Busy Busy Busy

Just got back from a trip to San Francisco with my mom, but before that I was visiting my sister at Notre Dame. We ate at Cafe Claude, a restaurant that is fast  becoming our favorite restaurant there.

My trip to South Bend, IN, was a welcome vacation from the stress of getting ready for Italy. Don't get me wrong, I'm so excited--but we've run into a couple of interesting roadblocks on my way there... First, I couldn't apply for my visa until four weeks before my departure, cutting it very close. And, of course, I had to drive to San Francisco to do it. That first trip seemed unreasonably long, but we had no idea what was in store when we returned to pick it up. I should also mention that we had two reasons to return to the city by the bay: the first being my passport, but we also had to go to the American Express travel office to get foreign currency because, of course, there is not an office in Sacramento. So off we were!

If you're not from California, you might not know this, but we are currently experiencing the first waves of the coming apocalypse. The wind and rain were so heavy at times that we literally couldn't see out the window to drive. The car, even at 30 mph, seemed at times to be merely floating vaguely towards the east, regardless of any of the driver's intentions.  I couldn't distract myself by reading, because the wind was buffeting our car so much I was suffering from motion sickness and my stomach  was threatening to heave up my breakfast of Guinevere's Garden pizza. In retrospect, pizza was not a great breakfast choice. (But in retro-retrospect, IT WAS WORTH IT.)

Oh, Italians... I'm already starting to love them. My visa claim receipt (I wish I had taken a photo of it!!!) said, in these words, "You are requested to pick up your passport on MONDAY, JANUARY 18th, in person." Well, yesterday, January 18th, we limped into the city and found the Italain consulate, only to discover that the office was closed on January 18th in honor of MLK Day.

It worked out in the end. We went, as I said, to Cafe Claude for dinner that night, and popped by the embassy first thing this morning. I was all ready to throw down with the embassy people if they refused to give me my passport back (Visa issues are only handled on Mondays and Thursdays), but luckily, no one had to get hurt. The woman was cheerful, if a bit harried, and she acknowledged that their closure yesterday had caused them more than a few complaints. She was so friendly, in fact, that when she returned with my passport as well as a selection of European treats, I assumed they were all for me. Turns out the latter were just her lunch. Another disappointment.

Anyway, these last photos are of my sister and her friends building an igloo outside my sister's dormitory. Compared to how cold it usually is, the girls assured me that the 24 degree weather was actually really warm.  Yeah, ok.

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