experience at the Science Museum. I made a bubble carousel, which also impressed the grown ups, and I made him a house made out of letter tiles. Also I got in his tiny tent that has a ball pit in it, and he thought that was pretty hilarious.
But, most importantly, I got to see my friends. We sat around all day and talked. We also went on a short walk and talked. Ryan had said to me that when you’re a kid, you never understand why adults have so much fun just sitting around together, but now that we are adults it’s easy to see that it’s fun just to be together and laugh – you don’t always have to do something.
To be honest, it’s been both nice and weird to be back here. I know how to get around, I have favorite restaurants, and everything feels familiar. At the same time, it feels a little weird. I’m staying in a hotel less than half a mile from where I used to live. I’m driving a lot. And all the buildings are so new and things are so clean and spacious. It feels foreign from what feels like home now. It was jarring to feel both like I belong and like I don’t. But, spending time with my friends and family felt wonderful and like I still have a home here even if I don’t have an address. It’s cheesy I know, but I liked seeing that I can have a roots in two places.