Tornadoes, Immigration, & Panera

I’ve had a big week. I’ll start at the beginning.


I live north of Dallas and we get the occasional tornado. The last serious one was in 1993 and there was significant damage. I didn’t realize I was living in tornado alley but according to Google, I am.

On Monday night we had a tornado warning which annoyed me as I was cooking dinner. I didn’t think it was a big deal, to be honest, but I have been known to make silly decisions. We had guests staying over and they convinced me that we really should evacuate, so I packed a small bag of my immigration documents and we headed for safety.

Thankfully the tornado bypassed us and turned into a series of violent thunderstorms, but other towns were hit hard. I shudder when I watch the footage of the tornado ripping through nearby towns and I am so grateful it passed by us. Tornadoes are just so frightening and I am not used to them. This was my third tornado scare and it was the worst by far. 


Today is the one-year anniversary of my arrival in the USA. There have been so many changes–both good and bad, and I can’t believe that I’ve been here for a year. 

On Wednesday Jim and I finally had our Green Card interview and it went well, but there has been a small delay on their part, which is in the process of being rectified. It means I have to wait a little longer for my approval which is a bit disappointing. 

I was so nervous about the interview. I just didn’t know what to expect and the thought of being deported and having to leave my husband was overwhelming. I was sick to my stomach for days. The official we saw was professional and really pleasant, and she explained everything to us appropriately. We were so relieved to have it over and done with. Compiling the paperwork had taken days of work but being prepared was worth it. I was so crabby in the lead-up and unable to sleep or relax. I guess it was the culmination of the last couple of years of the immigration process that were wearing on me and I am quite exhausted by it all. 

We were so relieved that a good friend offered to drive us into Dallas for the interview. Dallas roads are crazy. Our friend is from Chicago and she is not even slightly perturbed by the craziness. After it all, we wanted to take her out for lunch to say thanks, and to decompress, and that takes us to the last point.


Wednesday was cold and windy and we were ravenous after the interview. I had been unable to eat much in the morning, so by lunchtime, I was ready to eat a horse. Jim is always ready to eat so that was a bonus. There are lots of great places to eat in Dallas but Cathy suggested a hot, soothing lunch at Panera, and as I haven’t been there before I gave it a thumbs up.

The only thing I’d heard about Panera is that it is delicious but expensive. Admittedly, it wasn’t cheap but it was delicious and of good quality. Cathy ordered the chicken and broccoli bowl, and I ordered the cheesy broccoli soup, and Chipotle chicken and bacon flatbread for Jim and me to share. We always enjoy sharing so we can try a couple of things. 

All I can say is yum. It was so good. The soup was adequately thick and cheesy and delicious. The flatbread was light and tasty with the perfect amount of toppings. We really enjoyed our lunch and it was perfect for the cold day. I am looking forward to going back to Panera and I think we’d probably eat the same things again, but I want the whole flatbread to myself next time. It was hard to share. 

I’m glad it’s Friday and this week is just about over. So far it’s ending well. The weather is true spring weather at 78 degrees and up to 90 by Sunday. Ahhhhh …. I love it. Coming from sunny Queensland I have found the winter here in North Texas to be bleak and a bit miserable. Everything looks dead. But now, at the end of March, there are a few trees with tiny pink blossoms growing. Blossoms make me hopeful and excited with the promise of warming weather. Now you wait. In two months I’ll be whining about the inferno that summer is in this part of the world, but until then I will be happy.

Published by My Average Travels

I'm Annelise; an Australian writer living in the USA, who loves experiencing new places and things. I'm perpetually on a budget, but despite this I manage to find myself in some incredible places. I'm not about glamour or luxury, but about real life, real experiences, and making real memories. Most of my travel experiences have resulted from plan B's. I write about average moments that have brought me great joy in the midst of the every day.

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