We've spent most of the last few weeks in the USA, visiting my family. My apologies to anyone located in these places who would have liked to meet up; my parents were distraught due to the very recent death of one of my father's sisters, and my auntie had an itinerary planned for us which was magnificent and also jam-packed.
I'm currently assembling all my photos (thousands between phone and dSLR) to make a book of the trip. Humuhumu has expressed a desire to help me as she adores the ones I've made out of previous trips and pores over them regularly. So we'll be making a project out of it. Below the cut is a very rough timeline, without photos, to get us started.
22 July 2019: Travel Birmingham BHX to Chicago O’Hare via Dublin. Check into Intercontinental Chicago Magnificent Mile (4 star hotel; special deal with Expedia; fairly swish). 22nd floor room. Connect by phone with parents who don’t arrive at their hotel until after 8 PM. Eat at nearby Italian restaurant. Children completely punch-drunk, but charm waiter nevertheless. Keiki falls asleep, but when waiter says the words “ice cream” he sits bolt upright and calls, “raspberry sorbet”! Return to hotel. Try to stay awake past 8 PM. Fail.
23 July 2019: Wake up at 4 AM with rest of family. Doze restlessly until 6 AM. Go to the hotel gym and work out. Swap with bloke, who goes for a run. Breakfast, then late morning swim with children. Walk to parents’ hotel, then walk through town and down next to the river for lunch. Parents back to hotel. Stroll to Navy Pier. Meet parents for supper at same Italian restaurant as previous evening.
24 July 2019: Walk to Lincoln Park Zoo (2 miles). Meet up with parents and visit animals. Mooch around hotel; swimming in pool. Evening meal courtesy of Whole Foods. Go to see parents on my own. Shopping with mum, then help them sort out funeral attendance arrangements as they are very stressed.
25 July 2019: Field Museum + Fantastic Bug Encounters exhibition with parents. Evening meal at Japanese BBQ restaurant where Humuhumu cooks all the food on the grill for the adults. She was so proud.
26 July 2019: Shedd Aquarium with dizzykj, husband, and toddler M. Say goodbye to parents in the late afternoon, who are leaving early due to Auntie Lina’s funeral in San Francisco. Amazing sushi meal with dizzykj in the evening. Culinary experience that makes my top three along with Purnell’s in Birmingham and that seafood restaurant in Paris that the bloke and I went to for his thirtieth birthday.
27 July 2019: Leisurely morning. Delicious diner pancakes. Travel to their local beach in the afternoon to have playdate with dizzykj, husband, and toddler M. Have a fantastic time sifting sand for shells, paddling in the shallow water and digging big holes.
28 July 2019: Final gym session and run. Check out of hotel. Taxi to airport. Pick up hire car - a hybrid. At first excited, but turns out to be an absolute beast to drive and it’s an automatic (blech) of course. Saves us on petrol money anyway. Drive 6.5 hours to rural eastern Ohio, arrive at my aunt’s at 10:30 PM. Forget about time zone change, tell her we’ll be arriving at 9:30 PM so by the time we do arrive she’s pacing the kitchen, worried. Anxiety mitigated by being overjoyed to see one another.
29 July 2019: Amish/Mennonite farm trip. I learn from Auntie M that the maternal side of my family is closely related to a Mennonite branch.
30 July 2019: Butterfly garden. Evening meal with Auntie M’s friend Judy. Eat far too much.
31 July 2019: Erie Canal barge ride. Evening meal at Sandy Springs brewery.
01 August 2019: Morning with Auntie M, who loads us up with car snacks. Packing (which literally takes hours WHYYYY). Early lunch and hit the road by noon. Drive most of the way back to Illinois, stopping just short of the Indiana Dunes in Chesterton at a Best Western. Have tasty Mexican food for supper.
02 August 2019: Indiana Dunes National Park, IN. Travel back to Chicago O’Hare in heavy traffic. Bloke drops us at Terminal 5 and helps us check in the big bags, then heads to domestic terminal to fly to New York, where he spends the next five days in a meeting with the UN. I fly home alone via a three-hour layover in Dublin with two children. Annnnd let us never speak of that bit of the trip again, especially since Humuhumu and I are both still severely jet-lagged and not sleeping properly.
This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1253395.html. The titration count is at .0 pKa.