long-distance relationship

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tonight

rohini and i are both flying home this afternoon! i’m scheduled to arrive at 8pm and Rohini isn’t getting in until 11 (i’m keeping my fingers crossed with this snow). After a long day of work/school and travel, the average human being would likely call it a night. lucky for us, rohini and i aren’t your average humans and have quite the busy itinerary planned for ourselves. take a look.

rohini and i will…

– be reunited after 2 long weeks apart

– share a great big hug that will likely involve a combination of squealing, laughing, jumping and maybe even some tongue

– see the proud loving faces of our parents, followed immediately by their looks of disappointment when we both go rushing out the front door

– drive around car dancing to a mix cd of all of our current favorite songs

– go to Lodo’s, our most favoritest bar in Denver

– dance with a dozen men who will get the wrong idea

– repeatedly say “i wish we could do this every weekend”

– overstay our welcome at Village Inn as we inhale veggie omelets, french fries and pie

– even consider a stop at Del Taco for cheesecake bites, and by “consider” I mean definitely go

– make plans for the rest of our weekend. plans should include but are not limited to: the mall, chipotle, noodles & company, a movie, lots of pictures, driving around, spending time with friends, more downtown and more dancing

– return home way later than we’ll tell our parents we did the next morning

– get some much needed sleep in our beds at home

– have laughed and smiled and laughed all night long :)

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day/night savings

Dear readers,

Please accept our most sincere apologies. We have not been upholding our promise of providing you with a steady stream of posts and endless laughter. I promise to write one tomorrow when I make my voyage from DC to New York. Until then, this little itinerary will have to do the trick. I am so very excited to see Rohini, Megan and Rachel again! What’s sad is we’ll only have about 33 hours together, so this is the very busy itinerary that we have planned.

– Yang gets in at approx. 10pm
– Friday night dancing
– rocking out to Rockband
– frozen yogurt at 16 Handles
– watch a movie with our pal Michael
– eat the delicious corn at Café Habana
– Chipotle for lunch
– try to do some shopping (this will more likely be window shopping, because neither one of us has money)
– chilling
– Dinner to celebrate Megan’s birthday
– Saturday night dancing
– followed by a 24 hour diner. I’m thinking either Veselka or Yaffa Café
– one last sleepover
– rohini leaves in the morning :(
– lots and lots of pictures

more stories to come!

train of consciousness

I have spent the past two days partying it up in Washington D.C., the beautiful capital of this beautiful nation.  Here’s how I got here.

Over the past four years, every time I visited Yang, I typically took the Peter Pan Express bus to New York.  This time, however, I opted for the overnight Amtrak train from Providence to Union Station.  Now, I know the train seems like a somewhat outmoded form of transportation compared to all the high-flying speedy jets we see today (my friend Megan incidentally arrived by plane).  But it still held a bit of classical charm for me with a North by Northwest kind of sex appeal.  I fancied the thought of running into a Cary Grant type and necking in a hidden corner behind the bathroom.  I boarded the train full of romantic ideas about how the next eight hours would pass.  When I got off the word “sexy” had completely disappeared from my train vocabulary.

On the overnight train, most people board, put their bags away, recline their seats and pass out.  I, however, stayed awake to complete a homework assignment I had put off until the last minute.  So, by the time I decided to put my books away and call it a night most everyone else was in a deep sleep.  As I was dozing off I noticed a woman slip into the seat behind me, explaining to the train conductor that her daughter had kicked her out of her seat.  At the time, this didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I was too tired to bother with further mental inquiry.  I propped my jacket under my head and shut my eyes.

Not even five minutes had passed before I woke to a hideously unattractive sound.  The noise, which resembled what I imagined a rat being swallowed by the train’s engine might sound like, was so loud it startled me into an upright stance.  I checked around to see if anyone else had woken to this sound.  Nope, just  me.  Then, I looked back.  To my complete horror, this noise was no engine malfunction, but a monstrous snore.  The woman who took her seat behind me was no train passenger, but the eighth and ugliest of Snow White’s dwarfs, Snorey.

I sat in my train seat, unable to fall asleep again, appalled by what I was heaing.  How could I be the only unfortunate soul suffering from this auditory torture?  It was no wonder Snorey’s daughter had asked her to move.  If my mother sounded like a congested elephant I too would abandon her on a public train.

