Next part of the trip was finally visiting the good ol' alma mater after a whole year. Gainesville will always have a large place in my heart. My first home away from home. The place where I left the shelter and comfort of living with my family, to learning to stand on my own two feet.
I looked forward visiting Gainesville again, and it didn't disappoint. The moment we took our exit from I-75, I felt like I never left. It was like my whole life in North Carolina never existed, and I was back in school at UF spending a typical weekend hanging out with Errol.
One of the main things we wanted to do on this trip was visit all of our favorite eating places that we missed so much. Our first stop was my absolute favorite... Rolls 'N Bowls. There are tons of sushi places in Gainesville, and I have tried all of them. But when I'm looking to scratch that sushi itch, Rolls 'N Bowls is the choice place for me. Ironically, I actually don't go there for the rolls... but for the bowls. My usual is a spicy salmon/tuna bowl. It's a heap of raw fish over sushi rice, with avocado and spicy mayo. Simply divine.
Another specialty of theirs is the wontons. Not only do they have the traditional crab rangoon style, but they have seasonal dessert wontons. Of those that I have had include pumpkin pie, chocolate raspberry, and the one I had that day... key lime pie. My mouth is watering at the though of those scrumptious delights.
Later on, we met with Errol's old roommates at one of the pubs we frequented: Mother's. Lots of memories in that place, most of them impaired. I had my 21st birthday celebration there... 'nuff said. It was also where Errol and I watched an amazing US men's soccer game in the 2010 world cup. The day we went there also happened to be wing night. So, being boys, they all ate. Not because they were hungry, but because they were $0.45 each (I'll never understand this).
After a day of driving and eating, we went to a friend's apartment where we stayed that night and changed/tried to digest for the next meal. That's right, it was dinner time and we had one more meal to squeeze in. There was a new Mexican place that we wanted to try out with our friends. Needless to say, my stomach reached capacity that day (a very common occurrence during this vacation).
The next day, we spent it visiting more old friends and walking around campus. It was so nice seeing old friends and catching up. I loved going around campus and reminiscing about the classes we took, the experiences we had. Another big reason Gainesville and UF will always be important to me is because that is where Errol and I met, became friends, and started our wonderful relationship. Nearly every inch of the school and city holds at least one memory with Errol, and going back again with him for the first time was extremely special.
The last meal of the trip was at Farah's. This is where Errol and his roommate would eat wings at least once a month to have hot wings, their favorite place to do so. There were many birthdays celebrated here as well. It's a mediterranean menu, and I got my usual gyro. We also shared a hookah that night with our friends, and I got my favorite drink... "Dirty Hookah Water".
Overall, the return to Gainesville was great. One of the things that I noticed when I was there, was that I felt so comfortable. Here in North Carolina, I still feel a bit uncomfortable. My mental map isn't completely drawn, and I still frequently get lost. And now that Errol has moved away, I think the process won't be as fast. I love it here, but there's no place like home.
It sure is great to be a Florida Gator.