After a grueling 10 hour drive back from Madison, WI, I have finally arrived home! I just spent the last 5ish days driving to Madison and hanging out with my brother and driving back. I will admit the time I spent there was lovely. Other than rain showers on the way up and back, the weather was ideal. We got to meet Brad's cat, Sampson, for the first time and boy was he adorable. He is so friendly and wants a ton of attention, unlike my two boys, Lewis and Clark. The only downside to Sammy is that he meows constantly, in manner that says "I have important things to say and I will be heard!" But I told Brad it was good for him to be on the receiving end of pestering for a change.
The first day up there my parents and I went on a tour of Brad's workplace with my brother leading the group in a manner that would invoke jealousy in the Beefeater tour guides of London Tower. Haha, ok I'm kidding. But our tour proved very interesting. We walked for nearly 10 miles to tour the whole facility in Verona, WI. He works for Epic, a company that digitalizes medical records. The company is set on 500 acres of land with 3 or 4 different "campuses." The buildings are truly spectacular. It felt like we were at a huge resort because of the Frank Lloyd Wright style structures that were surrounded by gorgeous gardens and landscaping. Not only this, but inside each of the buildings was a plethora of art with areas all set in themes. They have conference rooms thematically decorated, such as a futuristic, airforce control room, and an ice cave. It was remarkable. You could definitely see a womanly touch in the decorations thanks to the CEO. I'll load a few pictures on so you can see some of it.
We went shopping later on, which occurred frequently the rest of the trip. I tried to restrain myself, but I couldn't resist a beautiful and fitted ruffle front shirt from H&M. We stood at Best Buy and the AT&T store for quite a while waiting on Brad to choose his new phone. (He eventually chose the iPhone 3G 16GB after consulting me, my parents, coworkers, Aunt Peggy, and multiple workers at both stores.)
On Sunday we visited Milwaukee and were greatly surprised by the appearance of the town. I swear the bit by Lake Michigan looked nearly identical to the Michigan coast in Chicago. It became clear that this is a lively town with a bustling college-aged community, but also a very active middle-aged population as we drove down the beach-front road and saw the residents out on the beach and in the parks. There also are mansions along the beach that were very fun to look at and imagine that we lived there. Milwaukee was such fun to visit.
Last night I was able to enjoy one of my favorite things in the whole world: a hot tub. The hotel had one and so the family and I took the opportunity to soak our weary limbs before playing two robust rounds of Rummikub. It was nice to have this downtime to truly enjoy spending time with my family. It definitely made me grateful for the people in it.
Looking forward to my week ahead, I know I will be dreadfully busy. My mom has requested that I do all my work on Thursday while she is at work so we can have all day to hang out tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. This might be difficult because I have to pack, clean my car & room, confirm my flight, read a 400 page book on Henry VIII, and retrieve my laptop from Best Buy; but I shall try.
I leave Sunday at 10:39am from the Wichita airport and should get into the UK around 6:20am UK time or 12:20am Central Time. I need to try to sleep on the flight over or I will be super exhausted Monday.
But now I should go to sleep. I shall leave you with some sound advice that is applicable to all situations if you think hard enough: Don't Panic!