Heyy everyone! ❀
My summer of traveling continues, and this week I’ve been in MICHIGAN! I’m here visiting my aunt and uncle. It’s my first time out here, and Michigan is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. I’m an Austinite who grew up on the east coast, traveled to the Bay Area as a young teen; visited North Carolina, Costa Rica, Florida, and Nashville; lived in Hawaii, and recently went to Montreal, Canada. Out of all those places, I can’t compare the midwest to any of them. It is totally its own thing. The pace of life is different; the culture, vibe, people, landscape, weather, and attitudes are specific to this part of America. And I finally got to see it for myself!
On my first day, I had a crazy morning of travel…
…and did two things I’ve never done before.
I MISSED MY FIRST FLIGHT!!
And I LEFT MY LAPTOP AT TSA!!
I got up at 6 and headed to the airport with a little over an hour before my 8:30 AM flight. Since it was a Wednesday and Austin has the chillest little airport ever, I didn’t worry about getting there too early. But they changed the time of my first flight, so I technically wasn’t within one hour of the flight and was locked out!! I was put on another flight, which included a second layover in Houston.
“You better run,” the United rep said. “Your flight is boarding basically the second you get through security.”
I would rather run than wait around for hours, so I smiled and ran off with my unwieldy carry-on duffel and backpack. I made it through security, and down to my gate. I was in line with my group to board when I saw a girl rearranging her backpack and jamming her laptop inside. I instinctively reached to my backpack to feel the hardness of my laptop case against me, and it wasn’t there. The color drained out of my face as I got off line and ran towards TSA.
I’ve got to say, all the work I’ve been doing in therapy has really been paying off. I wasn’t even panicking! I didn’t let myself think about if it wasn’t there. I just dragged my bag behind me and told myself it would all be okay no matter what.
“SKY BLUE LAPTOP?” I sputtered to the TSA agents. They pointed me to a guy behind a comically huge podium. He asked for my ID and said they’d paged me, but my name is a hard one to hear over loudspeakers (…and while you’re listening to a podcast. Oops.) I thanked them profusely, carefully put my laptop into its spot, and ran back to my gate. My group wasn’t even boarding yet. I was shaken, but soooo glad it all worked out.
Three flights later, I landed in the Grand Rapids airport. It’s even smaller than Austin’s! I love a small airport. I’ll take West Palm over Fort Lauderdale any day.
My aunt met me as close as she was allowed, which really made my day all better. We chatted the whole way home, with her taking the lead. Introverts exhausted by travel are often grateful for extraverts with lots of stories. We ate cheese and crackers outside at her place, and then went for dinner when my uncle got home.
We went to Mangiamo’s (I think) and ate outside. The weather was PERFECT! The restaurant was in a beautiful old building that we took a tour of first.
I was feeling a little sick after all those flights (and the men I was seated next to who kept asking if if they’ve met me before because I look familiar or if I’d be their tour guide around Austin if they ever visit- hard pass, bro, let me read 🙄), so I just had soup and salad.
However, I did have room for ice cream. The ice cream shop was in walking distance, and they even had vegan options! It was a cute neighborhood in Grand Rapids, with a lot of old buildings. Nothing in Austin is that old. Our old stuff is like 1970s Americana instead of 1870s Colonials.
I had smores ice cream, which you would think would be an easy call, BUT this place had lots of tempting flavors, like Van’s Donuts, which is a local donut place.
I’m still kind of regretting not getting D’ough, which looks like straight cookie dough 😍.
I read two books while traveling, walked four miles through Chicago O’Hare (my second least favorite airport after Orlando 👿), and my bed was niiiice and comfortable. Between my long day and the soothing song of summer cicadas outside my windows, I was asleep in no time.
Day two will be up tomorrow! Midwest adventures continue. And you can check out my Montreal adventure here.