I didn't get out of London at quite the time that I had hoped. I had worked out at Carla's gym on Monday and overdid it; while my muscles weren't all that fatigued, my kidneys were apparently rather unhappy with the extra work with the byproducts of fat burning. So I spent some time feeling feverish and a bit delirious, and my this morning I was mostly recovered but still rather tired and in pain. I slowly loaded my car and packed up my stuff, and by approx 11h30, I was ready to hit the road.
The drive was pretty uneventful, and the last of the symptoms from my renal overload dissipated over time, but things were delayed for almost an hour at the border. You see, there is this document (an I-94) that foreigners with student visas must fill out and get processed at their port of entry into the United States. Technically, you're supposed to surrender this document when you leave the states, and get a new one the next time you arrive. Canadians have enjoyed an exemption from this practise, since we cross the Canada-US border far more frequently than folks from other parts of the world. However, if you travel beyond Canada, even if you're Canadian, you have to give up your I-94 and get a new one upon returning.
All of this adds up to me having to pull over and get my I-94 at the Sarnia/Port Huron border (since I had been in France). While the folks in the immigration processing centre were mostly quite nice and helpful, today was apparently Complicated Immigration day, because there were easily 15 people in front of me, and they each had a complicated immigration issue that required a great deal of time to resolve. So it took me more than an hour to get a little white stub stapled into my passport. Hooray.
I arrived in Chicago around 18h30, rolling down the streets of Hyde Park and over to Steve and (previously) Peter's place. Peter had moved out a few days before, and I'm sub-letting his room while I find my own place. There was a 4th of July BBQ going on at their place, so I unloaded my crap quickly into Peter's old room, said hello to Steve's cat, and then headed back out onto the deck and grabbed a beer.
By about 21h00, Greg and his Very Special Friend (sorry, I forgot her name) decided to head out to the point (Promontory Point) to watch the fireworks over Navy Pier. Feeling in the mood to celebrate my return to Chicago, I tagged along with them. We found a choice spot on some rocks looking to Navy Pier, and then amused ourselves by making fun of the ghetto-ass fireworks that the people around us were trying to set off. It's a wonder that nobody lost a hand in the process. If you bought your fireworks at Wal-Mart, don't be surprised when it fizzles for a while and then sets a bush on fire.
Anyway, the "official" fireworks were lovely and we had a nice walk back through Hyde Park, but I was beginning to feel the fatigue from a day of driving. I stayed up with Steve and Greg and a few other folks, but I eventually gave in around 1h00 and headed to bed. Despite being tired, I'm really excited to be back in Chicago.