Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Childless in Chicago

While B and I were in the US, we made a short trip to Chicago without R. She stayed with my parents, who besides my sister are the only people I would trust with R overnight; since they all live in the Bay Area, this is a main reason R goes everywhere with us, even to not typically child friendly destinations.
Our hotel
We were gone four days/three nights, an amount which caused me a considerable amount of angst, not really because I would miss R (I did miss her, sort of, in that I thought fondly of her, but could have happily stayed twice the time), but because I was worried about the effects of the trip on her. In the end, she was fine if a little sad (the trip was maybe a tiny bit too long for her taste, three days might have been better). B and I had a great time though.
The weather was not good, horribly cold to someone coming from the tropics
I am so used to traveling everywhere with an infant/toddler/preschooler that I kind of forget what a burden children are as traveling companions. R is a great traveler in a lot of ways--interested in everything, cheerful, charismatic (meaning people are nicer to us than they would otherwise be)--but even so traveling with her can be hard. It was so freeing to just pack for myself, to be able to sleep in as late as I wanted, to not have to curtail my activities or preferences at all...
I loved all the architectural details
 I also surprised myself with how relaxed I was: when R is with me, traveling means I am in a state of constant slight tension (what if she gets tired? bored? hungry? how long are we going to have to wait and how is she going to react? etc). No R meant I didn't care if the plane was delayed, if boarding was slow, if going from point A to point B took hours.
No R also meant that it was much, much easier for B and I to indulge each other. B wants to spend hours wandering around looking for the perfect restaurant? Grace wants to spend all day (literally) at the museum? No problem! And having conversations uninterrupted by someone needing something, or prying questioning from little eavesdroppers (R listens to all our conversations now and will grill us if something is mentioned she doesn't understand: very awkward when it's things I don't want to tell her about!): awesome.
The more modern buildings are interesting too
 Instead we could just chat, chat, chat: B and I have never had a problem in coming up with topics to discuss and for the most part keep each other endlessly amused (at least we think we are interesting/funny, I don't know if everyone else would agree!).
Chicago at night, from the Willis Tower
So I was predisposed to like Chicago, and in fact I enjoyed the city greatly, especially the architecture. I knew Chicago was well-known for that, but actually seeing all the early skyscrapers together is an impressive and interesting experience, like getting a glimpse into the birth of modernity.

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