My time in this house with Libra is nearing its end.
I knew this was coming, before I agreed to moving in with him. However, I didn’t know when. He didn’t even know when, because there was no set date. As much as I don’t want to be vague, since it sounds like we’ve just reached a point where we can’t stand each other, I unfortunately have to be vague for the sake of privacy and personal information. Yeah, it sucks, but I don’t feel as if I’m at liberty to discuss such things.
Ah, but tragedy befalls other friends as well, as my best friend suffered a tragic loss. There’s a lot going on with that, so I should probably hold my figurative tongue. So much going on in life, not at liberty to discuss any of it.
Well, one of these two situations provided me an excellent opportunity!
I was asked if I would personally deliver some legal papers to an address in Buffalo. I agreed, solely because i had the time and I was helping out a friend in need. So preparations were made, Libra gave my car an oil change, I was given gas money by the friend I was helping, and I set off on my whirlwind adventure.
It’s been years since I’ve been to Buffalo. I’ve driven through the area more recently than I had last visited, as we (Mom and I, for example) would have to pass through the area on the way to visit my brother when he still lived in Pennsylvania. The last time I had visited was when I was spending time with my first ex, which was about ten years ago.
I didn’t want to just go, drop off the papers, and then turn back around.
Libra was going to go with me, but then he changed his mind for reasons I understood. Had he accompanied me, I might have tried looking for the two bars that my ex had visited, as I felt like Libra might have enjoyed the bar that had a devil theme to it. Then again, I felt like Libra might not have cared what we did, except to tell me that he didn’t want to be with me while I rekindled memories.
I ended up going alone, which is not a problematic situation for me. So I chose the music, brought some snacks, and headed out on my three-hour-long journey.
When I was almost to my destination, I sent a message to the friend I was helping. I was then informed that the recipient wouldn’t be home for about two more hours. Well, I did plan to occupy more of my time while I was out, did I not? So I pulled into a parking lot for some business that was closed, either for the day or forever, and I searched Google for something that would cater to my interests.
In hindsight, I don’t know why I searched for Asian markets. It’s not as if I couldn’t make a day trip to Syracuse for Asian food, or just popped in to Wegmans after work for their limited selection of goods. Furthermore, it’s not as if I actually needed anything, as I still had two bottles of Calpico in the fridge, I had ramen, panko bread crumbs, okonomiyaki flour,… I did not need anything more. Why I didn’t search for something entertaining, like a science museum or an arcade, is beyond me.
Lucky Dragon was closed for the day, which was only a disappointment in that I couldn’t say I visited a store with Dragon in the name. My first stop was then Hana Mart, a shop with about a third of the floor space of Han’s. I’m not kidding, the floor space was about the size of someone’s living room. It was tiny! But what the store lacked in floor space, it made up for in selection, as I found a few things I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. The girl behind the register was so nice and friendly, and we talked about how baked goods always taste better while they’re warm, after she passed along the suggestion that the brownie-cookies I bought would taste better after being in the microwave for a moment.
I consulted my phone again, this time finding another store that was occupying a repurposed Walmart. The store is called Asia Food Mart, and the entrance is flanked by a pair of lion statues, just like the other Asian market that I know of in Syracuse. Like that Syracuse store, there is more of an emphasis on Chinese food and culture, although other Southeast Asian countries are represented as well. But unlike that store in Syracuse, this one had a nook with furniture in it, and one corner of the store displayed porcelain dishes with small spotlights focused on the items, and glass display cases arranged in a rectangle with jewelry pieces and jade knick-knacks on display for purchase. There was also more Indian food and seasoning as well. I bought a lot of drinks, from canned coffee to juice with bits of coconut in it. I also bought some jelly snacks, which are closer in consistency to gelatin than to something you might spread on toast. I told myself I was going to avoid anything that needed refrigeration, which probably saved me some money though I might have missed out on having ice cream mochi as a treat in the car. At least I know the other Asian store in the Syracuse area has ice cream mochi, so I’m not at a loss. But what I didn’t know, or at least what I didn’t realize at the time, was that the Asia Food Mart in Buffalo is a sister store to the Asia Food Mart in Syracuse, the place I keep using for comparisons. No wonder they have so much in common!
