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Thursday, December 23, 2010

57th Stop: Minneapolis, Minnesota (Part 1 of 3)

Home sweet home... or home sweet home away from home? It’s hard to say now where I’m really from. I guess Minnesota will still be my home--away from Nice.

Hitting the slopes in the G-suit
The first thing that strikes a kiwi-tanned face with a hint of SoCal is the biting cold that chafes at your skin when you step out of the airport terminal building. Remember, this is Minnesota, the only other region in the world that records as much climactic variation as Siberia in the winter. Just one week earlier, our sports stadium, the Metrodome, imploded from the weight of snow!

But I wasn’t going to be deterred by cold weather. The very next day, I joined my good friend Casey for a late afternoon ski outing at Buck Hill. We didn’t last long: not sure if it was the cold, the call of tap beer in a warm tavern, or my inappropriate clothing for the occasion... Thanks Dave for letting me use your GS suit :-)

Later that night, I met up with Casey again in uptown to go to a house party his roommate was invited to. Minnesotans are very health conscious and aren’t particularly fond of smoking indoors. It’s quite a sight when the few sweaty smokers leave the dancefloor, get bundled up in boots, winter coat, hat and gloves, and huddle around with determination in sub-zero temps on the back porch to light up!

Casey, cute girl, and me at a house party
Translation from English to Burmese
On Tuesday, I ran a Wordfast training by the Minnesota state fair grounds and a winter snow storm set in, again. Luckily, I had an hour and a half to make it to the airport to pick up my son Louis, friend Thomas and his family (ex-wife Christelle and twin children Guillaume and Caroline).

“So how was the flight?” I asked Thomas.

“Great, Louis was really funny. When he got on the plane, he insisted on sitting next to a stranger and singing In the Jungle for a good half an hour. Luckily, his neighbor was patient and enjoying the song!” he replies.

Mall of America tourism
“What about leaving Nice, everything ok?”

“No problem, except when we got to New York. The custom’s officer looked at all of our passports and then Louis’ and was perplexed. ‘And whose child is this?’ he asked. So I explained that we were going to Minnesota and accompanying my friend’s son. The officer looked at Louis and asked, ‘Do you know these people?’ Silence. Louis didn’t say a word! Come on Louis, help us out here! He finally said, ‘Caroline’ and that seemed to satisfy the officer. Whew!”

The next couple of days, we did some traditional Minnesota tourism: Minnesota Zoo, Mall of America, Minneapolis skyways, and a puppet show. This was the first time Christelle and the kids had been to the United States so we wanted to give them a good first impression!

The Frenchies, Louis and I were being hosted by my sister Maria and her husband Dave. Everyone got along nicely, it’s hard not to laugh at Thomas’ jokes and smile when Christelle smiles at you. The kids were great too and the hosts some of the best ever. Thanks to all of you! If you want to hear Thomas’s joke about the crocolion or see the number trick, let me know the next time we meet!

Mural done by my mom Rita at her school. See the letter?

Thomas enjoying American lunch

Minnesota Zoo: Louis and cousins

Undisclosed location: whisky, guns, and cigars. God bless America!
Making a snow fort

It's colder than it looks

Minnehaha Falls

To be continued...

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