Monday, November 28, 2005
And here we are.
This morning saw my return to work, from a four-day hiatus to enjoy the quintessential American holiday, Thanksgiving. I'm not sure I can remember everything I did over the weekend (owing to the onset of a cold that is making my head fuzzy) but here goes.
After finishing work Wednesday night with pizza and red wine, I farewelled my room mates as they returned to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving weekend. That left me all alone in my entire building - I kid you not. My apartment building has only 3 apartments in it. The girls on the ground floor went home for the weekend; the first floor apartment is vacant anyway; and the top floor apartment is mine. So being alone all weekend had an element of fun to it, but also a bit of fear. I heard every creak of a floorboard and every door slam made me nervous. Still, the security is good in the building and any intruder/mountain goat willing to climb three flights of stairs to attack me is welcome to it.
Thursday itself was fairly uneventful. It was really cold (about minus 7 degrees Celcius) so I made a date with my couch and watched DVDs. Then at around 4.30pm I walked the 7-8 blocks to Caroline's place, all rugged up and warm as toast. Stopping only for champagne at the supermarket (as you do), I made it to Caroline's with rosy cheeks and a big smile for all the other Thanksgiving guests. I took photos, so don't worry. [And thanks for the surprise phone call, J xo]
The meal was huge - lots of turkey, corn casserole, mashed potatoes with goat cheese mixed in, green vegetables, and all finished up with pumpkin pie (still yuck), tiramisu, and steaming Italian coffee. At about midnight, Rakesh and Nicolette dropped me home and I fell into a contented sleep.
When I awoke on Friday, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. It had warmed up, but was now about zero degrees, and cold enough to snow. Which is did, but only late in the afternoon.
By that time I had gone shopping for provisions for my house warming party on Saturday night, and then agreed to meet friends downtown for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the German Market (Christkindl). Jumping on the bus, trying to work out what I was doing in the freezing cold weather, I braved the city crowds to find locate my friends, who greeted me at the entrance to the market with a steaming cup of glufwein in hand for me (to the uninitiated, glufwein is not spelled correctly here, but is actually warm red wine mixed with spices like cinnamon and such). After two souvenir steins of that wine, we were all fairly merry and ready to join the oompah band in a rousing knee-slapping dance.
Fortunately for all concerned, there was no oompah band.
And then the snow started to fall. And fall. And fall. So we bailed early, without having seen the tree lighting ceremony, and I took myself off home.
The day of the house warming party arrived. Again, I hit the shops for extra provisions, not entirely sure just how many people would rock up. Fast forward to the night time and a grand total of 7 people passed through my house. And that included me.
So how pathetic was that? Only one person from work showed up, and I think she was more embarrassed than I was that more Aussies didn't show. As it turned out though, the other Aussies were all out partying so I suppose they were living up to reputation. It's just that they weren't partying at my house, which would have been nice I would have thought.
But we were all tired after the rush of Thanksgiving, so everyone had gone by 2am and I cleaned up the house and went to bed.
I flatly refused to exert myself on Sunday, and instead I wandered down the street to my boss's apartment, to pick up a 20kg box of clothes my lovely family sent over for me. Then I spent the rest of the day watching "Dirty Dancing" and "High Fidelity" on TV, and running up and down stairs to the laundromat to clean my clothes and towels. What a day, eh?
Still the relaxing end to the weekend made me actually feel like I'd slowed down and eased out of the Thanksgiving break. Over 2 million passengers passed through Chicago's O'Hare airport this weekend. So if I was going to be Thankful for anything (as you're supposed to be at this time of year), I guess I am thankful that I wasn't one of them.