Tag Archives: travel

The Bunkhouse

This past week, my sister and I drove to Idaho to pick up our other sister and cousin from the camp where they worked this summer. We intentionally made the entire trip flexible. However, we still needed a place to stay at night so once we decided on Mount Rushmore as a good stopping area, I got on my phone and found us a place to crash. We’re a bunch of students. Cheap = good. So I found us a bunkhouse where they provide little cabins with bunk beds and a shared shower house. Bring your own bedding. 

For the record, I did ask the others for their input. The bunkhouse looked fine online. I booked it and received an e-mail reminding me to bring my own bedding. 

Check-in supposedly ended at 9 pm. We planned to arrive by 8:30. I got a call at 7:30 from the manager informing me she was going home and that she’d text me the code to get into our cabin. Also, did I get the message that they did not provide bedding? (I did.)

We arrived in the dark. And by arrived I mean exited the freeway, drove for fifteen minutes on abandoned back country roads, and turned too early on the dimly lit road to the cabins. If you can call it a road. No obvious parking lot existed so even after finding the correct turn we drove on the grass to reach our cabin. 

The place was abandoned. Not another car to be seen. 

Then we entered the cabin. To quote my sister, “I did not need to check for bed bugs because I could already see the dead bugs all over the mattress.” 

Instead of a four bed bunkhouse like we expected, we got a bunk with two queen size mattresses. We did not mind sharing, but the website definitely promised four. And it wasn’t just sharing with one another. We apparently were supposed to share with an entire graveyard of moths, beetles, and spiders. 

So many spiders. I’m not afraid to kill an arachnid but even I found the spider guarding our cabin intimidating. He was easily the size of a quarter. 

Some (I won’t name names) vowed to sleep in the van. I protested that we paid for the cabin so by golly we should use it! Anyway, we were leaving early the next morning. A few hours wouldn’t hurt us. 

We then went to the shower house. At first glance, it at least appeared clean. Second glance revealed even more bugs than the cabin. Live crickets and dead beetles hung out in the sink. Spiders clung to the rafters. But what finally broke me were the moths. 

The moths lived in the toilets. 

Imagine doing your business and all of a sudden a moth comes up from between your legs. Or reaching for toilet paper and a moth flutters out with the paper. I screamed. My sisters screamed. My cousin probably screamed. 

Lest you think us heartless to our fellow campers, remember, there were no other guests. And the staff all left way early. 

I am not going to lie. We ran back to our cabin, grabbed our stuff, dodged the giant watch-spider, and drove like a bat out of hell. No destination needed. Just out.

The next place we stayed at had a hot tub and continental breakfast.

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Talking About Thailand (With My Prof)

For those of you who followed this blog over the last 7 months, you know Thailand was not everything I expected. It was hard. The school did not run a great program. I never got WiFi or library access. Classes ended in May but my last final was due July 25th.

I tried explaining all this to my professor who runs the program. In fact, I wrote a list before meeting with him so I would make sure he knew exactly what I experienced. 

It went something like this:

Me: “It was very challenging. They would change the classroom without warning, cancel class randomly, change the schedule often….”

Prof: “Sounds like a very challenging experience. But what a great opportunity to experience Thailand!”

Me: “Yes, traffic was terrible. Taxi drivers constantly cheated me. My friend also studying abroad would compare notes with me, but since she was originally from Thailand, she did not experience half of what I experienced.”

Prof: “But it sounds like you made friends!”

Me: “I made, like, three friends.”

Prof: “What an opportunity for growth! So glad you had a good time.”

Me: “I did not have a good time. It was very challenging.”

Prof: “But you got to see lots of Thailand, right?”

Me: “It was very hard to schedule times to travel because the school kept changing when classes were.”

Prof: “Isn’t that just like Thai culture? What an experience. So, what kind of student should we send next?”

Me: “One that can somehow deal with the constantly changing schedule and still be organized enough to keep track of when things come due because no one will them. I don’t think you’ll find that person in law school.”

Prof: “Great! I will be sure to put them in touch.”

…I tried.


25: A Year In Review

I am spending my last day as a 25-year-old working on a Law & Information Technology final for a class that ended in May. It feels oddly symbolic–and utterly depressing. 

