...where it is still not spring yet. Right after I took this picture, it started snowing. I squealed with glee.
My drive cross-country was, well, long. I stopped in St. Louis to see my aunt and her family, saw her photos from her honeymoon in Japan, attended my first-ever Boy Scout meeting, and got some Japanese culture tips. I thought I would be able to do the next leg all in one day, and should have been able to, really, but I got up late, lingered over coffee with my aunt, got stuck in traffic outside St. Lou, got a speeding ticket in rural Illinois, and then drove through a violent storm the entire width of Indiana. I had to wait part of it out at a gas station, under the roof, because it was starting to hail and I had my snowboard on the roof and my bike on the back. By the time I passed Columbus, OH, I was done. I checked into a hotel, assisted by two extremely perky ladies named Mary Lou and Mary Kay, like they were hired as a matched set, then dragged myself to Cracker Barrel for a lovely greasy, fattening dinner. The next day I had a nice nostalgia attack as I drove across PA; having gone to college in western PA, I drove I-80 countless times during those 4 years and have a bunch of silly rituals to perform at certain landmarks--singing a song I made up about Dubois, only stopping for gas at Snowshoe, yelling "we're all gonna die!" at the first sight of the cooling towers of the Berwick nuclear power plant, etc. (You have to understand, most of those countless times I was alone, and had to entertain myself somehow.)
So now I'm marking time here until May. I had dinner with my niece and nephew the other day, and tonight my sister Katie is coming up for the weekend, and my parents have threatened to put me to work in the garden if it ever gets warm enough, so I'll have plenty to do. Besides unpacking and repacking everything I brought/sent home as I try to figure out exactly what I can't live without in Japan.