Current date: January 27, 2003 (at Jeff's in Minonk)
Subject: the big party and the superbowl

January 25, 2003
Woke around 9:30, knowing there was a big day ahead. People started showing up around 1 or so and it was a great day. A TON of my relatives came and we had a lot of fun. We just hung out as a family, laughing and telling stories throughout the entire day. It felt great to be surrounded by loved ones and there was a huge outpour of support and people wishing me well on my way. Always nice to know that you have so many people behind you.

I spent a lot of time talking about what path I would take and answering questions about how I would survive the next year or so. Well, let me just say that, one way I will make it will be with memories of that Saturday...memories of being surrounded by loved ones and remembering that all of you are behind me.

Anyway, it was a GREAT day and once again I was appreciating the dvice I had gotten from Tim from London...if I was going to leave, I needed to do it RIGHT...and BOY AM I!!!

That night, Duane, Suzanne, Eric, Cory (Wilson), and I all went to a bar in Normal and just hung out. It was a good time. I talked about Arjona and his lyrics for awhile (one of my favorite subjects!!!) and it was cool to see other people get a little excited about it, even though they had never even heard any of the songs. We spent about an hour and a half there, just talking and it was a perfect end to a perfect day.

January 26, 2003
I actually slept in a bit until about 11...when I woke up it was finally time to start taking care of the final things I needed to before leaving. I still had a lot of things to do on the computer concerning finances, etc. And I needed to do some shopping and stuff. Plus, there were a couple people in town that I needed to say goodbye to.

All that being said, there was another important event ocurring that day...the superbowl. I was happy that I would get a chance to see it this year b/c last year I was in Buenos Aires. Contrary to popular belief, nobody outside the US really give a crap about the superbowl...but I do and it has always bugged me that I missed it last year and it happened to be one of the best Superbowls ever...the underdog Patriots beat the Rams.

Anyway, I was hoping Duane was going to stick around for the game but he wanted to get back to Madison...which was understandable considering it was he and Suzanne's one year anniversary of dating. Pretty cool. I have a feeling that soon we will be counting their years together as husband in wife:) Anyway, my good friend from highschool, Ryan was coming up from St. Louis to see me off and we were going to watch the game together. Also, Jeff's girl, Jenny was gonna watch it too since Jeff was out in San Diego for the superbowl. In the end, it was me, my Dad, Ryan and Jenny. We went to this bar in downtown Bloomington called C2 East to watch the game. We went in the place, everyone was kind of staring at us but I didn't really think anything of it. Since I basically grew up here there are a lot of people I know but since I haven't really lived here for 9 years...there are a lot of people that I don't recognize. I just figured it was one of those cases. We sat and had a round of drinks and watched about half of the first quarter of the game. Around then, this grumpy ass owner of the bar comes up to us and says, "You guys aren't with Jim's Steakhouse are you?" but he said it real snotty he stessed the "You guys". So we said no and he tells us, "well, we aren't open on Sunday's...this is a private party." Still continuing with this attitude as if we had crashed this thing on purpose. So we apologized saying that we didn't know. I mean, there wasn't a sign on the door or anything. Anyway, the guy then says real smart like, "Didn't you notice she didn't charge you for the have to pay for those." We played it cool, but I was thinking, have you ever hear of a freakin' TAB. We were sitting at the bar. It didn't seem too far fetched to me to assume she was running a tab for us. That guy annoyed the hell out of me. You can bet your ass I'll never go in that place again.

It all worked out pretty well though b/c from there we went to another place called Elroy's and it was a LOT better. The game was a blowout though, Tampa Bay won their first superbowl ever. I don't even remember the final score. A lot to a little. It was fun though. After the game, my Dad and Ryan headed for home and Jenny and I went to Fat Jack's for a couple drinks. We sat and talked about the trip for awhile. I would like to take this chance to once again say that Jeff REALLY hit the jackpot on her. She is an AWESOME girl. Very fun to hang out with and unbelievably considerate. I can't state how much I like her for him.

After the bar, we went to Steak and Shake...for those not in the know, it is a popular 24 hour restaurant chain that happens to serve the BEST shakes in the world. If it wasn't negative 20 that night I might have had one...we got our grub on and I went home and crashed...content that I had atleast seen the superbowl...but a bit afraid thinking about the fact that I only had 3 days left in the States.



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