Travel Highlights: US Adventures, Chicago Leg

Thursday, August 23, 2018

I will always look back to the last quarter of last year as especially noteworthy for my little family, specifically, for our travels far and wide that were a little more frequent than usual. We traveled to run a couple of marathons and a half marathon both in Asia and North America. We traveled as a couple. We traveled as a trio. We traveled with my in-laws. We traveled for Christmas and New Year, and oh, during Thanksgiving and Black Friday as well.

We embarked on little adventures and made a lot of memories. Lots and lots of good and vivid memories, so much so that my son tells us everyday (often just from out of the blue) that he wants to go back to the US. And mind you, he does ask for specifics such as, "What time and when are we going back to Chicago?" Well, son, not until I've written about it yet! (Ha-ha, I kid you yes!)

So let me share about our little travels in the next series of posts. Let's start with the Chicago leg of our US trip.

Fall in the Windy City

We were in Chicago primarily for THE 40th Chicago Marathon, which I'm so proud to say my husband, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law all ran. Yup, running runs in the family! The marathon surely deserves a post of it's own, but it is not my story to tell, so let me share about the "sidelines" instead.

Cheering for the runners at the 40th Chicago Marathon <3 
Chicago took me by surprise, and it was a pleasant one. I did not expect The Windy City to be so picturesque, charming, and vibrant, all without being overwhelming. It is not as fast-paced as New York, and yet, not as laidback as I found Washington, DC to be. It has its own charms, and I reveled in the familiarity of its Chinatown, the beautiful architecture in its downtown, and the stark contrast of nature against the concrete backdrop.

I will always fondly remember the day my little toddler and I wandered off by ourselves (a first! I always get lost LOL) while my husband and my in-laws ran the marathon. We walked and talked a lot and followed the fire trucks's sirens (he's mightily fascinated with them).

Spot the Chicago fire truck! :)
We paused standing over the Chicago River, glistening in the midday sun and teeming with boats that we surmised were tourists paddling around downtown. We crossed main highways and footbridges, just "following the ferris wheel from afar" as our compass. And when we got tired and worried that we were getting lost it's turning out to be a bit too far, we hailed an Uber ride.

We walked around shops and parks, taking in all the sights and sounds and wondering how our runners were doing. My little toddler frolicked in the fountains of one of the parks we went to. He hopped on from one fountain to another, not minding the wind chill, drenched from head to toe. He had a blast doing that for a whole hour while I nervously momster-ed on the sides, a bit afraid he might catch a cold. We definitely had a grand time, though, and he fondly recalls our little Chicago adventure to these days.

I still get amused whenever our little guy asks us when we are returning to Chicago. Could it have been the firetrucks? The day we bravely wandered around downtown? The day we we wondered by the river and played by the fountains?The novelty of the US experience, as it was our first stop? The food trips and carboloading with our marathoner? Or all these little things put together?

One thing is for sure -- his joy could not be contained that he had Dad and Mommy to himself and we were all in a new territory, exploring it together.

With our marathoner just past the Finish Line <3 :)

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