A day long in waiting at long last happened. It was one of those days where you knew it was coming for a long time, but when you look back, it doesn’t look like it you’ve been waiting for it all that long. I’m sure that if you’ve been reading my online editions since they started, you have a clear idea of what happened.
My sister came back from Europe.

This, of course, meant a return trip to my beloved airport. I still like that building. There are lots of good vibes in an airport. You can just pick up on it when you walk in the door. There is this air of reunions, farewells, new beginnings and those endings you never thought were coming. My mood, however, was different than last time I was there. I can’t explain it. When I was there last, I was excited for my sister. She was leaving on a most excellent adventure from which she would be returning (most likely) a changed person. But now, I felt sad for my sister. Sad that her adventure had to come to an end. The whole time she was gone, her phone calls home reflected her change. The first few were scared and lonely. The last ones were full of confidence and exuberance. If she could only remain that confident, exuberant person. Only time would tell. But, for now, all I had to do was meet her.

She stepped out of the gate looking very much like a weary world traveler. The first people she hugged were my parents. Then, her boyfriend. Not me. This is one of the quirks of my sister that I’ve come to understand. I like hugging people. It’s a lot nicer than a handshake. But, my sister hates it when I hug her. So I don’t. We just look at each other and say “Hey.” So, we looked at each other and said “Hey.” Wanting to get home quickly, we made our way to the truck, and loaded her backpack. My parents were, of course, in the front, and my sister’s boyfriend and I kind of squished my sister in the middle of the back seat. As we approached the toll booth at the edge of the parkade, my parents got all panicked. Apparently, they had misplaced the little ticked stub that you present to the parking lot attendant. They frantically searched the dashboard, their pockets, the seat. Dad pulled over and got of the truck and looked under the seat. He then looked up to see that it was on the dashboard all along. At this point, I turned to my sister and said “Welcome home.”

When we reached Entwistle, it was time for her to divvy out the souvenirs, and regale us with tales of her travels. She mentioned how she unexpectedly ended up haggling with a person on the Eiffel Tower over a cheap souvenir Eiffel Tower. She told the tale of how an angry encounter with a rude waiter at a Rome restaurant resulted in her swiping cutlery from that restaurant. She confirmed that CNN report I saw that Stonehenge had become very much a tourist attraction. And, something every world traveler should now, Barcelona has a very good Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now, the good stuff. I had requested that my sister only bring me back three postcards: the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Stonehenge. She brought me back at least a dozen. She brought me postcards of Notre Dame, the Mona Lisa, the canals of Venice, St. Steven’s Cathedral, paintings in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, panoramic postcards of the bridges in Budapest, two (2!) of the Eiffel Tower, and one of Stonehenge at sunset. She was a little upset with herself that she didn’t get me any postcards from Rome, but I said that it was OK, and I’ll get one for myself someday. Oh, and she explained that she didn’t get me one of the Leaning Tower of Pisa because the town of Pisa is actually quite out of the way, and she didn’t get there. That’s OK. My favorite postcard? The gargoyles of Notre Dame. Oh, and besides postcards, she got me a Star Wars Episode I collector’s Pepsi can from Germany. That sounds like nothing, until you realize that all the writing on this can is in German, Darth Maul is on the can, and European pop cans are twice the size of ours. The can is unopened, but I’m not going to drink it. I’m assuming that German Pepsi tastes the same as Canadian Pepsi. Oh, and Episode I‘s title in German is Star Wars Episode I: Die Dunkle Bedrohung. (Translation: “The Dark Threat.”) Definitely a centerpiece in my Star Wars collection. And from here, it was time for my sister to go off to her boyfriend’s place, so they could have some privacy. Since my sister has always spent a lot of time at her boyfriend’s place, after she left I made the snarky comment that “I always like it when she comes to visit.” But, I’m glad she’s home.

And now, something else happened this weekend that I wasn’t really looking forward to: the Cappis family reunion! This is the annual event where I get together at some campground with all my uncles, aunts and cousins and watch them get drunk. It’s been ages since I’ve felt like I belonged with those people. Ever since I was younger, it seemed that at all these family functions, all the cousins would group together in similar age groups to hang out. Being the only one born in 1977, I have no age group to hang out with. And, now that we’ve all grown up, they have all become jocks and tradesmen, and could care less about a guy with a B.SC. in physics and math with an affixation for science-fiction. So, I often just sit there, listening in on their conversations, and partially existing in Markworld. It also hurts that I don’t drink, yet I come from a family of social drinkers. And, all of my cousins younger than me were sure to show off their lovers, once again hammering home the fact that I’m a 22 year old virgin. This is one of those situations where I go “My next computer will be a laptop.” Then, when they start drinking and talking about life at that plant, I can crawl off into a corner and play Need For Speed 3 over and over. I love that game. My next computer will definitely be powerful enough to run it.

Well, my cousins aren’t all bad. There’s my cousin Don. He likes Star Wars just a little more than I do. He’s the one who got me hooked up on ICQ. And, he always makes an effort to come over and see how I’m doing. Plus, as we were saying our farewells on Sunday morning, he asked me to e-mail him my URL, so there’s a good chance he’ll be reading this. Hi Don!

My sister said that when she was in Europe, she had found “her people.” A group, just like her, off on a most excellent adventure. She instantly connected with them, and made a whole new world of friends. I’ve always felt like I’ve been searching for the group where I fit in. I discovered a long time ago that it is not with my extended family. One of my aunts asked me where my life is, and I told her truthfully: it’s online. Everyone I feel that I ever connected with is on ICQ. Some people write letters, some make phone calls, I e-mail. And, I come from an extended family that has very little grasp of e-mail. I mention the World Wide Web, and they get a confused look on their faces. It took me a long time to find my people, and just when we were starting to really get to know each other, I had to go and graduate. Some of them have already invited me back to Augustana in September to visit. “It’ll be like being a student, but without the pressures of schoolwork,” one of them said in their invitation. It is a reunion that I can hardly wait for. It is a day long in waiting, and when it happens, it’ll seem like it wasn’t that long.

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