Well, Sweet Girl and I have been in Minnesota for a week and a half now. Our flight to Minnesota was great! I haven't been on a plane in at least 10 years and this was Sweet Girl's first plane flight. She loved it! In fact, I'm pretty sure that I was more scared than she was. We flew out of Midway airport in Chicago. I bought our tickets on Priceline and did sidewalk check-in then worked our way through security. It couldn't have gone better. Both Chicago and Minneapolis were breathtaking from the air. I think my favorite part as we flew in was seeing all the lakes! Champaign is a great town, but it is somewhat lacking in the water department. I have always said that Minnesota is a beautiful state and seeing it from the air only proves my point. So lovely.
We're staying with Mom and getting caught up on seeing friends and family. On Saturday, Sweet Girl and I went out to tour the Minnesota Zoo; the monorail and swans were the hit of the day. Then on Sunday, we had a birthday party for Mom. We haven't seen my brothers, sister-in-law and their kids since we moved, so it was nice to get back together with them.
Mom has been taking care of Sweet Girl while I'm at work, which is great for the two of them to have some concentrated time together. Speaking of work, I'm firmly immersed in training, learning the systems and policies regarding equity trades. Funny that I'm blowing the dust off and finally using all the stocks, margin and options knowledge that I so studiously stuffed into the dark recesses of my brain when I took my NASD Series 7 test three years ago! Now I have to study for, and pass, the NASD Series 63 test. Yikes!
I have been having so much fun connecting with all my old work friends. I only warned two friends that I was coming, so it has been a hoot seeing people's reactions when they see me walking the halls of Ameriprise. In addition to my training, I'm working on re-establishing my network so that I can remain "visible" when I return to Illinois. Although I took a grade decrease to return to the company, I fully intend to work my way back up to where I was - and beyond.
Both Sweet Girl and I have been feeling a lot of homesickness. Actually, it's not homesickness as much as it is CHAMPS-sickness (and, yes, a good dose of Gus-cat-sickness too)! We miss Champs. We knew it would happen, so we're handling it. Thank goodness for free long distance on our home phone (internet phone is a wonderful thing). We talk to Champs every night. Sweet Girl will be going home the weekend of August 17 to prep for the start of second grade, which is good. I think the 7-year old heart doesn't handle long-term separation as well as the mommy does. Of course, she doesn't have text messaging on her phone! I have to admit that my cell phone has definitely been a lifeline for me. In fact, my homesickness is strongest at night. I bought a full-sized airbed and put it in Mom's room next to her bed. Her room is, literally, wall to wall bed. It's funny! Sweet Girl curls up next to me each night and I drift off to sleep thinking about Champs at home, sleeping in our comfy bed. Sigh.
When I was planning to come, we decided that I should bring Sweet Girl along so that I wouldn't be separated from both Champs and Sweet Girl for four months; that would have been more than I could handle. Sweet Girl agreed that 5 weeks in Minnesota would be fun. Other than seeing Grandma and family, Sweet Girl's greatest motivation for coming to Minnesota with me was to see her friends, especially her best friend, Snow White. Although Snow White is two years younger than Sweet Girl, the girls have been best friends for four years. They used to attend both the same church and daycare, so 6 days a week together makes for a strong friendship. Sweet Girl has only seen Snow White once since we moved, so this visit has really been good for her. Of course, there are also all her other friends from Sunday school. She was so excited when we went to our old church and she was able to connect with all her other friends. Snow White's mom and I are hoping to get all the kids together for an afternoon before Sweet Girl goes home.
Part of the way I'm dealing with homesickness is by helping Mom sort through the rooms in her house. After 47 years of marriage and raising 4 kids, she has more possessions than her one bedroom apartment can hold. We're sorting through, keeping the things that really matter and giving the rest to charity. It's not an easy task, but making the rooms open, airy, and filled with heart and function has been good for both of us. I keep thinking of it as a 4-month episode of “Clean Sweep”. Perhaps I could get my own show on HGTV or TLC… Hmmmm.
Well, I can't really think of anything else to write about, other than Champs and I are so grateful to God for this opportunity with my new job. It really will revolutionize our lives. Every day that I'm away, I just imagine what it will be like to get up in the morning, get Sweet Girl ready for school and then go to the guest room to log in and begin my day at work! Truly, it is that vision that gets me through everyday, until I can go home and have me, Champs and Sweet Girl together again.
Here are the comments for this post:
I'm glad you are enjoying you time there. When you finish, will you come here and help me pare down a 25 year accumulation?
Hey you. It's been some time since you and I have communicated. I know you're busy and all that. Stop by. I posted another picture of myself. You'll have to scroll, but you'll see it. No, it's not the one of Kermit.