Hello, Friend.

Hello, friend.

You’re welcome in my dorm room. I know it’s a bit of a mess: my roommate and I are two girls who don’t seem to have enough time before 7 or after 4 to do all the things we want to and keep everything in order. You’re welcome as you are, into our life as we are.

Work was tiring today. With one other girl, I was sent to wipe down rooms that had been used recently in a conference. The two of us got into a routine where wiping every surface, checking all drawers, adjusting the blinds, and changing the trash took two minutes per room. There were a lot of rooms.

(The funnest part is adjusting the chemical bottle’s nozzle so I spray everything from the centre of the room. I can shoot my coworkers pretty well that way too)

At the end of my shift, I was sent to clean cockroaches out of showers. Since my youngest days, I have understood that roaches vs. man is an age-old battle. There is no bug I am more willing to stomp on. These showers were full of large, dead roaches plus some large, not-so-dead roaches. I don’t know how they got there, but I know how they all left: mashed by my broom, tied in a plastic bag and thrown down the trash chute. Ugh.

After work, I found an empty fridge and an internal craving for fresh food. Walmart (or “Small-mart”, as Moody students affectionately know it) is most unreliable and unsatisfactory when it comes to produce.

So, I went on a treasure hunt.

I feel most like I have become a type of my Mom when I am scouting out back roads on my bike, trying to reach a new store to find bargains on food.

As I eased my way alongside rush hour traffic, several thoughts were going through my mind. First, I should probably get a helmet. Second, why wasn’t I at the beach with my roommate?

I passed two young black men who had swag, a snazzy car, and pants that weren’t serving their purpose. I politely looked away.

A large dusty chunk of building, unadorned with windows, turned out to be a bakery and for a few minutes I inhaled yeasty heaven instead of fumes.

I slowed down on my bike behind a horse-drawn tour carriage, several lanes of cars to my left. Through the grating of the bridge, I could look down and see a ferry boat teeming with people on the Chicago river. A man jogged past me on my right and a streetcar swerved around me. All these modes of transportation, so compacted together! Yes, a helmet might be a good idea.

My destination was Stanley’s: recommended to all who dwell in my corner of Chicago.

Walking through a store of fruit and vegetables was therapy for my soul. I explored, observed, handled, and chose enough items to fill my backpack. They added up to under $4, an incredible price for Chicago!!
(Moody students: Stanley’s is a 15-minute bike ride away.)

Romaine lettuce, two big carrots, three cucumbers, a peach, and two things of blueberries for under $4!
Romaine lettuce, two big carrots, three cucumbers, a peach, and two things of blueberries for under $4!

Now, as I type, I am enjoying my first large salad from the lettuce head (I may coax three out of it!). My new favourite way to eat salad is to empty a can of tuna onto it, drizzle oil and vinegar over it, and add spices. Mmmm….

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