The cousin visits.

Rowenna came to Ithaca to hang out for a day. She had just concluded the European leg of her round-the-world tour and next up for her was North and Central America. She was to be in New York for 5 days, and so she decided to come to Ithaca and see how I’ve been spending the last three months here.

After coffee with the Swedish and Japanese folks, I walked to the bus station to receive Rowie. Being about ten minutes early, I did some window shopping at Greenstar Co-op, an organic supermarket beside the bus station. She arrived at around half past nine, and after completing some purchases at the supermarket, I peeked out and saw the bus had arrived. From about ten metres away, I called out “Ah Nah” as she is fondly known to her loved ones. Yes, we have some endearing nicknames for people we love. 😉

Well, anyhow, after exchanging hugs and greetings, we talked about plans for the night. The rain started to get heavier and the first instinct was to call for a taxi to get back to college. I had arranged for Rowie to stay in the empty room in Naomi’s apartment. After getting her settled there, we came back to my place, and I warmed up some soup for her before we left for the library because I had some work to do, and she had some odds and ends to settle for her North/Central American trip.

The next day, we met for lunch at the campus food court where I introduced her to the Swedes I’ve been hanging out with. After lunch I brought her around the college. I just realized I haven’t blogged about Ithaca College much, and I shall do so in the coming weeks.

I insisted that she take a photo with the fishball sculpture.

The Muller Chapel and pond – the most serene and tranquil spot on campus.

The pond from further away. It’s even nicer now that it’s Spring.

Cousins and the Chapel.

The view of Cornell University from Ithaca College.

After the tour around the college, we decided to take a walk down to the Commons before heading to one of the waterfalls in Ithaca. To be honest, I haven’t been to one at all in my three months here because it was too cold to go out and waterfalls are what Ithaca is famous for. The biggest headache is inaccessibility because without a car, getting to any of them can be quite hard. We walked around the Commons for a bit, stopping for coffee at Starbucks, and taking photos of little sights at the Commons. I mentioned before that Ithaca is a quaint little arty-farty town and even after three months here, I’m not sure I know much about this place. Having Rowie around made me realize that even more because I didn’t know where to bring her, how to explain what we saw and I felt like a visitor as much as she did.

We headed to Ithaca Falls via bus. It was just about ten minutes away from the Commons. Being in Ithaca, you are never too far from nature. Ithaca Falls was definitely not the best waterfall to see, nothing too grand about it compared to other more renowned ones in the area. But it was the closest, and most accessible to us. The falls sprayed mist at us and it being winter, it got chilly after a little while. I can’t wait to go back there now and compare how it looks like because the trees should be covered with a little more leaves and the colors will add so much life to the scenery. Winter does make one feel dreary because of the lack of colors.

A miniature version – this one is more of a trickle.

Rock layers and cracks.

Can you spot the rainbow?

The Falls, with the sun about to set.

The rushing icy water. Murky from heavy rains.

Rowie snapped our shadows cast by the setting sun as I sat down on a bench to decide where to go next. It had been a short day and we didn’t really do much and I felt like Rowie hadn’t seen much of Ithaca. But neither have I. What have I been doing these three months??

I decided that we should go to Boatyard Grill, a waterfront restaurant. The only problem was I didn’t know how to get there and it wasn’t within walking distance. One thing I appreciate about Singapore is that the transport system brings you everywhere one needs to get to. And the bus that would bring you to the waterfront only serves that route in the summer. Ithaca being a small town, well.. that aside, it can’t be that no one goes to the lake other than summer? I’m not sure Ithaca is the place for someone raised in a city. Or maybe I just need to learn driving right now and get a car soon. Really really soon.

Sun sets over one of the many churches.

Drive-through ATM. Incredibly lazy Americans or incredibly efficient Americans? You decide.

We headed back to the Commons and decided not to go to the lake because it was just too inconvenient. We settled for a sports grill and bar instead. Typically American place where people come to watch football or baseball or basketball on giant screens. Right now, I’m just thinking about the fact that I have two more weeks left in Ithaca and how little of this place I have seen. Makes me feel incredibly underachieved. It’s like I have been here and yet this place still seems so foreign to me. There really is more to this place than I know, which is paradoxical because it is such a small town with so little to offer, yet with so much yet to discover. Saying goodbye is not going to be sad, just difficult that I haven’t grasped the essence of what this town has to offer in my time here. Mixed feelings.

Inside Benchwarmer’s Sports Bar & Grill

Us with our huge burgers and fries.

After dinner, we took a walk uphill back to IC. I have become rather unfit now unfortunately, and so walking (especially uphill) for a good twenty minutes after a meal is always good. Rowie was going to take the 1:30 a.m. bus back to New York so we had some time to kill. She brought her bags from Naomi’s to my apartment, took a shower and packed her bags while I worked on an assignment.

We caught the bus down to the Commons and had smoothies at the Mate Factor, a quaint dairy place owned by members from Twelve Tribes. (I told you Ithaca is filled with quirky people.) We each had a smoothie and from there, we made our way to the bus station, a ten minute walk away.

We made it just in time and the driver very kindly gave us two minutes to say goodbye. Here is a cousin very dear to my heart. Someone whom has been there the whole time while we grew up. Ironically enough, the past five years that she has been away studying in Perth has been the time that we grew closer and I found we had so much in common, it’s as if she never left Singapore at all. To me, blood will always be thicker than water.

  • treb|e May 3, 2007, 2:15 am

    Drive through ATMs? Coolness to the max!


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