Chai & such… in Connecticut

24 Jan

From 2009 until mid-2011, my blog was completely devoted to traveling. There was so much excitement in exploring new places and foreign things. Now that I’m back in New England, in the midst of a gray winter, it’s hard to believe my time at the University of Connecticut would even compare to my train ride to Munich, the long drive down the coast to Montenegro, the weekend in Italy, or the euphoria I felt at finding the first real chai latte in months at California Coffee in Budapest.

But alas. To people who call Slovenia home permanently, walking on cobblestone streets along the Ljubljanica is probably not as charming as it is to me. Maybe they’d find rural Connecticut charming. (Well, OK: that’s a stretch.) However, I shall celebrate my new experiences here in Connecticut, though they just lack that dreaminess everything did in my prior travels:

1) Today, after months of scoping out chai on the UConn campus, I have discovered a new variety. Every single place that sells coffee on campus sells the Oregon chai brand, either in vanilla, original, or sugar-free. This is lovely. However, it costs $3, and I’m getting sick of that brand of chai. I’ve never found the perfect chai, or my favorite chai. Chais are as diverse as my moods, and I need different flavors to satisfy the thirst for chai at different times. Imagine my surprise today, then, when I wandered into the student union and found green tea chai for $2! Granted, it’s overly processed and very sugary, but at least it’s an alternative to the Oregon chai, which sadly, is never piping hot enough when I get it. This green tea chai burned my mouth and therefore satisfied my sugar craving for the day. Hooray for chai alternatives on campus!

2. Speaking of tea, I have a nice stash of Slovenian herbal and fruit teas back home from my cousin Marjeta. I also now have a cocoa-latte mixer, courtesy of my parents for Christmas. This has nearly reduced my desire to seek tea out elsewhere–except that I spend a majority of my day at the library, or on campus, which requires a nice hot tea mid-day. Another good alternative: Tazo’s Earl Grey, which has a surprisingly fruity smell. Thanks to my former roommate Meleah for introducing me to Earl Grey!

3. I had a brand new experience yesterday: pumping air into my tires. Yup, my car told me to do it via its alarm/message system early last week. So, off I went to the gas station, and, well, Friday I failed. In all fairness, the air pump that I put 50 cents into was broken. It didn’t have a nozzle thing at the end, but I thought I could make it work anyways. Nope. So, yesterday, I tried again. After limited success, I went to check the levels in my car, since I didn’t have any way to measure it (though my car will tell me how much pressure is in each tire). Apparently, I hadn’t actually pumped any air into the tires. Then three cars pulled in and proceeded to take a really long time stealing the air hose away from me. Must be a record for rural CT: four drivers fighting over a single air pump. When I swiped it back (OK, after I waited for everyone else to leave), I pumped those tires so full of air that a new alarm went off in my car: too much air in tires! So then I let some out. So it goes.

4. Finally, a list of positive (though not novel) things I am doing in Connecticut:

– sipping tea while reading Virgil

– watching post-Civil War Spanish movies

– pondering literary theory

– volunteering with The Benton, the art gallery on UConn’s campus

So, my life may not be full of European adventures anymore, but when I focus on the positive stuff, I can still find the fun and exciting everyday things that can provide happiness.

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2 Responses to “Chai & such… in Connecticut”

  1. Todd H. Page+ January 25, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    FYI: In Connecticut it is illegal for them to charge you for air, it MUST be provided for free.

    Miss you and love you!

    • kristinareardon January 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      Good to know!! I am glad I didn’t pay for it, and those people who cut in front of me and did got what they deserved, I guess ;)

      Sending love & hugs your way! Do you realize we’re approaching the 1-year anniversary of the epic adventures throughout Central Europe?? We should get together to toast to times gone by!

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