We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…

I’m fairly certain many of you recognize today’s  title as words spoken by Dorothy in the legendary film, The Wizard of Oz. Nothing like travel to take you outside yourself.  In the last 24 hours I’ve been in Green Bay and had breakfast made for me by my dad, shared morning devotions with both parents, flew into Minneapolis and wandered the airport, much larger than GB’s, flew four more hours in a very large, every-seat-booked plane replete with sick people coughing away, babies crying and a very engaging seat mate, to arrive in an even larger airport, EARLY, no less – yep air travel at its holiday best – no delays, no missed connections, to finally look across a huge baggage claim with multiple carousels, to see the fabulous smile of my Erin Lee, coming toward me arms outstretched for a hug.  I’m spending Christmas with a beloved daughter and I am definitely not in Kansas anymore.

To keep the theme going, hauling a 44-pound suitcase plus computer bag, bundled in gloves, scarves and hats, we boarded a train full of commuters speaking a plethora of languages with the ever-present, eerie, scifi, computer-generated voice announcing stops and warnings, giving you the feeling someone is watching your every move.   Don’t recall doing that in Green Bay lately, let alone in Shawano!  From there, we waited at a bus stop after which I experienced being hollered at by a bus driver with a dramatic accent for the first time in a long time! This is urban life in 21st century America. The bus ride was similar to the train, but with a real, human driver who did not find it humorous that I was trying to stuff my two dollar bills into the slot where my quarter should go.  Very embarrassing  with Erin, lugging the heavy bag, behind on the sidewalk, waiting to board.  That’s when the driver hollered and realizing my error, I started laughing, my big out-loud laugh, while Erin giggled.  It WAS funny, but apparently the driver has his own sense of humor because he was not laughing.  Public transportation, a metro experience extraordinaire…   and one lived by many people every day across this country and around the world.  Guess I’m pretty insulated in my rural day-to-day living where I never see a bus, no commuter train either, but large slow-moving farm equipment is de rigeur.

Finally arriving at Erin’s; she’s moved since my visit last year, so this is all new.  New roommates, too, more culture for me.  The roommates in this house are Esra and Gigo, with their fairly large dog, Reine.  Esra is from Turkey, Gigo from Argentina, both of them bike messengers, again, when’s the last time you saw one of those in Shawano or Green Bay?  Additionally, Gigo, builds custom bicycles, in fact Gigo just stopped in to say hi on his way to work, Argentine accent and all 🙂  

We shared a quick dinner at home, then snuggled in to watch a movie and I just reveled in cuddling with my firstborn for the first time in a year.  My first evening of Christmas holiday is history and I’m definitely not in Kansas any more. 

I love traveling, seeing new places, tasting, literally and figuratively, other cultures.  Life is so very different here from my daily life, urban versus rural and both have their virtues and both have their drawbacks.  For now, I’m going to go exploring,while Erin Lee works a few hours.  We’ll meet for dinner at a place we wanted to get to last year, but didn’t, so tonight’s the night!!  More fun and adventures on this Christmas holiday.  Stay tuned…

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