Here I am back in the land of unlimited internet, flip flops, soda pop, and people yelling at each other on tv.
(I am also in the land of awesome pop culture and innovative fashion and music--I can't wait to get my dose of what's new and cool while I'm here--but it's the gross stuff about this country that always smacks me in the face when I'm first off the plane.)
I had to come back to the States (do I need to capitalize? Well, I do. Respect.) to get my French visa. I had an appointment yesterday in Chicago to get this started, and they will send my passport and visa back to me in about a week. The appointment went really well, thanks, much better than the one I had with the Belgian folks in NYC that ended in me crying and wandering the streets of Manhattan on my celly, racking up the $$ to bemoan it all to B back in Belgium.
(Funny side note, I met an older black gentleman who can best be described as "snazzy" on the L yesterday in Chicago. He complemented me on my shoes and then, in the course of our 5- to 7-minute conversation, get to telling me repeatedly about his friend who lives in "Belgian." He said that she really likes "Belgian", but he can't go visit her because she is mad at him and also because he is without a passport. Shame. Maybe it would have straightened out his terminology.)
So I sit in St. Louis, waiting for the passport-visa combo to be spirited here so I can get on a plane back to Paris and hope my boss still isn't mad at me for having to stay in the States for over a week after I'd just taken some time off because my parents were here. Ugh.
I am quite happy to be here, especially because my visit coincides with Tracy and Dave also being in town (the former from Saudi Arabia, the latter from NYC via Ann Arbor and India). I am also excited to see my St. Louis homies Ricky D, Maura and Phil, Jey, Katie and all of the surprise people I run into. And tomorrow morning, I will officially be a godmother to the cutest little baby nugget on earth. So that's pretty darn exciting, too. I really really wish I could travel more and get to Philly or out west, but I'm sorta tethered to St. Louis this time.
Anyway, that's the catch-up. Next I will fill in the pics of the past few weeks of European travels avec mom and dad. Stay tuned...