I am now in the home of Snap, Crackle and Pop: Kalamazoo, Michigan. I arrived on Wednesday evening and stayed at the Congress Plaza in Chicago. There are a group of protesters outside who've been there for over 2 years protesting against conditions. Every left wing sensibility was sorely tested as I crossed the line, but I was so tired and relieved to make it out of O'Hare. I learned afterwards that it is the world's largest airport, and believe me, it looks it.
On the train on the way into the city centre, two adverts stared back at me. The first was for an egg donor company: "Egg Donors, We can Compensate you, but never Repay you". Beautifully navigating the dangerous territory of putting a price on something you cannot put a price on, but going ahead and doing it anyway! The second was for a college offering degrees: "Real Degree, Real Fast, Get the Education You Deserve". I don't know whether that is a compliment. It's like the language here is the same (sort of), but everything means something else. A very very strange experience.
The little things you take for granted are the biggest shock: the cars are different, bigger, more luxurious looking. And everyone asks in restaurants if you want the leftovers on your plate boxed!
I don't really know what to make of this place. I think I was just lazy in assuming that it would be the same, but I honestly feel like I'm on another planet.
My paper is tomorrow morning. But first there is an afternoon of papers to go yet... I'll update shortly.