I recently returned from a two-week jaunt in Europe, the first portion of which I spent in Slovenia with my friend John, his ass-kickin' wife Magda, and their unspeakably cute son Adam. J and I had blazed a trail across much of southern Europe in 2002, and he was kind enough to offer to serve as host/interpreter/tour guide/source of entertainment this time around, too.
A damn good thing, too, as there's simply no way I would've survived in Slovenia without la famille Stephens. Not only don't I speak the language (beyond words which would allow me to call for ice cream, a stroller, an elephant, wine, or help), I don't drive standard, which would put me at the mercy of public transport, a sketchy proposition given my aforementioned lack of language skills. I also would've had to fend for myself in terms of shelter and foodstuffs, not to mention price computations (how many tolars is too many tolars?), sightseeing, and general cultural competence.
So J and M, try to imagine (can you imagine?) how grateful I am to you for your willingness to fetch me from Malpensa, ferry me back across the border, house me, feed me, drive me around the country, speak for me, entertain me, and generally welcome me into your home as if I well and truly belonged there. Thanks for being so unstoppably generous. I hope someday you'll bring the brood to SF/Vancouver and I'll be able to even begin to return the favor.
And to you, sweet little Adam, thanks for being the most charming and adorable howler monkey an auntie could ask for. I miss you to bits and pieces.