But 100% more luggage.
As I’ve mentioned before, we are currently hosting our 5th exchange student. Now, when students first find out they’re placed with our family, they have to look up where exactly Idaho is in relation to the parts of the U.S. they’ve actually heard of. So while they’re here, we make every attempt to show them at least one thing their friends and family will be able to relate to. Over the years, we’ve made trips to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and, one of our favorite cities, San Francisco.
For some exchange students, there’s nothing quite like walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and riding a cable car. And the hilly streets - the scene of so very many exciting car chases in so very many movies - are always a hit!
This year’s trip was over the Christmas holidays. We piled in the car Christmas afternoon and headed for my sister-in-law’s house in Reno, and then on to California the next day. My father-in-law lives only a couple of hours from the City (as San Franciscans like to call it – never, ever “Frisco”), so we got up bright and early on the 28th and drove down to the City by the Bay.
We spent a couple of days doing all of the typical, touristy things: walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, having ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s at the corner of Haight and Ashbury, letting the kids dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean, driving down the crooked part of Lombard Street, roving around Fisherman’s Wharf watching the street performers and buying postcards, and (of course) riding the famous cable cars. We got off of our cable car in Chinatown, wandered around and then headed back to the area where we always park our car when we’re in that end of town. My knees wimped out during the mile and a half walk (so very, very frustrating), so my husband and daughter left the boys and me in a park in Little Italy and jogged off to bring the car back.
Unfortunately, someone beat them to the car.
No, it wasn’t stolen. However, the rear driver’s side window had been smashed to bits, my purse was on the ground beside the car and both my suitcase and a backpack belonging to our exchange student were gone.
Coulda been worse, I guess. My suitcase had nothing but clothing in it (albeit clothing that I loved!) and the backpack contained only a few, inexpensive items. It looked as though the thieves had merely broken the window, grabbed the items closest to them, and run off (after rifling through my purse and abandoning it for its sheer boringness, I guess). They didn’t unlock the rest of the car, or even look closely at the rear seat area. My daughter’s purse was in the center section of seats and held her digital camera. We had nearly every CD we own in the front of the van. And, strangest of all, our exchange student’s iPod was in plain sight in the back of the car. So, we were thanking our lucky stars that it wasn’t worse.
It did, however, put a damper on what had been a nice little trip. And an unexpected dent in our pocketbook in the form of window replacement.
But I’ve got to wonder what the heck our incompetent thieves were thinking. I mean - breaking into a minivan with Idaho plates? A minivan belonging to folks who couldn’t even afford to fly to the City? What exactly did they think they’d be hauling out of that van? I have a feeling they were terribly disappointed with their haul!
I, for one, was glad to be back home when the trip was over.
Oh yeah, one great reason to live in Idaho? A headline in the Idaho Business Review: “Idaho energy czar Kjellander aims to harness cow pie power.”
Couldn’t get that anywhere else.