How I Spent 2 Weeks in America



  • Had the best “movie moment” welcome at the airport with Niki.
  • Unexpectedly overwhelmed at Mickey’s Diner by friends less than an hour after arriving in the Twin Cities. Then spent my first dollar in America.
  • Happened upon an unexpected houseparty with Niki and friends and created many wonderful memories in the process.
  • Received a hair cut at Moxie that ended with explosive results…on my pants.
  • Started and finished Small Miracles.
  • Saw 8 plays in one day during the Minnesota State High School League One Act Play Competition.
  • Ate approximately 36 cheeseburgers.
  • Received more hugs than I can count.
  • Went disc golfing in the snow. Lost a disc.
  • Had breakfast with Haden.
  • Said a good goodbye to Grandma Venske.
  • Had dinner, went to a show, and met John Pinette with my brother. Nice guy.
  • Went to church.
  • Walked around Lake of the Isles. Then walked around it again.
  • Saw Brave New Workshop’s latest production.
  • Saved the Princess in Super Mario Bros. with Ken
  • Filed an extension for my taxes with rockstars at Fox Tax.
  • Drank drinks with Alex, Amy, Ashley, Courtney, Dan, Ellen, Kari, Ken, Matt, Mike, Niki… probably others, I don’t really remember.
  • Had a brilliant evening with Micah and Cara-Lin.
  • Crashed a 40th birthday party at Nye’s, played beanbag toss, and lost.
  • Visited a psychic and learned how it’s all gonna shake out in the end.
  • Had a meeting about Harmony Theatre’s summer theater program.
  • Drank a handful of Fat Tires.
  • Saw all four of my grandparents. This* made the trip worth it.
  • Had some fun conversations with my counsin Sean.
  • Spent more time with my Aunt Sandie than I have in years.
  • Made my uncle Howard roll his eyes.
  • Got into a heated discussion with my brother about my life choices.
  • Went bowling and won $50 in pull-tabs (the pull-tabs were Amy’s, I should’ve given her the winning ticket).
  • Gained 7 pounds.
  • Applied and received another Chinese work visa.
  • Gave a girl my phone number without her even knowing it… Lesson learned.
  • Received an email from current NYC-based off-broadway actor/DC tech director of “Thumbs Up” saying he thinks I should mount my show off-broadway. That email took my breath away and made my day.
  • Spent my last dollar in the jukebox playing “Feel So Good” by Chuck Mangione.
  • Had a shitty goodbye with family minutes before boarding the plane.
  • * = Hindsight being what it is, I should have heeded my grandfather’s advice and stayed in China traveling. Although, the sole reason I came home was to see my grandparents. Catch-22.

    About Michael

    Michael Venske lives in a third-tier Chinese city where he is chronicling (mis)adventures for his next solo performance endeavors. He's the creator/performer of "Thumbs Up" which premiered at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. and winner of the 2011 CTV "Hot Mic" Award. Michael knows how to use chopsticks, cook rice, and entertain children.
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    2. Here’s to: seeing each other again soon!

    What do you think?