I also work today. This too feels symbolic. I spent most of the first half of my year in this office crafting my law review note and trying to squeeze work hours in while juggling twenty other commitments. 

Neither memory leaves me feeling particularly joyful. 25 is not a year I would willingly repeat. 

Colorado, Madison, Thailand, Madison some more. The real takeaway I see from 25 is that the second year of law school is somehow more terrible than first year. And I didn’t even think that was possible. 

I suppose I grew as a writer and traveler this past year. I overcame a lot. I think I also failed a lot. Or at least I fell flat on my face more times than I care to count. 

I am not sure what hopes to have for 26. It will cover one more year of law school. It feels a bit like one more year to ‘get through,’ which I don’t want to be the case. I love birthdays because they mean a new start. But with 2L year still nipping at my heels and 3L year looming ahead, I feel more braced than expectant. 

But you know what? Here is to 26. As my favorite poet, Tanner Olson, says: hope doesn’t let the story end.

And another year of law school is not the end of the story. So, that is how I want to approach 26. Hopeful. Even if I am not really sure what to hope for. Because it represents a new year and a new chance to kick law school’s butt. Or at least try not to let it totally kick mine. 


Wisconsin’s Rainy Season

Theoretically, my last few months in Thailand overlapped with the rainy season in southeast Asia. In reality, it rained maybe twice that I was aware of. (Though I think I slept through some rain-showers at night.) 

Wisconsin weather apparently has taken it as a personal mission to give me allllll the rain I missed.

Sorry, fellow Wisconsinites.

Today while driving home I got caught in a rainstorm. It was one of those downpours where drivers (including myself) flip on the hazards and pull to the shoulder of the road to await better visibility. 

But it was worth it because at the same time, the most amazing double rainbow filled the sky. I am pretty sure it ended in the field next to the road we were all on. I wish I could have taken pictures, but, you know, I figured staying alive and keeping my eyes on the road sounded like a better plan. But truly, it was amazing. 


Commute

In theory, living with my parents comes with several perks. I get to see my family every day, not worry about paying rent, eat cooked meals. What’s not to love? 

My daily commute, that is what.

Since my drive falls during rush hour, I am on the road anywhere from 3 to 4 hours on any given day getting to and from work. 

It was much worse before I got glasses. I’d squint into the darkening sky and feel tired and cranky. Then I got glasses and everything got better. (No, seriously, lack of eye strain is the BEST. #Iloveglasses)

The other perk of my job is that my boss doesn’t have me come when he is on vacation. And as he is mostly retired, he goes on vacation a lot. I have yet to go more than 3 days driving in at a time. 

Anyway, I’m apartment hunting and plotting my return to Madison. Until then, I’m grateful for:

  • glasses
  • vehicles that run
  • family 
  • an awesome job 
  • retired bosses

 

 


Home Sweet Home

And so the plane touched down and I arrived back in the United States after five months away. My Mom and sister met me at the airport. I was so happy to be back I almost kissed the ground. 

And then I remembered, I was in Chicago. 

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12 Hours Off

My last day, I met up with a friend for a quick lunch before heading to the airport. My flight left at 6 pm. Or so I thought. 

Turns out, in my eagerness to leave Bangkok, I somehow confused the times. I didn’t leave till 6 am the next day. 

Which left me a whole night with no place to go and three huge suitcases. 

Thankfully, I made this discovery at lunch and my friend kindly offered to let me crash at her apartment. Thailand, as per usual, was not going to let me go without a traffic jam. We hailed a taxi for the 40 minute trip to her apartment…

And arrived 3 hours later. 

It ended up working out, however. My friend helped me repack my suitcases and we watched movies and walked around her local mall. She was flying out a week later also to move back home to the U.S. so it was a day of goodbyes for both of us. 

I made it to the airport by 2 am and managed to stay awake till I boarded my flight.

It all feels very symbolic, in a way. I showed up too early. A friend reached out her hand and helped pull me out of my confusion and anxiety. Traffic made things messy. It all worked out in the end. 

And that it did. It all worked out in the end.