People who snore should not be allowed to ride trains.  Correction.  People who snore should not be allowed to ride the overnight train.  I simply cannot understand why someone with an embarrassing condition such as loud snoring would put themselves in a social situation where they couldn’t help but display their blocked nasal passages.  I have terrible allergies and loud sneezes.  You don’t see me cart wheeling through the public botanical gardens.  It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

After five minutes of attempting to fall asleep, I gave up.  I couldn’t sit in front of Snorey.  Putting my boots on, I stood up and searched for other open seats on the train.  Looking left and right all I could see were pairs of seats taken up by outstretched bodies; there was nowhere for me to escape to.   Lucky daughter was smart enough to kick out her mother when there were still places to sit.  Now I would have to endure a sleepless, noisy night.

Just when I thought I might violently recline my seat to scare Snorey out of her sleep, the snoring subsided.  Amazed, I turned around to see an open book being flipped through.  I don’t know who the author of that book is, but bless his soul.  My guardian angel.  He prevented me from committing murder that night because another two minutes and I would have strangled that bitch.

I returned to my sleep thinking after Snorey, nothing could have made the train ride worse.  I stood corrected.  At the Stamford, CT train station an older gentleman wearing a suit boarded the train and sat across the aisle from me.  I smiled at him as he sat down thinking a friendly face is always a great way to start a train ride.  Had I known what he would later do, I would not have been so kind.

Once again, I began to doze off curling my body into a ball around my jacket.  Only five minutes into my sleep I heard a clip noise from across the aisle.  I thought I recognized this sound, but then I told myself, No there’s no way that’s what I heard. Then, clip clip clip. I woke up and looked over to see that yes, indeed, the gentleman in the suit was clipping his fingernails at 3 am on an overnight train.  What THE fuck?  Did I mistakenly step onto a train of passengers who should be social outcasts?  The one question I did not allow my mind to wander to was where exactly this man disposed of his nail clippings.  That was too much for me.

Because of Nail Clipper and Snorey I arrived in DC with sleepy eyes.  My overnight train was not quite conducive to sleeping.  But I am now having great fun with the Yangster and company, so the nail clipping and awful snoring were totally worth it.  I know now not to expect so much from my return train ride.  Though, my patience only runs so far.  I swear if someone clips his nails again, there will be a second murder on the Orient Express.

the kindness award

As I leave my new home on the top level of a double-decker Megabus en route to New York City, I’m reminded of the first time Rohini and I ventured to D.C. together. We were young, impressionable students on a Model United Nations trip to participate in Georgetown’s annual conference. We represented the People’s Republic of China (with immense pride, I might add) and went equipped with six binders full of research. Although we didn’t know it at the time, that trip in the winter of 2004 would be the first and one of the most memorable of many rohiniandyang trips.

Sophomore year of high school was a momentous time for Rohini and me. Our classes were great (with the exception of my CP Chem class taught by the Ichabod Crane-like Mr. Ovick), we started up the previously dormant World Affairs Challenge club, and we were kicking ass and taking names at our debate meets, paving our way to the national competition. Our boobs also saw the most growth that year. Rohini ultimately won that race.

In the middle of this busy year, Model UN, a club Rohini and I were very much involved in, began its preparations for the Georgetown meet. Ms. Zuk & Mr. Hawley, otherwise great history teachers and MUN club sponsors, had a serious lapse in judgment that year. They decided out of the kindness of their hearts to take four members of Eaglecrest High School’s Model UN club (if you can even call it a club) on the trip with us. For four weeks before the competition, four girls from our sister high school barged in on our Wednesday afternoon meetings. I can’t remember the names of three of the girls and when they’re finally caught and arrested for disrupting the balance of our club, I still wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a lineup. I do recall that one of them, the one with really wide swimmer’s shoulders who thought way too highly of herself, had sex with one of our team members. Traitor. While most of these girls had little or no effect on my life, one of the four I will never forget.

