Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Chicago Surprise

Hi everyone! I hope all is well with you.

I am back in Iowa now from my trip to Washington DC and I wanted to share with you the "surprise" Kristin had planned for me yesterday.

Kristin told me when we left Washington DC yesterday that she had a surprise for me when we reached Chicago. It was REALLY hard to be patient on the entire plane ride from Washington to Chicago! But, it was worth the wait.

When we got to Chicago, I thought we were going to get on another plane and fly to Moline. But Kristin told me we were going to meet a group of her friends at the airport and then DRIVE home. I didn't think that was much of a surprise. But then Kristin told me that the group was coming from Kosovo.

That's when I remembered that I met someone who works in Kosovo on one of my other trips to Washington DC. Kristin reminded me that her name is Liz Shropshire and she runs a music training program in Kosovo. Last summer Keith and Kristin and a big group of people from Muscatine went to Kosovo to visit Liz and her students. So this summer Liz is bringing a group of her students to Muscatine for a few weeks. I think that's pretty cool!

So, I waited with Keith and Kristin in the business lounge for a few hours for the Kosovo group's plane to arrive. Kristin even bought me a bear to play with while I was waiting.

After waiting for a few hours, we walked a REALLY long way to the gate where the Kosovo group's plane was going to park at. I could tell Keith and Kristin were really excited when the plane arrived. They both gave big hugs to Liz and all of her students. I can't remember their names but they are all very nice. Here is a picture of the Kosovo group right after they arrived.

I don't know much about Kosovo but Kristin told me there was a war there several years ago and that the war made her students (and all of the children in Kosovo) very sad. So Liz went to to Kosovo to teach them music and help make them happy again. I think that was a really nice thing for Liz to do.

I think I am going to have to learn more about Kosovo now that I have met Liz's students.

Unfortunately, not all of the Kosovo group's luggage arrived so we had to wait while Liz filled out paperwork for the delayed luggage. Then, Kristin, Keith and the entire Kosovo group got into 3 vans and we drove to Muscatine.

We stopped for food along the way and all of Liz's students wanted to eat at McDonald's. Kristin told me there isn't a McDonald's in Kosovo. Can you believe that? I can't imagine living in a place and not have a McDonald's!

Here I am having McDonald's with Liz's students.

All of Liz's students speak English but sometimes I couldn't understand anything they were saying. Kristin says that's because the main language in Kosovo is Albanian. I had no idea! Kristin says they speak both English and I was probably hearing them speak Albanian. Maybe I should learn to speak Albanian.

We didn't get to Muscatine until 1AM (but I did sleep in the van). So I am very tired today. But I want to thank Kristin and Keith for taking me to Washington. And, I want to thank them for introducing me to their friends from Kosovo.

Until my next adventure....