29 October 2012

I went to Iowa!

Downtown Iowa City

I really, really liked the people I spent four months with in Rome. We saw each other every day and basically created a family. Then, after four months we flew back across the Atlantic; hoping we’d all see each other again someday… but you never know.
Four of my favorite people at AUR happened to go to the University of Iowa. They didn’t know each other before the semester, but we all clicked. Five months away from Katie, Lauren and Andy were five months too many. So, I flew to Iowa City for the weekend.
Iowa City is a college town through and through, a lot like Athens. You’ll find a thriving downtown, full of unique shops and eateries. Hopefully a thriving arts scene, and an energy that only comes from being home to 30,000 or so 18-22 year olds. Iowa City has it all.

If you’re paying attention to the news, you know we have a pretty major election coming up in about ten days. Iowa’s a swing state, and a pretty damn important one at that. LITERALLY every other television commercial supported either Obama or Romney. Volunteers gathered in the streets asking passer-by’s if they had voted, were voting, planning on voting; it was insane. The President spoke on campus about two weeks before I visited. Wonder how well that’d go over at UGA.

Speaking of Georgia, I love you but I was SURE tired of having to explain why I say “y’all” like it’s no big deal. Conversations would go something like this:

Me: blah blah blah y’all blah blah
Other: Wait, did you just say y’all? Where are you from? Why are you here?
      Me: I’m from Georgia, visiting some friends I met studying abroad.
      Other: Wait so like, does everyone in Georgia say y’all? I don’t get it.
      Me: Yeah, a lot of people say it. Is it really that big of a deal?
      Other: I mean I don’t know anyone who says y’all.

Probably had some form of that conversation about twenty times but the people were great. My friends are great!
Katie, her Roommates and me!
Plus, there was football. The Iowa-Penn State game was a big game and the city was rowdy. Iowa lost pretty bad, but they certainly won the party. Late Friday night, the Iowa Marching Band paraded through the streets for the bar-goers.
Iowa River Tailgate
We tailgated along the Iowa River, listened Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean and played “bags”. In the Peach State, we call it Cornhole. Just another fun fact.
The entire weekend was incredible. I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to see my friends and experience their world in Iowa City.

Five months felt like five minutes. Y’all come south for winter!


04 October 2012

College & Pets: Great Idea

It's been proven that pets are good for your health. Depressed? Get a dog. They won't let you stay in bed all day. Because we're big travelers, my family never adopted a pup because it would be a big burden. Instead, we stuck with cats. One cat in particular. Oreo was quite a kitty. His domain extended for about a half mile around our house. He would "bark" at bugs and brought us "presents" weekly, including a lizard on Mother's Day and two bunnies in the week before Easter. He was a great cat. When we were sad or sick, he would stay nearby. They just know. Our new guy, Ollie (cute pictures!!), does the same thing. He's fiesty. He loves biting feet but when I'm bummed, he's a good buddy.
But I'm not fighting the facts here: dogs are better choice in the pet category if you can devote the time. They have more personality. They'll let you dress them in cute little outfits (not that I agree with it) and there's a reason cat parks don't exist. They would be so boring.

College is hard. As students, we go from being taken care of by family, to taking care of ourselves for the first couple of years, then getting to the point where we kinda want something to take care of. Crazy cycle, huh? Ollie's still a kitten and I personally believe he was devestated when my sister & I left for college. So, when my parents headed to the beach for two weeks, I offered to bring him to Athens for his own little 'vacation'.

Ollie loves Athens, or more specifically, my house in Athens. Yes, he's still biting but I've come home every day this week to a sleepy-eyed kitty and it's made me so happy. Not that things haven't been going well. I'm happier than ever. But, there are so many animals that need a great homes and shelters are overwhelmed. It's devastating to know those animals could make people as happy as Ollie makes me, but only if it's something agreed upon by roommates. Living together can be difficult enough. Throwing another life into the mix can be downright tricky. But, when it works, it's great. I don't want him to leave!