Heidi was a character. I try not to judge people based on how they dress or look, since it wasn’t that long ago that I too was fashion & hair-challenged. But I’ve since learned and corrected my ways, and I didn’t say that I don’t judge, I said that I try not to. I will now attempt to do Heidi’s description justice: Heidi wore glasses from another decade that, God forbid she ever lose them, were permanently attached to her neck thanks to one of those eyeglass lanyard things. It should come as no surprise that Heidi also wore mom jeans. Heidi wasn’t genetically gifted either. She had tiny little teeth hidden behind her industrial-sized braces. If you weren’t careful, those things could blind you and leave you seeing white spots for hours since she had a knack for flashing her maniacally big smile without any warning. Heidi also had long mousy hair. I didn’t know what “mousy” meant until I saw Heidi and the thin, messy tresses growing out of her troubled head. I say troubled in the best sense possible, because there was something wrong with this girl. Ms. Zuk never gave us a clear explanation of what exactly it was that was ailing Heidi, but there was certainly something chemically off about her. Although Rohini and I took notice of all of these attributes before the trip, aside from thinking she was weird, we didn’t have much of an opinion of her. We actually kind of liked having her around since she was selling rose-shaped chocolate lollipops for a Valentine’s Day themed school fundraiser. All of the chocolate lollipops in the world wouldn’t make up for what we had to deal with later.

By some amazing stroke of luck Rohini and I had a hotel room all to ourselves. The four Eaglecrest girls shared a room and the other four girls from our school had another. That first night was sheer bliss. Rohini and I each had our own beds and were slumber partying it up D.C. style. The next morning, we woke up from a refreshing night’s sleep and joined the rest of the clan for breakfast when we overheard the three nameless Eaglecrest girls speaking in not-so-hushed voices to Ms. Zuk and Mr. Hawley. We didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but couldn’t help but hear them complain about Heidi who was only sitting a few feet away and probably heard everything as clearly as we did. Rohini and I turned to each other, shared a knowing look and made our way to Heidi’s side. We cordially invited her to join us in our room.

Inviting Heidi to share our hotel room was a much bigger undertaking than we had originally anticipated. Heidi interpreted our new roommate status to mean that she could also tag along for our day-to-day activities. She was with us at every museum, every meal, and every moment. We learned a lot about Heidi, a lot that we didn’t need to learn. She went into way too much detail about her love life with a man 8 years her senior, telling us all of this as she hung upside down from her bed, something she did quite often. Having Heidi around also meant no one else from the group wanted to hang out with us. We became outcasts. Halfway through the trip, even Zuk and Hawley joined the rest of the group in their disdain for this girl. They were fresh out of patience for Heidi.

On one of our last nights in D.C., the group went to Mama Ayesha’s for dinner. The food was great, the same can’t be said about the company. Heidi was addicted to Diet Coke, and I don’t say this lightly, she would suffer serious Diet Coke withdrawals that made her even more insufferable. When the kind waiter left our table after dropping off her drug of choice, Heidi took a sip and her hand shot up immediately. “This isn’t Diet Coke,” she said. The waiter assured her that it was, but came back with another glass just to appease her. She had a similar reaction to the second glass, and grumbled that they were lying to her. Rohini and I shot looks at each other across the table, praying that she wouldn’t cause a scene. Since I don’t drink soda, I made the mistake of asking her how she could tell the difference. She snapped at me. Rohini added, “Well then there must be something wrong with their soda fountain. Maybe there’s something wrong with the Diet Coke syrup.” What she was really saying underneath these words was, “You’re out of your mind. Get a grip.” Heidi proceeded to dump 4 packets of Sweet n Low into her glass.

Later in the meal, Rohini and I were having an animated conversation with the rest of the group. This was one of the rare times we had any sort of interaction with our other club members. Heidi was in a Diet Coke/Sweet n Low induced depression and remained pretty quiet up until then, giving us a break from having to pay attention to her. Rohini was gesturing with her hands as she spoke the same way she always does. Then out of nowhere, I hear the sound of Heidi’s fork hit her plate, and the next thing I know she has Rohini’s left hand in a death grip. “Stop moving your hands!” Heidi screamed, “You were this close to hitting my glasses!” Rohini was horrified. Thank God the trip was coming to an end.

