After a flirtation with disaster in the form of bleach which I had mistaken for laundry detergent, I decided to head out into the city. The rain was a little miserable, but I nevertheless dedicated the day to shopping and saying my goodbyes to Milan. I visited some of my favorite spots, like H&M, and another H&M, and a kebab shop, and Milano Centrale, and a pizza shop next to Milano Centrale where Dave and I once considered eating before deciding it was too expensive. That last one isn't really one of my favorites.
That night, I waited for Sarah at the train station with a bag of M&Ms and an extra Metro ticket so she wouldn't have the trouble getting to the flat that I had. We stayed up late that night, packing all our stuff up and reminiscing. The next morning, I snuck into a hotel down the street to call a cab to take me to the airport. Nearly bought my mother a Missoni scarf with all my tens and twenties, but didn't, because I honestly think they're a bit ugly; flew to Madrid, ate real tortilla with mayo and green peppers; watched a bunch of Mad Men episodes; flew to New York. Around this time I started to have Europe withdrawals. And Europe withdrawals felt strangely like the flu.
The plane was late to New York, but I made it to my hotel by ten or so. While it was probably the smallest hotel room I've ever set foot in, it had plenty of amenities, great climate control, many electrical outlets, and a massive bed. Plus a nice tv. It would have been nice to stay a second night, but $130 a night just seemed like too much after what I've become accustomed to.
I awoke to the dulcet tones of the hotel radio and headed down to the exercise room to try and sweat out my flu. (Hey, it worked when I was a college softball player.) Then I showered and stuffed myself full of hard-boiled egg whites, juice, and English muffins spread with cream cheese. I packed up and checked out.
The hotel's free shuttle took me to the Subway stop I needed. As we drove through Jamaica, I realized that everything everyone has ever said about NYC is true. It's beautiful, complicated, endless, and I absolutely have to devote some serious time to exploring it.
While waiting for my Amtrak train, I shopped a little around Herald Square. Being inside the world's largest Macy's reminded me of my grandmother, who would have loved to see it. I also checked H&M, but of course all their stuff had already debuted in Europe, so I left empty-handed. When I boarded my train to Chicago, the only new things I brought with me were a book from the Met store for my mother and a bunch of drinks, snacks, and magazines for the trip.
That's right, I took a train from New York to Chicago. And not a particularly high-speed train, either. Whole thing took 21 hours. 21 hours of Mad Men and 30 Rock episodes and trashy magazine articles and the cheesy goodness of Chex Mix.
The next few days were spent recovering in Chicago. I got to cook for myself and visit museums and just generally enjoy sleeping on a warm air mattress/couch. Shout out to Kyle for letting me stay in his 33rd-floor apartment with an incredible view.
And then, before I knew it, I was back in Kansas City via another Amtrak train, and back in my own bed that same night, after three and a half months away.