Last night, I heard my first real thunderstorm in two years. It was violent and gorgeous and lit up my room in flashes of silver. The thunder shook the walls. Oliver trembled next to me, but he didn’t bark.
Iowa is green and lush and hot and humming. When I stand on my back porch, I can hear crickets and hear cicadas screaming. Their fragile, dry husks cling to trees and lay on the sidewalk.
I hiked around Iowa City today, to get a feel for the space. I have been spoiled by the Bay Area’s mild weather–my body is not used to this heat or humidity. Sweat rolled off my face. It was easily ninety degrees. I went and got my ID card and found a good bookstore. It was satisfying to get work done and see my community, but when I got back into my air-conditioned house I almost wept. I lay down on the hardwood floor in the living room among my genre-sorted piles of books. Oliver stood over me, sniffing my face and wagging his tail, confused about my indecipherable noises of happiness as the cold rushed over me.
I met up with another Workshop student, Evan, who also came from the Bay Area. He’s been here for a while, and knew all of the good spots for used furniture. We went to a Mennonite-run thrift store, The Crowded Closet, and I bought a tall bookcase. We also ate falafel sandwiches at a place called Oasis, and it was surprisingly delicious. I only realized after he left how grateful I was for human contact. I haven’t really had a conversation with anyone since my parents and sister left on Monday morning.
I miss my family. They are so wonderful.
Oliver loves his new house. The grasshoppers and cicadas and crickets all confuse him. He walks through the grass and they bound up around him like they’re in a Disney movie, and his head cocks so far to the side I’m afraid he’ll hurt himself with puzzlement.
Right now, I’m sitting in my pajamas at a local laundromat, one that has wireless internet access and air conditioning. I’ve never used a laundromat before. There’s a small black cricket hopping across the tan tiles. It looks all out of place with these white, shiny machines and fluorescent lighting. It’s a little bit of the outside on the inside.