It’s been almost six years and the rest of the trip is a blur. We made it back to the beautiful Denver International Airport in one piece. Rohini and I were both so happy to see our parents since it meant we would go home and sleep in our rooms without the roommate from Hell. Heidi’s mom was also at the airport. When I saw her I wasn’t sure if I should hate the woman for spawning such a person or feel really sorry for her. I went with the latter. We dealt with Heidi for a week, she had no choice but to love this girl. Bless her soul.

School life went back to normal after that trip. A month later, we received news from Zuk and Hawley that they were nominating us for the school’s Kindness Award, an award we didn’t even know existed. They felt guilty that we had to deal with Heidi and were proud of the way we included her. We appreciated the gesture. We both received glass trophies that say, “Thank you for your gift of Kindness,” trophies that will forever remind us of dear Heidi. Heidi was only a junior. We went to DC again the following year. I am forever grateful that Zuk and Hawley didn’t repeat the same mistake. We would never speak to Heidi ever again, though Rohini did see Heidi at her place of work, the concessions stand at the AMC Seven Hills 10 movie theater.  I think it goes without saying that Rohini didn’t order popcorn that night.  We were both thankful and relieved to hear the theater closed permanently later that year.

The fact that Rohini and I were recipients of the Kindness Award was an area of contention for many people who knew us. The almost unanimous response from people who heard the news was, “What? There’s a Kindness Award? Rabah should get it.” Rabah is one of our dear friends, known to everyone as the nicest girl to ever walk the planet. Yes, Rabah is nice, but would Rabah have taken this whack job of a girl under her wing? It’s hard to say. I’ll be the first to admit that Rohini and I have made fun of our fair share of people, but we have standards. We only make fun of the people we genuinely love who will take things with a light heart or those who genuinely need to be taken down a notch, or two.

We deserved that award. My god, did we deserve that award.

salaam alaikoum, sadiqiti

hello, friend.

As I was adding decorative flare to my walls this afternoon, I came across something that put a smile on my face. For those of you who don’t already know, Rohini graced the good people of Morocco with her lovely presence last spring. You can check out her then blog at moroccanro.blogspot.com. I’ll admit that I was very jealous of her new digs and of all of her new adventures (without me), but I’m happy she had a great time, came back in one piece, and our long distance relationship endured. What I found at the bottom of a small box was a postcard that managed to make its way across the atlantic to new york, and then took yet another trip with me down to dc. If any of you happen to be heading to Rabat any time soon, use this post for its many restaurant suggestions. Here it is.
___

Dearest yang,

I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you these past few months. I’d like to think that you and I will come back to Morocco together someday when we ditch our husbands to travel the world together. And when we do come here I expect us in true Rohini/Yang style to hit up all my favorite food spots here in a day full of shoving our faces. To give you a preview of what to expect… first, we’d go to Majestic and buy some really good pastries for breakfast, then we’d go to the really good smoothie shop, then Café Renaissance for French fries with mustard and ketchup, then Baba Ghanouj for some hummus and pita, then at the end of the day we’d polish it all off with three scoops of ice cream at Passions. So, I miss you and can’t wait until we eat Chipotle together again.

Love you,

Rohini
___

I look forward to taking this trip and following that exact itinerary, preferably sooner than later. I hear men from that part of the world are particularly aggressive, even sleazy, i’d like to see how I would deal in a place like that. i’m sure rohini and i would come back with some good stories. until then, she and i are hitting up Chipotle the next time we’re reunited. Chipotle is 6.75 in dc! it cost 8 dollars in new york. finding out that bit of information was the highlight of my day yesterday, that and actually eating Chipotle with Matt Cline.

*sigh* oh hare.

I wrote this post today while traveling from Denver to Providence.  Hope you enjoy.

_____

I am currently sitting in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport where I had over three hours to kill in layover time because I stupidly chose to depart on a 6 a.m. (rather than 8 a.m.) flight this morning (READ: 3:30 wake up call).  When I groggily stumbled off my flight and took my first glance at this airport, I felt my jaw drop.  Standing in front of me was a full-size fossil assemblage of a brachiosaurus.  Though a full thirteen years have passed since I wrote an illustrated book report on the pterodactyl, the dinosaur continues to be a creature that awes me.  My fascination originated with the motion picture Jurassic Park, endured the production of The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, and brought me to initially give O’Hare an affirmative thumbs up.

