Marching Into Maryland (& Other States!)

What. Is. UP FAM?! That was poor sentence structure but just try your best to pretend I said that statement. So far, this year has started off on a good note with working on one of my goals for the 2019 year: travel more.

This is a trip I have been planning for awhile. A few months back I had my last day of work with ASI in sight and thought, “I need a vacation at some point.” Usually I’m always on the go: working two jobs, hanging out with people almost every night, and living life. I love my life, don’t get me wrong. However, I felt myself wanting to do more things and being okay with the thought of doing them by myself. So after my last day as a student worker in Pomona, I took my first solo trip to Maryland, United States. The plan was to go to Maryland for a couple of days, then fly to Boston to go to Rhode Island where my friend, Britt, lived and attended graduate school. I had no set plan or strong desire to do things during my trip, but I’m glad I didn’t because I had a great time.

Prior to the trip

I pat myself on the back, because at the top of the week I decided to lay out everything I thought I needed and then take Friday and Saturday morning to throw everything in my suitcase. As the trip got closer, I added items that I found around my room or my bathroom that I knew I would need and organized my items. I tend to overpack, but I wanted to be smart about what I brought and maximize the amount of clothing I could wear twice since the weather was expecting to be colder than a freezer. Knowing myself, if I saved all my packing for Friday I would definitely be in a frenzy.

The day before my flight, however, my first flight got cancelled. You can imagine the bit of panic that came about in the pit of my stomach. After months of anticipation and excitement to this trip, a cancelled flight. No reason whatsoever as to why the flight was cancelled. The reasons could be anything: the plane isn’t functioning, TSA is super low, the weather is horrid where I will be landing, etc. Part of me felt defeated, but the urge to go superseded the set back and re-booked the flight. Thank God there was one more flight that was similar in time frame.

Saturday

The morning of my flight I learned two things: don’t forget to set your alarm and do not lock your room the night before.

Yup, you guessed it: I woke up late.

Thankfully I was already packed, checked in to my flight, and had my clothes laid out, so my dad just drove me over to the airport at 4:30 in the morning and I went straight to TSA. Thankfully the amount of people traveling at the crack of dawn was not horrible and even with one lane for TSA open, it went by fairly quick. I was Group C so I definitely made it to my flight.

If you are ever flying solo or are not one for conversation during a flight if you are traveling with other people, podcasts are a godsend. Just listening to one will let time pass, thirty minutes or even an hour, and you will learn so much. Thank you Pretty Basic and Jonathan Van Ness. The flight was not too bad. Four hours had passed and I found myself in Georgia for a flight transfer. After sprinting to my next gate and letting two hours pass in another plane, I arrived to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport and was picked up by my lovely cousins.

We drove to Washington, D.C. and walked around in the drizzling rain.

I have not seen a lot of my east coast cousins in awhile. I really wanted to take this trip to see them and be in a different environment, kind of like an escape to understand my current reality.

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Two places that are solid to eat at in D.C. are Elephant and Castle and Founding Farmers. Elephant and Castle is more of a pub and comfort food place to eat and Founding Farmers is more of an upscale dining. Personally, I loved Founding Farmers more because of this cornbread and chicken and waffles they had. I did not realize how hungry I was till I noticed I finished the whole plate.  

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Sunday

During Saturday’s dinners, my cousins and I were trying to figure out what to do for the next couple of days while I was in town. I was not expecting anything wild, till one of my cousins asked me, “Have you ever gone skiing?”

My eyes lit up because no, I have never gone skiing. After discussion and consulting with our other cousin who was not present at dinner, we concluded that after church we were going to head up to go ski.

Come Sunday post-mass, the cousins convened at a gas station nearby to talk about the game plan and pick up some essentials for the mini trip to the mountains. Side note: GAS STATIONS IN MARYLAND ARE BIGGER THAN CALIFORNIA. We do have a few in California, but in Maryland you will find gas stations, consistently, with more than just a few stalls of snacks and a counter. A lot of them have full blown food menus that you can grab lunch from for the road in addition to several drink dispensers, a variety of snacks, and more. They also have pretty interesting names, such as the one we visited called Wawa.

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Anyways, so skiing! We actually drove to Pennsylvania just to do this and the drive was under two hours. Keep in mind: I have never gone skiing before. Ice sports are not new to me since I did ice skating since I was little, but this sport was completely new to me. The idea of having two long, skinny sleds attached to my feet was something I was not sure I was going to be good at.

To my own surprise, I was actually pretty good.

After a few pointers from my seasoned cousins and doing short runs on a ten degree incline, I made my way to the bunny slopes with my cousins to try going down the first time.

The end result: I love skiing and I didn’t fall.

I took a class with some of my cousins and went down the bunny slopes a couple more times. Each time I went down I just got better and better with controlling my body as I weaved down the hill. I even got to night ski on what they call “the greens”, which is a step up from the bunny slopes. This is definitely something I want to do again, but obviously in better conditions because a lot of the snow became ice as the night went on and it became a lot colder. I wore the wrong gloves and did not have a face mask to shield me from the cold, so I kept having to go back inside to warm up.

Monday

Monday definitely had a set plan: visit University of Maryland, College Park and have one last cousin dinner.

I won’t go too much into detail about my college visit, but it was beautiful Shout out to my friend Arman for taking the time out of his schedule to show me around the campus!

We went to eat at Busboys and Poets, a bookstore-cafe-restaurant in one that was about five to ten minutes from the campus and talked about graduate school.

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After dropping him off, we went back home and got ready to spend the rest of the day with the cousins. After watching a bit of The Greatest Showman and being entertained by my niece and nephew, we headed out to Pappas.

Now, when I head the name Pappas I thought this place was going to be a low-key family restaurant, almost like California Pizza Kitchen or Olive Garden.

Nope.

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This restaurant was half bar and half restaurant, not to mention SUPER NICE AND (KINDA) UPSCALE. I felt underdressed, but it was okay. We ordered from the three-course, restaurant week menu, and I had my first crab cake. The evening overall was super nice and not stressful at all. We had really stimulating conversations and being with my cousins made me feel more connected with them. I really wish my brother was there with me as well as our other cousins to experience the camaraderie.

Tuesday

The morning of, I was all set and ready to go fly to Boston after brunch but guess what?

Yup, my flight got cancelled. Again, for no particular reason that was stated in the email. It was bittersweet, but I was glad I didn’t go because I did not know how my body would handle colder weather than what I experienced in Maryland and Pennsylvania. I cancelled one flight and set another flight to go back to Los Angeles that day.

This was actually a blessing, too, because I got to spend one last day with my cousin and ate a pretty bomb brunch at Ms. Shirley’s. That meal threw me in a food coma and a nap.

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Before I knew it, it was time to head home.

When I got back home, I actually went out for a drive because my mind was still racing. I felt super conflicted and frustrated…but I’ll save that for a later post.

Thank you to my cousins and new friend who took the time to make my trip one to remember. Hopefully I’ll be back in the east side of the country soon!

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