Burgers & Yinz

26 Oct

I picked this title because A) It sounds like food (and I ate lots of food) B) Yinz is a word used in Pittsburgh by “‘burgers” and C) The first and last thing I ate (in the airport) was a Vegetarian Black Bean Burger.

Also, it turns out I list things in A) B) C) formats during regular conversations.

So, here’s my World Cuisine Tour from the surprisingly ethnic, Pennsylvania:
Japanese (sushi and hibachi), Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, The Ocean (shrimp and scallops), Mexican ($1 Taco Tuesday), Late Night Food (coleslaw sandwiches and Terra chips), Beer-on-tap, American (pizza delivered to North Park!), Vegetarian Buffet, Gardens (extravagant salads), Dessert (thanks dad!), and Home Cookin’ (thanks mom!)

Needless to say, I was practically starved during my entire trip.
Maybe next time my family will feed me.


Other highlights:

– An urban bicycle ride with Mom, Dad, and Nick
– Game night(s) — including trivial pursuit, survival, and charades
– Hilarious comedy at Friday Night Improv
– A double date with the gorgeous Angela & Aaron πŸ™‚
– Thrift store shopping
– Chatting with my pops and mumzy
– A fabulous yoga class to work on my “Female Physique”
– Running, stretching, tennis, and tickling with my True Love
– Occuping Pittsburgh

This is how lucky I am:

– I only turned on the stove once — and it was to boil water for tea
– Nick washed and folded my laundry. If he hadn’t my mom offered to (!)
– Upon arrival, my Mom and Dad stayed up until 1am to pick me up from the airport πŸ™‚
– For departure, Nick, Mom, and Dad woke up at 3:45am to drive me to my flight
– Angela found a ring on the floor, gave it to me, & now I have brass knuckles
– Nick loves my dogs so much he’s encouraging me to bring them home!!!!!
– My dad had half a dozen chocolate bars waiting for me in the cupboard
– And Nick brought chocolate back from Germany which he saved for me

So much LOVE

Wait a minute…which country is this??
– On Wednesday, in Pennsylvania, I awoke up to rain and immediately turned over to go back to sleep; in my haze, and because it was raining, I assumed that everything I had to do for the day was canceled
– Whenever I was on the phone I said everything as quickly as possible trying to hang up because I kept thinking, “mi credit soon finish”
– When I entered a vehicle I surreptitiously noticed which side of the car passengers were getting in on because, in Jamaica, the opposite is true

Things that haven’t changed — in America:
– My bed in Pittsburgh is the fluffiest, most inviting place in the world
– The Internet is fast; I watched YouTube and tagged past blog posts
– Even β€˜gross’ bar bathrooms have A) running water and B) toilet paper
– Showers are amazing; Hot water is like a deity.

Things I learned while abroad:

– My Dad knows A) What the Dougie is and B) How to do it
– “The Rock Game” is similar to “The Silent Game”
– Howdy Doody has a twin brother named Double Doody
– You are allowed to sample pastries (!) at the Giant Eagle Bakery

The Ugly:
– Nick had scabies and was quarantined for 3 of the 8 nights I was home. WTF?! I know. Isn’t that, like, a third world problem?? I thought so, too. I was shocked. Gross. Did he have scabs all over his body?? — Turns out, it’s not quite that visually extreme. But it is incredibly contagious. Scabies (mites) are invisible and called body lice. So it wasn’t obvious if you looked at him but it was still necessary, due to the high infection probability, that we spend most of those first few days apart: Nick wasn’t able to pick me up from the airport. For my first 79 hours in America, he was barred from being at my house, hugging me, holding my hand, driving with me, or do anything at all that would cause us to touch in any way. Super sad. — Mercifully, on day 4, the fear of contamination mitigated and we were reunited
– I watched Virgin Suicides and it was terrible
– The restaurant Patron douses their vegetables in vinegar; yucky
– At The Middle Road Inn I had an uncomfortable, mini, high school reunion
– Because I was cold I didn’t drink enough water and became slightly dehydrated
– A car accident at my neighbors; thankfully no one was seriously injured

The people I saw:
– I gave two Peace Corps talks at CMU and Pitt and I met Michael, a gem of a man who will be part of Group 83, Jamaica — joining us on island March 2012!
– Joel & Debbie left amazing books in my room that I can not wait to read!
– I spoke with Aunt Betsy (sorry Joan, don’t be mad…she called us)
– Spent enjoyable time at the Wexford Shop with Mom and Dar
– The girls at our gym are some of the most amazing women ever: Erika, Patty, Diane, Angela, and the rest of the crew are so, so special. My interactions with them were exceptionally warm and invigorating! Thank you all so much for being such bright spirits; I loved your hugs and contagious energy!
– My relationship with Nick — my incredible, perfect boyfriend — is stronger than ever. We reconnected (post scabies), laughed, snuggled, and re-solidified our partnership with talks about our future that were full of hope and positivity. I am so grateful for the time we shared. I love you.
– My parents were extremely generous with me; exotic dinners, ample family time, drives around the city, special outings, sensitivity to my wants, and constant TLC. It was humbling and I feel grateful for how much attention and care you both paid to me. Thank you so much!!!!

