mandag den 27. juli 2015


Sommerferien for børn herovre er LANG. Som I rigtig lang -  12 uger! Vi har været I gang I 6 uger og vi er derfor halvvejs igennem nu. Teresa er begyndt at kede sig temmelig meget mens drengene nyder friheden alt hvad de kan. Heldigvis overgår vejret vores forventninger stort set hver eneste dag med sol, let brise og op omkring 30 grader. Den skrækkelige lummervarme er ikke sat ind for alvor endnu, men cikaderne er begyndt at summe I træerne og vækker minder om varmen, da vi kom hertil sidste år I slutningen af august. Der summer desværre også af myg alle vegne, og jeg tør slet ikke begynde at tælle hvor mange stik vi har tilsammen på vores ellers nydelige solbrune ben

The summer for kids over here is LONG. As in really long - 12 weeks! We are  6 weeks through which equals being halfway by now. Teresa has started to get quite bored whereas the boys enjoy the freedom to the best of their ability. Fortunately the weather exceeds our expectations with almost every day having sun, light wind and around 85 degrees. The horrible humidity has not set in yet, but the cicadas have started buzzing in the trees and reminds us of the humid heat when we got here last year the end of August. The mosquito are also buzzing constantly, and I dare not begin to count how many bites we carry on our otherwise very tanned legs.

Vi er begyndt at arbejde os igennem “det tager vi stilling til når vi har fået svar på green card” bunken. Undertegnede har været hos Secretary of State og har bestået sin teoriprøve til stor underholdning for hele kontoret. Jeg tror ikke at der sådan sker det vilde deroppe til daglig, for de gik helt I selvsving over at man kunne være 38 år og aldrig (som I aldrig nogen sinde) have kørt en bil. Der var indtil flere ansatte, der lige skulle over at høre hvilket bizart land, jeg kom fra. På positiv siden er, at jeg slap med den formidable sum af 25$ for teoriprøven (som jeg selvfølgeligt bestod med kun een fejl efter at have studeret en hel lang time aftenen inden!). På endnu mere positiv siden er, at jeg ikke behøver tage timer med en kørelærer, men I stedet kan nøjes at køre med Kristian. Imponerende nok går det ganske fremragende og vi har ikke flået hovedet af hinanden (endnu). Til gengæld kan køretimer med næsvise unger på bagsædet ikke anbefales.

We have started to work through the "we’ll deal with this once we know about the green card” pile. Yours truly has been visiting the Secretary of State and has passed her written drivers test to the great entertainment of the entire office. I honestly do not think there is a lot of action up there on a regular day, as they went completely bonanza over the fact that someone (me) could be 38 years old without ever (as in never ever) driving a car. There were several employees who stopped by to hear more about that bizarre country I came from. On the positive side is, that I only paid the incredible sum of $ 25 for the written test (which I, of course, passed with only one error after studying a whole long single hour the night before!). On the even more positive side is that I do not have to take hours with an instructor, but can instead just practice with Kristian. Impressively, it goes really well and we have not ripped off each other’s heads (yet). However I cannot recommend driving practice with obnoxious kids in the back seat – grrrrrr!

Vi  har fået oprettet besøgskort til “the humane society”, der redder hunde og sørger for, at de får et godt hjem. Vi kom også til at tage derop lige en tand for tidligt og forelske os I en lille sort Labrador, der kunne logre med hele bagdelen og som var super sød at gå tur med. Men eftersom vi tager til Chicago om et par uger må hund altså vente, til vi er hjemme igen. Vi er mægtig gode til at holde os I skindet og har kun købt et enkelt lille lavendelduftende vedhæng til hundelorteposer…….

We have gotten a visitor card to "the human society" which rescues dogs and ensures that they get a good home. We happened to go up there just a tad too early and fell in love with a small black Labrador that would wag the entire butt rather than just the tail, and who was super sweet to walk with. But since we go to Chicago in a few weeks any dog ​​has to wait until we are back home. We are really good at not going dog stuff shopping crazy though and has kept to buying just a single small lavender scented container for dog poop bags……………….
Apropos hunde har jeg været I nærkontakt med en lille hidsig een af slagsen her I nabolaget, der var så venlig at sætte tænderne godt og grundigt I min arm, I en sådan grad at jeg måtte en tur om skadestuen. Det var mit første besøg på ER (Emergency Room) og jeg tror vi nåede at møde de første 8 ansatte inkluderende dyrepolitiet, der ville høre om jeg ville lægge sag an mod ejerne. Jeg nåede også forbi et røngtenapparat, så de kunne sikre sig at der ikke sad løse hundetænder I såret og sluttede af med en antibiotika kur. Alt I alt en begivenhedsrig lørdag aften!