Yet, over the past three hours, disenchantment has overtaken my sentiments towards this airport.  It is an unfortunate but accepted fact that both Yang and myself fall in and out of love too often and too easily.  The Chicago airport is simply another demonstration of my volatile heart.  Since I have given you the front end of the story, I feel it’s only fair for me to share the reasons behind the downfall of my O’Hare romance.

– The toilet seats here have those plastic covers that shift around when you wave your hand in front of a sensor.  I’m not quite sure why, but these covers irk me.  Perhaps it’s because the first time I used the toilet here I couldn’t figure out the sensor device and so I sat on already contaminated plastic.  That could be it.  Though in general, the feeling of a plastic seat cover on your ass while you’re trying to go is not a winning combination.

– Since lunchtime inevitably fell during my three-hour stay I did a quick scan of all the restaurants in the B and C Concourses.  A few pluses won with Wolfgang Puck Express, Quizno’s and Chili’s.  But then I noticed a fast food Chinese restaurant that gave O’Hare an indubitable negative eleven points (eleven for each time I had to run to the bathroom after making the mistake of ordering this restaurant’s fried rice the last time I traveled): Manchu Wok.  Do yourself a favor, O’Hare.  Invest in a Panda Express.

– When I sat down to take a quickie nap, I thought the woman sitting across from me was Sigourney Weaver and I got excited.  I imagined myself wandering over to her, making a witty remark in the Na’vi language, then discussing the pros and cons of 3-D filmmaking.  I quickly realized two things.  This woman was wearing an Aeropostale shirt and last I checked, that’s not Sigourney’s style.  Also, the Golden Globes were on Sunday.  I sincerely hope Sigourney is hungover and passed out on someone’s couch somewhere in L.A. right now.  This was no Sigourney but a second-rate look-a-like.  I suppose I can’t blame Chicago for that, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I was further disappointed with my airport experience.

– While walking through the B Concourse I noticed a sign for a shoe shine and repair shop with the name “Shoe Hospital.”  Way to take an activity as uninteresting and mundane as shoe shining and embellish it with the urgency of an ER trauma room.  A little dramatic, Chicago?

– The cherry topping on it all, the ultimate reason I let go of my kiddie dino love…there are no electrical outlets in this airport.  So as I sit here draining my battery, realize that I am sacrificing the in-flight movie I was planning on treating myself to later.  I walked up and down the entire Concourse B searching for a place to plug in, finding only a few shady spots (by an electrical closet) and a row of six metal booths that looked strikingly similar to where you might sit during prison visitation hours.  Nowhere to sit back, kick up my feet and just charge.

As I run down my laundry list of airport complaints I am reminded of a time when Yang and I flew to Salt Lake City with our former English teacher and dear friend, Mr. Tafoya, for a national debate tournament.  While wandering through the Salt Lake City International Airport (yes, it is international, that is not a joke), Yang continued to remark in a voice loud enough for every airport goer to hear, “This airport sucks.  DIA is so much better.”  While only Yang would be brave enough to loudly vocalize it, I was thinking the same thing.  Nothing quite compares to good ole Denver “White Tents” International Airport.

In the end, I suppose O’Hare never really had a chance.  It may seem like a disappointment, but really, who wouldn’t next to the glory and beauty that is DIA.  For this I excuse your “Shoe Hospital” and lack of sockets; you simply didn’t know any better.  The Manchu Wok I cannot excuse.  That’s just poor fast food decision making.

By the way, while scoping out a potential electrical socket spot in a corner somewhere, I took a minute to read the information board about my Brachiosaurus friend.  While he is permanently attached to the ground between the security checkpoint and Concourse B, Dino actually hails from the great state of Colorado.  We win.

fitting a round peg into a square hole

Rohini and I are smart people with stupid tendencies.

Scratch that. “Stupid” might be too harsh.

Rohini and I are incredibly intelligent people with sometimes-silly slipups.

That’s better. Here’s an example.

I reluctantly flew back to New York on Sunday morning, made a big mess of my already messy apartment, and took a bus to DC the very next morning. Since I’ll be spending the next few months of my now nomadic lifestyle in our nation’s capital, I really needed to find a place to live that wasn’t astronomically expensive or small. After living in New York for three and half years, my standards for “expensive” and “small” can hardly be called standards. So really, the goal of my short trip was to find a roof over my head or a really clean alleyway in a nice neighborhood by a metro stop. Was it an amazing bonus that Rohini happened to be in town with her family? Of course!

