You were such a beautiful, sunny day. I slept in until 10am and read for a couple hours. It’s so nice to be reading another Sarah Dessen book. Her books are like warm, cozy sweaters on winter days. Or more often, like a tall glass of iced tea on a sweltering afternoon. At 3pm a friend and I walked to New Bo. It’s quickly becoming our favorite place in Cedar Rapids. It’s a small little bohemia, only about a block long, and lined with little shops including a coffee shop and a bookstore. This time our visit was targeted towards New Bo City Market, a huge warehouse of a building that has booths for just about any kind of food you could want. We walked around, marveling at the different choices, and after I bought and ate some delicious ice cream as an appetizer, we settled on Caribbean and Chinese, respectively. I had a delicious stew on top of white rice, with a side of plantains, and she had orange chicken. As often happens with food, the meal made me think of home and the little Cuban restaurant we sometimes go to on special occasions. We ate there on the day I received my packet of information about the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio, and on the night of my high school graduation. Even as I was surprised by memories I didn’t even know I had, I was making new ones. We talked about what we would do if we lived in one of the super nice lofts that border New Bohemia, and about our favorite places to eat back home, and about our mutual struggle with decision making. We left New Bo incredibly full and happy, just as the sun stretched its long golden arms sideways through the streets.
Being a Sunday night, downtown was practically a ghost town. It was quite beautiful, and I realized just how nice the architecture is on many of Cedar Rapid’s buildings. Suddenly, out of nowhere, we saw a sea of people walking towards us. We were by far the youngest people on the street; everyone that made up the clump of strangers was a senior citizen. It was such a surreal experience, watching them advance slowly towards us, the light making halos through their thin white hair. My friend and I exchanged glances and then decided to find out the source of the crowd. We changed course and wandered past the people that had spilled out onto the deserted streets, walking in pairs, their arms looped through each other’s. We soon found out that a show at the Paramount Theatre must have just finished, and the only people who go to Sunday matinees are part of an older demographic. Our detour led to other discoveries, too. We found an adorable chocolate shop, window shopped at a furniture store, and walked until we came to the river, big and wide and always there, even though it’s so easy to forget. On the way back to campus we marveled at our discoveries, at this city’s ability to constantly surprise us. Those of you who think of Cedar Rapids solely as “The City of Five Smells,” know this: it has some pretty cool scenery, if you know where to look.
Song of the day: "Pleasant Valley Sunday" by The Monkees