Speaking of dogs, I have been in close encounter with a little nasty one here in the neighborhood who was kind enough to put his teeth quite deep into my arm to such a degree that I had to spend the evening in the emergency room. It was my first visit to the ER and I think we met the first 8 employees including the animal police who wanted to know if I wanted to sue the owners. I also had the pleasure of getting my arm x-rayed to check for dog teeth in the wound and topped it all off with some antibiotics. All of this fun for only 100$ (which the very embarrassed owners of course paid right away).

Nu tæller vi ned til Moster kommer og til vores tur til Chicago, hvor vi har været så heldige at få lov til at låne en lejlighed ganske gratis I august. Jeg savner I den grad at være I noget stor by, og vi hører stort set kun godt om Chicago, saa forventningerne er selvklart tårnhøje :-)

Now we are counting down to my sister visits and for our upcoming trip to Chicago, where we've been fortunate enough to borrow an apartment free of charge in August. I miss being in a big city so badly, and as we have only heard good things about Chicago we are more than excited :-)

tirsdag den 14. juli 2015

Mackinac Island with a much awaited visitor

Vi har gæst pt. Lærke er kommet hele vejen fra Danmark KUN for at besøge Teresa, og hold nu op hvor har Teresa glædet sig. Vi hentede hende I lufthavnen lørdag aften og der blev hønset igennem på bagsædet hele vejen hjem.

We have a guest these days. Lærke has come all the way from Denmark ONLY to visit Teresa and oh my, has she been excited! We picked her up at the airport Saturday night and there was no such thing as quiet on the back seat all the way home.

Fordi vi dels gerne vil vise hende noget andet end Ann Arbor og fordi jeg også gerne ville nå at se lidt mere af Michigan I min sommerferie, havde vi booket camping hytte oppe ved Mackinaw City (åbenbart staves ø og by forskelligt – jeg ved ikke helt hvorfor). Det er mit første møde med amerikansk camping liv og på nogen områder er det ikke særlig forskelligt fra I DK. Der er børn på cykler og I badetøj alle vegne og de løber frit omkring på legepladserne, der er myg I massevis, og så skal man lige huske at trække I en varm trøje om aftenen. Men campingvognene! De er på størrelse med turist busser og hver plads bliver udnyttet til sidste mm med lyskæder, ekstra grill, hundebure, liggestole etc. Og så kan man jo selvklart lige hoppe på shuttle vognen, hvis man ikke orker at gå ned I butikken på egne ben. Vores hytte var super idyllisk på aerke amerikansk vis med bjælker, veranda og lokale jordegern, der piskede rundt.

Because we would like to show her something other than Ann Arbor and because I also wanted  to see a little more of Michigan during my summer vacation, we booked cabin on a camp ground up north near Mackinaw City (for some reason the city and the Island name are spelled differently?). This is my first encounter with the American way of camping and in many ways it is not very different from Denmark. There are children on bicycles and in swimsuits everywhere who run around freely between the playgrounds, mosquitoes are ever present, and one should remember a warm sweater for the evening. But the autocampers! They are the size of tour buses and each campground is fully used with strings of lamps, extra grills, dog cages, deck chairs etc. And also one can even just jump on the shuttle golf cart, if the distance to the store seems too far. Our cabin was super idyllic all-American style with logs, front porch and local chipmunks scurrying around.

Onsdag havde vi planlagt at tage til Mackinac Island. Muligvis den største turist attraktion I hele staten. Man kan kun kommer dertil med færge og der er ikke biler på øen, så alt foregår pr cykel eller hestevogn. På vej derud sejlede vi under Bic Mac (eller Mackinac Bridge, der forbinder Upper med Lower Peninsula). Den ER flot og imponerende nok huskede de på at fortælle at nok var broen den største hængebro, da den blev bygget men I dag er der en længere bro I Danmark  - OG I Kina, men det var vi jo ikke stolte over..... Bemærk at kørebanen er et gitter. Måske fordi, der så ikke hober sig sne og is op I samme grad, som hvis det var asfalteret vej.

Wednesday we had planned to go to Mackinac Island. Possibly the biggest tourist attraction in the entire state. You can only get there by ferry and there are no cars on the island so everything is done by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. On the way we sailed under the Bic Mac (or Mackinac Bridge, connecting Upper with the Lower Peninsula). It IS nice, and impressively enough they remembered to tell that the bridge was the largest suspension bridge when it was built, but today Denmark has a longer bridge – as well as China, but we are obviously not proud of that...... Note that the roadway is a grid. Perhaps because snow and ice then does not build up the same extent as if it was asphalt.

Mackinacs vartegn er Grand Hotel, med verdens længste veranda med gyngestole – klassisk underspillet Michigan stolthed. Mere om det hotel senere.

The first building that catches the eye on Mackinac Island is the Grand Hotel. It has the world's longest porch with rocking chairs - classic understated Michigan pride. More about the hotel later.

