What up, Kosovarians!?!

Kosovo: the world's newest country!

(Well for starters, they are called Kosovars, although we rather liked our first guess.)

Last night my roommates and I threw a dinner party for 7 young professionals from Kosovo who are here for 3 weeks participating in a State Department exchange program.  Our friend Katie coordinated the program and while we didn’t think we could provide housing for someone for 3 weeks, we most certainly felt we could host half the group for a dinner party.

We were kind of right.

Turns out, there’s nothing like a dinner party for 13 people to make you realize you don’t have 13 of anything, including plates, steak knives, plastic cups, chairs… (We thought surely – surely – the 3 guys in the apartment upstairs would let us borrow a few chairs…yeah…they don’t have a single chair in their entire apartment that’s not a beanbag.  Boys.)

Anyway, eventually we got to the “what do you do for work?” conversation.  This conversation typically goes 1 of 2 ways for me.  With Americans it is a pat on the back.  With foreigners it is a slap in the face.

Let’s be honest:  football rules American sports.  The number of people who could correctly pick Mel Kiper out of a lineup proves that.   But outside the States…well, they don’t play it, so why would they care about it?  Rugby-lovers think it’s stupid, and soccer-lovers think we’re stupid.  I learned this the hard way in Africa as I desperately mimicked dropping back for a pass and staring off into the imagined distance with my throwing arm cocked (and I must say, my imaginary spirals are heads and tails better than my real life ones).  “Chee-cah-go Bools!” someone would yell.  Eh, yeah, well…close enough.

So last night, when they asked what I do, a gave a big gusty sigh and launched into my feeble talk-it-through-while-miming shpiel.

“Ah, like Jerry Maguire?” asked Haroina.  “Oh!” I replied…shocked in my tracks, “well – actually, yeah!”

“And there was that TV show about a sports agent too,” she continued.


Well shoot.

“Oh…yeah, you’re right.  I don’t even get HBO…”

We then proceeded to spend 15 minutes listing Jim Belushi movies (because he’s Albanian).  Did I secretly think no one outside of North America watches movies?  How is it I never seem to use these 2 ready-made super easy explanations for my job?

Well, lesson learned.  In the future I will use it in tandem with my 3-step drop and fake spiral.


Breakfast of Champions!

If I were to post to the “Stuff White People Like” blog I would talk about how white people who live in the city like to talk about how much they need to get out of the city.  White people are always saying things like “I just need to get away for a weekend.”

Well this weekend I got away, and it was AMAZING.

As a result, I am living on borrowed food.

I did some super quick piece-meal grocery shopping after church last night, unfortunately buying only what I remembered being out of, not what I knew I needed to keep myself fed.

Result:  cookies for breakfast.

I’m sorry, plain fruit for breakfast does not do it for me.  I need the CARBS!!!  But, racing late out the door as usual, there was nothing I could easily grab so I was reduced to eating the off-brand Nilla Wafers (“Bud’s Best Cookies”) I had left under my desk at work.

Now look, I’m not actually complaining.  I firmly believe that a food you eat for breakfast becomes a breakfast food, be it eggs, cereal, a slice of cold pizza, or a cupcake.  But unbeknownst to me, today is the 25th Anniversary of the law firm whose office I work in…meaning after eating the best wafers Bud had to offer I discovered that the kitchen was full of cheese, crackers, salami, salmon mousse (SO good), pork with peanut butter sauce (true, and ew), Sunny D mimosas (on a Monday, do I dare?), and…more cookies!

It’s funny the things you neglect when you only have yourself to feed.  Thus, cookies and charcuterie for breakfast.

Extra Point:   As if Mondays weren’t enough on their own, this morning I found a sticky substance, probably honey, on my TAB key.  This would be easily rectified except for every time I hit it and think “ooh, clean off the TAB key”, I finish my sentence and promptly forget again.   Ok, cleaning it now…with coffee…

Ah, the scent of Wrigley.

One day I will tell my children how I used to live down the street from historic Wrigley Field.

I will tell them how I could see the flags flying on game days and hear the crowd cheering from my back porch.  I will tell them how I’d peek through the outfield gates in March and watch as the stadium slowly came to life.

I will tell them about walking to games, and how I would sometimes buy standing-room-only tickets in the 4th inning on a nice afternoon.

I will tell them about sometimes running into Ryan Dempster at CVS.

But I probably won’t tell them about the smell of stale beer that clung to the sidewalk on which I walked to work this morning, and about the dark spots in corners that might be something spilled, or might be vomit.

I don’t think I’ll tell them about the alternate route home I’ll be taking home tonight in order to avoid hordes of drunk people who whistle at you or walk straight into you or worse, walk straight into mailboxes.

It’s probably not worth mentioning the perfect storm of parking woes when construction meets street cleaning meets game day (happened twice this week).

And I don’t think I’ll tell them about the alley entrance to the Red Line that will smell like pee for the rest of the summer, especially when it rains.

But ah, the convenience of walking to the ballpark and being able to be back home playing bags with your neighbors before they’ve even finished playing “Go Cubs Go”…

Well honestly, I’d trade a few blocks to get rid of the perpetual pee smell.

And I’m off…wish me luck!