Rohini flew into DC with her family early Sunday morning. She shared the last-minute good news with me on Saturday, but I was under the impression they wouldn’t be leaving until the afternoon. Would I have kept her out until 3 a.m. had I known she was heading to the airport at 5? Probably not. I, myself, was leaving for the airport at 7. Did this stop me from going to Del Taco for one last 3:30 a.m. snack with my dear friends Joe and Megan? Definitely not. The other events and emotions from that last night in Denver are still too raw to post, and that particular stroll down memory lane will have to wait.

Fast forward to Monday in DC. Rohini and I had some time to kill between apartment viewings and chose to make the most of our one-day metro passes by stopping at the Mall. We enjoyed a quick visit to the Natural History museum (hope diamond – yawn) before walking to the Washington Monument. We were about 30 feet away when I decided we were close enough to the world’s largest phallic monument, and we started our walk to the nearest metro stop.

Before I go any further, you have to understand that neither one of us has spent much time in DC since junior year of high school. Does that pardon us from what happened next? I’ll let you be the judge, but I have a feeling your answer will be no. With that said, I’ll move on.

We were going north on 15th Street when Rohini asked, “Where’s the White House from here?” I have no idea where anything is in DC, something that I plan on changing real soon, so I could only answer with “I don’t know. Where’s Pennsylvania Avenue?” Moments later, we saw a big white edifice to our left, since we still didn’t have an answer to her question, Rohini pointed and asked, “Is that the White House?”

Like any other American, I’ve seen images of the president’s digs thousands of times. I even took a candlelit tour of the place more than a decade ago and successfully completed a 1000-piece puzzle of the White House and its front lawn at an impressive young age. Rohini and I were also fans of the hit series “The West Wing” (might I add, it’s 2010, and Rob Lowe’s still got it). What I was staring at to my left was not the building I remembered, and I shared these doubts with Rohini. I should have gone with my gut, because it wasn’t the White House at all. It was the United States Treasury.

To our credit, the building, like most other buildings in that town, was big, white and had tall columns adorning the entrance. I even searched for “white house” using google maps on my iPhone and the red pinpoint pointed to the exact location we were standing in. That’s about it for what I can say in our defense. We really should have known better.

The dead giveaways that we weren’t looking at the White House
– the building’s proximity to the street
– the steps leading up to the elevated entrance
– the missing lawn
-the cars in the small, secured parking lot
i mentioned to Rohini that based on these details this couldn’t possibly be the white house. but after consulting google maps and against our better judgment we agreed that we had to be staring at the back entrance. Naturally, we quickened our pace to make it to the front of the building.
– the sheer size of it.
as we walked along 15th street, Rohini said, “oh my god, this place is huge. it’s so much bigger in person.”
– the biggest giveaway followed seconds later, the side of the building displayed a sign that read “United States Department of the Treasury.”
Rohini followed up with, “Look, the white house is so large that it even houses the Treasury.” I’m shaking my head as I type this.

When we turned the corner onto Pennsylvania Avenue, we stopped in our tracks and the laughter and tears came flooding in. There it was, the White House in all of its glory…next door. The White House entrance framed with thin white columns, the famous green lawn. Turning our gaze back to the building we believed to be the “white house,” we saw the elevated entrance and a statue of Albert Gallatin in the middle of the grassless square. How we ever entertained the idea that this building might be one of the most iconic buildings in the world is beyond me. We go to well-known private institutions of higher education and I just recently graduated. Rohini and I really are smart people with some very stupid tendencies.

Looking back, I would like to blame google maps for this entire incident. Against my first instincts and everything we knew, we convinced ourselves that the U.S. Treasury building was the White House because of something we had seen on the small screen of my phone. Had I zoomed in on the map, I’m sure I would have seen that we were actually closer to the treasury building, but that option hadn’t crossed my mind. Looking back, we can only blame ourselves.

Now that this story has been told, all I can say is this will make for great dinner conversation when the President invites us over in the not so distant future. And the next time a tourist asks me for directions to the White House, will my devious side kick in and point them to the Treasury building?

Maybe ;)