Der var tykt af turister på hovedgaden I et kaos af hestevogne og cykler. At øen er bilfri bliver taget meget seriøst – se bare skralde vognen:

The main street was swarming with tourists in a chaos of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. The island is car-free and this is indeed serious business – just take a look at the garbage “truck”:

Fordi der var så proppet med folk besluttede vi os relativt hurtigt at gå ind mod midten af øen I stedet. Der var SÅ smukt og anderledes fra meget andet jeg har set. Stemningen var ikke helt ulig Bornholm selvom øen er mindre (og klippeformationerne relativt meget større – jeg undskylder på forhånd til lokal patriotiske bornholmske læsere.  I behøver IKKE skrive harske kommentarer ;-)

Because there were so many people, we fairly quickly decided to go inland to the middle of the island instead. It was SO beautiful and different from many other things I have seen. The atmosphere was not unlike Bornholm even though the island is smaller (and the rock formations relatively much bigger - I apologize in advance for patriotic Bornholm readers ;-)

Frokosten blev indtaget I vandkanten. Og Lærke fik bygget sig en - øhm - imponerende sten støtte. 

Lunch was eaten by the water. And Lærke built herself an  - um - impressive rock tower.  

Vi mødte også hvad der MÅ være den mest uheldige chiuahua nogensinde. En meget storbarmet dame I meget nedringet bluse havde fundet et super smart sted at placere sådan et lille kræ! Behøver jeg give flere detaljer? Nej vel? Ungerne var mega forargede og jeg ville ønske jeg havde haft nerver nok til at hapse et billede, men hvem ved hvad sådan en dame kan finde på, hvis ikke hun lige har lyst til at blive fotograferet…….

We also met what HAS to be the most unfortunate chiuahua ever. A very big-bosomed lady in very low-cut blouse had found a super smart place to carry such a small creature! Do I need to give more details? Nope, right? The kids were mega outraged and I wish I had had the nerve enough to snatch a picture, but who knows what such a lady might react do if she does not want to have her picture taken.......

Vi fik hængt ud på hovedgaden og spist kæmpe is sponsoreret af feriegæsten. Luca fik trawlet dimse butikkerne igennem og spenderet en god del lommepenge på slangebøsser og lommeknive (suk). Her bliver slangebøsserne testet:

We got to hang out on main street later and eat giant icecream cones sponsored by the holiday visitor. Luca got to visit many of the stores and spend a good deal of allowance money on slingshots and pocket knives (sigh). Here the slingshots are tested:

Som det sidste punkt på dagsordenen ville vi op at sidde I gyngestolene på Grand Hotel. Vi vidste ikke at der er ret streng dresscode og at man forventes at betale 10$ bare for at gå derop, såfremt man ikke bor der, så vi vadede bare selvsikkert forbi personalet og knipsede løs helt gratis. Men ledige gyngestole var der ingen af, så vi traskede ud igen og fik kun en lille smule røde ører, da vi så skiltet om at man forventes at betale……

As the last thing before leaving I would love to try sitting in the rocking chairs at the Grand Hotel. We did not know that the dress code is quite strict and also we paid no attention to the fact that you are expected to pay $ 10 just to go up there if you are not staying at the hotel, so we just waded confidently past the staff and snapped pictures away for free. But there were no available rocking chairs, so we trudged back out and only got a little bit embarrassed when we saw the sign about the payment ......

På vejen hjem I dag kom vi forbi en anden attraktion her I Michigan –Bronners. “The worlds largest Christmas store”. Målet var at finde julepynt, der ville vække stor “begejstring” hos Lærkes forældre, og vi kan da godt afsløre at det er lykkede ganske godt. Jeg viser ikke billeder her, da jeg ikke vil spolere forventningens glæde for dem.

Today on the way back we passed another attraction here in Michigan -Bronners. "The worlds largest Christmas store". The goal was to find Christmas ornaments that would cause great "joy" with Lærkes parents, and we can reveal that we managed this task quite well. I am not showing any pictures here as I will not spoil the joy of anticipation for them.

Nu er vi vel hjemme igen. Godt trætte og bål stinkende. I morgen sender vi Ulrik til Detroit med 29.999 andre teenagere fra den Lutherske kirke, så han er kommet tidligt I seng – jeg tror han for brug for det. Jeg kan med stor sandsynlighed se frem til at agere prøverums slave I det lokale mall, da der er at par unge damer, hvor lommepengene brænder I lommen og Kristian har noget nyerhvervet fiskegrej, der skal indvies.

Now we are all home. Tired and stinky from the camp bonfires. Tomorrow Ulrik is sent to Detroit together with 29,999 other teenagers from the Lutheran church, so he has gone to bed early - I think he might need that! I can most likely look forward to being a dressing room slave in the local mall tomorrow as there are a couple of young ladies who would love to spend some money there. Kristian has some newly acquired fishing gear, that needs to be broken in so I guess none of us will be bored in the days to come