November 2015: mark and madison in the MIDWEST

an adventure in the MIDWEST! this was my big, between-jobs trip and Mark and my first big trip together. cue: dawww. lots of new things, lots of getting used-to’s, lots of old friend catching up in brand new places. I am so grateful.

and I have some notes in my phone titled “Lessons from the Midwest” so this is probably a good place to put those. note: these were thoughts quickly scribbled on trip, I think en route from KC to DEN so reading these now, at the time of posting, over half a year later, is kinda like time travel. you’re welcome!

  • People are dying to tell their stories. I dunno if it’s because they want help or just because they want to connect, but the direness of life correlates positively with the need to spout out tales.
  • Mark and I are doing a lot of young-adult things in this relationship that make this relationship very different from college relationships. We’re doing a lot of growing up together, and that makes Us feel more grown up and feel more ready for next things, too, cause that seems to be the trajectory of things. So, I wonder if, to an extent, marriage is a timing thing.
  • I think this whole “conversations” thing has at least a little bit to do with me, and not just Mark.
  • It is totally worth it to pay for all the meals and for all the drinks when you have a hostfriend like Susie McClannah. In fact, it is my pleasure.
  • It is important and lovely to keep loved ones updated with travel news. They like to hear about and from you.
  • Travel relationships are different from normal relationships states. Different crises arise, different annoyances are tapped, different joys are reached. And the person you are (as well as the person that your person is) is as different from normalyou (and normalthey) as you’re willing to be honest about. This is a good exercise in discovering true character.
  • Wouldn’t wanna generalize for all men, but one solid way to merling’s heart is definitely through his stomach. After tasting the ribs at Joe’s, he said he could move to Kansas City, if he could eat there once a week. Flabbergasted by this fickle, food-motivated heart that had been nonchalant at best about visiting KC when this trip was only in its planning stages. Another point of flabbergastment is how he keeps dating me of all (un)cooks.
  • Kindness, as with love, can be shown and received in all kinds of different ways that may or may not be comfortable for you. Whether it’s a meal cooked with ferocity and love, time spent holding hands and eyeball gazing, chauffering all around town in and around your normal-life schedules, or taking the check steathily and gladly — to show that next-level kindness, and love, requires knowledge of your recipient and their heart and their history.
  • Apparently Panera Bread headquarters are in St. Louis, where its stores are named, simply and strangely, “St. Louis Bread” in the same font you so ubiquitously see “Panera Bread” everywhere else.