This past weekend I went to good old Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. to pick up my work visa. It has been a long time coming, considering I was suppose to have it in October of 2008 according to Human Resources.
I left Toulouse on a Thursday afternoon. This was the day after I spent the first night in my new apt. I moved in Wednesday night, but only because I had the help of Brian, Jeff, and Justin. After they all left I started unpacking things, turning on the heat, doing some laundry, and cooking my dinner. Ya know, just normal stuff. It was around midnight at this time when the electricity finally went out.
'Merde!' was my initial first thought.
After I regrouped I got my cellphone flashlight on and started to head towards the windows to open them all up to get a little bit of light. I checked the hallway and that electricity was still on, so I inferred it must be a local problem to my apartment. That's when I opened the fusebox. I did some prodding and pushing (but it's midnight, mind you, and I can't see anything), but couldn't find the answer. I figured it must be because the utility bill had not been paid. You see, I had set up a direct withdrawal on the electric bill from my French bank account, but had yet to deposit any money in my account. And since the electricity had gone out around midnight, I smartly figured that must be the problem. (I later found out the circuit breaker had just gone off, and I failed to see the largest button on the fusebox turning the electric back on. Apparently our apartment can't handle 4 space heaters on max, a computer, the stove, the washing machine, and all the lights on at once...oops)
Either way the trip to Chicago was great. First off, it gave me a chance to relax and catch up on some sleep. Also, it gave me a chance to hang out with my cousins Brad and Andrea who I hadn't seen in awhile. They took me out two nights during the weekend and I had a great time. I also got to hand out with an old high school/church youth group friend in Julie. She gave me a tour of the city and let me hang out with her friends that night while attending a comedy show featuring Maria Bamford.
I also went up and down the magnificent mile (Michigan Ave.) and up in the Sears tower as well as visit the Museum of Science and Technology where the most impressive feat was definitely the German sub they had captured during WWII.
On my return to France, I promptly recommenced breaking electrical things by plugging in my U.S. surge protector (110V) into a French outlet (220V) without a voltage converter (designed to downsize voltage). Immediately the lights in my room, as well as the bathroom(s) went out. Took me 2 days to find the right fuse...merde!
Day to day life is starting to settle in. The apartment is coming into shape, and will be almost home-like in the next week or so. We still need to buy some odds and ends and I'm still waiting on my shipment to arrive. We also still lack internet. Living without internet is much tougher than anticipated. I've ended up starting up this other activity called 'reading.' So far it's pretty entertaining. Only time will tell though.
Sorry for the non-pictures, but without internet, I can't upload them. And I can only upload 5 at a time here from work, so not worth it. Stay tuned for pics from London and Chicago. In the meantime, enjoy the video...