Chimmies

Argentina has come to Fitchburg, WI. Recently, an argentine sandwich shop named Chimmies opened near my house. The menu isn’t extensive, but my parents were both quite pleased with their sandwiches; I stuck with the humita empanada (corn). The filling was quite different from the humita empanadas from good old Lo de Fercha, but it was still very tasty. They seemed to be fried, but were not the least bit greasy, and were nice and crunchy. Overall, definitely a place to visit again!

Empanadas (humita and beef)!

Empanadas (humita and beef)!

– Maddy

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When Hell Freezes Over

Abi and I just got back from a trip to southern California (that post is in the works), and it’s in the 80s and sunny today in San Antonio (sorry to brag), BUT it’s still February = many of you reading this are chilling. Literally. I haven’t written in forever, so I thought I’d use a wintery, icy theme to catch up on everything big that’s happened the past few months.

So, the question is: WHAT DOES ONE DO IN SAN ANTONIO WHEN IT’S COLD?

Let me tell you.

1. Escape to Austin with your roommate from college and warm up with spicy fried pickles and beer at Banger’s on Rainey Street.

You’re right, that doesn’t answer the “what to do in San Antonio” question, but I’m getting there.

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Skeptical.

Skeptical.

2. Grab your co-worker, go out on Sixth Street, and continue the weird pickle theme by making your East Coast roomie try pickle juice shots for the first time ever.

Fairy lights make you forget it's windy and freezing. For a second.

Fairy lights make you forget it’s windy and freezing. For a second.

My minions

My minions

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I told you they were real!

3. On your way back from Austin the next day, grab some wood-fired coffee and breakfast tacos from Summermoon, then get a hat and a hug at Buc-ee’s.

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4. Attempt to sightsee in downtown San Antonio.

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Alamo drive-by

Alamo drive-by

5. Give up, and ummmm… drink some more!

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SoHo and Barriba Cantina are both highly recommended. By me. Take that for what it’s worth.

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6. Buy some touristy drug rugs on the Riverwalk, and hang out like it’s a Sunday before classes start again.

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7. Exchange a friend for a mommy, and do pretty much the same thing all over!

San Antonio, your margaritas are definitely a redeeming quality. My mom agrees.

San Antonio, your margaritas are definitely a redeeming quality. My mom agrees.

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This time, step it up a notch, and get spiked coffee at Halcyon, which is my true love.

Get some boots to keep them jeans out of the slush!

Get some boots to keep them jeans out of the slush!

8. Do that whole celebrating Christmas thing. That’ll make you all warm and fuzzy.

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The Gristmill in Gruene, TX is extra adorable for the holidays!

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9. Throw New Year’s in there, too, while you’re at it.

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10. Finally, volunteer locally to get the feel-goods flowing and help out some people in need.

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Part of Hershey’s Austin district helped out at Morgan’s Wonderland!

As you can see, the list gets a little more wholesome towards the end, but let’s be real, there’s a reason why chilly Russians are stereotyped as big drinkers. San Antonio doesn’t usually have an excuse, but yesterday was National Margarita Day, at least! Stay warm, y’all!

– Alexa

Inspired

Disclaimer: This post is slightly lengthy and only moderately content-filled until the end. If you’re short on time, I’d suggest reading the latter part.

It’s amazing how many blog posts I write; in my head, at 5:00 am, that is. Clearly, most of them never see the light of day. This one did. So, I realized that I wrote about my whole cancer saga, but it was a completely picture-less post. And honestly, what’s a post without pictures? Well, what kind of picture could I have included? Why, a before and after shot! And please note, this should be considered a great honor as the after picture is one of very few (eg. can count on one hand) pictures I’ve allowed to be taken of me since the pre-cancer days.

Before

Before


After

After

Obviously some things have changed, but it’s still me. I’ll definitely try to keep the weight off, but my hair could start coming back a little faster… any day now, any day. The creeper, lazy eye-like situation that I have going on is almost certainly temporary; but while it’s still around I get to enjoy double vision and scaring small children; okay, the second part of that I actually do sometimes enjoy. Also, note the necklace in the after picture – I wear it almost anywhere I go as it’s made with my sister’s ashes. This may seem creepy to some – and rightfully so – but it really does help me feel closer to her. To each his own, I suppose.

