My family took a much needed vacation to Chicago this past week. I love traveling and it had been far too long since we took the kids anywhere. We picked Chicago because my mom, Julie, has been wanting to take my daughters to the American Girl Place. I have never been to Chicago and thought it sounded like a great get away.
We stayed in Mt. Prospect, a suburb on the North West side of the city and took the train in. I have to say that it was very exciting riding into the city. The kids loved it, and I think that Spencer would have spent the day riding the train. My mom and I, along with both little girls, caught a cab to American Girl. This was daunting. I have never done it before and obviously we are not pushy enough. I ended up paying a homeless man three dollars to hail a cab for us after we politely waited 30 minutes for a cab.
After our afternoon at the A.G. Place we stepped out onto the busy city streets. I just wanted to take in the semi-fresh air and people watch. Alas, we had to meet the men-folk at a restaraunt so it was time to catch another cab. I watched the corners to see how other people got their rides. "Mom, those people are having a really easy time," I said, pointing down the street. So off we went as we watched people easily catching cabs. As we got closer I realized that the people were stepping out of a hotel and had obviously called ahead for their taxi. DUH!
So we finally got one but a man accused my mom and I of trying to steal it from some other man who was about 20 feet behind us. Go figure. The cab driver felt that was rude and opted to take us instead. VICTORY! I made the mistake of asking the driver if he had been here long. It was then that I realized I am seriously sheltered when it comes to dealing with persons of other nationalities. I did smooth things over with him, though, and gave him a nice tip.
I don't think that I could dwell permanently in a big city, but I loved our visit. We live in such a white bread town I have become sadly unaccustomed to seeing different skin colors and hearing many different foreign languages. While I try to teach our children about other cultures there is no substituting mingling with many types of people. I don't ever want to be someone who only wants English-speaking people in my town. I loved sitting in our hotel breakfast room listening to so many different conversations in so many different languages.
We all came back refreshed, even after the hectic pace of the city. I wasn't sad to leave Chicago behind but I do look forward to our next trip. I wish I had friends from other countries. Would it be weird to look for English-as-a-second-language-friends?