Rather than flying to Minneapolis, I flew into Chicago and had a lovely visit with a former college roommate/friend. I am not exaggerating when I say that I LOVE Chicago. Really, it is fantastic. Such a great place to fly into after spending months abroad; it makes the ease into American living much easier and less abrasive/scary/foreign/strange, etc etc.
After a great five days in Chicago, I traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit my mother's side of the family for a long weekend.
Now I've been back in Minnesota visiting old and dear friends, even making new friends, and trying new things that I never managed to do while growing up here, like kayaking on the chain of lakes, visiting new suburbs, trying out well-known restaurants.
I've got less than two weeks here, and I'll be spending the weekend back in Michigan, this time, the Upper Peninsula with some friends on a lakeside cabin. To finish my visit, I'll travel back down to Chicago for a three-day visit with some great friends.
Then it's back to Vienna for yet another year-- my fourth!