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Feels like home

Kate Gales | Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I cannot say enough good things about living off-campus. Granted, driving to class is a pain (although I’m batting 1.000 on attendance thus far), but the daily adventures in my life more than make up for the 15 extra minutes of commute time in my day. And to be honest, when your earliest class is at 11 a.m., that 15 minutes is probably a worthwhile sacrifice.

My first and favorite off-campus adventure is going grocery shopping. This sounds lame until you realize the endless possibilities that grocery shopping offers. Racing other shoppers for the last chicken-and-wild-rice Lean Cuisine when Martin’s is running a 5-for-$10 special on those delectable frozen meals is a thrill than only a true supermarket aficionado can experience.

In this vein, Martin’s is by far my favorite grocery store, both for its convenient location and the deliciousness of its Side Door Deli. Don’t feel like cooking? (An odd feeling at the supermarket, but I’m not judging.) Try a delicious panini sandwich, soup-to-go, the salad bar or a Ready Made Meal.

Seriously, I could dedicate a whole column to Martin’s. And their muffins. Particularly the chocolate-chip ones. After pulling off the Indiana Turnpike on August 18, Belmont Beverage was obviously my first stop. But a close second was Martin’s – to pick up my Advantage Card, of course.

In short, I highly recommend the wonderful world of Martin’s to the discerning grocery shopper.

Closely related to grocery shopping is its end result: Cooking. Although I am confident that my housemates and I will soon tire of making delicious meals from scratch – and I admit it’s only really happened a few times in the last three weeks – there’s something about sitting around a table together that evokes a real feeling of family and togetherness.

Five girls around the kitchen may take feminism back several decades, but I get a really rewarding feeling from the teamwork of making a meal both nutritious and delicious. Or maybe that’s the fact that, in the Italian style, wine is an important part of our dinners together. Either way, it’s a nice feeling. So is laying on the couch wearing “turkey pants” afterwards, in fact. Which brings me to the next great part of living off campus: Space.

I absolutely love having a room to myself. On the walls hang my dad’s old Zahm interhall football jersey, circa 1978, signed photos of Paul Hornung and Rocky Bleier and a Luxembourg flag. There’s also a fake plant that occupies a special place in my heart, mostly due to Dad’s mocking of the frivolousness of it. Either way, Tiny Room is a great place for studying, relaxing and watching “Flavor of Love.”

In short, I highly recommend you find yourself a good group of people and move off campus.

While it is unlikely that you will be lucky enough to find a house directly between Rocco’s and Club 23, with off-the-street-parking, a porch swing and women asking for “money for a cab … okay, or a beer” showing up on your doorstep at all hours – wait, that might not be a positive – if your experience is anything like mine has been thus far, it may well be the best year of your life.