In the after picture I’m clearly smiling, but that’s mostly just because that’s what people tend to do; and because I wanted to show that I still have all my teeth. Yeah, apparently you can lose those from cancer too. I got a small chip from the breathing tube in my first surgery, but that I can handle.

Anyway, another reason I’m smiling is because I couldn’t think of an expression that properly conveyed sheer and utter boredom. I know that almost the entire country is dealing with lots of below-average temperatures, but let me remind you that I’m in WI. When I went to bed last night the “real feel” was -18, which is pretty representative of how it’s been. The issue is, since it’s so cold, I am even less motivated than normal to leave the house; but then there’s not much to do in the house. Enter: hibernation. Why leave the house or even go downstairs when I have a comfy queen bed with flannel sheets, fleece blankets, and a down comforter with flannel cover? I can’t think of many reasons. But then I get bored. Obviously. I am, after all, writing a post that talks about the weather, for goodness sake.

Besides the cold, I also get bored because there’s not much that I can do at the moment. I went shopping the other day, and just a few hours of standing and walking had me just about falling asleep at the dinner table. Good thing I’ve mastered the art of online shopping! I had tried rock climbing maybe 2 months ago, but found I was so much weaker than when I was rock climbing before that I just got discouraged. I did make it to the top of a wall, at least.

Like I said, the top of a wall...

Like I said, the top of a wall…

What I can do, and have been doing, to pass time is read or watch TV and movies. Consequently, though I may be back, future posts from me will probably be few and far between, since I think the only thing I could write might be a movie review or the like, and there are already plenty of those sites.

Now, there was actually something slightly more interesting (I hope) that inspired me to write this post. I was watching a TV show (shocker), and the people were at a coffee shop for a spoken word open mic night. I’m not sure if all of you are familiar with this type of thing, but my high school used to have some amazing slam poets (spoken word can also be called slam poetry) that we’d occasionally see perform during fine arts week, or the like. It’s definitely something to look up because, if done well, it’s “amazeballs” (to quote one of the judges on The Voice). So before my 5:00 am mental blogging began, I was having a 4:30 am mental poetry slam. Now try not to judge too harshly (or harshly at all, really), as I’m not even good at normal poetry, but I thought I’d share something I came up with. Just try reading it with a little rhythm for the slam poetry effect.

C-A-N-C-E-R. Cancer.
That six letter word we’re all familiar with. Right?
Maybe not.
Breast cancer, lung cancer, okay.
But have you heard of Medulloblastoma?
I’m one of the lucky ones, they say.
It’s a treatable cancer – I’ll survive.
But will I?
I lose my hair.
I lose some weight.
With over 20 pills a day,
I’m just glad insurance has to pay.
At first, I’m fine.
But it’s a thin line.
The longer it goes,
the harder it gets.
I start to think:
Can I do this? Really?
And the answer is
That it doesn’t matter if I can
I have to do this.
We lost my sister
To a disease that’s arguably worse than cancer;
It just doesn’t get the same attention.
But she’s gone, and I’m here,
So I have to fight, push past the fear.
But I’ll tell you dear,
I make no promises.
Finally, the light is here –
The end is near.
I survived.
And so can you.

Let me just say that all 3 versions I came up with during my mental open mic night were better, but they were gone long before I even found a pen. Anyway, it’s a start; not that I’d ever actually get up and perform somewhere, but maybe this is the beginning of a budding poetry hobby. Maybe.
Still, just remembering some of the slam poets from my high school gives me goose bumps because they were so good and so powerful. In case you don’t feel like searching YouTube yourself, I’ve posted a sample below so you can see how it’s really done. Watch it. Now. Do it. The video is a guy performing at my old high school, but the ones I remember were even better. I was disappointed with the videos I could find online, so if you really want to experience some spoken word, keep a lookout for any poetry slams in your area – whether you agree with the performers’ messages or not, you won’t regret going – promise!