Half way through the Asia Food Mart, and when my phone wanted to deliver a message, I got a message from my friend saying that my recipient had arrived at home. My friend was anxious for me, and everyone was fearing that the scene would be more eventful than it was. I didn’t mind taking my time to finish up in the store, as it allowed my recipient to get comfortable for a bit, though I’m aware that it only drew things out for my friend. But I navigated back to the given address, confirmed I had the correct recipient, then dropped off the papers and fled the scene. There was no confrontation, probably because my recipient was blindsided and confused. Hey, I’m just the delivery girl, I did what I was asked to do.
I parked in another parking lot, then made the necessary phone calls to say it was done and how little I had to deal with. Then I recalled seeing a listing for a ramen restaurant, which I searched for as it was nearing dinnertime and I was not going to do drive-thru if I could help it. The first five listings, when searching for ramen near me, were all for Sato Ramen, located near the University of Buffalo campus. My first thought was that this is obviously “the” place to go for ramen, so I went there. The food was amazing, of course! I’m pretty sure the portion of ramen I had was an American-sized portion, and with my okonomiyaki fries on the side, it was too much for me to eat in one sitting. I’ve heard in Japan, you can’t just get your leftovers to go, but since we’re in America (and again, that was a generous portion, I’m not even kidding), the restaurant had to-go containers. With my leftovers packed up, I returned to the car.
At this point, it’s after 6 pm on a Sunday night. The mall was closed, in fact a few things would’ve been closing up for the night if they weren’t already. I already told myself I wasn’t going to cross into Canada, which is why I left my birth certificate at home (birth certificates along with photo ID can apparently be used in lieu of passports or the enhanced drivers license to cross the border into Canada). That didn’t mean I couldn’t go to Niagara Falls, it just meant I couldn’t go to the Canadian side of the Falls. So, I plotted a course for the Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls USA.
That was the second time I had been to the Hard Rock Cafe on the American side of the Falls, the first time being when I took another friend of mine to the area to pick up her daughter. That was before I met my first ex. I bought a t-shirt and a necklace at that time, along with the Shakira pin which is one of my favorite pins yet – it’s a pink winged guitar! This time, I bought two shirts, a necklace, and three different pins. I couldn’t resist the one shirt, as it had a guitar with wings on it, and it wasn’t until I was wearing it at work the next day that it reminded me of Kyosuke Himuro and some of his merchandise. I wanted to get dessert, but I had already transferred money out of my savings account to pay for shirts I didn’t need after buying Asian groceries I didn’t need.
After I left the Hard Rock Cafe, I walked around a building that housed an international food court and a gift shop. I walked in because the Chinese eatery advertised bubble tea, but then I didn’t buy anything, not even the bubble tea. When I was looking through the gift shop, I thought about different people and what I might buy for them. Libra might’ve received a pocket knife with his name on it, and I might’ve purchased a shot glass for one of the guys at work who’s a close friend. The only thing stopping me was knowing how much I had already spent on the trip, though I also considered the gift-giving gesture would be appreciated but the gift would be unwanted.
I was quickly running out of daylight, so I decided not to stay at the Falls for too much longer. Besides, the Falls are spectacular at night… from the Canadian side, not the American side. Since I had to work the next day, and I needed to get home without passing out and crashing the car, I figured it was best if I ended my adventure, at least for this time around.
I hated having to leave for home. Home, of course, being the place where I rest my head at night. I could’ve rested my head in a hotel room, but I wouldn’t have been ready for work, and I can’t just do my job remotely. So that got me thinking, I should get a remote job, I should just go to different places, especially places I’ve never been before.
So that is my plan, at least the most generalized version of it. I will get a remote job, I’ll quit being a relay operator, and I’m going to see more of the United States. Because if I leave for Japan, there are things I’ll have never seen in my own country and might never see, and I’ll have to fly over all of it anyway. So then I thought about taking a train across the country, to at least see the landscapes, then hop a flight to Japan from the west coast. Finally I thought about just taking a road trip across the country, instead of taking a train, before I conceded that Japan isn’t in my budget yet. So how will I afford this excursion? I’ll stay in one place for a few weeks, then go somewhere else.
For now, though, I will prepare, because this is going to be a long journey, and I don’t quite feel prepared for it yet. But when I am ready and I head out, I hope it’s going to be worthwhile!