Friday, April 17, 2009


So, I've accepted Minnesota's offer of admission. They've got a great German Medieval Studies department, and they offered me enough money that I will merely be a poor grad student rather than a possibly dead grad student. I went there a weekend or two ago to visit (April 2-5), and here is the story (and, more importantly, the pictures).

So, I left the house in the wee hours. I wound up waiting on my porch for nearly an hour for the taxi, but that was okay, because it was relatively warm and I had a good book (even though my neighborhood is a little sketchy at 3:30am). The airport was practically empty - it was me and perhaps a dozen other people waiting for the plane to Philadelphia, where we were all connecting to go to various fascinating places. The only way out of Williamsport is through Philly, you know.

My sleepy compatriates.

So, I got to Philly, had an overpriced sandwich, dealt with various rude people, and hopped on the longer flight to Minneapolis. This flight was mostly rather uninteresting, except for towards the very end, when I noticed that Minnesota is apparently coated with small, fluffy, oddly uniform clouds.


And from the ground.

The people in the Minneapolis airport were much nicer than the ones in Philly (or I was more awake and less irritable, but I'm pretty sure they were nicer), and it was very easy to find my way around. I had to take the light rail to get to my hotel, and it was actually really weird, because the trains or trams or whatever they call them look just like the Strassenbahn in Dresden. I felt bizarrely homesick while riding them. Two interesting things: all the trains and buses have bike racks on them (because Minnesotans are wacky hippies) and the light rail stops all appear to have heaters in them that you can turn on if you're cold (because Minnesota is freaking cold).

Minneapolis, from the light rail station where I got off.

The hotel was fun (the Aloft, look it up if you're bored), and the school paid for it (along with the flight, the meals, etc.), so I enjoyed it. It was kind of pretensiously hip, which was amusing. The elevators had squooshy blue goo under mats on the floor, so you can squoosh it around while waiting, and it kind of quacks at every floor instead of dinging. The room was small but nice, and the only picture that came out was this one:

Why do all "modern" hotels have glass showers?

After checking in, I put away my things neatly (read: dumped them on the floor) and went to check out an apartment. It was about a half-hour walk, which was nice - let me see some of the city, and assured me that the apartment isn't in a creepy neighborhood.

Apartment is here:

It's the farthest building with a green thingamajob.

The apartment was fine (small, but had a shiny new kitchen area), and the landlord was nice, and there's a park across the street, and I can get a PUPPY. Or I could, if I weren't living on a grad student budget with a grad student amount of free time.

Anyway, the more interesting event happened just before I met up with the landlord. I was about half an hour early and absolutely starving, so I was looking around for a place where I could get something to eat, and I happened to find this place:

It says they make subs and Mexican food.

It looked promising. So I went in. The right half of the room was barren, except for a freezer case and a pile of lumber. The left half of the room was filled with rows of shelving and dusty canned goods, in front of which was a dingy deli case. In the deli case was half of a frozen lasagna. That is all. I do not lie. So, I'm taking all this in, and the Greekish guy behind the counter is looking at me with a perplexed expression on his face.

" you make subs?" I ask.
"No. No make sub," he replies in a remarkably thick accent, looking dejected.
I'm wondering what to say next, when all of a sudden his face absolutely transforms, and with a big smile he goes:
"I make gyro!"
"Okay. I guess I'll have a gyro then."

So I had a gyro. It was good. I ate it in the little park across from my prospective apartment building and got white sauce all over my sleeve. Fortunately, he gave me a handful of paper towels with the gyro.

That's all for now. The next two days of the trip will be coming in the next few days.

Part of the store (I couldn't very well take a picture of the guy making my gyro, could I? Would've been rude.).