Note: This was only working on my phone (and not my computer) for some reason, so if you have issues too, it’s a YouTube video called “gustavo manuel meneses spoken word fine arts week”

– Maddy

#ACL

Shelling out for a weekend pass to Austin City Limits tickets looks like this…

3 whole days will be so worth all the money!

3 whole days will be so worth all the money!

Well, work kind of eliminates Friday, so we might as well show up in Austin late and just go out, huh? The usual…

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Beer.

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Friends.

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Dance.

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Pizza.

Then, WOO! Saturday! Full day of music and awesomeness ahead.

But there are adorable dogs here. Let's just hang out for a sec.

But there are adorable dogs here. Let’s just hang out for a sec.

LOL let's try on funny hats, too.

LOL let’s try on funny hats, too.

Ok, ok… to Zilker Park we go.

Cue: pedicab ride because we’re lazy.

MADE IT!

This is generally how I remember the rest of it…

Lots of space.

Lots of people. Big stages.

Lots of people. Big stages.

Selfies.

Selfies.

Finding people we know via the huge MSU flag. Why do I know more MSU alumni than Pitt people here?

Finding people we know via the huge MSU flag. Why do I know more MSU alumni than Pitt people here?

Almost getting jabbed in the face with the huge MSU flag.

Almost getting jabbed in the face with the huge MSU flag.

So, that was kind of a mess. Good thing there’s still Sunday.

OH WAIT, it rained so much that the last day got cancelled.

Sulk in bed forever.

Sulk in bed forever.

Note to self: consider potential outside factors that might decrease the value of expensive music festival tickets.*

*Probably still worth it, though.

– Alexa

Rural Texas Mondays

Just another Monday out in the boonies…

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I couldn’t figure out why I was so enchanted with the wide open spaces and tiny barbed wire-wrapped farms that I was passing every week, since that’s kind of where I come from, but I think I’ve actually gotten used to cities. This whole blog has been (mostly) about the big, bad, urban metropolises we’ve ventured to and tried to figure out. I think it’s about time that I infuse some country landscapes into all that glass and concrete.

Consider this your first official installment.

– Alexa

MVM: Wayland

I had promised myself that I was going to blog more since Alexa and Abi are busy seeing the sites in Europe and I’m doing pretty much nothing, but let’s face it: I’ve never been a very reliable blogger.
Anyway, you may or may not know that my hometown, Madison, WI holds a Brat Fest every year over Memorial Day weekend; this fest almost always sets the world record for brats sold (beating their record from the previous year). They also offer veggie brats, so I can join in on all the excitement too! I was looking at the schedule for this year’s fest, and realized that a band I recently discovered and quite like is going to be performing! I figured I should look at a little more of their music before seeing them live, and in doing so I found out that a lot of their songs are in Spanish (unless there is a Spanish band with the same name, which is probable – this Wayland is from MI, so it seems unlikely that they have an almost entirely Spanish album)! Even if they are different, I like both. I figured I’d share one of their Spanish songs with all of you, but couldn’t find a video for one, so here’s one of their songs in English (as I’ve mentioned, they are probably two separate bands, I couldn’t find out online, but I’ll still share an English song):

Note: I found the Spanish songs on Spotify (an awesome app that everyone should have), so if you’d like to hear one (and you should), you can download Spotify 🙂

-Maddy

Update: I found one site that makes me believe they may actually be the same band after all, but I’m still not sure about anything… hopefully I’ll figure it out when I see them live!

This Will Be the Summer of…

This summer will be the beginning of a new chapter in our lives (cheesy, but true), so what better way to start than to make a list of things we hope to work on over the next few months? It’s served us well in the past, and we’re currently clinging to any shred of familiarity as things start getting crazy/ending/changing/being terrifying, so here goes…

Abi’s

1. Travel – You lot already know about the Euro trip we have planned for May, and luckily I have a few other places I hope to visit this summer. First off, my roomie Cara is getting married in June, so I’ll be spending a long weekend outside Philadelphia as a bridesmaid in her wedding! It will be a nice little catch-up with some college friends after we graduate. Also, I’m crossing my fingers I’ll be able visit a brand new city – my road-trip buddy, Kristin, is interning in Boston this summer!

