Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nebraska to Iowa

For years in Morocco, construction across the street started at 7:15 am, and I woke up at 7:15 every day, even on the days when it was quiet. Somehow I woke up at 7:15 this morning too – even though I was in a new time zone.

I looked at the map and realized that my route could take me right through Lincoln – another state capital! This was an interesting one. Nebraska has the only unicameral legislature in the country. The capitol building has a tall tower; it’s the third-tallest in the country. Murals, mosaics, stone, wood, symbols, pioneer stories and the love of the land and its labors. I took most of a tour, but was in one-hour parking so I had to leave early, but not before I saw some of the legislature in action, voting on a measure.

It was time to go, anyway – I had a lunch date at a Perkins just off the interstate outside of Omaha, with Rebecca, a Morocco YD RPCV from the stage before me who had extended and had just gotten home in December, and Jackie, the SBD from the stage behind me who had been med-sepped, thereby paving the way for me to work with the Ain Leuh women, which made my service more successful and rewarding! They hadn’t met, so now they have each other to talk to about Morocco. It was a nice lunch!

And then I drove 239 miles into Iowa (390 in all for the day; it had been 500 the day before), arriving in Iowa City just before dark. Passed some giant windmills and some rolling hills – well, rolling compared to Nebraska, that is. I had found an aviation-themed hotel on the internet; each room had different wallpaper, photographs and stories (and the hotel was right next to a small airstrip). I asked for the Flying Tigers suite but that was booked, so I was in the Barnstormers suite.

Iowa City is UNESCO’s third literary city, after Edinburgh and Melbourne – who knew? I had dinner on my own and then went to meet Jessica, a Morocco RPCV from my stage. I had school and other old friends in California and the Mountain West, but I didn’t have a lot of friends in the middle of the country until I met some through Peace Corps! Jessica and I had some hot chocolate and talked for hours. I also had a little chance to see downtown Iowa City (including the Old State Capitol). Quite charming! But if I were going to live in a literary city, I might prefer Edinburgh or Melbourne…

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