As Bill and I researched the process to renew our work permits, we learned we needed to return to our home country to submit applications for new permits. Or Bill did at least. Anyway, it’s more complicated than I care to get into. The important part is we were headed for the US. We wanted to start the application process as soon as possible, so we planned the trip for the earliest gap in our travel and B&B guest schedule, November 29.

Bill needed to work while in the US, so we would be spending our time in Austin, but we decided to make one stop on the way to visit friends and a beagle in Indiana. Since we were so close to Thanksgiving, the Bockelmans graciously offered to hold Thanksgiving dinner until we arrived on Saturday. We were thrilled at the opportunity for a proper Thanksgiving dinner, even if it would be around midnight body clock time. I do miss Thanksgiving. I miss having a holiday day oriented around a special meal, a meal made special by the preparation and participation of friends and family. I like that Thanksgiving has a built-in recovery day, and that Thanksgiving starts the month countdown to Christmas. Many Irish folks have asked us if Thanksgiving is bigger than Christmas. Ever heard of Thanksgiving presents, Thanksgiving cards, Thanksgiving parties, Thanksgiving tree? That’s right. Christmas is way bigger, but Thanksgiving is pretty great.

We arrived in Ft. Wayne around 5:30 on Saturday and were met by the Bocks and both sets of their parents. Tob seemed a little overwhelmed by it all, but she was pretty much like our old girl. She seems integrated into life with the Bockelmans, and that was really good for me to see. Trevor is a great buddy. Hopefully Tob will get along with the baby!

Our meal was wonderful with two kinds of sweet potatoes, can-shaped cranberry sauce and everything delicious. I think Bill and I stayed up til around 10 (4AM body clock). It was great hanging with the Bocks and seeing their new home. Sunday morning we awoke to snowy skies. By the time we set out for church we were in a winter wonderland. A treat for these Southerners. Also, nice because the streets stayed fairly clear and we didn’t have any trouble with the drive back to Chicago that afternoon. The weather deteriorated that evening, and our flight was delayed for five hours out of O’Hare. I hadn’t put together that we were flying on a busy holiday travel day. After 2.5 hours sitting on the tarmac, we left Chicago at 1:00AM and arrived in Austin at 3:30. It was totally worth it.

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