2. Take up skateboarding – This one came out of the blue, but I recently had the urge to skateboard and I have no idea why. My brother left his old one in the basement so why not take a whack at it, right? This could go two ways: it will become my new mode of transport (once I can stay on it for more than 10 feet) or I will forget about it next week. Either way, skateboarding is pretty sweet.

Leo vs The Skateboard

Leo vs The Skateboard

3. Learn guitar – Or maybe the ukulele (which, on second thought, would actually require me to have a ukulele), but I just feel like learning a new instrument. I tried to learn guitar a few years ago but, yeah, that didn’t last for too long. I guess if this fails then piano and violin will have to be enough.

4. Keep up with the exercise – After playing sports in high school, I kind of fell off the exercising bandwagon …until this year! Cara and I joined a cycling class this past fall and that has kind of evolved into us going to the gym about 3 days a week, which was required so we could actually keep up with cycling 20 miles each class. I don’t know what we expected exactly, but man was that first class a wake-up call. Now, with a wedding I’m required to look good for, and a 3-week long walking adventure across Europe, I have the motivation to stick with my routine. As long as I find an exercise buddy this summer (heyyyyy, Alexa) then keeping it up should be a piece of cake.

Alexa’s

1. Figure myself out – My first goal, above all things at the moment, is to figure out what I want to do and where I want to be. Pretty important details, huh? College is all about finding yourself and whatnot (I did some of that), but then SURPRISE! 4 years isn’t a long time. I have a few options, which I’m thankful for, but I’ve officially caught commitmentphobia. Why is college making me leave? Honestly, my biggest hope is that I get to stay in Pittsburgh a while because I’ve realized I don’t actually know it that well. Which leads me to…

2. Roam – As mentioned 13508123 times, WE’RE GOING TO EUROPE! So, yeah, that’ll be cool. I still don’t actually believe it, but I’m sure I will once we land in Dublin. I kind of want this goal to be an addition to the rest of my life, though. No matter where I am, I want to approach life as a tourist. If I get so lucky to stay in the ‘burgh for another couple of years, I plan on exploring every nook and cranny that I passed over while trying to not be poor and get decent grades. If I end up somewhere else, then I really will be a tourist for a while, and that will make achieving this mindset that much easier.

This weekend’s exploring: Our own campus!

3. Enjoy the down time… Or eliminate it – The biggest plus I’ve heard about not being in school anymore is that your time spent not working is truly your own. There’s no lingering guilt that you should be squeezing in some extra hours studying or, god forbid, getting a jump start on a paper. It seems like these days, I do everything I can to avoid that feeling by doing the complete opposite of anything even academically related, but I think I’m soon going to need some hobbies. I want to get back into playing volleyball again in some form, like I did all through junior high and high school. Do you have any other suggestions? Am I a budding amateur tattoo artist, perhaps?

Professional orchard skipper. Yeah. I can do that.

Professional orchard skipper. Yeah. I can do that.

4. Whip Abi into shape – I just like her #4, and I like not being fat, so I’m going to go with that. I’ve always hated running, but I’ve also never tried hard enough to get much better at it. Maybe this is my summer.

5. Get better at appreciating music – As you may have noticed, my MVM posts have fallen off the map (thanks for picking up some slack, chicas). I suck at finding and/or listening to new music. Exhibit A: I’m pretty sure the majority of what plays on my iPod is exactly the same as what I listened to while we were in Argentina – great for reliving memories; bad for being super hip and current. Well, also bad because no one I listened to in Argentina would be doing a show around here anytime soon. Again, any suggestions? This is a serious cry for help! I may start losing friends if I play “Danza Kuduro” one more time.

How about YOU? Any exciting plans for the summer? Let us know!

-Abi & Alexa