Saturday, February 5, 2011


My final day in Wisconsin has been amazing—I’m about to enter my last hour on Midwestern soil, killing time at Dane County Airport while I wait for my 6 a.m. flight to board.

I woke about 24 hours ago to do some last minute cleaning and to spend time at the public computer in Michelangelo's Café on State Street. Caught the bus to work like any other day…

Had a few last day celebrations with the children I’ve worked with the past six months, so it wasn’t just any other day.

Once I was back in my apartment around 6 p.m., I had to take out some very heavy/full trash bags, wipe down counters and surfaces, and try, once and for all, to zip all bags and suitcases.

A few hours later I was at a goodbye get-together at Mickey’s Tavern in the Willy Street neighborhood of Madison. I was so incredibly happy to see my friends turn out for one last night together—I’ve met amazing people in this city through AmeriCorps, book club, writers group, and mutual friends; I was also honored to have a friend catch the Badger Bus from Milwaukee for the festivities.

When the celebration ended I went back to the apartment, vacuumed, rescued some rolls of film from the freezer, and dropped my keys in the landlord’s mailbox. No more mansion-living for me!

Made it to the airport with a few hours to spare. I will certainly miss the kindness of people in WI—apparently one of my suitcases is 72 lbs, way oversize. (So extra props to my friend Nebash who got it down the mansion’s funky spiral staircase for me!) But the woman at the ticketing counter let me off easy, charging me less than she should have for that extra weight.

As I walked up to the security gate, the woman checking IDs asked, “Are you going somewhere fun?” I thought that was an unusual way to get through the mandatory papers-checking part.

Well, I absolutely have to cut down on what I am bringing to South Africa this Tuesday—as much as I hate to admit it, I know my bags are weighed down by books. I may have to pick and choose which novels I bring along… a sad task (I want them ALL) but a necessary one.

This ticket envelope seems to promise a wild adventure. I hope not! I’d like to sleep all the way to NJ.


Before I sign off I will note: not one, not two, but three of my knuckles are so dry from this cold weather that they are cracked and bleeding. Goodbye, winter! I’ve had more than enough of you.

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