It’s been a fun but busy couple of days.

Thursday was McKeesport’s annual International Village food festival, so Paul and I ventured out. We’ve been trying new routes in and around the city–especially to and from Terra’s house–thanks to construction. And we’ve found some good routes that keep us away from the congested parkway and inevitable tunnel traffic, except that we somehow missed a turn, then took a wrong turn and ended up making a huge circle and significantly screwing up our travel time.

The good thing about this was that in the meantime, Terra was off with her friend Gemma getting a new ear piercing, and her appointment ran late. Our navigational setback ended up being almost perfect–we made it to Terra’s maybe five minutes before she and Gemma got back. Terra and Paul exchanged birthday presents, since their birthdays are about a week or so apart, and then we walked over to the park for the food festival. On the way, we saw her niece, Betty Jo, who is basically the cutest baby to grace my Facebook feed right now. She was also covered in remnants of food, so I guess she had a good time.

As for us, we hung around for a few hours. The grilled pineapple at the Hawaiian stand might be the simplest item there, but it’s one of my favorites and one of the only things I consistently get every year. Everyone else tried out some Lebanese, I split a funnel cake with Terra since her diabetes makes that unwise, and I ended with some lo mein, despite making jokes about how the Chinese line was the longest of all of them. I mean, who goes to an international food festival for Chinese food? Similarly, I refused to eat any Polish or similar foods because my family makes them all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I really love haluski, but I don’t need to get it at a food festival.

That said, my own complaint about that festival is how similar some of the booths are. The Vietnamese and Chinese stands were basically the same, as were a lot of the eastern European and Mediterranean-area ones. On top of that, being a vegetarian sensitive to spicy foods can be really limiting when it comes to trying new things–I would’ve loved to have tried the Soul Food, but it was all either spicy or meat. (That said, if I were actually traveling to these countries, I’d seriously consider at least included seafood so as to truly experience another culture because I think it’s important.)

The festival isn’t all food–they do have a craft section, although it’s not as international as the rest of the festival. It’s more of the typical stands you’ll see at fairs, but it is always fun to browse. Terra and I even walked away with some great-smelling soy candles that I think were locally made.

And Friday night, we stayed in for the first time in weeks and drank some wine before a weekend of family gatherings and mountain excursions.

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