When in Pennsylvania

Have you been waiting in anticipation to figure out WHERE I could have possibly gone after being in Hershey all week? No, I didn’t think so, either, so we’ll just let it out.

Obviously I had to go back to the ‘burgh!

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As soon as I found out I was going to be a mere 4-hour drive from my first home-away-from-home, I told everyone I could think of to make sure that they’d be around. I even convinced Erin to fly in from chilly New Hampshire!

We were really happy to be together again.

We were really happy to be reunited.

After finding her roaming around on campus and completely freaking out about being back, we remembered that we had a last-minute Friday Night Dinner to throw together. Off to Giant Eagle!

Erin works for Lindt at the moment, so we joke about our career rivalry sometimes, but I think I still got her trained…

Hershey love in Giant Eagle

Hershey love in Giant Eagle

Our next stop was to our friend Wes’s new place to 1. see what the hell everyone has been up to, and 2. make some delicious things! Apparently, Texas has worn off on me more than I thought it would because we chose to make my new favorite: fried pickles.

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And, I mean, if you have a bunch of pickle juice left over, might as well do some pickle juice shots, right? The Midwest boys were troopers and humored my request for something Southern.

Look at that concentration.

Look at that concentration.

We went bar hopping in the neighborhood of Bloomfield for the rest of the night, which was a first for me. With so many nooks and crannies, Pittsburgh neighborhoods leave a lot to be explored! I think I could have lived there for 8 years and still had things left to discover. (There’s my aside for why everyone should visit Pittsburgh at least once.)

The rest of the weekend was spent strolling through campus, eating our way through Pittsburgh’s quirky food offerings, and catching up with whoever we could find.

Pittsburgh popcorn: MUST have

Pittsburgh popcorn: MUST have

My go-to for anything Mediterranean. The place I got both of my tattoos is just left of this picture's frame!

My go-to for anything Mediterranean. The place I got both of my tattoos is just left of this picture’s frame!

Rain in Shadyside calls for a stop at Iron Cactus for happy hour.

Rain in Shadyside calls for a stop at Steel Cactus for happy hour.

Unsurprisingly, our happy "hour" turned into a happy marathon.

Unsurprisingly, our happy “hour” turned into a happy marathon.

I found an Abi!

I found an Abi!

It was strange enjoying the city from such a different perspective. Erin and I stayed with our friend, Nick, in South Side, so we didn’t have our own cozy apartment to go back to whenever we wanted. It was nice that we didn’t have to worry about classes or homework, but that meant that we also didn’t really have any purpose to be in Oakland, which was the center of our Universe for 4 years. That pushed us to try a lot of new places, which I hadn’t expected! It’s just an odd sensation feeling slightly out of place in a city where you belonged and called home.

The last activity before having to fly back to San Antone was to meet up with my friend, Alexis, to plan our trip to Peru and Chile!

Trip planning over coffee and baked goods has to be one of life's greatest pleasures.

Trip planning over coffee and baked goods has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Bold coffee fuels bold ideas.

Bold coffee fuels bold ideas.

We hit a point in our brainstorming when we kind of decided we would just wing it and do what we felt like once we got there, which is RIGHT when a girl sitting at a table behind us turned around to ask, “are you planning a trip to Peru? I travelled through there for 6 weeks. Do you want some suggestions?” LIFE SAVER! I love when strangers come out of nowhere and are awesome people.

After all that excitement, I had to grab Erin and head back to the airport. It felt like the weekend had flown by and we didn’t get everywhere we wanted to, but I was so appreciative of being able to get a different view on “my city” and spending time with some of my favorite people without any distractions. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my short time as an “adult”, it’s that mini trips will save your sanity!

Speaking of, next on the blog brag list is quite a bit more than just a mini trip. Back to South America we go!

– Alexa

If you actually listen to me, and go to Pittsburgh, here’s where I ate and drank my face off on this last trip that I’d definitely recommend:

Pittsburgh Popcorn
Steel Cactus
Franktuary
Espresso a Mano
Big Dog Coffee

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This may be a bit of a rant.

Hi. I’ve been pretty quiet lately, huh? At first, I thought it was because I didn’t have an interest in writing anymore. I just couldn’t make myself sit down and tell you about the amazing time I had being in Hershey, PA for the first time or the spectacular things I’ve done around San Antonio or the once-in-a-lifetime trip I took to Peru and Chile. They sound like pretty brag-worthy events, right? They were. And we’re pretty good at bragging on this blog about the awesome stuff that we do. Even so, I just didn’t get excited about chronicling those experiences to share with everyone.

Seriously, though... Peru has some cool things to look at.

Seriously, though… Peru has some cool things to look at.

I’ve had a list of “blog topics” piling up in a note on my phone. Things like…

  • What I actually do at work
  • Hipster San Antonio
  • Week in Hershey
  • Wine tasting in Fredericksburg, TX
  • Austin mini-excursions

There’s one at the top, though, that I think was holding me back from writing all of the others. It reads,

  • Transition from being college kids to real people – expectations vs. reality

When I first typed it in, the meaning was pretty light. I was still figuring out my job, wandering San Antonio, learning what kinds of trips a salary could actually buy me (or not buy me), and trying to find some new friends in this place.

All is not lost. People play volleyball here.

All is not lost. People play volleyball here.

The truth is… I’m not very happy. I can brag about events I’ve attended and places I’ve been, but if, at the end of the day, I’m not ecstatic about my life status, I can’t bring myself to feign enthusiasm about those things.

Obviously, the best way to express that is through the very public space that is the Internet because it feels more anonymous than the complaining I’ve already done to the people who know me well. Whatever. It feels like home.

I’ll lay it all out at once: My job isn’t glamorous. I’ve learned how miserable and rude people can be. I miss Pittsburgh. San Antonio is made of roads and strip malls (*sing* these are not some of my favorite things). I miss my friends. Set vacation days mean that gone are the months of roaming around a foreign country. Texas is hot as hell and full of conservative meat-eaters. It’s just… This life is not me.

Whine, whine, whine… #FirstWorldProblems. I’m spoiled. I know.

The honest truth is that I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunities that I was given over the past year. I mean, I have a job. Not everyone my age can say that. Hershey has fueled my chocolate addiction for years, and now its taking a chance by bringing me in as one of its own.

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Try to find me!

I’ve moved across the country and met people that I hope to know for the rest of my life. I have learned, from my experiences here, what I truly want and need to be happy, and now I’m on a mission to get it.

Being thrown into “the real world” has probably been the biggest culture shock of my life, which you know is really saying something. Without the doubts and worries and hard days, though, I’d have nothing pushing me forward into the next big thing. Patience is being forced upon me, which isn’t a very “millenial” trait to have, but it’ll pay off. OR AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN TOLD. (Patience is hard, y’all.)

Anyway, my rant’s over. I apologize for the stretch of silence. Now that I’ve been about as open as I can be about the current situation, I’m hoping to move on to the usual pretty pictures and airy anecdotes. If anyone has some sage life advice they’d like to throw my way, though, feel free!

– Alexa