I can’t believe I’ve already been here for a week! Time has flown by so fast. I guess I’ve just been having so much fun that I haven’t realized it. I have been doing a lot of things with my friends Rachel and Candy after classes, plus I’ve been keeping up with homework and reading.
Yesterday was a very adventurous day. After classes, I introduced Rachel to geocaching. It’s kind of hard to explain the concept of geocaching to someone, so long story short it is like an adult scavenger hunt. Coordinates to “caches” are placed online along with hints. You go to where the coordinates are, and then you use the hints to find the cache, which can be as small as a pill bottle to as large as a toolbox! Rachel and I looked for 4 different caches around campus, and found 3 of them. Rachel and I really enjoyed it. After geocaching, we visited the Herbert Johnson Museum of Art. It was very interesting. There were old paintings, new paintings, marble busts of famous people, little ancient trinkets, and all sorts of neat stuff. At dinner, we met up with Candy and a girl named Kyra, and went geocaching again! It was really fun, and we plan on going again sometime as here are many more around campus that we’d like to find. After geocaching a second time, we found a (safe, marked, and legal) trail down to the gorge. At the end of the trail, there is a stone picnic table, benches, and a fire pit. It was very pretty, but we made sure to stay out of the water. I think we might head down there tomorrow at some point to read and possibly play cards or something. With all of this free-time on the weekends, it is hard to decide what to do. I think we got enough walking in today for a lifetime, so I think tomorrow we should stay on campus.
Today, Rachel, Candy, and I ventured into College Town because RPCC closed early because of a Cornell basketball camp orientation, and we wanted breakfast. We ate at a fancy place called Stella’s. The service was slow, and they prepared my eggs wrong, but it wasn’t too bad. The décor was very modern and they even had cloth napkins! It was very odd that it was located smack dab in the middle of College Town because its theme doesn’t match the other shops. We quickly realized that there wasn’t a whole lot to do in College Town, so we headed to sit down and figure out what to do next. All of the sudden, there was a tall man meandering past us, speaking in a way that made it impossible to understand him, trying to shove CDs into our hands. It was very awkward. We walked quickly away, and then watched from afar as he did this to several other people. He loped around very awkwardly, and seemed to be singing to whatever was playing through his headphones. We don’t really have people like this where I live, so it kind of scared me. It would have been different if he had asked for money for the CDs or had made eye contact, but he seemed to be in a dazed state. I wonder if he is mentally ill, or just a very bored panhandler. After that, we decided to head into the city. It was a long walk, but it was well worth it.
Our first stop was at Colophon Books. This was a cute, kitschy little bookstore with both new and used books. The owner was very nice, and helped us find books that are interesting. I bought The Catcher in the Rye, because I haven’t read it before and everyone says I should, and a NYT Bestseller by Scott Westerfeld called Leviathan. I hope that I get a chance to read at least one of these books during my stay here! We also stopped in at the comic book store next door, because Rachel really likes comics. I am not a fan, but it was an interesting experience. There were a lot of comics, both new and old. Across the street from these stores was a beautiful mural. Note the two butterflies near the center of the picture. These are origami butterflies that are taped to the building. I have also seen one on a decorative water display on campus and I saw one inside of a store today. I think someone is making them and putting them around Ithaca, but I am not sure.
Our next stop was at Sarah’s Patisserie. The first thing I noticed was that there was a small room to the side of the dining area with big glass windows. Inside, they made all of the chocolates by hand. The chocolatier wasn’t in when we stopped by, but I did try a small chocolate. It was $2 and about 1 inch wide. It was very good though, and very pretty. It was marzipan cloaked in dark chocolate and had a very cute design printed onto the top.
We searched a bit for the next stop, but it was very interesting. The Vintage Industry is a small vintage store that had antiques such as a small typewriter, and vintage clothing, political buttons, and furniture. It was very different than any place I’d ever been before, but also very nice.
After that, we ventured to Ithaca Commons, which is currently under construction. The sidewalks and shops were open though, so we went into a lot of them. The first shop was called Tibet Shop, and it was very tiny, as you can see from the picture. The aisle inside was only about 3 feet wide, but the walls and every surface was covered in jewelry, scarves, decorative cloths, beads, trinkets, and many other Tibetan-inspired items.
Next, we stopped at another bookstore that was much larger than the first one, but just as interesting. They had a whole cabinet of rare books. I cannot remember any of the titles of the books, but they looked ancient. I bought something from here for my sister, Jessica, but she will have to wait to see what it is!
Rachel then spotted a store across the way that she thought would be interesting to go into, and it sure was! It was called Jabberwock, and I can’t really describe it to you very well, but I will try. We walked in, and I felt like I had stepped into the sixties. There was a guy with long curly hair and John Lennon glasses running the place, there were peace stickers and hippie bumper stickers and pro-marijuana pins. It was a very odd store, so we didn’t look around too long, but it was like a blast from the past.
Next, I spotted a stationery store called Mockingbird Paperie, so we stepped inside. There were journals, cards, pots of ink, post cards, vintage-looking gift wrap, and many other interesting things. It smelled very earthy and of sandalwood inside of the store, which was pleasant. I bought a few more post cards and a birthday card for my dad, who is turning 43 on the 30th. He obviously won’t get my card before his birthday, but I am sure he will enjoy it nonetheless. Across the street, there was something very odd stuck to the front of a building:
It is large and made of metal, and is not good for anyone with arachnophobia! My mom suggested that we should kill it with a large blow torch. J
Our next stop was American Crafts by Robbie Dein. There were a lot of expensive trinkets and baubles, but the main items that Rachel, Candy, and I noticed were pieces of jewelry made with real butterfly wings. They were so gorgeous!
Last fall, I learned about a company called Fair Trade that helps people in developing countries find jobs, escape poverty, sell their crops, find help from domestic abuse, etc. I didn’t realize it at first, but the next store we went into, One World Market, is a Fair Trade store. There were handmade items from developing countries across the world. I think that this is a great cause, because these people are being given a way to support themselves when they are faced with few options. I bought a chocolate bar made from cocoa beans that are farmed in a developing country, as well as a tiny, hand-carved owl figurine. I am definitely going to try to come back to this store!
Our last stop was at an odd clothing shop that I can’t remember the name of, but I took this picture of Candy wearing some interesting sunglasses!
After our long day of shopping, we took a bus back to Balch Hall. This was my first time riding a bus, so it was pretty nerve-wracking. I got a little grouchy because I was confused and upset because we kept wondering if the bus we were on was the right bus. Thankfully, we arrived safe and sound, even though the bus driver was driving pretty erratically. We headed to RPCC for dinner… and apparently so did the basketball team from earlier. They didn’t close RPCC again like they did this morning, but the boys ate all of the food and made the lines extremely long. Plus, it felt a little weird with a whole bunch of giants standing around. These boys were all mostly 6.5-7 feet tall, so I felt very miniscule next to them.
Tomorrow, Candy, Rachel, and I are going to most likely stay on campus. There has been too much excitement in the past 2 days – we need rest! We might go down by the gorge and sit at the picnic table, reading our books and playing cards. We’re such nerds!!