The moment I arrived in Chapel Hill, I went to a grocery store. My plan is not to leave the hotel at all tomorrow, and I needed food. And guess what? The cashier turned out to be from my small town in Illinois. Overcome by the joy of that and of me being from Ukraine, the cashier gave me a 10% discount.
Groceries are cheaper in NC than where I live. They are very fancy because this is a fancy college but still cheaper. Strangely, seafood is much cheaper. I have zero knowledge of geography, so I don’t know if there’s a body of water nearby but I bought an exact same-sized box of cooked shrimp here for $5 that I bought for $11 at home last week. (Please don’t judge me, I was desperate).
This is actually the second time that I go out of state for a conference and immediately meet somebody from my tiny town. Mind you, not somebody from St Louis, which wouldn’t be a big deal but from my unknown little place in the boonies. God, I love my Midwestern boonies.
One thing that’s weird is that everybody is masked. Back home, we forgot all that a while ago. Plus, I immediately started getting notifications on my phone that the state of North Carolina wants to inform me when I have “potential exposure to COVID.” I thought Illinois was COVID-nuts but we haven’t had that kind of silliness for 18 months.