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My companion was at the front desk, signing his lease and other official while I slipped into the stairwell and made my way to the third floor. She was here somewhere, behind one of these doors scattered throughout the long twisting hallways with the 70s carpet.

I was on a stealth mission and as such, I dodged and hid in the doorways when residents made their way in my direction. There must not have been any cameras in the building, or security wasn’t watching, but my venture through the labyrinth that was the apartment complex probably looked shady as all hell.

But alas, I carried on! My job was to find her door, set these two stuffed animals my companion had brought back from Alaska, knock, and run back to the awaiting apartment downstairs before she could see me.

“Mission complete!” I shouted as I bolted into the door of my companion’s new apartment downstairs. I laughed and retold the tale but was hastily interrupted when the door swung open. Enter new character: Caelys.

In she walked, the voice and the words I’ve spoken to for ages in physical form. We came across one another through mutual friends and started up a friendship that has lasted over the years. We’ve talked, we’ve skyped, but this was, however, the first time I was actually seeing her in person. Proper greetings were in order, and so, we hugged. It was lovely.

I crossed mountains, swam rivers, fought ice trolls in the frigid north, and finally turned up on her doorstep victorious! With the three of us united at last, celebration was in order! Drinks all around!
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Have a drink with friends in Minnesota

On the way home, we stopped at a few places since the fridge was empty. We got some much needed essentials for the rest of the week and the upcoming house warming party.

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There wasn’t much planned now that the drive was over. The goal of this entire trip was to assist my companion during his move to MN; I pulled the final bag from the backseat, and my job was now complete.

I had a week in MN before flying out to my next destination, let’s find something to do.

The Mall of America was one such outing. I remember back in 5th grade, hearing about it for the first time and being absolutely captivated by the thought of it. Here I was, walking through the lengths of the massive building, mentally high fiving the shadow of my younger self.

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We also stopped for sushi. Delicious, delicious sushi.

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I would recommend. Ask for Rebeka.

Eat Sushi with friends in Minnesota

We ventured on; saw the rides, the mirror maze and other attractions before it dawned on me that this was, essentially, just a mall. A mall that had all of the same stores that any would have, just larger and more of them. Does one really need a floor sized Abercrombie?

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Lost in a world of mirrors.

-Visit the Mall of America

The housewarming party was next on the list. Caelys brought her friends and we had ourselves a night of games and hastily created concoctions. I discovered a strange mysticism people have with magnetic stacking balls, and finally took my hand at Cards Against Humanity.

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Play Cards Against Humanity

Make new friends in MN

After the festivities, the pace for the remainder of the trip settled into that of a relaxed state. The days were spent doing random activities, or visiting more of the Caelys’ friends…

-Meet MJ. Maria. David. Devon!

…while the nights, I found myself in her apartment watching movies and spending some time together. The driving companion and I had been conjoined at the car for the majority of the trip, so it was nice to get away for a bit.

The days slipped away until my leaving date had arrived. I packed up my bag, gave Caelys a hug goodbye, and walked out to the car. My companion and I were off for our final ride together.

This is where I took a bow, and exited the scene. Through the automatic doors I stepped, and into the crowd of the bustling lobby. That feeling, that excitement tinged with just enough fear to keep you heightened, but not enough to actually stop you from continuing, ah, yes, that feeling of being inside an unfamiliar airport, how I’ve missed thee!

At the start of this entire thing, people thought I was out of my mind for even considering such a trip, and to be honest, I’ve never actually considered going to Alaska or Minnesota. All of these entries, this whole story, all the photos, all the people I met and things I saw, are a product of stepping out of my comfort zone and saying “yes” at the very beginning. I could have said no, quite easily too, and erased the possibility of it all from my personal history. How frightening of a thought, how many other “No”s in my timeline could have ended up being brought into beautiful reality?

I suppose that’s a question for another day, because I say “Yes“, yes to it all, and that makes me smile.

-Meet Caelys

– Hug Caelys

Conclude the Alaska to Minnesota trip in its entirety

My plane left within the hour. Onward to California!

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