30 July 2009

Columbia: Hospitality

I arrived in Columbia Monday evening and was greeted with squeals, hugs, and lots of food. My freshman year roommate, Ann Tipton (affectionately known as "Tip") and her family were waiting to share with me a delicious homemade dinner and then a tour of the Columbia area, highlighting Forest Acres, Five Points, downtown and USC, the Capitol building, and some art by Blue Sky. Later that evening, Tip showed me her debutante dress, and then we talked until we fell asleep.

I slept in while she went to work the next day, and my friend, Jay, picked me up for lunch. We ate at Hooligan's, which had been highlighted the previous night, then drove to a Marble Slab for dessert before meeting Tip back at her house to chat and play with her dog for a little while. All too soon, it was time for Jay to go to work and for me to meet my Camdenite friend, Morgan, downtown at a coffee shop called Cool Beans. After the cashier/barista helped me via Twenty Questions to decide on ordering a mocha frappe and I enjoyed said beverage, Morgan and I parted, and I went to Miyo's restaurant to join Tip and her family for her mother's birthday dinner. They had many vegetarian options.

We could not finish our food there, so, of course, we went to Baskin-Robbins' $1 Scoop Night for dessert. Yes, that's right - I had lots of ice cream that day. We went back to their house and everyone - Tip, her parents, her sister, her sister's boyfriend, and I - played Scattergories and Apples to Apples before I told everyone goodbye. Tip and I stayed up late talking again, and then I slept as they all went to work in the morning again. I left mid-morning, leaving their poodle, Philippe, to hold down the fort.

I greatly enjoyed my second trip (and the first during which I'd actually spent any time there - I went to USC on a college tour during Bridges this summer) to Cola. I found the city to be charming and fairly easily navigable; plus, everyone was just so NICE to me there! Once again, I didn't get to visit everyone, but I am definitely glad that I did get to spend time with some of my favorite people before I leave them for three months. (In my defense, Morgan is actually leaving the country, too, and for longer. So I'm not so bad, right?)

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