You meet someone a world away on another continent, in another context, in what seems like another world from the one you're living in now. You spend day in and day out with them, sitting in well-lit yet drafty classrooms, learning a wide-range of subjects in a foreign language. The holidays roll around and they're leaving soon, but not before their parents come to visit. You meet their parents, who generously treat you to some local delicacies before casually extending an offer to come visit them if you ever get the chance.
Several hugs, even more smiles, and several hundred miles away, you meet the whole gang again. Another city, another holiday, a couple new characters (a sister, a brother-in-law), and another offer to visit. You scoff and politely thank them, not even wondering if you'd ever take them up on it.
And by "you" I actually mean ME.
The friend is Sara. The continent Europe. The parents Cheryl and Rich. The holiday is New Years Eve 2014. The offer? To stop by and say "hi" the next time I'm around Omaha, Nebraska. As. If.
Well, as one could surmise from the above photo: we're here. In Omaha. Taking them up on that offer. So here, a quick summary of our visit so far in a cute lil humble brag of an adorable photo of Cheryl holding up an ~*~*InCrEd!bLe*~*~ homemade, from scratch, all sugar included, extra sprinkle on top, peach+raspberry pie :
Let me show you another photo, one which I think pretty much sums up a lot of what we've seen since we've gotten out here to the MidWest (or, as I was kindly reminded by Cheryl: Nebraska - the Beginning of the West).
This here photograph was taken from the Omaha World-Herald's article entitled "Crowning the best chip tosser".
Now, "chip" can refer to all manner of things. Potato chips, an alternative for "fries" if you're weird (read: British), micro-chips, to have chip on your shoulder, to be chip off the old block, etc. Fortunately, the Herald is not talking about any of these -- arguably -- more sanitary options.
The caption in this Saturday's picture reads: "Miss Northwest Nebraska, LaRissa McKean of Omaha, was hoping for a win of a different sort at the 2015 World Championship Chip Throw earlier this month during Fur Trade Days in Chadron, Nebraska."
So yes. All of those clods of brown earthy- consistency in the foreground, including the bit in mid-air, which had so recently been clasped in anticipation in Miss McKean's hand, are exactly what you think they are. Poop. Well. They're the highest grade of all-natural, organic, low-fat, gluten free, high fiber bison pies -- I mean excrement -- collected from herds at Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford and brought over -- by the truckload. Holy Shit!
Needless to say, my first reaction upon reading this first thing in the morning -- as I shoved yet another super-scrumptious, homemade, from scratch, all sugar included, with extra drizzled on top, pecan sticky bun into my recently coffee washed mouth -- was outrage and disappointment. How could I miss such a glorious opportunity for photomaking!? The Americana! The Essence of the MidWest(TheBeginningoftheWest)! The chance to try my hand at flinging around another animals poop! And be rewarded for it!!!!!
I sighed in utter despair. I acknowledged that I would forever have a chip on my shoulder for not being able to witness such an incredible feat of American tradition. Here I sat, sucking sticky molasses off my fingers enjoying the all the home-baked goodness Nebraska Nice (#TheGoodLife #VisitNebraska #VisitNice #HomeofArborDay) could shovel onto my plate and thinking about the pointlessness of our journey.
What does it mean to #VisitNebraska #VisitNice? What even is #NebraskaNice? Is it sitting here talking to the locals about 3/2 beers, where they could buy Coors back in the day and how happy they were when they did? Or is it digging through mounds of fresh, hot, organic clumps of bison doo-doo in order to pick the perfect dough for your soon-to-be-airborne pie so that you may launch it into the great abyss of Chadron's Main Street, hoping to surpass the difficult 100ft+ mark, and be crowned 2015's World Chip Throwing Champion as I thrust a gold-plated pie in the air?!
The answer is so glaringly obvious I can't bear to see it writing.
See you in 2016, Chadron, Nebraska.
X I N A