1-Carrie's idea of a mall means there are at least three to choose from, each with at least two levels, all within a five minute drive. One chooses their mall based on what they want to accomplish there. For example: the ghetto-locale comes complete with a DMV and Asian food market. The other two malls boast everything from Tiffany's to Pottery Barns to Nordstrams. Columbia offers a small mall with a growing new outdoor one just a short distance away (where Macy's is located). There is only one story in our mall and one can go from the ever-useful and general goods aisles of Target to Express (which has been in a rut lately, I might add) and all the college-geared clothing stores: American Eagle, Abercrombie, Hollister...etc.
2. Where Carrie lives (outside of the city) and where my parents now live (also just outside of the city) a person can walk to the train station, a bar, a corner store and most other necessary stores should they want or need to. With a train station, though, the world is your oyster. Once at the train station, we could decide whether we wanted the Express or the local, whether we wanted to go to Grand Central or Penn Station...etc. In Columbia, I must drive, bike or run no less than three miles everywhere (this is personal, though, based on where I live being a personal choice. I could live closer to one, but not ALL of the places at the same time) including the mall, the grocery store, school, a bar, a corner store or liquor store...or any store, actually.
3. We ate dinner at a tasty place named Sam's and Carrie can create lists of other equally wonderful places within a decent distance of where she lives. If pressed, there's always the quick train (really, really quick!). As Dr. Andy Hoberek said, "I've found two places in Columbia where I can find good food, otherwise I'd prefer to just stay home."
4. "Downtown" is immeasurable here; in Columbia it's four blocks.
5. In the middle of our walk today, we stumbled upon a park complete with an ice-skating rink, carousel and giant Christmas tree. In Columbia, I stumble upon the homeless more frequently than NY anymore and admire the giant wreaths that were put up in pieces on some of the buildings downtown.
I could go on, but you get the point. Sometimes, I feel like I'm explaining what it's like to live in an alternate universe because, having grown up in NY, we all sort of take for granted that everywhere is at least similar to what we see as normal-until we're faced with what we view as unimaginable. I love that their are thousands of places to find wedding gowns and bridesmaid gowns and clothes and boutiques and restaurants...I love that I can walk for blocks, which equal miles, in NY just to get somewhere without realizing just how long I've been walking and, most importantly, that it's all flat and not a crazy series of steep hills like where I live now. I love the people and how they'll leave you be, if that's what you want, or engage you in convo if it's not.I love that I can take the train and easily blend into the rest of the crowd of people bustling down the sidewalk and dangling their toes from the edge of the curb, just waiting for the light to change. It's a nice place to be if I cherish my anonymity.
But I love that I can run to school in Columbia and force myself up those treacherously steep hills, that theres room for me to ride my bike on the sidewalk or in the street without worry that someone will hit me. I love that I can get my fruits and vegetables in season and fresh from spring to early fall at the Farmer's Market three days a week. I love that there are mountains to climb and caves to spelunk and gardens to grow. I love that I live in a house that isn't crammed into a tiny space, enveloped on either side by other imposing homes and families and lives. I love that I met my fiance in Missouri and some of my very good friends...and that I'll finish my education here and start my career. I love the little places and stores we find and that there are a few wonderful little boutiques that remind me of being in NY. Oh, and how could I forget, the Katy Trail...I simply adore the Katy Trail. I love that, for better or worse, Missouri has given me a home.
When Carrie puts pics up, I will post at least a few of our day together. It's been too long since I've seen her and we always have a wonderful time together. Aside from finding her a gorgeous bridesmaid dress, we rode the aforementioned carousel, walked about three miles (I should've worn my GPS watch!!!), had a fantastic dinner, enjoyable train rides and a great time, overall.
Thanks for giving me a day, Carrie! Now go post your pictures so I can steal them and put them in the blog!
PS-If you're a Gossip Girl fan...how awesome was tonight's comeback episode? Oh, how I missed you GG! It's been a long holiday break (one whole month and then some since the last episode!) without you. Please don't go away for so long anymore. I felt like Blair anxiously awaiting the return of Chuck!
PPS-I also had a luxurious run this morning before heading to White Plains to visit Carrie, plus with all that walking, I feel awesome. You should all go out and run three miles tomorrow.