Since I’ve landed, Things that haven’t changed — in Jamaica:
– Immigration has 25 times more tourists in line than Host Country Nationals
– When I turned on my phone, Digicel had sent more text messages than anyone else in my entire phonebook combined
– That bus ride from Montego Bay to Santa Cruz is nauseating every. single. time.
– Food cooked on a wood fire tastes smoky and delicious
– It is unarguable that Jamaicans cook chicken really, really well

And now, mi day-ah. I am here, back in Elim, recounting my tales of adventure.
I love you all so much.
Thanks for your support making this vacation personal and memorable!
I feel extremely blessed and full of good food πŸ™‚
It was amazing!!!!!
I’ll write again, soon.

Yours ’til the chocolate chips,

10 Responses to “Burgers & Yinz”

  1. deekers October 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Who’s #1? You are Sammi! I am so happy you had such a positive time here in the States (State). We loved seeing and being with you (and scabies free Nick). Tell momma the bammy was great and the size of the river fish totally impressive. Speaking of bammy, well, you probably know where that is going, so I’ll leave it there. Please…..

    All my love and thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    • Sammi Travis November 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

      Hi Deek! Thanks so much for supporting me and my trip to America! I showed Mama the pictures — she’s so glad you enjoyed the bammy πŸ˜‰


  2. mcmeeshi October 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi. I’ve enjoyed following your blog because my husband and I are going to PC Jamaica in March. You mentioned you met a Michael who is going to be in our same group- do you happen to know if he is on facebook?
    Thanks and … see you next year!

    • Sammi Travis November 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi! Super excited to met you both! Really awesome that you’re going to be joining us on island!!!!! I am fairly certain Michael does not have facebook (but I do! You can friend me!)
      Soon enough there will be a facebook group 83 group. (if there isn’t already!)
      Plus, you can check out group 81 (that’s me, well, us) and group 82 (they are also on island right now).

      Let me know if there is anything I can do to help! Wahoo!!!!

    • Sammi Travis November 9, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

      Hi!! Super excited that you’re going to be on island!! That we’re going to get to meet! How cool πŸ™‚
      Michael does not have facebook, but he does have an e-mail address….if you’re interested I can send it to you πŸ™‚
      Soon enough there will be a group 83 facebook page — you could even start one!
      That’s you; group 83 πŸ™‚
      I am on facebook, you could find me there.
      Also, there are group 81and group 82 groups (whoely repetition!) where you could find others that are on island.

      See you SOON!
      Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

  3. Nick October 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    And C) Even β€˜gross’ bar bathrooms have HAND SOAP πŸ™‚

    What a great recapture of events.

    Now (soon) we can talk all about this lovely blog post πŸ™‚


    • Sammi Travis November 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Yeah!! But I don’t think all gas station bathrooms do, right?

      Either way, one things for sure — bar soap is the best! (haha, get it??)

    • Sammi Travis November 9, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

      True true. But do icky gas station bathrooms have soap in them??
      Irrelevant, sure, because we can just agree that ‘bar soap’ is best. (haha, get it??)


  4. Lynn O'Brien November 2, 2011 at 4:20 am #

    you are so loved! i enjoyed every word of this post and cherish the time you take to share so openly with us all. mmmm what a special vacation and i’m not surprised one bit that the main characters in your life were eager and excited to accommodate you. hope the transition back to jamaica is smooth-sailin’. i miss you dearly and am sending you a whopper of a hug….

    also, regarding Fantasy Trip to See Sammi in Jamaica 2012; i was just hired for full-time work so my schedule will be changing after thanksgiving. once i know more about what time i can take off realistically i will be in touch – you’re on my mind.


    • Sammi Travis November 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi sweetest!
      Thanks so much for your note πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      I love your hugs! Thanks for sending me one!!

      Congratulations on full-time work. Woot Woot!
      Can’t wait to hear what your new works schedule is so we can continue planning! I am psyched to host you!! And ‘cash in’ on some of those hugs in person.

      Yay yay YAY!
      ‘mi πŸ˜€

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