I loved our Ann Arbor Thanksgiving, even if the dinner tasted like school cafeteria food and the turkey was dry. The company was GREAT! We went to Ann Arbor to be with the kids and that was all that was important. Actually, Thanksgiving was our only bad meal and what can you expect when a restaurant is turning out probably over a thousand meals that day.
We arrived in Ann Arbor and found our lovely little VRBO studio apartment. It was everything it was advertised to be and had even more charm than I expected. As we arrived the owner was getting out of her car and had fresh croissants and cookies for us and a bottle of wine in the fridge! It was lovely to have a place to entertain the children and we actually had dinner with the children there two nights - carryout food but a nice environment to sit and talk.
The girls apartment is fine - your standard 1960's garden apartment. No charm, no storage, but the price is right. They have tried to decorate and organize but, as mentioned before, they just don't quite get finished. As long as they are happy it is fine but I did have to keep myself from digging into the kitchen clutter and reorganizing.
One thing that they love about Ann Arbor is the food. Thanksgiving dinner notwithstanding all our other meals in AA were fabulous - Barrys Bagel's, the Coney Island Diner, the Middle Eastern gyros, the Detroit dog - you'll never go hungry in that town. And Ann Arbor has everything you need, including a nice downtown filled with cute shops and a wonderful farmer and craft market (think Portland Saturday Market on a manageable scale).
We did a driving tour of Detroit since I had lived there in 1969 and wanted to see my old house. Where I had lived, near Wayne State University, actually looks better than when I was there and my old house has been turned into a high-end bed and breakfast, but the rest of the city is indescribable devastation. Really, you think you've seen pictures of what it's like? No, pictures cannot capture the look of a city of such despair. And the sheer scope and size of it. Not just one neighborhood of vacant lots, burned homes, falling down buildings, and the occassional occupied home, but miles and miles and miles. Whole neighborhoods that now have a handful of occupants. No people, no cars. But the odd thing was that there wasn't any street trash either. It looked clean, without litter. I guess there are no people left to litter. I cannot imagine how it can transform into anything. It looked like a scene out of the TV show "Life After People" on the History channel. And then in an hour you are back in Ann Arbor which is a charming, amazing, vibrant place.
So now I need to plan another trip, maybe in the spring or summer when it isn't so cold. And I'll also hope that Katie gets a good offer from UM after this post-doc and they can stay on forever in The People's Republic of Ann Arbor.