There's a correlation between freezing your ass off and worsening your sickness... and I have proved it to myself that this is the case. I am on week THREE of this thing, and wondered today when a person would kill themselves rather than blow their nose another time. At least I can use up the vintage kleenexes at my house.
Returning to Germany yesterday felt like coming home. It's an interesting feeling to go abroad to your motherland and feel more in the right place somewhere else. This time the culture shock of the states was less than when I'd returned from Asia and NZ after the same length of absence (about 18 mos both times). Perhaps it's the similarity of the US to Germany, or that I am working with Americans, or that nothing much shocks me anymore.
I arrived on a Saturday into Chicago, after hopping a train to Munich. All was uneventful, though I was sick on arrival, and that prevailed. Jet lag was moderate. And the cold of Chicago was not to be ignored.
We spent a couple days wandering around Chicago, to the Art Institute (wonderful!) and local shops, as well as a side trip up to the snowy wonderland of Milwaukee. I'm not convinced they own plows up there. I think they're just waiting for it to all melt or get mashed off the roadways by passing vehicles. But I needed to make a trip to my new coffee love's hometown. The coffee is Alterra. It's better than anything I've ever tasted. And I am a super coffee snob. No exaggerating.
Next stop: Iowa City. The last time I was in Iowa I was about two. This time it was to visit my baby sister Molly, who moved to Iowa City last May, where her husband, Josh, is completing his medical residency in family practice. They have a 1.5 year old, Lily, who was a total ham. I learned new tricks from her, and confirmed that our family does in fact have much better looking and much smarter kids than average! It's funny to be around a kid full-time... I realise those stay-at-home moms are working way harder than me. It was lovely to have a few days together. Molly's got a cozy house, and Iowa City has a surprisingly high number of hippies, and a cute walking downtown area. Quite a surprise.
The last two days were back in Chicago, for R&R before the flight home. The bitter cold managed to attack my sinuses, and the flight back was not a joy in any way. Being surrounded by jerky passengers only added to the fun. But fortunately, I slept most of the trip and also, those jerks don't live at my house. I can handle anything for eight hours.
In all, a good visit to the states and good to be home in Germany.