Chicago, Chicago

I’m writing this post from west Kalamazoo, where we stayed the night after driving out towards Chicago. For the next few weeks, we’ll be hopping around Iowa and Nebraska, visiting Vivian and Nora’s other grandparents. For now, we’re heading for Chicago, where we’ll meet grandpa Michael and grandma Rosemarie and stick around for the fourth of July weekend.

Despite losing our computers and passports during our last trip, I’m looking forward to seeing Chicago again. Among other things, I’m finally going to have a chance to visit the Illinois Railway Museum. During all of my previous visits to Chicago, we’ve never been in town at a time that the museum was open — or, it was, but we were leaving that day, et cetera. It was like a curse. But that curse gets broken on this trip. I hope.

The trip down was uneventful. Traffic was light all the way, even though the weather was wet. There was congestion at the border, however, with cars backed all the way up the Bluewater Bridge. Was it all holiday travellers? Or was security extra tight in advance of the fourth of July weekend? I noticed that more than a few vehicles were asked to pop their trunks, allowing customs officers to search inside.

I should note that Nora is on the verge of walking. She’s actually taken her first toddling steps earlier this week, and she has long been sidling around while keeping her hand on the furniture, or standing up and looking pleased about herself, but she clearly still prefers crawling (it’s faster). But we’ll probably see Nora become a full-fledged walker by the end of this trip. It looks as though Grandma Rosemarie is going to be the grandparent who gets to see this moment.

(Update: 3:15 p.m. CDT): Made it to Chicago in time for Lunch, which we ate at the Adler Planetarium. Took Vivian to see her first movie there as well: Sesame Street’s One Sky, One World, a Chinese-American co-production featuring Big Bird, Elmo and Elmo’s Chinese equivalent. Among other things, Vivian learned that the sun is a star, and they pointed out the Big Dipper and the North Star. Despite our fears that Vivian would freak out, she did very well, as did Nora.

We’re booked into the Hyatt Regency hotel at McCormick Place, which had a deal on. McCormick Place is a recuperating part of town. They’ve clearly planted a major convention centre over top a much older neighbourhood, and you can see clues of that older neighbourhood. Outside the window of my hotel, I’m looking at an old industrial building (1920s, I think) that’s facing onto a street that doesn’t exist anymore. We have a good view of the Chicago skyline as well.

Grandpa Michael and Grandma Rosemarie are en route; last time we checked, they were due to arrive around 5:30, so we might head out to dinner.

But after about ten hours in a car with two young children, I have to say that I am taking any opportunity I can to put my feet up.

And I’d like to add: a happy Canada Day to all of my readers. I hope yours was a good one. In terms of Canada Day stories, few can top this one.

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